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

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2014-09-18 “You’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat”: Alpha and Interest Rates by Brooks Ritchey of Franklin Templeton Investments

Caution has been the dominant sentiment among investors in recent times even as equities have continued to march along. But as the prospect of rising US interest rates becomes ever more real, Brooks Ritchey, senior managing director at K2 Advisors, Franklin Templeton Solutions, takes a look at how some individuals and institutions are changing their guarded approach. He says alternative investments could find increased interest among savvy investors as interest rates start to tick higher.

2014-09-18 Then and Now by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Dallas-based Greenbrier Partners is captained by my friend Frederick E. Rowe, who is fondly referred to as Shad. Now anyone from Virginia is familiar with the fish known as a shad, and are probably familiar with the political event known as the Shad Planking.

2014-09-17 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 Indonesia by Kaisa Stucke, Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

The recent presidential election in Indonesia has attracted international interest as both candidates’ platforms included promises of import substitutions, export restrictions and retention of production processes in Indonesia. Although Indonesia holds substantial growth promise for foreign investors, the potential trade restrictions are making international companies nervous. This report discusses Indonesia, briefly describing its history, economy and political landscape. It delves into the election, promises made on the campaign trail and the implications of the results on foreign inve

2014-09-16 Is Profiting in the Stock Market Based on Illusions? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

When I was a child, I was fascinated with magic and magicians. I read scores of books, learned loads of tricks, and put on magic shows (ten-cent admission) in our basement. My favorite part was the illusions (I once worked a part of a summer vacation mastering a very convincing floating wand).

2014-09-15 Understanding the Potential Risks and Rewards of Alternative Investments by Bob Andres of Andres Capital Management

Today, Investors are confronted with constructing or restructuring an asset allocation model in an environment where traditional equity and fixed income securities are fully valued. As a result, investors may be facing a period of nominal or negative returns from both of these traditional asset classes. In this environment, alternative investments may play a pivotal role in providing investors with broad diversification, lower correlations, and as a result, enhanced downside protection.

2014-09-12 Schwab Market Perspective: Diverging Paths…Growing Risks? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The U.S. stock market continues to reach new highs but sentiment is extended and we are entering a period that has historically seen weakness. We believe the ultimate trend is higher, but bumps could get more pronounced in the near future. The U.S. economy is improving, with data suggesting self-supporting expansion is taking hold. Whether this means accelerated Fed interest rate hikes is being closely watched, while midterm elections often inject some more uncertainty into the market. The European Central Bank (ECB) finally acted, but structural issues and lack of demand remain problems.

2014-09-10 A Global Growth Slowdown? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

As 2014 is shaping up to be another year of below-trend economic growth, many investors are wondering: Is economic growth once again slowing? Russ explains why his answer is no.

2014-09-10 Strong U.S. Dollar Weakens Gold Prices this September by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Last week I wrote about the historic correlation between the month of September and the strength of gold. Now it appears that this September might be shaping up as one not to remember but forget.

2014-09-09 Divergence by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

A widening gap in monetary policy in the United States and Europe reveals the disparity in economic growth that exists. Kristina Hooper explains the implications for investors and what history reveals about periods of Fed tightening.

2014-09-06 Back in the Saddle Again: Time to Pull in the Reins? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Interest rates and seasonal tendencies are taking some attention away from the stronger economy and pose short-term risks for the stock market. Another pullback would be welcome from a sentiment perspective and would not dent our longer-term optimism that we are in a secular bull market that still has room to run. But just as fear has been the strongest emotion keeping many investors out of this bull market, greed is an emotion to rein in as well.

2014-09-04 Could a China Recession Cause $50/barrel Crude Oil? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Globalization has created an interconnection between major world economies and commodity prices. China, as the world's most populous country, rearranged the commodity landscape by growing their economy at double-digit compounded rates from 2000-2010. By doubling their use of oil, copper and other major commodities, China created a golden era for commodity investors and everyone involved in oil exploration and production.

2014-08-28 The World is in Crisis…the Markets Are Not by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

Markets have been gyrating for the past months in the face of a wave of geopolitical crises. But the chance of any of these crises dramatically altering the behavior of markets beyond the short-term is very, very slight.

2014-08-28 Brazil: A Ripe Market for Bottom-Up Stock Pickers by Jim Harvey, Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds

Royce International Micro-Cap Fund Portfolio Managers Jim Harvey and Dilip Badlani talk about their recent trip to Brazil, the country's current challenges, the importance of careful stock selection, what insider ownership reveals, Brazil's real estate market, learning from experience, looking for competitive advantages and the importance of corporate governance, and where they've been finding opportunities.

2014-08-27 From the Alps to the Tetons by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

Central bankers seem to be the focus once again. If the global economy were strong enough to stand on its own, we wouldn’t spend every waking moment worrying about what Fed Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and her European Central Bank counterpart Mario Draghi are going to do next. The fact that these bankers are front and center again in investors’ minds, is a function of both how sluggish the global economy is and how persistent the hangover from the mid-2000’s real estate party continues to be.

2014-08-25 Correcting a Common Misconception about Alternative Investments by Walter Davis of Invesco Blog

A common misconception about alternative investments is that these investments have failed anytime they underperform the stock market. Investors need to know that alternative investments … are designed to achieve returns that are more consistent and less volatile than those of the stock market on a long-term basis across multiple market cycles.

2014-08-20 Americas: Regional Economic Review - Q2 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Economic trends from the region during the second quarter were in line with earlier periods, as the developed economies in North America are seeing healthier growth while most of the emerging economies in Latin America are facing a slowdown.

2014-08-20 What's Your Exit? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Are you prepared for an “Exit”? If the Fed pursues an “exit” from ultra low interest rate policy, are you be prepared for an exit from the stock market should things turn South? We discuss how investors prepare, noting the most common mistakes investors make along the way.

2014-08-20 Diversification and Discipline Are Key to Investing in Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Like training for a marathon, investing in gold isn’t for the apathetic or indifferent. It requires strong-willed discipline.

2014-08-20 Clarity in Emerging Markets: Indonesian Election Outcome by Team of Manning & Napier

On July 9th, Indonesians turned out en mass for the country’s national election. The contest pitted the young governor of Jakarta, Joko Widodo (Jokowi), against a former general and businessman, Prabowo Subianto.

2014-08-18 Australia’s Terms of Trade: Implications For Credit Investors by Tracy Chin, Aaditya Thakur of PIMCO

Australia is contending with a multi-year decline in the terms of trade and a rebalancing toward the non-mining sectors of the economy. For companies, the macroeconomic consequences of a downswing in the terms of trade provide both challenges and benefits. For investors, it is important to find companies that have a clear, demonstrated understanding of the macro environment and can navigate the headwinds through operational efficiencies, cost control, market positioning and balance sheet management.

2014-08-16 Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

You can almost feel it in the air. The froth and foam on markets of all shapes and sizes all over the world. It’s exhilarating, and the pundits who populate the media outlets are bubbling over. There’s nothing like a rising market to lift our moods. Unless of course, as Prof. Kindleberger famously cautioned (see below), we are not participating in that rising market. Then we feel like losers. But what if the rising market is … a bubble? Are we smart enough to ride it high and then bail out before it bursts? Research says we all think that we are, yet we rarely demonstrate th

2014-08-13 Toward the Sounds of Chaos by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Stock market volatility is always a scary thing. Investors nearing retirement fear their nest eggs will evaporate. Younger investors saving for a home or a child’s college education fear their families’ futures might be in doubt. However, history suggests that allowing volatility to overrule a good investment plan tends to lead to poor performance. It’s not volatility itself that generally leads to poor longer-term performance, but rather it appears to be investors’ emotional reactions to volatility that ultimately lead to poor performance.

2014-08-12 Reflections on WWI: Geopolitics and Markets by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

WWI was a devastating conflict and the postwar effects were substantial. From a market perspective, measuring the impact of geopolitics is difficult. Some events are short-term; others are more substantial but mostly cyclical. There are also events that permanently change the investing landscape. This report gives a short recap of the onset of WWI, and examines the problem that comes from induction, the logical process of observing the world and predicting the future. From there, we discuss the “lessons learned” from the post-WWII and post-Cold War era with an analysis of what may

2014-08-12 International Equity Commentary: June-2014 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices advanced further in June on expectations that the major developed economies are likely to see healthier trends during the second half of this year. Japan and Canada saw robust gains during the month while markets in Europe underperformed.

2014-08-11 Low and Expanding Risk Premiums are the Root of Abrupt Market Losses by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Compressed risk premiums normalize in spikes. Day-to-day news stories are merely opportunities for depressed risk premiums to shift up toward more normal levels, but the normalization itself is inevitable, and the spike in risk premiums (decline in prices) need not be proportional or “justifiable” by the news at all.

2014-08-06 Consumer Confidence Hits 7-Year High - Really? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we’ll look at several key economic reports over the last week or so. Most have been better than expected. The Conference Board reported that its Consumer Confidence Index surged to the highest level in seven years in July. However, a couple of other reports we’ll look at below paint a very different picture.

2014-08-06 What Asset Class Rallied Last Week amid the Sell-Off? by Luciano Siracusano III of WisdomTree

Last Thursday’s sell-off in U.S. stocks (the Dow was down 317 points, the S&P 500 Index was down nearly 2%) marked the biggest stock market decline in nearly four months. The S&P 500 Index closed at 1,930 after it broke its 50-day moving average for the first time since April.

2014-08-05 The Wealth-Builder Model by C. Thomas Howard, PhD (Article)

While the math of compounding is straightforward, building wealth is difficult. But if you use an approach based on the principles outlined in this article, the accumulation of real wealth is within reach.

2014-08-04 Dynamic and Durable Growth Part 2: The Enormous Implications of Shale Energy by Erik Voss of Invesco Blog

This is the second in a four-part series examining dynamic and durable growth themes that affect the US economy and may present opportunities for investors. The first post explored the biotech revolution, and the third and fourth posts will discuss the massive changes in mobility.

2014-08-04 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.

2014-08-02 5 Takeaways from the Vancouver Natural Resources Conference by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Last week I was happy to speak at the Vancouver Natural Resources Conference in beautiful British Columbia. I also had the pleasure of listening to a variety of presentations by some of the most influential names in the investment world, and met a few new faces along the way. Here is what I took away from this year’s visit to Vancouver:

2014-07-30 The Outlook for MLPs and Midstream Energy Infrastructure Continues to Look Bright by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

The quarter saw a number of positive developments that underpin our long term positive outlook on MLPs. Firstly, the need for new midstream infrastructure remains significant, and a number of announcements of large new projects highlighted that this need is not abating. Also, a significant new development in the quarter was the emergence of new export markets for ethane and condensate which will entail associated infrastructure development and other possible profit opportunities for MLPs.

2014-07-30 Goodnight Vietnam? by William Gross of PIMCO

It was a matter of happenstance I suppose – certainly not serendipity. Our meeting may have been an inevitable coming together, but it was certainly not initially welcomed by me. Happenstance is the better word. Fateful happenstance.

2014-07-29 Blowback: The Tragedy of Flight MH-17 by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On July 17, a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane was shot down over Ukraine, killing all 298 persons aboard. Evidence suggests that Russian-backed rebels fired the rocket, inadvertently attacking the civilian aircraft. In this report, we will discuss the recent escalation of tensions in Ukraine that led to the mistaken attack. We will examine the use of proxies in warfare between nuclear powers, both the costs and benefits. In terms of cost, the problem of “blowback” will be analyzed, with a focus on how this situation affects President Putin. We will conclude with market ramificat

2014-07-23 Long Commodities, Short Contango via Commodity Currencies by Rick Harper of WisdomTree

On the back of a resurgence in Chinese economic data and rising geopolitical risk in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, increases in global commodity prices have reinvigorated investor interest in allocating to commodity-based investment strategies.

2014-07-21 A Farmland Investment Primer by Julie Koeninger of GMO

Farmland is a real asset that combines solid investment fundamentals with the potential for attractive cash yields, inflation hedging, and consistent returns from biological growth. Furthermore, farmland total returns tend to be uncorrelated with financial asset returns, offering genuine portfolio diversification for institutional investors.

2014-07-18 Domestic and Indian Gold Rally Points to a Strong Second Half by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Earlier this week we reported that gold, defying expectations, is one of the best-performing commodities of the year so far.

2014-07-18 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Gaza, Iraq, Ukraine...ongoing turmoil and global tensions have been topping the headlines far too frequently these days. At times, markets are affected; at times, business is disrupted. Even more sadly, lives are lost. Hopefully calmer heads can prevail, but history is not often on the side of common sense.

2014-07-18 Fireside Chats by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

While I was in the Pacific Northwest and Canada most of last week, I did have the privilege of listening to J.P. Morgan’s (JPM/$55.80/Strong Buy) Chief Market Strategist last Monday. Dr. David Kelly has long been known for his keen insights on the equity markets, with JPM’s senior portfolio managers like George Gatz and Tom Luddy steering their mutual funds, on said strategic views, to outsized gains for many years.

2014-07-17 Quick Thoughts by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners

We made a final trip to Latvia to complete an adoption, had a graduation party for my high school senior, and attended orientation weekend at The Ohio State University. In between all that, we squeezed in no fewer than sixty baseball games for our three boys. I think I have a daughter too, but I’m not entirely sure if she lives with us or her girlfriends. As much as I love summer ball, the season ends this weekend and I’m hoping life will settle down to a more sustainable pace and not one reminiscent of a minor leaguer with four kids, a mortgage, and a full time business.

2014-07-17 Municipal Market Perspectives by Team of SMC Fixed Income Management

Financial market conditions were as good as could be expected during the first half of the year, as evidenced by positive investment performance across all asset classes.

2014-07-15 2Q 2014 Newsletter: Avoiding Your Portfolio’s Enemies by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

“Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies. And if they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” We often hear the last part of this wonderful quote from Warren Buffett, but here at Smead Capital, we find the beginning just as instructive. We thought we would unpack the entirety of his thoughts and dissect it for our faithful investors.

2014-07-15 The Dollar Weapon by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past few years, various prosecutorial arms of U.S. government entities have brought charges against foreign banks that have violated U.S. sanctions that were placed on different countries. In this report, we will discuss the general nature of U.S. sanctions and how these banks violated American law. From there, we will reiterate the dollar’s reserve currency role from both a historic and theoretical perspective and show how this role makes the currency and the U.S. financial system pivotal in the global economy. We will conclude with market ramifications.

2014-07-14 Energy: Shale Generates Tectonic Changes by Stephen Toy of Invesco Blog

The shale revolution, only seven or eight years old, has been the catalyst for a tectonic change in US energy production and policy. It has also created a new paradigm in US manufacturing, launched a renaissance in the chemical industry, and is driving infrastructure spending. So how do we think about the shale revolution in terms of investing? It’s twofold.

2014-07-08 An Allocation to Currencies May Provide Income and Lower an Overall Portfolio’s Volatility by Michael Cirami, Eric Stein, John Baur, Matthew Murphy, Bradford Godfrey of Eaton Vance

Most investors understand the benefits of diversification and the risks of owning just one security. But many overlook the benefits of broadening their currency exposure and have all their investments concentrated in the U.S. dollar. Investing in a mix of foreign currencies may lower the risks of an overall portfolio, provide additional sources of income and can potentially enable investors to pursue a wider array of opportunities around the world.

2014-07-07 The Tide is High by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

It took a while but I think I finally get it. The Federal Reserve has embarked on a Parallel Campaign - operating on two separate planes that seemingly never intersect, yet both having readily recognized similarities. My eureka moment finally came this past week when Ms. Yellen, in a rebuff to the Bank for International Settlements, said "because resilient financial system can (now) withstand unexpected developments, identification of bubbles is less critical."

2014-07-05 I'm Grateful to Live in America. Here's Why. by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

An important principle of our investment process at U.S. Global Investors is a belief that government policies are a precursor to change. As a result, we closely monitor the fiscal, monetary and other impactful governmental policies of the world’s largest countries, both in terms of economic stature and population. We’re always listening for the proverbial shot heard around the world. As we approach America’s Independence Day, this belief rings especially true.

2014-06-28 Health Care Sector Spurred by Population Growth and M&As by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Recently I spoke with John Derrick, director of research here at U.S. Global, to pick his brain about what he thought was the most interesting sector right now. You might expect him to have said energy, perhaps because of the intensifying violence in Kurdistan Iraq, a major oil producer. But instead, he said that he had his eyes on health care.

2014-06-27 F.A.S.T. Fundamentals On CSX Corp by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

CSX has performed exceptionally well over the past decade. The “usual suspect” metrics like P/E ratios, dividend yield and expected earnings growth indicate that the company might be a reasonable investment. This article takes a “behind the scenes” view of a variety of additional fundamental data.

2014-06-26 You Don’t Have to Love Soccer by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull

The FIFA World Cup (for soccer aka football) is in full swing. There are 32 teams from around the world treating a world-wide audience of nearly 2 billion to a great show of sport. The teams are competing for $576 million in prize money. And while the U.S. will not likely make it to the final match, the tournament does offer some insight into diverse economies around the globe and why we should consider international investments as a pillar in any portfolio.

2014-06-26 Could Events in Iraq Shock Your Portfolio? by Greg Sharenow of PIMCO

We expect a relatively small impact on oil prices for the rest of the year once the dust settles and sectarian lines are drawn. These events call into question Iraq’s ability to keep increasing oil production, which will likely support elevated prices in the years to come. We believe owning oil as a portfolio defense presents an interesting opportunity. ?

2014-06-26 U.S. Rates — Data Dependence by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

The June FOMC meeting contained a little bit for everyone and interest rates reacted only marginally after the announcements. But looking across asset markets—including nominal and inflation-linked bonds, equities, commodities and the dollar—it’s clear that investors interpreted the news as another dovish surprise from the Fed. We are not sure that is the correct interpretation, and the reason comes down to the issue of “data dependence”.

2014-06-25 Approaching a Tipping Point by Mike Boyle of Advisors Asset Management

On Thursday, June 19, the S&P 500 made it 66th new high of this bull market and unfortunately, based on almost any metric available, one could argue that the U.S. equity markets are due for at least a mild correction – or more.

2014-06-25 Truth or Consequences? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I am always trying to manage the “risks” inherent with investing (or trading), for as Benjamin Graham stated, “The essence of investment management is the management of risks, not the management of returns. Well-managed portfolios start with this precept.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I often “wait” on an investment until its share price is at a point where if I am wrong, I will be wrong quickly, and the incidence of “loss” will be small and manageable.

2014-06-19 Designing Balanced DC Menus: Considering Inflation-Hedging Strategies???? by Stacy Schaus, Ying Gao of PIMCO

Inflation-hedging strategies are fundamental to DC investment lineups and participants’ need to build and preserve purchasing power in retirement. Plan sponsors should evaluate these assets separately and in combination before adding them to core lineups and target-date strategies. Selected assets or blends should be designed to deliver the primary benefits of inflation responsiveness, diversification relative to stocks, volatility reduction and downside risk mitigation.

2014-06-19 Finding Opportunity in Chinese Reforms by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

I spent last week in China, meeting with corporate management teams, government officials and investors in the Chinese markets. One of my motivations for making the trip was to get a better sense of the speed and scope of government reforms. It was a fascinating week, but I can’t say that I came away with sweeping, definitive clarity.

2014-06-18 Getting in Gear for The New Neutral – What Does It Mean for Investors? by William Benz of PIMCO

Smart beta is increasingly important when returns are likely to fall short of what most investors need and expect. Active managers can use multiple tools to help generate higher returns. With outcome-oriented strategies, investors can align their portfolios toward meeting specific risk and return objectives. Investors with more aggressive income or return needs may benefit from bespoke, multi-asset solutions. ?

2014-06-10 The Orphaned Bull Market by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Howard Gold is an inquisitive writer for Marketwatch.com and we think has done us all a great favor in his latest column titled, “Not even a bull market can interest people in stocks.” He points out via the chart below that—despite a huge rebound the last five years in US common stocks—equity holdings as a percentage of global investable assets just climbed to levels only seen at major stock market low points. Relative to the past 50 years, this stock market has been abandoned and orphaned even as it had made participants wealthy.

2014-06-08 Can Central Planners Revive China’s Economic Miracle? by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

We are going to try gamely to finish with China today, having left at least three or four letters worth of copy on the editing floor. There is just so much information and misinformation to cover. I’m going to turn it over to Worth and then follow up with a few final thoughts of my own.

2014-06-05 The Investor Screwtape Letters by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

We at Smead Capital Management have been discussing some of the follies common to human nature and what we see as some pervasive trends in the investing world. These conversations got us imagining what C.S. Lewis’s, The Screwtape Letters, might sound like if they were applied to today’s investment environment. The satirical letters are written by an advice-giving bureaucrat in Hell named Screwtape, to his nephew Wormwood, a young demon who is learning how to lead humans astray. Taking some liberty with Lewis’s work, we present what we believe Screwtape might say if he were tr

2014-06-04 Why Food Prices Are Soaring, Likely To Continue by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

IN THIS ISSUE: 1. Consumer Food Prices Are Skyrocketing 2. 10 Fastest-Rising Food Prices at the Supermarket 3. California is in Big Trouble! So Are We All 4. Drought Monitor Chart For Continental US 5. Incurable Disease Threatens Florida Citrus Crop 6. Latin America Coffee Blight Sends Prices Skyward 7. “The Solution to High Prices is High Prices”

2014-06-04 Helping Clients Hedge Market Risk: Four Important Considerations by Roger Masi of Macro Risk Advisors

The S&P 500 was up 32% last year and recently reached a new all-time high. Since the March 2009 lows, the market is up 180%. Despite this impressive rally, both institutional and retail advisors must contemplate how to protect client portfolio wealth as many sources of uncertainty remain. The risk environment has changed over the past several years. Banks can create instability, government debt is no longer seen as risk free, the China growth miracle is in question, and Central Banks are actively influencing the prices of assets. This is not your father’s market.

2014-05-30 The Growing Importance of Natural Gas by Skip Aylesworth of Hennessy Funds

The natural gas industry is experiencing a revolution. Fueled by advances in drilling technology, natural gas has become an abundant energy source and is quickly becoming America’s domestic energy solution. In fact, it is believed that we now have a 100-year supply in the U.S. – even with increasing demand.

2014-05-27 Defensive Position Rotation: Achieving Financial Goals with Less Volatility by Dale W. Van Metre, Ph.D., CRPC®, APMASM (Article)

Defensive position rotation is an alternative to MPT. It is a portfolio-construction philosophy that adapts to changing market conditions and can increase risk-adjusted returns over time.

2014-05-22 The Crimean Conflict Has Affected Commodities Markets, Just Not Where You’d Expect by Nicholas Johnson, Gillian Rutherford of PIMCO

Since the end of February, when the Crimean crisis started to escalate, grain prices have responded to nearly every up and down of the crisis. Wheat is up 21%, and corn is up 10%. We believe investors looking to take a view on the future price of wheat or corn should do so through the options market. In this case, we think being long puts on wheat is an attractive way to implement our short wheat view.

2014-05-21 Pacific Powers: Australia and Japan by Don Huber of Franklin Templeton Investments

Separated by nearly 4,000 miles of sea, the economies of Australia and Japan are often lumped together under the Asia Pacific (APAC) label. Both of these countries can be considered global powers and powerful GDP generators, but their economies, the challenges they face and their responses to those challenges have been very different. Don Huber, vice president, research analyst and portfolio manager, Franklin Equity Group, looks at how these APAC powers are navigating their unique issues and shares his market outlook for each.

2014-05-20 Which Resource Areas Show Signs of Strength? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Global synchronized growth, as measured by the Global Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), remained stable or positive for the past 12 months until Japan reversed the momentum in April with a precipitous drop in its PMI. China is contributing modest growth but, fortunately, the U.S. and Europe are rebounding. This lack of consistent global momentum has created a short-term, volatile, hot and cold, stop-and-go sentiment. Global real GDP growth peaked in 2010 at 5.2 percent then slowed for the next three years to 3 percent.

2014-05-19 The Belgian Connection by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

One of the biggest questions at the end of 2013 was how the Treasury market would react to the reduction of bond buying that would result from the Federal Reserve’s tapering campaign. If the Fed were to hold course to its stated intentions, its $45 billion monthly purchases of Treasury bonds would be completely wound down by the 4th quarter of 2014.

2014-05-17 Which Resource Areas Show Signs of Strength? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Global synchronized growth, as measured by the Global Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), remained stable or positive for the past 12 months until Japan reversed the momentum in April with a precipitous drop in its PMI. China is contributing modest growth but, fortunately, the U.S. and Europe are rebounding. This lack of consistent global momentum has created a short-term, volatile, hot and cold, stop-and-go sentiment. Global real GDP growth peaked in 2010 at 5.2 percent then slowed for the next three years to 3 percent. Global growth in 2014 is likely to accelerate, for the first time in four y

2014-05-16 Examining the Relationship between Gold and the Commodity Currencies by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In this week’s commentary we examine the performance of the price of gold expressed in the currencies of the world’s largest gold producing countries. In a number of previous commentaries we have investigated the currency like nature of gold investing.

2014-05-14 Worried about the Downside? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

There have been numerous academic studies that suggest investors’ reactions to market risk are not symmetric. Investors consistently react more negatively to losses than positively to gains. At RBA, we incorporate this asymmetry in our sentiment work. Data clearly show that no group of investors is currently willing to take excessive US equity risk. Pension funds, endowments, foundations, hedge funds, individuals, Wall Street strategists, and even corporations themselves remain more fearful of downside risk than they are willing to accentuate upside potential.

2014-05-14 The Good, the Bad and the Opportunity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The press is demanding the attention of investors more than ever. Whether it was the recent jobs report or last week’s testimony from Janet Yellen, sorting through the market noise is no easy task. Since the world is so interconnected from Facebook to WhatsApp, a spark of news can ignite unfounded fear in an instant. What’s truly significant when it comes to your investments?

2014-05-13 The Virtues of Rebalancing by Craig L. Israelsen, Ph.D. (Article)

Does rebalancing improve portfolio performance? Yes - but it takes time for the benefits of rebalancing to be fully manifested, at least in the case of a broadly diversified 12-asset portfolio.

2014-05-13 El Niño by Kaisa Stucke, Bill O’Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In our investing process, we look across the spectrum at a multitude of possible events, their probabilities, their effects on markets and weigh them against market prices. Sometimes these discrepancies come from unexpected places. This week we will explore the ramifications of a weather event, El Niño. The soft-commodity markets (grains, sugar, coffee, cocoa and other annual crops) seem to have priced in about a 20% likelihood of an El Niño occurrence this year, while last week the Climate Prediction Center issued a 65% probability for this summer.

2014-05-10 What's the Game Changer for Gold? by Douglas M. Hodge of PIMCO

In the coming days, PIMCO will publish its annual Secular Outlook. A cornerstone of our investment process, it sets the direction for how we will invest our clients’ assets over the coming three to five years. Of course, we revisit our outlook and investment conclusions each year to ensure their continued resonance and efficacy. Similarly, we have a regular strategic business planning process and conduct intermittent reviews. And, like our secular process, we often invite an outside expert or two to spark our thinking and challenge our priors.

2014-05-07 The Top Five Government Policies I’m Watching This Week by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Every morning when I meet with the investment team, we review the news of the previous day, the movements of the markets around the world, and corporate actions that may affect our funds. This is how we keep our ears open in order to manage money that shareholders like you have entrusted us with. We meet again at lunchtime, daily, to share ideas, because something happening in China may affect the U.S. markets, or an energy company might have news that can benefit our domestic funds as well as our resources funds.

2014-05-06 The U.S. Economy Reached a Turning Point in April by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished higher last week with the S&P 500 advancing nearly 1.0%. Positive sentiment has been supported by growing traction for the economic recovery, key economic data and corporate commentary. Although the upbeat dynamics were mentioned in the latest FOMC statement, policy normalization expectations have not changed. Another widely discussed tailwind was M&A headlines. Although tensions continue in Ukraine, geopolitical risks were mostly on the back burner.

2014-05-05 Asian Currencies to Stay Calm at Center of EM Storm by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

Emerging markets have fallen from favor, but does that mean investors should avoid them entirely? We don?t think so.

2014-05-02 Looking for Bubbles Part One: A Statistical Approach by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

It is a sensible expectation that reasonable long-term value investors will endure pain in a bubble. It is almost a rule. The pain will be psychological and will come from looking like an old fuddy-duddy? looking as if you have lost your way in the new golden era where some important things, which you have obviously missed, are different this time. For professionals this psychological pain will also come from loss of client respect, which always hurts, and loss of peer group respect, which can be irritating.

2014-05-02 Emerging Markets Outlook - April 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities as an asset class have been underperforming developed market equities for more than three years, though they continue to maintain the lead over 10-year returns. The divergence in returns between emerging and developed markets widened sharply in 2013, when the prospect of reduced capital inflows heightened investor concerns about slower economic growth in the emerging countries.

2014-05-02 Need for New Midstream Energy Infrastructure Remains Strong by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

Capital expenditures expected to surpass $640 billion by 2035, says David Chiaro, co-portfolio manager of the Eagle MLP Strategy Fund.

2014-05-02 Views of the Insane on Diversification by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

I recently read this quote from Craig L. Israelsen, a Financial Planning contributing writer in Springville, Utah. Granted, I have never met, nor have I had any conversations with Mr. Israelsen, but he seems to be a competent professional. According to his bio, he is an executive in residence in the personal financial planning program in the Woodbury School of Business at Utah Valley University. However, his statement still bothers me a bit, as he is saying that any other investment approach must be insane.

2014-05-02 Down Under: Commodities to Consumption by Tarik Jaleel of Matthews Asia

Ever since China's demand for commodities intensified around 1999, its increased reliance on imported energy and minerals has underpinned Australia's boom in the natural resources industry. Naturally, as China's import growth has recently slowed, materials and energy sector firms in both Australia and New Zealand have grown cautious about their business prospects.

2014-05-01 The Gold Price is Fixed: So What? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

We can't ignore it anymore - the markets are rigged. The LIBOR scandal broke almost two years ago, and the banks found responsible for manipulating that key index are still dealing with lawsuits. Meanwhile, allegations of gold market manipulation have been simmering for over a decade and grew into an inferno after the spot price dropped dramatically last spring.

2014-04-29 Americas: Regional Economic Review - Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

The developed economies in North America continue to see relatively healthier growth prospects this year, while the outlook for the emerging economies in Latin America remains subdued. Trends from both the U.S. and Canada indicate that these economies are recovering from the slowdown at the beginning of the year, caused by adverse weather.

2014-04-25 Slugging It Out in the Equity Arena by John West and Ryan Larson of Research Affiliates

Selling recent losers and buying recent winners is the antithesis of the systematic rebalancing discipline through which smart beta strategies earn long-term excess returns. Indeed, we contend that this procyclical behavior is what pays, over time, for the value added by fundamentally weighted index investing and other smart beta strategies.

2014-04-25 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The link between money and inflation has clouded, but it hasn?t disappeared

2014-04-21 Rising Food Prices May Whet Investors\' Appetite for Agriculture by Nick Kalivas of Invesco Blog

Food prices are affected by a wide range of factors - from weather to geopolitics. Today, these factors seem to be pointing toward rising food inflation, and investors want to know where potential opportunities may lie.

2014-04-17 Fixed Income Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Given that the Fed is likely to complete its asset purchases this year and may raise rates in early 2015, we still feel that Treasuries and investment grade bonds are unattractive. Although yields in the high yield universe are low by historical standards, they still give us a decent cushion against rising rates, especially at the shorter end of the maturity spectrum. Maintaining a shorter duration exposure in high yield and some convertible bonds, as well as a cash reserve, continues to make sense.

2014-04-17 Why Energy is Catching the Market\'s Eye by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Over the last month the energy sector has outperformed the market, and as you can see in the chart below, has done so by 6.5 percent. Year-to-date the sector is beating the S&P 500 Index by over 3 percent. In a spectacularly performing market during 2013, energy lacked some of the incredible performance seen throughout the other sectors, but recently it has turned up, catching the attention of the market yet again.

2014-04-17 U.S. Financials: Investment Theme Update by James Calhoun of AdvisorShares

We reaffirm our recommendation for U.S. Banking and Financial Services as a satellite equity investment. The Federal Reserve’s "Stress Test" reinforces a constructive outlook and conservative risk profile for U.S. Banks. The positive results confirm that U.S. banks have enhanced their ability to withstand macroeconomic challenges by reducing problem assets during the past few years. Equally important, the financial sector appears to be more exposed to a key driver of the broader equity market advance over the last few years: share buyback programs and increasing dividends.

2014-04-15 Approaching a Pause? A Market Review by Rick Vollaro of Pinnacle Advisory Group

First quarter market performance was as whippy and volatile as the weather. Unusually cold temperatures in the U.S. not only froze much of the country’s population, but it also wreaked havoc on the quality of economic data, and kept markets on edge regarding how investors should be positioned. Geopolitical issues also rose from the ashes as various emerging markets had currency issues and Russia showed poor sportsmanship and invaded the Ukraine shortly after the conclusion of the Olympic Games.

2014-04-14 Uncovering Opportunities in Emerging Markets by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

Emerging markets have underperformed expectations, but the longer-term secular outlook remains constructive for many regions. Highly negative investor sentiment and outflows have sharply reduced prices, significantly improving relative value in emerging markets. We see opportunities in emerging markets in interest rates, sovereign credit and select companies for investors with a longer-term investment horizon. ?

2014-04-08 Asset Allocation Implications of a Flattening Treasury Yield Curve by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

The Treasury yield curve has started to flatten in recent weeks. Based on historical relationships, this process is likely to have important implications for investors because it signals that the business cycle has moved to a more self-reliant and less Fed dependent state.

2014-04-07 First Quarter of 2014 Brings Many Reversals, Regressions to the Mean by Ron Surz of PPCA

Unlike 2013, diversification worked in the first quarter of 2014. As revealed in our 2013 market commentary, U.S. stocks dominated with a 33% return while diversifying assets like commodities lost 10%. As shown in the graph on the right, diversification into real estate and commodities was handsomely rewarded in the first quarter.

2014-04-03 Foolish Investment Ideas by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

With April Fools? Day behind us, it?s time to get serious about investing. Don?t be fooled by this week?s non-farm payroll report; nor by the assertion that the U.S. may have the cleanest of the dirty shirts. And certainly don?t be fooled into thinking the market has your interests in mind?

2014-04-03 VIX Exchange Traded Products...Growth and Risk Impact by Daniel Kirsch of Macro Risk Advisors

The growth of ETFs has been nothing short of tremendous. What started as a product designed to provide investors with broad equity or sector exposure in the US, the ETF landscape now includes a myriad of geographies (Europe, Asia) and asset classes (FX, rates, credit, commodities). Research consultancy firm EFTGI estimates that there are almost 5,000 ETFs globally with total AUM in excess of $2 trillion.

2014-04-02 Foolish Investment Ideas by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

With April Fools? Day behind us, it?s time to get serious about investing. Don?t be fooled by this week?s non-farm payroll report; nor by the assertion that the U.S. may have the cleanest of the dirty shirts. And certainly don?t be fooled into thinking the market has your interests in mind?

2014-04-02 4 Areas Revved Up for a Resources Boom by Brian Hicks of U.S. Global Investors

Commodity returns vary wildly, as experienced resource investors can attest and our popular periodic table illustrates. This inherent volatility can spell opportunity for the nimble investor who can look past the mainstream headlines to identify hot spots. Our global resources expert, Brian Hicks, CFA, identified four we believe are revved up for a resources boom.

2014-03-28 Americas: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

The outlook for the developed economies in North America remains healthy while the emerging economies of Latin America continue to face headwinds. Though recent data from the U.S. and Canada have indicated moderation in economic activity, most of the slowdown was likely caused by adverse weather conditions in the region.

2014-03-25 Low Rates for a Long Time & Preparing for the Eventual Rise by Sponsored Content from OppenheimerFunds (Article)

Interest rates, in a slow growth and only modest inflation world, are likely to remain low for the foreseeable future. Still, the fears of rising rates persist. We believe these fears may be overstated, and this Q&A covers our views on generating income in a low rate world and protecting portfolios in the event of an unexpected rise in rates.

2014-03-25 Will Putin Stop with the Crimea? by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Now that the Crimean referendum has passed in favor of annexation, what will Putin do next? In other words, will he stop with the Crimea? In this report, we will look at the post-Cold War situation from Putin?s perspective. From this viewpoint, we will examine Putin?s likely next steps and how this will affect the U.S. and the rest of the developed world. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2014-03-24 Stocks Rise as Economic Backdrop Slowly Improves by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished higher last week, with the S&P 500 increasing 1.4%. Ukraine seemed to be receding in investors? minds. Despite the volatility and sharp increase in bond yields on Wednesday, the hawkish takeaways from the FOMC meeting were not a lingering overhang.

2014-03-22 We See Opportunities in Commodities by Bob Greer, Ronit M. Walny, Klaus Thuerbach of PIMCO

Fundamentals and some recent data suggest that challenging trends for commodity investing may be coming to an end. Commodities may increase their role as an important and unique source of returns, diversification and protection from unanticipated inflation. As commodity sectors are each dominated by unique factors, we see even more opportunities to add value through active management.

2014-03-22 The Two-Minute Portfolio Manager by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

It’s a short attention span world, and while we often wax poetic about investment topics we feel passionate about, today we will summarize our world markets view in less than the time it takes to heat up the dinner your family ate two hours ago (a scenario most familiar to this writer).

2014-03-22 What Makes a Slam-Dunk Portfolio? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As a native Canadian, hockey is in my blood, but after moving to Texas, the icy arenas changed to basketball courts, as the sole major league sports team in the city is the San Antonio Spurs.

2014-03-21 We See Opportunities in Commodities by Bob Greer, Ronit Walny, Klaus Thuerbach of PIMCO

Fundamentals and some recent data suggest that challenging trends for commodity investing may be coming to an end. Commodities may increase their role as an important and unique source of returns, diversification and protection from unanticipated inflation. As commodity sectors are each dominated by unique factors, we see even more opportunities to add value through active management.

2014-03-19 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.

2014-03-19 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?

2014-03-17 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary - February 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

After a weak start to the year, emerging market equity prices recovered in February as concerns about slower than expected global expansion and a further decline in Chinese economic growth subsided.

2014-03-15 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

Harold Evensky's quarterly letter to his readers.

2014-03-15 Follow the Money to Asia\'s Tech Hub by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China’s slower economic data points and a surplus in copper and iron ore drove many commodities lower this week, while gold rose. In the short term, until the copper and iron ore surplus is liquidated, or absorbed at a slower pace, the base metals market will likely be sloppy. As the second-largest economy in the world and a huge driver of commodities demand, it’s not surprising China provoked such a significant response from world markets. Interestingly, most of the media thought it was geopolitical fears from Ukraine that chopped up the market and lifted gold.

2014-03-12 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 The Goldilocks Conundrum: A Market Review by Rick Vollaro of Pinnacle Advisory Group

When we decided to ride the central bank liquidity wave in 2013, we knew there was a chance the market could have a pretty good year, but like most investors we were pleasantly surprised with the gains that the U.S. stock market delivered. Including dividends, the S&P 500 Index soared by 32%, well in excess of what even the most optimistic prognosticators envisioned at the start of the year.

2014-03-10 Four Reasons to Consider Emerging Markets for the Long Term by Borge Endresen of Invesco Blog

Emerging markets are at that peculiar place where everyone likes them over the long term, but very few like them in the short term. Many well-publicized headwinds from 2013 remain going into 2014, accompanied by election uncertainty in Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey. And political uncertainty keeps surfacing in such places as Thailand, Turkey and the Ukraine.

2014-03-07 Tensions between Russia and Ukraine Worry Investors by Gene Goldman of Cetera Financial Group

Over the weekend, tensions escalated between Russia and Ukraine as Russian forces invaded and took complete operational control of the Crimean peninsula.

2014-03-07 Making Green from Gold, Palladium and Pollution by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold is coming back with a vengeance, experiencing a clear recovery and grabbing the attention of market cynics. Analysts from Noruma Securities even upgraded its outlook for gold, expecting bullion to climb over the next three years, according to Barron's.

2014-03-06 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 Watch and Wait by David Wismer of Flexible Plan Investments

Vladimir Putin?s and Russia?s military action in the Crimea, formally a part of the Ukraine, made it hard to focus on much else Monday. Aside from the obvious and important humanitarian concerns, the military threat carries immense global risk and potentially significant economic consequences.

2014-03-06 Evolution of SRI Leads Investors to a Sustainable Future by Chat Reynders of AdvisorShares

It?s no secret that positive screening as an investment strategy is becoming increasingly popular as advisors seek ways to identify substantive investment opportunities. The practice focuses investors on the elements of a company that can make a positive impact both on the bottom line and on society, pointing to socially progressive companies that generate returns.

2014-03-05 Active or Passive? Multi-asset Investing Can Turn Both Valves by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Investors, whether institutional or individual, face a common challenge: how to get the return they need, at an appropriate risk level, and at a fee they can afford.

2014-03-04 The Second Coming by William Gross of PIMCO

Almost permanently affixed on the whiteboard of PIMCO's Investment Committee boardroom is a series of concentric circles, resembling the rings of a giant redwood, although in this case exhibiting an expanding continuum of asset classes with the safest in the center and the riskiest on the outer circles. Safest in the core are Treasury bills and overnight repo, which then turn outwards towards riskier notes and bonds, and then again into credit space with corporate, high yield, commodities and equities amongst others on the extremities.

2014-03-04 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 Ukraine: Geopolitical Risk Rising For Global Markets by Francesc Balcells of PIMCO

Following Russia?s military intervention in Crimea, the situation in Ukraine remains extremely fluid. The outcome will determine to a large extent the systemic nature of the crisis and its impact on global markets, not just Europe. Russia stands to lose the most if this conflict should escalate into a full-fledged military confrontation, given the country?s financial, economic and reputational stakes.

2014-02-26 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 EM and the Fragile Five: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff by Blaise Antin, David Loevinger, Anisha Ambardar of TCW Asset Management

The shift in capital flows triggered by former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s tapering remarks in May 2013 set off a cascade of market events that continues to this day. His comments also birthed a cottage industry of emerging market doomsayers, who now predict regularly: 1) the end of growth in emerging markets (EM), given that it was, in their view, all a mirage fueled by carry and leverage; and 2) a wave of defaults of the kind last seen in the 1990s that threaten to bring down not only emerging but developed markets as well.

2014-02-26 The White Hurricane by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

'Unseasonably mild and clearing' was the weather forecast going into the Ides of March back in the year of 1888. And it was true, as temperatures hovered in the 40s and 50s along the East Coast. However, torrential rains began falling, and on March 12th, the rain changed to heavy snow, temperatures plunged, and sustained winds of more than 50 miles per hour blew.

2014-02-24 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.

2014-02-20 American Industrial Renaissance Revisited by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

We first wrote about The "American Industrial Renaissance" in 2012, and it remains one of our favorite investment themes. We continue to implement this theme through small US-centric industrial companies and small financial institutions that lend to public and private industrial firms. It remains unlikely that the United States will be the manufacturing powerhouse that it was during the 1950s and 1960s, but many factors are suggesting that the US industrial sector will continue to gain market share.

2014-02-20 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.

2014-02-18 Why Emerging Market Fears are Overblown by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Conditions in the emerging markets bear little resemblance to those in 1997 leading up to the Asian crisis, according to Simon Derrick, a leading market strategist with BNY Mellon. In this interview, he also explains why the euro is overvalued and picks the winners and losers in today’s currency wars.

2014-02-13 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.

2014-02-13 Rich Man, Poor Man! by Jeff Saut of Raymond James

Last week was a pretty wild week starting out with Monday?s 90% Downside Day where 90% of total Up/Down Volume, and total Up/Down Points traded, were recorded on the downside (read: negative), leaving the S&P 500 (SPX/1797.02) down ~41 points. It was the second 90% Downside Day in the past two weeks with the first occurring on January 24th, which broke the SPX below its first support zone of 1808 ? 1813, thus now that level becomes an overhead resistance level.

2014-02-12 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.

2014-02-11 Commodity Fund Taxation by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

As markets, investment products and the manner in which clients access information have all evolved, advisors are answering more and more questions about how to invest in commodities which means advisors have to learn about the various taxation structures of the many different types of commodity exchange traded products.

2014-02-07 What\'s the Game Changer for Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

What will break gold of its losing streak? Will inflation, which is a lagging indicator, be stronger than expected? In one of my most popular posts last year, I said that based on the jobs market, the limited housing recovery and regulations slowing down the flow of money, the Fed would have no choice but to start tapering and raising rates very gradually to keep stimulating the economy.

2014-02-07 Global Inflation: A Mixed Picture by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

Many investors and global macro economists have been on vigil for a ramp up in global inflation spurred by immense central bank QE and other forms monetary stimulus. All of the money printing from around the globe has helped keep the financial system functioning, and it continues to help weak developed economies get back on firmer growth footing.

2014-02-06 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."

2014-02-06 Year-End Odds and Ends by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO’s 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 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.

2014-02-04 China’s Problems are America’s Opportunity by Justin Kermond (Article)

Fear not Federal Reserve tapering, lackluster U.S. earnings, oncoming deflation or markets heading into bubble territory, says Francois Trahan. Our economic and market growth will be fueled by structural changes driven by rebalancing in China. Don’t be surprised to see a repeat of 2013’s U.S. equity market performance, according to Trahan, who offered a script for countering clients’ unfounded fears over what might go wrong.

2014-02-03 10 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back! Comments on January Stock Market by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

US stocks as measured by the S&P 500 delivered a phenomenal 32.4% return in 2013. That was the 6th best year for US stocks since 1940. In January, US stocks fell 3.5%. We don’t watch business news anymore, but judging from an increased volume of phone calls from clients, we presume that CNBC, Fox Business, CNN and MSNBC have categorized this modest decline as "an apocalypse." Our "dashboard" shows return numbers for US and International stock markets, commodities, currencies and bond yields. A lot of red YTD 2014, but all green at the end of 2013.

2014-01-31 A Surprising Gift for Chinese New Year by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia

Beijing-based China Credit Trust Company, a firm that operates as a non-banking financial institution in China, announced this week it reached an agreement to restructure a risky high-yield product that had earlier ignited worries over the health of China’s trust industry. Just in time for the Lunar New Year, investors in the troubled trust may receive a big (metaphorical) red envelope-a monetary gift traditionally given during Chinese New Year or other special occasions-or at least avoid a financial hit.

2014-01-31 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 that’s 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 Value-Hunting in the US by Cindy Sweeting of Franklin Templeton

With key stock indices in the US closing the year near historical highs and many pundits predicting stronger growth rates both in the US and globally going into 2014, one would think bargains would be hard to find this year. January’s volatility, however, proved just how unpredictable markets can be. The recent market gyrations may be somewhat painful for many investors in the short-term, but the silver lining is that corrections can serve up buying opportunities, particularly for long-term, value-oriented investors.

2014-01-29 2014 Oil Outlook: How Slick Is the Oil Slope by Greg Sharenow of PIMCO

While the supply outlook tilts the balances toward bearish in 2014, an improving global economy is a positive for oil demand and a support for prices. With roll yields positively contributing to returns, investors ultimately could be paid to hold a security that hedges both global event risk and any resulting shock to inflation. Growth in shale oil has been a powerful moderating force for prices by both filling an important gap in global supply and demand and by anchoring the back end of the futures curve.

2014-01-28 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 Commodities In 2014: Supply Remains A Concern by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

If a reacceleration of EM demand for raw materials were imminent, one would think the MSCI BRIC Index would be the first to sniff it out. Yet that index remains among the poorest performing market composites in the world. Still, commodity demand will eventually right itself. Our worry is supply. Capital spending levels remain elevated, and are far above the levels seen just over a decade ago-on the eve of China’s great commercial and residential construction boom. Commodity producers didn’t anticipate that boom, which is precisely why it was so powerful.

2014-01-28 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 don’t 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 don’t 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.

2014-01-28 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

My caution last week unfolded into a market sell off related to both disappointing earnings and concern over emerging markets affecting the foreign exchange markets.

2014-01-27 Commodities: Is the Bear Market Near Its End? by Scott Wolle of Invesco Blog

On the surface, 2014 looks to be a tough year for commodities, as multi-year projects increase the flow of supplies to market even as demand has turned tepid, especially in emerging markets. However, a deeper look at the history of this asset class suggests that the outlook for commodities might turn around sooner than many expect.

2014-01-25 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

So while the Fed was the first to implement nontraditional monetary strategies, the BoE may be the first to unwind them. And it may be the first to test the power of macroprudential policy. The results might make for an interesting export back across the Atlantic.

2014-01-22 Commodities Remain a Source of Frustration by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The environment following the global financial crisis has been a challenging one for asset allocators, as long held relationships shifted and traditional idioms were turned on their head. As we detailed last week in "The Diversification Obituary," investors have seen little work in their portfolios other than US stocks, while supposed diversifiers have offered little more than muted beta and unusually high correlations.

2014-01-22 Market Share: The Next Secular Investment Theme by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

It is well known that corporate profit margins are at record highs. US margings, developed market margings, and even emerging market margins are generally either at or close to record highs. A myopic focus on profit margins may miss an important investment consideration. Whereas most investors remain fearful of margin compression, we prefer to search for an investment theme that could emerge if margins do indeed compress. Accordingly, our investment focus has shifted toward themes based on companies who might gain market share.

2014-01-22 What to Expect in 2014 (And Beyond) by Jack Rivkin of Altegris

Each year, I take Alfred Lord Tennyson’s 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. It’s modeled after Byron Wien’s annual list of "surprises." Like his, my expectations are designed to provoke thought and discussion.

2014-01-22 The Virtualization of Everything by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, looks at the motivations of participants in capital markets, and how with the advent of synthetic investments and complicated derivatives products, he is concerned that "the stock market has lost its close link to the "real" economy and has become more of a gigantic casino."

2014-01-21 Digging for Natural Resource Opportunities in 2014 by Frederick Fromm, Stephen Land, Matthew Adams of Franklin Templeton

The natural resources sector has been through a period of transition in the past year, one which has pushed many companies toward cost reduction and greater capital discipline amid an environment of rather sluggish global economic growth. Franklin Equity Group Analysts Fred Fromm, Stephen Land and Matthew Adams think an improving economic outlook could set the stage for potentially stronger commodity demand going forward, and see healthy potential demand growth for energy in particular. They share their outlook for the natural resources sector in 2014, and where they are finding opportunities.

2014-01-17 Digging for Natural Resource Opportunities in 2014 by Frederick Fromm, Stephen Land, Matthew Adams of Franklin Templeton

The natural resources sector has been through a period of transition in the past year, one which has pushed many companies toward cost reduction and greater capital discipline amid an environment of rather sluggish global economic growth. Franklin Equity Group Analysts Fred Fromm, Stephen Land and Matthew Adams think an improving economic outlook could set the stage for potentially stronger commodity demand going forward, and see healthy potential demand growth for energy in particular. They share their outlook for the natural resources sector in 2014, and where they are finding opportunities.

2014-01-17 What Does It Take to Be in the Top 1 Percent? Not As Much As You Think by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

You might be surprised to learn that the top 20 percent of income earners bring in a household income of just over $100,000. The top 10 percent of earners have a household income of more than $148,687. To be considered in the top 1 percent, household income is at least $521,411.

2014-01-14 The Diversification Obituary by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

According to some major media outlets, 2013 was the year diversification died. With the S&P 500 racing to a more than 30% gain (the largest since the late ’90s), it seemed as though no other asset class truly mattered last year. While it is true domestic equities had a banner year, one-asset class portfolios will never be robust, and there is reason to believe 2013 is a prime example of why diversification is incredibly important.

2014-01-10 2014 Economic and Investment Outlook by Team of Ivy Investment Management Company

Although the December 2013 U.S. budget pact between House and Senate negotiators was a welcome development, partisan battles over government spending still are possible in 2014. The agreement ends a three-year budget fight and sets government spending through fall 2015, but it does not eliminate the need to raise the nation’s borrowing limit - the "debt ceiling."

2014-01-08 I\'m Back by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Well, I’m back after roughly a two-week hiatus where I didn’t 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 Is 2014 the Year That Alternatives Matter Again? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, investors piled into alternative investments en masse to help insulate their portfolios from another dramatic market decline. For those who had not yet bought into the idea of improving portfolio risk-adjusted returns, the 50% drawdown in the S&P 500 provided all the convincing needed.

2014-01-03 Gold Stocks: What to Expect in the New Year by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After three years of pain, can gold stocks break their losing streak and see a gain in 2014? History says chances are good.

2013-12-31 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 Gold in the Toilet? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

I am not debating that gold can be a very good investment over some periods of time. But perhaps these events bear watching to see if gold regains its luster or fades down to a level that would plunge it further into the investment market’s version of the toilet. Gold is now about a break-even from four years ago and its price is sitting near a long-term "support level" price last reached over the summer of 2013. The next few months should be interesting ones.

2013-12-27 2013: Looking Back at the Year of the Bull by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Will stocks continue to climb in 2014? Odds are "very good," finds BCA Research. According to historical data going back to 1870, there were 30 times when annual returns in domestic stocks climbed more than 25 percent. Of these, 23 experienced an additional increase, resulting in a mean of 12 percent, says BCA. Thinking back to January 2013, investors had a very different frame of mind. While we recently talked about the year’s biggest stories in U.S. energy and gold, today, we recap our popular commentaries focused on the domestic market.

2013-12-23 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.

2013-12-23 China\'s Consumer Stocks: Opportunities Despite Slower Growth by Richard Flax of PIMCO

A weaker macro environment and curbs on spending by government bureaucrats have hit a range of consumer businesses and, in some cases, forced a reassessment of expansion plans. While Chinese consumption may be challenged in the near term, we think the impact will be felt most in the retail sector where slowing demand is compounded by oversupply. We see opportunity in other sectors that benefit from secular demand growth and constrained supply or strong brands, notably casinos and luxury sectors.

2013-12-20 Let\'s Get Physical: Gold Bullion and Bitcoin by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), discusses in his latest insights piece the disparity in price direction between gold bullion and Bitcoin, in spite of the strikingly similar rationale for holding the two. He notes that the "Bitcoin-Gold incongruity is explained by the fact that financial engineers have not yet discovered a way to collateralize bitcoins for leveraged trades."

2013-12-17 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 The 2014 Geopolitical Outlook by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

As is our custom, we close out the current year with our outlook for the next one. This report is less a series of predictions as it is a list of potential geopolitical issues that we believe will dominate the international situation in the upcoming year. It is not designed to be exhaustive; instead, it focuses on the "big picture" conditions that we believe will affect policy and markets going forward. They are listed in order of importance.

2013-12-12 Stay the Course or Take an Unconstrained Approach to Bonds by Matthew Pasts of BTS Asset Management

BTS Asset Management contends that today’s bond market environment calls for an unconstrained approach to bonds with the ability to move between bond asset classes based on economic indicators and market opportunities. The potential discrepancy in results among bond asset classes may be more pronounced than we have seen in the past 30 years which creates opportunity for a more tactical approach. Now may be the time for an unconstrained approach to the bond market.

2013-12-12 Looking Back 40 Years, What Can We Learn About This Current Corporate Debt Market? by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

I recently wrote a blog post detailing the potential opportunity in municipals as it has historically rebounded after a negative total return. Accordingly, I have been asked if this pattern was representative in the investment grade corporate arena.

2013-12-10 Seven Reasons Why Industrial Commodity Prices are Headed Higher by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

Between December 2008 and April 2011 commodity prices, as reflected by the CRB Spot Raw Industrials, doubled. In the ensuing 2-years they have retraced 20% of that rally but are now showing signs of wanting to head higher. In the interest of fair disclosure our commodity model went bullish just under a year ago but prices remained range bound instead of experiencing their normal strength. So what’s so different now that makes us bullish on commodities? Here are seven reasons.

2013-12-07 Interview with Steve Forbes by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

For whatever reason, Steve Forbes seems to bring out the passion in me. When I think about what central bank policies are doing to savers and investors, how we are screwing around with the pension system, circumventing rational market expectations because of an untested economic theory held by a relatively small number of academics, I get a little exercised. And Steve gives me the freedom to do it.

2013-12-06 Vibrant Vietnam by Lydia So of Matthews Asia

I recently made my first visit to Vietnam and spent several days in Ho Chi Minh City. Considered by the investment community to be a frontier market, Vietnam has a low per capita income (approximately US$1,600), a relatively young population and less mature capital markets.

2013-12-06 Resource Investors Who Use this Strategy Have Seen Significant Gains by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

When playing Blackjack, the house has the edge in winning...unless you know how to count cards, a strategy proven to increase a player’s chances. But did you know you can apply this concept to the market as well?

2013-12-06 Gold: Currency or Commodity? by Anthony Wile of J.P. Morgan Funds

Despite gold traditionally serving as a safe haven asset, investors should be wary of fear-inflated investments given the potential for improving global growth.

2013-12-06 Did the Government Shutdown Help the Economy? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Take the government shutdown in October, when the House and Senate fought over the debt ceiling. Economic data wasn’t released, services were halted, national parks were closed, and "non-essential government workers were told to stay home. As a result, GDP was expected to collapse. Yet, data released this week reveal a different, stronger image of the U.S. economy. I think Shakespeare would deem the media’s fear mongering tactics as Much Ado About Nothing.

2013-12-06 Going Against the Grain, Again by Cindy Sweeting of Franklin Templeton

Going against the grain is never easy, particularly when it comes to investing. But if you don’t take the risk of moving out of the crowd and taking a different path, you can’t really stand out. Templeton has focused on bottom-up value investing, which often puts it at odds with the broader market consensus. We go back in history to describe how the strategy has persevered through different market cycles, and why the Templeton team has been going against the grain by investing in Europe at a time when other investors had lost faith.

2013-12-05 No Silver Bullets in Investing by James Montier of GMO

In a new white paper today, James Montier of GMO’s 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 Gold, What Is It Good for? by Miguel Perez-Santalla of BullionVault

Absolutely nothing! Well, except 5,000 years of value exchange, non-correlation, and preserving wealth...The current market environment has led many in the press to question gold’s value as an investment or an asset class, writes Miguel Perez-Santalla at BullionVault.

2013-12-03 Turning Over Rocks by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

The S&P 500 is at a record high and we believe the markets generally are fully valued. Corporate revenue growth is anemic, profit margins are stretched, and the prospect of earnings rising meaningfully is not high. And, the outlook for the U.S. and global economy is still uncertain. Market psychology is at a level suggesting the market is overbought. Margin debt is at record levels and the current popularity of stocks by retail investors at market highs is in itself a red flag.

2013-12-03 U.S. Economy Slowly Gaining Traction - What\'s Ahead for Year-End? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

As we enter the final month of 2013, my themes of the last several weeks continue - the capital markets, in general, remain quiet and U.S. economic data, while mixed, shows signs of steady improvement. This week, I’ll start by looking forward to some news we’ll be watching as the year closes out...

2013-12-03 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.!

2013-12-02 The Elephant in the Room by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Investors will do themselves terrible harm if they ignore the objective warnings of history based on our subjective experience in this unfinished half-cycle. That subjective experience is far more closely related to my 2009 stress-testing decision than many investors recognize.

2013-11-25 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.

2013-11-25 Unless the Fed Goes Cold Turkey on Us, Expect a Bountiful Economic Harvest for Thanksgiving 2014 by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

If your Thanksgiving family dinner conversation is anything like mine this Thursday, it will be dominated by a discussion of how the U.S. economy and its financial markets will be behaving after nearly a year of Dr. Janet Yellen at the helm of the Fed. Well, I am going to give my family an advance copy of what I plan to say so that we can just concentrate on willing a Packers victory over the Lions. As a preview, I am bullish about what things will look like by Turkey Day 2014 even if Chairwoman Yellen becomes a little hawkish. (Perhaps too cute with the animal references?)

2013-11-22 Understanding the Rise of China by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If the sweeping economic reforms planned by Chinese leaders during the Third Plenum can be our guide, it looks to be a promising decade for global investors. Details released this week confirmed President Xi Jinping’s concerted efforts to move China toward a market-based economy that mirrors the West.

2013-11-21 US Stocks for a Baby Boom by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

As contrarians, we at Smead Capital Management frequently get questions about stocks like Gannett (GCI), Bank of America (BAC) and eBay (EBAY). To understand how excited we are to own these common stocks you need to understand how a long-duration common stock portfolio would benefit from the coming baby boom in the developed world. Thanks to wonderful research from The Bank Credit Analyst (BCA), we can understand the demographics of developed nations like the US. BCA concluded that a "baby boom" is coming in the US and in other developed nations.

2013-11-20 Yellen's Testimony Not Surprising: Fed Has More Work to Do by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Janet Yellen’s Senate testimony in last week’s confirmation hearings was very dovish and offered no real surprises. She did not signal or hint at any change in Fed policy (it was a confirmation hearing), but suggested that the best way to achieve an exit from unconventional policy is to deliver a stronger recovery . . . and the Fed has "more work to do" to support that recovery. The risk that she will not be confirmed is considered negligible.

2013-11-19 Research from Yale on Commodities by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Many would consider the practice of placing assets in a commodity fund to be speculation rather than investing. That perception was amplified by a recent Bloomberg article, which reported the dismal performance of many managed-futures funds and commodity-trading advisors (CTAs). Contrary to that image, Geert Rouwenhorst, a Yale University professor, claims he has found a way to construct a commodity-based fund that earns a significant premium over inflation.

2013-11-19 Ignoble Prizes and Appointments by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

Chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham comments on this year’s Nobel Prize in economics and "the most laughable of all assumption-based theories, the Efficient Market Hypothesis"; candidates to succeed Chairman Bernanke at the Fed; the impact of commodity price rises and the housing bubble in the crash of 2008; and prospects for the U.S. equity market.

2013-11-18 The Muddle-Through Economy and Grind-Higher Equity Market Continue by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished higher last week as the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at record highs, marking the sixth straight week of advances.1 Several macroeconomic themes are important as third quarter earnings season comes to an end. Fed Chairman nominee Janet Yellen spoke before the Senate in support of current monetary policy and suggested a similar path under her leadership. Economic data was mixed for the week, and any economic weakness continues to be perceived as supporting a delay in tapering. In turn, this can be seen as positive for equities.

2013-11-14 In 20 Years, What Country Will Produce the Most Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A question like that is impossible to answer, of course, due to mining difficulties, diminishing resources, and changing government policies and regulations that help or hinder a country’s ability to mine, farm or drill efficiently.

2013-11-14 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.

2013-11-13 Twenty Five by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover, Mike Czekaj of Broadleaf Partners

I am not a particularly good salesman. From the time I first meet a prospect to when they become a full-fledged client, it can often take two years even when they initiate the first meeting. Fortunately, growing the firm isn’t one of my primary roles, a responsibility that does fall to Bill Hoover, my business partner. The beauty of our relationship is that while Bill devotes his time to our firm’s “outside” efforts, I am able to spend almost all of my attention tending to the portfolios of those who have already hired us. (View a printable version of this Economic

2013-11-12 New Fed Papers Foreshadow a Dovish Fed Policy Under Yellen by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

New Fed Papers Foreshadow a Dovish Fed Policy Under Yellen Two new Fed papers presented at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) argue for prompt lobbying for continued aggressive monetary policy, but suggest prompt tapering of quantitative easing (QE) and more emphasis on forward guidance. The assumption is that these papers would not have been released if Janet Yellen intended to push policy in a different direction . . . and they reinforce the message of papers released at Jackson Hole this summer, suggesting that QE wasn’t acting as effective economic stimulus.

2013-11-12 Big Ideas on Gold and Resources in the Big Easy by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For nearly four decades, curious investors have made their way to the Big Easy for a taste of New Orleans and several helpings of advice and perspective at the New Orleans Investment Conference.

2013-11-08 Who Needs Gold Really? by Miguel Perez-Santalla, Adrian Ash of BullionVault

Four reasons to waste your time with the deeply historic, deeply human value ascribed to gold...

2013-11-08 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 Bubbles Without Borders? by Vivek Tanneeru of Matthews Asia

If you are a wealthy person living in Asia, you might be tempted, with good economic reason, to look overseas to diversify your asset base. Overseas markets often offer good diversification as they are typically exposed to different economic cycles and also give exposure to different currencies. But while overseas stocks, bonds and other financial instruments all offer diversification, few asset classes seem to have the same allure as overseas propertythat is, overseas property in the right cities.

2013-11-07 Gold: Hold It or Fold It? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

It’s starting to feel like we are part of a giant poker game against the US government, whose hand is the true condition of the American economy. The government has become so good at bluffing that most people feel compelled to watch how the biggest players in the game react to determine their own investment strategy.

2013-11-07 EM: The Growth Story That Isn't by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

We remain very concerned about emerging market stocks and bonds. The recent outperformance of EM stocks is again luring investors to once again touch the hot stove. Emerging markets seem to have some significant structural and cyclical issues about which investors seem unaware or seem to be ignoring.

2013-11-07 Selective Value = Price plus Quality by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

A paper on backtesting results using many of the metrics that Neosho Capital utilizes when screening for equities.

2013-11-07 Global Inflation: A Mixed Picture by Monty Guild, Anthony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Many investors and global macro economists have been on vigil for a ramp up in global inflation spurred by immense central bank QE and other forms monetary stimulus. All of the money printing from around the globe has helped keep the financial system functioning, and it continues to help weak developed economies get back on firmer growth footing. However, it has not translated to rapidly rising prices for goods and services that many expected.

2013-11-05 Three Trends That Will Change the Game for Advisors by Steve Lockshin (Article)

This article is excerpted from Steve Lockshin’s 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.

2013-11-05 Even Economists Get Stuck Looking in the Rearview Mirror by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Will the US economy grow in an above-average way in the next ten to twenty years or do we need to resign ourselves to an era of anemic economic growth? Two pieces of information came out this week, adding to existing information on the subject and speak to this core debate in the US stock market. The first piece was called “Slowing to a Crawl” by Jonathan Laing from Barron’s.

2013-11-05 Don't Miss This Golden Cross in Resources by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

While investors have been focusing on the strengthening U.S. market, we’ve also kept our eyes on other improving indicators happening in resources, Europe, and emerging markets. These places may not be as widely popular, but we believe investors can benefit greatly from taking a view that’s different from the ones observed by the majority.

2013-11-04 Bubbles in the Broth by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

As below-trend GDP growth and high unemployment continue to afflict most advanced economies, their central banks have served up an alphabet soup of unconventional monetary policy measures. But, with asset prices continuing to rise, many countries may have more helpings than they can stand.

2013-11-02 Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

The froth and foam on markets of all shapes and sizes all over the world. It is an exhilarating feeling, and the pundits who populate the media outlets are bubbling over with it. There is nothing like a rising market to help lift our mood. Unless of course, as Prof. Kindleberger famously cautioned, we are not participating in that rising market. Then we feel like losers. But what if the rising market is a bubble? Are we smart enough to ride and then step aside before it bursts? Research says we all think that we are, yet we rarely demonstrate the actual ability.

2013-11-01 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices saw a robust recovery in September as investor concerns about slower capital inflows to these markets faded after the U.S. Federal Reserve unexpectedly decided to delay the tapering of bond purchases.

2013-10-31 The Pillars of Commodities Investing - Part Two by Miguel Perez-Santalla of BullionVault

The world has become a smaller place and in no small part because of the internet. The internet has improved access to information and services to the individual as never before. But of course it I like a two-edged sword, while it has produced many benefits for society, at the same time it has increased some risks.

2013-10-30 The Thermometer of the Stock Market by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

As long-duration owners of common stock, we believe it is the wealth created by the businesses which causes the owners to prosper. We have also been participants in the US stock market since 1980 and are very aware of big swings in enthusiasm for owning common stocks. So we thought it would be helpful to share our opinion on the current temperature of the market. To take the temperature of the market we need to examine the thermometer readings.

2013-10-29 Defining the EM Corporate Bond Opportunity by Sponsored Content from Loomis Sayles (Article)

Finance is a numbers business. Investors study prices, yields, rates of return. However, when it comes to sizing up emerging markets, we think they should also pay attention to semantics. In the past, terming a country “emerging” made it synonymous with low credit quality and higher risk. But today, many emerging markets boast strong credit profiles while parts of the developed world buckle under heavy debt loads.

2013-10-29 Is This the New Normal'? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Markets Settle into a New “Normal” All sorts of economic data were released last week, but volatility has dropped: rightly or wrongly, market forecasts about the pace of quantitative easing (QE) and earnings growth in the U.S. appear to have coalesced around an outlook for “slow growth with ongoing QE”.

2013-10-26 Inflation Update by Team of North Peak Asset Management

Historically the larger the increase in monthly inflation, the worse mainstream stocks and nominal bonds perform.

2013-10-24 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 one’s money. This difficult task only becomes more difficult when confronted with demands for an alternative investment.

2013-10-22 Washington Strikes a No-Surprise Deal - Now What? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Congress called a time-out in the budget/debt fight last week, striking a deal to avoid default and fund the U.S. government through January 15, 2014 and raise the debt limit through February 7, 2014. While the parties agreed to budget talks, they did not commit to reaching an agreement (technically, Paul Ryan and Patty Murray, the House and Senate budget committee chairs will begin a process of fiscal negotiations, due to wrap up by mid-December).

2013-10-18 Connecting the DOTs: The Role of North America's Emerging Markets' in Achieving Energy Independence by John Devir of PIMCO

The midstream energy sector is likely to grow more quickly than the overall U.S. economy over the next several years, creating the potential for attractive investment opportunities. North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas, or the “DOTs” for short, stand to disproportionally benefit from strong growth in onshore U.S. oil and gas shale development. PIMCO’s approach is to identify and invest in the companies, including pipeline operating companies, favorably positioned to benefit from prolific oil production.

2013-10-16 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 Fed’s 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 Keqiang’s 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.

2013-10-16 The Role of Gold in an Investment Portfolio by Miguel Perez-Santalla of BullionVault

As stock markets gyrate with each new economic crisis in the U.S. and abroad, advisors are scrambling to find ways to protect against a precipitous market slide. Can you assure your clients that their portfolios have effective insurance against a severe jolt to the capital markets?

2013-10-16 Equity Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

As we write this outlook, our political leaders once again have succeeded in holding the U.S. government budget, and by extension the financial markets and the broader economy, hostage to their respective political agendas. We believe it is important to avoid getting caught up in the drama on Capitol Hill and remain focused on the slow but continued healing taking place in the U.S. economy.

2013-10-15 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 Equity Markets to Congress: “What, me worry?” by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

President Obama said he was willing to have discussions, though he said he wouldn’t engage in negotiations. (Comment: I guess it depends of what the meaning of "is" is.) So far, those discussions haven’t produced a deal, but at least they’ve started talking.

2013-10-12 These Could be the Most Lucrative Energy Plays by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Sometimes the most attractive energy assets aren’t found in the ground. Rather, at times like today, they are listed on the stock exchange.

2013-10-10 The Fire Fueling Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold took quite a beating in September, bucking its seasonal average monthly return of 2.3 percent. The political battle between President Barack Obama and Congress, China’s Golden Week, and India’s gold import restrictions likely weighed on the metal.

2013-10-09 Little Visible Progress on the Budget Shutdown, but Some Inside Baseball In Play by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

President Obama canceled his planned visit to Asia and participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summitciting the inconvenience caused by the government shutdown (“the difficulty in moving forward with foreign travel in the face of a shutdown), sending John Kerry in his place, and reiterating his unwillingness to negotiate with Republicans.

2013-10-08 The Market May Be Signaling a Return to a More Typical Recovery by Whitney George of The Royce Funds

Despite the Fed’s indecision about whether or not to taper, we see evidence that business activity is normalizing and the global economy is getting healthier. Co-CIO, Managing Director, and Portfolio Manager Whitney George talks about how economically sensitive sectors have begun to benefit from rising rates in the small-cap rally, how recent news coming out of China has affected certain portfolio investments, where he is currently seeing long-term opportunities, and stocks in which he has high confidence.

2013-10-07 Defining the EM Corporate Bond Opportunity by Elisabeth Colleran, Peter Frick, Peter Marber, David Rolley, Edgardo Sternberg of Loomis Sayles

Finance is a numbers business. Investors study prices, yields, rates of return. However, when it comes to sizing up emerging markets, we think they should also pay attention to semantics. In the past, terming a country “emerging” made it synonymous with low credit quality and higher risk. But today, many emerging markets boast strong credit profiles while parts of the developed world buckle under heavy debt loads.

2013-10-03 Third Quarter Market Commentary: Let's Reminisce by Robert Stimpson of Oak Associates

US stocks have risen each quarter of 2013, outperforming most other asset classes and emerging markets along the way. In the third quarter, the S&P 500 Index rose 5.24% and pushed the year-to-date gain to 19.79%. All sectors within the S&P 500 have produced positive returns this year, although the pro-cyclical groups have outperformed the defensive ones.

2013-10-03 Buying the Shutdown by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Volatility from the government shutdown and other political developments in Washington D.C. will likely continue to rise. Despite this, the reduction in output from this will be short-term, and investors still have several attractive options for deploying capital across asset classes in the United States and globally.

2013-10-03 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for the Americas: A Slow-Moving Fed Benefits Economies on Both Continents by Mohit Mittal, Lupin Rahman, Ed Devlin of PIMCO

PIMCO expects the U.S. economy to grow 2.0%2.5% over the next year. However, a continued government shutdown would be a drag on growth. In Latin America, we see growth picking up to 3.0%3.5%, but the outlook varies by country. Mexico should fare well, but Brazil’s story is more mixed. In Canada, we believe the housing correction will be less severe than many are predicting, and we expect GDP to grow 1.5%2.0% over the cyclical horizon.

2013-10-02 The Death Knell of Global Synchronized Trade by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management, we believe the interest on September 18th in emerging markets, oil and gold are the last gasps of a dying trend. Our discipline demands that you must avoid popular investments and completely avoid investments attached to a perceived “new era.” We argue that the international investment markets reaction to Bernanke’s reprieve on September 18th is proof of a vision we have of the future.

2013-09-30 The Global Sea Change Continues by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Most investors will readily admit the global credit bubble is deflating, yet continue to favor credit-based asset classes within their portfolios. Whereas many investors still believe that the emerging markets are a growth story, the data tell us that U.S. investors can find growth in their own backyard.

2013-09-30 Sitting Ducks by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Stocks are a claim on a very long-term stream of future cash flows that will be distributed to shareholders over time, and P/E ratios are simply a shorthand. P/E ratios are useful only to the extent that the earnings measure being used is reasonably representative and informative about the long-term stream of cash flows what might be called a “sufficient statistic.”

2013-09-28 The Renminbi: Soon to Be a Reserve Currency? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Contrary to the thinking of fretful dollar skeptics, my firm belief is that the US dollar is going to become even stronger and will at some point actually deserve to be the reserve currency of choice rather than merely the prettiest girl in the ugly contest the last currency standing, so to speak. But whether the Chinese RMB will become a reserve currency is an entirely different question.

2013-09-27 How to Profit from a Changing China by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We believe China’s rebalancing is positive for investors who selectively invest in its stocks. As Jim O’Neill puts it, “When a country is embarking on a significant compositional change to its economy, stock-pickers rather than index-trackers have the upper hand.”

2013-09-26 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 Fed’s 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 Bernanke's Temporary Reprieve by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

There is no nice way to state this opinion: the end of Quantitative Easing and the ultimate allowance of the open market to set interest rates will create a grueling multi-decade bear market in US bond investments. Higher rates mean the re-pricing of existing bond instruments to lower prices and the principle risk of longer-dated maturities getting exposed. In 1983, I remember people losing approximately 15% of their market value in one year as Treasury interest rates rose from 11% to 14%, temporarily crushing owners of 25-year tax-free unit trusts.

2013-09-25 Surprise... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Clearly, the numbers didn’t meet the Fed’s preconditions for tapering. And while the jobless rate has fallen to 7.3% (from 8.1% when QE3, the current round of quantitative easing began), Bernanke had to acknowledge what’s been obvious to all. The decline in the jobless rate hasn’t occurred just because more folks are getting jobs; it’s because many are dropping out of the workforce, which means they’re not counted as unemployed by the government.

2013-09-25 Surprise! No Tapering and More Budget Progress than Meets the Eye by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

On Monday, Larry Summers exited the pool of candidates for the next Federal Reserve (Fed) chairman. (Only the timing was really a surprise.) On Wednesday, the Fed didn’t taper and de-emphasized several of the targets they’d set earlier. (Big surprise versus consensus - not central bank best practices). Municipal bond offerings by Puerto Rico, California, and Illinois were met with strong investor demand.

2013-09-24 ENERGY MLPs: A Suitable and Sustainable Asset Class by Sponsored Content from ClearBridge Investments (Article)

Key Takeaways: MLPs have provided income with little correlation to other asset classes and little sensitivity to interest rates, commodity prices or economic cycles. The market for MLP stocks has expanded greatly and offers liquidity which appeals to long-term institutional investors. The renaissance in U.S. energy production is driving sustainable growth in the infrastructure that MLPs own and operate

2013-09-24 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Financial markets have found out the answer to important questions in the last week. While there have alternatively been both positive and negative reactions, the net result is lower interest rates and higher stock prices.

2013-09-24 The Brazil Conundrum by Bill OGrady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

The last decade has been exceptionally good for emerging markets. Never before have so many countries grown so rapidly, and at the same time. The average growth rate from 2003 to 2012 was 13.1% for emerging markets, while the long-term average stands at 5.0%. This growth rate was partly due to mean reversion after sluggish growth periods in the 80s and 90s, when the average growth rate for the group stood at 3.5%.

2013-09-21 The Best, Brightest, and Least Productive? by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

In the US, 7.4% of total compensation of employees in 2012 went to people working in the finance and insurance industries. Whether or not that percentage is too high, the real issue is that the share is even higher among the most educated and accomplished people, whose activities may be economically useless, if not harmful.

2013-09-21 Fifty Shades of Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Unlike many commodities, there are many shades to gold, such as the Love Trade’s buying gold for loved ones and the Fear Trade’s purchasing gold as a store of value. An additional “shade” investors need to be aware of is how the Fed interprets the recovery of the U.S. economy.

2013-09-19 A Fine Balance in the Global Profits Cycle by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

In the U.S., we expect growth to accelerate over the cyclical horizon, but to disappoint elevated consensus expectations. In Europe, we also expect growth to accelerate, but just barely, and also below consensus. In Japan, we expect growth to remain heavily reliant on aggressive fiscal and monetary policies. And in emerging markets, we expect a stabilization in growth assisted by central banks regaining control of currency and financial market conditions. The outlook for global corporate profits is a key measure of success in determining the handoff to self-sustaining growth going forward.

2013-09-18 Larry Summers Helps Clarify the Future Path of Fed Policy by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Last Monday, at a London press conference, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry responded to a reporter’s question about what might avoid a military move against Syria by ad-libbing that Assad could give up his chemical weapons. As you probably know, Russia promptly endorsed the idea and Assad promptly agreed. The long-term implications of this development are unknowable; what matters now is that the risk of a U.S strike declined sharply last Monday. Over the most recent weekend, the U.S. and Russia have apparently agreed on key details, further reducing the probability of an attack.

2013-09-18 The End Times for Strategic Ambiguity by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Strategic ambiguity is defined as a condition where various parties say something similar but believe something entirely different. A good example of this is U.S. and Chinese policy toward Taiwan. Both nations say Taiwan is part of China. The U.S. believes that Taiwan’s democratic government should become the model for the mainland, whereas China believes Taiwan should be part of its nation as it is currently structured. Because both nations say the same thing, the policy difference is not publicly obvious and thus not a problem, at least as long as the ambiguity lasts.

2013-09-18 Is the Commodity Supercycle Dead? by Nicholas Johnson, Greg Sharenow of PIMCO

While commodity price appreciation won’t likely mirror the supercycle, this shouldn’t necessarily imply a negative view on commodity returns going forward. We believe commodity prices are at reasonable levels from a long-term valuation perspective. In addition, the roll yield from investing in commodities is the highest it’s been since 2005. The outlook for commodity returns today seems broadly consistent with historical returns, and commodities remain an important tool for hedging inflation risk.

2013-09-17 Charles de Vaulx: “We Have Never Been as Cautiously Positioned” by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Charles de Vaulx is the chief investment officer and a portfolio manager at International Value Advisers. In this interview, he discusses his outlook for the market and the economy, and why his fund has never been as cautiously positioned as it is today.

2013-09-17 Investing for Real People by Sponsored content by Oppenheimer Funds (Article)

Investor goals are the same, but solutions have changed. Today, aiming to meet basic needs requires new solutions. Laser focus on investor goals will help uncover appropriate investment opportunities. Expanding the opportunity set beyond the usual suspects will be critical to long-term success.

2013-09-13 Pacific Basin Market Overview August 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Asian equity markets ended lower in August, chiefly due to concerns about currency weakness in India and Indonesia, while improved macroeconomic data from China contributed to this market’s outperformance. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan fell by 1.3% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 0.71% lower during the month. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)

2013-09-13 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 Open for Business Down Under by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia

Swiftly after fighting off what most observers deemed to be a fairly weak incumbent Labor opposition in the recent Australian election, the leader of the Conservative coalition and the country’s newly crowned Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, firmly declared Australia to be “once more open for business."

2013-09-10 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 party’s 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 Investor Anxiety + Uncertainty = More Volatility Ahead by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

As Russ expected, both equity and bond market volatility have risen in recent weeks. Russ explains why this rocky road is likely to continue, and he provides two ideas for potentially insulating portfolios amid volatility.

2013-09-10 Oil Has Too Many Plumbers by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We’ve never quite understood why most sensible people don’t apply the same economic logic to investing that they do to any other business. Take plumbing for example. If your town has 10 main plumbing companies and 10 more move into town, your economic mind tells you that the added competition will drive down profits. On the other hand, if five of the plumbing companies go out of business, profits should rise over time.

2013-09-10 Check or Checkmate... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

The White House’s goal is to persuade Congress to authorize a limited military strike against Syria to punish it for a deadly chemical weapons attack. But after a frenetic week of wall-to-wall intelligence briefings, dozens of phone calls, and hours of hearings with senior members of Mr. Obama’s war council, more and more lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, are lining up to vote against the president.

2013-09-10 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.

2013-09-09 Moving On - Five Years After Lehman by John Petrides (Article)

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the Lehman Brothers failure and the start of worst financial crisis in American history since the Great Depression, and yet to some investors, it seems like only yesterday. Investors still hold onto that period of volatility as if it will happen again tomorrow, paralyzing and confusing their investment decisions. Consequently, many investors have watched from the sidelines as the stock market has recovered solidly year after year.

2013-09-03 The Hidden Risk in Gold by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Since their introduction a little over a decade ago, gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have accumulated more than $500 billion in assets. Investors’ most common rationale for owning gold is that it acts as a hedge against financial instability or a sudden shock to the markets, such as the 9/11 attacks. But what if the flow of assets into gold ETFs plays a greater role in the price of gold than do investors’ fears of instability? Is gold the hedge investors believe it to be?

2013-08-30 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Global policy-makers increasingly at odds with one another. Foreign exchange reserves may hold key to stabilizing emerging markets. Geopolitics weigh heavily on energy markets.

2013-08-29 Don't Lose Your Balance by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Management

Last year in a white paper called “Engineering a better retirement portfolio”1, 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 A New Leg In The Commodity Decline? by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

For more than two years we’ve discussed the supply-side risks to commodity producers stemming from capacity built during the manic “Third Act” of last decade’s Three Act Play in commodities. Commodity-oriented equities have indeed underperformed since 2011 (chart 1), but to date, most pundits have laid blame squarely on the demand side (i.e., the sharp deceleration in Chinese economic growth). We don’t have a strong opinion on the short-term direction of the Chinese economy, but the capacity overhang looks like a multi-year story to us, independent of China’

2013-08-28 ING Fixed Income Perspectives August 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

While it’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, some pictures are just not that complicated. Take the current U.S. yield curve, for example, our interpretation of which can be boiled down to just a handful of syllables: “zero interest rate policy” and “taper”.

2013-08-27 Choose Your Door Wisely.. by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

If I was being forced to choose a side for year end 2013 performance, I would have to agree with Mr. Plant. While September is historically a difficult month for the markets, we also know that the Q4 tends to reward the equity markets.

2013-08-26 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.

2013-08-22 Hot Potato: Momentum As An Investment Strategy by Ryan Larson of Research Affiliates

Investors increasingly are attracted to momentum as a key ingredient in their portfolios. But how does momentum fare as a stand-alone strategy? In this issue of Fundamentals, we look at the pros and cons of this important risk factor.

2013-08-20 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.

2013-08-20 A Lot Of Action In What Was Expected To Be A Quiet Week by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Most of the U.S. economic data released last week was rather ho-hum, consistent with continuing slow growth, but markets weren’t boring. Maybe markets are thin because it’s August, but the U.S. Treasury market had one of its worst weeks in a long time, and the selling spilled over into the U.S. stock market.

2013-08-19 What's the Point of Investing in Dreams? by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

Is innovation dead or are we on the cusp of new technological revolutions? Without resolving this epic debate, we believe that market conditions today are conducive to investing in companies with disruptive potential, but it takes a sober approach to find big dreams that can deliver big returns.

2013-08-16 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.

2013-08-14 What Role for Emerging Markets After the Sell-Off? by Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

While history suggests that the sell-off in emerging market bonds could ultimately offer attractive buying opportunities, it is important to anchor investment decisions firmly within a forward-looking economic and market outlook. Continuing vulnerabilities in global growth suggest there is fundamental value in EM bond yields at present valuations, as interest rate hikes priced into EM yield curves are unlikely to materialize in an environment of tentative growth.

2013-08-13 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - Q2 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Asia’s emerging nations, the darling of the world economy since the 2000s, uncharacteristically slowed in the first quarter of 2013. After a decade of robust growth, many of Asia’s fast-growing economies are coming to terms with structural changes. Asian currencies, which had appreciated quite a bit over the past few years thanks to ultra-loose monetary policy in the developed world, came tumbling down at the first talk of a slowdown in the supply of cheap money.

2013-08-13 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review Q2 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Many developed economies in the Asia Pacific region rebounded during the second quarter of 2013 to post a healthy set of growth and inflation numbers. Turning on the monetary spigots during the past one year provided a major fillip to many developed Asian economies. Countries that fumbled in the wake of natural disasters in the recent past, showed marked improvement. Even those countries that were said to be suffering from structural deficiencies, too, responded well to the monetary medicine administered by their various central banks.

2013-08-13 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.

2013-08-09 Futures Markets Signal Gold Ready to Erupt by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

With gold recouping some losses in its most recent trading sessions, many are asking whether or not the bottom has finally formed for the yellow metal. Most of these gains have been simply chalked up to short-covering and dovish remarks by Bernanke during the recent Federal Open Market Committee meetings; however, there are some key indicators for gold which are overshadowed by the media hubbub. Two of them in particular are important to understand, because they reveal a renewed investment demand for physical gold over paper gold or fiat currencies.

2013-08-09 The Calm Before the Storm? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Record highs in US equities have resulted thus far in only modestly elevated investor sentiment and it appears retail investors are returning to the market, which could fuel further gains. However, volatility is likely to increase with political and Fed issues on the horizon. Europe remains attractive, along with Japan, but we are watching the potential consumption tax increase closely, while China’s valuations are improved but concerns remain.

2013-08-08 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 can’t 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 there’s still time to get back to a normal allocation.

2013-08-08 Absolute Strategies Fund Portfolio Commentary by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisers

In our last quarter commentary we posed a simple question: "Why does the economy need so much stimulus and quantitative easing for so little growth?" Over the last two years or so, we feel that we have identified and explained the structural issues and risks very clearly. But in the second quarter, the equity and credit markets may have done a better job offering investors a true glimpse of the realities facing global markets.

2013-08-08 Looking Farther Down the Road by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover, Mike Czekaj of Broadleaf Partners

The stock market has continued to do very well over the summer months, reaching new, all-time highs and proving to even the most stubborn of skeptics that Great Recessions can become Great Recoveries for those with the appropriate time horizon. While our industry spends a great deal of time and effort focused on relative performance results compared to appropriate benchmarks, the greatest value any financial advisor or money manager can provide is usually addressed far less often; simply keeping you in the game.

2013-08-08 The Role of Confidence by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

The so-called wealth effect plays an important and well recognized part in the functioning of an economy. When assets appreciate in value, the owners translate their increased wealth into increased spending. While at first glance this is unsurprising, it should be noted that this is true even if the appreciation is unrealized, and thus the increased wealth exists solely on paper. The relationship can be stated as follows: the richer people feel, the more they spend. Changes in confidence have an impact on behavior similar to the wealth effect. That’s what this memo is about.

2013-08-07 Adapt or Die... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Bond king Bill Grosss $261.7 billion Total Return Fund at Pacific Investment Management Co. suffered a $7.5 billion net outflow last month, according to data from fund tracker Morningstar Inc. on Friday. It is the third straight monthly outflow for the Fund, on the heels of nearly $10 billion in redemptions in June. Clients have yanked $15.6 billion from Gross’s Fund in 2013 through July. Jeffrey Gundlach’s $37.9 billion DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund suffered $580 million net outflow in July, according to Morningstar.

2013-08-07 Japan The Land of the Rising Stock Market by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

We have been ardent bulls on the Japanese stock market since last Fall. Our thesis has been a simple one: For the first time in the history of our data, Japan began running consecutive monthly current account deficits.

2013-08-07 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 China's Slowdown by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past three decades, China has seen its economy grow significantly.

2013-08-05 Can It Get Any Better Than This? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

What in the world is going on?! As I write this letter from the Maine woods, the S&P 500 has just cleared 1,700 for the first time. The German DAX continues to set all-time highs above 8,400. The United Kingdom’s FTSE 100 is quickly approaching its 1999 record high of 6,930, and its mid-cap cousin, the FTSE 250, just broke through to its all-time level above 15,000. And last but not least, Japan’s Nikkei 225 is extending its gains once more, toward 14,500.

2013-08-05 The Minsky Bubble by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In his classic treatise on speculation, Manias, Panics and Crashes (originally published in 1978), the late Charles Kindleberger laid out a pattern of events that has periodically occurred in financial markets throughout history. Drawing on the work of economist Hyman Minsky, the conditions he described are likely far more relevant at the present moment than investors may recognize.

2013-08-01 Alternatives for Today's and Tomorrow's Market Challenges by Jennifer Bridwell, Sabrina Callin of PIMCO

Investors should consider alternative investment strategies, which could enhance diversification and the potential for alpha, or risk-adjusted returns, because returns from traditional asset classes in coming years may be lower and more volatile than those realized historically.

2013-07-31 New GDP Revisions to Boost US Economy by 3% by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

At the end of April, I pointed out that the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced it would be making some significant revisions to the way it calculates Gross Domestic Product on July 31. It will revise economic growth for all years going back to 1929. This change is somewhat controversial in that it is expected to add up to 3% to total GDP in one fell swoop tomorrow morning. That’s about $1,500 worth of extra goods and services for every person in the US!

2013-07-31 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 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.

2013-07-29 Driftingbut for How Long? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Equities have drifted higher during a decent earnings season with few surprises, while yields have calmed and volatility has plunged. Typical lackluster summer action may prevail for the next month, but action is likely to heat up as the weather begins to cool.

2013-07-24 Average Gas Price Could Hit $4 by Labor Day... Or Not by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

With the recent jump in gasoline prices, several energy analysts are forecasting that prices at the pump will top $4 a gallon (national average) later this summer. On the other hand, some analysts feel that gas prices will only go up another 5-10 cents a gallon just ahead, and then move lower in the fall. Of course, no one knows for sure. Today, we’ll take a look at what’s driving gas prices higher.

2013-07-23 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 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 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review Q2 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Moderate growth is anticipated in Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) region as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) notes that economic expansion in the oil exporting countries has slowed down due to subdued global oil demand. While oil importing countries are expected to make a slight recovery, nations in transition are facing complex socio-political issues, which could further delay their recovery.

2013-07-22 What the *&%! Just Happened? by Ben Inker of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO’s 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 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.

2013-07-19 Fixed Income Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

The question we keep asking is “Will the real Fed mandate, please stand up?” The Federal Reserve (the Fed) traditionally is charged with keeping inflation in check, but it also has a second mandate to ensure full employment. This dual mandate can occasionally create general confusion as to what is the best policy at a given time and which policy goal the Fed is trying to achieve. Today, we are at a juncture where the Fed’s mandates may not clearly align with stated future monetary actions.

2013-07-19 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 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The year’s first half included some big surprises. U.S. wage and salary growth sets the stage for stronger consumption. Don’t be discouraged by the most recent housing report.

2013-07-18 The Death of Disasterism by Steven Vincent of BullBear Trading

From late 2012 I have been gradually layering and developing the thesis that a secular bull market started in November of 2012 (with a possible revised start date of June 2012), ending the sideways secular bear market that started in 2000. Here are the basic components of that thesis through the last report.

2013-07-17 Second Quarter 2013 Newsletter by Steve Wenstrup, Jim Tillar of Tillar-Wenstrup

We wrote after the strong first quarter to expect volatility to increase with stocks remaining the preferred asset class and that is largely what happened in the second quarter. Almost all risk assets wobbled after the Federal Reserve (Fed) hinted at a possible tapering of quantitative easing later this year. Regardless, most domestic stocks did well in the quarter.

2013-07-17 Hopelessly Devoted To You by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

A journalist from Fortune magazine once asked Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, for the best business advice he’d ever been given. Grove provided a simple quote from a former professor at City College of New York: “When everybody knows that something is so, it means that nobody knows nothin’.”

2013-07-16 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

The big news during the past two weeks has to be the employment numbers that came out about 10 days ago. Most economists were looking for about 165,000 jobs being added to the workforce, but the June number came in at 195,000 jobs. This was higher than even the highest estimates.

2013-07-12 Global Markets at Mid-Year by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Most investors based in the U.S. are walking around thinking “the market has gone way up this year.” They are rightif they are talking about certain indexes within a big wide world of markets, including stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities. But the disparity (i.e. lack of correlation) among markets has been striking. I think that the best way to convey this to you is to simply show you how a small group of market indexes have done for the year-to-date yesterday along with brief commentary, in bullet point form.

2013-07-12 Calming Downand Changing Focus by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Markets are calming and investors seem to be focusing on fundamentals againa nice change from recent history. The bar is relatively low for earnings season but focus will be on the commentary surrounding releases. We believe more sideways movement in both US equities and Treasury yields could prevail over the next couple of months, with summer months muting action; but remain optimistic about stocks longer-term. Likewise, Japan could tread water until new elections are held, but we believe the eurozone provides opportunities that should be looked into at the expense of investments in China.

2013-07-11 The Capital Flight from Safety: It is Not About Tapering it is About Growth by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

Since Ben Bernanke’s comments seemed to unleash the bond vigilantes on June 19, we have seen a reversal in money flows that have used the U.S. Treasury market and the gold market as a “flight to safety trade.”

2013-07-11 Pacific Basin Market Overview June 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Equity markets in Asia ended generally lower in the second quarter of 2013 due to concerns over the U.S. Federal Reserve’s apparent shift towards a more balanced monetary policy stance following Chairman Bernanke’s statements suggesting a “tapering” of its asset purchase program.

2013-07-10 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 Market Perspectives Q2 2013: Fed Fears by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

Investors have been hypersensitive to the inevitable reversal of the Federal Reserve’s bond purchasing economic stimulus program known as QE3. Signs of sustainable economic recovery have been closely monitored as a harbinger of a likely end of the program.

2013-07-09 The Five Best New Investment Ideas: New Age Paradigms for the Post-MPT World by Bob Veres (Article)

Over the past four years, I’ve been collecting the most tangible, concrete post-Modern Portfolio Theory insights offered by professional investors.

2013-07-09 ENERGY MLPs: A Suitable and Sustainable Asset Class by Sponsored Content from ClearBridge Investments (Article)

Greater capitalization. More liquidity. The energy MLP market has grown steadily, with good reason: our constant demand for energy. While oil prices go up and down, volume has stayed consistent. Production is increasing. And the infrastructure is needed to support it. Add some risk, and you’ve got an investment which could fit in a diversified portfolio.

2013-07-05 Why Oil Has Proven Resilient by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Crude oil has proven more resilient and less volatile this year (depending on which benchmark you use, it is either up or down in the single digits) than most other commodities. There are three main factors behind this.

2013-07-04 The Free-Trade Charade by Joseph E. Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

The negotiations to create a free-trade area between the US and Europe, and another between the US and much of the Pacific (except for China), are not about establishing a true free-trade system. Instead, the goal is a managed trade regime managed, that is, to serve the special interests that have long dominated trade policy in the West.

2013-07-03 Global PMI: Possible Opportunity for Mining Stocks by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For the month of June, JP Morgan Global Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) showed a reading of 50.6 for global aggregate manufacturing around the world. A reading of this scale indicates no real change in the market, though the one-month reading brings potentially positive news for some investors.

2013-07-02 Gundlach’s One-Word Explanation for June’s Decline by Robert Huebscher (Article)

According to Doubleline’s Jeffrey Gundlach, a single word explains the declines global capital markets experienced in June.

2013-07-02 Recent Volatility ? Noise, not Signal by Keith C. Goddard, CFA (Article)

This spasm of volatility is a normal side effect when market participants adjust their positions to a new expectation for the future of monetary policy. Even though the policy adjustment being discussed at the Fed is minor ? i.e., a gradual tapering of quantitative easing (QE) ? the timing of the change was sooner than many investors expected, so trading volume jumped.

2013-07-02 Finding Value In The Materials Sector Is A Material Thing by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This is the third in a series of articles designed to find value in today’s stock market environment. However, it is the second of 10 articles covering the 10 major general sectors. In my first article, I laid the foundation that represents the two primary underlying ideas supporting the need to publish such a treatise. First and foremost, that it is not a stock market; rather it is a market of stocks. Second, that regardless of the level of the general market, there will always be overvalued, undervalued and fairly valued individual stocks to be found.

2013-06-28 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 Commodities: Still Worried About Supply by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Gold’s 2013 fall has been the lone development in the two-year commodities decline that seems to have captured much attention. The CRB Raw Industrialsa spot index of 13 commodities exhibiting a much tighter linkage to the global economy than goldpeaked in mid-April 2011, coinciding with the bull market relative strength highs in the both S&P 500 Energy and Materials sectors and the “absolute” price highs in the MSCI stock market indexes of commodity exporters Brazil, Canada and Russia.

2013-06-27 De-Risking Revisited by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The prices of a wide range of risky assets have been rising, despite sluggish GDP growth worldwide. This discrepancy portends a new period of asset-price volatility one that could mark the beginning of a broader de-risking cycle for financial markets.

2013-06-27 Is There Life After BRICs for Emerging Market Investors? by Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein

For more than a decade, Brazil, Russia, India and China have dominated the landscape in emerging markets. But as the BRICs-driven commodities boom wanes, investors may need to rethink their approach.

2013-06-26 Win Ben's Money by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

From 1997 to 2003 a show called,” Win Ben Stein’s Money” ran on the Comedy Central Network. The last five years, investors in the US have been playing a very similar game we are calling, “Win Ben’s Money”. The new game stars Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke. The object is to win the money the Fed creates via Quantitative Easing (QE) through macroeconomic analysis. In this missive, we will look at how these investors chased Ben’s Money and consider what to do going forward.

2013-06-26 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 Bernanke’s comments regarding the U.S.economy’s 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.

2013-06-26 2 Ways to Play the US Energy Boom by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ offers two ideas one perhaps obvious and one perhaps not for investors looking to potentially benefit from the US energy renaissance.

2013-06-24 Market Internals Suggest a Shift to Risk-Aversion by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Our primary attention here is on market internals. If they improve, I expect that we’ll adopt at least a moderately constructive view. Presently, however, my impression is that investors have shifted from risk-seeking to risk-aversion. This shift is not because of a hawkish Fed, but in spite of a dovish one - something more appears to be going on. It’s tempting to wait until a stronger and more specific “catalyst” emerges, but the financial markets have demonstrated repeatedly over time that market losses come first, and the catalyst becomes evident afterward.

2013-06-24 The Case for Rotating into (Select) Cyclical Sectors by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Although defensive sectors are back to outperforming cyclical sectors amid June’s market volatility, Russ still believes there’s a strong case for preferring cyclicals or at least select cyclicals

2013-06-24 The Fed Unintentionally Lays an Egg by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities declined last week as the S&P 500 ended down 2.09%.1 The S&P suffered the first back-to-back one-day declines of more than 1% since last November. Global equities and bonds were also hit hard, with large sell-offs in emerging market assets, commodities and commodity currencies. Concerns about the fallout from dampened Fed policy accommodation are driving the weakness.

2013-06-21 The Fear Factor in US Equities by Grant Bowers of Franklin Templeton Investments

Fear is a powerful motivator. Whether it’s a saber-toothed tiger or investment risks, it’s 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.

2013-06-21 Finding Great Value In The Energy Sector by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This will be the second in a series of articles designed to find value in today’s stock market environment. However, it will be the first of 10 articles covering the 10 major general sectors. In my first article, I laid the foundation that represents the two primary underlying ideas supporting the need to publish such a treatise. First and foremost, that it is not a stock market; rather it is a market of stocks. Second, that regardless of the level of the general market, there will always be overvalued, undervalued and fairly valued individual stocks to be found.

2013-06-19 Emerging Markets: Reasons for Optimism by Team of Janus Capital Group

Emerging market equities are lagging developed markets this year. However, the underperformance creates an opportunity in our view, and does little to change our long-term outlook for emerging markets, where we believe some of the strongest growth opportunities lie.

2013-06-18 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stock prices came under pressure last week over the strength of the Japanese Yen versus the dollar which led to a large decline in stock prices there as well as the misplaced fears domestically that the Federal Reserve Board will pull forward its timetable for “tapering” its quantitative easing policy.

2013-06-17 The Price of Distortion by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Corporate profits have benefited in recent years from enormous fiscal distortions that have bloated margins 70% above their historical norms. Stock prices have benefited in recent years from enormous monetary distortions that have suppressed interest rates and encouraged investors to “reach for yield.” Combining those effects, investors have been encouraged to chase stocks, placing elevated price/earnings multiples on already elevated earnings. Investors who value stocks on the basis of these distortions are likely to discover in hindsight that they have paid a very dear price.

2013-06-17 2013 Midyear Economic Update -- Another False Dawn? by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

We’ve seen this movie before since midyear 2009, haven’t we? The pace of economic activity begins to quicken and it looks as though a full-throated cyclical expansion might finally be at hand, only to have the economy slip back into the doldrums. Nominal private domestic spending on currently-produced goods and services grew in the first quarter at an annualized rate of 5.5% compared to 3.4% in the previous quarter. Consumer spending accelerated, housing sales picked up and business spending on equipment and software continued to grow at a healthy pace.

2013-06-14 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 fixed-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 diversification benefits in the context of a broad market fixed-income portfolio. Today’s fixed-income investors must have a framework for evaluating new opportunities subject to prudent risk management

2013-06-14 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.

2013-06-12 Cyclical Stocks Appeal After Defensive-Led Rally by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

This year’s equity market rally was initially led by defensive stocks, as macroeconomic concerns persisted despite improved risk appetite. With valuations in these sectors looking stretched and cyclically oriented stocks starting to rebound in May, is a bigger shift starting to unfold?

2013-06-11 I Spy by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

It’s hard to tell which to be most worried about the Chinese spying on us through their computer hacking or the government spying on us through all our data providers! To paraphrase Jay Leno’s remark the other night, “Voters said they wanted a government that listened to them now they’ve got one!”

2013-06-11 6 Investing Implications of Friday's Jobs Report by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While the jobs report on Friday merely confirmed that the recovery continues to chug along slowly, it does have six implications for investors.

2013-06-10 Emerging Markets Mid-Year Pulse Check by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Global economic growth hasn’t been terribly inspiring so far in the first half of the year, but many investors have nevertheless been inspired to pour more assets into the equity markets, some of which have surged to record highs. As we hit the mid-year point, now seems like a good time to take a pulse check of emerging markets and assess our prognosis.

2013-06-05 Will Green Shoots Flourish in U.S. and Latin America? by Josh Thimons, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

The US economy is much further along the road to repair relative to its developed market peers, but it is still dealing with an unsustainable fiscal situation. Latin America is closely coupled to the rest of the world. What happens in the U.S., China and Europe over the secular horizon is especially critical. Our secular investment outlook calls for a more defensive posture toward risk. In U.S. fixed income, this suggests positioning for alpha rather than capital appreciation.

2013-06-04 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 today’s 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.

2013-06-04 The Gold Bull vs The Paper Tiger by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

That’s all, folks. One look at the headlines will tell you the gold bull market is officially over: the stock market is booming, a modest recovery of the US economy is underway, and the dollar is dominating the forex. Time to sell your bullion and get back into US stocks!

2013-06-03 Is Volatility Dead? Hardly. by Paresh Upadhyaya, Michael Temple of Pioneer Investments

Certain pundits suggest we have entered a new volatility regime that volatility has been tamed by the massive amount of liquidity injected into worldwide capital markets by very accommodative central banks. We take a different view. While volatility has been declining across many asset classes, it is creeping into several that may have escaped some investors’ attention.

2013-05-31 Into the Woods by Tony Crescenzi, Tadashi Kakuchi, Ben Emons of PIMCO

Excess liquidity, falling net issuance and higher correlations among assets complicate the eventual exit that the Federal Reserve and other central banks must make from their extraordinary policies. The Bank of Japan’s ideology has completely changed to “tackling deflation” from “tolerating deflation.” The key focus in the coming months will be how private sectors react. Investors who depend chiefly upon central bank activism may put themselves at risk. They may need to hedge volatility by ensuring their investments are built more on solid fundamentals and reasona

2013-05-30 Cyclical Securities: Too Early? by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We have been making a number of arguments about various asset classes over the last three years and we would like to keep our readers very aware of the progress being made in these markets. We have argued that a secular bear market is in place for commodities and US company shares which are attached to the commodity cycle. Additionally, we maintain that there is a secular bear market operating under the surface in emerging equity markets. We believe that July of 2011 was the beginning of the secular bear market involving a number of asset classes beyond just commodities and emerging markets.

2013-05-30 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 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.

2013-05-30 Has the Fat Lady Started to Sing on the Housing Market? by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

As decision makers we are continually looking for clues from economic activity in order to adjust portfolios. The beauty of following business cycle sequences is the value from anticipating financial market leadership changes. A major beneficiary of this four year old business recovery has been housing and housing related stocks.

2013-05-28 Declaration of Not-So-Much Dependence by Brad Evans of Heartland Advisors

There’s been much discussion lately of how alternative energy sources like wind and solar power could lower the U.S.’s dependence on foreign oil. What’s often overlooked, though, is just how much this country is already meeting its energy needs with domestically produced oil and natural gas.

2013-05-24 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.

2013-05-24 Remarkable Resilience by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We saw how the prospect of a sooner pullback in purchases in bonds by the Fed rattled the market both in the US and globally, but the picture, to us, has not changed to any great degree. A very gradual pullback, not even going to zero, in quantitative easing due to an improved economic situation doesn’t spell disaster to us. We continue to urge investors to pay attention to both sides of the risk equation when making decisions and to keep the longer-term perspective in mind. Short-term swings are inevitable, but should not be the basis for sound decision making.

2013-05-22 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?

2013-05-21 Five Tips for Winning in the “Trust and Value” Economy by Meridith Elliott Powell (Article)

In this our economy, the consumer is in control. What advisors sell is a luxury, and an advisor’s competitive advantage is how he or she sells it. Success depends on your ability to build and expand relationships in what I call the “trust and value” economy.

2013-05-21 (Yawn)...As Equities Advance Another 2% by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities advanced again last week, with the S&P 500 increasing 2.1%. Global stocks are reaching new highs in this cycle and the U.S. market is at an all-time high. Bonds were hurt in the move, dragging credit down, while commodities fell slightly on weaker manufacturing data. The unrelenting equity rally and an environment without positive news about earnings and the economy is making many investors uncomfortable.

2013-05-21 As Energy Demand Outpaces Supply, Asia Looks Overseas to Refuel by Raja Mukherji, Taosha Wang of PIMCO

Many Asian countries are encountering growing energy shortages due to declining indigenous resources and domestic consumption growth. Oil companies in Asia frequently engage in overseas acquisitions. In many cases, these transactions help enlarge reserve base, access technological know-hows and enhance corporate profitability. Strong sovereign support is a key investment thesis in the Asian oil and gas sector. Through our bottom-up analysis, we are finding numerous investment opportunities.

2013-05-21 Are Equity Investors Pushing the Gas Pedal Too Hard? by Norman Boersma of Franklin Templeton Investments

Whatever previous reticence investors may have had about equities last year seems to have evaporated and, with remarkable speed, turned into fear over having missed the equity rally. Some major market averages have accelerated at a pace some say is reckless, so as we head toward the mid-point of the year, Norm Boersma, CFA, chief investment officer of Templeton Global Equity Group, takes a look at reasons investors might continue to push the gas pedalor tap the brakes.

2013-05-21 Putting Cash to Work: 3 Ways to Enter the Market Today by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

With global equities up more than 25% since their bottom last June, many investors are wondering: “Is it too late to move cash from the sidelines to stocks?” No, says Russ, and he offers three ideas for where find value today.

2013-05-17 Finding Opportunity Far and Near by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Would it surprise you to learn that a vast majority of equity valuation models state that stocks should head much higher over the next five years?

2013-05-16 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 Dissecting the Rally: What Sectors Look Attractive? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

The current rally has been fueled by investors looking for relatively "safe" areas of the market. As such, the classic defensive sectors, such as utilities, consumer staples and healthcare, have been outperforming. This trend may be changing, indicating that sectors such as energy and technology are growing more attractive.

2013-05-15 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 Reserve’s current plan to buy Treasuries to keep interest rates very low.

2013-05-15 How to Take Advantage of the Great (Sector) Rotation by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The real Great Rotation may just be a shift to cyclical sectors from defensive ones rather than a move to bonds from stocks. Russ explains and offers 3 ways to play this rotation.

2013-05-15 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.)

2013-05-14 Nassim Taleb on the Anti-Fragile Portfolio and the Benefits of Taking Risks by Ben Huebscher (Article)

As we recover from the most recent financial crisis, how we can we learn from the mistakes to best prepare for the future? Nassim Taleb tackled this very question in his latest book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, which built off his previous works and applies the lessons learned to today’s biggest challenges. Taleb examined how small doses of volatility can help systems handle larger disruptors in the future.

2013-05-14 Cyclical and Emerging Market Strength May Be Pointing to Better Growth by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Last week U.S. equities advanced as the S&P 500 increased by 1.3%. We have been amazed bythe market’s ability to continue to rally in an environment in which sales growth has been anemic and earnings gains have been largely based on companies’ abilities to manage margins and utilize financial engineering.

2013-05-14 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.

2013-05-13 Tenuous Times? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

US stocks continue to make new highs, yet commodities have struggled and Treasury yields remain low, albeit up from recent near-record lows. Although not the standard playbook, we remain optimistic but acknowledge an equity pullback can occur at any time. Manufacturing data has been soft, the employment picture is mixed, and housing continues to improve. The European Central Bank (ECB) has joined the easing arty, illustrating the continued disappointments coming out of the eurozone.

2013-05-13 Americas: Regional Economic Review 1Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Weaker global demand and prices for energy and commodities, as well as softer than expected domestic consumption have restricted the growth outlook for most economies in the Americas region during the first three months of the year. Fewer monthly job additions in the U.S. have dented consumer confidence, and growth for the current year is now forecast to be moderately lower than earlier expectations.

2013-05-08 Germany Under Pressure To Create Money by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Currently, central banks around the world are walking in lock step down a dangerous path of money creation. Led by the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan, economic policy is driven by the idea that printed money can be the true basis of growth. The result is an unprecedented global orgy of currency creation. The only holdout to this open ended commitment has been the hard money bias of the German-dominated European Central Bank. However, growing political pressure from around the world, and growing dissatisfaction among domestic voters have shaken, and perhaps cracked, the German resolve.

2013-05-08 Screaming “Bear Market Rally\" by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

In the summer of 2009, I was a regular guest on CNBC shows like “Larry Kudlow”. We believe we were invited to participate in those panel discussions because we were the token “bull” in the conversation and I am obnoxious enough to state my piece against significant mental and verbal opposition. The US stock market had bottomed in March of 2009 and rallied explosively into the late spring and early summer. What reminded me of this is the news coverage and expert reaction to the recent collapse in commodity prices, especially gold and corn.

2013-05-04 Don't Sell in May: Here are Reasons to Extend Your Stay by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

During the first week of May every year, the maxim, “Sell in May and Go Away,” gets taken out, dusted off and powered up as a reason to sell stocks. The rhyme is more than just a catchy urban legend: June, July, August and September have historically been the weakest months of the year for the S&P 500 Index.

2013-05-03 Asia\'s Resource Riches vs. Reform by Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia

In recent years, the rate of acquisitions of local Asian firms by multinational companies has generally increased, particularly in China. This has happened across many industries such as industrials, medical devices and consumer staples. In many cases, if the multinational firms are not acquiring an entire company outright, they are taking a controlling stake, rather than a minority stake as a passive shareholder.

2013-05-03 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 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.

2013-05-02 In Treasuries, the Risks Outweigh the Rewards by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

The 1Q GDP report was mixed, but the lack of income growth remains troubling. Oil prices are likely to remain range-bound, but that should be good enough to help energy stocks. While yields could decline further in the near-term, Treasuries look quite unappealing.

2013-05-01 While the Bears Fight... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

While corporate earnings outlooks and released economic data remained soft, the world moved to declare Austerity a failure and quickly assumed that the ECB could ease further at this week’s meetings. The recent collapse in commodity prices and slowdown in China does put a high card in their hand. With these new thoughts, European equities and bonds both surged on the week...

2013-05-01 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

Major emerging Asia Pacific economies, which picked up growth momentum during the latter half of 2012, struggled to carry forward the economic pace during the initial months of 2013. China, India, and Indonesia, some of the most populous countries in the region and in the world, faced significant headwinds to growth as key engines of the economy investment, consumption, and exports came under strain.

2013-05-01 US Economy to Get a Hollywood Makeover by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

You may have heard that the government is going to make some major changes in how our Gross Domestic Product is calculated later this year. Your first thought might be that this is no big deal. However, I will argue today that it is a very big deal, the biggest in a decade, and you need to know why. So I hope you read what follows with more than a passing interest.

2013-04-30 Beyond Gold: 4 Reasons to Think Energy by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While the sell-off in gold has dominated headlines lately, another commodity oil has also experienced price declines in recent months. But despite crude’s drop, Russ is still a fan of energy stocks for four reasons.

2013-04-30 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 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

After facing subdued economic conditions for the most part of 2012, developed Asia Pacific economies started 2013 on a cautious note. While most countries opined that downside risk to GDP growth declined substantially, challenges to growth arose from a recessionary scenario in key developed economies, especially from the European Union.

2013-04-26 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 China’s 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 The Yin and the Yang of Commodity Price Trends by Team of Northern Trust

In recent weeks, financial press headlines have centered on the sharp drop in the price of gold. Of greater importance, however, are the significant price declines of oil, wheat, corn and copper. The S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index is down 6.1% year-to-date after a nearly steady reading in 2012 and gains exceeding 20% in both 2010 and 2011. It is essential to recognize the different nuances buried in these commodities’ price trends. First we will focus on the implications of declining commodity price trends and then discuss gold specifically in more depth.

2013-04-26 No Escape by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Global economic growth has weakened, while the US economy hasn’t reached "escape velocity." US stocks have held up relatively well. With few other attractive alternatives, domestic equities appear to be the best house in a rough neighborhood. With the Fed committed to easing, housing improving, and valuations reasonable, the trend should continue. Risks remain and diversification and some hedging strategies are recommended.

2013-04-25 Questioning Quantitative Easing by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Speculation over the reduction or expansion of quantitative easing largely amounts to market noise.

2013-04-24 The 2030 Non-state World by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Several weeks ago we started looking at the alternative world scenarios as projected by the National Intelligence Council (NIC). The NIC issues a long-term strategic outlook every five years and projects a forecast from this analysis for the following 15-20 years. In the most recent report, Global Trends 2030, the NIC proposes four alternative world scenarios. We are now turning to the last projected outlook, the Non-state World. Under this scenario non-state actors aided by emerging technologies will have increasing influence, as the importance of traditional nation-states decays.

2013-04-24 Market Observations, Deflation Fears by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

Last week, the S&P 500 took a quick dive down toward the 50-day moving average as investors became worried about continued poor economic data. While some investors are quick to point to the Boston Marathon attack as the reason for the decline, there was in fact a large decline in the market before the tragedy in Boston occurred.

2013-04-23 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.

2013-04-23 Harsh Words on Gold by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

As a graduate trainee in a London accepting house in the fall of 1981, I was given the tour and history of my new, 130 year old bank. It was one of the banks that set the daily gold price and had large bullion deposits somewhere under its location at 114 Old Broad Street. But the tour stopped at the vault door. No one went further (probably someone did but it was beyond my pay grade) and further discussion discouraged. Such was the mystery of gold.

2013-04-23 Ugly Week All Around Bombings, Explosions and Selloffs by John Buckingham of AFAM

It was a miserable week, what with the Boston bombings, lockdown and shootout, the horrific fertilizer plant explosion in Texas and the ricin-laden letters sent to elected officials providing vivid reminders that we still live in a dangerous world. True, the week ended about as well as it could as Friday night’s incredible drama in Watertown brought some closure in Boston and the come-from-behind victory for the Red Sox on Saturday was right out of Hollywooda three-run go-ahead home run after Neil Diamond leads Fenway Park in a rendition of Sweet Caroline!

2013-04-22 Gold Market Free Fall: Time to Jump Ship? by Walter Stabell III of Invesco

The gradual fall of the gold market intensified this week as investors reacted to signals that the US Federal Reserve would wind down its stimulus bond-buying programs as well as reports that the Cyprus government could sell its gold reserves to fund the country’s debts.

2013-04-22 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

The end to another tax season; a hectic week on the earnings calendar; a number of key domestic economic releases; and ongoing developments on the global economic frontand yet, much of the country (and world for that matter) was focused on the events in Boston and the aftermath of the bombing that led to a massive manhunt and a shootout with police. Early in the week, the celebrated Boston Marathon came to an abrupt halt as terror again reigned throughout the country and nearby residents were sent into lockdown mode.

2013-04-22 Will Emerging-Market Stocks Close Gap with Global Equities? by Morgan Harting of AllianceBernstein

Companies in emerging markets are more profitable and less debt burdened than their developed-market peers, and their shares trade at a deep discount. So when will emerging-market stocks close the gap with global equity markets?

2013-04-22 Is There a Silver Lining to the Gold Price Plunge? by Jon Ruff of AllianceBernstein

It’s been a volatile week for gold prices, which tumbled by the most in 30 years. Although gold is still not obviously undervalued, we think the recent market moves make stock prices of gold miners look attractive when compared with prices of the precious metal.

2013-04-22 Commodity Declines and Weak Data Startle Investors by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities declined last week as the S&P 500 fell by more than 2.0%, which came on the heels of a new all-time high the prior week. Led by gold, commodities experienced volatility and declined over the past two weeks. Other detractors included disappointing first quarter Chinese economic numbers and somewhat softer U.S. releases.

2013-04-19 Global Economic Overview - March 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Global economic trends turned softer during the month of March as indicators from Europe showed further declines and U.S. consumer sentiment moderated on labor market uncertainties, government spending cuts, and tax increases. Continuing weakness in European demand has somewhat dulled the export outlook for emerging economies, while government policies to prevent excessive asset price inflation have led to concerns about domestic consumption growth in these countries.

2013-04-19 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks moved up nicely last week despite poor economic data and a huge decline in precious metals and other commodities.

2013-04-19 Gold Buyers Get Physical As Coin and Jewelry Sales Surge by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Even with the gold price dropping, why are gold coins selling at a premium? It’s Economics 101: The coin supply is limited and the demand is high. This buying trend isn’t only occurring in the U.S. In Bangkok, Thailand, for example, crowds of buyers were filling stores, eagerly waiting in multiple lines to purchase gold jewelry and coins.

2013-04-18 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.

2013-04-18 Emerging Markets Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

The benefits of focusing on attractively priced, well managed and growing businesses, irrespective of their inclusion in an index, continued to aid fund performance. Thus it was virtually flat in March, capping a strong quarter in absolute and relative terms with a gain of over 10%, again beating the 5% gain by the index. These - achieved through a combination of a valuation discipline that sets the entry and exit prices and the focus on quality businesses. Not surprisingly, stock selection has been a consistent factor behind the outperformance, both this year and previously.

2013-04-17 S&P 500 Index Is It Really a Broad Market Index? by Stephen Hammers, Daniel Banaszak of Compass EMP Funds

The S&P 500 is one of the most widely-followed market indexes across the globe with over 1 trillion U.S. dollars in assets tracking its performance. Despite its widespread acceptance, it contains some inefficiencies One of the chief inefficiencies, and the main focus of this commentary, is in how weights are assigned to members in the index as a market capitalization-weighted index.

2013-04-17 Hyperactive Monetary Policy: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by Lupin Rahman, Mohit Mittal, Josh Thimons of PIMCO

Hyperactive monetary policy (HMP) is in full force as fiscal policy retreats. The benefits of HMP outweigh the costs for now. Despite cyclical growth, we will likely not achieve escape velocity and eventually the costs will likely overtake the benefits.

2013-04-17 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities corrected for the second successive month in March, on concerns that continuing weakness in European demand could hurt export growth for several countries in Asia and Latin America. These economies had seen a revival in their export fortunes during the second half of last year as U.S. consumer demand turned healthier. However, the moderation in U.S. consumer sentiment during March has somewhat dulled the optimism.

2013-04-16 Michael Pettis - Can China Save Itself? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Most analysts predict China’s growth will slow; they disagree only as to the depth and timing of its eventual recession. A rare exception to that group is Michael Pettis. Pettis, who describes himself as a skeptic, believes China can rebalance its economy.

2013-04-16 All That Glitters Is Not Gold by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

This quote from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is apropos given the nosedive in the gold markets today. In our 2013 Best Ideas piece we labeled gold a neutral as gold had not had a significant correction since 2008. Our research indicated a significant slowing of bullion purchases by gold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in 2012 versus 2011. We looked for a correction and now need to contemplate whether we are in the end of the commodity bull market or merely a pause that refreshes.

2013-04-12 How a Landslide Shifts Copper Supply by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The U.S. mining industry was dealt a devastating blow as Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Canyon Mine experienced a pit wall failure causing a massive landslide with rocks and dirt covering the bottom of the mine pit. It’s a miracle no one was hurt due to the vigilance of its owner, Rio Tinto. The landslide is just one example of how quickly and unexpectedly the supply and demand factors facing the red metal can shift, which underscores the need for nimble active management.

2013-04-10 Looking for Warm Milk and a Blanket by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Conspiracy theory economists would say that the Government fudged the data weaker so that it could help sell $60-70 billion in U.S. debt this week. Whatever the outcome, last week we had a perfect storm of high expectations for the data + very below average March weather + the payroll tax hike impact + the upcoming sequester worry. Economic data will move violently from month to month, but unfortunately last week, it was mostly in the WEAKER THAN EXPECTED direction and investors did not hesitate to bring pain on risk assets.

2013-04-10 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 People’s 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.

2013-04-05 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for the U.S.: Back From the Brink by Josh Thimons of PIMCO

We expect the largest contributors to U.S. growth this year will be housing and related industries, increases in capital expenditures (albeit from very depressed levels), certain manufacturing sectors, such as the auto industry, and the energy sector. We see roughly 1.7 percentage points of drag on GDP coming out of Washington far less than the four to five percentage points of potential drag had there been no fiscal cliff resolution. We believe the Fed will continue with hyperactive monetary policy, which we now call “QE Infinity,” that does not have an explicit end date or progr

2013-04-03 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 don’t 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.

2013-03-28 Emerging Markets Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

The increases in the portfolio’s 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.

2013-03-27 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 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.

2013-03-22 Power of Positive Screening: Pursuing Strength of Social and Financial Returns by Chat Reynders, Patrick McVeigh of Reynders, McVeigh Capital Management

Market volatility and sweeping changes to mainstream views of investing are catalyzing acceptance of tactics that combine fundamentals with a progressive outlook on social issues. Positive screening brings balanced companies to the fore of the investment landscape: this practice isolates sound equities that demonstrate strength of balance sheet, dependability of management, and a commitment to act as part of a global community focused on positive change.

2013-03-20 Is The Government Lying To Us About Inflation? Yes! by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped an unexpected 0.7% in February. This was above pre-report estimates and was the highest monthly reading since 2009. We should be very concerned, right? Let’s take a closer look.

2013-03-20 Spending Patterns Paint Half Truth by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On March 13th, the Commerce Department announced a 1.1 percent increase in food and services retail sales, doubling a prior Dow Jones survey of economists that forecast an increase of just 0.6 percent. This new data has led to a fresh wave of enthusiastic commentaries that the US economy is set for a strong recovery. Less examined were the underlying factors that supported the increase.

2013-03-20 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.

2013-03-18 Currencies: A 1970s Flashback? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Four decades ago, a currency war and significant Fed easing were followed by a bout of high inflation. Now investors are worried that history could repeat itself.

2013-03-14 Tightening the Noose: Can the SEC and Its New Chairman Be Tougher on Wall Street? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Although the SEC has always been the federal government’s chief guardian of integrity in the financial markets, critics have a long list of grievances, including claims that the agency is too unsophisticated and too soft on wrongdoers. Assuming she is confirmed as the new SEC chairman, Mary Jo White will need almost superhuman skills to make the SEC more effective. Can she -- or anyone, for that matter -- accomplish this?

2013-03-13 Feared Copper "Flood" More Likely a Trickle by Jon Ruff of AllianceBernstein

Investors have turned bearish on commodities, particularly in the case of copper, where recent talk of a looming surge in new supply has sparked fears of a price rout. We’re skeptical about the copper supply-glut story and don’t think what’s happening in copper is a "canary in the coal mine" for the rest of the metals markets.

2013-03-07 After the Dow Record Close: What Comes Next? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

After Tuesday's record setting Dow Industrials close, are US stocks still cheap? Can the market move higher? Russ answers these questions and more.

2013-03-06 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 Welcome Back, Visible Risk by Rob Stein of Astor Asset Management

Risk and more accurately "visible risk" has re-entered the market, and that's a very good thing. Visible risk is what you can measure, evaluate, mitigate, manage, and hedge (at least to some degree).

2013-03-05 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 Currencies: The Winds of War by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

In this conflict, the collateral damage could include asset bubbles and accelerating inflation.

2013-03-04 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.

2013-03-01 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 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 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.

2013-02-26 Howard Marks? Warnings and How to Protect your Portfolio by Geoff Considine (Article)

Howard Marks, founder and chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, wrote in a recent memo that the biggest danger to investors is their willingness to buy risky assets that are likely to provide low returns. Market conditions may not fully reflect current risk; option prices, for example, are very low. Some firms ? notably PIMCO ? recommend investors buy put options to protect their portfolios. I propose an alternative strategy that will be resilient to the potential shocks of increased volatility and higher interest rates, without incurring the cost of options.

2013-02-26 Global Investment Review First Quarter 2013 by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

At the beginning of last year the prospects for capital markets were grim yet the results surprisingly good: positive returns and modest economic growth. The cause was central banks in developed countries acting as a backstop for sovereign and other large debts, through direct purchasing funded by accelerated money printing. This also ensured low interest rates. Subsequently, mountainous debt problems are slowly being tackled, even as they appear to increase.

2013-02-26 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.

2013-02-25 Fed Will Make Excuses About Inflation by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Inflation is tame. For now. The CPI was flat in January and is up only 1.6% from a year ago. The PPI rose a small 0.2% in January and is up just 1.4% from a year ago. And even though energy prices spiked in February, the year ago comparisons are likely to stay tame. The consensus expects the February CPI to rise 0.6% - the largest in 44 months. Nonetheless, it would still show just 1.9% inflation in the past year, which is still below the Federal Reserves target of 2%. This wont last. With the Fed loose; we expect consumer prices to rise toward 3% during 2013.

2013-02-25 Dodging the bullets by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

Although the year is barely a month old there are already signs that the long-awaited rotation out of the perceived safety of bonds and into inflation-proofed equities may have begun. Given the dismally low yields on offer it seems likely that, at the very least, it is the beginning of the end of the bond market bubble. Some of the biggest bubbles in the bond market, and thus most at risk from a sell-off, are in high yield and emerging market debt.

2013-02-22 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 UK Equities Reach Inflation Tipping Point by Jon Ruff, Patrick Rudden of AllianceBernstein

As UK inflation surges ahead, equity investors should be concerned. With yields on inflation-linked bonds at extreme lows, we think real assets offer a better way to combat the risk of rising prices.

2013-02-20 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.

2013-02-19 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 Jesse Livermore by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

"There were times when my plans went wrong and my stocks did not run true to form, but did the opposite of what they should have done if they had kept regard for precedent." So said Jesse Livermore, as chronicled in the brilliant book Reminiscence of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefever; and, stock market historians will recall that Jesse Livermore is still considered one of the most colorful market speculators of all time.

2013-02-15 Thailand: Land of the Smiles by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

China and India may be Asia's largest economies, but they aren't the only countries with growth potential on the continent. Southeast Asian countries can also offer compelling investment opportunities. Thailand, known as the land of the smiles because of the expression its natural beauty and friendly people inspire, is a country where we believe the economic prospects could give investors reasons to smile too.

2013-02-15 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.

2013-02-14 Is Inflation Around the Next Corner? Then What? by Pete Sorrentino of Huntington Funds

As the Federal Reserve Board reiterates its intention to keep interest rates near zero into 2015, it appears that the markets and many investors are growing complacent about inflation. Ever since the Financial Crisis of 2007-08, "headline inflation," as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), has stayed low so far. Although it has threatened to break out at times, economic weakness has restrained the price growth that underlies inflation.

2013-02-13 The Economy: Worst Five Years Since the Depression by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

While the many facts and figures below are disappointing, even depressing, Americans need to know the truth about the real state of our economy and our union. Consider what follows as a rebuttal to President Obama's speech tonight. Feel free to forward this to as many people as you wish.

2013-02-11 Brazil: Infrastructure Push Creating New Opportunities Across Sectors by Team of Thomas White International

Both corporates and the federal government have started investing heavily on overhauling Brazil's infrastructure.

2013-02-11 Solving the Profitability Puzzle by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

Companies around the world enjoyed especially high profit margins in late 2012. But can this trend be maintained or is profitability poised for a collapse that might threaten stocks this year?

2013-02-11 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."

2013-02-11 When to Worry About Inflation by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Though the Fed continues to flood the US economy with money, Russ explains why inflation isn't likely to be a problem until 2014 and what investors can do in the meantime to prepare.

2013-02-08 The Year in Review: 2012 by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Politicians crave the spotlight, but it is unfortunate that investors watch the show. 2012, like 2011, was another year in which Washington theatrics scared investors. As a result, investors largely missed out on above average equity returns. Corporate profits and valuations, and not Washington, continue to be the primary drivers of equity returns. We think there are several important points to consider when reviewing 2012 performance, and when structuring portfolios for 2013.

2013-02-08 Investing In a World of Make Believe by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

In recent years, a high degree of economic, financial, and political uncertainty has resulted in acute volatility in stocks, real estate, commodities and precious metals. I believe that another aggravating factor has been the increasing skepticism through which the investing public views government statistics and statements.

2013-02-08 Out With the Dragon In With the Snake by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Over 2013, we expect the Chinese government to continue its accommodative efforts, which should reinforce the equity rally. In addition, the new pyramid of power is focused on growth, as it seeks to improve and reform policies that will provide its residents with opportunities and social security, increase incomes and raise standards of living, which should encourage domestic consumption. Growth is set to be considerable over the next several years.

2013-02-07 Commodities: Correlating Trends with Opportunities by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Commodity price inflation is both a social and an economic issue. In emerging markets in particular, food and energy costs take a deeper slice out of consumers' income, which can lead to the type of unrest that causes governments to topple. In addition to the potential impact of extreme weather on food supplies, central banks around the world are printing a flood of money, which could lead to inflated prices for other goods and services.

2013-02-07 Investing In a World of Make Believe by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

In recent years, a high degree of economic, financial, and political uncertainty has resulted in acute volatility in stocks, real estate, commodities and precious metals. I believe that another aggravating factor has been the increasing skepticism through which the investing public views government statistics and statements.

2013-02-05 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 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.

2013-02-04 Our Outlook: Very Bullish for the Stock Market by Team of Sadoff Investment Management

The combined readings of these breakouts, volume strength, significant pivots by a long list of financial stocks and improving commodity prices evidence major trend improvements. Restated, the underpinnings for both the economy and stock market evidence significant strengthening ahead.

2013-02-04 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.

2013-01-31 Credit Supernova! by Bill Gross of PIMCO

They say that time is money. What they don't say is that money may be running out of time. There may be a natural evolution to our fractionally reserved credit system which characterizes modern global finance. Much like the universe, which began with a big bang nearly 14 billion years ago, but is expanding so rapidly that scientists predict it will all end in a "big freeze" trillions of years from now, our current monetary system seems to require perpetual expansion to maintain its existence.

2013-01-30 The Complicated Case of Mali by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On January 11, 2013, French President Francois Hollande announced the French military was intervening in Mali at the request of the government. The Mali military was reeling in the face of jihadist rebels from the north who were making rapid inroads toward the south. Although the U.N. Security Council had authorized an African-led military intervention in Mali to contain the rebels, it had been ineffective. Thus, France "piggybacked" off that resolution to justify its intervention.

2013-01-29 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

As the 2012 year closed, the emerging economies of Europe joined their cousins in the developed world for their share of woes, and in particular, were impacted by the debt crisis in the Euro-zone, their primary trading partners. Though Russia, the biggest of these economies, finally managed to become a member of the World Trade Organization, the resource-dependent economy recorded slowing growth during the third quarter as both household consumption and state spending expanded at a slower pace.

2013-01-29 Q4 2012 Market Commentary by Team of Altegris Advisors

With the end of a historically challenging year for alternative investment strategies, signs emerge of a potentially more favorable environment.

2013-01-25 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 Americas: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

The outlook for most economies in the Americas region improved during the fourth quarter as domestic consumption growth was sustained and the anticipated revival in global demand has lifted the prospects for export growth this year. Partly helped by fiscal and monetary policy measures introduced since 2011, consumer demand has held up across most countries in the region.

2013-01-24 10-Year Shiller P/E Exposes Cyclical Overvaluation and Undervaluation by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Last week we spoke to the Washington Hay Growers Convention in Kennewick, Washington. Those who grow hay have enjoyed a very similar boom in the last twelve years that wheat and corn growers have enjoyed. The parking lot was full of nearly new heavy duty trucks and the convention floor was packed with $400,000 to $700,000 farm implements from major manufacturers. These farmers have been feasting in the boom and it got me thinking about how to correctly value cyclical businesses, because at Smead Capital Management valuation matters dearly.

2013-01-23 Economic Backdrop Supports Stocks, Credit Sectors and Munis by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Thanks to solid earnings, some decent (if mixed) economic news and indications that the debt ceiling debate may be delayed slightly, stocks posted additional gains last week, continuing their strong start to 2013. For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 1.2% to 13,649, the S&P 500 index advanced 1.0% to 1,485 and the NASDAQ composite rose 0.3% to 3,134. Bonds have remained relatively steady, with the 10-year Us treasury closing the week at a yield of 1.84%, two one-hundredths lower than the previous Friday close.

2013-01-23 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 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies witnessed mixed economic fortunes during the fourth quarter of 2012. While the group's largest economy, Japan, suffered from stubborn deflation and slumping trade due to a bitter territorial dispute with China, Singapore and Hong Kong managed to fare better.

2013-01-22 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 Consumer Staples: Don't Overpay for Safety by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Many investors have flocked to the perceived safety of defensive sectors over the past few years, including consumer staples. But Russ gives three reasons they might want to think twice about the sector now.

2013-01-18 Will This Risk-On Period Last? by Daniel Loewy and Brian Brugman of AllianceBernstein

The odds of the market staying in risk-on, risk-off mode are lower than they were a few months ago, in our viewbut still too high to take a highly aggressive stance.

2013-01-17 Investing in Africa: Misconceptions and Realities by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

It's easy to fall prey to misconceptions and generalizations about places we've never been: to assume everyone in the United States drives big cars, all the French love croissants and all Canadians play hockey. There are many misconceptions about investing in developing markets, and Africa certainly has its fair share, but it's dangerous to make sweeping generalizations.

2013-01-17 End of An Era: 30 Years of Double-Digit Chinese Growth by Bryce Fegley of Saturna Capital

Slumping exports, lackluster domestic consumption, and slowing urban migration contribute to lower growth expectations for China. With Chinese manufacturing capacity now saturated relative to global demand, and developed economies facing the consequences of over-indebtedness, external tailwinds to China's growth have passed.

2013-01-16 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 Gundlach?s Predictions for 2013 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Don't expect the low volatility that characterized the capital markets in 2012 to continue. Global economic uncertainty remains, and markets are poised like a 'coiled snake' to reward or penalize investors in certain asset classes, according to Jeffrey Gundlach.

2013-01-15 Template for a Year-End Client Letter 2012 in Review: Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future by Dan Richards (Article)

Client concerns about whether you're on top of things can be reduced by sending regular overviews of what's happened in the immediate past and the outlook for the period ahead. That's why each year 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.

2013-01-15 New Ice by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Last week, the immediate snap-back reversal we were expecting lasted 3 days and then the rebound to new short-term highs that we also spoke about occurred as well. While it is always difficult in the very short term to tell if we are back on track, to me it looks like we remain pointing higher, expecting some short-term dips along the way.

2013-01-15 A Conversation With Warren Buffett by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Clearly, the stock market "thinks" something good can happen given the action so far this year. To wit, we ushered in the New Year with a 90% Upside Volume Day on December 31st followed by another 90% Upside Volume Day on January 2nd (90% of total volume traded came in on the upside). Such back-to-back Upside Days are pretty rare, especially at the beginning of the year.

2013-01-15 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.

2013-01-14 The 'Dark Continent' is Shining Bright by Team of Thomas White International

From a recipient of aid, Africa has transformed itself into a magnet attracting capital and investment.

2013-01-07 It's the Bond Vigilantes Stupid by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

Most people are looking to the politicians in Washington to reign in the deficit by bringing spending under control. Based on their record this optimism seems severely misplaced. Nevertheless, the technical position of the bond market is suggesting that a more disciplined and powerful force is waiting in the wings. After a long 31-year vacation it may be time for the bond vigilantes (skeptical global bond investors who vote with their money) to return to town. The President has said a deal over the debt ceiling is non- negotiable but the non-partisan bond vigilantes may have a different view.

2013-01-04 Ring in the New by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

The "year of the dragon" in 2012 certainly didnt disappoint, as the global markets battled one financial dragon after another. From the Eurozone's sovereign debt crisis to persistently high unemployment in the U.S. and a mayday call from many who worried that China's growth rate was headed for a "hard landing," 2012 certainly was interesting. As we turn the calendar page to 2013, the Eurozone seems to be in less-critical condition and China's economic growth still appears to be flying but as of this writing, the U.S. debt problems still haven't been solved.

2013-01-04 In 2013, Resolve to Follow the Money by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

During these first days of January, many adopt an out with the old, in with the new, approach to shed bad habits or extra pounds. Washington opted for its same ol strategy when averting the fiscal cliff, as the addictive nature of can-kicking is a transatlantic sport, according to The Economist. The short-term fix did nothing to control the unsustainable path of entitlement spending on pensions and health care nothing to rationalize Americas hideously complex and distorted tax code... and virtually nothing to close Americas big structural budget deficit.

2013-01-03 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!We don't know what you did on Monday night to ring in 2013, but the U.S. Senate was in session as they were attempting to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff".At 2:07 a.m. on New Year's Day the Senate passed a bill, 89 to 8, which does a number of different things.Then late that same morning, the House also passed the bill.We are going to touch on a few of the highlights in this opening Bullet and promise to give a more detailed analysis in our mid-month Bullets.

2013-01-03 Treasury's Last Pillar Crumbles by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

With the return of Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party to power in Japan, the market for US Treasuries may be losing its last external pillar of support. Re-elected on September 26th, Abe has quickly set a course for limitless inflation, saying Japan must "free itself from deflation and the strong yen." This is significant to the global economy as Japan is the largest foreign power left with a strong appetite for US Treasuries. If this demand falters, the Fed may be the only remaining buyer of new Treasury issuance.

2013-01-03 Money for Nothin' Writing Checks for Free by Bill Gross of PIMCO

It was Milton Friedman, not Ben Bernanke, who first made reference to dropping money from helicopters in order to prevent deflation. Bernanke's now famous "helicopter speech" in 2002, however, was no less enthusiastically supportive of the concept. In it, he boldly previewed the almost unimaginable policy solutions that would follow the black swan financial meltdown in 2008.

2012-12-28 The Year's Surprises in Gasoline, Oil and Resources Stock Prices by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

On Wednesday, I talked about three of the top 10 commentaries that were popular over 2012. Here are a few more to highlights.

2012-12-28 Readers' Golden Nuggets Focused on Gold, Resources and Overcoming Negativity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The past few days Ive been counting down the most popular commentaries over the past year. China, commodities and bond fund popularity were big hits; so were the Surprises in Gasoline, Oil and Resources Stock Prices. Here are the top four.

2012-12-27 Reader Favorites: A Countdown by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The days between Christmas and New Year's are ideal times to reflect on the topics that captured your interest the most over the past year. To help uncover the top commentaries that were discussed, shared and read, we went data mining across news and social media sources. Over the next few days, I'll be counting down the top 10, concluding with the Investor Alert on Friday.

2012-12-21 The Outlook for Commodity Stocks by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Popular sentiment holds that commodities remain in a secular uptrend, but commodity-oriented stocks (Energy and Materials) have been underperforming for more than a year-and-a-half. Were increasingly convinced their 2008 relative strength highs won't be challenged for a very long time. Yes, Emerging Market demand may rebound next year. But remember Econ 101, and the day your professor discussed supply? This side of the equation doesn't look as good. Among the two commodity-based sectors, Energy looks cheaper and appears much more washed out from a sentiment perspective.

2012-12-18 Three Takeaways from the Fed by David Rosenberg (Article)

The equity market likes the prospect of more money printing and the Fed's more forceful efforts to reflate the economy, and stocks are a far better inflation hedge than bonds.

2012-12-18 Central Bank Insurance by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Possibly, the question I am asked the most is, "What do you think about gold?" While I have written brief bits about the yellow metal, I cannot remember the last time I devoted a full e-letter to the subject of gold. Longtime readers know that I am a steady buyer of gold, but to my mind that is different from being bullish on gold. In this week's letter we will look at some recent research on gold and try to separate some of the myths surrounding gold from the rationale as to why you might want to own some of the "barbarous relic," as Keynes called it.

2012-12-14 2013: A Year in Global Equities by Virginie Maisonneuve of Schroders Investment Management

Global equities are very attractively valued and we are positive for their prospects in 2013 as the global economy normalises. Progress in Europe, the end of China's growth slowdown and continued momentum in the US economic recovery will support global equities. Longer-term investors must position themselves for a growth-saturated world in which sustainability and innovation will be even more important.

2012-12-14 No Way Out by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

By upping the ante once again in its gamble to revive the lethargic economy through monetary action, the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee is now compelling the rest of us to buy into a game that we may not be able to afford. At his press conference this week, Fed Chairman Bernanke explained how the easiest policy stance in Fed history has just gotten that much easier. First it gave us zero interest rates, then QEs I and II, Operation Twist, and finally "unlimited" QE3.

2012-12-13 Will China's New Leaders Rise to Reform? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

While the uncertainty wrought by the election process in democratic countries may be largely absent in China, the country's gradual transition to new leadership and the likely new course for the country over the next decade still raises questions. In March 2013, the National People's Congress, China's parliament and highest state body, intends to formally usher in China's leadership, and some members of the "old guard" are retiring. Will China's new leaders continue to reform the economy, moving it toward a domestic consumption model, and still be able to maintain enviable growth rates?

2012-12-13 3 Potential Scenarios for 2013 by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Despite getting lucky in 2012, many of the major risks that economies and markets faced this year remain. With the current environment in mind, Russ K shares his 3 potential scenarios for 2013 along with potential investment strategies for each.

2012-12-12 Does China Pass the Smell Test? by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We at Smead Capital Management believe that prolonged faith in China's economy and the belief that emerging market growth will be an elixir for developed market multi-national companies is the erroneous gift that just keeps giving. If China's economy has been successfully soft landed from its boom, why is the internal Shanghai Composite index making new lows as recently as last week (November 29th, 2012)?

2012-12-11 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.

2012-12-11 The Death of Managed Futures? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Managed futures strategies, or systematic trend followers, have long been an important component of diversified high net worth portfolios. Because of their ability to go both long and short in more than 100 global futures markets spanning equities, currencies, commodities, rates, and bonds managed futures have historically generated very uncorrelated performance to traditional investments.

2012-12-11 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The stock market continues to have one eye on Washington DC and the other on the various global concerns of slowing growth and European disintegration. The net result was another quiet and slow week of trading.

2012-12-10 13 for '13 by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Each December we publish a list of investment themes that we feel are critical to the coming year. We continue to believe that US equities are in the midst of a major bull market that could ultimately rival 1982's bull market. It is hard to be bearish when one considers the following.

2012-12-08 How Gold Miners Can Leverage the Price of Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gazing into their crystal balls this week, Wall Street firms interpreted differing futures for gold next year. Morgan Stanley awarded gold the best commodity for 2013 while Goldman Sachs called the end of the metals hot streak. After seeing 11 consecutive years of positive performance from gold, one needs to be wary of research analysts price forecasts, as they have consistently underestimated the shifting dynamics driving the precious metal higher.

2012-12-06 Meet the New Boss by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

On November 14th, the new Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) was unveiled. The composition of this new group had been anxiously awaited for months. Although most of the members (all men, by the way) had been anticipated, there were some surprises. This committee is the most powerful group in China; it is essentially the legislative and executive branch of the country. And, given that the judiciary is not really independent, the PSC effectively rules China.

2012-12-04 Economics 101: Little Return without Risk by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

A tremendous amount of energy and effort has been expended in the US on behalf of wealthy investors to secure returns while reducing risk. Like any useful endeavor, it started out as a wise thing and reached its stride in the late 1990s as a way to deal with a massive asset misallocation. As Warren Buffett always says, What the wise man does at the beginning, the fool does at the end. It appears to us that the efforts to eliminate risk in the US capital markets have reached the foolish point.

2012-12-04 Strawberry Fields Forever? by Bill Gross of PIMCO

As John Lennon forewarned, it is getting harder to be someone, and harder to maintain the economic growth that investors have become accustomed to. The New Normal, like Strawberry Fields will take you down and lower your expectation of future asset returns. It may not last forever but it will be with us for a long, long time.

2012-11-30 Active Management: Don't Drop the Pilot by Patrick Rudden of AllianceBernstein

For years, we've advised clients to hold diversified portfolios with balanced allocations to stocks, bonds and other assets. Lately, it's been a hard sell, especially after years of underperformance by active equity managers. But the tide may be turning.

2012-11-27 A Critique of Grantham and Gordon: The Prospects for Long-term Growth by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

The vigorous global economic growth of the last two centuries is over, according to Jeremy Grantham and Robert Gordon. That prediction, if correct, has profound and worrisome implications for investors. And the short-term trend is indeed disquieting: Growth has been close to zero over the last decade in advanced countries. But the most likely outcome is that per capita GDP growth going forward will approximate its U.S. historical average of 1.8%, and it will grow faster in developing markets.

2012-11-21 Meet Cliff by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Oh, we had heard about Cliff. We were warned about this nefarious character many months ago. We knew he was lurking and we knew he was not going to just go away. Cliff had invited himself into our lives, and unless we dealt with him, he was not going anywhere. You, the hard-working financial advisor, have probably been wondering when everyone else would notice him. That time came when the sun came up Wednesday after the election. There he was, casting his extraordinarily long and potentially costly shadow. Fiscal Cliff finally entered the national spotlight. It is time to meet him.

2012-11-20 President Obama?s Re-Election and the Impact on the U.S. Economy by Eaton Vance Distributors, Inc. (Article)

President Obama?s re-election resolves a major element of uncertainty that has hung over the political landscape. But what kind of impact will his victory have on the economy and the markets, especially with the House still in Republican control? We posed that question to a roundtable of five investment professionals from Eaton Vance Management, Hexavest and Richard Bernstein Advisors.

2012-11-15 Pacific Basin Market Overview - October 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Equity markets derived support this month from improved U.S. economic data and an impression that China's economy might be bottoming out. In addition, the Euro Area Industrial Production numbers came in above consensus. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan declined by 0.39% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index gained 0.44% in October 2012.

2012-11-13 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

The multiple hurricanes of fiscal deficits and monetary malfeasance are headed our way. Unfortunately, financial market models that seek to assess the magnitude, direction, and timing of economic tempests are far less precise than those of our scientific brethren. So, we prepare for the worst, but we dont immediately evacuate. There are still plenty of opportunities for solid investment returns and we will describe two new investments in the pages that follow. Yet, the risks are real, as we have discussed frequently in these letters, so our overall portfolio structure remains conservative.

2012-11-13 Central Bank Insurance by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

"If you want to enjoy life, go to Buenos Aires. If you want to do business, go to Sao Paulo," the saying goes. It is hard to get an impression of a country by going to a city of 20 million people. It is like visiting New York City and thinking you can understand the United States. But I never fail to enjoy myself in Brazil.

2012-11-12 After the Election, Fiscal Cliff Outcome May Surprise by Libby Cantrill, Josh Thimons of PIMCO

Our base case for a fiscal cliff resolution continues to be a lame-duck mini-deal that would reflect about 1.5% of GDP in fiscal contraction in 2013 (vs. nearly 5% without a deal). But the dynamics of polarization and partisanship that played a role in past dysfunctional negotiations may have gotten worse. On a more optimistic note, it is widely known that second-term presidents are largely interested in their legacies spearheading noteworthy, bipartisan and lasting accomplishments for the history books.

2012-11-09 Americas: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Economic trends in most countries across the Americas region saw a moderate recovery during the third quarter, though the pace of growth remains subdued. Slower global demand due to the ongoing European recession and the slower expansion in Asia continues to restrict exports from the Americas. At the same time, domestic consumption growth has been relatively more robust than expected and has helped most regional economies prevent a deeper slowdown.

2012-11-09 Will China Ditch Mao To Save The Party? by James Gruber of Asia Confidential

Maintaining the status quo isn't an option. It'd jeopardize the future of the Communist Party itself. But the party has a habit of reinventing itself and I am cautiously optimistic that it'll do so again. You're likely to see China move more and more towards a Singaporean-style economic and political model.

2012-11-08 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia Pacific economies faced a challenging third quarter in 2012 as exports to key developed markets such as the Euro-zone came under pressure. As the austerity policies implemented by many of the countries in the Euro-zone caused a significant slump in demand, emerging market economies, which serve as the workshop of the world faced significant difficulties. Almost all major export-dependent nations like China, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia faced pressure to export growth. Still, most of the economies possessed both monetary and fiscal ammo to overcome the slowdown.

2012-11-07 October 2012 Monthly Commentary by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

A light flashed on in my car this morning, telling me that it was due for service. When I take it in, the mechanics will presumably check both the engine and the brakes before deciding on exactly what it is that I need to repair, replace or adjust. For investors, after nine months of ups and downs in markets, an investment strategy checkup is in order.

2012-10-31 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.

2012-10-26 October 2012: Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Equity and other "risk" assets rallied in the third quarter in anticipation of further monetary easing by central banks around the world. The prospect of increased liquidity from the central banks appears to have focused investor attention, at least temporarily, away from the generally softer economic data that continue to emerge from Europe and Asia.

2012-10-26 Will South Africa's Struggles Overshadow its Potential? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Africa is a continent many investors bypass, but from my perspective as a long-term investor, I think that's a mistake. South Africa has faced some struggles recently, but I think they can be overcome, and a brighter future could be ahead there for its people. South Africa is the largest economy in Africa, and is the only country on the continent where I think the "frontier" market label doesn't apply. Some have added an "S" to the end of the "BRIC" acronym to include South Africa in the grouping of emerging market economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

2012-10-24 Policy at a Crossroads by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

On September 13, the Federal Reserve announced a third round of quantitative easing, dubbed QE3, in the hope of providing an additional boost to the slow U.S. economic recovery. Although this latest policy action reinforces the notion that the U.S. is prepared to support its economy for as long as needed, some economists question whether the stimulus can really make a difference. In this issue of Strategic Spotlight, we consider the recent effects of loose monetary policy and whether the Fed has "reached its limit."

2012-10-24 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.

2012-10-23 How to Change the Regulatory Debate - Before it's Too Late by Bob Veres (Article)

After almost a decade of lobbying, arguing, and posturing, the long fight on Capitol Hill over who will regulate RIAs and how to define 'fiduciary' is approaching a close. Within the next six months, there will no longer be any real excuse to put off a decision, and new players, both in Congress and at the SEC, will be eager to start fresh.

2012-10-22 Eggs Are Not Enough: The Truth About Diversification by Feifei Li of Research Affiliates

We learn in finance theory that diversification simply means not putting all your eggs in one basket. Simple as the idea is, most investors do not hold portfolios that are even close to being truly diversified. Two reasons make this sensible objective difficult to achieve. First, most investors are not disciplined enough to implement diversification. To illustrate my point, pause and check whether you are willing to reduce equities when the trailing 12-month return on stocks is 20+ percentage points higher than bonds?

2012-10-22 The Little Country That Could by Bill O'Grady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

In this geopolitical report we will take a brief look at Estonia's history, its economy after the break-up of the Soviet Union, its remarkable economic growth in the 1990s and early 2000s, and the ensuing downturn in 2008. The country stands out for choosing a different path to deal with the recession than many other European countries.

2012-10-22 3 Investment Strategies for the New World by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

No doubt about it the investment climate has changed, and it's unlikely to change back anytime soon. Russ K gives 3 possible solutions for investors seeking to adjust to the new investment world.

2012-10-19 Muddling Down the Middle by Josh Thimons of PIMCO

PIMCO expects that the debate over the fiscal cliff will end in fiscal consolidation, but not a fiscal catastrophe. Unfortunately, while the Fed's monetary policy actions have been, by and large, successful in achieving its intermediate-term goal of increasing asset valuations, they have not been effective in influencing real economic outcomes. Our forecast for the drag on GDP from the fiscal cliff in the coming year is roughly negative 1.5%. Improvement in the housing market will only fill a small part in that hole.

2012-10-19 Monthly Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

In their efforts to support growth, governments and central bankers have steadily chipped away at the free market. Through increased regulation, financial suppression and monetary intervention they have accentuated the lack of supply in quality fixed income paper, driving bond yields down to previously unthinkable levels. Policy makers are almost pathological in their belief that the end justifies the means as they try to inflate away their debt by keeping interest rates below nominal growth.

2012-10-19 Chinese Stocks Looking Like a Bargain by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This appears to be a good time to be investing in China, as stocks are historically cheap. Chinese stocks are also cheap compared to emerging markets.

2012-10-19 ECB Needs to Rescue German and French Banks More than European Periphery: Global Macro View by George Bijak of GB Capital

Whenever we talk about rescuing overleveraged Europe it is always about Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, and Greece the European periphery loaded with debt that they cannot possibly repay. But a closer look at the recent IMF data reveals that German and French banks need rescue more than anybody

2012-10-18 Investment Outlook 2013: "ABCD" Investing: Anything Bernanke Cannot Destroy by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

The Ben Bernanke and Mario Draghi concert gave the markets a double shot of their love in the month of September by promising to print as much money as needed to finance the debts of their respective countries. Ever since the financial fraternity party ended in 2008 and the world began deleveraging its massive credit hangover, the global markets have been hooked on the next shot of love from the central bankers.

2012-10-18 Emerging Markets Equity - Monthly Product Commentary: September 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Investment inflows and low interest rates helped emerging market equities. Emerging market equities saw a healthy recovery during the month of September, as the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank rolled out aggressive monetary measures to support their respective economies. As the U.S. and Europe are the biggest markets for exports from emerging market countries, it is hoped that the latest monetary stimulus measures will help these countries revive the export growth that has slackened in recent months.

2012-10-17 Great US Companies: Tomorrow's Foundation by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Fears of a collapse in European economies and of a US recession subsided. Residential real estate appears headed for a comeback (Surprise?) in the US and nothing gives American consumers more confidence than knowing that their house is becoming more valuable.

2012-10-15 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Though investors seemed to overlook the negative earnings projections for the third quarter, the initial releases finally brought out the sellers. While the naysayers had been drowned out by the optimism of the Fed moves, the early results and management warnings prompted investors to sell (and sell and sell) as the major equity indexes each plunged over 2% in what was considered the worst week since June. Heck even a "cheery" Joe Biden couldn't save the markets this week.

2012-10-15 Commodity Inflation Complicating Pro-Growth Policies by Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The return of commodity inflation raises several questions, primary among them being the impact it will have on emerging markets. While rising commodity prices are generally bullish for equity prices in emerging markets, it may also inhibit central bank flexibility at a time when many developing countries are experiencing decelerating economic growth. This issue was paramount in 2010, leading to underperformance in many EM stock markets. Since then, however, commodity prices have generally moved sideways, allowing those fears to subside.

2012-10-12 The Fiscal Cliff and Your Portfolio by Travis Fairchild, Patrick O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

Whether or not we find ourselves staring over the fiscal cliff come January 1 is still very much in question, but investors are understandably concerned with what the resultant tax increases may mean for their portfolio values and dividend income. If Congress is unable to reach a compromise between now and January 2013, President Bush's 2003 tax cuts will expire and tax rates on income, dividends, and capital gains will increase by significant margins.

2012-10-12 Teetering on the Edge? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Concerns about a possible US recession remain elevated in light of the pending "fiscal cliff," resulting in some lackluster stock market action. The fiscal cliff and uncertainty around tax and regulatory policy appear to be influencing business decisions to the detriment of economic growth. While worst-case scenarios for Europe may have been taken off the table by the ECB, Spain's reluctance to ask for aid is causing consternation. And although we see continued weak growth in China, signs indicate the global slowdown may be turning around.

2012-10-12 Chinas Pyramid of Power by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We've been able to witness Chinas incredible growth, with GDP averaging 10 percent per year and more than 500 million people moving out of poverty over the past 30 years. Now after three decades of tremendous expansion, this new generation of leaders will have to carefully maneuver the country into the next decade, towing the line between maintaining the stability created during the previous Hu-Wen administration and continuing the political and economic reform necessary to adjust to the countrys slowing growth.

2012-10-11 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.

2012-10-11 The New TIPping Point by Jeremie Banet, Rahul Seksaria, Mihir Worah of PIMCO

The Federal Reserve's QE3 program combined with more aggressive communication are likely to have implications for Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS).

2012-10-10 Will South Africas Struggles Overshadow its Potential? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Africa is a continent many investors bypass, but from my perspective as a long-term investor, I think that's a mistake. South Africa has faced some struggles recently, but I think they can be overcome, and a brighter future could be ahead there for its people. South Africa is the largest economy in Africa, and is the only country on the continent where I think the "frontier" market label doesn't apply. Some have added an "S" to the end of the "BRIC" acronym to include South Africa in the grouping of emerging market economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

2012-10-10 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Don't bury Candidate Romney quite yet. The man looks to be in come-back mode and he has some experience in this area. Remember when Republicans preferred anyone but Mitt (Perry, Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, Santorum) and yet he emerged victorious from the primary season.

2012-10-09 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 A Q3 Letter to Clients - Insights from a Wall Street Legend 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. In it, I draw upon investing principles articulated by the legendary Barton Biggs, who passed away earlier this year.

2012-10-09 The Yin and Yang of 2012 Stock Markets Through September by Ron Surz (Article)

Despite investor concerns about the economy, stock markets delivered substantial returns in the year-to-date, with the S&P 500 returning more than 16% and Europe, Australasia, Far East (the EAFE index) delivering more than 10%. This growth has been in the face of investor withdrawals from equity mutual funds. So if mutual fund investors are selling, who is buying?

2012-10-08 China: Towering Ambitions by Team of Thomas White International

The proposed Sky City will have schools, hospitals, homes, stores, and offices.

2012-10-04 When Career Risk Reigns by Neils Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

In this month's Absolute Return Letter we pick up the baton from last month. How does the current crisis actually affect financial markets? How do you overcome the low returns? What can you do to protect the downside risk in a high correlation environment? We argue that career concerns often lead to irrational decisions by professional money managers and that this provides opportunities for those who can afford to deviate from the norm.

2012-10-03 The Fed Plays All Its Cards by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

There never really could be much doubt that the current experiment in competitive global currency debasement would end in anything less than a total war. There was always a chance that one or more of the principal players would snap out of it, change course and save their citizenry from a never ending cycle of devaluation. But developments since September 13, when the U.S. Federal Reserve finally laid all its cards on the table and went "all in" on permanent quantitative easing, indicate that the brainwashing is widely established and will be difficult to break.

2012-10-03 Circle the Wagons on GLD by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We spoke to two small groups in Spokane on September 21st, 2012. For better or worse, when I think of Spokane I think of my cousin Gary. It was 1981 and yours truly was a young stockbroker at Drexel Burnham Lambert. Gold had been in a wonderful bull market ride in the prior five to ten years. Gary was interested in participating in gold through a gold-mining stock traded on the Spokane Stock Exchange. Spokanes proximity to the Northern Idaho mining towns and closeness to the Canadian border made it a natural place for commodity traders and mining enthusiasts to gather to transact business.

2012-10-01 Typical Post-QE by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

We have typical post-QE market behavior. GTs sold off, then rallied. Equities rose, then flattened. The dollar sold off then strengthened. Gold crept up. Other commodities rose, yawned and gave up most of their gains. Earlier QEs took several months for this to play out. It now all happens in quick time.

2012-10-01 If Its All About Macro These Days, Why Havent EM Stocks Done Well? by Morgan Harting of AllianceBernstein

It doesn't seem to make sense. Superior macroeconomic fundamentals in emerging countries have not led to stronger-or even positive-equity returns over the last two years. Since the beginning of 2011, the unhedged return in US dollars of the MSCI Emerging Markets (EM) Index has been (10)%, while the MSCI World Index has delivered 6.5%. What's going on?

2012-09-28 Gold Glitters by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Just a few weeks ago, Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, announced that he would do anything required to bailout the weakest members of the Eurozone and in so doing prevent the euro currency from dissolution. Two weeks ago, as signs of recession increased, Fed Chairman Bernanke announced he would do anything required to stimulate the U.S. economy, real estate, and the financial markets. But the biggest winners thus far that may have resulted from these newly communicated intentions are not the euro or the broad stock markets but rather gold and gold-related investments.

2012-09-28 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.

2012-09-28 Look Out Below! The Fiscal Cliff Steepens by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Despite the recent happy headlines, most measures of US economic activity point to slower growth, which makes the threat of the fiscal cliff pushing the US economy into a recession even greater. Russ K explains how investors can prepare.

2012-09-27 QE3: Better for Gold than the Economy? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The Fed's recent actions may not have much impact on the economy, but, as Russ explains, keeping interest rates low for an extended period may help support commodities, particularly gold.

2012-09-27 Growing Pains in the BRICs by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

The "BRIC" countries have been a focal point of investor interest since the early 2000s. Brazil, Russia, India and China account for about half of the world's population, boast vast natural resources and are among the fastest-growing economies in the world. That said, progress at times has been uneven. Since 2010, the MSCI BRIC Index has largely underperformed the S&P 500 as economic growth flagged. In this edition of Strategic Spotlight, we discuss current conditions and the outlook for these markets.

2012-09-27 How Can Balanced Investors Mitigate Their Equity Risk? by Daniel Loewy of AllianceBernstein

Over the past three decades, bonds have provided balanced investors with the best of both worlds. As 10-year Treasury yields fell from a high of 13.7% in 1980 to less than 2% today, bonds provided both strong returns and a great cushion in times when equities were weak. Bonds are still important, but investors shouldn't expect more of the same.

2012-09-26 The Predictive Power of Dividends by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

In an article published by Marketwatch.com on September 21, 2012, Mark Hulbert asks the question, "Where do you think the stock market will be ten years from now?" It was as a lead into the results of a predictive model from Rob Arnott, founder of Research Affiliates. His model argues that current dividend yields go a long way to predicting ten-year forward returns. Other than a big glitch in the 1990's, it appears to have some value.

2012-09-26 Bernanke Put: Beware of Easy Money by Alex Merk of Merk Funds

Central bankers around the world may be providing a backstop to the financial markets in much the same way Greenspan did during the "Goldilocks" years, but when the short-term euphoria wears off, will the negative repercussions be even more severe?

2012-09-26 Are BRICs Hitting a Growth Wall? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

A global pattern of easing economic growth in the first half of 2012 has impacted the "BRIC" nations Brazil, Russia, India and China. However, I don't think the BRIC economies have hit a brick wall. While some market participants have been waiting impatiently for governments to undertake further stimulus measures, others have wondered whether something more fundamentaland less within governmental controlmight be at work.

2012-09-25 Jim Bianco ? Markets Will Benefit From Disastrous Fed Policy by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The Fed's quantitative easing policy will be 'disastrous,' according to Jim Bianco, but prices for riskier assets will rise over the near term as a result. In remarks last week, Bianco, the head of the Chicago-based economic research firm that bears his name, also gave the US economy a near-failing grade of C-, and warned that inflation will be 'problematic.'

2012-09-25 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.

2012-09-24 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

These days, the various central bankers keep trying to outdo themselves with new stimulus deals. This week, Bank of Japan followed the Fed leads with an expanded bond buying program. Perhaps the moves will reap dividends and the global economy will surge to higher highs in the not so distant future. (Or perhaps the "easy money" strategies will have little impact long-term and lead to periods of inflation and asset bubbles.) Apple's latest "new new" thing remains in hot demand (but can supplier keep up?).

2012-09-24 If youre a partisan Republican, skip this commentary by David Edwards of Heron Financial

In June after stocks slumped over concerns about Europe, we wrote "US stocks however, were a good value a month ago and a better value today. With the weak hands forced out by the recent 10% pullback, we are moving forward with investments in stocks." With two and half months remaining in the year, our "buying panic" forecast is starting to look prescient.

2012-09-24 Are Green Shoots Being Spotted from the Helicopter? by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

Ben Bernanke's helicopter has taken off from the tarmac once again. This time the QE3 flight path is headed, as some commentators have suggested, to "infinity and beyond". It seems to be a route whose popularity is growing as more and more central banks are expanding their balance sheets at record rates. So far this cycle inflation has been relatively well contained but that may be about to change, at least in the commodity pits.

2012-09-24 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The stock market was flat on low volume last week. In other words little of consequence happened. Oil prices fell back somewhat after rumors that a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve were floated by our government in an attempt to influence the market of yet another asset class. One wonders where the stock market, interest rates and the price of commodities would be if the government both at home and elsewhere was not manipulating prices to the extent they do.

2012-09-21 Growth for the Long Run by Jonathan Coleman, Brian Demain, Nick Thompson of Janus Capital Group

"I skate to where the puck is going, not where its been." Wayne Gretzky. Many investors would love to be as successful as The Great One when it comes to their portfolios. Yet investors are often heavily influenced by the past, losing sight of where they need to be going. This seems to be especially true today: mistrust of equities is running high after a decade of disappointing returns and excessive volatility.

2012-09-21 The Volatility Risk Premium by Graham Rennison, Niels Pedersen of PIMCO

Amid elevated global macroeconomic uncertainty and market turbulence, investors are searching for ways to diversify portfolios with non-traditional asset classes. Volatility risk premium strategies aim to capture a return premium over time as compensation for the risk of losses during sudden increases in market volatility. We believe investors seeking to diversify their equity risk exposures should consider adding volatility risk premium strategies to their portfolios, albeit with appropriate diversification across major option markets, active risk management and prudent scaling.

2012-09-20 QE n+1 What The Fed Is Really Up To by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

As I survey the news stories and other analysis on the Feds recent announcement, most fall short of describing what the Fed is really up to. Here is a hint: it's not really about employment. It's not really about "price stability" or really about growth either.

2012-09-19 Global Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

If America's Federal Reserve Bank were a battleship, it is losing off every available piece of ordnance. The portfolio has been positioned for such an event. The USS Fed does not know who or where the enemy is, or whether its attack will hit anything for several quarters.

2012-09-19 Farmland: The New Gold? by Randy Bateman of Huntington National Bank

Yes, it's just 'dirt', but life on this planet wouldn't exist as it does today unless it didn't comprise a third of the world's surface. Unfortunately much of that 'dirt' is in areas too wet, dry, rocky, salty, devoid of nutrients, or covered by snow for agricultural production. With only 14 percent of the world's landmass considered fertile, and that shrinking at a significant pace, there's a realization that increased farm production is essential to satisfy the increasing demand for food products.

2012-09-18 Recognize the Relative Advantages of Natural Resource Equities vs. Commodities by RS Investments (Article)

This RS Investments research brief examines how shifts in commodity fundamentals presents the case for employing natural resource equities as a means to benefit from favorable long-term secular trends, while achieving superior risk-adjusted returns, similar diversification benefits, and more reliable inflation protection relative to commodities.

2012-09-18 Shock and Awe by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Almost twenty years ago, the US initiated a campaign of "Shock and Awe" with its bombing campaign on the Iraqi capital city of Bagdad. I bring this up because some commentators are comparing the Federal Reserve announcement made last week (not to mention the shocking new Arab unrest and murder of our Ambassador!) to the "Shock and Awe" of the first day of the Iraq War. What made it "Shock and Awe" was that the new Fed policy differed, according to John Carney at CNBC, in three ways from past Fed actions.

2012-09-18 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week the stock market got all it wanted from the Central Banks of Europe and here at home. The money presses have been put on full power. The result was a continuation of the stock market rally along with commodities while bonds suffered a setback as investors swapped out.

2012-09-17 Emerging Markets Equity Monthly Product Commentary: August 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities saw a marginal price correction during the month of August, as concerns about growth moderation in these economies persisted. The economic downturn in Europe, one of the largest markets for export-oriented emerging market countries, continues to force policy makers in emerging economies to come up with programs to support domestic growth. However, renewed optimism over aggressive policy action to stem the fiscal crisis in Europe helped the emerging markets in.

2012-09-17 Global Overview: August 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Signs of emerging political consensus in Europe over supporting further action by the European Central Bank (ECB) and a closer banking union helped sustain investor sentiment during the month of August. Germany and select other countries that were skeptical of open ended policy measures by the ECB now appear to be scaling down their opposition.

2012-09-14 Afraid of QE3? Buy Real Assets by Seth J. Masters of AllianceBernstein

We expect to see continued asset-buying announcements from central banks around the world: the ECB last month, the Fed today, the Bank of Japan imminently. The impact of these announcements, and ensuing implementations on the real economy, are likely to be ambiguous at best. However, our research suggests that real assets such as real estate and commodities will profit from asset purchases in the near term and protect from related inflationary risks in the medium term.

2012-09-14 All In by Doug MacKay and Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

Dissatisfied with progress on the jobs front, the Fed went "all in" yesterday in its much anticipated, most recent policy announcement. Unlike QE1, QE2 and Operation Twist, the latest addition to the monetary smorgasbord is open-ended, meaning that it has no pre-established termination date. Policy will remain stimulative for as long as it takes to see a substantial improvement in employment. Rather than keeping rates low well into 2014, it could now be well into 2015 before they tick back up.

2012-09-14 Australias Second-largest Export It Isnt Coal by Adam Bowe of PIMCO

With growth in China now moderating, and the price of commodities and Australias terms of trade now declining, many investors are questioning how the Australian dollar has managed to remain well-supported. The explanation lies mainly in the changing structure of the funding of the current account deficit. Going forward this will likely have important implications for monetary policy in Australia if the decline in national income growth is not offset by a similar decline in the Australian dollar.

2012-09-14 Operation Screw by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The Fed will try to conjure a recovery on the backs of currency debasement. It will not stop or alter from this course. If the economy fails to respond to the drugs, Bernanke will simply up the dosage. In fact, he is so convinced we will remain dependent on quantitative easing that he explicitly said he won't turn off the spigots even if things noticeably improve. In other words, the dollar is screwed.

2012-09-12 Pacific Basin Market Overview - August 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Pacific Basin equity market performances were mixed during August 2012 and generally underperformed markets in Europe and North America, largely due to the drag caused by concerns surrounding Chinas slowing economic growth rate. Numerous statements made by European leaders to support the Euro helped to allay fears and brought yields on sovereign bonds lower during the month.

2012-09-11 Ponzi Games by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Whatever schemes the European Central Bank may cook up over the next few months will only prove short-term liquidity relief to what are long-term insolvency problems. Like any Ponzi scheme, the last money in is going to be hurt the worst when the charade comes to an end. In the meantime, investors proceed at their own risk.

2012-09-11 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.

2012-09-10 When Bad Is Good by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Faith in the Fed is growing more devout. Despite another disappointing jobs report, stocks drifted higher Friday to close out a strong week for the major averages as investors pinned their hopes to an imminent policy move from central bankers. It is becoming more apparent every day that the U.S. economy is sputtering. While housing appears to have stabilized, jobs and manufacturing are areas of concern.

2012-09-07 Chinas Next Act by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

World markets may not have to wait much longer for Chinese policymakers to act, as the government recently announced new infrastructure projects. According to Bloomberg, China approved 25 new subway construction projects, with related investments estimated to be more than 840 billion yuan. Railway, subway and construction stocks in China increased on the news. China is in much better shape than the rest of the world. A powerful rebalancing strategy offers the structural and cyclical support that will allow it to avoid a hard landing.

2012-09-01 Schwab Market Perspective: Back to Work by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

As summer winds down, we expect things to heat up as policymakers get back to work, resulting in a challenging investment environment.

2012-08-31 Rethinking How We Invest by Matt Scales of Columbia Management

Building portfolios to meet individual objectives is or should be a customized exercise, so this article should not be considered advice for any individual. Instead, it is an alternative philosophy to how investors have traditionally approached building portfolios. For the vast majority of us, we allocate our capital to asset classes with the highest expected returns.

2012-08-31 Prepare Now for the Looming Fiscal Cliff by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The general election season is finally upon us, and investors should begin shifting their focus from theoretical discussions about the impending fiscal cliff of potential tax hikes and spending cuts to more concrete action plans of what to do about it.

2012-08-29 A Two-Pronged Case for Holding Gold by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Gold continues to benefit from today's low interest rate monetary climate, and Russ says its diversifying effects mean the metal can be a valuable risk management tool for investors.

2012-08-29 The Russian Evolution by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

It might be tempting to say "everything old is new again" in Russia, given the return of Vladimir Putin to the presidency after a four-year hiatus, an interesting development in the country's political evolution. I think Russia has also evolved a great deal as an investment destination in the past two decades and holds great potential, although there is still more work to be done to open the markets and instill investor confidence.

2012-08-28 Permanent Portfolio Shakedown Part 2 by Adam Butler and Mike Philbrick of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

In our Permanent Portfolio Shakedown Part 1 we investigated the history of the approach, tracing it back to Harry Browne in 1982. The company he helped to found, The Permanent Portfolio Family of Funds, has been running their version of the strategy in a mutual fund for almost 30 years, with fairly impressive results. Harry's thoughts about the portfolio are worth repeating in this second installment.

2012-08-27 FPA Crescent: Steve Romick's Semi-Annual Report by Steven Romick of FPA Fund

FPA Crescent Fund has released its Semi-Annual report on the state of the fund and its investments. The piece also delves into portfolio manager Steve Romick's market outlook and thoughts regarding the fund's positioning moving forward.

2012-08-22 5 Counterintuitive Reasons Why the Investment Vehicle of the the Decade is ... Stocks by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

These days there are more varieties and combinations of investments than selections on a Starbucks menu -- but that's not necessarily a good thing. Now, you can invest in emerging markets, dividend-paying stocks, bonds from Africa and commodities that only farmers and professional speculators used to traffic in. Heck, clients can even tell an advisor they would like a double-long, midcap equity ETF.

2012-08-22 The Bullish Case for Energy Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Lower crude oil inventories and less spare capacity among OPEC oil producers are just two of many reasons why I continue to be bullish on energy and energy stocks over the long term. As I've been writing about for months, oil supply remains tight by historical standards. Among the reasons I gave in a post early this summer, I expect crude prices to rebound in the long term...

2012-08-22 Relative Value by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Everyone wants to wait for the perfect time to buy into the stock market or into any major investment market. They want to enter at historically cheap prices or at "absolute values". We at Smead Capital Management believe that these people are kidding themselves and everybody else. At the time of historical lows and "absolute value" those same folks are too mortified to pull the trigger and always come up with the reason that "it's different this time". Inertia rules the day.

2012-08-22 Mistrust Fuels Continued Gold Demand by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

In the face of growing fears of a renewed global plunge into economic depression and a climate of low apparent price inflation, investors might expect commodities and precious metals to be falling in price. Instead, gold continues to hover around a relatively high $1,640 an ounce and silver at $29. At the same time, central banks - including those of the ever more important China, Russia and India - continue aggressively to buy gold.

2012-08-21 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.

2012-08-16 The Chinese Hangover: As Infrastructure Spending Drops, So Does Demand for Chinese Steel by Raja Mukherji of PIMCO

The Chinese steel industry today shows many signs of serious economic difficulties brought about by the unprecedented size and speed of industry expansion. However, as the country's focus shifts away from public investments and toward tax cuts, it will be difficult for China to absorb this overabundance of domestically produced steel. Ripple effects of this oversupply may include softening iron ore prices, a possible drop in the Australian dollar, and potentially weaker global steel prices.

2012-08-15 Preparing Portfolios for Inflation by Ronit Walny, Kevin Winters of PIMCO

Although disinflation has seemed the more likely scenario in recent years, PIMCO expects inflation to accelerate from recent levels over the next three to five years, but double-digit rates are unlikely. An understanding of the constituents of the Consumer Price Index can help us design portfolios that seek to better defend against inflation. The core building blocks of such portfolios are commodities, Real Estate Investment Trusts and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.

2012-08-14 The Eurozone Drama Continues by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we will review the political and economic structure of the Eurozone. From there, we will discuss the critical event that caused the reversal in safety assets and what this reversal likely means for the geopolitics of the Eurozone. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2012-08-14 Oil: Does Supply and Demand Matter? by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We believe the long-term demand for oil will be greatly influenced by where the world gets its best future growth. As the chart below shows, the US has cut by 50% the amount of energy which is required to generate each dollar of Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

2012-08-13 Which Way Will the Pendulum Swing for Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

One of the most fascinating aspects when watching a sporting event like the Olympics is the historical statistics highlighting the tremendous advances in athleticism over the years. In the spirit of the events this summer, BTN Research compared gold's advancement from the beginning of the games in Beijing to the London Olympics.

2012-08-13 Commodities to Power Emerging Markets Higher by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Funds

In Latin America, Brazil leads as a natural supplier of copper and crude oil, which it is now able to extract and export on competitive terms. Nations rich with natural resources perform well during times of global economic expansion. In particular, countries rich with industrial commodities tend to outperform those without.

2012-08-10 Schwab Sector Views: Cautiously Cautious by Brad Sorensen of Charles Schwab

We remain slightly defensive with our sector recommendations but admit that we're a bit concerned over doing so. While we certainly believe this is the appropriate positioning given the continued elevated uncertainty in the market, combined with sluggish economic data, we also acknowledge that some defensive areas appear extended and the possibility of a near-term cyclically-based rally exists.

2012-08-10 Citius, Altius, Fortius by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Countries across the globe seek faster, higher, stronger growth. Central banks in the United States and Europe are both seeking new ways to stimulate economic activity. Recent news from the housing market has been encouraging, but the race to recovery is likely to be a marathon, not a sprint. Headwinds blowing from Europe and China will continue to present significant downside risks to U.S. economic growth.

2012-08-10 Dog Days by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We now appear to be firmly in the dog days of summer. Low volume and little conviction may dominate but investors need to stay vigilant and now is a good time to prepare for the fall. The recent Fed meeting yielded no new action, but policy makers reiterated that they will act if necessary. We are skeptical that more stimulus measures will have a lasting impact. A waiting game has ensued in Europe as investors look for action following hopeful comments from various officials. But despite concerns over corn prices, central banks will continue to ease, helping to support global growth.

2012-08-09 Food Inflation in Context by Team of American Century Investments

The news is full of reports about huge increases in prices for corn, wheat, and soybeans, as a result of a simultaneous, severe drought in many of the world's food-producing regions. Despite the dramatic headlines, the reality for U.S. consumers is that the food inflation they experience is likely to be much more tame. Indeed, the USDA projects a 2-3% increase in prices for fruits and veggies next year, with beef prices expected to rise a bit faster than that.

2012-08-09 Pacific Basin Market Overview - July 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management Co.

Most equity markets in the Pacific Basin region recovered somewhat in July after a weak second quarter on expectations of further monetary easing and measures by the European Central Bank to forestall a Euro currency crisis. However, when we examine the sector results, it is hard to conclude that the recovery was accompanied by an improvement in sentiment.

2012-08-08 Stock Pickers: "Somebody I Used to Know" by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Art has a tendency to express culture. One of today's catchiest songs does a great job of explaining the relationship between institutional/individual investors and US common stock picking. The song captures what has happened since the summer of 1999, when Warren Buffett warned investors about forward stock market returns because of a love affair that institutional and individual investors were having with US large cap stocks.

2012-08-08 Emerging Markets Equity Monthly Product Commentary: July 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities made modest gains during the month of July, as global markets sustained the optimism from the last week of the previous month. Select markets in Asia, such as Indonesia, Korea, and Malaysia, as well as Turkey and South Africa outperformed during the month. Repeated assurances by European policymakers over further policy action helped assuage market concerns about the region's fiscal crisis worsening, though economic data continues to be relatively weak.

2012-08-08 Monthly Product Commentary: International Equity - July 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

International equities made modest gains during the month of July on repeated assurances from European policymakers that they will explore all possible steps to prevent a collapse of the monetary union and arrest further economic decline. Developed markets in Europe's Nordic region and the Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, as well as select emerging markets in Asia ended with healthy gains for the month.

2012-08-06 Diamonds in the Rough by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

The demand for most high-quality, income-producing assets continues to exceed supply due to a weaker growth outlook and aggressive policy action by global central banks. Yet we are still finding numerous opportunities globally through our bottom-up research that targets areas around the world where fundamentals are supportive and the outlook remains constructive.

2012-08-06 Global Overview: July 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Global equity prices made modest gains in July, helped by strong gains in the developed markets in Europe's Nordic region as well as in the Asia Pacific, excluding Japan. Most major emerging markets in Asia also saw price gains during the month, while Spain, Italy, and select other markets in Europe lost further ground. U.S. GDP growth for the second quarter declined below the previous quarter's pace, but was marginally ahead of expectations.

2012-08-03 Real Assets Replication: Solving the Capital Call Conundrum by Andrew Hoffmann, Niels Pedersen, Mihir Worah of PIMCO

Risk factors help to identify the fundamental value drivers of real assets and explain differences in the reported returns of public and private equity investments that hold substantially similar assets. By combining the fundamentals of real asset valuations with the statistical tools required to unlock the component risk factors of asset classes, it is possible to replicate the returns of private real asset investments using liquid publicly traded instruments.

2012-08-03 Is Buy-and-Hold Dead? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

If one searches in Google for Does buy-and-hold work?, more than 191 million results will appear.If one searches for Is buy-and-hold dead?, more than 81 million results will appear.However, if one searches for Successful buy-and-hold strategies, only about 9 million results will appear.Its pretty clear that the investing world believes that buy-and-hold strategies are basically dead and gone.

2012-08-03 2nd Quarter Small Cap Newsletter by Team of 1492 Capital Management

The stock market posted a strong start for the year but quickly surrendered most of its gains as the macro environment (European debt concerns and China’s slowing economy) caused near-panic selling pressure until the last week of the quarter.

2012-08-03 How to Avoid the Bursting of the Bond Market Bubble by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

This letter is the first in a series that I hope you will take very seriously. U.S. interest rates are at record lows. Meanwhile, Obama and Congress are sky-rocketing the national debt. We all know this cant go on much longer.

2012-08-03 Hedging Against (and Profiting From) A Prospective Decline In The U.S. Dollar by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

The U.S. dollar has remained the world's reserve currency due to several factors: 1. Its large circulation (roughly $1.1 trillion); 2. The denomination of many transactions (especially commodities such as oil and other natural resources) being in USD; 3. The stability of its political system; and 4. The lack of any other viable options. However, that may not always be the case.

2012-08-03 The Race for Resources by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The world watched in awe as American swimmer Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time. It's inspiring to see the incredible results of his tremendous sacrifice and commitment. Investing in global markets requires the same sort of stamina, especially at times like this week, when the month's reading on the manufacturing industry was not encouraging. The J.P. Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI of 48.4 for July was the lowest since June 2009.

2012-08-02 Mythbusting: How Elections Affect Markets by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Elections do matter for the markets, but not necessarily for the reasons that investors tend to believe. Ahead of the next presidential election, Russ debunks some common myths surrounding markets and elections.

2012-08-01 China's Growing Pains by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Many feel that China is the engine for the world economy and that if it slows down, we may be doomed to a recession or even a depression. Yes, China's growth is decelerating from the double-digits of recent years; various forecasters are predicting a possible GDP growth range of 7-8% this year. However, I think it's important to emphasize that would still represent an impressive pace, and remember that China isn't the world economy's only locomotive.

2012-07-27 FOMC Preview: Christening QE III by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Look for the Federal Reserve to embark on a new round of quantitative easing next week.

2012-07-27 Bringing it Back Home by Philip Tasho of TAMRO Capital

Our financial system has been cleaned up and recapitalized; consumers have paid down debt and seem to be looking to buy houses again. A large part of the improvement in the domestic economy is centered on the housing revival. It is not rapid - again, its a slow recovery - but at least we seem to be moving forward.

2012-07-26 Wage Inflation in China: Implications for Inflation and Global Investing by Team of American Century Investments

The transformation of China's economy since the late-1970s when the country opened up to foreign investment and began to take steps to participate fully in the global economy has been nothing short of remarkable. The Asian giant has undergone a dramatic transformation from a comparatively small, underdeveloped, rural economy to a dynamic, urban, manufacturing-based economy that is now the second largest in the world.

2012-07-25 Economic Review: Americas - 2Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Among the developed economies in the region, growth forecasts for both the U.S. and Canada have been revised lower. Though the U.S. outlook has weakened, the Mexican economy has so far remained unaffected, as manufactured goods from the country remain competitive in export markets. Brazil is yet to see a recovery even after a series of monetary and fiscal measures taken since the second half of last year to support the economy.

2012-07-24 Never Lost?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Wall Street folklore suggests that in 10 years any fool can make every mistake there is in the stock market and that a really smart person can do the same in half the time. I don't know how long it took me, but I have tried to learn from those mistakes and avoid repeating them! Indeed, everybody who finally learns how to make money in the stock market learns his own way. I like this tale.

2012-07-24 Investment Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

The headlines in Europe were dominated by political uncertainty and prospects for a prolonged recession, amid signs of deteriorating economic conditions around the globe. The U.S. economy decelerated, as the positive effects of the mild winter wore off and both hiring and spending slowed. Treasury yields fell to all-time lows and oil prices plummeted roughly 30% from their February peak.

2012-07-24 Litman Gregory Mid-Year Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

High debt levels in developed countries create headwinds that are likely to hamper global economic growth in the years ahead. Europe's debt woes raise the risk of a damaging financial crisis, and global stock markets reflected these concerns in the second quarter. Why are we discussing this now? It is partly a reflection on having reached a quarter of a century in business and thinking about how we have conducted our business.

2012-07-23 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review 2nd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia, which posted strong results during the first quarter of 2012 on optimism that Europe's sovereign debt problems would be solved quickly, returned to struggling ways during the second quarter of 2012 as prospects for Europe continued to wobble throughout the period. The uncertainty about Greece's fate in the European Union and the destiny of the single market itself kept industrial firms in Europe guessing for the most part of the second quarter.

2012-07-23 How Can the Market Possibly Do Well? by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Investors remain rightfully concerned that our leaders have been unable to address major domestic and international issues. Domestic growth is sluggish, job growth is weak, unemployment remains high, the fiscal cliff looms at the end of the year and our politicians can't agree on the time of day. Moreover, none of this is likely to become clarified until after the election, if then.

2012-07-20 No Armageddon, but Consequences by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

In a time of severe stress and crisis, its easy to come to the conclusion that Armageddon is upon us. Those who believe the European Union is going to split up and Chinas growth will come to a screeching halt are probably building bunkers and sharpening their survival skills right about now. Hasenstab isnt in panic mode. In fact, hes optimistic the eurozone will survive, and that no, China wont move back into the feudal age.

2012-07-20 The Fiscal Cliff: 4 Reasons To Be Concerned by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The bottom line: If were still stuck at an impasse come fall, investors should consider positioning their portfolios for a higher probability of a recession in 2013 by implementing five strategies that I outline below.

2012-07-20 America's Competitive Spirit by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We believe there are many great American companies to invest in. We like those that are growing their top line revenues and paying robust dividends. Currently 47 percent of the S&P 500 stocks pay a dividend yielding more than a 10-year Treasury, demonstrating the resiliency and strength of American enterprises.

2012-07-18 Global Overview by Team of Thomas White International

The new agreement reached by European policymakers during the last week of June has helped ease some of the fears over a breakup of the monetary union and more bank failures. It has been agreed that the regions financial crisis fund may be used to provide capital support to the troubled banks and also to try and lower the bond yields of countries such as Spain and Italy.

2012-07-18 How to Look Past Negativity to See Opportunity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Among investors these days, a fellow commodity bull is about as rare as finding a positive story in the media, especially when you look at the results of metals and natural resources during the first half of 2012. Only four commodities on our periodic table pulled off a positive return. Wheat grew the most, rising 13 percent, followed by single-digit rises from corn, gold and copper.

2012-07-18 Readers Questions Answered by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

People who follow me know that one of my favorite things to do to really get to know a city is to walk or cycle the streets and interact with the locals. The great questions you readers submit are kind of like a digital version of that experience, providing me with invaluable perspectives and ideas from around the world. Thank you! Please read on for my answers to a few of your recent questions.

2012-07-17 Breaking Bad by Michael Lewitt (Article)

With our largest business and government institutions committing every conceivable act of legal or moral anomie, we have every right to ask who is going to protect the rest of us from those who have been entrusted with so much power and influence. The institutions that were supposed to be the lifeblood of our economy are the same institutions that inflicted the greatest harm on society. When the family has to be protected from the man who is supposed to protect the family, the family is in serious trouble.

2012-07-17 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.

2012-07-17 Global Slowdown: Preparing for a Recession by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While Russ believes that the most likely scenario for the global economy in 2012 is continued slow growth, he explains what's behind the recent global slowdown and what investors may want to consider doing if it grows worse.

2012-07-17 Impact of ETF Growth on Active Managers by Dmitriy Katsnelson, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

A paradigm shift away from active management has been in place for more than a decade. Active mutual funds held more than 19 times the amount of assets than passive strategies before the SPDR SPY ETF was launched in 1993. As seen below, they have gradually lost market share to passive vehicles, particularly in US Equities.

2012-07-17 The Mystery of Chinese Capital Flight by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

Capital flight is defined as the rapid withdrawal of assets out of a country for political, economic or geopolitical reasons. Since late last year, there have been steady reports indicating that capital flight has been occurring in China. China restricts its capital account; inflows of foreign capital are carefully regulated and private outflows face significant restrictions. Chinese citizens can legally transfer only $50k per year out of the country.

2012-07-16 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.

2012-07-16 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Europe's sovereign debt crisis continued to hound the global equity markets throughout the second quarter, while economic data from the U.S. was also lackluster. Despite a late recovery, the Japanese equity market fell during the April-June quarter, owing to instability in the European financial system, economic distress in Europe, the U.S. and China, and the yens appreciation.

2012-07-16 Stocks, ETFs Send Mixed Messages by John Nyaradi of Wall Street Sector Selector

Major U.S. stock indexes and ETFs send mixed messages with difficult week ending in Friday rally. U.S. stock markets had been in steady decline until Fridays unexpected rally brought the S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) into slightly positive territory for the week.

2012-07-13 On the Hoof by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

A good month for equity markets and for the portfolio, with both enjoying significant rises of around 3.2%. These took place against increasing evidence that economic activity is beginning to slow, yet again demonstrating the lack of correlation between economic growth and equity market returns.

2012-07-13 Looking Past Negativity to See Opportunity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Tremendous population growth, changes in government policies, development of new technologies, urbanization trends work the same way. Its what Jeremy Grantham called the great paradigm shift and they have equally dramatic effects on how we invest in commodities, change opportunities and adjust for risk. Smart investors look past the rampant negativity in the media to see these patterns and anomalies to determine where the opportunities and threats lie.

2012-07-10 Why Are Advisory Fees Lower Than They Have To Be? by Bob Veres (Article)

How much should you charge for your services? Is there any way to objectively calculate a fair price? Doctors, lawyers and accountants all charge relatively similar prices for their services. Why does the financial planning profession have fees that are all over the map?

2012-07-10 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 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.

2012-07-10 Insights into the First Half of 2012 by Ron Surz (Article)

U.S. stock markets at mid-year have earned a respectable 9.5% return. A euphoric first quarter 12.6% gain gave way to a 2.8% minor setback in the second quarter. Foreign markets have not fared as well, earning only 3.4% over the first half of the year. The graph below provides the details, and adds a look at gold's performance.

2012-07-10 Is Higher Inflation on the Horizon? by Orhan Imer of Columbia Management

For nearly two decades inflation in the U.S. has been fairly contained except for a few periods of moderate acceleration around peak levels of economic activity. More recently, headline inflation as measured by the year-over-year change in the CPI-U (Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers) declined from 3.9% in September 2011 to 1.7% in May 2012 driven primarily by the slowdown in the U.S. economy and the sharp drop in energy and commodity prices.

2012-07-10 Investors fret about Europe, but US stocks up 8.6% on the year by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

Investors have flooded back to European and US stocks on the surprise announcement that a single Eurozone wide agency, somewhat akin to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), will be established to backstop European banks directly, rather than lending through the respective governments of troubled banks.

2012-07-10 Only the Lonely Can Play by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Human beings prefer to buy shares of a common stock which have gone up in price recently. They prefer to participate in styles and sectors which have done better in the most recent five to seven years. Lastly, human beings prefer to make money sooner, rather than later. Fortunately for us, THE MOTELS wrote and performed a song back in the early 1980s (Only the Lonely), which explains what we need to do in the marketplace as we look out into the second half of 2012.

2012-07-06 Global PMI: The Trend is Your Friend by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Manufacturing around the world weakened in June, according to the JP Morgan Global Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI). Its reading of 48.9 was the lowest in three years and the first dip below 50 since September 2011. The current reading is also below the three-month moving average for the second month in a row. As you can see on the chart, PMI crossed below the three-month in May.

2012-07-05 Looking for Bubbles by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward, Thomas Wittenborg of Absolute Return Partners

This month's Absolute Return Letter picks up on the question we left hanging in the air back in May - is Asia a potential re-run of Europe? Although policy rates appear to be dangerously low, and thus encouraging further borrowing, Asia has come a long way since 1997 and there is no immediate risk of a financial meltdown. Australian property prices and commodity prices - in particular crude oil prices - are more likely 'credit event' candidates in our opinion.

2012-07-03 The 2012 Mid-Year Geopolitical Update by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

As is our custom, we use this early July report to offer our outlook for the next six months. In this issue, we will discuss what we see as the key geopolitical issues that will affect the markets for the rest of 2012. This list is not exhaustive but highlights our greatest concerns.

2012-07-03 Gleanings by Jeffrey Saut, Art Huprich, Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

With this Gleanings report, we begin a monthly chart presentation and discussion, which attempts to pull together the separate disciplines of Economics, Fundamentals, Technical analysis, and Quantitative analysis. The report contains what we think are currently some of the most important charts. We will have an overview and then highlight some of the key near-term variables that we believe could have a measurable effect on where the various markets are going.

2012-07-03 Of Mice and Men by Michael Shamosh of Corby Asset Management

We have all spent our share of time at amusement parks. We always marvel at the degree of engineering required to subject the human body to stresses not present in our ordinary day. Those screams mean something. Investing is often described as similar to riding a roller coaster, where the rapid ups and downs can subject ones emotional framework to feelings of exhilaration, fear, and pain. We liken it to a ride called the Wild Mouse, one you might have spent some time on in your youth.

2012-07-03 Let's Twist Again by Daniel Kurland of Corby Asset Management

Ben Bernanke must be nostalgic for his childhood. On June 19th in the summer of 1961, when Chairman Bernanke was only 8 years old, Chubby Checker released his smash hit, Lets Twist Again. Chairman Bernanke, citing decreased inflationary concerns and heightened employment weakness, announced that Operation Twist, which had been set to expire at the end of June, would be extended until the end of the year.

2012-07-02 Weekly Commentary and Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks were mixed last week as the news from Europe remains difficult, while here at home the Fed told us things were not going well but decided to do very little about it (maybe because they cannot).

2012-06-29 U.S. Inflation Update: More Long-Term Threat than Near-Term by Team of American Century Investments

During the week of June 11-15, the U.S. governments Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported declines in May prices received by U.S. producers for their goods, as well as lower May prices paid by U.S. consumers. These May declines in the BLSs Producer Price Index (PPI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI) were largely the result of declining energy prices, particularly those for gasoline.

2012-06-27 An Ending Made For Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Over the past several months, the markets have tested investors conviction to gold. Since February, the price of the yellow metal has steadily stepped lower, rallying somewhat in May before falling again when Ben Bernanke disappointed by not providing the U.S. with more stimulus. Meanwhile, the dollar gained ground as global investors fled the euro.

2012-06-27 Q3 2012 Outlook by Asset Allocation Committee of Neuberger Berman

The second quarter experienced a return to volatility as heightened concerns over the European sovereign debt crisis and an aura of pessimism around the pace of global economic growth have reverberated through financial markets. The year began on a positive note, with all major equity indices posting strong double-digit gains.

2012-06-26 Jeremy Grantham: US Stocks are Expensive and Bonds are Disgusting by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Jeremy Grantham, who has consistently identified overpricing in the US equity markets - he flagged both the Dot Com bubble and the irrational pricing that preceded the financial crisis, for instance - said last week that US stocks are 'a little expensive' and bonds are 'disgusting.' But his sternest warning to investors concerned the longer-term threat posed by global resource constraints.

2012-06-26 A Top Analyst: North America Heading to Energy Independence by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Ed Morse, a managing director of Citigroup Global Markets, said last week that by the end of this decade the US and Canada will have a surplus of oil, leaving it with 'no room for imports.' But the longer-term picture is far less certain, as extraction moves from conventional wells to newer sources, such as deepwater fields and shale-based oil.

2012-06-25 Enter, the Blindside Recession by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The joint evidence suggests that the U.S. economy has entered a recession that will eventually be marked as having started presently. In recent months, our measures of leading economic pressures have indicated the likelihood of an oncoming U.S. recession.

2012-06-22 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.

2012-06-21 Cohen & Steers Closed-End Fund Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the closed-end fund market as of May 31, 2012. For the month, the total return of the Morningstar U.S. All Taxable ex-Foreign Equity Closed-End Fund Index was 4.4 percent based on market-price and 4.6 percent on a net-asset-value (NAV) basis. Year to date, the index had a market-price total return of 5.1 percent and a NAV return of 2.6 percent.

2012-06-19 Rising Tensions in the South China Sea by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

Right now, the most critical geopolitical risk to the financial markets remains Europe, with the Persian Gulf probably the second most important concern. However, there is value in analyzing situations which may become problematic, even if it is in the distant future. By doing so, it allows investors to become aware of potential situations long before they become issues. We believe it is better to have some familiarity with geopolitical concerns in advance of any major problems.

2012-06-19 Down and Out in Wenzhou by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Much like in the US in 2006, the Chinese government officials and the worldwide media need to believe that what is going on in Wenzhou is not the first domino in a series of dominos which fall over the next two years. The Chinese economy and its miracle of the last 30 years were originally driven by the competitive advantage of cheap labor.

2012-06-19 The Known Unknowns by Ronald Roge of R. W. Roge & Company

On Friday, June 1, 2012 we had an all day investment strategy meeting. The purpose of this semi-annual meeting is to review our current portfolio strategy and evaluate it against the current state of the global economy...Easier said than done.

2012-06-19 Cohen & Steers Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for emerging markets real estate securities as of May 31, 2012. For the month, the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Emerging Real Estate Index had a total return of 9.7% in U.S. dollars (net of dividend withholding taxes), compared with 6.4% for the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index (net), a broad measure of the global real estate securities market. Year to date, the indexes returned +9.8% and +7.9%, respectively.

2012-06-18 Why Inflation Could Rise Over the Long Term by Mihir Worah of PIMCO

In developed markets, there is a serious debt problem, and inflation is one of the only "solutions" we see as likely to occur. We see a secular rise in global commodities prices, with some cyclical dips as the middle class expands in merging markets in the years ahead, consuming more commodities. Structuring portfolios in an attempt to guard against high inflation should be a central element of any investment strategy.

2012-06-18 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.

2012-06-15 Falling Equity Prices Reflect the European Crisis and Slower Economic Growth by Team of Thomas White International

Heightened concerns over the European fiscal crisis and slower economic growth dragged down emerging market equity prices during May. The emergence of political parties opposed to short-term austerity measures in recent elections in countries such as France and Greece has upset the political consensus that paved the way for an agreement on tackling the crisis last year. Borrowing costs of some of the troubled countries such as Spain have increased substantially, while countries that are in better fiscal health such as Germany remain hesitant about the issuance of common euro bonds.

2012-06-15 Equity Prices Reflect Concerns over Global Growth Slowdown by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices corrected in May on heightened worries over a further global growth slowdown as the European fiscal crisis worsened. Political consensus on ways to address Europes fiscal problems dissipated after political parties opposed to austerity measures gained popularity in countries such as France and Greece earlier this year. However, Germany and select other countries continued to insist that structural reforms agreed as part of last years pact should be adhered to.

2012-06-15 Global Outlook Dampened Further by the European Crisis by Team of Thomas White International

Apprehensions over a worsening European fiscal crisis and concerns about slower growth in the emerging economies continued to dampen investor sentiment in May. Europes political leadership is yet to find a common ground that would accommodate the opposition to short-term austerity measures expressed in recent elections in countries such as France and Greece. There is growing expectation of a possible Greek exit from the monetary union while borrowing costs of troubled countries such as Spain have increased further, following credit rating downgrades.

2012-06-15 Every Economists Career Ends in Failure - The Irony of Hyman Minsky by John Gilbert of GR-NEAM

The economist Hyman Minsky held that capitalist economies are inherently unstable because investments are financed with debt, and the financial markets pricing of debt is volatile. Economies are prone to booms and busts as the cost of financing falls too far, or rises too much, revealing poor investment decisions. This has always been obvious to observers of business cycles, of which Minsky was one. Too many of his colleagues in economics ignore this, which we have found puzzling.

2012-06-15 Speed Up or Slow Down--Don't Exit the Commodities Highway by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A positive signal received this week came from Goldman Sachs, when the firm recommended stepping back into the markets in its latest Commodity Watch. Goldman is anticipating a 29 percent return for the S&P GSCI Enhanced Commodity Index over the next 12 months and suggests investors might want to increase their position in commodities.

2012-06-13 Three Years and Counting by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO

In addition to muted economic growth, record low interest rates, and sustained high unemployment, extraordinary equity market volatility has been a repeated feature of the past three years. As heightened volatility persists, many equity investors remain on the sidelines. We think a better investment approach is to invest globally, across asset classes, reflecting the likelihood of the various outcomes. We believe managing against downside shocks is enormously beneficial to compounding attractive returns over the long term.

2012-06-12 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?

2012-06-12 Kingdoms of the Blind by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Recent events offer a rare illustration of the combined effects of the failure of monetary, fiscal and regulatory policy to coordinate a meaningful response. Rising budget deficits, record low interest rates, J.P. Morgan's proprietary trading blunder and the botched Facebook IPO process speak to abject policy failures in virtually every aspect of finance. It's not even a question of not having learned our lessons; our collective policy intelligence actually appears to have diminished.

2012-06-12 Why Oil Prices Can Move Higher by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

With oil prices down roughly 25% from their 2012 peak, many investors are asking about the future direction of crude. In my opinion, while fears of a hard landing in China and overall weakness in global growth are likely to keep prices down in the near term, crude should rebound in the longer term for three reasons.

2012-06-12 Asia's Role in Global Economic and Portfolio Rebalancing by Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead, Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

We expect that the reallocation of global investor portfolios toward more balanced allocations to emerging market bonds the Great Migration to support Asia in the coming years. To pivot to a growth model that emphasizes domestic demand, China must alter government policy on taxes, profits of state-owned enterprises as well as make other structural changes. Japans growth will continue to be challenged by secular dynamics, and by the countrys inability to respond to them.

2012-06-12 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Each week produces a newer round in global woes, this past being highlighted by Spain and a verbal, if not political, battle over whether austerity trumps spending. We will not know how the debate concludes, but we can see its effects. Manufacturing slowed and consumer confidence went with it. The unknown consequences of a global economic paralysis is, nevertheless, having specific impact upon our markets. Most notably, the stock market is morphing into a roller coaster ride.

2012-06-09 China Eases the Way by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Following negative data last week, investors were clearly concerned about global growth and anxiously anticipated government actions. While Europe and the U.S. disappointed investors, China surprised on the upside by cutting interest rates. The market reacted positively, as the S&P 500 Index increased 3.7 percent. Its clear the governments tone in China shifted this week with the rate cuts. The government appeared to be comfortable with slower growth, but that position seemed to change as the country took steps to avert a hard landing and cut interest rates to stabilize the economy.

2012-06-08 The Purveyors of Notgeld by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

It is through this emergency money and repressively low interest rates that the worlds central banks create conditions that compel investors to seek out value in real assets and move outward along the risk spectrum. Investors should focus on assets that are likely to benefit from central bank policies designed to reflate deflated economies: commodities, land, equipment and software, for example. In equities, this means favoring entities in the developing world over those of the developed world in particular those reliably expected to pay a dividend.

2012-06-08 Monthly Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

Global stock markets dropped sharply in May amid renewed macroeconomic fears. Large-cap U.S. stocks fell 6%, while small and mid-cap stocks lost 6.6% and 6.7%, respectively. Domestic stocks are still well in positive territory for the year, with returns ranging from just over 5% for large-caps to 3.4% for small-caps. Foreign markets fell further, as questions over the stability of the eurozone dominated headlines. Both developed and emerging-markets were down 11% for the month and in negative territory year-to-date (down 3.3% and 0.4%, respectively).

2012-06-07 Real Challenges in Brazil by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Brazil, the B in the emerging markets entities known as the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China), has entered what I think can fairly be described as a rough patch of sluggish growth. Since my last update on Brazil, the country has experienced heightened economic challenges that threaten its competitive position to slip. In 2011, Brazils growth eased to 2.7% after having reached 7.5% in 2010.1 The Eurozone crisis and the impact of a stronger Real on the competitiveness of Brazilian industry are partially to blame for this growth slowdown.

2012-06-04 Investors Position for a Synchronized Global Slowdown by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

The insufficient job creation, stagnant earnings and alarming long-term unemployment highlighted by Mays disheartening jobs report underscore Americas persistent unemployment crisis. The numbers also speak to a synchronized slowdown that is now taking hold of the global economy a phenomenon that is being signaled by virtually every other data release out of Europe, the U.S. and emerging countries.

2012-06-04 1-800-GET-ME-OUT?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

The call for this week: Friday was the first day of hurricane season here in Florida, yet the storm didn't hit our beaches but rather blew onto the Street of Dreams with a 275-point "storm surge." The media attributed Friday's Flop entirely to the disappointing employment numbers, but the truth was the market was already headed down before the release of those numbers. And when the SPX's 1290 level was breached, the rout was on. And despite the break below my 1290 pivot point I can't shake the feeling that all of this is just part of the bottoming process.

2012-06-04 Job Recap/How Big of an Impact from Europe? by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Job growth has slowed. However, its unclear exactly why or even, despite all the hand-wringing on Friday, whether its something to worry about. A European recession would have a moderate impact on U.S. exports, but there are some positives. There are a number of other possible explanations for the recent slowdown in (seasonally adjusted) job growth.Firms may be reluctant to hire for a number of reasons: political uncertainty, fiscal policy uncertainty, higher gasoline prices, and worries about the fallout from Europe.

2012-06-01 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.

2012-05-30 U.S. Dollar and Euro - Review and Outlook by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

The 12-month period ended March 31, 2012 (the Period) could be described as one of contrasting halves. News emanating from Europe dominated market gyrations for the majority of the Period. During the second half of the Period, the market appeared to ascribe a more optimistic assessment to the European situation and the global economy. Regarding the U.S. dollar, we consider the more dovish FOMC voting member composition to be a negative for the currency, as it will likely lead to more expansionary policies relative to global central bank counterparts

2012-05-25 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.

2012-05-24 Jumping Into The Abyss: A Bull Case for Gold Mining Stocks by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

Gold mining stocks, as measured by the AMEX Gold Bugs Index (HUI), are down nearly 40% from their August 2011 high. Representative ETFs such as GDX and GDXJ as down similar amounts, if not more. Mining company stock prices look to be falling into the abyss. While buying mining stocks here could certainly look foolish in the near-term, NOT accumulating positions, or selling them for that matter, is likely to be the bigger mistake over the long term.

2012-05-23 The Three-Part Case for Commodities by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

With both gold and broader commodity indices down significantly month to date, many investors are asking if they should lower or even remove their commodity exposure. I believe the answer is no. First, its useful to put the recent weakness in perspective. Both gold and a broad basket of commodities are down roughly 10% over the past three months. While the losses represent a significant correction, they are in line with the performance of equity markets over the same time period. Even more importantly, here are three reasons for maintaining a strategic exposure to commodities.

2012-05-22 Investing Through a Bumpy Ride by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

Its been a tough quarter so far. The U.S. economy is still growing, but not at a sufficient pace to excite anyone. Meanwhile, investors have had plenty to worry about including a fiscal cliff in the United States, a slowdown in China and, right now most ominously, further turmoil in Europe. Despite plenty to worry about, the realities of a U.S. economic recovery, very conservative allocations and relatively attractive valuations suggest that investors should still consider adding stocks and other risky assets to their portfolios.

2012-05-22 Were Off to See the Wizard by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

In October of 2010 we explained in a missive called The Wizard of Oz that investors had put too much confidence in the ability of a group of Chinese National, US-educated economists to manage the China economy. Thanks to the writing of Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in The Telegraph on May 13th of 2012, we can see just how successful the Wizard has been in perpetuating the myth that China can be the first major world economy to defy business cycles.

2012-05-22 Weekly Commentary and Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week saw the worst week for stocks of the year, caused by the continued fears over the impending break-up of the European Monetary Union as well as the colossal flop of the IPO of Facebook, and the burgeoning horror at the trading losses at JP Morgan. Sad to say that the fears of the past several months, as expressed in these weekly commentaries, seem to be materializing. The circus act known as Europe is back in recession, as political leadership is simply not possible given the pressures of seventeen sovereign nations.

2012-05-21 Facebook IPO Not a Flop; Underwriters Priced it Right by John Buckingham of AFAM

he social media giant ended its first day of trading up a measly 23 cents, or 0.6% from its $38 offering price, and technical difficulties at Nasdaq delayed the opening of trading and impacted market activity throughout the day, I give kudos to the underwriters for actually pricing the deal as best they could to match the relatively limited supply to the unprecedented demand. Certainly, Facebook could eventually grow into its lofty valuation, but it is eye-opening to think the disappointing first day of trading still left the company with a $100 billion+ market capitalization.

2012-05-18 Gold: The World's Friend for 5,000 Years by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Investors have defriended gold recently in favor of the dollar, as Greek and French voters rejected austerity measures. Greeks have been responding to their escalating debt issues for a while by steadily pulling money from overnight deposits. I often say, money goes where it is best treated, and these deposits will need to find a safe haven.

2012-05-18 Real Assets by Team of Cohen & Steers

Chinas economic growth is a key theme that drives our outlook for real asset categories. As the worlds dominant consumer of most commodities, China is the largest importer of iron ore, producer of steel and consumer of copper. About 65% of the worlds soybean production is imported to the region. Thus, we were encouraged by central bank easing in response to the first-quarter slowdown, as it seems to have orchestrated a soft landing. Should there be further policy actions, it could spur opportunities in a number of natural resource categories.

2012-05-18 Closed-End Funds April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

Given various risks to the domestic and global economies and generally modest inflation, monetary policy in the US will remain accommodative. With borrowing rates likely to remain low for an extended period, the yield advantage of leveraged closed-end funds will continue to draw investor interest. As a result, we see potential for the broad closed-end fund market to maintain historically narrow discounts, or even at times trade at premiums to NAV.

2012-05-17 The Investing Implications of Price Creep by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While double-digit inflation is extremely unlikely this year, the new core inflation figure shows that prices are slowly creeping up in the US. For investors, there are a couple of implications. 1.Recognize purchasing power erosion: Even if inflation stabilizes at current levels, over the long term 2.3% inflation would still cause prices to rise by 50%. 2. Consider equities and commodities: While uncertainty over Europe and Chinese growth are likely to keep volatility high this summer, investors should consider using near-term market weakness to add to long-term equity and commodity positions.

2012-05-16 The Vision Thing II by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

In May of 2010 we wrote about how important it was for the companies which meet our eight criteria to have a strong vision and clear agenda for their business. We believe that every five to ten years those who manage money need to "cast a vision" of where they want to take investors and then backtrack from there to put a portfolio together to best take advantage of the vision cast. We believe there are three main roadblocks to the casting of a vision for the execution of a portfolio plan. In the absence of more attractive titles, we will call these roadblocks fog, bog and smog.

2012-05-16 Africa: Investing in the Cradle of Civilization, Part 3: Ghanas Golden Opportunties by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

This year could prove an interesting one for Africas west coastal country, Ghana. Presidential and parliamentary elections are slated to be held by year-end, the results of which are almost sure to impact the shape of the countrys future. President John Atta Mills has stated in the press that he will take all necessary constitutional steps to ensure the conduct of free, fair and transparent elections. Im encouraged by the economys 14% growth in 2011 (thats faster than China!), and would be pleased to see evidence of more positive momentum.

2012-05-14 Dont Paint Yourself into a Corner with Overly Defensive Strategies by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

Popular strategies for hedging against deflation and hyperinflation are likely to be disastrous if the economic outlook grows more benign as we expect. With the economic and policy outlook still uncertain, investors fear two contradictory but equally negative possible outcomes: deflation/deleveraging on the one hand and hyperinflation/currency devaluations on the other. As a result, instruments that can deliver protection in one or the other of these scenarios have enjoyed substantial inflows. Many investors have snapped up Treasuries, REITs and high-dividend-yielding stocks for insulation.

2012-05-14 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.

2012-05-10 The Easy Money Has Been Made by Rich Rosen of Columbia Management

As investment professionals, we chafe whenever we hear that expression. Why? Because in this business, there is no such thing as easy money. All our investment decisions are the end result of a great deal of research. Rarely are our greatest expectations realized, but neither are our greatest fears. In either case, it is never easy. Having said that, we feel confident in forecasting that an investment in natural gas (once it bottoms this spring/early summer) will perform substantially better going forward than it has for the last several years and with less risk.

2012-05-10 Q112 Portfolio Commentary for the Absolute Strategies Fund by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisers

It is no secret the structural problems and crises throughout the global economy stem from excess debt. This letter attempts to explain why we think the global economy is in this situation, why the process for creating the problems continues to this day, why financial markets are not out of the woods. We are extremely optimistic about the future investing climate, but only after we get through the final stage of the credit bubble. In our view, the root of the problem stems from the willingness of a broad swath of investors and money managers to bid up asset prices to extreme levels.

2012-05-10 Staying Bullish by Herbert Abramson and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

We believe we are in a new bull market, and bull markets thrive on climbing that proverbial wall of worry. Bullish sentiment is low and bearish sentiment high. Anxious retail investors, having suffered two ugly bear markets since 2000, continue to shun stocks, with money flowing out of mutual equity funds now for more than 5 consecutive years. The public is hugely underinvested. Cash on the sidelines is enormous. The fuel to ultimately power stocks higher as confidence returns.

2012-05-09 Pacific Basin Market Overview - April 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

In April, risk-averse sentiment prevailed throughout the global financial markets amid fresh concerns about the prospects for European sovereign debt. Recent economic indicators have presented mixed signals, with signs that the Western economies are at a standstill together with a recovery for Asian industrial countries. Our outlook for global economic growth remains reasonably optimistic, and financial markets in the near future will be highly dependent on monetary policy. In the developed economies, we believe the authorities will probably take additional easing measures.

2012-05-08 A New Economic Era: The Usual Rules No Longer Apply by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

Against this backdrop of economic woes in the U.S. and Europe, business activity in Asia and Latin America is on the rise. The developing economies and emerging markets are where we see the better metrics, not in the US, Europe or Japan. One needs to look at the BRIC countries connection to commodities growth, and understand how they are getting on top of inflation. We believe China will lead the emerging markets in 2012. They will lean towards easing so their consumers will not be hurt by the less than healthy European export business as well as the weaknesses in the exports to the U.S.

2012-05-04 Bullish on America by Andrew J. Redleaf of Whitebox Advisors

Todays crisis has nothing to do with the shadow banking system or any other sort of shadow. Todays crisis is all out in the bright sunshine and remarkably straightforward. The supposed danger is that some major economic power (i.e., not Greece) will become unable to access credit markets. Spanish or Italian or French bonds will decline so steeply as to imperil the banks that own them or appear to do so, causing a run on global financial institutions as severe as 2008s.

2012-05-04 Mongolia's Treasure Chest by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia

There has been much hype recently over the treasure chest of natural resources in Mongolia. Dubbed the next Saudi Arabia of coal, Mongolia claims more coal than China, which produced nearly 4 billion tons last year. At the same time, however, there continue to be conflicting reports from the Mongolian government over who may be allowed to develop and ultimately own the rights to the country's precious resources. One key concern among global investors is natural resource nationalism, a term used to describe the tendency of governments to assert control over these resources.

2012-05-03 How Big is Almost? by Andrew J. Redleaf, Blaise Morton, an Richard Vigilante of Whitebox Advisors

For decades the fondest wish of the finance professoriate has been to prove that money managers who believe they earn alpha are kidding themselves and their customers. The latest attempt, titled Active Portfolio Management and Positive Alphas: Fact or Fantasy? is the work of Cornells Robert A. Jarrow, a prestigious name in mathematical finance. Jarrow, based on some previous work with Philip Protter, sets out to prove that the source of all (or nearly all) alpha must be a true arbitrage. Since true arbitrage is vanishingly rare, he then argues alpha must be as well.

2012-05-03 6 Reasons Why a Soft Landing in China Matters by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

World markets and financial media seem to react to every new data point about Chinas economy, whether its manufacturing reports or gross domestic product numbers. This market sensitivity isnt very surprising given how important China has become for the global economy. But it also means that it will be hard for the global recovery to continue without a soft landing in China.

2012-05-02 Chinas Landing Pattern by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Our main investment themes in general have been focused on consumers and commodities. It is our belief that Chinese consumers are likely to continue gaining clout, and Chinese macroeconomic policy has increasingly been moving from an export-based model to one fueled by domestic demand. We also expect that demand for hard and soft commodities should remain strong as China and many other emerging markets industrialize, gain wealth and increase spending on infrastructure, which tends to tilt the balance between supply and demand in favor of producers.

2012-05-02 Inflation Anxiety is Spooking Investors by Matt Tucker of iShares Blog

Investors are spooked. They are so spooked that they are buying an asset that currently has a negative yield. What is the culprit causing so much concern? Curiously, its inflation. Investors appear to be so concerned about inflation that they are seeking protection against it without much regard to the cost of that protection. This phenomenon is playing out in the market for Treasury Inflation Protection Securities, or TIPS. In the last few auctions, the demand for TIPS by investors has been oversubscribed by almost 3X.

2012-05-02 Digbys Umbrella and a Dinner to Remember by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

The US economy is on a painfully slow road. It is recovering. Jobs numbers are better, even though some hiring in the first quarter may have been brought forward by mild weather. Production, manufacturing and exports, all signs of regained competitiveness in the US, are showing steady improvements. And the government sector is contracting. Not on purpose mind you, but jumping off a cliff and letting inertia do the work result in the same end. Above all of this, we have a Fed using every monetary policy at their disposal to try and promote growth and employment.

2012-05-01 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.

2012-05-01 Another Story of Too Much Debt: Investing During Unsustainable Economic Conditions by Brian McAuley (Article)

US-based investors cannot ignore the macro environment, and therefore must consider the consequences of our increasing indebtedness and its impact on capital markets. We can gain valuable insights into our fiscal problems from the housing bubble and the European sovereign debt crisis - lessons which every value investor should heed.

2012-05-01 Wind Shear Avoidance: Why There Is Value in Momentum by Vineer Bhansali of PIMCO

Explicit tail hedges that look expensive in a normal world may indeed turn out to be cheap if the unimodal morphs into the bimodal. When faced with bimodal outcomes, momentum as a risk factor becomes potent, and cost-efficient exposure to momentum becomes critical to proper portfolio construction. In this world of low, pegged interest rates, an investor who is going to take risk needs other means to make the portfolio more inured to unforeseen shocks and market storms. Investors should look at effective alternative beta strategies, such as momentum, that can be implemented efficiently.

2012-05-01 Tuesday Never Comes by Bill Gross of PIMCO

The current acceleration of credit via central bank policies will likely produce a positive rate of real economic growth this year for most developed countries, but the structural distortions brought about by zero bound interest rates will limit that growth and induce serious risks in future years. Gradually higher rates of inflation should be the result of QE policies and zero bound yields. Focus on securities with shorter durations bonds with maturities in the 5-year range and stocks paying dividends that offer 3%4% yields. Real assets/commodities should occupy an increasing percentage.

2012-04-27 Happy (Third) Anniversary: Now What? by Jon Quigley of Advanced Investment Partners

During the trading day on March 6th, 2009, the S&P 500 Index hit its intraday bottom of 666.79. In the ensuing three years the Index has advanced over 100%. Along the way, weve witnessed the collapse of some of the older and more hallowed names in the financial industry buh-bye Lehman Brothers, so long Merrill), endured the most severe recession in at least 25 years, suffered through incredible spates of market volatility, and gathered a few gray hairs (or lost some hair) along the way.

2012-04-27 What are ETF and Mutual Fund flows telling us? by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management

On the ETF front, while we did see some positive net flows into bond-oriented ETFs (notably High Yield Bonds), we also observed significant funds flowing into domestic and international emerging market equity products. In terms of outflows, or redemptions in this case, funds were flowing out of a wide variety of Morningstar categories, albeit only slightly on the bond-oriented front. I believe that the divergence in fund flow information for the first quarter of 2012 may primarily be related to the types of investors who generally invest in the products.

2012-04-27 Sell in May and Go Away? Not this Year by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

One catchy investing maxim thats popular this time of year is sell in May and go away, the notion that investors should cash in their investments and take the summer off. We believe its a much better market this year. After following a similar trajectory as the previous year from October to the beginning of March, improving economic data pushed the S&P 500 over 3 percent higher in March 2012 after trending sideways during the same time period last year.

2012-04-26 The Newlyweds Dilemma by John West of Research Affiliates

Before marriage, men and women enjoy a lot more free time. Married life represents a huge shift in their habits and schedules. Similarly, a new world of lower expected returns signals a major break from mainstream investment approaches. This months Fundamentals examines how investors can position their portfolios for the future.

2012-04-26 The Bernanke-Krugman Smackdown by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

Bernanke is trying like a madman to get banks to increase lending but Bernanke and Krugman both do not understand economic reality. Banks cannot lend because they are still capital impaired, hiding losses yet to come, and holding assets that are marked-to-fantasy instead of marked-to-market. Consumers are busted and holding interest rates at 0% when prices of food and gasoline are soaring exacerbates the problem. There are few credit-worthy businesses that want to borrow in this environment. The businesses that do want to borrow are not credit-worthy and banks would be foolish to lend to them.

2012-04-24 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 SteelPath MLP Alpha Fund Quarterly Commentary by Gabriel Hammond and Stuart Cartner of SteelPath MLP Mutual Funds

Though the MLP sector provided positive returns this quarter, the sectors performance lagged that of the broader markets. The MLP sector, as measured by the Alerian MLP Index, produced a total return of 1.97% for the quarter versus the 12.59% total return of the S&P 500 Index. The broader market rally appeared to have been sparked by some encouraging domestic economic data and seeming improvement in the Eurozone. Given that the industries represented by the S&P 500 Index often have greater exposure to general economic trends than MLPs, this broader market outperformance is not surprising.

2012-04-24 SteelPath MLP Income Fund Quarterly Commentary by Gabriel Hammond and Stuart Cartner of SteelPath MLP Mutual Funds

Looking forward, we expect to see varied performance across MLP sub-sectors. We believe headwinds remain for propane, natural gas storage and coal, and growth opportunities are likely limited for interstate natural gas pipelines. However, growth opportunities related to growing domestic natural gas liquids and crude oil production are varied and substantial in our opinion. We continue to expect robust acquisition activity within the sector as traditional owners of midstream assets continue to rationalize their asset portfolios.

2012-04-24 SteelPath MLP Select 40 Fund Quarterly Commentary by Gabriel Hammond and Stuart Cartner of SteelPath MLP Mutual Funds

Sector performance for the quarter was characterized by a continued appreciation for partnerships exposed to oil and NGL rich shale plays and the corresponding growth opportunities. Additionally, both sectors and names that were neglected last year received attention during the quarter while investors took profits in investments that had outperformed over the past several months.

2012-04-24 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.

2012-04-23 Americas: Economic Review First Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Optimism over economic prospects increased across the Americas regions during the first quarter of the year, as economic data showed sustained improvement and global risks eased somewhat. Despite costlier fuel, consumer spending climbed in most countries across the region, especially in the U.S. The European fiscal crisis now appears less worrisome when compared to last year, while the slowdown in Asia has turned out to be milder than expected earlier. Commodity prices have recovered after the correction during the second half of last year, on an improved outlook in global demand.

2012-04-21 A Little Bull's Eye Investing by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Bull's Eye Investing was the book that really helped establish this letter. It dealt with a host of investing ideas, secular market cycles, value investing, alternative investing, and more. I have taken that material, updated it, and written a new book, part of the Little Book series done by Wiley, called The Little Book of Bull's Eye Investing Finding Value, Generating Absolute Returns, and Controlling Risk in Turbulent Markets. I have waited to announce this one until it is off the presses and being shipped. Here is the introduction and part of the first chapter of the book.

2012-04-20 Maybe Diversification Is Not All It's Cracked Up To Be by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

As I began digging into the many faces of diversification, I quickly learned that it is a much more complex concept than at first meets the eye. I feel I learned that there is no one-size-fits-all or even a set of universally applicable rules or principles. To a great extent, diversification turns out to be a very personal issue. How much or how little depends more on your goals and objectives, the knowledge and experience you possess, the time you can allocate to your investment portfolio, and of course, your tolerance for risk. Some of us need a great deal of diversification.

2012-04-20 Small Cap Outlook 1Q12 by 1492 Investment Team of 1492 Capital Management

While weve seen the markets advance nicely, we think the market could gain more than 25% this year as the U.S. economy continues to move ahead and the rest of the world is in stimulus mode. Most importantly, there are still plenty of bears calling for recession, despite an ongoing barrage of better economic statistics. No doubt the remainder of the year will give the stock market plenty to ponder like the U.S. Presidential election, ongoing European debt crisis fallout and concerns about Chinas economic growth. Read on to understand why were so bullish on the U.S. stock market.

2012-04-20 Weighing the Evidence of Oil and Gold Stocks by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We believe in thinking contrarian and keeping a close eye on historical trends to discover inflection points, as stocks tend to eventually revert to their means. For example, in March 2009, we noted significant changes signaling the market had hit rock bottom; following that time through the end of the first quarter, the S&P 500 Index rose more than 100 percent. Todays extreme divergence in oil and gold stocks and their underlying commodities presents a rare opportunity: what these stocks need now are investors to take advantage of it.

2012-04-20 Closed End Funds First Quarter 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

. With borrowing rates likely to remain low for an extended period, we believe the yield advantage of leveraged closed-end funds will continue to draw investor interest. As a result, we see potential for the broad closed-end fund market to trade at even narrower discounts or even premiums to NAV. In addition, the recent success of new issues should allow the closed-end fund IPO window to remain open in 2012. At the present pace, we do not believe new supply will pressure pricing in the secondary market or impede discount narrowing.

2012-04-19 New Breed of Managed Futures Funds May Offer Downside Protection...and Upside Opportunity by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

The search is on for strategies and portfolio managers that can generate return streams uncorrelated to traditional equities and fixed income. Whether it's due to the low return and high volatility equity markets of 2011 or the historically low government bond yields that persist even today, investors are scratching their heads wondering where to turn. A variety of alternative investment styles are available, many of which take an absolute return approach and aim to generate low market correlation, or at least, relatively low correlation to the broad equity markets.

2012-04-18 Stock Picking in a World of Profit Margin Mean Reversion by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We feel investors should avoid capital intensive companies which are tied to commodities or emerging markets. As interest rates rise and capital becomes dear, those who eat capital lose and those with strong balance sheets and who generate high and consistent free cash flow, should win. As Buffet, Grantham, Hutchinson and Stein pointed out, someone loses in the reversion to the mean of profit margins when compared to GDP. Lastly, dont be fooled by those who are bearish on the stock market because of their belief in profit margin reversion.

2012-04-18 Quirky Tales and Waves of Change by Doug MacKay and Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

While almost all commodities (ag, chemicals, and energy) have tended to move up and down together in price, oil has always beat to a different drummer, likely as a function of the ebb and flow of geopolitical concerns and the physical location of most known reserves. I would guess, however, if natural gas is in such abundance domestically, it could very well be the case around the globe. The prospect for $200 oil might be as remote as NASDAQ 5000.

2012-04-17 The Real Reason to Worry about Oil by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Few question the prevailing wisdom that tensions with Iran have caused the recent rise in oil prices. But another possibility exists - and it's a much greater long-term threat to economic growth.

2012-04-17 Mind the Gap by Liam Molloy and Bethany Carlson of Galway Investment Strategy

There is almost always a gap between price and value. Over the next few years price volatility is likely to be the source of the gap as sentiment waffles from overly exuberant to downright pessimistic. In the era of the 24-hour news cycle, high frequency trading, and an ever shortening investor attention span, prices move fast. Markets are emotional creatures and have a tendency to boom and bust. There have been occasions when underlying changes of value have gone unrecognized for sustained periods, and the gap was not primarily a function of price volatility.

2012-04-13 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review 1st Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies showed more promise in the first three months of 2012 compared to the gloomy scenario witnessed during the last quarter of 2011. A marked upturn in the U.S. economy along with receding fears about the debt crisis in Europe gave a fillip to export-based economies in Asia such as Japan and Singapore. Whats more, inflation in most of the developed Asia Pacific economies became less of a concern during the first two months of 2012, with Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand all reporting subdued inflation.

2012-04-13 Dutch Disease Lite in Australias Economy by Robert Mead of PIMCO

Australia is probably more likely to feel the effects of an extended structural change in the economy as resources continue to be reallocated, rather than the effects of a full-fledged, but transitory, case of Dutch disease. China is Australias largest trading partner, and Chinas historical focus on infrastructure building has amplified the divergence in Australias two-speed economy. We believe Australias strong initial conditions should help ensure that Commonwealth Government Bonds remain one of the worlds cleanest dirty shirts for risk-averse investors.

2012-04-13 Schwab Market Perspective: Concern or Correction? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Economic data has softened a bit lately but still indicates growth in the US. After a long stretch of relative calm in the markets, we've seen the markets pull back, possibly fulfilling the correction that was overdue. We believe the longer-term trend is higher but near-term risks continue to be elevated and earnings season could bring more volatility. The minutes from the most recent meeting of the Fed seemed to solidify that another round of quantitative easing (QE3) is not in the offing. Although the stock and bond markets initially reacted negatively, we are heartened by the rhetoric.

2012-04-10 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.

2012-04-10 Which Stocks Win on Main Streets Comeback? by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We are very excited about the next three to five years because we believe it is likely that Main Street will start to compete with Wall Street for capital and economic growth will accelerate. Unemployment rates would fall in that scenario and pent-up demand for goods and services could come out of the woodwork among average American households. What we mean by saying this is that capital will begin being demanded for business activities. As capital gets demanded for business activities ranging from housing to business expansion, the cost of capital will rise and bond prices would fall.

2012-04-09 And That's The "QUARTER" That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Europe hopes the latest (bailout and reg) moves will help it get its act together. (Good luck with that.) China applies the brakes. Labor looks strong, but can it continue? The Fed debates the need for more stimulus (without any consensus). Facebook moves closer to IPO (and investors beg to participate). The world lectures Iran and finally takes harsh measures (stand by to help Saudi). Investors hope to keep the mo going for another quarter, while being tempted to take profits along the way. Can we finally start focusing on Obama vs. Romney?

2012-04-09 Pigs and Panics! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

As stated, this is a key week for the equity markets and we continue to wait and see how the equity markets resolve themselves on a short-term basis, a trading stance we have been in for weeks. Meanwhile, for investors, I met with a portfolio manager last week whose investment style I think is suited for the current stock market climate. The investment style of Troy Shaver, PM of Dividend Asset Capital, sub-advisor to Goldman Sachs Rising Dividend Growth Fund (GSRAX/$15.05), is to invest in companies that increase their dividends by 10% per year on average for 10 years in a row.

2012-04-06 Managing Expectations: Why Gold Should Thrive by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Its been a challenging week for gold investors. As I often say, investing, like life, is about managing expectations. Over the past 11 years during golds spectacular bull run, investors should remember that price action can go both ways. What helps is to look at the historical rise and fall of gold. For example, looking at the past decade of one-day 5 percent drops in gold, you can see that this event is pretty rare. In 2006, gold dropped more than 5 percent in a day only two times. In 2008, there were three such events. Another one occurred at the end of this February.

2012-04-05 Global Equities: Building a Research Mosaic for the Information Age by John Longhurst of PIMCO

As a result of increasing correlations across the globe, identifying the best global franchise opportunities at attractive valuations is becoming increasingly important. We believe that taking a broader global perspective and comparing a companys valuation and growth outlook versus their global competitors is just as germane as looking at them relative to their country or region. Identifying Chinese and non-Chinese companies that will gain and lose in this process is a critical long-term challenge when constructing a global portfolio and not an easy one.

2012-04-05 Markets Wake Up to Central Banks' Complicated Tradeoffs by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

This week's market action serves as a vivid reminder of how dependent valuations are on central bank policies, and especially the aggressive provision of liquidity by the Fed and the ECB. The question for markets thus boils down to whether central banks will do more; and the issues these institutions face are extremely and increasingly complex. The global sell-off started on Tuesday with the release of the minutes of the most recent FOMC meeting. They were read by many as signaling less eagerness on the part of the Fed to embark on yet another round of liquidity injections.

2012-04-04 Drilling Into Fuel Prices by Team of Franklin Templeton

Gasoline, deodorant, dishwashing, liquid, eye glasses, crayons.What does this list of seemingly random items have in common? They are all made from refined crude oil.1 So even if you dont feel pain at the gas pump, you probably rely on more products made with or from crude oil than youd think. And of course even non-oil based products are generally shipped via fuel-consuming transport vehicles, so youre bound to feel the pinch in the form of fuel surcharges or price hikes sooner or later.

2012-04-03 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 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 Typically Boyish and Socially Unacceptable by Robert P. Seawright (Article)

When I was a teenager, the girls had a phrase they used often to describe certain members of the opposite sex: "typically boyish and socially irresponsible." Sadly, the two were often synonymous. Sadder still, the same can apply to married men and their finances, particularly as they age.

2012-03-30 Does China Hold the Winning Ticket? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Some bears may think the odds of China being the winner among emerging markets in 2012 are also remote. Over the past few years, Chinese stocks have lagged compared to its emerging market peers. However, the Periodic Table of Emerging Markets perfectly illustrates: last years loser can be this years winner. Historically, every emerging country has experienced wide price fluctuations from year to year. Over time, though, each country tends to revert to the mean.

2012-03-30 Singapore Gateway to Southeast Asia by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Viewing the region from the now 20-year old seat of our Singapore office, what we see in Southeast Asia is a generally favorable combination of rising per-capita incomes and a relatively young population, a recipe with the potential to fuel the appetite for a wide variety of consumer goods. The challenges Southeast Asian markets face must not be easily dismissed, but overall I am optimistic about the regions long-term growth potential.

2012-03-29 To QE or Not to QE by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

If the Fed does nothing, asset prices could fall, threatening Americas fragile economic recovery. But if the Fed decides to battle the forces of deleveraging, it could commit a classic error by acting during a turning point and thereby doing too much. During Operation Twist, the Fed will absorb the equivalent of all of the issuance of U.S. Treasury securities maturing beyond seven years. When Operation Twist ends, global investors will be left to shoulder the burden.

2012-03-28 Challenges and Change in Brazil by Team of Franklin Templeton

Brazils economy is grappling with some interesting challenges right now, such as shifts in monetary policy to cope with a possible economic slowdown and preparing to host two major events on the international stagethe 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil and the Olympics in 2016. Marco Freire, Franklin Templetons CIO, Brazil Fixed Income for the Local Asset Management team based in Sao Paulo, isnt sharing any locals-only secrets about either event, but hes happy to share his insights on how Brazil is approaching these challenges, and to clear up some common misconceptions about Brazils markets.

2012-03-27 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.

2012-03-27 The Great Escape: Delivering in a Delevering World by Bill Gross of PIMCO

When interest rates cannot be lowered further or risk spreads significantly compressed, the momentum begins to shift, gradually yields moving mildly higher and spreads stabilizing or moving slightly wider. In such a mildly reflating world, unless you want to earn an inflation-adjusted return of minus 2%-3% as offered by Treasury bills, then you must take risk in some form. We favor high quality, shorter duration and inflation-protected bonds; dividend paying stocks with a preference for developing over developed markets; and inflation-sensitive, supply-constrained commodity products.

2012-03-27 Buy Commodities, Sell Brands by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Warren Buffett was quoted the other day saying, We like companies which buy a commodity and sell a brand. We thought it would be very helpful to unpack his thought and put it into the context of today. We believe these current circumstances are framed by the historical over-pricing of commodities, the coming economic contraction of China, the successful cleansing of the income statements of US households and the inevitable rebound in housing in the US. We will look at the makeup of our portfolio companies which buy a commodity and sell a brand to consider their upside in this environment.

2012-03-26 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Hard data hasnt been collected, but its a safe bet that we waste more food and energy resources than we think. A green boom is a common dialogue amongst some communities but, not universal. In fact, green technology is often a luxury that only wealthy nations can talk about. And yet with so much money being wasted, there are no permanent solutions for spreading the bounty. Alternative energy and agricultural science are in their gestational periods, historically, and far from being the immediate solution to environment mis-management.

2012-03-23 Regressing to the Mean Asset Values Returning to Low Correlations by Robert Stein of Astor Asset Management

Asset values are finally marching, once again, to the beat of their own drummers. This is a welcome change of tune. Among the many investing challenges of the past few yearsbeyond the aftermath of a near-meltdown of the financial system and a global economy that went into a deep recessionwas the high degree of correlation among different assets. Assets moved in tandem, whether in lockstep or with inverse moves, based largely on risk on/risk off investment decisions. Concerned about Europe? Sell stocks, buy bonds. Think the EU ministers will reach a deal? Buy stocks, sell bonds.

2012-03-22 Dont Wait Too Long to Inflation-Proof Your Portfolio by Kevin D. Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

Most media outlets, in addition to the Fed, focus on core inflation readings. We think that this could be very misleading because mainstream America does not have the luxury of excluding food and energy from their everyday lives. Hence, if food and energy prices are rising (and not being picked up by the core inflation readings), Americans are likely to have less disposable income, unless commensurate increases in wages occur to offset the price increases. Less disposable income generally leads to lower overall consumer sentiment/confidence which translates into lower consumer spending.

2012-03-22 Brazil Retail Sector Riding the Wave of Middle Class Growth by Team of Thomas White International

Even in the late 1990s, Brazil was just like any other emerging economy, characterized by extremes of wealth and abject poverty with no social class dividing the bridge between. A decade and more down the line, the effervescence in the middle cannot be missed. Yes, the great Brazilian middle class defined as those who earn between $690 and $2,970 a month has arrived and is here to stay. If Brazil has made a name in the global retail sector, it had better thank these late comers, empowered with good purchasing power and access to credit.

2012-03-21 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.

2012-03-20 Jeremy Grantham: This Time is Different by Michael Edesess (Article)

Jeremy Grantham is a paradox. A man who has said many times, 'This time it's different are the four most dangerous words in the English language,' is now saying - loud and clear - this time it really is different.

2012-03-20 Has Anybody Seen My Old Friend Doomsday? by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Commodities have never been more popular or seen wider participation in my 32 years in the investment markets. The idea that more people existing is justification for higher commodity prices has constantly been refuted over the last 100 years. For example, we feel that if more people means perpetually rising commodity prices, they would have gone up all the time. In our opinion, China's hard landing is already happening. When China's debacle is obvious to everyone, commodities and stocks related to them will be the lepers of the investment world.

2012-03-19 Emerging Markets Equity Product Commentary February 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

The renewed market optimism that surfaced towards the end of last year persisted in February as well, as emerging market equities again outperformed the developed markets. Though GDP growth forecasts for most emerging economies have been scaled lower for the current year and for 2013, it is widely expected that the risk of a further slowdown in economic activity is limited. Emerging markets in Europe and the Middle East continued to lead during the month, followed by Asia and Latin America. Egypt sustained its recovery during the month while Thailand, Russia, and Chile also outperformed.

2012-03-16 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.

2012-03-15 Diversification 101 by Rich Weiss of American Century Investments

In this edition of Weekly Market Update, Rich Weiss, discusses diversification-the rationale, the benefits, and ways to apply this approach. This is the first in a series of monthly write-ups on the topic with future pieces devoted to topics such as the state of diversification in a post-financial crisis world; portfolio rebalancing; and when and what types of diversification strategies make the most sense, among other topics. Outfitted with this information, investors can make better investment choices, improving portfolio diversification and risk-adjusted performance now and into the future.

2012-03-15 Mr. BRIC Trade is on Our Side by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

A recent article in "The National" quoted Jim O'Neil as saying that current supply and demand for oil indicates that $80 to $100 per barrel for Brent Crude would be a fair price. O'Neil is a very savvy economist for Goldman Sachs, who coined the phrase BRIC trade back in 2001. Since that qualified him as an investment "Wayne Gretsky", we believe his thoughts are worthwhile. O'Neil argues that there are no winners in a war over Iran's nuclear capability. Therefore, he argues that the $25-35 premium in the price per barrel, would disappear by summer. We agree wholeheartedly.

2012-03-15 And Thats The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

The Fed gets together next week as analysts eagerly await the (more transparent) recap of the behind-the-scenes discussions between the (dissenting) parties. Rumors have policymakers debating a new type of bond buying program (sterilized QE) in which the Fed would print money to purchase long-term securities, but investors would face certain restrictions over how those proceeds can be used. As always, the Feds aim is to keep rates low and encourage more spending and investing by consumers and biz.

2012-03-15 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Instead of playing old fashioned fundamentals, gamblers are trying to pre-empt the true north of the markets by risking cash on dangerous bets about real estate, commodities, energy and bonds. In the meantime, the game continues for those who seek cover from the mayhem. Right now, there is little support for bonds or stocks. Yields are too low, and equity valuations have gone through a dangerous cycle. Thus, one might expect turmoil to continue. My risk rankings suggest that there is still more potential for the secular (bear) cycle to continue than there is momentum to reverse that course.

2012-03-14 Systemic Risk, Multiple Equilibria and Market Dynamics What You Need to Know and Why by Mohamed A. El-Erian and A. Michael Spence of PIMCO

In assessing the possibility, duration and impact of systemic risk factors, we need to analyze the interaction of expectations with market (endogenous) and policy (exogenous) circuit breakers. In the current environment, the prevalence of some subjective bimodal expectation distributions (e.g. Europe related) speaks to the multiple equilibrium features of sovereign debt markets. Multiple equilibria give rise to a range of scenarios, each quite different and each with its own distribution of returns, risks, correlations, and market functioning.

2012-03-14 Pacific Basin Market Overview - February 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

We still have a broadly positive view of the outlook for the Asia Pacific equity markets. The European Central Banks efforts to provide long-term liquidity support have alleviated the default risk among the peripheral Euro-zone countries. It also appears that the Federal Reserves easy money policy is beginning to have a positive impact on the U.S. economy. Given this optimism, we believe that equities in the region will continue to rally, particularly in the oversold cyclical sectors such as Industrials, Technology and Consumer Durables.

2012-03-13 Economic Update by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates

As one might expect after a near-doubling of the market in three years, investor sentiment, by many measures, is much more positive these days. These psychology indicators had reached worrisome levels (too much optimism often augurs below-average stock returns) a few weeks ago but have since come in a bit, which is healthy. The recent bullishness is hard to square though with the general anxiety individuals still have toward stocks. While some are returning to the market, many are still spooked by the volatility of recent years.

2012-03-13 Home Prices and Inflation, Part 1 by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

Various charts show home prices are now back to levels last seen in September-October 2002. I posted such a chart constructed from the LPS Home Price Index (HPI) in LPS Home Price Index Shows U.S. Home Prices Accelerated Decline.

2012-03-12 An Overweight to Stocks Is Still Warranted by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

We believe the macro environment remains equity-friendly and we would argue that it still makes sense to retain overweight positions in stocks. The economic expansion should continue, inflation remains muted and central banks around the world are hyper-focused on maintaining easy monetary policy. Add to this backdrop the fact that stock valuations remain attractive, and the case for sticking with stocks gains strength.

2012-03-08 Oil and Gasoline Prices Rise Again: How High and How Long? by Team of American Century Investments

One year ago, we wrote on the recent up-tick in crude oil and gasoline prices which was caused by turmoil and revolution in the Middle East. A year later, were experiencing a similar rise in crude and gasoline prices. Last week, the average national cost for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline was approximately $3.75 per gallon. One contributing factor has been the increase in tensions between Western countries (and Israel) with Iran over its continuing work to produce nuclear fuel which could be used in atomic weapons.

2012-03-02 The Protein Bomb by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Population will grow from 7-8.3 billion people over the next decade. Meanwhile, arable land across the world will shrink and living standards will continue to rise, with the OECD projecting 3 billion new middle class consumers over the next 20 years. Many of these people will change their diets in favor of more animal protein. Livestock is quite inefficient in terms of converting grain to energy, so the pressure on farmers to deliver more will be immense. We conclude that agriculture should be represented in every long-term portfolio, but farm land has already risen a lot in value.

2012-03-02 Will Oil Continue Heading Higher? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We expect there to be corrections in the price of oil throughout 2012, just like the ups and downs commodities experience from year to year. While the world is hungry for energy, theres no free lunch on the Periodic Table of Commodities, and historically, from year to year, commodities fluctuate. Crude oil, for example, has seen its share of ups and downs: In 2008, oil lost 53 percent; in 2009, it increased a substantial 78 percent. While oil may remain elevated, use these higher prices to your advantage by owning natural resources companies that benefit from higher prices.

2012-02-29 No Easy Fix for Gas Prices by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Oil and gas prices are high now for a very simple reason: the Fed has gone on a campaign to push up inflation and push down the value of the U.S. dollar. Just last week on CNBC James Bullard the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, stated this unequivocally. What is overlooked is the degree to which an inflationary policy at home creates inflation abroad. Many countries who peg their currencies to the U.S. dollar need to follow suit. As China prints yuan to keep it from appreciating against the dollar, prices rise in China. This is especially true for commodities like crude oil.

2012-02-29 A Tailwind for Gold? Low Rates by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

In recent months, the Fed and the ECB have been lowering-or maintaining low-interest rates in an effort to support growth. One unintended beneficiary of the aggressive easing by the developed worlds central banks: Gold. Historically, the most important driver of gold returns has not been inflation or the dollar, but rather the level of real interest rates. In the past, environments with interest rates at or below the level of inflation have been very supportive of commodities, and particularly gold. Todays rate environment fits this bill and so should that of the near future.

2012-02-29 2012: A Year in the Global Economy by Azad Zangana and Keith Wade of Schroder Investment Management

Global growth is set to slow further in 2012 largely as a result of the euro crisis. On the positive side, two factors should support activity in 2012. The first is a fall in inflation, which will support household real incomes leading to stronger consumer spending. The second is the strength of the corporate sector; companies have stockpiled cash and built up profits. However, Europe is entering a serious recession and will weigh on growth elsewhere. Euro policymakers should redouble their efforts to find a solution to the eurozone crisis.

2012-02-27 And Thats The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

A few retailers (Abercrombie & Fitch, Nordstrom) take center stage in earnings season as investors get another glimpse into the recent holiday activity. Likewise retail sales highlights the economic calendar and offers some follow-through from the season. Fed minutes depict the mindset of the policymakers. And, of course, there will be news from Greece.

2012-02-27 Game Changer by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

In addition to strong secular tailwinds supporting the energy sector, highly expansionary global monetary policies from many central banks are adding cyclical support to globally traded commodities like oil. In the U.S. energy sector, we believe that onshore natural gas shale and oil shale developments are creating opportunities to invest in energy companies that may grow significantly faster than the overall U.S. economy.

2012-02-27 South Africa: Resource Nationalism Gaining Political Currency by Team of Thomas White International

Increasing government control over natural resources is not a new trend. Governments in most emerging countries, including established democracies such as India and Brazil, directly or indirectly control most of their mineral resources. But in the case of South Africa, the consequences of such decisions can reverberate far and wide. The country has one of the worlds biggest reserves of natural resources, currently valued at $2.5 trillion.

2012-02-25 The Emotions of Fear and Apathy Create Good Buying Opportunities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

One of the reasons money has found its way back to the market is that low interest rates and a bubble in bonds have upped the attractiveness of equities relative to other asset classes. In fact, many large-cap equities come with a higher yield. This means that investors can wait for the growth, while receiving the income. Overall, it looks like the markets dark clouds are lifting and we could be in for a period of sunny skies in the months ahead.

2012-02-23 9 Key Themes To Impact Returns in 2012 by Scott Migliori of Allianz Global Investors

A breakdown of the key drivers of market performance in 2012 including corporate profits, pricing/inflation, interest rates, economic activity, international performance, the dollar, valuations, technical/sentiment and fiscal policy. The U.S. economy is likely to grow 5%

2012-02-18 A Surer Footing by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

While the footing appears surer, the economic and market outlook remains very foggy suggesting that it is best to stick to the middle of the path and cautiously put one foot in front of the other.

2012-02-16 Weekly Market Update: Introduction to Alternative Investments by Team of American Century Investments

Alternative investments (or alts as they are commonly known) have exploded in popularity in recent years. What began as specialty investment strategies utilized by only the most sophisticated institutional investorssuch as pension plans and university endowmentsare now readily available to retail investors through a number of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Here we try to explain alts appeal in broad terms, discussing how these strategies are used and what role alts may play in an individual investors portfolio.

2012-02-16 The Upticks Downside by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Since late last year, a series of positive developments has boosted investor confidence and led to a sharp rally in risky assets, starting with global equities and commodities. But at least four downside risks are likely to materialize this year, undermining global growth and negatively affecting investor confidence and market valuations of risky assets.

2012-02-15 Not in My Lifetime by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

The weak dollar and international economic fears have sparked multi-year bull markets in gold, oil and most major commodities. This has forced asset allocators at the largest institutions, consulting firms, registered advisory firms and financial advisor networks to over-emphasize all aspects of the capital eaters and the longer-term Treasury bonds which compete for these dollars. In effect, the Federal Reserve Board caused the last of the unbelievers to give up in early February because it does not appear that rates will rise in our lifetime.

2012-02-14 ?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 Savers Are Not A Special Class by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

The self-reinforcing struggles between risk appetite and liquidity continued this week. Since the FOMC meeting, LTRO kicking in, easier policies from the ECB and a run of good economic numbers, we're in rally territory for equities here and abroad. The good news is that this has not come at the expense of other asset classes...so gold, bonds, US$, commodities are all holding up well. The liquidity push cannot have come at a better time. Private sectors are still building precautionary savings and public deficits are closing...

2012-02-10 Inflation Outlook 2012: Benign, But Watch the Tails by Mihir P. Worah and Nicholas J. Johnson of PIMCO

Headline inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the U.S., ran at 3.0% in 2011, up from 1.5% for 2010. Our base case is for inflation to moderate this year, heading to slightly below 2%. Longer term our bias is toward higher inflation, and we feel any deflationary episode is likely to be short-lived. Faced with this possibility of higher inflation, many investors may need to examine their allocations to assets associated with real return potential, including Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS), real estate, commodities and equities.

2012-02-09 Private Equity: Fact, Fiction and What Lies in Between by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

What good is private equity, anyway? Critics say these investment pools make money the wrong way -- buying "target companies," slashing jobs, piling on debt and selling the remnants, which by then are doomed to fail. Defenders say PE is a strong creator of jobs and value, and a vital source of outsized returns for pension funds, university endowments and other investment pools that serve ordinary people. Who's right?

2012-02-07 Global Overview: January 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Concerns over a significant global downturn have faded further as economic data trends from the last days of 2011 and the early days of the current year remain healthy. Global manufacturing activity expanded again in January, helped by output growth in the U.S., China, Japan, India, and Australia. Manufacturing output also improved in the Euro-zone, helped by continued gains in Germany. U.S. labor market conditions advanced again in January, raising hopes for increased consumer demand that will also help export growth in other economies such as China.

2012-02-03 Sentinel's Top 10 Predictions For 2012 by Christian W. Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

i) the US is emerging stronger from this recovery than any other major economy ii) Europes woes are temporarily eased and iii) China is past the worst of its inflation scares. If that sounds muted, it is. The damage done to the economies through irresponsible lending and uncontrolled asset price inflation (the US) or unencumbered vendor financing and overvalued exchange rates (EU) was immense. Both meant huge banking messes. And households are the only ones who clean up banking messes. In time. Slowly. And thats where the world stands.

2012-02-02 2011: The US Year by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The market generally proves the consensus wrong, and 2011 certainly adhered to that historical precedent because the consensus "must owns" at the beginning of 2011 generally underperformed during the year. What is somewhat startling to us, however, is that conviction has yet to be shaken. The consensus continues to favor commodities, emerging markets, and "any-bond-but-treasuries".

2012-02-01 Life and Death Proposition by Bill Gross of PIMCO

When interest rates approach zero they may transition from historically stimulative to potentially destimulative/regressive influences. Recent central bank behavior, including that of the U.S. Fed, provides assurances that short/intermediate yields will not change, and therefore bond prices are not likely threatened on the downside. Most short to intermediate Treasury yields are dangerously close to the zero-bound which imply limited potential room, if any, for price appreciation. We can't put $100 trillion of credit in a system-wide mattress, but we can move in that direction by delevering.

2012-01-31 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 Fed Forecasts Depend on Data by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Last summer, the Fed promised to hold rates down through mid-2013. Headlines from last week suggest that the Fed now thinks 2014. But, how committed is the Fed to this strategy? What will it take to change course? Some analysts argue that this is an ironclad commitment and there will be no course changes. We believe this is a misreading of the Feds intentions. There are 19 potential economic views that are important at the Federal Reserve 7 are on the Board of Governors and 12 are Presidents of regional banks. There is more disagreement at the Fed than meets the eye.

2012-01-30 And Thats The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

As January goes, so goes the market for the year. Can we keep these gains for two more days? A few key bellwethers post earningsExxon Mobil looks to set new records; Amazon shows the effects of the holiday season; and UPS provides new signs about the strength of the overall economy. Labor and manufacturing highlight a very busy week on the economic calendar as investors hope to see continued positive trends from the ISM (manu), nonfarm payroll, and the unemployment rate. And, of course, Europe is never too far from the weekly headlines. (The more things change) Go Giants (a week early).

2012-01-30 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

In recent discussions with clients, I have answered questions about good new versus bad news and short-term versus long-term probabilities. As my readers are aware, I have become increasingly bearish in my asset allocations, a factor which derives from a combination of very short-term information along with macro, secular data. In short, my analysis quantifies policies, valuations, and fundamentals which have dragged down the prospects for global earnings acceleration (in the near-term). Notice that I refer to these statistics as decelerators, not necessarily absolute impediments.

2012-01-30 Fourth Quarter Investor Letter by Mark Bennett, David Templeton and Nick Reilly of HORAN Capital Advisors

We have our reservations about world economic output, but stand by our past comments about slow U.S. growth without a recession. We do believe equities offer attractive return opportunities for the foreseeable future in the context of historical valuation and relative valuation. We acknowledge the structural issues prevalent in developed economies and the risk that comes with debt hurdles, demographic challenges and potential deflation, but there are many data points that make us optimistic about equity returns in 2012 and for long-term strategic investment allocations of capital.

2012-01-27 Filling an Energy Order with Chinese Takeouts by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Years ago, China did not have a global footprint, but over the last few decades the country has transformed itself into a global power. It boasts the largest automobile market and the largest consumer of steel, copper, mobile phones, and energy. It has built 18k miles of high speed rail connecting 250 cities with 5.5k skyscrapers. This tremendous infrastructure has amplified and globalized M&A activity, which has a positive effect on commodity-related stocks. For commodity equity investors, BCA says to expect Chinese firms to play an increasingly important role in global capital markets

2012-01-25 Rise of the Dragon by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

With the debt situation in Europe continuing to further unravel and dim economic prospects in the U.S., many have come to believe that the star of the dragon descendants has the potential to rise even further in the coming years. Chinas GDP growth is expected to moderate to around 8.2% in 2012, which is high compared to developed economies. In this highly connected world, China is unlikely to be immune to the global slowdown, but I believe the Chinese government will utilize their substantial reserves and banking system to stimulate the domestic economy, as they did in 2009.

2012-01-25 2011 Review and Outlook by Ronald W. Roge and Steven M. Roge of R. W. Roge

While there is plenty to worry about globally, particularly the European financial crisis, Iran, and domestic policy decisions, we can take some comfort that corporate earnings continued to grow and our economy is muddling through with positive GDP numbers. Traditionally, election years are positive for equities. Since 1928 there have been 21 Presidential elections with only three of those years producing negative returns for the S&P 500. Until we have more clarity on the U.S. election, domestic policy decisions and the European financial crisis we will remain cautious and flexible.

2012-01-25 Closed End Funds Investment Commentary December 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers

The U.S. economic picture has brightened in recent weeks, a positive for equities and credit markets, and we expect slow sustained growth. However, Europe remains a risk. While recent fiscal, political and central bank initiatives to address the credit crisis in Europe are encouraging, the political landscape remains uncertain, and economic austerity measures will weigh on growth. With interest rates likely to remain near historical lows for an extended period, we believe that attractive spreads should continue to benefit the income-generating potential of leveraged closed-end funds.

2012-01-24 Dale Mortensen on Addressing Unemployment by Dan Richards (Article)

Dale Mortensen is an economist, a professor at Northwestern University and a co-winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics. In this interview, he discusses the unemployment situation in the US. This is the transcript.

2012-01-23 Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Sovereign Debt Wolf? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Last Friday, the sovereign debt of nine European nations was downgraded by S&P. Now, there are only four European nations whose sovereign bonds carry the highest AAA rating: Finland, Germany, Luxemburg and the Netherlands. Since the sovereign debt refinancing and potential default problem still goes unsolved, we foresee the markets having to keep digesting more waves of bad news. Yet the fear created by such news is diminishingnot because of a shortage of negative news headlinesbut because European banks are more protected by the many lifelines that central banks keep throwing them.

2012-01-20 A 5-Step Strategy for Investing in Natural Gas by Jeffrey Dow Jones of Jones & Company

Understand the parameters -this is a long term trade. It's not about guessing where the price bottom is. It's about relating where we are today to where we'll be a year or so from now. There's a lot of negativity in the natural gas space right now, and understandably so. But when you conduct a broad, multi-dimensional analysis, the probabilities about the long term outcome become a little clearer.

2012-01-20 Equity Investment Outlook by John Osterweis and Matt Berler of Osterweis Capital Management

We believe that 2011 was an aberration in terms of stock market correlations and that gradually stocks will once again perform based more on their individual results and outlooks and less on the markets en masse risk on, risk off vacillations. Despite our near-term caution, which reflects a very uncertain economic and political climate, we are increasingly convinced that equities are poised for solid longer-term returns. Over the past ten years, stocks generally underperformed bonds. This is highly unusual. Stocks are now reasonably priced and profits are expected to expand.

2012-01-19 Inflation: Wheres the Beef? by Team of American Century Investments

With inflation seemingly in check, we reevaluate the near- and longer-term inflation environment, and discuss implications for investor portfolios. It is easy to understand why this topic intrigues so many. Depending on your perspective, inflation can be said to be rising fairly rapidly from low levels seen just a few years ago; or it could be said to be quite restrained, given the calls in recent years for runaway inflation as a result of unprecedented U.S. monetary and fiscal policies and a number of pronounced global economic imbalances.

2012-01-19 Asia-Pacific Portfolio Managers Discuss PIMCOs Cyclical Outlook by Robert Mead, Isaac Meng and Raja Mukherji of PIMCO

We expect emerging Asia growth below the market consensus due to its less aggressive policy responses compared to 2008-2009. The Asia-Pacific region is less affected than others by eurozone turmoil but contagion is still a risk through direct trade and the regional production chains that characterize Asias export-oriented economies. In this environment, we favor Australian government bonds for their high credit quality, low-beta currencies such as the Chinese yuan, corporate issuers that have delevered, covered bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

2012-01-13 Investing in 2012: Same Issues, More Extreme Valuations by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

When all was said and done, 2011 turned out to be the metaphorical equivalent of a roller coaster ride.There were quiet positives: The addition of 1.6 million jobs with the unemployment rate falling from 9.4% to 8.5%, a gradual improvement in light vehicle sales, the demise of Bin Laden and gathering economic momentum as the year drew to a close. There were scary negatives: soaring oil prices in reaction to the Arab Spring the human and economic toll of the Japanese tsunami the inability of Europe to deal with its complicated debt issue and the inability of Washington to deal with simpler one.

2012-01-13 Time to Climb? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

The US economy continues to expand and has recently picked up momentum. Investors have been focused on European and US debt problems, but that may set up an environment for stocks to move higher. Many challenges await Congress. We're not optimistic that much progress will be made, but the rhetoric will almost certainly heat up as late-year elections loom. Recent policy decisions in Europe provide some hope but the region's banks continue to struggle and are pulling back on lending, which likely impedes growth. In China, policymakers attempt to keep growth from dipping below healthy levels.

2012-01-12 Nero (Iran) Fiddles While Rome (China) Burns by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

What is required for a whopper of a secular bear market is for most market participants to believe the positive side of the story all the way down. We believe that all the pieces are in place for commodities to suffer a multi-year bear market which will wipe out up to 70% of peak prices on most major commodities. We want to make sure everyone sees the potential for a massive reversion to the mean. In our opinion, the recession coming in Chinas economy will break the back of oil prices for decades. Lower oil prices could strip the economic relevance of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen.

2012-01-12 Emerging Europe: Fourth Quarter 2011 Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was established in 1992 to help the former communist states in their transition to market-based economies. The EBRDs mandate includes investments in Russia and its satellite states such as Poland and Hungary. The Czech Republic, which was the first country to complete the transition process successfully, has come out from under the EBRD umbrella. According to the banks latest forecasts, GDP growth in the central and eastern European region will be approximately 4.5 percent in 2011 and about 3.2 percent in 2012.

2012-01-11 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review 4th Quarter 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia Pacifics economic expansion slowed considerably beginning in October 2011. In many economies, export growth along with investments grew at their slowest pace since the summer of 2009. Although the Purchasing Managers Index improved across key economies in November the index was still under the 50 mark, which generally means a contraction in manufacturing activity. Almost all the countries in emerging Asia Pacific posted slower third quarter expansion over the year-ago period.

2012-01-11 Aberdeen Chile Fund, Inc. Fund Manager Interview by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Chile has developed a middle class quicker than many of its Latin American peers and consequently, more robust domestic consumption trends. Chile has formed close ties with China in recent years and in 2005 became the first country in Latin America to sign a Free Trade Agreement with the Asian nation. Chile has proven to be a model to the Latin American region in regards to good corporate governance and transparency. Though Chile will not be fully insulated from the global downturn, the countrys longterm fundamentals remain sound.

2012-01-06 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.

2012-01-06 A Snapshot of Where We Are Today by Don Hodges of Hodges Capital Management

History has shown time and again, cycles like this one where the news is overwhelmingly bad, is a time to make investments for the long-term. Its seed planting time. But it is not an easy thing to do. The gravitational pull because of our emotions, is to hide and do nothing, to defer until things look better. In the past, turnarounds are generally up a substantial amount from their lows before it is widely acknowledged that the turn is for real. If the past is reliable, based on the length of this decline, when the turnaround does occur, it will more than likely be swift and dramatic.

2012-01-06 What Happened in 2011Whats up for 2012? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

This all lends itself to a volatile, but nearly flat trend for stocks and bonds in 2012. Fundamentals dont yet support a run-up, but easy money may put a floor underneath assets over the short run. Unless the situation were to change, we believe aggressive dips in stock markets represent buying opportunities. We tend to think bonds will underperform equities in 2012, given their dramatic outperforming in 2011.

2012-01-06 What Will 2012 Bring? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

In 2011, financial news was dominated by the turmoil in Europe. Looking ahead, the ongoing crisis will be addressed by a global money printing jamboree and coordinated funding from central banks in the developed world, including the Fed. When the money starts rolling off the presses, the liquidity infusion will create some genuine buying opportunities for American, European, and Asian stocks, as well as selected commodities. Liquidity infusions are like a rising tide of money available to buy assets. Buy stocks, commodities, and primarily gold to protect the buying power of their assets.

2012-01-06 Have Winds Shifted to Provide Relief to Investors? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We believe the winds are shifting to bring needed relief to global investors. Weve seen improving economic data from the U.S. lately, and this positive news from the worlds largest economy, along with an improving Chinathe worlds most populated countryoffsets the negativity in Europe.

2012-01-04 Fundamentals March on Despite Global Risks in 2012 by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

The two primary drivers of market performancefundamentals and global risksacted in opposition in 2011. It is critical to understand the hierarchy of influence of these drivers in order to understand the current market and to forecast its future direction. Although spikes in global risk may make headlines and cause temporary shocks to investor confidence, the markets path ultimately comes down to the strength of the underlying fundamentals. We expect 2012 will mark the third consecutive year that fundamentals relentlessly march forward despite ample global risks.

2012-01-04 Towards the Paranormal by Bill Gross of PIMCO

The New Normal, previously believed to be bell-shaped and thin-tailed in its depiction of growth probability and financial market outcomes, appears to be morphing into a world of fat-tailed, almost bimodal outcomes. A new duality credit and zero-bound interest rate risk, characterizes the financial markets of 2012, offering the fat left-tailed possibility of unforeseen policy delevering or the fat right-tailed possibility of central bank inflationary expansion. Until the outcome becomes clear, investors should consider ways to hedge their bets.

2011-12-31 Remarkable Resilience by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Despite a remarkable series of crises, the stock market was roughly flat on the year. Earnings increasing, inflation decreasing, and economic data improving, the environment for a renewed upward move may be in place to start 2012. There seems to be little hope from DC for any relief in the near term, but 2012 brings an election cycle that will likely have a major impact on the future of the US. A near-term implosion in Europe seems to have been avoided but real solutions remain absent and the risks for a greater economic pullback are growing, which would likely have global implications.

2011-12-30 Hockey Stick Growth: Good for the Wallet, Bad for the Globe by Jonathan Leidy of Portico Wealth Advisors

Population growth, specifically in developing nations with burgeoning middle classes, portends significant economic growth. That leads to the now somewhat hackneyed conclusion that emerging markets will make for good long-term investments. Nevertheless, the US and the rest of the developed world will continue to shrink in relative size, and hence global significance, over the next several decades; Emerging markets, and the multi-national corporations that work with them e.g. MacDonalds, Tiffanys, and Daimler-Benz, are likely to remain very attractive investments.

2011-12-30 A Look Back at 2011s Calls by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Last December, Russ shared his economic forecast for 2011, along with a series of investment calls. Nearly every Monday since then, he has highlighted certain asset classes and market sectors in his weekly call posts. So, how did his calls perform? Read more to find out.

2011-12-30 Case for Sustained $100 Oil by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China, along with other emerging markets, and the European Central Bank are in the early stages of a global easing cycle, primarily by cutting interest rates to spur growth. Also, the Federal Reserve should remain stimulative. These government actions set the stage for sustained, or perhaps higher, demand for oil. Geopolitical threats remain on the horizon, and could also be a positive catalyst for oil.

2011-12-27 Vitaliy Katsenelson on Krugman?s Missed Call by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Vitaliy Katsenelson is the chief investment officer at Investment Management Associates, a Denver-based money management firm, and the author of two highly acclaimed books on value investing. In this interview, he identifies what Paul Krugman failed to see with regard to China, discusses the prospects for the European and domestic economies, and explains why Microsoft is a grossly undervalued stock.

2011-12-27 Bear Trap by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

StockCharts.com defines a bear trap as a situation that occurs when stock prices break below a significant level and generate a sell signal, but then reverse course and negate the sell signal. While that's the formal definition, I have often referred to bear traps as undercut lows. The biggest one in recent history occurred on October 4, 2011. I revisit the undercut low thesis today because it appears that is precisely what happened last Monday afternoon when the S&P 500 (SPX/1265.35) knifed through its previous reaction low of 1209.47.

2011-12-23 Chart of the Week - Struggling Copper Supply by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As Chinas appetite for commodities slowed this year, much of the worlds copper demand went with it. Despite this softening in demand, Macquarie Research thinks the red metal could see a rebound in 2012 because copper mines are struggling to supply the marketplace with adequate reserves. Macquarie says, Global copper mine output has continually disappointed forecasts and, more importantly, market needs over a number of years now, despite the strong financial incentive not only from high copper prices but also high by-product prices.

2011-12-23 Twenty Years of Investing in Asia by Paul Matthews and Mark Headley of Matthews Asia

This month Asia Insight speaks with Paul Matthews and Mark Headley to get their thoughts on 20 years of investing in Asia. Why were you so convinced of Asias growth prospects at a time when few others were? Paul: As a young businessman trying to build an asset management firm focused on Asia ex Japan, the challenge for me was that Japan was 95% of the investment universe and also a majority of the market for asset gathering. While based in Hong Kong, I was given the task of looking for ways to build the business and so I was attracted to the markets that were open and growing.

2011-12-23 Rebalancing Resurrected, Part 3 by Adam Butler and Mike Philbrick of Butler Philbrick & Associates

This is a 'Canadian-ized' version of anarticlewe published on Monday, December 19, 2011, which featured a study of US equity and fixed-income markets. As we are located in Canada, we were motivated to see how well the same techniques work in our home market using the S&P/TSX Composite. As expected, it turns out that they work quite well.

2011-12-23 Banking Reform: Hopefully Britannia Creates A Wave by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The British government has set in motion this week a future overhaul in the way that individual banks do business. British banks will be required to separate their basic lending and deposit operations from investment activities involving trading and speculation on behalf of clients and the banks themselves. This should mean that the deposits of retail customers will be shielded and protected from bank investment and trading ventures.

2011-12-21 Hot Potato by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons, Andrew Bosomworth, Lupin Rahman and Rob Mead of PIMCO

The world is playing a game of hot potato with European financial assets, and the European Central Bank is a reluctant player. Together, Europes fiscal and monetary authorities can likely avert a systemic accident, but they must act quickly and courageously. Differentiation among emerging market monetary policies is increasing. And in Australia, the central bank will likely need to ease further in 2012. If every central bank enacts similar monetary policy tools, those tools compete for the same targets (financial and inflation stability), thereby potentially eroding their effectiveness.

2011-12-20 Dennis Gartman Explains His Call on Gold by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Dennis Gartman has been publishing his daily commentary, The Gartman Letter, since 1987. He's been in the news lately because of a call he made last week on the price of gold. In this interview, he discusses the reasons behind that forecast.

2011-12-20 By The Side Of The Road by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

For months I have stated, While I guess we could talk ourselves into a recession, like the aforementioned hot dog folks, most of the finger-to-wallet ratios I monitor are not pointing towards a recession. To be sure, railcar loadings (especially intermodal) have been pretty strong for the past few months. State tax receipts are up year-over-year. East Coast port traffic, both inbound and outbound, remains perky. And, one of the best walk around indicators, namely foot traffic at the casual dining restaurants because it is the most discretionary of all consumer purchases, is still positive.

2011-12-20 Has Gold Lost Its Luster? by Josh Kapp of Columbia Management

In the last few days, the price of gold appears to have found some footing on improved macroeconomic data and a weaker dollar, together with apparent support from physical demand. While recent volatility may have dented confidence in golds safe haven status, golds appeal may ultimately balance on moves toward austerity vs. stimulus. As we head into the new year, the scales appear to be tipped to austerity.

2011-12-20 A Look Back at 2011 by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Although 2011 started off on a relatively strong note for the global economy and markets, the past year was dominated by fears that contagion from the European debt crisis would derail the recovery. Overall global economic growth struggled as most areas of the world experienced growth slowdowns (the notable exception being the U.S.) Emerging markets were also faced with some mounting inflation pressures, which presented a challenge for policymakers. Although there have been some signs of progress regarding the debt crisis, uncertainty levels remain high going into 2012.

2011-12-19 Emerging Markets: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Almost every market move these days seems to be tied to the latest headline coming from Europe. And the U.S. political deadlock on deficit reduction, high unemployment and fear of a recession hiding under the bed are certainly not helping investor morale. But dont throw in the towel just yet. While the ongoing turbulence in the markets has investors feeling more than a little edgy, the story of robust and resilient growth in emerging markets seems cause for optimism.

2011-12-19 The Volcker RuleAn Exercise in Confusion by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

This past October, a group of four regulatory bodies jointly released draft proposals of the so-called Volcker Rule. Part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation set to go into effect this coming July 2012, this rule would forbid banks any substantial interest in either hedge funds or private equity firms and also prohibit banks from doing any proprietary trading on their own account in securities of any kind. Apart from the legitimate concerns and arguments on both sides, the most threatening and dangerous aspect is the debilitating lack of clarity.

2011-12-16 Making Sense Of The European Chaos by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Developments in Europe have dominated the worlds economic headlines in recent days and have obscured some good news from China. In this weeks newsletter, we will cover the background of these important events and their meaning to global investors. We are recommending using the gold market decline to add to gold positions, we continue to hold other long term positions.

2011-12-16 The Great Scarcity: Stockpicking by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Correlations among the S&P 500 Index companies was the highest on October 10th of 2011 as it has been for 25 years. In the opinion of Smead Capital Management, this means that more investors are participating in market directional strategies, macro-economic strategies and tactical portfolio strategies than at any time in US history. As large-cap value managers and stock pickers, we are very excited about the next three to five years as all the chips have moved to the other side of the table and stock picking has become a scarce resource.

2011-12-14 Dollar Soars Following FOMC No Hint of QE3; Looking Ahead, What's Next? by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

I have read countless articles recently regarding the inevitability of QE3. I have disagreed for four reasons:1.Price of oil near $100 give Fed little choice 2.Rising price of food gives Fed little choice 3.Stock market has risen on hype of European bailout giving Fed little reason 4.Falling unemployment rate (even though it's totally bogus) gives Fed little reason 5.Why should the Fed react when hot air from Europe gave a huge lift to the markets? I would have been surprised if the Fed tossed a QE3 bone under those circumstances. And it didn't.

2011-12-13 Harnessing the Power of Momentum by Michael Nairne (Article)

A market phenomena that we can harness on behalf of our clients is momentum - the propensity for price trends to persist in the short-term. I examine the origins of momentum, illustrate its return premium and consider how managers can leverage momentum on behalf of investors.

2011-12-12 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.

2011-12-09 Markets Rolling Look For More Of The Same by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

During the last two weeks, global markets have moved their way to higher ground and indications point to a healthier finish than expected to an otherwise sickly 2011. We see several developments supporting a continued equity market rally. They have to do with measures taken in China, Europe, and by central bankers around the globe. The Canadian and Singapore dollars are well-managed currencies in countries with conservative banking systems. They are good candidates for continued long- term appreciation versus the Euro and U.S. dollar.

2011-12-09 2012: Politics Versus Fundamentals by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Assessing the prospects for a coming twelve-month period is always a challenge. We rely on our broad arsenal of fundamental barometers for profits, sentiment, momentum, and our cyclical indicators to help us identify whether markets are correctly aligned relative to their economic and profits cycles.

2011-12-08 Will a Eurozone Recession Put a Damper on the World's Fragile Economic Recovery? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

If large parts of Europe fall into a recession, as many experts are predicting, it is likely to have negative, although varied, effects on economies around the world, including those -- like the United States -- that are struggling to recover from the global financial crisis. As European leaders hammer out yet another package of solutions this week, Wharton faculty weigh in on the impact of a eurozone recession, as well as the pros and cons of the recovery measures that are up for debate.

2011-12-06 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.

2011-12-05 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Any euphoria about last weeks intermittent triple-digit rallies has to be couched in a context of longer-term developing downtrends and a desire to see any positive news as bear-busting. Alas, the ongoing downcycle persists and is likely to be the primary determinant to market performance for the foreseeable future. As junctures go, last week represented a few days of post-holiday welcome relief, but hardly the initiation of a change in secular direction. The headwinds are too daunting when analyzing market and sector relative strength quotients.

2011-12-05 Five Reasons to Buy Equities by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Amid all the risks today, and given the spotty history of stocks during the last 10 years or so, it is easy to understand why both retail and institutional investors continue to avoid the U.S. equity market. But understandable as their reluctance is, there are at least five good reasons to consider equities now: 1) There is good value. 2) There will be no double-dip recession. 3) Europe should survive. 4) Washington will not implode. 5) Nobody is buying equities.

2011-12-02 The Paradox of Active Fixed Income Management by Matt Tucker of iShares Blog

Amid this years volatile markets, many investors expected their fixed income holdings to be a source of stability in their portfolios. But some are finding the opposite has been true. In this blog, Matt Tucker explains how the Paradox of Active Management could be partly to blame.

2011-12-02 Are Stars Aligned for a Year-End Rally? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Correlations will decrease along with volatility as we get more clarity on the eurozone crisis and see signs of stability in the global economy. Volatility fell this week, with the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) declining 20 percent. This could be related to the news that November U.S unemployment unexpectedly dropped to 8.6 percent, U.S. auto sales in November were the strongest in more than two years, and preliminary data on holiday retail sales appears to be strong. According to Bloomberg News, Black Friday sales hit a record high this year, with consumers spending $11.4 billion.

2011-11-30 Markets Surge As World Engages In Global Bailout by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Today, the remaining survivors of the global financial rout have coordinated an "all in" gamble to save the world from the next impending crisis. This morning's announcement that the Fed, European Central Bank, Bank of Japan, Bank of England, Swiss National Bank and Bank of Canada will lower the rates on currency swaps as well as lower pricing on existing US Dollar swaps provides a massive liquidity canon for the global financial system. While the markets are surging, the important take away here is that the world is in FAR WORSE shape than has previously been discussed.

2011-11-29 Playing \'What If?\' with Oil Prices and a Potential Strike on Iranian Nuclear Facilities by Greg E. Sharenow of PIMCO

The impact of a major disruption in the supply of oil from Iran would depend on the IEAs intervention, the duration and the degree to which any attack might be a surprise. The market has less cushion than it did earlier this year due to production outages and relatively strong non-OECD demand, leading to sharp draws on inventories. Excess capacity is virtually exhausted and we doubt other OPEC nations would be able to compensate for a reduction in Iranian oil production. In light of these possible price spikes, investors should evaluate how their portfolios might be affected by inflation.

2011-11-22 A Bond-Based Financial Planning Framework by Stan and Hildy Richelson (Article)

Plain vanilla bonds have proven themselves to be the best investments available, and we wholeheartedly agree with Andrew Mellon's prescient late-1920s observation that 'gentlemen prefer bonds.' We believe that ladies should, too.

2011-11-22 Readers Questions Answered Part VIII by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Its been a while since I answered some readers questions. Thank you, readers, for all your responses to the blogthey have been highly encouraging. 1. Do you think there will be a recession globally or in emerging markets from a mid- to long-term perspective? 2. What is the impact if one or more countries withdrew from the euro? 3.What is your view on Ukraine? Ukraine is one of the more interesting markets since it has a number of viable industries with growth potential.

2011-11-22 Readers Questions Answered Part VIII by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Its been a while since I answered some readers questions. Thank you, readers, for all your responses to the blogthey have been highly encouraging. 1. Do you think there will be a recession globally or in emerging markets from a mid- to long-term perspective? 2. What is the impact if one or more countries withdrew from the euro? 3.What is your view on Ukraine? Ukraine is one of the more interesting markets since it has a number of viable industries with growth potential.

2011-11-21 Investment Outlook: November 2011 by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Financial crisis continues to dominate the political agenda: a credit crunch looms as Europes banks shrink balance sheets, growth momentum is diverging among different regions, investor focus on global fiscal policy will intensify in 2012 and abundant liquidity via central bank easing is likely to prevail for some time. Economic data has tended to surprise analysts over the last few weeks, encouraging the view that growth may not be as weak as some were predicting only a month ago. However the picture is very different among different regions around the world.

2011-11-18 The Gold Triple Play - Volatility, Currencies and Europe by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Resurgent investment lifted global gold demand 6 percent from the previous year to just over 1,000 tons during the third quarter of 2011, according to the latest Gold Demand Trends Report from the World Gold Council (WGC). The potent cocktail of inflationary pressures in the emerging world and the European sovereign debt fiasco left investors searching for a safe haventhey looked for it in gold.

2011-11-17 Why The Price Of Oil Has Risen From About $75 To About $100 Over The Past Six Weeks by Team of Guild Investment Management

Many veteran observers seriously question the intelligence of ongoing policies that ignore domestic resources and keep the US sending billions of dollars a year to countries that dislike the US and actively seek Americas decline. After it's recent rise, we recommend investors take profits in oil. It can go higher but we like taking profits after a rapid rise. Also, a mechanism is being put in place that will allow financially-responsible Eurozone countries to force irresponsible members to either make necessary changes in their approach to government spending or to leave the Euro currency.

2011-11-16 As Alternative Investments Move into the Mainstream, Advisors and Investors Need to Choose Wisely by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

We believe that having a piece of an overall portfolio that is committed to liquid alternatives is a critical component to long-term portfolio stability, capital preservation and growth. No one wants a repeat of 2008, or anything close to it. There are an abundance of liquid alternative choices available, some of which have proven themselves through various market cycles and environments. They have gone from Wall Street to Main Street for good reason. Embrace the opportunity, and you and your clients may just sleep a bit better at night during these volatile times.

2011-11-16 It Ain't Over Till It's OverAnd Thats Not Happening Soon by Team of Guild Investment Management

Dont expect the current crisis of budgetary deficits and spending restraints to stop any time soon. Instead, think in these realistic terms: the era of fiscal restraint and spending limits has come, and will be with us for ten to twenty more years. It is obvious to veteran observers that Europe and America are facing hard choices that will result in slow growth and increased suffering for the people. And for that we have our incompetent legislators past and present to thank. They have misused their mandates, grossly exceeded their budgets, and are loath to correct wayward behaviors.

2011-11-15 Michael Aronstein on Today's Key Macro Trends by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Michael Aronstein is the president and chief executive officer of Marketfield Asset Management. Since its inception in 2008, his fund has returned 31% while the S&P has been down 15%. I spoke with him about the key macroeconomic and strategic issues facing investors today.

2011-11-11 The Beginning of the End of Fiat Money by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Last week, the G-20 meetings did not produce an expanded bailout fund for the eurozone. While this may bode well for the long-term solvency of the member-states (moral hazard and all), it has also triggered a market reaction that I expect to help destabilize the common currency. Yesterday's market moves suggested that this development is good for the dollar and bad for gold. Allow me to step back from the stampeding herd to evaluate whether they are, in fact, moving in the right direction.

2011-11-11 The Many Factors Fueling a Return to $100 Oil by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The IEA says trends on both the oil demand and supply sides maintain pressure on prices. We assume the average IEA crude oil import price remains high, approaching $120 per barrel (in 2010 dollars) in 2035 (over $210 per barrel in nominal terms). Thats a distant projection but it certainly illustrates why you should consider investing a portion of your wealth in oil.

2011-11-10 Alternative Investments in Focus by Team of American Century Investments

We recently conducted a survey of financial professionals to better understand their view and use of alternative investments. Alternative investments are defined as those outside the traditional big three of cash, bonds, and stocks. These alternatives include commodities, real estate, and inflation-linked securities, among many others. Alternatives have surged in popularity in recent years, as investors and their advisors seek out new and potentially more effective ways to diversify and reduce risk in traditional balanced stock, bond, and cash portfolios.

2011-11-08 Perfect Storm: Eight Reasons to be Bullish on the US Dollar by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

One of my much appreciated contacts is Steen Jakobsen, chief economist for Saxo Bank in Copenhagen, Denmark. Today he passed on an "internal note" that he gave permission to share. Steen Writes..."One of my main themes over the last quarter has been a "relative outperformance" of the US economy relative to consensus. This has materialized and our call was almost entirely driven by Consumer Metric data which over the last three years has outperformed any other relevant predictor. This is now slowing down slightly, but still elevated..."

2011-11-05 Fund Manager Interview by Nick Robinson of Aberdeen Asset Management

The popular perception of Latin America as a region of weak political systems and economies is changing. Prudent fiscal and monetary policies have helped many countries stabilize their economies. The region came through the recent credit crisis relatively unscathed. Good-quality companies trading at attractive valuations can be found in the region. A local presence helps bolster our research.

2011-11-05 The Political Season Heats Up by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

U.S. presidential elections are a year away, while France and many other countries will be staging elections within the next twelve months. We can expect continued volatility as politicians around the globe say things to benefit their re-election chances which can have a negative impact on stock prices globally over the short run. This has made and will continue to make the tried and true method of buying and holding specific stocks for the long term a difficult road to travel anywhere in the world.

2011-11-04 Return of the Phillips Rule by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim

The U.S. remains the least-dirty shirt in the bag. In fact, its looking comparatively better all the time. In the stock market, I believe fundamental and seasonal factors could push the S&P 500 to new highs before the end of the year, despite the drama in Greece. The market has discounted some pretty nasty events that I dont believe will come to fruition. When more certainty comes, especially regarding events in Europe, investors will likely look back and wish they had paid more attention to fundamentals rather than emotions. On a historical basis, stocks are attractively valued.

2011-10-31 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Europe apparently has solved all of its financial challenges While Greek protests continue daily, the EU leaders held a contentious summit that teetered between storming out with nothing and completing a breakthrough deal. In the end, the group agreed to significantly write-down Greeces sovereign debt held by private investors, recapitalize the banking system, and expand the bailout fund. The ministers hope that China and Japan will embrace the new deal and even throw a few bucks their way as an investment in the global economy, but nothing definitive has been determined at this time.

2011-10-31 Tiedemann Wealth Management 3 Qtr Market Commentary by Team of Tiedemann Wealth Management

Despite the ongoing debt crisis in Europe the news is not as grim for investors as it may seem. We believe that markets have more than discounted the risk of European recession as fallout from this crisis, which an inept political system has exacerbated. It marks the first time in many years that markets are questioning political leadership in developed world nations something they normally only consider when investing in emerging markets. We do not believe that the G-20 leaders will allow a major counterparty bank to fail, despite their apparent lack of coordination over the past few months.

2011-10-31 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The stock market is on the verge of completing its best month since 1974. Who would have thought that just five weeks ago? The ostensible reason given for the upswing is some resolution of the European debt issues. Forget that; the reason stocks recovered is the reason they always bounce back and that is higher earnings, higher dividends and a lack of alternative asset choices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ Composite gained almost 4 percent each last week. Shorts were covering and hedge fund managers were caught underinvested into the end of the month. Too bad.

2011-10-28 U.S. Corporate Third Quarter Profits Looking GoodSo Far by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The events of the past few days have proved our case that more QE will be coming. In Europe, they will not let their banking system fail and will provide the necessary liquidity to backstop their banks. They can either nationalize banks or recapitalize the banking system with new capital from several countries. The bottom line is that liquidity will be added and central banks balance sheets will expand. Growing use of QE is bullish in the short to intermediate term for stocks in the U.S. and emerging markets, and it is bullish for gold, oil, wheat, and the currencies we have recommended.

2011-10-27 Is It Time for a Trading Tax? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

To its advocates, the idea is a no-brainer: Charge a tiny tax on each stock, bond or derivative trade to raise badly needed revenue, discourage dangerous short-term speculation and make Wall Street help clean up its own mess. But critics of the financial transaction tax concept say that it would actually make the financial markets less efficient, hurting ordinary investors by raising costs. Wharton faculty and investment experts weigh in.

2011-10-26 The Long ViewBuilding The 3-D Shelter by Robert Arnott of Research Affiliates

The third quarter was harsh not only for stocks but for asset classes that provide valuable protection against inflation. Our view is that, in the long run, the combination of rising debts and deficits and aging demographics will create a 3-D hurricane affecting capital markets. In this issue of Fundamentals, we look at how investors can start erecting inflation shelters to protect themselves from the coming storm.

2011-10-26 Occupy Wall Street: A Threat to the Dollar? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Both T.Partiers and Occupyrs say this is all crazy and must stop-albeit they have different prescriptions. However rather than stopping policy makers are ever more engaged. The best of intentions are creating an avalanche of unintended consequences. Voting with their feet to get their voices heard, the Twitter revolution wont stop with the Arab spring but sweep across America in its own incarnation.The issues are complex, the answers appear so easy; we dont want to belittle the movements, but see a trend that fosters politicians capable of distilling their political message into a tweet.

2011-10-25 ASEANHow Different is it This Time? by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia

ASEAN nations have recently seen increases in foreign ownership, and many show attractive demographics and the potential for strong economic growth. But with ASEAN nations having been a root cause and major casualty of crises past, investors may be asking: How sustainable is this? This month Kenneth Lowe, CFA, takes a look at how ASEAN got where it is today, and what challenges may still lie ahead.

2011-10-19 Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

During the third quarter, the stock market plunged as investors hopes for a sustained U.S. economic recovery dissipated and fears of a world-wide economic slowdown and possible U.S. double-dip recession increased. The U.S. faces several major structural headwinds including a moribund housing sector, high unemployment, bank credit restraint, and a growing and worrisome federal debt. Underlying these and other problems is the depressing effect of the end of the debt super cycle.

2011-10-19 Welcome to the Machine: High-Frequency Trading Domination by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Market volatility has spiked, starting with 2010's flash crash and culminating in this year's wild August, bringing asset-class correlations up with it. High-frequency trading and the use of leveraged exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are the primary culprits, but the impact isn't all bad. What are regulators doing and saying about the phenomenon?

2011-10-19 All That Glitters Is Not a Cash Equivalent by Jerome M. Schneider of PIMCO

The latest volatility has investors asking questions about the securities they own, in particular probing any exposures to European issuers. Cash investors often over-allocate to money market and bank investment vehicles, while the most attractive risk-adjusted opportunities might fall just outside of this space. We currently see opportunities in short-dated, non-financial BBB-rated corporate bonds, along with dollar-hedged bonds and bills issued by sovereigns with solid balance sheets.

2011-10-19 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

After battling inflation for over a year, many emerging Asia Pacific economies are now facing challenges over stimulating growth. A year of persistent monetary tightening in emerging Asia Pacific has unfortunately coincided with slowing growth prospects in the developed world. The U.S. and the European Union are the largest trading partners for many export-dependent emerging Asian economies like South Korea, Taiwan and even China. With economic growth slowing in the U.S. and the European Union, many emerging Asian nations are rightly worried about their export prospects.

2011-10-19 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific nations continued to face headwinds to growth in September. With factory output across the world slowing down to a trickle, major developed Asia Pacific economies ranging from Japan to New Zealand started witnessing pressure on their economic output. As exports still act as the backbone for many of Asias developed countries, a global decline in manufacturing is causing concerns. A slowdown in the U.S. and Europe also cast a shadow on the economic prospects for Asian nations.

2011-10-18 Gundlach: Markets Aren?t Cheap Enough Yet by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Prices for risky assets are straddling the extremes of two potential outcomes. A 'hurricane' may hit, in the form of a blow-up in Europe or a move to put the US federal government on an austerity program, driving prices lower. Or world economies will plod along, in which case optimistic pricing makes sense. But prices should be 'truly cheap' against those parallel problems, according to Jeffrey Gundlach, and that is not yet the case.

2011-10-18 Volatility Rears its Ugly Head by Jeremy Blackman of Hester Capital Management

The major debate in the financial markets today revolves around whether or not the U.S. is going to experience a double-dip recession. We do not expect a recession, but if that does happen it should be a shallow one. We remain cautiously optimistic that the politicians in the US and Europe will eventually do the right thing as the consequences of not acting in a prudent and responsible manner are not pretty. We anticipate that markets will continue to be volatile until Europe finds resolution for its problems and until politicians across the globe learn to compromise across party lines.

2011-10-17 \'\'Savings Lost\'\': The True Cost of Zero Interest Rate Policy by Chris Turner guest commentator of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Savers beware. Bank bailouts and an"easy money" Federal Reserve policy cause financial injury to nearly everyones bottom line in at least three distinct ways. First, we taxpayers funded the "bailouts" through higher taxes. Second, your bank pays minimal interest to your savings accounts. Third, the increased dollar printing causes commodities to rise, which increases gas and food prices. Each injury requires a little more explanation than a simple statement. The first injury is easy-the "bailouts" took bad stuff from the balance sheets of banks and placed them in our hands.

2011-10-17 Investors Await Additional Clarity Around Europe by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

For the second consecutive week, stock prices moved sharply higher as investors welcomed the news of progress in addressing the European debt crisis and also took some solace in improved US economic data. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 4.9% to 11,644, the S&P 500 Index advanced 6.0% to 1,224 and the Nasdaq Composite jumped 7.6% to 2,668. Other risk assets, including commodities, also experienced gains last week, while safe-haven assets such as US Treasuries struggled.

2011-10-17 Weakening Ties Between Data and Sentiment by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Surprisingly strong economic data shows a weakening link between investor attitudes and economic realities, suggesting fears of a recession may be overstated, writes Kristina Hooper, CFA, CIMA, head of portfolio strategies at Allianz Global Investors.

2011-10-14 Elevation by Liam Molloy and Bethany Carlson of Galway Investment Strategy

One region has five of the twelve fastest economies in the world, including the fastest at a growth rate of over 20% this year. This region has grown faster than the OECD countries and its consumer sector is growing 2 3 times faster than the developed worlds. A study by the Harvard Business Review in 2009 reported that publicly traded companies average return on capital was 67% higher than comparable countries in China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Investors have been blissfully ignorant of Africa for decades, but the opportunity cost of ignorance is increasing.

2011-10-14 Portfolio Strategy by Bradley Turner of Chess Financial

In previous newsletters, we have discussed the tendency of investors to extrapolate recent experience, and how this causes them to act most decisively near inflection points. Today, investors are selling assets they perceive to be risky to buy assets they perceive to be safe. Along the way, they seem to have forgotten that even safe havens can fall victim to speculative excess. How long this trend will continue is unknowable. However, the longer it persists, the more likely it is that risk assets will prove to be the better investment.

2011-10-14 Will the Micro Matter? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Q3 earnings season is in full swing and it will be modestly positive after numerous reductions of expectations due largely to economic concerns. The US will avoid a dip into recession and, for now, the data seems to support that view. The yield curve has flattened since the announcement of Operation Twist but mortgage applications have yet to jump and companies continue to cite concern over governmental policies for their continued caution. The EU debt crisis has had some positive movement, providing some hope to the market, but concern is growing over the state of the Chinese economy.

2011-10-14 Case Study: Buyouts Crystallize Value in the Market by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Theres value in the market. Thats the message the market is sending through the recent strategic acquisitions in the energy and gold mining spaces. This week it was announced that Sinopec, a large Chinese oil and gas company, is purchasing Canadian energy company Daylight Energy for $2.1 billion in cash. The deal was struck at a whopping 120 percent premium to Daylights share price prior to the announcement and a 43.6 percent premium over the 60-day weighted average price, according to Reuters.

2011-10-13 Prediction? Pain by James Moore of PIMCO

​Recent Federal Reserve activity has pushed down the long end of the yield curve, spiking the present value of plan liabilities and widening the funding chasm. The pain of the pension community shows up most obviously in funded status estimates. High and increasing levels of implied equity risk premium in pension plans suggest sponsors expectations are increasingly optimistic about future contributions from risk assets.

2011-10-12 Quarterly Review and Outlook by Team of Hoisington Investment Management

Negative economic growth will probably be registered in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2011, and in subsequent quarters in 2012. Though partially caused by monetary and fiscal actions and excessive indebtedness, this contraction has been further aggravated by three current cyclical developments: a) declining productivity, b) elevated inventory investment, and c) contracting real wage income.

2011-10-11 Managed Futures are not a New Asset Class by Michael Kitces (Article)

The focus on finding investments that have a low correlation to equities has grown to such an obsession that we're willing to name anything that has a low correlation as 'a new asset class.' While some alternatives truly have their own investment characteristics unique from stocks and bonds, other alternatives - like managed futures - simply represent an active manager buying and selling existing asset classes.

2011-10-07 U.S. Awakening To Its Domestic Energy Potential? by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

Geologists have known about major reserves of oil and natural gas within the continental U.S. for a very long time, but the ability to access these massive energy reserves was limited in the past. These resources lie in and under rock, miles below the surface and were thought to be impossible to bring to the surface economically. This has all changed with new technologies developed over the past decade. The word is getting out to the public about the extent of these energy producing fields that are located in many areas of the country.

2011-10-07 Despite Skeptics, Can Gold Continue to Glimmer? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

In recent weeks, a number of market watchers and media headlines have declared that the gold bubble is finally bursting and the gold rally is over. I disagree. First, Ive never believed that gold was in a bubble. Second, I believe that prices for the precious metal are likely to remain high for the foreseeable future. As I pointed out in a recent post, Why Gold Prices Are So High, there are three long-term factors supporting gold. 1) The negative real interest rate. 2) Gold tends to do best when fiat currencies depreciate. And 3) Uncertainty over the endgame of the US deficit.

2011-10-07 Third Quarter 2011 Market Commentary: This is Not 2008 by Robert Stimpson of Oak Associates

The discussion on how to contain the sovereign debt crisis torments the market, which would prefer a decisive solution administered by a powerful and determined financial authority. While stringing the situation along is painful in the near-term, it may actually allow other struggling countries in Europe time to right their budget problems and enact measured reform before bailout funds are required to force them to act. Regardless, an end to the debate will come and financial markets will recover. We intend to benefit from it.

2011-10-06 Worry and Volatility Continue in September by Team of BondWave Advisors

September was a continuation of the fear and anxiety that plagued August. Worries about a global slowdown and the fiscal situation in Europe drove a volatile month. Fears of a double-dip recession have been growing as economic data has moderated. These fears were stoked after the September FOMC meeting when the Fed downgraded the state of the economy by announcing a new plan intended to stimulate growth. The IMF also adjusted its global outlook down, revising its estimate for global growth in 2011 and 2012 to 4% from 4.3% Estimates for the US were revised from 2.5% to 1.5%.

2011-10-06 Global Investment Outlook: October 2011 by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Global growth momentum continues to decline but is worst in Europe. Solvency of national governments and now banks is creating fears of a crisis. Coordinated policy action is key to stemming adverse market reaction. Although economic data has continued to demonstrate slower business activity, this is most obvious within Europe which has suffered from fiscal contraction as well as diminishing export demand from the emerging world. Unemployment levels remain elevated, and the reluctance to create new jobs is proving the Achilles heel of policymakers efforts to kick start private sector demand.

2011-10-05 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

A fixation with tangible metals is both forward looking as well as reflective melancholy. Because the price of commodities had risen in the past, people might expect it to do so again. In the case of commodities trends lose their appeal when everyone already knows that the valuations have become inflated. In todays case we have been in a twelve year commodities price expansion. While some might try to eke out the last few cycles of profit within that trend, others wonder how much greedier can the trend enthusiasts be. There are no linear cycles that last forever and no free lunches.

2011-10-05 Million Dollar Question: Dollar and Recession Risk Up Together by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Recession fears have mounted, but the picture is still mixed and it's not yet conclusive. The US dollar is winning the "least ugly" currency contest, but isn't helping stocks or commodities. Short-term, a stronger dollar is a negative for riskier assets but not necessarily longer-term, if history's a guide.

2011-10-04 Jeffrey Gundlach: Preparing for the Coming Crisis by Katie Southwick (Article)

Speaking at a luncheon in New York last week, Jeffrey Gundlach, the founder and chief investment officer of DoubleLine Capital, gave investors advice on how to survive pending crises at home and abroad. After outlining the current state of U.S. debt and tax policy, Gundlach advised against European investments, favoring the U.S. dollar and owning U.S. government bonds as a hedge against credit.

2011-10-03 The Road Ahead: Is it Inflation or Deflation? What the charts are saying. by Martin J. Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

The secular bear market in bond yields may well be in its terminal phase but a reversal has not yet been signaled by any of our long-term indicators. However, being 30-years old this month, it is getting long in the tooth, whereas the secular commodity advance at a relatively young 10-years is half the age of its average predecessor. While the very long-term trend for commodities is up we also need to recognize that the primary trend of is bearish. They are therefore likely to experience additional corrective action prior to any attempt at new all-time highs.

2011-10-01 Tough Choices, Big Opportunities by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

There is a pattern, and the United States is no different than Greece or Ireland or Italy or Japan or any other country in history. Highly indebted governments, banks, or corporations can seem to be merrily rolling along for an extended period, when bang! confidence collapses, lenders disappear, and a crisis hits. There's a limit to how much the bond market is going to let us borrow. As we approach that limit and we're not there yet, we have time, thank God we can make choices about how we want to deal with the problem. But the problem is too much debt and too high a deficit.

2011-09-30 Commodities and Conservation in the Caspian by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

What country is the worlds largest producer of petroleum? No, its not Saudi Arabia but Russia. Oil and gas are important to Russias economy, as are a whole host of natural resources such as nickel, palladium, diamonds, etc. Because of what have been higher commodity prices, Russias economy is growing at a fast pace, projected by IMF to grow 4.3% this year, interest rates have come down from their peak in 2008, unemployment is lower, foreign reserves have risen to over US$500 billion as at July 2011, and Russian equity markets have generally done well since 2008, even considering declines.

2011-09-30 The Coming Euro Bail by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

If the optimists are to be believed, Europe will come to grips with its critical financial problems and conduct a massive restructuring of the banking system and bail out the irresponsible countries that overspent. If the pessimists are correct, the world is a mess and will stay that way. We are moving toward the optimistic side. We see that Europe is finally recognizing that the all-is-well charade is no longer working. Investors are too smart and more cynical than in the past. European banks need capital. If they get it, investors may see a sizeable stock market rally in much of the world.

2011-09-30 Don't Panic on Metal Tumble by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Given the swift rise of gold and silver during the first half of 2011, precious metals were due for a correction especially following the parabolic increases that we saw in August. Markets never go up in a straight line, and often the biggest downward movements occur in bull markets. These sharp movements are common in gold, especially during short periods of financial panic. For instance, gold fell more than 25% in the second half of 2008, and almost 15% from February to April 2009. Yet after the dust settled in those earlier corrections, gold resumed its upward march with even more gusto.

2011-09-29 Grease (Greece) is the Word by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

You might think that the countries in Europe like Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain are the source of the current consternation in the US stock market. We believe that Europe is peripheral to the core issue. American investors have spent the last ten years falling in love with the BRIC trade and feeding an infatuation with the global synchronized economy and the emerging consensus surrounding global stocks/bonds. In our opinion, it is time to go back to conventionality and leave the BRIC trade before its time is gone and investors put their capital back in motion.

2011-09-29 China--The Great Stabilizer by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For the past ten years, whenever global base metals demand dissipated, Chinas voracious appetite stepped in to gobble up the leftovers. Since 2001, China has increased the countrys share of total global demand for base metals from about 15 percent to over 40 percent in 2011. This has made China more important to commodities than ever before, according to Macquarie. Macquarie says China has been a great stabilizer for commodities: As growth elsewhere in the world tends to weaken, Chinese call on supply from the rest of the world tends to rise and visa versa when demand weakens.

2011-09-28 Have the Central Banks Run Out of Tricks? by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Co.

The big three concerns (a U.S. or Chinese recession, and a European banking crisis) continue to drive the markets, and the news got incrementally worse last week, and then better this week. The DJIA has been bouncing back and forth between about 10,700 and 11,600 since August. Could things get worse from here? Yes A U.S. recession isnt fully priced into the market, a Chinese recession isnt either, and a European banking collapse could trigger the forced selling of assets like we saw in the U.S. in 2008-2009. Could things get better from here? They could but muddle through is more likely.

2011-09-27 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.

2011-09-27 Darkest Before the Dawn by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Even though we are not traders or short-term oriented, we would like to throw out a few opinions which cause us to be very positive about the stock market over the next one to two years. While market participants look to the US government and the Fed for answers, US Households are doing remarkable and historical work of getting their finances in order. Insiders have been as aggressive in their purchases of their own companys stock as they were in early in 2009.We believe many of our stocks have held up quite well in this environment, but some of them look especially attractive at this point.

2011-09-26 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks jumped higher last week as the central bank took steps to ease the European sovereign debt crisis which relieved the concern about a short-term run on the European banking system. The week was a very strong one for stock prices with the Dow Jones Industrial Average moving higher by 4.7% while the NASDAQ Composite (a more growth oriented index) jumped 6.3%.

2011-09-23 Extreme Moves Leave Markets in Rare Territory by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Many investors have used gold and other commodities as a haven from recent volatility, buoying prices while equities sunk, but even those investments werent immune to the wave of selling. The U.S. dollar, in contrast, was up 2.2 percent. Much of the dollars rally came after the Fed announced the creatively named Operation Twist. The Fed will sell $400 billion of short-term securities and buy an equal amount of long-term debt. The goal is to push down long-term interest rates, which would spur economic activity.

2011-09-22 Twist and Shout: The Fed, as Expected, Announced "Operation Twist" by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Federal Reserve announced "Operation Twist," which was largely expected. The goal is to further reduce borrowing costs and push money via lending out into the real economy. Whether it will work is the big question because high interest rates are not the economy's problem. Ultimately, confidence has to improve before we're likely to enjoy any reasonable pace of economic growth. Whether this move by the Fed starts the confidence-healing process remains to be seen. But we suggest you keep your expectations relatively low.

2011-09-16 Fall 2011 Market Review by Owen Murray of Horizon Advisors

After the volatility in the capital markets over the past few weeks, it is easy to forget that the market was just a hair from its 52-week high as recently as July. Then, a flurry of events has made the once happy days of spring feel like a distant memory. With the debt ceiling debate going into the eleventh hour, Standard and Poors announcing a debt downgrade, and the euro-zone debt crisis seemingly reaching a crescendo, confidence has been severely impacted and concerns over the durability of our recovery have been raised.

2011-09-16 Sell your Bonds and Gold and Buy Dividend Growth Stocks Before it is Too Late by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Although we generally believe in the soundness of the principle of diversification, we also believe that extraordinary times require extraordinary measures. Any historian of markets or economies would agree that financial markets are currently far from behaving ordinarily. We intend to point out several markets that are behaving both inefficiently and completely out-of-sync from sound and prudent economic principles. Therefore, we will argue that certain sacred cows that would and should apply during normal circumstances need to be questioned and challenged in these very uncertain times.

2011-09-16 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 Six Reasons to Sell Economy, Buy Stocks by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Money supply is a key lubricant of the economy and financial markets. Historically, if money is growing faster than nominal GDP, the excess money has found its way to other uses such as investment in stocks, commodities and other financial assets. The risk/reward profile for owning stocks appears positively skewed. While bond investors have enjoyed a 30-year bull market, equity investors can now use long-term mean reversion to their advantage by buying those undervalued companies that are flush with cash, reward their shareholders with a dividend payment and have envy worthy balance sheets.

2011-09-15 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 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 Fed Policy: No Theory, No Evidence, No Transmission Mechanism by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the main factors prompting a benign response to what is now a recession and virtually certain Greek default is the hope that the Fed will launch some new intervention. Many view the present weakness as a replay of 2010, however, the evidence tells a different story. While we have to allow for the possibility of a knee-jerk response in the event of further Fed intervention, it is also much clearer now than it was in 2010 that quantitative easing does not work. To a large extent, the only basis for further Fed action here is superstition in the absence of either fact or theory.

2011-09-09 Americas: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

While markets have calmed after the anxiety caused by S&Ps downgrade of U.S. debt, economic indicators for most countries in the Americas region remain subdued. 2nd quarter growth declined for most countries and full year forecasts are being revised lower. The subdued global growth outlook has dulled the prospect for continued growth in export earnings while consumer spending in some of the larger economies is increasingly being restrained by higher interest rates and the heightened economic uncertainties. Nevertheless, inflationary risks have declined, except most notably in Brazil.

2011-09-09 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.

2011-09-09 Brazil and Chile | One for Now, One to Watch by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Earlier this month, as part of my changed view of emerging markets. I initiated an overweight view of Brazil and noted that I am paying close attention to Chile. As promised, here are more of my thoughts regarding these two emerging market countries.There are a number of reasons why I like Brazil. First, from a valuation standpoint, Brazil looks attractive relative to both its own history and to other MSCI ACWI countries. I am not yet establishing an overweight view of countries in Latin America beyond Brazil, but I am watching Chile closely.

2011-09-08 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific countries faced increasing headwinds to economic growth during August. Lukewarm growth figures in developed Western economies such as the U.S. and the European Union are troubling the growth prospects of many export-oriented markets such as Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. Despite some support from emerging markets, export orders for Singapore and Hong Kong have slowed down substantially. In Japan the current account surplus slid, while the Singapore government revised its export growth figures down for the rest of the year.

2011-09-08 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging markets across Asia experienced flagging equity prices as fears of a global slowdown, triggered by the downgrade of the U.S. sovereign credit rating and concerns over the debt crisis in Europe, gripped markets. Stock markets in some of the emerging Asian economies flirted with yearly lows. The Asian Tigers including South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Thailand reported slower growth for the second quarter ended June 2011. Even China, the worlds second largest economy, reported headwinds to growth.

2011-09-08 The Changing Landscape of Global Investing by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

National and global realignments are fundamentally and durably changing the global investment landscape. Investors face the challenge of recalibrating some of the traditional parameters that are key to managing risk and delivering returns. There are also implications for investment management firms which are yet to be sufficiently reflected in the thinking and actions of the industry as a whole.

2011-09-08 Global Overview: September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

The recovery in global equity prices towards the end of August could cover only part of the decline during the first half of the month and most markets have now given up all of their gains from earlier this year. Gold prices surged to a new high, and U.S. treasury yields fell despite the rating downgrade, as investors preferred safer assets. On the other hand, select barometers of global industrial activity, like copper prices, declined. Nevertheless, most developed economies continue to expand, though at a restrained pace, and are expected to gain speed during the second half of the year.

2011-09-06 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?

2011-09-03 How to Find Opportunities from Blood, Debt & Fears by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For the long-term investor, the risk/reward profile for owning stocks appears positively skewed. Equity investors have suffered through one of the most difficult decadesrivaling even the Great Depressionwhile bond investors have enjoyed a 30-year bull market. Long-term mean reversion is a powerful tool that investors can use to help them attain their long-term goals.

2011-09-01 Q&A with Litman Gregory Research by Team of Litman Gregory

We regularly use a Q&A format to address questions from readers about our investment views and current strategy. This format permits us to address a range of different topics and allows readers to focus on areas that are of interest to them. This Q&A piece was worked on jointly by members of our research team and tackles questions received during the past several weeks. We have grouped the questions into broad categories for convenience. The main topics include the Fairholme Fund, Investment-Grade Bonds, Floating Rate Loans, Municipal Bonds, International Bonds, China and Commodity Futures.

2011-09-01 The Blessing of Hitting the Skids First by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We believe that the first country to hit bottom, the first to confess its mistakes the way Frank Blake and Howard Schultz did for their companies, and the first to cleanse the banks, corporations and households will lead to lasting prosperity long before any other country in the world does. We also believe that the investment rewards of US non-cyclical large cap common stock investing has rarely looked more attractive because of the willingness of investors to underestimate the benefit of hitting the skids before everyone else does.

2011-09-01 Slow growths silver lining: Corporate Profit Margins by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Despite economic weakness, one sector of the economy continues to perform well: Corporations. Today, corporate profit margins are near record highs. But as concerns of a double-dip recession persist, many market watchers are wondering how much longer high profit margins can last. Answers to this question often focus solely on expectations for rising input prices. But I agree with the major conclusion of a new BlackRock Investment Institute paper-profit margin sustainability is more related to overall economic activity than it is to input costs alone.

2011-08-30 Brazil and Chile | One for Now, One to Watch by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Brazil looks attractive relative to both its own history and to other MSCI ACWI countries. The MSCI Brazil index is currently trading at 1.4x book value, versus its average of 2.1x book value over the past five years. In addition, from September 2008 to July 2009, the OECD composite leading indicator for Brazil was lower than it is today; yet the Brazilian market appears cheaper today than it did during that period on average. While Chile is starting to look interesting and we currently hold a neutral view of it, there is no need to rush in.

2011-08-29 A Reprieve from Misguided Recklessness by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Over the past three years, Wall Street and the banking system have enjoyed enormous fiscal and monetary concessions on the self-serving assertion that the global financial system will "implode" if anyone who made a bad loan might actually experience a loss. Because reversing this mantra is so difficult, policy makers are likely to continue fitful efforts to "rescue" this debt for the sake of bondholders. The justification for those policies will therefore have to be coupled with rhetoric that institutions holding these securities are too "systemically important" to suffer losses.

2011-08-25 Will the U.S. Economy Face Recession in 2011? by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

The question I am now most often asked is, Will the United States slip into a second economic recession this year? The risks have definitely risen such that the current soft patch in the U.S. economy may translate from slightly positive GDP to a negative reading. Investors are faced with a huge opportunity to buy risk assets at a great entry point. We believe that the probabilities are that the markets will be significantly higher in the future. Market participants are net short this market and cash on the sidelines is at record highs. That is a recipe for a rare opportunity.

2011-08-23 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 The Neverending Story of a by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold continued to make headlines last week, reaching nearly $1,900 an ounce on Friday before resting around the $1,850 level. Golds 15 percent rise to new nominal highs over the past month has rekindled gold bubble talk from many pundits. Long-term gold bulls have been forced to listen to these naysayers since gold reached $500 an ounce. If you would have joined their groupthink then, you wouldve missed golds roughly 270 percent rise since. That said, gold is due for a correction.

2011-08-17 Readers Questions Answered Part VII by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Many of you may be particularly concerned about the developments related to debt in the eurozone and theU.S.over the last few weeks. Id like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts on these events and respond to a couple of reader questions. To me, the European debt situation does not seem as serious as the U.S. debt crisis, both in terms of scale and the possible impact on the global economy. As such, I believe the worlds focus should really be on the U.S. debt crisis. We also have to remember that the tolerance for debt is generally affected by investor confidence levels.

2011-08-16 Is Gold in a Bubble? by Art Patten of Symmetry Capital Management

Back in 2010, we wrote that we viewed gold as overpriced, but were unwilling to lie down in front of what appeared to be an early-or mid-stage bubble. Good thing we didnt, as spot gold is up about 40% since. It might be time to revisit the trade though. In May of this year, Michael Darda of MKM Partners observed that the commodities rally was getting a bit long in the tooth when compared to earlier bubbles like U.S. housing and the Nasdaq. In late July of this year, Doug Short provided an eye-catching overlay of the recent gold price run-up on the bubble and bear markets seen in recent years.

2011-08-16 ​The Case for Tail Risk Hedging in Emerging Market Equities by Vineer Bhansali and Masha Gordon of PIMCO

While our secular outlook for emerging markets is solid, we expect long-term success will be earned by those who can manage cyclical risks. There is a tradeoff between the cost of establishing a hedge and the downside protection that it imparts to a portfolio. The best approach to tail hedging is a flexible one; using dynamic rebalancing, diversification and affordable option-like securities. A diversified macro approach to hedging tail risk actually may be more efficient for EM than it is for developed asset classes.

2011-08-16 Money Manager Pride Goeth Before Destruction by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

All great money managers reach a point in their career where adulation and self confidence detracts from their better judgment. This interruption in judgment usually coincides with the discipline in use becoming the most popular discipline in the marketplace or the investing style being overdue for a three to five-year correction. Studies of the equity managers with the best long term records show that the best underperform the S&P 500 Index 35% of the time. The pride associated with multi-decade success and an army of folks enjoying your work is probably the most dangerous thing.

2011-08-15 Emerging Europe: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has sounded a cautionary note for the east European region after a new $229 billion aid package for Greece by the Euro-zone leaders was awarded in July. The bank, which was established to help the former communist states in their transition to market economies, said Eastern Europe and central Asia are at serious risk from the Euro-zone debt crisis, according to a news report published by Bloomberg. Still, the EBRD upped its economic forecast for the current year for the countries where it has investments.

2011-08-15 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Reconstruction spending in some key countries in the region, like Japan and New Zealand, also played a key role in improving labor markets. In Australia, however, labor markets turned sour as job losses inched up during the quarter. Inflationary pressures have become acute in Singapore and Hong Kong mainly due to labor shortage and a relentless rise in property prices. Economies that depend on China for their export industries are worried about a weakening in the Chinese economy in the quarters ahead.

2011-08-15 Americas: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Second quarter economic growth was weaker than expected in the U.S.. Canada is also expected to report slower second quarter growth, but may regain some of the lost pace by the second half. Slower growth in the U.S. will likely have a restrictive effect on economic activity in Latin America, especially in Mexico and Colombia, which have relatively deeper economic ties with the U.S. For the resource exporters in the region, the expected decline in global demand growth for commodities and industrial material is likely to be a dampener.

2011-08-15 Two One-Way Lanes on the Road to Ruin by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The reason we are facing a renewed economic downturn is that our policy makers never addressed the essential economic problem, the need for debt restructuring. There are two one-way lanes on the road to ruin, and these are unfortunately the only ones on the present policy map: 1) Policies aimed at distorting the financial markets by suffocating the yield on lower-risk investments, in an attempt to drive investors to accept risks that they would otherwise shun; 2) Policies aimed at defending bondholders and lenders who made bad loans, which they now seek to have bailed out at public expense.

2011-08-12 Got Volatility? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The world markets have clearly stated that they want growth, and through growth, balanced budgets. Unfortunately, growth is not in the economic cards for Europe or the U.S. over the next few months. Rather, both regions will have stagnation, inflation, fear, turmoil, and two deeply opposed world views will be bandied about in political pronouncements. It does not matter what political view you have. If one wishes to survive and prosper, one must be very alert.

2011-08-12 Insider Buying Trends. Should You Follow Suit? by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

Current headlines are suggesting that recent market hits have created a buying opportunity. Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Insiders Buy Stocks at Highest Rate Since 2009. The scare this morning still surrounds the European banking system which is being tested, much like those in the US were tested in 2008. Back then, the U.S. instituted a number of actions to return confidence to our banking system. A combination of TARP and a guarantee by the FDIC of all bank obligations overcame the market attacks. The ECB does not have FDIC, so its looking on how to shore up confidence.

2011-08-12 Making Sense of the Markets by Team of Neuberger Berman

It is one thing to theorize about markets. It is quite another to invest. With that sentiment in mind, we offer a sampling of views from some of our portfolio managers across our firm who each independently form their own conclusions as to what to make of the market and how to position portfolios according to their respective investment disciplines.

2011-08-10 Run, Ride or Buy? What Should Investors Do? Dont Sell on Mondays! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

With trillions of dollars in debt acting as a ball-and-chain for much of Europe, the U.S. and the rest of the developed world, must detoxify their balance sheets before hitting the ground running. On the other hand, emerging market economies carry low levels of debt and operate like a cash business, making them the final frontier for strong economic growth. A key reason is emerging market governments have the long-term policies in place to facilitate growth of their economies.

2011-08-10 Global Investment Outlook: Aberdeen's monthly outlook for economies and markets. by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Eurozone crisis threatens financial stability Global industrial production momentum may be turning back up Fiscal policy and sovereign indebtedness is the major medium-term issue Monetary policy remains accommodative with emerging countries becoming less restrictive

2011-08-10 The Economic Recovery Has No Clothes by Kevin D. Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

What likely transpired yesterday was that investors finally siad, The economic recovery has no clothes, despite repeated claims by the Federal Government and certain economists to the contrary over the past 6-12 months. While historical research has shown that typical stock market recoveries generally precede economic recoveries by 6-9 months; perhaps it was too soon. While many encouraging signs pointing to a sustainable economic recovery have emerged over this timeframe in terms of corporate earnings GDP growth and M&A activity, many headwinds for the U.S. economy still exist.

2011-08-08 Buy Stocks Like Cans of Tuna Fish! by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

Following the positive jobs report today, stock prices swung between gains and losses, and closed at the low for the year. Where have we seen this before? April-July 2010. In that time frame, stocks fell 15.6%, erasing all the gains of that year, but still closed out 2010 with a gain of 15.1%. Our forecast for 2011 remains at plus 8%, which would be 13.7% above current levels. So what are we doing this week and next? Buying stocks!

2011-08-05 Is Todays Selloff a Sign of Market Capitulation? by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

The paralysis that has dominated the markets has only been enhanced by the recent market movements. For those who have a longer-term time frame and are underweight risk assets in general, current levels still appear attractive. The one characteristic that has been missing from the benign sell-off in the second quarter was a market capitulation. Yesterday actually had a feeling of that; however, it may require more of the flushing of the system before that occurs. Calling a bottom would be foolish. Being a successful investor, buying low and selling high, has always been easier said than done.

2011-08-05 Portfolio Commentary Q211 by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisors

The Fund's overall positioning and exposures have changed very little over the past few months as our managers continue to see almost all asset classes priced to deliver unsatisfactory long term returns. There is no real change in overall thoughts from our previous commentary except to add that many of the issues and risks we have discussed are starting to become more significant and weakening fundamentals are finally becoming more apparent to investors. Ironically, the things that have created short term rallies of late are largely noise and are less positive than they were 3-6 months ago.

2011-08-05 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.

2011-08-05 Urbanization: Driving Commodity Demand by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Increasing economic activity in emerging markets has continued to push up the demand and prices for key resources such as metals and oil. Infrastructure spending is a key factor driving this rising demand, as more of the working population in emerging markets move from rural areas to the cities, increasing consumption and putting upward pressure on both hard and soft commodities. Long-term commodity prices are likely to be driven by rising global demand as well as increasing costs to obtain these commodities.

2011-08-05 Advisor Alert - Placing This Week's Selloff Into Context by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The major market indices were lower this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 5.75 percent. The S&P 500 Stock Index decreased 7.19 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 8.13 percent. Barra Growth outperformed Barra Value as Barra Value finished 7.53 percent lower while Barra Growth decreased 6.88 percent. The Russell 2000 closed the week with a loss of 10.34 percent. The Hang Seng Composite Index finished lower by 6.80 percent, Taiwan fell 9.15 percent, and the KOSPI declined 8.88 percent. The 10-year Treasury bond yield closed 24 basis points lower at 2.56 percent.

2011-08-04 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Since the end of the internet bubble in the late 1990s, the medias search for the next it sector of the market has been incessant. Let me suggest an area for your consideration: crops and farmland. While a debate rages about climate change and global warming, it is indisputable that the search for fertile natural resources is basic to humankind. Today, any magnitude of population shift is based less upon need than vanity but a focus upon survival in some distressed areas redirects our attention to the search for replenishable natural resources.

2011-08-02 Commodity Caution by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The overwhelmingly bullish consensus regarding the emerging markets should be worrisome to even the most stalwart enthusiasts of emerging markets. It's hard to believe that the consensus a decade or so ago was that the emerging markets were terribly risky and should be avoided. Today, emerging markets, and ancillary asset classes like commodities, have become the cornerstone of most investment strategies.

2011-08-02 Kings of the Wild Frontier by Bill Gross of PIMCO

The U.S. has averted a debt crisis, but there remains a stain on our reputation. Nothing in the Congressional compromise reached over the weekend makes a significant dent in our $1.5 trillion deficit. In addition to an existing nearly $10 trillion of outstanding Treasury debt, the U.S. has a near unfathomable $66 trillion of future liabilities at net present cost. Aside from outright default, there are numerous ways a government can reduce its future liabilities. They include balancing the budget, unexpected inflation, currency depreciation and financial repression.

2011-08-01 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

A month ago, the DC deficit/debt debate was amusing political theater. Partisan hacks earned brownie points with loyal constituents, while preparing for next years election. Two weeks ago, the theater turned into a game of chicken as Main Street and Wall Street watched with interest to see which party would blink first. Today, theater and chicken are no longer amusing. A complete and utter inability to compromise and a win-at-all-costs attitude have brought government and economy to the brink of disaster. Are there any grown-ups left in Washington?

2011-07-30 Shifting Focus by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Some economic indicators are starting to perk up while corporate earnings have been strong as we wind down reporting season. Stocks will move higher in the coming months once confidence is restored. Whatever the near-term outcome of the debt debate, the US still has deficit issues to deal with and hard choices must be made to ensure economic stability for years to come. Europe finally arrived at their debt deal, but it likely falls short of what will eventually be needed. Meanwhile, China is key to emerging market performance and continues to deal with inflationary concerns.

2011-07-28 Rough Waters? Trim the Sail by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

These are interesting times, to say the least, for politicians, businessmen and investors alike. Given the systemic challenges and political standoffs in the U.S. and Europe, we believe it's wise to keep a little extra powder dry. While we generally prefer to be fully invested, we believe our more conservative stance may help dampen the impact of what could be some extreme market volatility in the time ahead. The situation is fluid and we intend to redeploy the cash and short exposure into the markets as some of these risks dissipate, but for the time being, we're trimming the sail.

2011-07-27 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.

2011-07-27 Profit expectations in the square root recovery by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

They always say that in the media, if it bleeds, it leads. Crisis and tragedy is gripping stuff, and there has been plenty to report in the financial press in recent years. Perhaps under-reported and less-celebrated has been the truly remarkable recovery of profits at American businesses in the wake of the Great Recession. Reacting to the pain of the downturn, corporate America did a remarkable job of tightening its cost belt. As a result, the rather modest recovery in economic growth has driven huge profit gains, as margins have leapt back to historical peaks.

2011-07-22 ETF Mythbusting: Short Selling SLV by Noel Archard of iShares Blog

Short selling of SLV shares in the secondary market does not reduce the amount of silver held on behalf of Trust investors, nor does it increase the number of shares issued by the Trust. In order to establish a short position in SLV, a short seller must borrow the necessary shares of SLV from an existing holder, which means that the short seller also has an obligation to return those shares to the lender at a later time. In order to return the borrowed shares to the lender, the short seller must either purchase shares of SLV in the secondary market, or create new shares of SLV.

2011-07-22 Knightsbridge Summer 2011 Market Commentary by Alan T. Beimfohr and John G. Prichard of Knightsbridge Asset Management

Investors too are growing weary with disasters as macro forces whip them side to side, up and down. Be they of the sovereign risk variety or closer to home such as the potential extension of the $14.29 trillion federal debt ceiling. Rational heads assume the debt ceiling will be increased at the last minute. Lines in the sand have been drawn. Moodys and Standard & Poors have issued stern warnings that a downgrade from AAA is imminent should progress not materialize quickly. In the face of this, few investors want to do anything other than sit on the sidelines and wait until its over.

2011-07-22 2011 Halftime Report: Oil and Copper by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Last week we recapped commodities performance for the first six months of the year and offered our outlook on gold. This week, were discussing our outlook for two other commodities that are poised to have an exciting back half of the year.

2011-07-21 Sector Insights - Focus: Materials & Processing by James R. Margard, Peter M. Musser and Carlee J. Price of Rainier Funds

There has been a trend in the last decade for companies to increase in size through M&As, with a focus on removing competition, growing larger, and cutting costs to achieve economies of scale. In businesses that are commodity-oriented, scale is vital to success. This consolidation is occurring in part because it is becoming increasingly difficult to add economic value in this sector of the market. An agricultural revolution is underway, which is advantageous to many companies in the agricultural chain. Demand in the emerging world in particular is providing opportunities to grow revenues.

2011-07-21 Kovitz Investment Group, LLC Summer 2011 Quarterly Commentary by Jonathan A. Shapiro of Kovitz Investment Group

People tend to suffer greater pain from losing a given amount of money than they experience pleasure from gaining the same amount. The typical investor is therefore a pain avoider who shuns certain stocks when there is any hint of trouble. This tendency results in consistent overreaction to bad news that we believe creates opportunity. Inefficient pricing results from the excessive focus on short-term that we believe sets up a unique time arbitrage. By capitalizing on situations where uncertainty is high, but risk is low, we can put ourselves in a position to earn above-average returns.

2011-07-20 Golds Value Made Powerful by the Dollar, Euro and Yen by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

In reviewing the weekend headlines and data points released, it appears the gold rush fever is alive and well. It is almost as if a sequel to Shakespeares Merchant of Venice is about to be revived for reality TV... One might expect to read: It appears that what ever side of the Atlantic you lay, gold and gold only appear the play. Gold has crossed over $1600 per ounce, a mere 125% increase over where it stood a little over 2 years ago.

2011-07-19 Urbanization: Building a New World by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Over the next few decades, I believe we are likely to see an increase in several types of infrastructure investments due to rapid urbanization, which drives the increasing global demand for resources, mainly from emerging markets. Rapid urbanization in emerging markets, driven by rural populations migrating to cities in search of work and better opportunities, has put pressure on resources and prompted governments to pump money into a range of urban infrastructure-related sectors such as housing, transportation, sanitation, water, electricity and telecommunications.

2011-07-19 A Palinized Nation - No Direction, No Leadership, No Clue by Cliff W. Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

America is being palinized by total lack of leadership and responsibility from both political parties on Capitol Hill. The discussion of whether the US should default on our government debt if Congress is unable to pass a budget compromise and raise the debt ceiling by August 2nd, 2011 is absurd. The result of the impasse is a gradual erosion of trust by individuals, corporations, and foreign debt holders. How did we arrive at this point of lunacy, where our leaders are actually talking about the USA defaulting on our debts? Luke 23:34: Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.

2011-07-18 Matter over Mind by Herbert Abramson and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

As the markets declined in the quarter, stocks became significantly oversold from the negative psychology resulting from the negative headlines. A mindset of fear. CNBC recently reported that investors were more concerned about the economy than at any other time during the past five years; a CBS poll found that 39% of Americans believe the economy is in a state of permanent decline. The mind can play tricks. But when perceived risk is so great it is typically reflected more than warranted in depressed share prices. The news doesn?t have to be good, just not as bad as everyone believes.

2011-07-18 Are Emerging Markets Ready to Lead the Global Economy? by Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

We forecast emerging economies will expand at a faster pace than advanced economies over the secular horizon. The challenge for emerging market central bankers is to remain ahead of inflation expectations and retain credibility on inflation targeting. We feel they are well positioned for this. We believe global investors remain significantly underweight emerging market assets. We expect this underallocation to decrease, providing multiyear support for the asset class.

2011-07-14 Quarterly Letter to Shareholders by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Co.

Our ?watch and worry? list remains: 1.European government debt and banking problems; 2.China?s slowdown which could become a ?hard landing? or recession; 3.The ongoing U.S. political/economical debate on taxes and spending; 4.We do see improvement in some U.S. states, which are coming to grips with government spending at the state level. The plusses are the attractive balance sheets and current stock prices of many American (and international) companies. We think there will be ample opportunity for more aggressive investing when some of the headwinds discussed above are clarified.

2011-07-13 The Inflation Revival: Is it Time to Recalibrate Your Portfolio? by Richard Levine, Matthew Rubin and Tom Marthaler of Neuberger Berman

After a decades-long hiatus, inflation appears to be making a comeback. Clearly few anticipate a return to the days of the late 1970s and early 1980s when double-digit annual inflation gains were the norm. Still, the cumulative impact of inflation can be costly even during periods of modest price increases. According to Bloomberg $100 saved by the end of 1988 was ?worth? only $56 by the end of 2009. Investors may wish to take into account such changes as they estimate the potential returns of their portfolios, and consider incorporating inflation hedges into their investment strategy.

2011-07-12 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 Inflation Field Manual: A Guide for a Changing World by American Century Investments (Article)

This client-approved executive summary by Senior PM Robert Gahagan and Senior PM William Martine, CFA examines the competing forces at work that will affect inflation for the months and years to come. It also provides an analysis of inflation-hedging assets in different market environments, and suggests strategies for protecting a portfolio from inflation risk.

2011-07-12 The Titanic Has Sailed by Michael Lewitt (Article)

It was entirely predictable that the U.S. equity market would rally on the news that Greek would not default this month, but it does little to convince me that the long-term outlook for European sovereign debt or the global economy has improved. Markets - particularly the equity markets - are trying to pretend that the global economy is experiencing a self-sustaining recovery. A hard look at the economic numbers would tell an objective observer that no such recovery is occurring.

2011-07-12 Americas: Economic Review June 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

The economic growth outlook in the region has moderated, as both global demand and domestic consumption growth are slowing down. Consumers are less confident than earlier this year, public spending remains restricted due to continuing fiscal challenges, and businesses have become more cautious in their hiring and investment plans. Commodity and energy prices have corrected, while manufacturing activity growth has slowed down. Even in this environment, inflation risks remain significant in some of the large emerging economies where monetary policy is being tightened further.

2011-07-12 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review June 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

The Arab Spring brought with it waves of revolution, disrupting economies of almost all the countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. While governments of Tunisia and Egypt look to pick up the pieces, continued rumblings of unrest are heard from Bahrain, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The World Bank expects the lowest growth in Egypt and Tunisia, clocking in at 1 percent and 1.5 percent respectively, in 2011. However, despite uncertainty, these two economies are projected to improve in 2012 and witness economic expansion of around 5 percent in 2013.

2011-07-12 Back in the Uptrend by Gene Peroni of Advisors Asset Management

June did not present a meaningful technical departure from the preceding five months. This does not mean that June was uneventful; it had its fair share of peaks and valleys, the most dramatic of which occurred during the gravest worries that Greece might default on its debt. It was not the first time this year that the stock market was rocked by blazing headlines reporting devastating or monumental events. In March, stocks were driven lower following the Japanese tsunami. Whether a financial woe or a natural disaster event, the effects have been similar thus far in 2011.

2011-07-11 Hedge Funds Outperform Equity Benchmarks in Turbulent Markets by Clint Binkley of Greenwich Alternative Investments

Hedge funds navigated volatile markets to finish the month with a slight loss. ?Market Neutral and Long-Short Equity funds both outperformed broad equity market indices for the month,? notes Clint Binkley, Senior Vice President. ?Managers were fully occupied in negotiating the risk trade as investor sentiment changed dramatically over the course of the month. We continue to believe that in volatile markets actively managed hedge fund portfolios will provide superior results to index investing.?

2011-07-11 Perspective on the 2nd Quarter by Sean Hanlon of Hanlon Investment Management

At the start of the second quarter Hanlon Investment Management portfolios were positioned somewhat conservatively as our research anticipated that there was some volatility ahead. Our expectation was right-on as volatility and whipsawing markets were on display during this past quarter. We further increased our cautious stance and in June raised additional cash in client accounts as the risks warranted. The upcoming "summertime" third quarter is typically a sluggish trading quarter and we remain prepared for the prospect of continued volatility.

2011-07-11 A Look at Our 10 Predictions for 2011 by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

At the halfway point of the year, we thought it would be appropriate to look at the predictions we made at the beginning of 2011 to see where we stand. 1. US growth accelerates as US real GDP reaches a new all-time high. US real gross domestic product growth reached a new all-time high in the first quarter of 2011, so we have already gotten the second half of this correct. The first half will be dependent on the degree to which the US economy is able to accelerate in the second half of this year. 2. The US economy creates 2 million to 3 million jobs in 2011 as unemployment falls to 9%.

2011-07-06 Greeks Buy Time for Insolvent Bankers and Delusional Politicians by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Last week, the Greek parliament voted by a narrow margin to pass an economically crippling austerity plan of some $40 billion in return for some $159 billon of fresh liquidity injections. Although many hailed the event as a needed first step on a long road to recovery, I believe the austerity program will make a bad situation worse. It is a flawed solution that stems from a false premise: that Greece should continue to be part of the euro zone, and continue to use the euro as its currency. To return to national economic viability Greece must abandon its use of the euro currency.

2011-07-05 Fox in the Henhouse by Joseph Calhoun and Douglas Terry (Article)

In 1971, President Nixon ended the Bretton Woods gold standard currency system. That move set us on a path of debauching our currency through inflation. Ever since, we have counted on the Federal Reserve to preserve the purchasing power of our money. We have depended on the fox to protect our hens.

2011-07-05 Scarce Resources by Dennis Nacken of Allianz Global Investors

For decades, investors largely ignored the commodities segment. They can no longer afford to. Commodity production can scarcely keep up with the dynamic development in global demand. The supply bottleneck could remain a sustainable driver of higher commodity prices for the foreseeable future. This applies to energy, to commodities in general and agricultural products in particular: these resources are becoming scarcer?and this is a megatrend.

2011-07-02 China Opens World\'s Longest Cross-Sea Bridge by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

When the new Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay Bridge opened to traffic this week in China, it made the Guinness World Records for the longest cross-sea bridge in the world. The 26.4-mile long and 110-foot wide bridge stretches across the bay, linking the Huangdao district to the city of Qingdao and Hongdao Island. China spent 17 years planning and designing the engineering marvel to be able to withstand the bay?s high salt content and icy winters. Yet, it only took four years to build, with at least 10,000 workers on the construction team.

2011-07-02 The True Size of the Budget Deficit by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

While Washington debates raising the debt ceiling and cutting spending to achieve $1 to $2 trillion of savings over the next decade, it?s worth pointing out that these savings may never materialize because the existing official budget numbers are too optimistic across several fronts.

2011-07-02 And That\'s the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

The second quarter ended on a very positive note as equities enjoyed a late surge to bring the Dow into positive territory for the period (and the other indexes close to flat). Such performances didn?t seem likely just a few weeks ago, but positive news this week from Greece, signs of a rebound in manufacturing, and declining gas prices that helped ease a more fearful inflation picture put a damper on the recent negativity. Equities enjoyed their best week in two years. Let?s hope the mood lasts.

2011-07-02 My View on the Last Half of the Year by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The economy should be in Muddle Through range (around 2% growth), absent any shocks. For instance, today we had the June ISM number, which was stronger than most analysts expected, at 55.3. There was a lot of whispering that it could dip below 50. Some of the internal components were a little soft, though. New Orders were barely above 50. And Backlogs fell below 50. Exports fell to the lowest level in two years (more on that below). Of the 18 industries surveyed, only 12 reported growth. But Muddle Through is not going to allow us to really cut into the unemployment problem.

2011-07-01 Eye on Washington: Oil and Food Price Manipulation by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

We have been saying for some time that the developing world is now exporting higher-priced products abroad and contributing to inflation. A recent WSJ article and video discusses how higher wages and higher commodity costs are resulting in the end of low cost goods from China. We recommend that investors repurchase Malaysian equities as their market looks poised to move higher. U.S. equities also look like they are set for a rally that could last four to six weeks, so we recommend them for a trade. We also remain committed to our bullish recommendations on Japan and India.

2011-06-30 The Biggest Bear Market Rally of All? by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Most stock market participants screamed ?bear market rally? in the summer of 2009 as the US market exploded to the upside from the March 2009 low. They were referring to the phenomena whereby a major rally follows a bear market, retraces some of the prior decline and attempts to suck most investors back into the market. These ?sucker? rallies are debilitating because they heap agony those who end up getting caught twice in the same secular decline. We believe the rally in oil to $115 is possibly the biggest ?bear market? rally ever and we advise folks to protect their capital.

2011-06-28 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 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.

2011-06-28 Passing Fad or Enduring Legacy? The Case for Owning Gold in Good Times and Bad by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

Gold has been one of the few shining stars during a challenging 10+ years for most investors. In May, gold breached $1,500 an ounce, a new record. In fact, since bottoming out at $252 an ounce in 1999, gold has been enjoying a steady long-term bull run. This has prompted some prognosticators to warn that the "gold bubble" is ready to burst. On the other side of the coin, the more bullish "gold bugs" view the rally as confirmation of their long-held belief in the value of owning gold. Today, gold is still viewed by many as a somewhat exotic investment with little value.

2011-06-27 Higher Commodity Prices and the End of Economic Growth Without Inflation by Mihir P. Worah of PIMCO

Global inflationary patterns may shift amid higher commodity prices. We expect commodity prices to be generally rising going forward, though with volatility and differentiation among commodities. Emerging markets going through a particularly commodity and energy intensive phase of growth may affect what developed-world consumers pay for commodities. Currencies are another factor. If developed-world policymakers attempt to make their economies more competitive via a cheaper currency, that could lead to higher inflation for those that are net importers.

2011-06-27 Will Japan?s Crisis Cause Force Long-Term Reform? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

For all the pain suffered by the Japanese as a result of the earthquake, the disaster and its ripple effects, offer them at least some smugness. The world, obsessed new, had for years dismissed Japan as a part of the past, preferring instead to enthuse over China and emerging economies. This horrible disaster has made one thing very clear: Japan still plays a critical role in the global supply chain and economy generally. How soon, if ever, will Japan recover its former productive role? And how will the shock of the recent disaster change the Japanese economy?s long-term direction?

2011-06-25 The Malleable Market for Global Aluminum by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Last week?s Investor Alert highlighted a Macquarie Research chart showing a recent notable upswing in aluminum production around the world. Following a huge dip in output in China and worldwide throughout 2009, China once again surpassed the rest of the world in producing the most aluminum. China?s massive production makes sense considering the country consumes the most aluminum. According to Jeremy Grantham of GMO, China uses 40 percent of the world?s aluminum as it rapidly develops its railway transportation, increasingly purchases automobiles and demands more energy.

2011-06-24 On Governments as Portfolio Managers by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

Energy markets are focusing intensely on the price impact of today?s International Energy Agency decision to release oil supplies. Governments (and central banks) getting pulled deeper into markets as portfolio managers, as opposed to regulators and supervisors. Policymakers are trying to differentiate between good and bad inflation ? namely, enhancing the former and countering the latter.

2011-06-24 The 3-D Hurricane and the New Normal by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

Debt, deficit, and demographics?the 3-D hurricane? is heading to the shores of all developed economies. It threatens to derail the economic recovery and to alter forever the heretofore path of robust growth for the developed world.Emerging economies with healthy government and household balance sheets, responsible fiscal policies, and young labor forces will be the drivers for global growth and will compete with their developed counterparts for economic and political leadership. More importantly, the emerging economies will demand their fair share in the consumption of resources and goods.

2011-06-22 Summer Bargains Galore by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

While China?s economy is hitting the wall and investors are beginning to deal with what we believe is a major bear market in commodities, it is time to stop and examine some of the bargains created by the recent correction. We have said many times that valuation matters. We believe one of the biggest bargains currently is Aflac (AFL). They are the largest seller of supplemental health insurance in Japan and the US. Japan and the US are probably the two countries which would benefit more from a decline in commodity prices than any others in the world.

2011-06-21 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.

2011-06-21 Challenging Conventions: Natural Resource Equities vs. Commodities by RS Investments (Article)

Investors look to the commodity market to provide three primary benefits: portfolio diversification, inflation protection, and equity-like returns. However, empirical data shows that over the last decade, shifts in underlying fundamentals have undermined the role which commodities are expected to play in a diversified portfolio, particularly relative to natural resource equities. In this paper, we review how changes in fundamentals impact the unique return streams generated by both commodities and natural resource equities in the context of the benefits expected from each investment option.

2011-06-21 A Replay in the Markets by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

The one concern we cannot project, and one that every investor should be cognizant of, is the contagion risk of the potential default of Greece or any of the other troubled European issues. It won?t be necessarily the default itself but the reaction to it. This is more than likely the catalyst for the large amount of liquidity being built up in the banking system so as to mitigate another credit crunch that paralyzed the global markets in 2008. It also explains why A-rated Financials have seen their spread to the 10-Year Treasury widen from 121 basis points (bps) in May to a current 147 bps.

2011-06-20 Inflation Now and Later by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Fed believes with all its heart that inflation only occurs in economies that are producing at or above their potential. As a result, with unemployment above ?normal? and growth below ?trend,? the Fed sees little threat of inflation. As far as the Fed is concerned, any increase in commodity prices is temporary and any increase in the consumer prices due to commodities (like energy) is transitory. We wish we could be as sanguine about inflation as the Fed, but we heard all the same arguments back in the 1970s. The Fed was wrong then, and we think it is making the same mistake(s) today.

2011-06-17 An Investor?s Road Map by Tim Shirata of Guild Investment Management

It looks as if banking regulators are finally showing some backbone. Here in the U.S. and in Europe, they are demanding less leverage. This will likely spread as there is no question that many large global banks are in trouble. The problem is that they are not addressing leverage from derivatives. It is too little and too late, especially after the moral harm created by the bank bailouts. To us, the big question remains this: what about controlling and clearing derivatives through a central exchange so the world of derivative holders and writers can clearly know the risks involved?

2011-06-16 China is World's Largest Energy Consumer by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

World consumption of energy has increased 5.6 percent in 2010, according to BP?s Statistical Review of World Energy. This is the largest increase since 1973, which happened to be a memorable year in energy history. At the time, the U.S. was by far the largest consumer of energy, devouring 1,812 million tons of oil equivalent (mtoe)?more than 30 percent of the world?s total?as the country faced an energy crisis, oil embargo and record high oil prices. In 2010, another pivotal moment occurred in energy history: The country consuming most of the world?s energy was no longer the U.S., but China.

2011-06-14 Global Overview: June 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Slower manufacturing growth triggers fears of another global economic downturn. Even as the global economy appeared to have entered a phase of stable growth, the unexpected slowdown in global manufacturing activity during the month of May has led to fears of another economic downturn. Activity indicators declined the most in developed economies where growth was expected to gain pace this year. However, unless the trend persists, it is more likely that the moderation in manufacturing activity growth is only a readjustment after several months of rapid expansion.

2011-06-14 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Europe?s sovereign debt woes and inflation fears have plagued the Asian equity markets recently, sending indices lower during May. The eventual withdrawal of QE2 also became a real concern for the markets. Japan?s post disaster market downturn continued in May, but mainly due to negative international factors this time. Meanwhile, domestic concerns about the ongoing negative impact of supply-chain disruption on manufacturers? earnings and the political disarray caused by a divided parliament and a weakened prime minister have continued to weigh on the market.

2011-06-13 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies largely managed to boost output by leaning on exports in May. For some of the economies affected by natural disasters earlier this year, exports proved to be a blessing. Australia, which was affected by floods in February this year, not only managed to increase raw material exports but also gained by the investments associated with its export-oriented mining sector. Earthquake-hit New Zealand and Japan, however, faced difficulties in increasing output. New Zealand, which depends on food exports and tourism, suffered because of a strong domestic currency.

2011-06-13 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Aggressive interest rate hikes by emerging markets in the past twelve to eighteen months have started showing some results. Although food inflation in many emerging markets remains at elevated levels, the pace of inflation seemed to slow in some countries. Further, inflation expectations are expected to cool, primarily due to anticipation of record harvest of food grains in many countries. The threat from oil prices, which grew at a menacing pace during the first quarter of the year, also subsided a bit in May. Nonetheless, many central banks across Asia were cautious over monetary policy.

2011-06-13 Oil Prices?Fundamentally Unhinged by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Oil prices spiked up more than 40% between September 2010 and early May, before suddenly giving back half the gain within the space of a week. Analysts naturally sought to explain the wild price swings with supply and demand. But, as is so often the case with commodities the fundamentals mean less than speculative money flows. These explain both the run up and the retreat and why prices moved so far so fast. Speculative motivations, more than the fundamentals, will set future price movements, though the fundamentals, when they influence, should keep the direction pointing down more than up.

2011-06-13 Ouch by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

While equity markets can certainly do anything, if the SPX declines to the lows registered in March of 2009, which is what Walter Zimmerman thinks, and if the current earnings estimates are anywhere near the mark, it would leave the S&P 500 trading at less than 6x earnings with a dividend yield (excluding any dividend increases) approaching 5%. I just dont believe this is in the cards, given my assumption the economy is NOT going to double dip. Amid such market machination I think investors should keep their heads screwed-on straight and begin compiling their buying lists.

2011-06-10 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Last summer, the markets encountered a (temporary) setback as debt problems in Europe threatened the global recovery and weaker data prompted thoughts of a double-dip. Well, after six consecutive down weeks, the pessimism has returned to the equity markets; of similar note, Greece still has yet to find its footing and the once promising labor rebound still has a long way to go. The Fed is about to end a controversial stimulus, but stands prepared to help again if situations warrant.

2011-06-10 Searching for the Market's 'Sweet Spot' by John Derrick of U.S. Global Investors

One of U.S. Global Investors? ?sweet spots? is investing in global small-and mid-cap companies. We generally define these companies as having a market capitalization between $1 and $10 billion. Ten billion sounds like a lot but is relatively small compared to market caps of companies such as Apple ($301 billion), Johnson & Johnson ($181 billion) and Coca-Cola ($149 billion). We like small and mid-cap companies because they tend to be less volatile than micro-caps, but still nimble enough to grow at faster rates than large companies.

2011-06-08 Behind the Numbers: The Latest from the Federal Reserve by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Board released its latest Beige Book report, which provided more color on the recent slowdown and indicated the recovery is likely to be anemic and uneven. According to the report, which is a summary of anecdotal information from each Federal Reserve Bank on its district?s current economic conditions, ?economic activity generally continued to expand since the last report,? though it did slow somewhat in four of the 12 districts. In particular, ?some slowing in the pace of growth? was noted in the New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Chicago districts.

2011-06-07 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 Why Jim Rogers is Bullish on Gold by Dan Richards (Article)

The veteran investor Jim Rogers explains why he is bullish on gold and the US dollar, and offers his thoughts on Asian economies why he chose to move his family to Singapore. This is the transcript of the interview.

2011-06-07 Why Jim Rogers is Bullish on Gold (Video) by Dan Richards (Article)

The veteran investor Jim Rogers explains why he is bullish on gold and the US dollar, and offers his thoughts on Asian economies why he chose to move his family to Singapore. This is the video of the interview.

2011-06-07 Low Volatility Equity Solutions ? Is Now The Time? by K.Sean Clark of Clark Capital Management Group

Correlations converging amid the market declines of 2008 called attention to the limits of relying on diversification between assets for portfolio protection. The desire for non-correlated returns among assets had led to a significant reduction in U.S. equity exposures and accelerated flows into non-U.S. equities and alternative strategies. But the correlations of these uncorrelated assets spiked under the extreme market stress of 2007 and 2008. This shows that for downside protection, buying assets with many different risk profiles is not a substitute for buying volatility to manage risk.

2011-06-07 The Tough Transition by Cole Smead of Smead Capital Management

Stock market participants seem to be having a great deal of difficulty handling temporary economic weakness. This weakness is highly likely to be a combination of higher gasoline prices and the disruptions that supply chains suffered at the hands of the Japanese Tsunami. We are not surprised by this temporary weakness and if it hadn?t been caused by this combination it would have come to pass anyway.

2011-06-07 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.

2011-06-03 Five Misconceptions Squashed by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

DSK is not the only one in need of a bailout! As the sovereign crisis intensifies - and it will - bond yields in some countries will go higher. But they won?t go higher everywhere. Demographic as well as technical factors (e.g. Solvency II) will drive ever more money towards bonds, and that money will have to go somewhere. Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia are probably the safest bets in terms of where sovereign bond yields could fall further. You should also expect high quality corporate bond yields to trade through sovereign yields in many countries. The trend has already begun.

2011-06-03 Active Hurricane Season May Threaten Offshore Oil by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It?s hurricane season in the Atlantic, and another year of above-normal activity is expected. If the prediction comes to fruition, the potential disruption of offshore oil production may add to already turbulent oil prices. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says due to a continuing high activity conditions, warmer water, and La Niña?s wind sheers, this season may produce 12 to 18 named storms, six to 10 of which could become hurricanes. Two or three of these hurricanes may be major. Seasonal averages are 11 named storms, six hurricanes, and two major.

2011-06-03 ETF Mythbusting ? Synthetic ETF Considerations by Noel Archard of BlackRock Investment Management

With headlines like ?ETFs: The Next Financial Time Bomb?? I myself would be alarmed about the safety of investing in ETFs, if I didn?t understand that there?s more to the story. The FSB?s April report, entitled ?Potential financial stability issues arising from recent trends in Exchange Traded Funds? focused on two risks. First, the risks associated with the structure of ?synthetic ETFs?; and second, the use of a practice called securities lending in ETFs. For the sake of pithiness, I?m going to tackle the former issue here and the latter in another post, which you?ll see published shortly.

2011-06-03 Natural Resources Q&A with the Global Resources Fund Team by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week Frank Holmes and the co-managers of the U.S. Global Investors Global Resources Fund (PSPFX), Evan Smith and Brian Hicks, participated in a special webcast for the Peak Advisor Alliance. Here are some candid portions of the Q&A: Q. How are interest rates currently affecting commodity prices? A. The magic number for real interest rates is 2 percent. That?s when you can earn more than 2 percent on a U.S. Treasury bill after discounting for inflation. Our research has shown that commodities tend to perform well when rates fall below 2 percent.

2011-06-02 Some Days (Months) Are Better Than Others by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

May was a rough month for investors, though it ended on a sunnier note. A growth slowdown is evident, but the debate rages about whether its factors are temporary. We think May's risk-off mode is easing, but choppy action remains likely until longer-term worries subside. After an uphill ride in April, when the Dow was up 4%, May wasn't kind to investors, although the last two trading days brought some sunshine. It was the first time in nearly three years that the S&P 500® index had no up weeks in a month.

2011-06-01 Buy Cheap Bonds with Safe Spread by Bill Gross of PIMCO

If the government is going to artificially repress yield, then focus on the parts of a bond that are less repressed! Rather than outright default, many countries attempt rather successfully to keep nominal interest rates lower than would otherwise prevail. Over the long term, this ?financial repression? results in a transfer of wealth from savers to borrowers. Investors shouldn?t give their money away, and at the moment, the duration component of a bond portfolio comes close to doing just that ? because it doesn?t yield enough relative to inflation.

2011-06-01 What?s Gold Really Worth? by Kevin Feldman of BlackRock Investment Management

Determining an exact value for gold isn?t easy?but the pressure to do so is diminished by the fact that gold shouldn?t be a short-term investment. The drop in silver?s price earlier this month suggested that some major market players had decided that silver had risen far above a reasonable valuation. In the aftermath, some writers argued that the price drop of about 27% for the week of May 2nd was a reasonable correction. Since some investors still link gold and silver some market observers and gold investors wondered if gold, down about 4 percent last week, was also due to plummet.

2011-06-01 Next Big Thing: "Rent to Own?" Recreating the Ear of the Markets by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst

We feature a comment by Damien IslamFrenoy and David Cox, of Microsoft Banking and Capital Markets, about the need to restore context to information to better identify and manage risk. But first we make a few observations about the trends in the political economy. The first quarter of 2011 is now the best quarter since 2007 but does this mean that the future is assured? With an ROA<1% and ROE measured in single digits, the results are less than stellar. But the retrenchment of Americans away from housing assets and toward cash savings raises questions about the future of the banking industry.

2011-05-31 Hedging In an Inflationary World by Andrew Foster (Article)

These days, given the complex web of global financial transactions in which companies are enmeshed, it is unrealistic to expect management to avoid hedging. When I invest, however, I search for companies that follow simple, consistent, and short-term hedging policies ? and whose business models are strong enough to adapt to the inherent volatility and uncertainty of the marketplace.

2011-05-31 Positive Forces Should Win Out, But It Will Take Some Time by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Economic data has continued to come in on the weak side, which caused stock prices to slide yet again last week. In our opinion, some of the recent weakness in economic data can be attributed to temporary factors such as the spike in oil prices, the natural disasters in Japan and flooding in the Southern United States. In any case, however, the soft patch in the economy has dented the pace of economic acceleration and we expect to see some continued signs of weakness in the weeks ahead, including perhaps in this Fridays labor market report for May.

2011-05-28 And That?s The Week That Was ? by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

While Memorial Day starts summer, many traders got a jumpstart on the season by skipping town early as volume was quite thin on the exchanges. Earnings announcements continued (though folks stopped paying attention long ago) and Tiffany and Guess both bested expectations, a nice sign for luxury retail. As the season comes to a close, the results spoke well for the state of Corporate America. For the quarter, profits increased by almost 6% to $1.45 trillion. The IPO world did not fare as well after investors thought the LinkedIn success of last week had ushered in a new ?exuberance.?

2011-05-28 Railway Revolution Builds China's Consumer Culture by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China is building the world?s largest network of high speed rails. Since opening the first high speed line between Beijing and Tianjin in 2008, the country has laid down more than 4,600 miles of new tracks. This is three times more than Japan, where the bullet train was invented. Once completed near the end of this decade, the high speed rail system will connect more than 250 Chinese cities, span 18,641 miles and reach roughly 700 million people. Currently, the high speed rail network connects about one-third of China?s cities. That figure is set to nearly double over the next two years.

2011-05-28 Schwab Market Perspective: Shifting Sentiment by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Economic headwinds are causing growth expectations to be reevaluated, resulting in choppier action in a majority of asset classes. The Fed is moving steadily closer to ending its purchases of Treasuries but we dont believe its a major event. Normalization of monetary policy still seems slow in coming, although we believe QE2 ending on schedule is nearly certain. Europe's debt crisis continues to plague the eurozone. Solutions appear to be limited and agreement is still anything but assured. Meanwhile, China's slowdown is also weighing on investors.

2011-05-28 A Random Walk Through the Minefield by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In the last 48 hours, so much news has come out of Europe that has me frankly shaking my head. It is a strange game of brinksmanship they are playing, and it is one we should be paying attention to (as if the brinkmanship played by US politicians over the debt ceiling is not enough). This week we look at what seems to be European leaders taking random walks through the minefield at the very heart of the European Experiment. As Paul Simon wrote, ?A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.?

2011-05-27 On Stockpiling and the Commodity Cycle by Andrew Foster of Seafarer Capital

Commodity prices have been in a secular bull market for the better part of a decade?subject only to temporary, albeit violent corrections. Three main explanations have been offered for the trend. The first is that demand from emerging markets is fueling price increases, as the developing countries consume tremendous amounts of raw materials in pursuit of growth. The second is that the dollar is being debased, which in turn is stoking inflation in hard assets. The third argument is that the world is facing a crisis of limits: commodity prices are surging as finite resources are being depleted.

2011-05-26 Everything from Oil to Silver: Are Speculators Causing Too Much Volatility? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Allegations that traders manipulated oil prices in 2008 are reinforcing the buzz -- at the gas pump and elsewhere -- that speculators are driving up the price of oil, triggering wild price spikes and nail-biting volatility. Fingering speculators is a popular pastime these days, but experts at Wharton and elsewhere say the blame is often misplaced. Although speculation can affect prices, most of the recent price swings in oil and other commodities are happening for fundamental economic reasons.

2011-05-25 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.

2011-05-25 Making Sense of Gold by Frank Wei of FundQuest

After being neglected, gold has been on a spectacular run since the beginning of the new century. As compared to the struggling stock market of the past decade, the run looks even more impressive. Meanwhile, with its popularity as an investment on the rise, many investment vehicles such as gold ETFs have been created and introduced to the investor public. Formerly dealt with by central banks and large institutional investors exclusively, gold is now more available as an investment for average retail investors. The following commentary will examine several key aspects of gold as an investment.

2011-05-24 Inflation?Which Prices Aren't Changing by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia

Inflation has been one of the big buzzwords in Asia's markets this year. Wages, interest rates and prices for commodities, assets, goods and food have all been on the rise. The problem with much of the discussion is that it treats inflation in all these areas as though they were the same?a single phenomenon that is an unqualified evil. In my view, not enough has been done to distinguish between cause and symptom. Perhaps this is because when one does try to distinguish between cause and symptom, the topic of inflation becomes much more complex.

2011-05-24 What is conservative about Absolute Return, Market Neutral or Long/Short Mutual Funds? by Kendall J. Anderson of Anderson Griggs

The machine of Wall Street has convinced many individuals who believe they are prudent, conservative, investors that a mutual fund whose name or objective includes the terms Absolute Return, Market Neutral, Long/Short or hedged, will never lose your money. An individual whose fear of losing again from common stocks just can?t bear sitting on cash and earning a nickel of interest every three months 1k. The desire to increase returns is just too great. Before you fall for the hype there are a few things you should know. The most important item you should remember is that there is no guarantee.

2011-05-23 A Few of My Favorite Things by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

To begin, commodities are likely on summer vacation before they resume their secular bull market, however, I continue to like a number of special situations. Williams Company (WMB/$30.76/Outperform) reported a solid 1Q11 quarter. Our bullish thesis on Williams is supported by (1) we believe the companys E&P assets will garner a higher valuation in the market place as a stand-alone entity when the company splits itself into two parts; (2) we believe the market is undervaluing Williams ownership of the Williams Partner GP, and (3) we expect strong growth from the Canadian midstream assets.

2011-05-21 The Dollar and Oil Debate on CNBC Europe by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week in London, I joined CNBC Europe?s Commodities Corner to discuss an earlier post regarding my Three Reasons to Believe in $100 Oil. Of the three reasons I gave, most striking to this group was my belief that higher oil prices will continue because of a weakness in the dollar. What I explained during the discussion was that a falling dollar causes short-term volatility. As the demand for a particular commodity increases and the dollar weakens, or vice versa, investors need to deal with an exaggerated movement in the price. However, I stressed the short-term nature of these events.

2011-05-21 And That?s The Week That Was ? by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

It?s beginning to look a lot like?summer. From college commencements to high school proms to nursery school graduations?soon kids will be home with nothing to do (but spend their parents? hard-earned money); vacations start in earnest; and market volume usually takes a tumble (tee times during trading hours). As for this year?rising commodities have elevated food prices which makes dining out more expensive. Likewise, with gasoline prices pushing $4/gal, analysts worry about any ill-effects on travel plans and overall consumer activity. In fact, several retailers are already feeling the pinch.

2011-05-21 Asian Tiger Sinks Teeth Into Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The World Gold Council (WGC) released its quarterly ?Gold Demand Trends? report this week and, as always, it was filled with fascinating data on the strength of the global gold market. Gold demand grew 11 percent to 981.3 tons during the first quarter of 2011, worth $43.7 billion at quarter-end?s price levels. The increase was driven by a significant rise in demand for gold as an investment, up 26 percent from a year ago, as emerging markets look to protect their assets from rising inflation. Demand for gold bars and coins was up 62 percent and 42 percent, respectively.

2011-05-20 What?s Eating You? Global Inflation and Your Portfolio by Matt Tucker of BlackRock Investment Management

Headlines have been filled with news about inflation, from rising commodity, precious metals and gas prices to higher prints of the consumer price index. Traditionally investors have looked to US real estate, commodities and US TIPS to help protect against inflation. As news of rising foreign inflation reaches the US, investors may now be asking if they need to think this in the context of their portfolios. Is global inflation different than US inflation? Could investing in assets that help protect against global inflation increase a portfolio?s efficiency? Am I missing an opportunity?

2011-05-20 More People by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

As value managers, we are interested in secular trends. We seek company characteristics which lead us to non-cyclical businesses which are not capital or labor intensive. For this reason, we love businesses which need more people (as customers) to become more profitable. Unfortunately, from time to time, markets massively over-capitalize industries which they believe will benefit from having more people. Historical examples: The 1929 stock market peak was built around the idea that there would be more people to listen to radio, drive cars and fly on planes. The concept was over-capitalized.

2011-05-20 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Last week, I wrote about a phenomenon in global markets ?at the top? as being almost like perpetual motion inertia, constant movement, seemingly ending up static. Why does that exist, and what can we do to enhance its portfolio benefit and to reduce its incumbent risk? I believe that today?s risk derives from overvaluations created from ?efficiencies? which magnify profitability, but don?t reflect declining top line revenue or demand.  Indeed, as stock prices have migrated upwards, relative strength quotients within my proprietary measurements have disconnected, instead moving downwards.

2011-05-19 Cause or Effect: ETF Trading Volume Impact on Volatility (and Vice Versa) by Noel Archard of BlackRock Investment Management

If you read Russ Koesterich?s blog post from Monday, May 12th, you already have an idea of what has been going on with the price of silver. The commodity was up over 150% over the prior 12 months before going through a downward correction and shedding 30% of value. Our iShares Silver Trust (SLV) became a focal point during the course of the week as volatility spiked, and the usual questions popped up about how people use ETFs, and whether or not ETF trading volume is caused by price volatility, or if it?s in fact a contributor to the volatility.

2011-05-19 Chart of the Week: Emerging Europe's Middle Class by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Middle-class, affluent, bourgeois - they describe a group of people who enjoy a comfortable life, have access to healthcare and, have discretionary income. And across developing nations, there is a growing group that are just settling in to this lifestyle. A few weeks ago we discussed how economic power is gradually shifting eastward and highlighted a McKinsey Global Institute report that showed China, Latin America and South Asia are projected to account for most of the middle class children by 2025. Those regions aren?t the only ones. A surging middle class exists in Eastern Europe as well.

2011-05-19 Explaining U.S. debt levels, credit ratings, and recent bond market behavior by Team of American Century Investments

This week, we discuss the U.S. debt ceiling and the credit ratings for U.S. sovereign debt, plus explanations for seemingly counterintuitive bond market behavior. To fully comprehend the ceiling, we should first review the U.S. federal debt it?s attempting to cap, and why. The U.S. federal debt reflects what the U.S. government has to borrow to help pay for its multitude of operations, services, and financial commitments. Like some of its citizens, the U.S. government has been living beyond its means in recent years, spending more money than it has in reserve or receives in tax revenues.

2011-05-19 The Good, the Bad and the Uncertain by James G. Tillar and Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

Recently the financial media has been focused on the end of QE2, the process by which the Fed has been minting new funds to buy back U.S. Treasuries to pressure interest rates down. While they have been successful in driving rates down, the additional borrowing has put additional strains on the rising debt limits the legislature must continually approve. Regardless of whether the Fed officially ends QE2, as of June 30th it will not end the Fed?s Treasury buying spree as they will continue to repurchase Treasuries using the proceeds of maturing mortgages they took over in the financial crises.

2011-05-17 The Smooth Illusion by Michael Lewitt (Article)

In retrospect, the Federal Reserve's interminable zero-interest policy and its quantitative easing programs are likely to be seen not only as ineffective but damaging to the prospects for sustainable long-term economic growth. A number of asset classes are beginning to exhibit bubble-like behavior, something that would be far less likely to occur were interest rates normalized.

2011-05-17 Plantar Fasciitis? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

In past missives I have opined that China is slowly revaluing its currency in an attempt to create more domestic demand, dampen its inflation rate, and placate U.S. leaders. To be sure, the Chinese realize in the long-run the manufacturing/export driven economic model will eventually morph to the lower cost of labor, which is quickly becoming the Vietnams of the world. Accordingly, they are following what Brazil did with its currency (the Real) a few years ago. To wit, Brazil raised interest rates and increased the value of its currency.

2011-05-17 Breakdown: Commodities Tumble ? For Good? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

'When in doubt, get out' has become the mantra for commodities traders the past couple of weeks. Sentiment had become too one-sided (and may need to ease even further). Is risk-on, risk-off trading finally coming to an end, and can fundamental analysis prevail? We've written a lot about the 'risk-on, risk-off' trading environment prevalent over the past several years. Risk on is basically when investors have been feeling better about the global economy and about the markets, so they buy and embrace more risky assets. Then, when fears rise investors essentially avoid all risk?risk off.

2011-05-16 Weekly Market Commentary by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Overall the stock market was quiescent last week but underneath the surface a dramatic sector rotation was taking place. As the charts above illustrate, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average as well as the NASDAQ Composite barely moved from their previous weeks closing level. This apparent peaceful trading though came as the defensive sectors benefited as money raced out of financials or any commodity related including the economically sensitive sectors.

2011-05-13 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Let the volatility begin. Commodities prices go up?equities follow. Commodities prices stumble?equities follow. These days, the supply/demand vs. speculation debate seems to be consuming investors? mindsets as the major moves in metals, grains, and energy (both up and down) are leading the direction of stocks (both up and down). Earnings still remain solid, though more firms are warning about future results.

2011-05-12 Inflation is Not a Panacea by Peter Nielsen and Ben Bortner of Saturna Capital

It was only last August when economists and investors alike were afraid that the country was about to enter a deflationary spiral that would cripple the economic recovery. The solution in the Fed's eyes was to "print" $600 billion and pump them into the economy over the next ten months. Now, it appears we should be careful what we ask for. The threat of deflation has been all but incinerated in the afterburn of soaring raw materials prices. While strong raw material prices may be beneficial to some in the short-run, over the longer-term there is a cost paid by all.

2011-05-11 Supreme Moment by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Kairos - is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment). The world of value investing and portfolio management includes mean reversion and patience. Speculative episodes typically go on for much longer than expected. This fact forces us to take a stand by avoiding overvalued common stocks and owning undervalued shares. Everyone would love to make their adjustments at the ?Kairos?. We believe that the greatest existing misallocation of capital in the world today is based on over-confidence in the uninterrupted growth of emerging markets.

2011-05-10 Inflation Field Manual: A Guide for a Changing World by American Century Investments (Article)

We examine the competing forces at work that will affect inflation. On the one hand, a whole host of factors are currently constraining inflation. On the other hand, US monetary and fiscal policies and a number of global economic imbalances suggest an environment of high and rising inflation. The outcome of this debate is important for financial assets, whose performance turns on the difference between expected and actual inflation-it is when inflation surprises to the upside that stocks and nominal bonds typically underperform and inflation-protected assets do best.

2011-05-10 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review April 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies that were hit by natural disasters during the initial months of 2011 registered mixed economic performance with some countries in the group recovering faster even as other countries are still dealing with the aftermath of the crisis. While Japan, finalized a fiscal and monetary plan, investment-led growth was helping Australia recover from floods. New Zealand, which also suffered a devastating earthquake, showed a considerable rise in dairy exports. Other advanced economies continued to do well, although strong growth has been stoking inflation.

2011-05-10 Global Overview: May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Global economic growth now appears more sustainable, as the developed economies continue to recover and the emerging economies maintain their rapid pace of growth. The Euro-zone economy is expanding faster than expected while the U.S. growth slowdown in the first quarter is widely believed to be due to seasonal factors. The IMF acknowledged that global economic activity is set to accelerate again, and maintained the global growth forecasts for both this year and 2012 at 4.5 percent. However, the IMF warned that growth remained unbalanced and that inflationary risks have increased.

2011-05-10 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review April 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

According to research by the World Bank, unrest in the Middle East and North Africa has affected economic growth in the region, which previously had been expected to zoom upwards in 2011 until the turmoil began. In its economic forecasts in January, the World Bank had projected that the region, which had come out of the 2009 global recession, would enjoy a rise in gross domestic product (GDP) from 3.3 percent in 2010 to 4.3 percent in 2011. In stark contrast now, some of the affected countries like Egypt will have a growth rate as low as one percent.

2011-05-10 Hedge Funds Led by Managed Futures Funds in April by Clint Binkley of Greenwich Alternative Investments

Hedge funds, as measured by the Greenwich Global Hedge Fund Index (?GGHFI?), gained across all major strategies in April. The GGHFI gained 1.69% compared to global equity returns in the S&P 500 Total Return +2.96%, MSCI World Equity +4.02%, and FTSE 100 +2.73% equity indices. 78% of constituent funds in the GGHFI ended the month with gains. ?Hedge funds continued to move higher in April driven by strength in equities and commodities,? notes Clint Binkley ?Nearly all hedge fund strategies are at new highs for the year and continue to be successful in a market dominated by headline risk.?

2011-05-09 Me, Lord Marlboro and the Dow!? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

While the intermediate/long-term internal stock market energy remains fully charged for a move higher, the markets short-term energy still needs some time to rebuild. This probably means another week, or two, of consolidation and/or attempts to sell stocks down before we begin another leg to the upside. Even so, I dont think any selling will gain much downside traction, implying the zone between the S&P 500s (SPX/1340.20) 50-day moving average (DMA) at 1320 and the 1340 level should provide support for stocks.

2011-05-09 Despite Economic Soft Patch, Bull Market Should Persist by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Stocks fell last week amid a great deal of economic crosscurrents. The major story in the headlines is, of course, the death of Osama bin Laden. While the news can be viewed as beneficial from an overall perspective of improving the mood of the general public (which could have a positive impact on investor confidence), it is unlikely to have any meaningful impact on the economic or financial outlook. In our view, issues such as corporate earnings trends and economic data releases are almost certain to overshadow the impact of bin Ladens death.

2011-05-09 Inflation Threat? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Any serious discussion of inflation today must separate short- from longer-term prospects. For the short run, the risks of a generalized inflation remain small, recent increases in commodity prices notwithstanding. For the longer run, the risks rise. Perhaps recent commodity price hikes anticipate this longer-term potential, though there are other explanations. But whatever the specifics, the fundamental risks lie almost entirely with policy in Washington, that is, how the Fed treats the excess liquidity in markets today and how the federal government deals with its huge budget deficits.

2011-05-07 Don?t Turn Out the Lights on Commodities Just Yet by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The prices for many commodities suffered the worst week in recent memory this week. Oil prices dipped below $100 per barrel, gold fell below $1,500 an ounce and silver gave back much of the past month?s gains by falling to the $35 an ounce level. The prices for other commodities such as sugar, tin, nickel, aluminum, lead and copper also pulled back. Immediately, headlines on websites such as Marketwatch, Bloomberg and SmartMoney read ?Has the Commodity Bubble Popped?? and ?Imploding Commodities Complex.? In our opinion, not likely.

2011-05-06 Watch Out Below! Commodities Falling Off the Cliff! by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

This week we have seen a huge sell-off in commodity prices. Silver is leading the way down posting another steep loss today. Some think the smart money is getting out even as the commodity exchanges are raising margin requirements. Is this the end of the ?hard asset? commodity trade? I hardly think so. We believe that we are in a commodity ?super-cycle? that has its foundation not in speculation or weakening currencies, but in a sharp rise in global demand. The weak dollar has merely exacerbated the move over the past couple of years as the Fed has embarked on very loose monetary policy.

2011-05-06 Is The Drop in Oil Good For Stocks? by Team of Bespoke Investment Group

During yesterday's drop in oil and other commodities, we heard several commentators say they were puzzled over why stocks were down as commodities were plunging. While their argument seemed to be based on the assumption that lower commodity prices will benefit the consumer, have they been paying any attention at all to the markets in the last two years? Although lower commodity and energy prices will increase the amount of money that consumers have to spend on other things, the reality is that oil and stock prices have been positively correlated for some time now.

2011-05-06 Opportunities in Southeast Asia (video) by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Asia presents a wealth of investment opportunities. Economic giants like China and India, with their increasing demand for commodities and natural resources, play a pivotal role for growth in the region, including emerging markets in Southeast Asia. I think the outlook for Southeast Asia remains very positive. Countries like Thailand and Indonesia have seen very rapid growth in the last decade, and frontier markets like Vietnam and Laos, with their strong growth potential, are also very interesting to us.

2011-05-06 Silver Takes it on the Chin by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

This week saw the type of downside volatility in the precious metals market that will be remembered for years to come. For those of us who have been long gold, and silver in particular, the memories will not be pleasant. While many had been expecting a pullback in silver, when the violence did come it was still shocking. Silver shed one third of its value in less than one week. And while gold was pulled down by the general sell off in all commodities. the yellow metal shed only 6.5% during the carnage. Those mild losses should remind us that gold is not just another commodity.

2011-05-06 Silver and Gold, Silver and Gold by Doug MacKay and Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

Silver and gold may still look good as decoration but the metals have also lost some luster in the dental profession (gold vs. porcelain crowns) and for anyone who uses a digital camera instead of old guard film. (Silver is used in film processing.) As most know, silver shot to new highs last week amidst a frenzy for precious metals and perhaps, their perceived inflation hedging capacities. This week, the story was a bit different, with the metal experiencing one of the most stunning drops since the Hunt Brothers tried to corner the silver market back in the early 1980?s.

2011-05-06 And That?s The Week That Was ? by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

As the 10-year anniversary of 9-11 approaches, American have all too vivid memories of that dreadful day and the frightening uncertainties that have remained because of the elevated terror risks.  This week, one uncertainty was lifted as Osama bin Laden, the 9-11 mastermind, was killed in a successful military operation in Pakistan.  While his death does not eliminate the risk of future attacks, it brings much-needed closure to many and a newfound sense of country pride for the US military and intelligence community. 

2011-05-05 Corn Price Increases Tell a Story About Why Commodity Prices Are Rising by Team of American Century Investments

In case you haven?t been watching, the price of corn for delivery in July (a futures price set on the Chicago Board of Trade) rose 35% just in the month of April from $216 to $293 per metric ton. As both a commodity and agricultural product, the demand and pricing of corn can provide interesting insights into whether inflation is rising, why and (if so) what factors are driving it. In this Weekly Market Update, we?ll take a look at the market dynamics for corn, what is driving recent price increases and how this is likely to unfold over the remainder of this year and beyond.

2011-05-05 A Roadmap For The Coming Changes In Fed Policy by Will Denyer of GaveKal

Last week?s FOMC statement, and Bernanke?s first press conference, were predictably anticlimactic. But they did confirm what the FOMC plans to do this summer, and what they currently think should be the next steps thereafter. Based on this apparent plan, market participants would be right to assume that Fed policy will continue, well after QE2 ends in June, to weigh on the Dollar and support the already elevated Euro, commodity prices, commodity currencies, etc? In other words, the Fed?s telegraphed trajectory would continue to contribute to the world?s biggest macro risks today.

2011-05-04 Economic Update by Justin Anderson of Cambridge Advisors

Stocks pushed through volatility early in the month to post another respectable gain for the month of April. The S&P 500 was up 3% in April and is now up 9% year to date. Bond yields for the month were slightly lower but very close to where they started at the beginning of the year at 3.3% for 10 year Treasury bonds. Gold and oil prices reached new highs again during the month, mostly due to inflation concerns. GDP growth slowed to 1.8% during the first quarter. This was the seventh straight quarter with positive economic growth but it was less than the 20 year average of 2.5%.

2011-05-03 The Caine Mutiny (Part 2) by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Low policy rates and the increasing negative real yields that they engender as inflation accelerates represent an immediate threat to investment portfolios. Bond prices dont necessarily have to go down for savers to get skunked during a process of debt liquidation. PIMCO advocates a renewed vigilance, stressing bond market alternatives available globally, including developing/emerging market debt at higher yields denominated in non-dollar currencies.

2011-05-03 My Breakfast with Dave by Robert Huebscher (Article)

A month ago, one of the most closely followed market observers, Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg, moved his Breakfast with Dave commentaries behind a pay-wall, ending an era of free access to his insights. Last Friday, however, he presented his views publicly to an audience of 500 advisors and investors, your author included.

2011-05-03 The Case for Human Ingenuity by Niels C. Jensen, Nick Rees and Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

This month we take a closer look at oil and reach what many of our readers will probabaly find a surprising conclusion: We believe that we are approaching the end of the oil era and that oil prices will undergo a substantial correction over the next several years. But we cannot be very precise on timing, as there are too many variables at this stage. Our conclusion is based on 3 observations.

2011-05-02 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

It looks to me as if some are confusing a market rally, an extension really, for an economic revival. The Fed Chairman declared last Wednesday that we are only half-way through a decade?s long process of recovery. The primary engines of capital gains today are price pressure, speculation, natural resources and inflation. It?s no wonder that Energy, Basic Materials, and Technology are in the vanguard, while ?traditional? front-end engines of economic prosperity languish. At first blush this reveals that the consumer is not the driver of prosperity at this time.

2011-05-02 Equities Continue Their March Despite Rising Risks by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Last week featured a rash of economic and earnings news as well as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernankes historic press conference. All told, investors interpreted last weeks events positively, which helped stocks climb higher yet again. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 2.4% to 12,811, the S&P 500 Index advanced 2.0% to 1,364 and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.9% to 2,874. With last weeks gains, several stock indices reached new all-time highs, while the S&P 500 Index reached its highest level since before the credit crisis erupted in the summer of 2008.

2011-05-02 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

As we have been saying for some time, U.S. economic growth is stuck in the slow lane.We have seen a serious slide in the American standard of living over the past three years, since the beginning of the recession.The slide can be measured in many ways.Food stamps recipients have increased by 48 percent and the cost of the program ballooned by 80 percent.Medicaid recipients are up 17 percent and programcosts are up36 percent.Welfare recipients are up 18 percent, and program costs up24 percent. That isnt the kind of growth thats good for any economy!

2011-04-29 U.S. Economic Growth: GDP Minus the Federal Deficit by Randy Degner of Doug Short

A few days before today's publication of the Q1 2011 advance GDP estimate, I received an email that eloquently expresses a widely held view of Gross Domestic Product ? namely that it is a gross exaggeration. It was accompanied by a pair of chart. One is straight from the St. Louis Federal Reserve database. The other is the creation of the author of the email.

2011-04-29 This Time Isn?t Different by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Hearing the phrase ?this time is different? is often a warning signal. History demonstrates that rationalizing an overvalued market by suggesting that the economy has structurally or that we?ve entered a ?new paradigm?, is not generally a fruitful strategy. Whether bullish or bearish, we believe that macro cycles rarely diverge from historical patterns. Indeed, current global economic cycles appear to be following historical trends. However, there appears to be a significant disconnect between investor sentiment regarding risk and where problems are actually emerging within the global economy

2011-04-26 The Libyan No Fly Zone Needs to be Extended to Ben Bernanke's Helicopter by Martin J. Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

There has been a lot of talk about the excessive loose monetary policy coming out of the Federal Reserve. However, most of the arguments concerning the implications take the form of generalizations as opposed to quantifiable relationships. Our objective here is to show, through the historical relationship between short-term interest rates and the economy, that the Fed has been overly generous. Moreover, we will see that the data call for much higher industrial commodity prices before this cycle runs its course. In retrospect, they will make todays elevated levels look benign by comparison.

2011-04-26 Portfolio Strategy by Bradley Turner of Chess Financial

At the outset of the second quarter, the major trends that have shaped our portfolio strategy since last summer remain largely intact. These include: A global economy that is experiencing a two-track recovery. Growth in the developed markets is generally subdued while growth in the emerging markets is more robust. Inflationary pressures continue to build as evidenced by price increases in many commodities, notably food and oil. Interest rates have begun to move higher, either due to central bank actions (e.g., China, India) or specific country risks (e.g., Portugal).

2011-04-26 Are You Watching Your Brokered Deposits? Bob Eisenbeis: What's a Central Bank to Do? by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst

In this issue of The Institutional Risk Analyst, we feature a comment from Bob Eisenbeis, Chief Monetary Economist of Cumberland Advisors. Bob clearly states the obvious in his excellent analysis of the choices facing the Federal Open Market Committee, namely that the Fed continues to steer monetary policy based upon largely domestic factors, this even as the global role of the dollar creates dangers for the US and other nations as they flee the perils of deflation.

2011-04-25 Monetary Policy in 3-D by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the most important factors likely to influence the financial markets over the coming year is the extreme stance of U.S. monetary policy and the instability that could result from either normalizing that stance, or failing to normalize it. It is not evident that quantitative easing, even at its present extremes, has altered real GDP by more than a fraction of 1%. Moreover, it's well established that the "wealth effect" from stock market changes is on the order of 0.03-0.05% in GDP for every 1% change in stock market value, and the impact tends to be transitory at that.

2011-04-25 Time to Wake Up: Days of Abundant Resources and Falling Prices Are Over Forever by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

The world is using up its natural resources at an alarming rate, and this has caused a permanent shift in their value. We all need to adjust our behavior to this new environment. It would help if we did it quickly.

2011-04-22 Could the U.S. Return to 1970s Style Inflation? by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

The U.S. appears to be at the crossroads of fiscal and monetary policy. Many are painting a very bleak picture of the future of the dollar, U.S. credit and the validity of the U.S. economy as the model for the world. Could the U.S. return to 1970s style of inflation? The answer is that, although the possibility is there, the probability that such a high level of inflation returning any time soon is actually very low. Is the Fed conducting monetary policy that is inflationary in nature? Yes they are, but let?s not forget why they are doing this. The Fed is engaged in the avoidance of deflation

2011-04-22 Silver Set to Soar as Paper Folds? by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

As a result of active ?demonetization? efforts by the IMF and its member central banks, gold and silver have experienced the type of volatility that has given conservative investors reasons not to perceive the metals as dependable cash alternatives. Instead gold and silver have become known as the asset class to hold as a hedge against inflation. However, during the 1990?s, when inflation was in general much higher than it has been since the turn of the millennium, gold and silver prices drifted lower and stagnated.

2011-04-21 Equity Market Review and Outlook by Richard Skaggs and Thomas Davis of Loomis Sayles

The global equity bull market continued in the first quarter despite significant global strife. Most major US indices posted total returns of about +5.0% to +8.0%. Continuing the trend since the March 2009 low, small cap and mid cap stocks outperformed their larger brethren. US markets were among the best in the world, although the MSCI World Index also posted a solid gain of 4.9%. Emerging markets were among the weaker equity asset classes. As the returns demonstrate, however, emerging market stocks remain the winners by a wide margin over the past five- and ten-year periods.

2011-04-21 Africa: Opportunities in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Those who are optimistic about Africa say that after many years of colonialism, it is beginning to demonstrate its potential. The continent does have its detractors, who say that while it may have been free of colonial rule for 60 years, the continent continues to battle poverty, corruption, AIDS and armed conflict. However, while Africa does have challenges, I am encouraged by another side of Africa that is gradually emerging with the development of capital markets, consumerism and technology.

2011-04-20 Is Europe at the Tipping Point? Sol Sanders & Bill Alpert on Keynes, Keynesianism -- and Keynesianit by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst

With the world preparing for the collapse of the post-WWII, post-Bretton Woods economic order, we thought it might be useful to look at what Keynes actually said. We depart from our optimism due to the situation in Europe. Forget the threat of a ratings downgrade by S&P, Washington on debt ceilings or our part-time POTUS, the final collapse of the southern states of Europe is accelerating. Most banks in the EU are insolvent and the states supposedly backing them cannot access the global markets. The collapse of the EU bank bailout effort could be the next catalyst for global contagion.

2011-04-19 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Inflation continued to be the watchword for the emerging Asia Pacific economies in March. The world?s second largest economy, China, has slowly but firmly gained control over its banks, whose relentless lending had stoked inflation. Consequently, fears about excess inflation affecting China?s economy are expected to come down over the next few months. However, worries over the damage done to Japan by an earthquake could affect a number of export-based emerging economies in the Asia Pacific region. In other emerging Asian economies, monetary tightening continued at an accelerated pace.

2011-04-19 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

During March, most developed Asian economies faced headwinds to export growth. Continued efforts to tighten credit in China, inflationary pressures and strengthening currencies were some of the factors affecting export growth across many developed Asian economies. However, a devastating earthquake that struck Japan in early March disrupted supply chains across Asia. Japan, which accounts for 9 percent of the worlds GDP, plays a crucial role in the functioning of the global auto and electronics industry. It is estimated that Japan will require another 2-4 quarters to recoup the losses suffered.

2011-04-19 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

The turmoil in the Middle East region continues, with Libya exploding into civil war, and troops from the Gulf Cooperation Council being called in to suppress the protests in Bahrain. In terms of the economic repercussions, stock markets in the MENA are estimated to have lost around $140 billion in market capitalization during the last month. According to the Arab Monetary Fund, the market capitalization of 16 Arab bourses was valued at $862 billion on March 4, compared with $1.002 billion on January 25, a day before the political crisis in Egypt triggered upheaval across the Middle East.

2011-04-18 Approaching the Eraser by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market conditions in stocks continue to be characterized by a hostile syndrome of overvaluation, overbought conditions, overbullish sentiment, and rising interest rates, which has historically been associated with a poor return/risk profile, on average, across a wide variety of subsets of historical data. Though I question the ability of the economy to "pass the baton" to the private sector as government stimulus effects run off in the coming 8-10 weeks, I should emphasize up front that our present defensive position is not driven by those economic concerns.

2011-04-18 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.

2011-04-15 Is the US Headed for a Japanese-Style Deflation? by Daphne Gu of FundQuest

The Great Recession of 2008 ended in June 2009. However, for the majority of 2010, the market was directionless, mired with shocks from European sovereign debt and mixed economic indicators. Inflationary concerns, born of massive liquidity from monetary authorities of the developed world, drove real assets to sky-high levels. Conversely, the traditionally lagging indicator of unemployment, sitting near 9%, has increasingly become a leading indicator of the broad market. Thus, many investors are pondering the possibility that the US might be on the path to a Japanese-style deflation scenario.

2011-04-15 Concerned About Inflation? by Brad Sorensen of Charles Schwab

Inflation has become a bigger topic of discussion among investors and in the media as of late. While we have noted in numerous publications that we don?t believe inflation is a near-term concern due to a number of factors, investors are wondering how to position themselves should inflation start to take hold. First, despite common perception, gold has not historically been a very good hedge against inflation. Due to the possibility of gold prices being a bit extended after the recent run, we don't recommend gold as an investment for those concerned about inflation.

2011-04-15 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

Herb Meyer said during tough economic times family size tends to shrink because people tend not to get married, and if they do they try to avoid having children because they can?t afford them. It was only a few days after this talk that we read that the birth rate in the U.S. from 2007 through 2009 fell 4%, which was the single largest drop in any two year period since the mid 1970s. The stock market declined by 50% in the mid ?70s and interest rates climbed to over 20%. That?s right ? 20%! In short, a thriving economy creates a growing population which in turn creates a thriving economy.

2011-04-15 Postcard from Surabaya, Indonesia by Xin Jiang of Matthews Asia

While many of my colleagues have experience working through Indonesia?s economic cycles, I recently made my first trip there. During past research assignments related to Japan, I have noted Indonesia?s increasing importance in the Asian economy. For instance, its natural resources aided the sales of Japanese mining equipment makers and this arguably led those Japanese firms to climb out of the recent global recession earlier than their U.S. competitors. About 70% of Indonesia?s landmass is occupied by rainforest, and the country is the largest exporter of thermal coal and natural gas.

2011-04-14 U.S. Dollar ? Review and Outlook by Axel Merk and Kieran Osborne of Merk Funds

We believe that continued U.S. dollar weakness may be a consequence of the diverging monetary approaches central banks are taking around the globe. While many international central banks have been on a tightening path, raising rates (i.e. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Norway, Sweden, to name a few), the U.S. Federal Reserve has been conspicuous in its continued easing monetary policy stance. Indeed, while other central banks have been shrinking the size of their balance sheets, the U.S. Fed?s balance sheet continues to expand on the back of ongoing quantitative easing policies.

2011-04-13 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Investors sometimes walk a fine line between either over-reacting to temporal changes, which ultimately don?t have a lasting impact on either the economy or the markets, or underestimating the impact of real risks that can bring about lasting and meaningful changes. Currently, the main areas of concern are the Japanese triple disaster, the Middle Eastern/North African ?Arab Spring,? and inflation. While we do not believe the Japanese and Middle Eastern situations pose a real threat to financial markets long term, we do believe inflation may.

2011-04-12 Sentiment Creeps Back into Overly Bullish Territory by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Over the past six months, actions by the Federal Reserve to purchase assets through its quantitative easing program played a major role in driving market prices. As the markets prepare to transition away from quantitative easing, investors are facing the prospects of a tougher market environment. The upcoming earnings season will go a long way in determining whether this recovery is ready to stand on its own.

2011-04-12 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 Equity Market Review & Outlook by Richard Skaggs and Thomas Davis of Loomis Sayles

The global equity bull market continued in the first quarter despite significant unrest across parts of Northern Africa and the Middle East, a massive earthquake in Japan, sovereign debt issues in Europe, and inflationary pressures in certain emerging economies. US markets were among the best in the world, although the MSCI World Index also posted a solid gain of 4.9%. Emerging markets were among the weaker equity asset classes. As the returns demonstrate, however, emerging market stocks remain the winners by a wide margin over the past five and ten year periods.

2011-04-08 Near-term Outlook For A Troubled World by Victoria Marklew, Richard Thies and James Pressler of Northern Trust

Although 2011 is only three months old, the world has changed dramatically. Along with the evolving European debt crisis, seemingly -isolated Tunisian protests grew to varying levels of upheaval throughout the Arab world, and an historic earthquake and subsequent tsunami have left Japan?s outlook under a cloud of uncertainty. Each of these situations is significant in its scope and magnitude, but by focusing on just the key elements, the main risks can be appreciated.

2011-04-08 Why High Oil Prices Are Likely Here to Stay by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A number of forces continued to push oil prices higher this week, reaching their highest levels in the U.S. since September 2008. One factor fueling the run has been the continued decline of the U.S. dollar. Oil and the dollar historically are negatively correlated. This means that a rise in oil prices generally coincides with a decline in the dollar, and vice versa. The U.S. dollar has seen a dramatic decline since the beginning of the year as oil prices have moved some 30 percent higher. This could be due to fact that roughly two-thirds of the U.S. trade deficit is related to oil imports.

2011-04-06 Let Them Eat Crude by Robert Stimpson of Oak Associates

World events over the past month have received a lot of media attention, but few accounts have emphasized the long-term effects on equity markets. The revolts in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, unrest in Bahrain and Yemen, and the earthquake in Japan are significant for equity investors going forward. While most of the media have focused on the human aspect of the events, the influence of food inflation, rising oil prices, and the state of the US dollar have been overshadowed by the regime changes and nuclear disaster in Japan.

2011-04-06 Sell in April and Go Away? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Heading into April 2011, we thought it timely to hoist up for consideration a point in stock market lore that says sell in May and go away. According to the Stock Traders Almanac, the market has been strongest over the years from November 1 to April 30. That stretch of time has seen average returns of 9.2 percent from the Dow Jones Industrial Index since 1950 compared to an average loss of 1.2 percent from May through October. By this standard, the current surge in the markets that took off at the beginning of September 2010 is a good bit ahead of schedule.

2011-04-05 A Trading System that Disproves Efficient Markets by Erik McCurdy (Article)

Efficient market adherents claim it is impossible to outperform the stock market over the long term. Although their principles are the foundation of modern investment theory, other compelling models, including the one I propose here, reveal that precisely the opposite is true, supporting the thesis that markets are highly inefficient.

2011-04-05 Inflation Worries? Commodities May Help by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

Many of you may remember the movie This classic shed some interesting light on  the world of commodities. Commodities include natural resources, industrial metals, precious metals, and agricultural products. Or, as Duke explained to Billy Ray Valentine, "Commodities are agricultural products...like the coffee you had for breakfast...wheat, which is used to make bread...pork bellies, which are used to make bacon, which you might find in a BLT sandwich. And then there are other commodities, like frozen orange juice...and gold. Though, of course, gold doesn't grow on trees like oranges."

2011-04-02 Above the Fray by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Attacks on Libya and recovery efforts in Japan have dominated the headlines, but behind the scenes US economic growth remains solid and we remain optimistic on the stock market. Commodity prices have backed off a bit and the Fed is likely to see QE2 through to its June 2011 end. Of particular concern is the unwillingness or inability for Congress to agree on a budget that addresses the growing deficit issues in the US. Japan has a significant debt burden with which to deal as it rebuilds, while Europe is struggling to come up with a comprehensive plan to deal with the eurozone debt crisis.

2011-03-31 Small-/Mid-Cap Growth ? Why Today?s Market Cycle is Different by Team of Columbia Management

We believe the outlook for small- and mid-cap growth stocks remains bright as we move into the later stages of the economic recovery. While the asset class is typically expected to underperform at this point of an economic rebound, there are three important distinctions that make this cycle different: 1) scarcity of growth, 2) continued M&A activity and 3) commodities inflation.

2011-03-30 Middle-Class Middleweights to be Growth Champions by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Over the next 15 years, the number of children in middle-class households in emerging market cities around the world may grow 10 times faster than those in developed countries. This future generation living in places such as China, Latin America and South Asia should drive the demand for goods and services, housing and transportation that extend beyond the basic necessities of life. In McKinsey's report, ?Urban world: Mapping the Economic Power of Cities,? the researchers focus on demographic and economic trends to determine which cities will provide the most economic growth in the future.

2011-03-30 ?Agri?-vation by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Recent events in the Middle East, combined with weather, have put tremendous pressure upon raw materials prices. The fear is that cyclical pricing pressure might become secular (generational) trends, accelerating inflation in energy prices, foodstuffs, and industrial components, thus undermining a tenuous uptick in consumer spending, global trade, and consumer confidence. While Wall Street rejoices that something, anything, has stimulated trading activity and profit margins, the world watches as surpluses contract and statistics become human convoys of disaster.

2011-03-25 Unrest and Turmoil = Rising Oil Prices by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Nine of the eleven nations sharing land or water borders with Saudi Arabia (SA0 have had demonstrations. Trouble is likely to surface in SA because much of the country?s wealth is located under lands where Shia Muslims are in the majority. The ruling House of Saud is Sunni Muslim. The distrust and bad blood between the two sects predates oil discovery and is not likely to be solved with oil money. The political events are about freedom from repression but also represent a basic struggle between these two Muslim groups for control of revenues from the huge oil fields in that part of the world.

2011-03-24 Bill Miller vs The S&P 500 by Team of Bespoke Investment Group

Even though "the streak" of beating the S&P 500 for fifteen consecutive years ended in 2005, Bill Miller still commands the respect and attention of investors all over the world. Although Miller had some rough years during the financial crisis, ever since the S&P 500 bottomed in March 2009, his Legg Mason Value Trust Fund (LMVTX) has outperformed the S&P 500. Since March 9th, 2009 Miller's fund is up 115% through yesterday, while the S&P 500 is up 91.2%.

2011-03-24 Mixed Fed Messages Reflect Murky Outlook by Team of American Century Investments

Mixed. Unsettled. Not altogether reassuring. Sounding a lot like the current state of the U.S. economy, that was the tone of the policy statement issued March 15 by the open-market operations committee of the U.S. Federal Reserve. It certainly didn?t provide comfort to those fearing that the Fed is in the process of fueling future inflation flames, nor did it offer any encouragement to savers hoping for higher short-term interest rates in the near future. What the statement did accomplish was help support the economic, inflation, and Fed policy outlooks of the fixed income team at ACI.

2011-03-24 Bernanke Ducks as Food Prices Shoot Higher by Peter Nielsen and Bryce Fegley of Saturna Capital

As rising food prices gain prominence in media headlines worldwide, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke now finds himself deflecting accusations that the Fed's $600 billion "QE2" Treasury buying program is the main culprit of global food price inflation. In his February 18, 2011, speech to governors of the Group of Twenty in Paris,1 Bernanke completely rebuffed these claims and offered up other explanations as well, but nowhere in his speech did he concede any possibility that the Fed's QE2 program is playing a role.

2011-03-23 As The World Turns by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Japan?s earthquake/tsunami/nuclear tragedy and heightened tensions in the Middle East and North Africa have led to some concerns about the global economy, and in turn, the strength of the U.S. recovery. A weaker Japanese economy and supply-chain disruptions are detrimental to U.S. growth, but moderately and only short-term in nature. Developments in the Middle East and North Africa are more uncertain, but are likely to keep oil prices relatively elevated. None of this is expected to jeopardize the U.S. recovery, but it could keep growth from being as strong as was hoped for just a month ago.

2011-03-23 Seismic Window by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

It is not the threat of earthquakes that keeps me cautious on the stock market. Despite the fact that we still have not had more than three consecutive down days since Sep 1, 2010, and therefore the Buying Stampede remains intact, I can?t shake the feeling it ended on Feb 18. Stampedes (both up and down) typically last 17 ? 25 sessions before they exhaust themselves. Previously the longest stampede chronicled in my notes was a 52-session upside skein, of course that is until the Sep 2010 to Feb 2011 affair, which if ended on Feb 18 was legend at 117 sessions. If not, today is session 137.

2011-03-23 In Search of Value by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Within the space we do favour large-caps, strong balance sheets, high-quality, low P/E stocks, and commodities, especially energy. But among all the worries, we still see this as an overvalued market and we believe in buying low and selling high. We know that many pundits like to use short-term market measures of valuation using year-ahead or trailing earnings or cash flow, which at times seems a little disingenuous for an asset class that is inherently long-term in duration. Be that as it may, perhaps we can shed some light on why patience may still be virtuous here.

2011-03-22 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

No one disputes the necessity to trade the markets or to engineer boardroom-level merger and acquisition conversations. These activities are the foundation of the capital markets. But there has been an unusual amount of focus upon deal-making almost to the exclusion of efficiency, to give the impression that someone?s at the helm and using capital to acquire ?stuff.? To that end, clients do suffer, finding their equities violently fluctuating based not upon long term fundamentals, but short news cycles and speculation. Such activity numbs the average investor into submission.

2011-03-21 This Is, Because That Is by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The market action of the past two weeks contrasts with the generally uncorrected advance of recent months. I suppose it's possible for investors to characterize the recent decline as a "panic" if they press their noses directly against their monitors, but in that case, they really do have a short memory. The pullback has been negligible relative to the action of the past several months, and is indiscernible in the big picture. As of Friday, the market remained in an over valued, bullish, rising-yields syndrome that has typically been cleared much more sharply than anything we saw last week.

2011-03-21 World Near Tipping Point? by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

Much of the potency of policy responses has been used up in the successful efforts since 2008 to avoid global depression. The longer the persistence of supply disruptions, the greater the risk of core inflation increasing. Questions about the end of quantitative easing in the U.S. pose a challenge for policymakers.

2011-03-21 Inflation Ready To Make Its Grand Entrance by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Stock markets struggled in recent weeks due to a host of macroeconomic concerns, from earthquakes in Japan to uprising in the Middle East. This is causing a move in the markets that is similar, but different to what is typical during the third year of a Presidential cycle. Generally, markets rally in the first portion of the year before trading essentially flat in the second half. In the first two months, markets were adhering to this same pattern, but the aforementioned macro concerns derailed that rally. This does not mean markets will be unable to stage a recovery.

2011-03-19 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

March Madness (basketball) could not have come at a better time. For weeks, folks have focused on developments in the Middle East as prospects for (some sort of) Democracy spread, but oil prices ballooned and investors fear Saudi Arabia may fall victim to revolution as well. Then, Japan pushed Libya to the backburner as fears of an economic slowdown (and nuclear radiation exposure) raised concerns across the globe. Markets reacted to the headline, often on mere speculation as no one knows how the global developments will play out.

2011-03-19 The End of QE2? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The Fed committed to buying $600 billion of Treasuries between the beginning of QE2 in November and the end of June. June is 3 months away. What will happen when that buying goes away? The hope when QE2 kicked off was that it would be enough to get the economy rolling, so that further stimulus would not be deemed necessary. We?ll survey how that is working out, with a quick look at some recent data, and then we go back and see what happened the last time the Fed stopped quantitative easing.

2011-03-17 Focus on Japan Overshadows Fed Decision by Brad Sorensen of Charles Schwab

To no one's surprise, the Fed kept interest rates at near zero and maintained its scheduled purchases of Treasury securities (also known as quantitative easing, or QE2). We're growing more concerned that the Fed is keeping interest rates low for too long, leading to potential problems down the road. With the market currently reacting to the tragedy in Japan and the ensuing market volatility, it's important to avoid acting hastily.

2011-03-17 Madoff Was Right About One Thing by Bill Mann of Motley Fool

This past week, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) panel ordered broker Morgan Keegan to repay $250,000 to a client whose entire investment account had been invested in Madoff's fund. That's nice. I expect there will be several more judgments and restitutions paid in the future, none of which will actually cause a change in behavior on Wall Street. Regulators failed to catch Madoff even when the evidence was dangled in front of them, and they've since failed to enact meaningful reform for how Wall Street operates.

2011-03-16 Fed Pays Lip Service to Better Economy and Higher Inflation by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Federal Reserve made several changes to the language of its statement today, acknowledging an improving economy andhigher overall inflation. However the Fed also made it clear it does not think any of this warrants a change in the stance of monetary policy. The Fed was more bullish on the economy, saying it was on a ?firmer footing? and that the labor market was ?improving gradually.? Previously the Fed had said economic growth was not enough to generate ?improvement? in the market. The Fed recognized faster growth in household spending and finally omitted language concerning restraints

2011-03-15 Running on Empty by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Despite the increasing undercurrent of negative news creeping into the financial markets, the stock market remains strong. HCM expects equities to continue to perform well for the foreseeable future (i.e. through the end of June) although most of this letter will discuss the reasons why it shouldn't. In some ways, this market is a lot like Charlie Sheen. It pretends to have tiger blood and the powers of a warlock, but deep inside it is suffering from an addiction to a substance (i.e. debt) that will ultimately kill it.

2011-03-15 The Latest, and Most Devasting Supply Shock by Louis-Vincent Gave of GaveKal

It has been a rough year so far in Asia, with unprecedented floods across Queensland, droughts in Sri Lanka, southern India and northern China, the Christchurch earthquake and now, most devastating of all, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Of course, there is already no doubt that in terms of human suffering and economic cost, this latest tragedy dwarfs all the others; at times like these, it is very hard to not feel either highly emotional, or completely despondent. As such, in an attempt to gain clarity, it is normal to fall back on history, and rely on it as a guide.

2011-03-15 Go Opposite to Hysteria by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

September 1, 2010 to February 18, 2011 was a pretty good ?year? with the D-J Industrial Average (DJIA) gaining roughly 23.7%. Indeed, the ?buying stampede? that occurred over those months is now legend with today being session 132 without anything more than a one- to three-day pause/correction (recall it takes four consecutive down days to break the back of a buying stampede). Previously, the record stood at 52 sessions, and while the current stampede is not officially over, as stated three weeks ago ? my hunch is it has ended.

2011-03-15 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week?s financial markets reflected the uncertain outcome of the various mid-east conflicts, as well as the horrific news from Japan that an earthquake of unimaginable intensity has rocked that country, both of which have global economic implications. Overall, the stock market was calm. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell just one percent while the NASDAQ Composite dropped 2.5% as fears of slower growth were compounded late in the week by news of the earthquake in Japan, which is home to many technology supply-parts manufacturers.

2011-03-14 Anatomy of a Bubble by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Over the past decade, investors have seen near-parabolic advances in a variety of assets, followed by crashes. These have included dot-com stocks (which peaked and crashed well before the general market peak in 2000), technology stocks, housing, commodities, and stocks in a variety of emerging markets. These experiences have made investors somewhat more attuned to the destructive potential for speculative bubbles in various assets, but has also created something of a "casino economy" where a great deal of resources are directed in hopes of participating in these bubbles.

2011-03-14 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Despite last week?s contraction in global equity prices, the activity seemed mainly focused upon energy stocks and the turmoil in Libya and the Middle East. Of course, the world is also shocked by the earthquake tragedy in Japan. More significantly, there seems to be no cohesion of thought about whether these disruptions are ultimately (1) good for shareholders (2) bad for economic recovery. Instead, the debate rages on as to the sustainability of any short market rallies or the viability of real economic recovery in the face of pricing pressure upon commodities, particularly energy.

2011-03-11 Middle East turmoil not yet a significant threat to the global economy by Team of Thomas White International

The political unrest spreading across the Middle East and the resultant disruptions to the regional economy are not considered very significant for the global economic prospects for this year. Though oil prices have reacted on fears of lower supplies from the region, there have been no actual disruptions so far and any perceptible deceleration in global economic growth is expected only if prices shoot up further. It is widely believed that, unless the agitations spread to the region?s major oil producers like Saudi Arabia, the prospect of a sustained upsurge in energy prices is limited.

2011-03-11 Americas: Economic Review February 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Rising energy prices, due to the political upheavals in the Middle East, are becoming the primary economic risk for the Americas region. While the subdued inflationary trends will provide banks leeway to hold interest rates, they may be forced to advance their rate hikes if prices rise at a faster rate. In contrast, several of the emerging economies are expected to slow down this year. These economies may see interest rates rising faster, which may slow their pace of expansion even more. Also, higher interest rates will likely keep their currencies stronger and may restrict export growth.

2011-03-11 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review February 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

With countries led by autocratic rulers marred by stagnation in the economy, high unemployment rates and poor human rights records, protests in the region sparked off in classic ?domino effect? style. With rumblings being heard from countries like Iran, Syria, Jordan, Yemen and Morocco. The economic repercussions of the protests and the unseating of these regimes are yet to be calculated. The first obvious impact would be on oil prices. With the entire world economy hinging on the oil rich Middle East, the seismic shift in the political landscape of the region will be monitored closely.

2011-03-11 Asia Pacific: Economic Review February 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Asian economies recorded some of their best performance for the full year 2010. In particular, Southeast Asian nations witnessed a banner year, clocking their best performance in recent memory. However, although the full year record was exemplary, growth in the final months of 2010 began to cool off. While a rising currency continued to trouble export-based economies, inflation haunted almost all central banks in the region. Central banks, having to choose between raising interest rates and attracting foreign capital, opted to hike rates.

2011-03-11 Inflation Expectations, Budget Decisions by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Many investors fear that the recent surge in oil prices will lead to a significant uptrend in the underlying inflation rate. However, that depends on whether inflation expectations become unanchored. There's little evidence of that so far. On the deficit, lawmakers are sharply divided on the appropriate path for government spending. However, trimming nondefense discretionary spending is not going to solve the problem.

2011-03-09 iShares Bi-Weekly Strategy Update Part 1 by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

The overall economy is demonstrating impressive resiliency to higher oil prices ? as evidenced by the recent strength in the ISM manufacturing and services surveys ? but investors should not be too complacent when it comes to the consumer sector. Even though labor markets are staging a slow-motion recovery, the US consumer still faces multiple headwinds, including anemic wage growth, too much debt, and a still fragile housing market. Oil crossing the $100 threshold will not help.

2011-03-09 Gold or Goldilocks? by Kevin Feldman of BlackRock Investment Management

After a roller coaster January, gold prices have been soaring to nominal highs again of late. Given the recent rise in price, I thought this would be a good time to revisit the case for having a small amount of gold in your portfolio. Investors flocked to gold in 2009 and 2010 because of worldwide concern over the stability of the financial system, and as a result the precious metal?s price skyrocketed, passing $1400 an ounce. Last month, Barron?s warned its readers that the gold rush is over. Suggesting investors were likely to search for assets with greater expected returns than gold.

2011-03-09 Readers? Questions Answered Part VI by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

It?s been a while since I answered some readers? questions. Questions addressed: What are your main criteria when picking a sector and the company in a particular sector? Most of the small companies in India are family-owned. Does this create a problem? What are your thoughts on Africa? What is your view on the Baltic States? Which sectors do you think are the most interesting? What is your view on the Brazilian and the Mexican equity markets for 2011?

2011-03-09 iShares Bi-Weekly Strategy Update Part 2 by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Recently, silver prices have benefited more than gold from the economic rebound. The relative gap between gold and silver suggests that it may be time for a pause in silver?s run. One of the many ironies of markets last year was the extent to which inflation occupied investors? attention, despite its near universal absence. While inflation has recently accelerated in emerging markets and a few developed ones, inflation was and is still largely absent in the developed world. Yet, record low inflation did not stop investors from worrying about it.

2011-03-08 Ed Hyman: The Key Threat to Economy Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Ed Hyman is not worried about China, quantitative easing or fiscal deficits. Equity market performance this year will be strong, he predicts, and the US economic recovery will proceed. But there is a caveat in his outlook ? and it is an immense one.

2011-03-08 Will the Global Recovery be Brought to its Knees by Commodity Prices? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

There is a dangerous trend developing in food and energy costs, one that threatens to derail the global recovery. Thus far, consumers are able and willing to accept higher commodity prices. With consumers still feeling the effects of the worst recession in nearly a century, though, there is only so much that people will be willing to tolerate and the second half of the year may be too far away, at least when it comes to crude prices.

2011-03-07 Quantitative Easing and the Iron Law of Equilibrium by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

If you think about equilibrium, it helps to clear up all sorts of fallacies that people hold about the financial markets. For example, the currency and money market securities that are held by investors will - in aggregate - never "find a home" in any other form or market. If one takes their cash and tries to buy stock, they get the stock and the seller gets the cash. Nothing disappears, and nothing is created. The money-market securities held by investors is not a reflection of "liquidity looking for a home," but is a measure of how borrowers are on short-term sources of credit.

2011-03-07 Toryism, Socialism and Housing Reform: Real and Imagined by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst

This commentary is background for the presentation entitled "GSEs: The Future Role of Government Sponsored Enterprises in the US," at the Global Association of Risk Professionals event on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, in New York. The Obama Administration recently advanced some proposals to reform several government agencies that control the market for housing. Treasury/HUD plan is really a menu of possible options, eliminating what would not work and making it clear that change will happen slowly, if at all.

2011-03-07 The Philosophy of Tops by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

This week I am celebrating the two-year anniversary of the stock market's bottom by attending our institutional conference where more than 300 companies will be presenting to nearly 600 portfolio managers. It's a great conference, as well as an appropriate time to reflect on the past 24 months. Recall, the bottoming process began on October 10, 2008 when 93% of the stocks traded on the NYSE recorded new annual low prices. It was then I declared, "The bottoming process has begun."

2011-03-07 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

The case for gold and energy-related price spikes is rooted, in part, by good intentions hedging against dollar fluctuations, inflation risk, and political discord. But unlike a level of rational speculation one might expect to see, one has to wonder whether the market?s players are overdoing their hand just a bit. Simply, the world of commodities gambling has been turned into a shootout. While oil production and distribution (as with gold) has been spiking over the last 3 years, real demand has only turned up modestly.

2011-03-07 Investment Commentary by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

A tug of war is taking place in the markets, with crosscurrents of good economic reports on the positive side and a continued rise in oil prices from the conflicts in the Middle East on the negative side. Last week, US equities were up modestly, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 0.33% to 12,169, the Nasdaq Composite advancing 0.13% to 2,784 and the S&P 500 adding 0.10% to close at 1,321.

2011-03-07 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week was dominated by continued good economic data, which supported stock prices, even as concern mounts about supposed inflation and the ability of the Federal Reserve Board to come up with a believable exit strategy from its current policy of quantitative easing (read that to mean the FED is buying treasuries from the government to finance this year?s $1.6 trillion deficit).

2011-03-04 Fed and ECB - A World Apart by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

The U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank are divided by a common goal: price stability. Fed Chairman Bernanke has made it clear in his recent testimony and speeches that the Fed would react should food and commodity inflation lead to an increase in core inflation. The Fed is ready to R E A C T. We are not aware of any central bank that is proud of reacting, but rather acting preemptively to mitigate inflationary concerns; a central bank may often be forced to react, but to do so by design puts the cynical view that central bankers are too far behind the curve into a new light.

2011-03-04 The Job Market, Oil Prices, and the Fed by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Higher oil prices have raised new concerns about the strength of the economic recovery. If sustained, the rise in gasoline prices will restrain the pace of economic growth noticeably, but does not appear to be large enough (so far) to derail the expansion. Meanwhile, a federal government shutdown looms as lawmakers bicker over the future path of expenditures. Austerity at all levels of government is well-intentioned, but is not advisable at this point in the economic recovery.

2011-03-04 Are Emerging Markets Still by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

Political unrest in Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere in the Middle East, along with surging food prices around the world, has provided fresh reminders of the inherent risks of investing in emerging markets. Indeed, while the U.S. stock market has been inching steadily upward in recent months, emerging markets have been struggling. Year-to-date through February 28, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index is down -3.79%, while the S&P 500 Total Return Index has gained 5.88%.

2011-03-03 What Happens If There is No QE3? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

?who picks up the slack if the Fed stops its bond-buying program?? The answer is hardly complicated since we have a template for this. It is a very simple guidepost. Last year, from April 23rd through to August 27th, the Fed allowed its balance sheet to shrink from $1.207 trillion to $1.057 trillion for a 12% contraction as QE1 drew to a close. Go back a year to the Federal Open Market Committee minutes and you will see a Federal Reserve consumed with forecasts of sustainable growth and exit strategy plans. A sizeable equity correction coupled with double-dip fears were nowhere to be found.

2011-03-02 Random Market Thoughts by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Only time will tell if yesterday?s market action was a true watershed. It was the first time since last July that the stock market was down on the first day of the month. Till yesterday, the opening days in January and February had already accounted for over half the year-to-date gains in the S&P 500. It was also the first time since the last leg of the bear market rally began six months ago that ?good? news failed to ignite equity prices. Yesterday we saw auto sales shoot up 6.7% to 13.4 million units, which was the best level since August 2009, and we also saw the ISM inch higher.

2011-03-01 The 10% Problem by Nathan Rowader of Forward Management

Many investors continue to expect 10% returns ? but these days, are doing well if they earn 5%. They need to understand why major shifts in the global investment climate are challenging them to reset return expectations and reboot their plans. After six decades of double-digit average U.S. stock market returns, many American investors may have come to expect that they will earn similar returns going forward. And why wouldn?t they? From 1948 to 1978, for example, the U.S. stock market generated an average annualized total return of 10.7%.

2011-02-28 Oil that is by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

?Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea,? Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen) got rich in the hit series The Beverly Hillbillies by discovering oil on his property. Similarly, investors have become enriched recently by owning oil stocks. Verily, crude oil has surged from ~$84 per barrel in mid-February into last week?s peak of $103.41 with an ascent for most oil stocks. As stated in Friday?s verbal strategy comments, ?Libya is particularly troubling because I think there is a fifty-fifty chance that Gaddafi, rather than cede power, will begin blowing up Libyan oil pipelines ? it?s either me or chaos.?

2011-02-27 Cash or Credit - Implications for the Financial Markets by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

From the standpoint of prospective investment returns, it is important to recognize that the main effect of quantitative easing has been to suppress the expected return on virtually all classes of investment to unusually weak levels. It's widely believed that somehow, QE2 has created all sorts of liquidity that is "sloshing" around the economy and "trying to find a home" in stocks, commodities, and other investments. But this is not how equilibrium works.

2011-02-25 Asia Insights from EM Analyst Conference by Allan Lam of Franklin Templeton

Many tend to focus on China and India, the two rising Asian economic powers, and there are reasons why we believe both, which are currently among the top five largest economies in the world will likely be among the top three in 2020. Land and labor costs remain cheap in China. In addition, the country appears to have a competitive edge in terms of work ethics, relatively flexible labor laws and excellent logistics. India?s strength is in its young, growing and increasingly well-educated population, which is fluent in English. This has enabled the country to become a leader in IT consultancy.

2011-02-24 Will the Oil Price Be a Game Changer? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

First Tunisia. Then Egypt. And now Libya. What makes Libya different from a market?s perspective is that we are now talking about an oil exporter in the sudden grips of political upheaval. In this domino game, the next critical country we have to keep an eye on is Bahrain. The risk of further unrest is rising, especially with sectarian issues in full force in Bahrain. This means that oil prices at a minimum will retain a geopolitical risk premium. Bottom line: there is still more near-term upside potential than downside risk for the oil price (and most energy stocks).

2011-02-22 The Global Economic Impact of this Weekend's Developments by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

In the short run, regional developments will be stagflationary for the global economy. In the next few days, markets will react to the changed outlook for the region and the global economy. Over time, market apprehension is likely to give way as the impact of greater long-term stability in a key part of the world is felt.

2011-02-21 Inflation or Deflation? Or is it Global Weimar? by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst

As we've noted in recent missives for The IRA Advisory Service, the visible volume of business flowing through the bank consumer channel seems to be receding or maintaining low levels. The commercial channel at most banks we hear from is still running at 1/3 to 1/2 of pre-2008 levels in terms of new originations and demand for credit. This is why when clients ask us about whether we worry more about inflation or deflation, our answer is "both." The chief worry bead remains revenue flowing through banks, housing and the US economy.

2011-02-19 Let Yourself Feel Good Again by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners

The stock market has continued to perform exceedingly well so far in 2011 and is now up roughly 7% year to date. While an oil spill or European contagion type event could always disrupt the progression, the stock market, S&P 500 profit levels, and leading economic indicators are all pointing to a similar conclusion. The economy is likely to graduate from its recovery phase to an outright expansion sometime this year. It's time to start letting yourself feel good again.

2011-02-19 A Random Walk Around the Frontlines by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Today we do a Random Walk Around the Frontlines, surveying what?s going on in the world. The US economy continues to improve in fits and starts. Inflation for the last six months has risen rather smartly. And for the last three months inflation on an annualized basis is running over 3%. The recent drop in the unemployment rate was entirely due to rather dramatic drops in what is known as the participation rate - fewer people looking for jobs. The Fed needs to end its program of quantitative easing.

2011-02-17 Responding to the Stubbornly Steep U.S. Treasury Yield Curve by Team of American Century Investments

Disciplined, active investment managers are constantly on the lookout for capital market extremes, which can provide value-adding opportunities for investors. One such market extreme has been developing in the U.S. Treasury market for the past three years, reaching historic levels in 2010 and earlier this year. We?re talking about the very wide, stubbornly persistent gap between short- and longer-maturity U.S. Treasury yields.

2011-02-16 Inflation Anxiety ? Misplaced? by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Commodity prices have moved sharply higher over the last several months, leading to increased worries that the Fed is ?behind the curve,? ?debasing the currency,? or ?monetizing the debt.? Such fears are based on a poor understanding of the inflation process and how the Fed conducts monetary policy.

2011-02-16 Politics of Inflation by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

In arguing food inflation is not the Federal Reserve?s (Fed?s) fault, Fed Chairman Bernanke points the finger at everyone but him. Just as with a lot of Bernanke?s policies, his argument may hold in an academic setting, but the real world is a bit more complicated.

2011-02-15 India: Kingdom of Dreams by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Throughout my travels, I have visited some countries that never cease to amaze me every time I go back, and India is definitely one of them. The country is changing and growing at an incredible pace. In 2010, India?s economy grew by 9.7%, and for 2011 the IMF projects GDP growth to be 8.4%. From 2005 to 2010, India?s economy grew around 6% to 8% each year, an impressive feat for such a large economy. Looking ahead, from 2011 to 2030, EIU forecasts GDP growth to average 6.5% a year, which would make India the fastest-growing large economy in the world during that period.

2011-02-15 What Is In the Market and What Isn?t by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Inflation is priced into the market. This is not where the surprise will be and it is surprises that move markets. This is very good news for the bond market from a contrarian stand point. What isn?t being discounted is the degree of fiscal austerity that is coming down the pike, and likely sooner rather than later.

2011-02-14 Financial Disconnect by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The printing of fiat money is likely to be able to sustain a false economic recovery for some time. But, eventually, the cost will be a rapid erosion of the value of the US dollar ? not just in real terms, but also against almost every other foreign currency. Despite possible short-term corrections, gold and silver holdings are likely best to shield investors from the perils that lie ahead.

2011-02-13 Rich Valuations and Poor Market Returns by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

At present, my view on monetary policy is that the inflation outlook following the completion of QE2 will be quite unstable, because small changes in interest rates are likely to induce very large changes in the willingness of individuals to hold base money. Any external upward pressure on interest rates beyond a fraction of a percent will have to be rapidly offset by a large reduction in the outstanding monetary base in order to avoid a deterioration in the value of money relative to goods and services (i.e. inflation).

2011-02-11 Reiterating Our Investment Thesis for 2011 by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

For 2011, not only do I still favor credit, especially the spread compression left in the high-yield space, but relative value portfolios, hybrids with a decent running yield and exposure to Canadian dollars. The resource sector is also attractive, especially oil, with a long-term view towards buying these companies on dips and not just for the commodity price uptrend. Corporate bonds, especially BB-rated product. Hedge funds, with low correlations with the direction of the market or the economy. And precious metals as a hedge against periodic bouts of currency and monetary instability.

2011-02-11 True Grit by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We believe a whopper of a recession is coming in China. In our mind, it is only a question of when. Until then we will practice True Grit in our portfolio management and wait for history to repeat in the way we believe is inevitable.

2011-02-10 Outlook 2011 by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

The year 2010 took us on quite a ride and ultimately delivered acceptable returns in both the US stock and bond markets. Our returns were commensurate with the index, but did so without exposing our clients to what we consider the primary long term risks that exist today. Those two primary risks we see in 2011 involve bonds and China.

2011-02-10 Inflation: Say Goodbye to Buying Power by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Economy watchers see its growing presence in official government statistics. Yet you won?t hear government officials admitting it. It?s too politically unpleasant ? and threatening ? to do so. Official spin and fantasy aside, the reality is that inflation is here and here to stay for quite a while. That means the buying power of the dollar is declining and being experienced on a daily basis.

2011-02-09 How to Play in 2011 by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

At the start of every year I remind myself that each individual year has its own story. For example, 2007 taught us that it never hurts to take profits after the market doubles and that if something is too good to be true (housing and credit bubble) it probably is. The 2008 lesson focused on capital preservation strategies and the urgency of managing downside risks. 2009 it was vital not to overstay a bearish stance in the face of massive fiscal and monetary stimulus. Last year?s lesson was how to handle the many post-stimulus market swings that are inherent in a post-bubble credit collapse.

2011-02-08 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 Conundrum Investing by James G. Tillar and Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup Advisors

The range of possible outcomes for the economy and market is still wide. We believe QE2 is simply a continuation of a boom-and-bust regime. Fundamentals are good now but are unlikely to be sustainable. Printing money to support asset prices cannot go on forever and usually ends in disaster like it did after both the technology and housing busts. Therefore, we dont believe this is a time to be aggressive. We are maintaining our strategy of emphasizing steady-growth businesses, with strong balance sheets, healthy dividends, attractive valuations and exposure to emerging economies.

2011-02-08 Give ?Em Credit; Looking at Sales, Not Just Earnings by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Across many indicators, this goes down as a horrible recovery, especially in view of all the stimulus. Of course things look much better than they did in the ?double dip? risk days of last summer but absent the impact of the GDP deflator?s collapse and the decline in the savings rate, Q4 real GDP would have actually come in closer to +0.5% SAAR than the posted +3.2% print. We are hearing how great S&P 500 sales are doing so far for Q4 ? up 7.7% and beating estimates by the highest margin in 5 years. We scoured the data and found almost all the growth in sales is coming from outside the US.

2011-02-07 Inflation Noise by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Investors are being distracted by the rise in commodity prices, which is being taken as an indication that inflation pressures are building. Unfortunately, that's just not the case. Some rise in inflation would be welcomed by the Fed, but it remains somewhere off beyond the visible horizon, even as economic growth prospects continue to brighten.

2011-02-04 The Cause and Evidence of Inflation by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

The fate of the US dollar in the future may not be all that different from the fate of Enron shares in 2001. In the 1990s, Enron was one of the most respected corporations in America, and the share price soared. But once the accounting scandal broke, and Enron?s profits were proven to be illusory, the purchasing power of its shares plummeted. Eventually, the shares became worthless.

2011-02-03 Regime Change: A Global Domino Effect? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

We are bullish for commodities, stock markets, and for income-earning real estate. It will be most felt in those countries where governments are stable and democratic. For stock investments throughout the world, we base our recommendations on careful study of individual companies and industries, always keeping in mind that companies and sectors are at differing stages of growth. We recommend continuing to hold shares of growing companies in Canada, South Korea, and the U.S. We favor technology, metals, auto and auto-related, agriculture-related, and energy, including oil and coal.

2011-02-03 Feb 2011 Absolute Return Letter by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

We celebrate the Chinese New Year - the year of the rabbit - by taking a closer look at what is now the second largest economy in the world. We embrace the longer-term opportunities which present themselves, but we also discuss some of the near term challenges, which include uncomfortably high inflation combined with surprisingly weak economic growth towards the end of 2010. Enjoy the read!

2011-02-03 Reagan for President...of China! by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

China needs to re-balance its economy to tame inflationary pressures. To achieve this, portfolio manager Axel Merk provocatively suggests Ronald Reagan needs to become the president of China. This analysis discusses the Chinese renminbi.

2011-02-03 No Room for Short Memories by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Two weeks ago, Ben Bernanke congratulated himself on CNBC for helping to boost the Russell 2000 by 30%. More recently, the San Francisco Fed Reserve Bank published a report doing likewise, citing QE2 as a success because the inflation rate is currently a percentage point higher than it would have been absent the Fed intervention. Everyone should be made aware of the insanity of it all, and that preserving their capital and growing it slowly and prudently is a totally appropriate strategy for this radical money easing environment. This type of policy breeds speculative and dubious rallies.

2011-02-03 Deconstructing the Current Inflation Conundrum by Team of American Century Investments

As the old saying goes: ?The best time to buy flood insurance is when the river is still running low.? We suggest not waiting until inflation pressures increase further before making sure you have some inflation insurance in your portfolio.

2011-02-01 Egypt, Dollars and History by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

When the Fed prints too many dollars, the inflation that results often shows up in commodity prices first. When it lifts energy commodities, countries and regions of the world which export oil typically benefit and have largesse to throw around. Egypt is an oil producer and a large refiner. So, rising energy prices are neutral to slightly positive for the nation?s economy. Food prices are a different story.

2011-02-01 Portfolio Strategy by Bradley Turner of Chess Financial

Throughout history, our ancestors have demonstrated the ability to overcome the pressing issues of their era, usually through a combination of innovation and grit. This helps explain why the most pessimistic forecasts have rarely come to pass. Here are just a few innovations that could help us solve our pressing economic issues: Agricultural productivity, Renewable energy, Sustainable urbanization

2011-02-01 Market Implications of the Turmoil in Egypt by Kevin D. Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

Here are the potential implications of the events in Egypt as we see them: 1)The risk of contagion in the Middle East and the civil, political and economic unrest that could result across the globe. 2) The energy commodities sector, specifically related to crude oil prices, but this time not based upon oil production but rather based upon the importance of the Suez Canal and Sumed Pipeline to oil transportation. 3)the travel sector - travel advisories that will likely be established in the affected countries.

2011-01-31 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

In addition to strong corporate earnings being reported last week, there was also the government?s estimate of GDP growth for the fourth quarter of last year. The headline number showed a growth rate of 3.2%, which was lower than expected. The reason though was a rundown in inventories and an improving trade deficit. These are inherently positive developments, which perversely count against growth in the calculation.

2011-01-29 Schwab Market Perspective: Confidence Climbing by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Although still relatively low, confidence is returning to businesses and consumers. We believe this confidence is well-placed and could portend healthy gains for the economy and the market as the year matures. Risks remain: commodity prices are rising, housing is still moribund, and federal and local governments have severe fiscal budget crises to deal with. Confidence in developed international markets is still lagging.

2011-01-26 Pavlov?s Bulls by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

About 100 years ago, the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov noticed that when the feeding bell was rung, his dogs would salivate before they saw the actual food. They had been ?conditioned.? And so it was with ?The Great Stimulus? of 2008-09.

2011-01-26 Set the Bar High by Vitaliy Katsenelson of Investment Management Associates

The world today is riddled with unique economic, political, and demographic risks. Finding attractively priced assets that will perform well in spite of these challenges is excruciatingly difficult. For investors, though, one segment of the market ? the highest-quality stocks ? still offers attractive risk-adjusted returns.

2011-01-24 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Earnings are coming in at a very strong pace. The problem is that stock prices in many cases have risen in anticipation of these results. As far as the economy is concerned the bulk of the evidence released last week was encouraging, but the impact of higher oil prices is really starting to be interpreted as a negative for future consumer spending and corporate hiring plans.

2011-01-20 Signs of Returning Pricing Power by Charles and Louis Vincent Gave of GaveKal

Six months ago, many feared the US was experiencing a ?double dip? recession. And with core price measures already quite weak, there were renewed fears of a deflationary spiral. Inflationary expectations according to TIPS were falling fast. In response, the Fed stepped in aggressively, providing QE1.5 in early August, and then talking up QE2 in late August. Inflation expectations started to recover, and are now back to more normal levels?with five-year expectations back at about 2%, and l0 and 20 year expectations back to around 2.5%. And the TIPS market may indeed be right.

2011-01-20 Addressing Concerns about a Two-Track World by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

I recently had a conference call with our investors around the world. Depending on where they were from, some of them were concerned about inflation while others were worried about sovereign debt problems. Here are a few topics that we discussed.

2011-01-19 Breakfast with Dave by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

In more than 20 months, the equity market has managed to turn in the same performance it took 60 months to achieve in the last bear market rally. Strip out the financials, and indeed, the entire equity market is now behaving as if the destruction of debt and household balance sheets either never happened or that the aftershocks are completely yesterday?s story. Governments around the world, especially in the U.S.A., have managed to convince nearly everyone that prosperity is here and will persist to perpetuity. But ? if it is too good to be true, it probably is. This is an illusion.

2011-01-19 Market and Performance Summary by Jonathan A. Shapiro of Kovitz Investment Group

The broad market, as represented by the Standard & Poor?s 500 (S&P 500), rose 10.8% for the quarter and 15.1% for the full year. We remain optimistic regarding forward returns, not because the market has been strong, but because we believe we still hold a basket full of undervalued securities even after these robust gains.

2011-01-18 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.

2011-01-18 How High is High? (To Whom?) by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

The current buying stampede is legend with the DJIA experiencing no more than three consecutive days on the downside over the past 93 sessions. This, combined with numerous other negative indicators, continues to leave me cautious in the short-term on both stocks and commodities, but not bearish. As for buy ideas, as stated I do like Tech.

2011-01-18 A Market Story by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia

It is not the headline rates of growth in Asia that excite me?it?s the profit-making opportunities within those economies that are necessary to sustain reasonable rates of growth and support the changing lifestyles of Asian households. And that, I hope, is a sentiment with which both the old and the reformed Scrooge might embrace.

2011-01-18 China and the Dollar by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The US should not take this week?s visit as an opportunity to lecture the Chinese about the yuan. If we do, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke may find himself on the receiving end of a lecture about the importance of price stability and how to run a central bank. And he would deserve it.

2011-01-18 Bubble-Liscious by Cliff W. Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

In the world of investing there is no substitute for taking action. Therefore, as your advisor, I seek to understand our bias and attempt to make rational and prudent decisions. Savvy investors understand the risks inherent in their assumptions and adopt a more businesslike approach to investing by reducing and hedging risk. Investors are typically surprised when facing a loss, and the psychological power of losses far outweighs the power of gains. Therefore remember the critical rule of compounding: Don?t lose money

2011-01-15 Trading Secrets by Tad Rivelle of TCW Asset Management

Treasury yields are lower today than they were in the early 1930s. This is despite a paucity of evidence that prices are deflating, or that the U.S. is the beneficiary of a flight-to-quality. Furthermore, the low rates have continued notwithstanding QE2, a program of thinly disguised ?money printing.? Our belief is that low rates are the product of a zero rate policy that is distorting Treasury pricing. This ?artificial? propping up of Treasury pricing will last until such time that bank balance sheets are substantially repaired. As such, our outlook for Treasuries is decidedly negative.

2011-01-11 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 What's Past is Prologue by Michael Nairne (Article)

With nearly two centuries of stock market performance history now available, investors should be well-armed intellectually to deal with the vicissitudes of equity investing. Many, however, are not. I explore this history and what it means for future performance.

2011-01-11 Inflation a Growing Concern for Emerging Market Countries by Team of American Century Investments

As a group, emerging market countries have rebounded from the Great Recession in much better shape than developed economies. And driven by higher commodity prices, robust domestic consumption, and a growing middle class with buying power, the emerging market asset class appears poised for more growth heading into 2011. While investors have been focusing on the European debt crisis, however, many emerging market economies have been getting a little overheated from the rapid pace of growth, and inflationary fears are quietly becoming a daily reality.

2011-01-10 "Illusory Prosperity" - Ludwig von Mises on Monetary Policy by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Perhaps more than any other economist, Ludwig von Mises got the theory of money and credit right, because he made distinctions between various forms of money and credit that are often conflated by other theorists. The amount of real physical investment in the economy is, and must be, precisely equal to the amount of output not allocated to consumption but instead to savings. Unlike many other economists, Von Mises not only recognized this identity, but carried it through to what it implied for monetary policy.

2011-01-10 Financial markets scarily ?normal? ? what can we expect in 2011? by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

As the first 5 days of January go, so goes January! As January goes, so goes the year! That?s the theory, anyway. US stocks gained 1.2% in the first week of the new year, on top of the 6.7% gained last month. That?s a year?s return in 6 weeks, which makes us think ?too far, too fast.?

2011-01-10 Global Instability by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

With inflation in China over 5%, Chinese policymakers are going to spend 2011 in restraint mode. Count on it. We are in the throes of a global currency war and late last week we saw Brazil move aggressively to rein in the real?s strength by imposing reserve requirements on domestic banks? foreign exchange positions. We have food prices surging and this is very likely going to cause social strife in the emerging market world - India, China and Indonesia come to mind. The Eurozone sovereign debt situation is looking increasingly tenuous.

2011-01-10 Is a Sovereign Default on the Agenda for 2011? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Last year will unequivocally be remembered as the year the sovereign credit crisis unfolded in earnest. We were fortunate that no major sovereign defaults occurred during that period, but can we hope to be so lucky in 2011?

2011-01-10 The Key Asset Classes For 2011 Will Be: Oil, Gold, And Stocks by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Investors are moving from bonds to stocks and the huge cash balances at money market funds will likely find their way into stock and commodity markets in 2011. This means inflation and commodities prices are likely to rise faster than wages, and those living on fixed incomes or bond interest will be affected the most, due to the fact that their money buys them less of everything; both luxuries and necessities. However, the ramifications of this inflationary trend are also serious for wage-earners. In every inflationary period in recorded history, wages have risen more slowly than inflation.

2011-01-08 Forecast 2011: Better than Muddle Through by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Mauldin reviews his prior-year forecast. He was right on currencies and gold, but missed the bull market in equities. For 2011, he likes gold relative to the euro, pound and yen, but is less bearish on the pound than he was a year ago. He fears the Kamchatka volcanoes (in Russia) will trigger a spate of bad wealth which will lead to scarce resources and inflation. He is optimistic about the job market and employment, and forecasts that the US economy will grow 2.5-3% in 2011. He fears, however ,that structural problems in the work force will leave many untrained for employment.

2011-01-06 2011: Year of the Yellow Brick Road by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

As far as gold is concerned, the continued concerns over sovereign solvency - not the eurozone in particular, but globally, combined with the U.S drive to achieve growth at any cost, make the yellow metal worth considering. What's in your vault? Is your yellow brick road made of dreams or gold? Just because policy makers are dreaming, doesn't mean investors need to.

2011-01-06 Descending a Mine Shaft in the Kazhakstan Steppes by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Kazakhstan is becoming increasingly important to us as an investment destination. It has vast natural resources such as oil, gas, copper, uranium and a host of other minerals. As a result of the billions of dollars pouring into the country to develop those resources, we believe Kazakhstan has become the economic engine for Central Asia. We have been investing in both the petroleum and mining sectors in Kazakhstan, and the purpose of this visit was to take a closer look at the mining sector.

2011-01-05 And That's The 'Year' That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

While the consumer has emerged from hibernation, an improved labor picture would boost this favorable trend. The Fed hopes that QE2 will help build on the recent economic momentum, though many doubters surely remain. Earnings comparisons get more difficult in the coming quarters, though analysts expect improved revenue growth to contribute to the positive results. The tax ?compromise? means a continuation of the bullish mindset in equities (for now). Developments abroad will impact the domestic markets as the EU looks to move beyond its debt issues, and China leads the global recovery.

2011-01-05 What The Bulls May Be Ignoring ... At Their Peril ... Plus Some Ideas For 2011 by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The bullish case is pretty well established right now and there is no sense repeating them but what may be ignored are these half-dozen. Nothing of course says that the market can?t keep going up over the near-term. risks, I list. Just as the onus was on the double-dippers last summer given the sentiment and market action, the onus now is clearly on the V-shaped enthusiasts.

2011-01-04 The Coming Decade of Sideways Markets by Robert Huebscher (Article)

'We are in the middle of a sideways market, and we still have another decade to go,' says Vitality Katsenelson. In this interview, Katsenelson shares his insights on the decade ahead and the many factors that may keep China from leading us out of the recession.

2011-01-04 Getting a Grip by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

We can expect a showdown between the House Republicans and the Administration over the debt ceiling in Q2. At stake could be a good dose of spending restraint as ?pay-go? rules make a sudden reappearance after being neglected by the lame-duckers last year. There is always the reality of the payroll tax cut coming to an end in December and how that will crimp personal income in 2011. Of course, there is always the prospect of a Q4 corporate spending binge as the bonus depreciation allowance expires. The last 3 quarters of 2011 are going to be very interesting

2011-01-03 Setup and Resolution by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the striking features of the market here is the extent to which large-cap, high-quality has underperformed speculative sectors of the market, creating what we view as a multi-year "setup" in favor of high quality issues.

2010-12-31 2011: A Look Ahead by Bob Doll of BlackRock

As a way of discussing our economic and market views for the coming year, we present our 10 predictions for 2011: 1. US growth accelerates as US real GDP reaches a new all-time high. 2. The US economy creates two to three million jobs in 2011 as the unemployment rate falls to 9%. 3. US stocks experience a third year of double-digit percentage returns for the first time in more than a decade as earnings reach a new all-time high. 4. Stocks outperform bonds and cash. 5. The US stock market outperforms the MSCI World Index.

2010-12-31 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.

2010-12-31 Pessimism was not the Winning Bet in 2010 by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

The easy money has been made, particularly in certain economically sensitive sectors. Returns in bonds could be flat or even negative over the next several years. We?ve substantially increased our exposure to boring old consumer staples, utilities, REITs and telecomm stocks, which offer dividend yields starting at 4% and ranging up to 12%. We expect US GDP growth to range between 2-3% over the next 4 quarters. In that environment, we would forecast gains in the S&P 500 of 8-10%, but now we wonder whether December?s 6.9% gain has already accounted for most of 2011?s stock market returns.

2010-12-29 2011 Here We Come! by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

There are two major trends in place that set the stage for world economics in 2011. The first is China?s continued rise. Although the U.S. remains the most powerful economic force on earth, China will soon be replacing Europe as the second most powerful economic force. China?s power is not built on sheer size alone: indeed, China?s statesman-like behavior during the current economic crisis in U.S. and Europe has highlighted its maturity and greatly enhanced its image. The second major trend going into 2011 is the rise of inflation.

2010-12-28 Gasoline Prices: The Holiday Present We Didn't Want by Doug Short of Doug Short

On our brief Christmas afternoon drive home from a family gathering in Clayton NC, we spotted a Wal-Mart service station sign for $3.01.9 regular gas. The post-Thanksgiving holiday season is not one I normally associate with high gas prices. As the chart below shows, the general pattern is for gasoline prices to peak in the summer and decline after Labor Day. This year has run counter to the pattern by a significant degree.

2010-12-27 A Fed-Induced Speculative Blowoff by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Why are Treasury yields rising despite hundreds of billions of Treasury purchases by the Federal Reserve? There are two possibilities in the current debate. One is that the Fed's policy of purchasing Treasuries has scared the willies out of the bond market on fears of higher inflation, and that the policy is a failure. The other is that the policy has been such a success at boosting the prospects for economic growth that interest rates are rising on anticipation of a better economy. From our standpoint, neither of these explanations hold much water.

2010-12-25 The Skinny On Thursday?s Data Flow by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

We got a flurry of U.S. data releases on 12/24 that, at the margin, added some comfort for the growth bulls. Initial jobless claims came in roughly as expected at 420k on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week of December 18, down 3k from the prior week. The 4-week moving average is at 426k and this time last year it was sitting at 479k, so the pace of firings has clearly receded sharply. The issue at this time is really one of hiring and going beyond part-time help.

2010-12-23 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Investors should continue to hold gold for long-term investment. Food and food-related shares remain a favorite of ours and we believe that oil-related investments have promise. For long-term investment, we do not like the U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, British pound, or the Euro. As we mentioned in our September 14th letter, we like the Singapore, Thai, Canadian, Swiss, Brazilian, Chinese, and Australian currencies. In summary, investors should continue to hold shares of growing companies in India, China, and Colombia. We believe U.S. stocks can rally further.

2010-12-22 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.

2010-12-22 The Waves of 2011 by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

2011 likely will open with a deepening recession, increasing austerity, and falling asset prices. If this is met by a new round of inflation creation and yuan revaluation, then investors should weigh whether to redeploy assets in anticipation of potential rising commodity prices. I expect these developments not to happen gradually, but to come in great waves. Smart investors will tie their fate to an investment vessel with a solid hull, because in these seas, even a hint of rot could tear a ship asunder.

2010-12-22 The Year in Review by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners

For 2011, we believe this trend of bond outflows and equity inflows will likely continue, overwhelming any concerns about valuations or fundamentals. In the short run, I've come to realize that fund flows, or investor desires for specific favored asset classes over others - tends to exacerbate price movements in both directions, often for much longer than most expect. I see great things for the stock market in 2011. While an improving economy will help, a shakeout in bonds may be just what the doctor ordered to get investors truly interested in stocks again.

2010-12-20 Things I Believe by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

1) Investors dangerously underestimate the risk of an abrupt and possibly severe equity market plunge. 2) Agreement among "experts" is not your friend. 3) Downside risk tends to be elevated precisely when risk premiums and volatility indices reflect the most complacency. 4) We did not avoid a second Great Depression because we bailed out financial institutions...

2010-12-20 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The big news last week was the final passage of the extension of the tax rates first enacted under President Bush some ten years ago. Mind you, there are no income tax cuts for anyone as the media seems bent on convincing people. Obviously, we are heading into the holiday season. This week will see the financial markets closed on Friday in honor of the Christmas federal holiday. European markets tend to take even more time off, so this week should be very quiet.

2010-12-17 The Dollar Threads a Needle by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Forecasting the dollar?s short-term relative value is an extremely difficult exercise. Sadly, logic holds little sway in the current marketplace. However, over the longer term, I believe dollar weakness will undermine the market ? just as we saw with the dot-coms and real estate. At some point, fundamentals will be felt.

2010-12-17 Capital Markets Brace for Exciting 2011 by Andreas Utermann of RCM

Andreas Utermann, global chief investment officer at RCM, a company of Allianz Global Investors, highlights key themes likely to shape the direction of capital markets in the coming year and provides a brief outlook on how he expects major asset classes to perform.

2010-12-17 The Secular Theme that Transcends the US Business Cycle by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

If there is a secular theme that transcends the U.S. business cycle it is agriculture. Farm incomes are rising sharply and all indications point in a similar upward direction in 2011 and likely beyond. This is another way, beyond going long mining excavation equipment and industrial commodities, to play the increasing demand for food, especially proteins, alongside the ever-rising standards of living in China, India and other emerging market economies.

2010-12-16 Next Phase of China's Development by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Considering that China has now exceeded the United States for two years running in terms of motor vehicle sales, it is not 100% the case that the country is exclusively reliant on fixed investment and exports for its economic success. Inch by inch, the consumer is comprising an ever-greater share of GDP. China is also largely responsible for the extended bull market in resources.

2010-12-15 Europe Remains a Clear Downside Risk by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Europe remains a clear downside risk for the global economic outlook with the problems spreading to Spain and Portugal. Contagion risks are being underestimated by Mr. Market who has been myopically focused on irresponsible fiscal expansion in the US and recent hopes that QE2 would morph into QE3. As some proof that the recent economic data flow are over-rated, and likely exaggerated by seasonal influences, the Fed barely raised its macro outlook and actually seemed to dampen its view of the housing sector.

2010-12-14 The Case for Dividend-paying Stocks by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Despite all the noise that the Democratic left is making, the tax bill is going to pass very soon. There is a tangible positive effect here from the tax bill and pertains to dividends. Under the deal, the top tax rate on dividends will stay at 15%. If most of the spasm in the bond market is behind us, one would have to think that a focus on dividend growth is going to have some payoff with the taxation uncertainty put to bed. The U.S. nonfarm nonfinancial corporate sector is sitting on $1.93 trillion of cash/equivalents, which is at a 51-year high representing 7.4% share of total assets.

2010-12-10 Interim Update and Comment by Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a recent television interview that economic growth was not ?self sustaining.? This description also applies to an economy that is in a classic growth recession. A growth recession is characterized as an economy where GDP grows but the unemployment rate also moves higher. A close look at the U.S. economy bears out Chairman Bernanke's description.

2010-12-08 Second Take on The Latest Financial Stimulus Announcement by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

There wasn?t really that much ?new? information in the Obama announcement, except for the fact that the President ended up repealing everything he said he stood for during the election campaign, like reducing the extreme income bifurcation that was exacerbated during the Bush era. Then again, who is going to risk a renewed contraction in the economy and then take the blame? How can anyone take the U.S. seriously when the country fails to get enough votes over the weekend to bring the deficit reduction package recommended by the White House debt-reduction panel to the House and Senate floor.

2010-12-07 Looking at the Tax Compromise Measures by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The just-announced comprise tax measures along with the Fed?s pump-priming, have pretty well extinguished double-dip risks, notwithstanding the myriad of other headwinds. This amounts to a new stimulus measure. If the U.S. government opts for a series of fiscal measures that could end up adding as much as $750 billion to the existing large public debt burden, the fixed-income market is not exactly going to like it. Elsewhere, EU finance ministers ruled out an immediate aid package for Portugal or Spain (putting the onus on the ECB to restore calm).

2010-12-06 The Worst US Employment Report of the Year? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

This was arguably one of the worst employment reports of the year. It was fascinating to see what little negative market reaction there was to the data ? not just nonfarm payrolls but also the news that factory orders slipped 0.9% MoM in October, the steepest decline in five months. This is why everyone seems to believe the economy is improving and it?s so easy to do that when you simply ignore the bad data points! One of the key features of the payroll report was the continued retrenchment in the state/local government sector. This promises to be a major macro theme for 2011.

2010-12-04 Rebalancing the World by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

We are currently witnessing a largely one-way flow of capital, as money moves from countries of disinflation or deflation to countries with inflation, possibly perpetuating the situation for both. We need to see a rebalancing of the world economy. In recent history, financial authorities in the developed world have encouraged a period of easy credit and loose monetary policy, driving a debt-fuelled rise in consumption. There needs to be more ?balance? in the world economy, so high-savings countries should spend more and develop their own vibrant domestic market as we see in the U.S.

2010-12-01 The U.S. Dollar Is A Poor Alternative To The Euro by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

The U.S. dollar is poorly managed, Congress has already saddled the U.S. with enough debt to keep the dollar under pressure for years, and the Federal Reserve has made it clear that it is their intention to devalue the dollar. The U.S. sponsored a 2nd round of QE, which was implemented to improve exports, to stop a deflationary psychology from forming and to create enough inflation in the U.S. economy to inspire the populace to begin investing to stay ahead of inflation. When investors begin to focus upon these obvious points, the inflation benefitted investments will rocket ahead.

2010-12-01 Open and Shut by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

Today some assets are fairly priced and others are high, but there are no bargains like those of 2008. Capital and nerve can?t hold the answers in such an environment. We?re no longer in a high-return, low-risk market, especially in light of the inability to know how today?s many macro uncertainties will be resolved. Instead of capital and nerve, then, the indispensable elements are now risk control, selectivity, discernment, discipline and patience.

2010-11-30 QE2: Beware the Perils of its Success by Vitaliy Katsenelson (Article)

QE2 is like a drug prescription that comes with a list of side effects that are often worse than the disease it was supposed to cure. It is difficult to know the unintended consequences of QE2, but it may result in a substantial decline in the dollar, stagflation, lower economic growth and much higher interest rates.

2010-11-30 Bond "Bubble" Fears Overblown by Team of American Century Investments

In this paper, we consider the argument that there is a bond ?bubble? in the context of current economic and market conditions. We examine academic literature for commonly accepted characteristics of speculative bubbles, finding little evidence to support the notion that the bond market is currently experiencing a ?bubble.?

2010-11-29 The Debt is Still Here by Eric S. Ende of First Pacific Advisors

In the world of investment management, results are typically measured each quarter. While markets sometimes experience a dramatic shift in the course of ninety days, usually the most important influences on the economy evolve more slowly. That is the situation today, where from our perspective, little about the investment backdrop has changed in 2010. This commentary summarizes our view of the current situation, the policy options available and likely outcomes.

2010-11-29 A List of Concerns ? A Dozen of Them by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Among Rosenberg?s concerns: China undergoing a significant, though likely brief, economic adjustment by 2012; The contagion reaching Spain, which would likely be game over for the euro; A renewed deflation in home prices in the US; State and local government budgets ? the critical source of downside risk for the U.S. economy in 2011, which could easily result in 1.5-2.0 percentage points of withdrawal from GDP growth.

2010-11-29 A Time to Invest in Africa by Nile Capital Management of Nile Capital Management

In this report, I will summarize my answer to the often-asked question: ?Why is this a good time for investors to focus on Africa?? I also will explain why the best way to participate in African markets and manage their risks is through an actively managed fund that offers ?feet-on-the-ground? expertise in Africa.

2010-11-29 Not Fade Away: European Debt Crisis Hits Markets by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Optimism is waning as global concerns are taking center stage, notably in the euro-zone. Investors shouldn't be complacent, but should heed the more-positive message coming from the US economy.

2010-11-24 A More Integrated Latin America by Claus Born of Franklin Templeton

Chile, Colombia and Peru are planning to integrate their stock exchanges, providing local investors with more investment opportunities and also allowing companies to access a broader investor base. We are likely to see increased foreign investor participation with improved liquidity. Once fully integrated, this new regional exchange should have the highest number of issuers in Latin America (before Mexico and Brazil), the region?s second-largest market capitalization (after Brazil) and its third-largest trading volume (after Brazil and Mexico).

2010-11-23 Why Three Top Bond Managers Like Equities by Robert Huebscher (Article)

You'll rarely - perhaps never - hear a fund manager say that market conditions do not favor investing in their chosen asset class. That's why it was so remarkable when several prominent managers recently admitted that they favored equities over their own discipline - fixed income.

2010-11-23 Ned Davis - Still Positive on Stocks by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Just over a year ago, Ned Davis correctly forecast a continuation of the cyclical bull market in stocks. In February of 2008, he foresaw that year's market upheaval, and a year later he predicted the rally that began in March of 2009. Today, Davis is moderately bullish on stocks, as long as the Fed maintains its policy of quantitative easing.

2010-11-23 7 Things to Watch for as 2010 Ends by Isbitts of Emerald Asset Advisors

The cyclical (1-4 year) picture is getting better for U.S. stocks, and even better in the Emerging and Frontier markets. Put us in the camp of people who believe the Fed is too focused on fighting deflation, and at some point in the next half a decade, we will pay for it dearly. Perhaps the most remarkable trend will be the rise of the "Emerging Nations," particularly those in Asia.

2010-11-22 The Science of Risk by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

We?re in a particularly vulnerable time in world financial markets. Having just completed a significant 2 year market response (upwards) to the global credit crisis, the question of whether or not we can sustain similar economic magnitude has everyone?s attention. Although financial data seems more or less in line with a nascent recovery, investor confidence and activity are still less than robust.

2010-11-22 Reality Check by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The world's economic environment is extremely fragile. The growth bulls are underestimating the fact that the fiscal disarray at state and local governments is a major headwind for the U.S. economy --state and local governments are the second largest contributor to spending outside of the American consumer. There is still scant evidence of a vibrant organic recovery. At least initially, the reversal of all the risk-on trends in the markets suggests that the pullback that became apparent after the peak in April is likely to be sustained over the intermediate term.

2010-11-22 Commodity Prices: What is Likely Impact in the United States? by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The S&P GSCI commodity index has moved up 11.3% from a year ago on November 19, 2010 (see Chart 1). The trade weighted dollar declined 1.2% from a year ago as of November 12, 2010. The immediate inference is that the extent of gains in the commodity price index is larger than the decline of the dollar. By implication, commodity price gains reflect more than the depreciation of the greenback.

2010-11-19 Philly Fed Up, NY Empire Down by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Despite mixed indicators, it looks like real GDP is chugging along at a tepid though still above-water annual rate of between 1% and 2% at an annual rate. The fragility is what is important. Gold still looks very good in this uncertain and unstable environment.

2010-11-19 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Yes, it?s still a small, small world. These days, developments in tiny Ireland and huge China seem to have greater effect on the domestic markets than earnings releases or transactional news closer to home. But at the end of the day (week), investors surveyed the global and domestic landscapes, gave a collective yawn, and the equity indexes closed little changed from where they began. Is it time for some turkey yet?

2010-11-18 Europe Will Be The Next Region to Create Liquidity for the World by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

The coming European bailout of Ireland and Portugal will have to include some method of quantitative easing (QE), or the printing of new money. The European Central bank will claim they are not using QE, but using newly created money must be a part of the plan. Often, when hiding their bond-buying, governments will use means to disguise their actions. Clearly, very few professional investors have an appetite for Portuguese or Irish bonds unless they are put under some political pressure, so the buyer of last resort will be the governments and European Central Bank.

2010-11-18 The Dollar Survives Again by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

As far as investors are concerned, the G-20 provided little new information, but confirmed the continuing drift. The international monetary system is still based upon the gravely flawed U.S. dollar. The Yuan will not be allowed to rise in the near term, the euro faces great political challenges, and the U.S. dollar seems continually to be devalued. Meantime, precious metals, key commodities, and hard currencies should continue to benefit.

2010-11-17 Gold's Allure Tied to Interest Rate by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

The continued bull market in the price of gold has been one of the staple discussions in the financial media for the better part of a decade. But, in that time, almost no consensus has emerged to explain the phenomenon. The truth is the main drivers for the price of gold are the level and direction of real interest rates and the intrinsic value of the dollar.

2010-11-17 Can You Handle The Truth by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The S&P 500 has been locked in a rough 1,000-1,200 range now for 14 months. Most pundits still believe we are in a cyclical bull market but that is not the case ? it has been a sideways market now for over a year. Moreover, after testing support in July, the market hit resistance levels in November, so it would seem logical to expect the index to make a run at the low end of the range. The only question is whether support will hold up once again.

2010-11-16 Is The Psychological Impact of QE2 Already Being Felt? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Economic data provided a degree of cautiously optimistic news, although it was a subdued week compared to the exhaustive news faced in prior weeks. There will be plenty of important economic data to key in on this week. October retail sales will be released on Monday and economists are expecting a relatively healthy gain for the month. Inflation will return to the forefront with the release of the Producer Price Index on Tuesday and the Consumer Price Index on Wednesday.

2010-11-15 U.S. Consumer Confidence - Less than Meets the Eye by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

So, when you do the simple math, Joe Sixpack sees inflation at 3% in the coming year (from 1% now) and then averaging 2% in the next four years. Depending on how food and fuels play out, this could well be consistent with a zero or even sub-zero environment as far as core consumer price trends are concerned. This is why long Treasuries are likely to remain in a secular bull market for some time to come.

2010-11-15 Weekly Investment Commentary by Bob Doll of BlackRock

Last week?s market correction was, in many ways, somewhat overdue. Both stocks and commodities have experienced significant price appreciation and the US dollar had become oversold, so it should not be surprising to see some sort of reversal in these trends. The risks of a double dip recession are in the process of vanishing. As the recovery continues to move along, our outlook is that the trend of risk asset prices moving higher is likely to continue.

2010-11-12 Market Thoughts by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The overwhelming consensus view is that the market will continue to rise through year-end and into 2011. The trend in most asset classes that had been rallying the past three months are now reaching an exhaustive phase. I?m a little nervous about changing our view at the high end of the range on equities. The problem with the U.S. fiscal outlook is that the intractable U.S. debt and deficit situation cannot be solved by cutting government spending alone. Taxes, that evil five-letter word, will have to rise in the future.

2010-11-12 A Bad Plan Poorly Disguised by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

With our economy sagging and our international clout waning, one of the few assets upon which the US can rely is the confidence that the rest of the world has traditionally showered upon us. That confidence is the reason why the US dollar was elevated to global reserve status more than 65 years ago. With so much riding on perception, Tim Geithner?s recent statements denying the existence of a dollar debasement campaign could not be seen as anything less than foolhardy.

2010-11-12 And That\'s the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Investors surveyed the landscape in the aftermath of two major market moving events (Fed stimulus and midterm election), retreated from their recent optimism, and booked profits heading into the homestretch of the year. Despite the overall success of another earnings season, investors fretted over the global progress (or lack thereof) from the G20 meeting of world finance ministers and news that China may have inflationary problems on its hands.

2010-11-11 Leadership Changes in Latin America by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

In Latin America, we are seeing a large and young population moving up rapidly to the new ?consumer? middle class, but at the same time having one of the lowest loan penetrations in the world. The rise of this consumer middle class and growth in per capital GDP is resulting in an increase in domestic spending, which drives the domestic economy. Secondly, the region has vast resources available at low cost.

2010-11-11 Rising Oil Prices; Still Like Gold, But... by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Oil is now challenging the $90/bbl threshold and this is more a reflection of the Fed?s quest to weaken the dollar than any incipient global economic boom. As in the case of most other commodities, the Fed has unleashed the floodgates of investor speculation on the commodity complex. How can this possibly be constructive for the 90% of the U.S. earnings outlook that is not hooked to the basic commodity sector? We don?t see where this is addressed anywhere in ?Street? research. The economy is much more vulnerable to an energy shock now than it was in 2007.

2010-11-11 Global Markets Up, Up, Up and Away by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

The world markets moved like Superman last week. They lifted off and moved higher in a decisive manner. In the ongoing contest between bulls and bears, the bulls have had the upper hand in many markets. Wall Street also moved firmly into the bullish camp with U.S. stocks eclipsing their April 2010 peaks. To us this means that the technical short-sellers who had been bearish on U.S. stocks and expecting a correction bought back their short positions and took their losses.

2010-11-11 The Road Ahead: Is It Inflation or Deflation by Martin J. Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

Since the financial crash of 2008 there has been an intensive discussion amongst economists as to whether the fiscal stimulus and extraordinary monetary policy (Quantitative Easing, QE I and II) will lead to a significant inflationary wave or whether the system falls into a liquidity trap. Our objective here is not to dwell on the economic arguments, rather to examine the secular trends of commodities, bonds and their inter-market relationship to see what clues the markets themselves may be giving about the inflation/deflation outlook.

2010-11-09 Serenity Now by Emilio Vargas (Article)

Hope has transformed into fear - not about making money but about the prospect of another bubble. The recent statements and actions of the Federal Reserve Bank may be laying the groundwork for the third massive asset mispricing in ten years.

2010-11-09 RCM's Global Strategic Outlook: Fourth Quarter 2010 by Andreas Utermann of RCM

Analyzing various leading indicators, there is hardly any hint of a recession. This is not to say that there is no risk of a recession happening. A continued weak labor market is weighing on household consumption in industrialized economies. The housing market in the U.S. is showing signs of weakness. There is a risk of a policy failure in emerging markets, especially of China overdoing policy tightening. Fiscal policy tightening in the West may actually turn out to be too strong. In sum, we think that structural headwinds and tailwinds could balance each other out.

2010-11-09 An Inflationary Death Spiral by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

I have no doubt that Bernanke will be remarkably successful in his stated goal of driving inflation higher. I simply disagree with his nonchalance about the long-term consequences. There is currently no easy exit strategy for the Fed. There is only the prospect of Americans suffering through either a deflationary depression or hyperinflation.

2010-11-08 What Has the Fed Really Done? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

In the Fed?s latest QE quest, by targeting the front- and mid-part of the U.S. Treasury curve, it is only really influencing yields that were already at microscopic levels before anything was even announced. It is hard to figure out what a 0.3% yield on the 2-year T-note or a sub 1 % yield on the 5-year T-note is really going to accomplish as far a spending stimulus is concerned. The Fed?s action seems to have unleashed a wave of speculative trading activity in risk assets ? from stocks, to commodities, to emerging markets

2010-11-08 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.

2010-11-05 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Investors should keep gold for long-term investment, as well as oil-related holdings. The U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, British pound and the euro are poor long-term prospects. Investors should continue to hold shares of growing companies in India, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Colombia, Chile and Peru, as well as food-related shares such as grains, wheat, corn, soybeans and farm suppliers. Finally, investors should continue to hold U.S. stocks for a further rally.

2010-11-05 More on QE2 - Will it Work? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Quantitative easing is no antidote for structural economic problems, even if it manages to give investors a short-term sugar high. Let's learn from the Japanese QE experiment. The day the Bank of Japan launched the program on March 19, 2001, the Nikkei surged 7.5 percent, from 12,190 to 13,103. Three months later, as it became painfully obvious that the real economy was not responding well to the shock therapy, the Nikkei index slid 16 percent to just over 12,000.

2010-11-05 And That\'s the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Dissecting election results, a Fed policy meeting statement, several key economic releases, and new earnings reports can prove pretty stressful. This week saw a somber Obama offer an olive branch to Republicans following their big victory in the midterms. Bear in mind, Prez Clinton suffered a similar fate in 1994 and lived to fight another day. Politicos now expect conciliation over taxes, health care, offshore drilling, and other GOP action items as Big Oil, Big Pharma, and Wall Street prepare for another boom. (The pressure is on, Speaker Boehner.)

2010-11-04 Thoughts on QE2 by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

While the Fed could have done more yesterday, it didn't because the economy is doing better than expected, even if it is still quite fragile. Auto sales, for example, rose to 12.3 million at an annual rate in October from 11.8 million in September (best result since August 2009). However, recall that motor vehicle sales also jumped 2.4 percent in September and all that translated into was a +0.08 percent inch-up in total real consumer spending, which was one of the weakest months of the year. Consumer spending excluding auto will now be essential to watch.

2010-11-03 Five Bitter Pills or One Sweet but Deadly? by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

The current Chairman of the Federal Reserve believes that diluting the dollar is the cure for everything from a recession to male pattern baldness. And like other snake-oil salesmen before him, Mr. Bernanke is heavy on promises and light on results. Michael Pento presents five prescriptions that money printing can't fulfill.

2010-11-02 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 Gold and the Decade to Come by American Century Investments (Article)

Gold is an asset class unto itself. It is not only a barometer of confidence in governments and the financial system, but also a reserve asset, an alternative currency, and a store of value. Those characteristics make gold an ideal diversifier because it has low correlation to most financial assets, both in expansionary and recessionary periods. Indeed, the return pattern to gold investments is not only uncorrelated to most traditional financial assets, but makes gold uniquely positioned to outperform when you want diversification the most--during periods of crisis.

2010-11-02 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

If you still don't think a bubble exists in U.S. government bonds, then consider this: The Treasury just sold $10 billion worth of five-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities at a negative yield for the first time ever. People buy TIPS to protect against inflation, and there is so much talk about inflation even though it isn't here yet, the yield on these five-year securities was -0.55 percent.

2010-11-01 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Overall, the market has largely anticipated this week's midterm election results and Federal Reserve quantitative easing announcement. The possibility exists that some break in the rally could ensue. Such a disruption, however, is doubtful to last long. The race to the end of the year is upon us and barring a terrorist event - the easiest path for stock prices, for now, is higher.

2010-10-29 Cliff Asness: Understanding Managed Futures by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In a portfolio with equities and fixed income, managed futures offer strong diversification value and high returns, according to Cliff Asness. Asness is the founder and Managing Principal of AQR Capital Management, a provider of managed futures products.

2010-10-29 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 Four Critical Investment Themes for the Next Decade by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Four investment themes will dominate market behavior over the next decade, according to Martin Murenbeeld, the chief economist at DundeeWealth Economics, a Canadian investment manager and financial advisor. Investors, he said, would be wise to overweight gold and other commodities.

2010-10-29 RCM's U.S. Market Outlook by Scott Migliori of Allianz Global Investors

RCM's outlook for 2010 remains positive, with some prospect for a year-end rally and the market up at the lower end of 5 percent to 10 percent. Expectations of quantitative easing by the Fed, the election season and the earnings season may create some short-term volatility.

2010-10-28 Night of the Living Fed by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

This is a summary of Grantham Mayo Von Otterloo chairman Jeremy Grantham's 3Q 2010 newsletter. Grantham notes that in the third year of a presidential cycle, risky, highly volatile stocks have outperformed low-risk stocks by an average of 18 percent per year since 1964. Levels of 1400 or 1500 on the S&P 500 one year from now are about a 50/50 bet. The biggest threats to this possibility are that Congress will initiate a new trade war, or that the Federal Reserve will start a currency dispute with quantitative easing.

2010-10-27 Run Turkey, Run by Bill Gross of PIMCO

The Fed's announcement of a renewed commitment to quantitative easing has been well-telegraphed, and the market's reaction is likely to be subdued. We are in a 'liquidity trap,' where interest rates or trillions in asset purchases may not stimulate borrowing or lending because consumer demand is just not there. The Fed's announcement will likely signify the end of a great 30-year bull market in bonds and the necessity for bond managers and, yes, equity managers to adjust to a new environment.

2010-10-27 Where Inflation is Higher than Interest Rates, Liquidity Will Flow by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Investors should continue to hold U.S. stocks for a further rally. Long-term U.S. liquidity formation through QE will create demand for many assets, including U.S. stocks. Short-term U.S. stock market indices are near resistance areas, and so traders can consider taking profits. Investors should also continue to hold gold for long-term investment, as well as oil, and food-related shares such as grains, wheat, corn, soybeans, and farm suppliers. The U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, British pound and the euro are all poor long-term prospects.

2010-10-26 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 Emerging Market Uprising: What it Means for Investors by George Magnus of Boeckh Investment Letter

This special report by George Magnus, a senior economic advisor at UBS Investment Bank, takes a look at some key economic and investment issues regarding emerging markets and China. Magnus, who has just completed a book on emerging markets, argues that while EMs have boomed in recent years, there are a number of unresolved problems which suggest the past may not repeat, and investors must be careful.

2010-10-25 Bernanke Leaps into a Liquidity Trap by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The belief that an increase in the money supply will result in an increase in GDP relies on the assumption that velocity will not decline in proportion to the increase in monetary base. Unfortunately for the proponents of 'quantitative easing,' this assumption fails spectacularly in the data - both in the U.S. and internationally - particularly at zero interest rates. Once short-term interest rates drop to zero, further expansions in base money simply induce a proportional collapse in velocity.

2010-10-25 It's All About Earnings by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The equity market has now managed to climb three weeks in a row despite the fact that the U.S. dollar has done likewise in a classic countertrend rally from oversold conditions. Almost one-third of the S&P 500 universe has reported, and the year-over-year earnings growth rate is now running at plus-28 percent from plus-24 percent last week. Fully 83 percent of the companies have beaten their bottom-line estimate, which is far above the historical norm of 62 percent; although barely over 60 percent are bettering their revenue estimates, which is below average.

2010-10-22 Don't Fear the Euro by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

When the euro hit a low of $1.1917 against the US dollar on June 7th, 2010, the airwaves crackled with assertions that the European common currency, beset by Greek debt problems and intra-union discord, was destined to trade at parity with the greenback. They were wrong. Since then, the euro has risen over 17% against the dollar, hitting $1.3961 today. The current upswing, delivered courtesy of the Fed, has at least temporarily silenced the euro?s critics.

2010-10-21 North America Losing Some Serious Momentum by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The U.S. economy may in fact be contracting again. The monthly data from Macroeconomic Advisers showed that real GDP contracted 0.6 percent in August. While this did follow a red-hot +1.25 percent gain in July, this marks the third decline in real activity in the past four months. Maybe the bond market does not need the Fed's help after all ? the super-soft economic environment is all the Treasury bond market really needs to sustain the downward trend in yields.

2010-10-21 'Unusual Uncertainty'... It's Certainly Unusual by Jason R. Graybill and Neil D. Klein of Carret Asset Management

In mid-July, Federal reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated there is 'unusual uncertainty' with regards to the nation's economic outlook. As interest rates trend higher over the coming years from record lows, the yield curve will flatten. And as the economy improves, spreads between higher-risk credits and Treasury bonds will narrow.

2010-10-19 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.

2010-10-18 Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Housing is still deflating, but commodities are mixed. The concern longer term is that the Fed is printing money in order to stimulate the economy. At some point, all this liquidity in the system could cause inflation to accelerate, perhaps to a level that the Fed cannot contain. We are not forecasting either serious deflation or serious inflation. On the other hand, we do not regard the probability of a negative outcome as trivial.

2010-10-18 The Recklessness of Quantitative Easing by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

With continuing weakness in the U.S. job market, Ben Bernanke confirmed last week what investors have been pricing into the markets for months - the Federal Reserve will launch a new program of quantitative easing, probably as early as November. Further attempts at QE are likely to have little effect in provoking increased economic activity or employment. This is not because QE would fail to affect interest rates and reserves. Rather, this policy will be ineffective because it will relax constraints that are not binding in the first place.

2010-10-18 The Metastasis of Residential Mortgage Backed Securities: Interview with Joe Mason by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst

This week the Institutional Risk Analyst talks to Louisiana State University finance professor Joseph Mason. While the media is printing stories about foreclosures, Mason says, the more fundamental problem facing the U.S. economy is the approaching currency crisis.

2010-10-18 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

After the steady run-up in natural resources equities the past year, some are concerned that the progression might come to an end. Based upon improving policies and demand worldwide, however, it is still entirely appropriate to reserve an overweight ranking for these investments. As long as industry prudently manages inventory-versus-demand cycles, upward valuations might persist. In the long term, depleting resources might provide the science and politics for an elongated trend with significant capital gains potential.

2010-10-18 Fed Ignores Gold, Targets Higher Inflation, and Plays With Fire by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

By ignoring rising gold and commodity prices and signaling that it won't quit applying monetary stimulus anytime soon, the Fed is trying to force banks to change their behavior. If it works, look out for inflation to reach multiples of 2 percent in the years ahead. The Fed hasn?t been successful yet when it ignores gold and commodity prices.

2010-10-15 Global Currency Meltdown by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The Fed is being pressured to erode the value of the U.S. dollar in order making foreign sales more lucrative in nominal terms. But this form of stealth protectionism will fail just as surely as more overt trade barriers. Only when currencies are allowed to float freely will trade imbalances be corrected. Washington's attempt to force the issue is only doing harm to the world economy by introducing uncertainty and punishing the prudent. The Fed has gone radioactive, setting off a global currency meltdown. Perhaps only gold can truly shield investors from the fallout.

2010-10-15 Q310 Portfolio Commentary by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisors

Asset prices appear to be solely supported by the potential effects of QE2. Global credit markets, where liquidity could be highly strained given the large flows into bond funds and the hazardous reach for yield, are particularly disconcerting. While the Fed could successfully create asset inflation in the short term, the asymmetry of these policy efforts is to the downside, and patience should be better rewarded. Additionally, a dollar rally is quite possible given current sentiment, and could create much volatility in both global equity and credit markets.

2010-10-15 A Turn in the Bond Market? by Charles and Louis Vincent Gave of GaveKal

The weak dollar policy forces central banks everywhere to accumulate U.S. Treasury bonds. And with the U.S. registering yet another high current account deficit, one might expect foreign central banks to keep showing up on the 'ask' side of the market. Between the record low TIPS yields, the action of the 30-year bonds, and the overall market valuations, it seems that the bond market rally has come to an end.

2010-10-14 Who's Doing the Buying? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

So who's buying equities right now? Good question. We know it's not the retail investor and private clients - they have been selling into this entire bear market rally and rebalancing their asset mix in favor of income. It's not the mutual funds, because institutional private managers already have cycle-low cash ratios. There would seem to be three principal buyers right now: pension funds struggling to reach their 8 percent assumed annual returns, hedge funds, and the proprietary trading desks at big commercial banks.

2010-10-14 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Historically, it has taken about four or five years of capital inflows into emerging markets to create an investment bubble. Thus far, we are only one year into a significant capital inflow into emerging markets, and we probably have another three or four more years to go before these markets become so popular that it is time to move on to other pastures.

2010-10-13 The Fed Feels Compelled to Experiment by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

Judging from the minutes of the September 21 Federal Open Market Committee meeting, it is virtually a foregone conclusion now that the Federal Reserve will announce on November 3 that it is re-engaging in 'unconventional policies.' As a body, the FOMC recognizes that the benefits of quantitative easing come with potential costs and risks, including unintended consequences. Despite this tricky and uncertain balance, it feels compelled to act.

2010-10-13 What's Ahead in Q3 Earnings Season; Our Fair Value of the S&P by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The consensus is still expecting U.S. operating earnings per share growth of $95-plus in 2011, but at a time when profit margins are at a cycle high, not a trough. Judging from past performance at cycle highs, however, it may be more prudent to be valuing the equity market at $75 EPS growth, rather than $95. Slap on an appropriate multiple and you can see why an underweight position in equities still makes sense, speculative fervor sparked by quantitative easing notwithstanding.

2010-10-12 Beggar Thy Neighbor, Beggar Thyself by Michael Lewitt (Article)

In the latest edition of the HCM Market Letter, Michael Lewitt argues that reported attempts by countries to devalue their currencies will only result in higher inflation and not economic growth. QE2 will similarly fail, and the necessary "heavy lifting" for the economy should be through fiscal, not monetary, policy. A continuation of Keynesian policies, as advocated by Paul Krugman, will also fail. Lewitt warns of dangers in ETFs and offers his investment recommendations.

2010-10-12 It's a Mad World by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Gold could be the only asset class that makes sense right now. If the bond market is right, then we will get deflation, and gold is a hedge against the uncertainty such an environment would entail. If the equity market is right, then we will get gobs of liquidity out of the Fed and then go off to a new reflationary credit cycle - gold would benefit in this scenario, too. And if the commodity complex is right, then we are heading towards a new inflationary cycle, and of course gold is a classic way to play this scenario.

2010-10-11 Commodities - More Signs of Life by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The rise in commodity prices during the past few weeks offers yet another sign that the U.S. economy will avoid the dreaded double-dip recession and continue to grow, albeit slowly. Some of the commodity price rise, of course, reflects little on the economy. Gold's price increase, for instance, mirrors generalized fears on a number of fronts. The surge in agricultural prices stems from particular crop failures. However, industrial commodities, including energy, are connected to the economy, giving broader economic significance to their healthy price gains.

2010-10-11 Quantitative Easing Prospects Lift Stocks by Bob Doll of BlackRock

Despite the fact that Treasury yields have moved lower in recent weeks, the Fed's actions will help reduce deflationary risks and will help global economic growth. Stock markets and commodity prices have been pricing in inflation; those markets have it right in that central banks will do what is necessary to fight deflationary forces. The intentions of central bankers are quite clear at present, and this appears to be a case where the old saying 'don't fight the Fed' seems prudent advice: From an investment perspective, risk assets should continue to grind higher.

2010-10-11 Shrugging Off Bad News by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

With more quantitative easing on the way, the risk of another downdraft in housing has been taken off of the table. It has also boosted commodities, which is plainly good for our 'stuff stocks.' Additionally, QE2 should spur more mergers and acquisition activity, increase share repurchases, and lower the U.S. dollar (good for export companies), all of which is positive for the S&P 500.

2010-10-08 Still Vulnerable by Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

Economic growth has been largely due to an unsustainable, and probably over-extended rebuilding of inventories. The proposed QE2 is unlikely to succeed, and the U.S. economy faces four problems: excess leverage, counterproductive fiscal policies, sub-optimal tax policies and excess bureaucracy. Treasury bonds are not in a bubble and represent good long-term investments.

2010-10-07 You Can't Make This Stuff Up! by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

In the October 6 New York Times, op-ed contributor Daniel Gross called on the American consumer to 'get back into the game.' 'The renewed willingness and confidence to spend money we don't have,' Gross wrote, 'is vital to the continuing recovery.' There was no mention in the article of the fact that with a 70 percent share of GDP, U.S. consumer expenditures never exactly went into hibernation, even if spending decisions have changed. And haven't employment and income always been the vital components to sustainable growth?

2010-10-07 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Inflation, which has heated up in countries like Brazil, India, Indonesia and many others, will eventually make its way to the U.S. and Europe. Attractive areas for investment include Chinese consumer stocks and currencies, stocks and bonds of growing countries in Asia and Latin America, U.S. stocks and gold. The Japanese yen is a short. Japan's quantitative easing, when combined with the QE going on elsewhere, provides a strong impetus for price increases in commodities, gold and stocks.

2010-10-07 Emerging Markets Commentary by Conrad Saldanha of Neuberger Berman

With emerging market economies posting substantially higher growth rates, many investors are increasingly attracted to emerging equity markets. Equity returns, however, tend to be driven more by earnings growth than by GDP growth. Returns are also influenced by other factors such as a country's financial market structure, fiscal and monetary policies, and legal standards. Furthermore, index or ETF investing may not capitalize on stock-specific factors that contribute to the underlying economy's performance.

2010-10-06 A Sobering Look at U.S. Treasury Debt by Peter Williams of Doug Short

Guest contributor Peter Williams presents charts of U.S. Treasury bond auction results grouped by maturity date and term in order to provide give a bird's eye view of how the Treasury has positioned all debt issued since 1982. The Treasury has issued a total of $4.5 trillion in new debt since 2008. A look at outstanding debt levels, however, suggests that that there is still plenty of wiggle room for more debt to be offered.

2010-10-05 In a Word, Surreal by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Why do so many people think bonds are in a bubble when they are actually the most detested asset class out there? After all, as we saw in the tech mania of the late 1990s and the housing mania of 2003-2006, bubbles usually involve a mix of adulation, admiration and adoration with the asset class in question, which is obviously missing in the current case as it pertains to Treasury securities. You can't lift up a newspaper or watch a business program on TV and not see pundit after pundit talking about the dangers of being invested in bonds. Something here is amiss.

2010-10-01 China: A World-Class Act by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Investors in China continue to be concerned about overheating in select sectors, greater inflationary pressures and a widening wealth gap in the country. The Chinese property market, however, is deep and varied, average household leverage is substantially lower than that in the U.S., and the Chinese government has been quick to act to prevent bubbles. While consumer price inflation continues to rise, producer price inflation has begun to subside. Finally, the recent move to increase the flexibility of the renminbi will allow for a slight appreciation.

2010-10-01 Insolvency Too by Niels C. Jensen, Nick Rees and Patricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

On 1st January 2013, Solvency II, a new directive governing capital adequacy rules in the European insurance and life insurance industry, will come into effect. Going forward, European insurers will have to be able to pass a 1-in-200 years' event stress test, which has been designed to give the industry enough of a cushion to withstand even the most severe of bear markets without being forced to sell. Risky asset classes such as equities, commodities and other alternative investments will be assigned much higher reserve requirements than less risky asset classes such as bonds.

2010-10-01 A Fall Surprise... by David Baccile of Sextant Investment Advisors

If billionaire money manager John Paulson is correct, and inflation reaches low double-digits by 2012, the discount rate used by investors to estimate the present value of their stock investments will rise sharply, which will have a very negative impact on equity prices as present value calculations decline. Sure, companies will be able to pass along price hikes and inflation should have a positive impact on nominal earnings growth, but the higher discount rate will overwhelm any benefit to the bottom line.

2010-10-01 Liquidity Flowing into Asia and Western Latin America by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Liquidity will flow into the Asian region raising consumer spending, stock prices and currency values. In the following countries: India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and China much new liquidity will enter. It will be in the form of foreign direct investment and investment money moving into stocks and bonds. With the exception of China, which is being singled out for a trade battle by the U.S. Congress, all of these countries will see their currencies rise and their economies grow.

2010-10-01 Claims of the 'Death of Stock Picking' Are a Good Sign for Value Investors by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlights the macro-driven nature of today?s stock market. Long-time value investors lament the current environment where stocks appear to trade in unison based on unemployment data or European bank stress test results. If stocks are driven by macro factors instead of company fundamentals, stock pickers can?t get an edge. We think stock-picking is very much alive. Call us contrarian, but we couldn?t think of a better sign that fundamentally-driven, bottom-up stock-picking is likely to make a comeback sooner rather than later.

2010-09-30 Why David Tepper Is Only Half Right by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

Once domestic bond investors regain consciousness -and they will most likely do so in concert with foreign holders of U.S. debt and currency - a debt and dollar crisis will emerge. Then the only buyer of U.S. Treasury debt will be the Federal Reserve. An economy can't persist for very long by buying its own debt with printed money. The result will be a crumbling currency and soaring interest rates, especially on the long end of the yield curve. When rates rise despite the Fed's efforts to keep them down, that's game over for the 'recovery.'

2010-09-28 The Future of Oil by Robert Huebscher (Article)

No commodity impacts the global economy more than oil. When geopolitical threats loom, two questions often dominate discussion: Will the price of oil rise? And what will be the economic consequences? We review the key drivers of recent, current, and forecast oil prices, including a template for the necessary eventual alignment of supply and demand.

2010-09-28 A Better Alternative - Natural Resource Equities by RS Investments (Article)

Investors look to the commodity market to provide three primary benefits: portfolio diversification, inflation protection, and equity-like returns. However, empirical data shows that over the last decade, shifts in underlying fundamentals have undermined the role which commodities are expected to play in a diversified portfolio, particularly relative to natural resource equities. RS Investments reviews the return streams generated by both commodities and natural resource equities in the context of the benefits expected from each investment option. We thank them for their sponsorship.

2010-09-28 Lessons in Ethics: The Incredible Story of Patrick Kuhse by Charlie Curnow (Article)

Patrick Kuhse is the last person you'd expect to give a lecture on business ethics. As a deputy bond trader for Oklahoma's $9 billion general fund during the early 1990s, Kuhse arranged kickbacks for his superiors in the state Treasurer's office. In return, he received an increase in his commissions which, over time, netted him $3.89 million more than he would normally earn, according to court estimates. But today, business ethics are his specialty.

2010-09-28 Reality Check on the Macro Outlook by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

More than 80 percent of the economic growth we saw from the lows of 2009 in real GDP was due to the massive amounts of federal government stimulus and the huge inventory swing. The underlying trend in organic real final sales is barely above 0.5 percent. One therefore has to therefore wonder, with an estimated 1.7 percentage point drag from fiscal withdrawal in the coming year and the evident signs of a peaking-out in the inventory contribution to growth, how can the economy not contract heading into 2011?

2010-09-27 Are 401(K) Investors Fighting Yesterday's War? by Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates

It is time for investors and their advisors to look forward, not backward, in their 401(k) investment planning. Inflation is the biggest single enemy to long-term investors. A portfolio of real return assets balanced with a stock- and bond-heavy 401(k) fund menu is the best way to build a portfolio for an uncertain future. To do this, one needs to include inflation hedges before inflation strikes and when they are least costly.

2010-09-27 What Happened on Friday? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

On Friday, a very successful hedge fund manager came on CNBC and told viewers that the equity market now was a one-way ticket up. If the economy sputtered, he said, the Fed would step in and engage in more quantitative easing, and that would propel the equity market higher. And if the economy chugs along, then there will be no need for more Fed balance sheet expansion but the stock market will enjoy the fruits of stronger earnings growth. The third scenario he did not mention is that the economy will weaken to such an extent that the Fed will indeed re-engage in QE, but that it will not work.

2010-09-27 'Rules are Rules?!' (An Email From Grandma) by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Last week most of the major stock market averages broke out of their May-September trading ranges to new recovery highs (small cap indices did not). While we are not necessarily looking at a repeat of the 2009 stock market rally, the S&P 500's April highs now seem achievable. Meanwhile, the bears continue to growl 'Where's the volume?' The reply to that question is that the whole 2009 rally came on declining volume, as did this year's May mauling, begging the question: Does volume really matter?

2010-09-23 Was it really a Lost Decade? by Kevin D. Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

Many have claimed that the decade of the 2000s was a lost decade for stock investors. When you look at the returns of the S&P 500 index over the decade, it is hard to challenge the validity of this claim. For the period of December 31, 1999 through December 31, 2009, the S&P 500 index had an annualized simple price return of -2.72 percent. A look at returns in categories beyond U.S. large-caps, however, including emerging markets, bonds, and U.S. mid-caps and small-caps, reveals that other types of investments actually had positive returns.

2010-09-20 Mr. Energy by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

According to Dow Theory, the primary trend of the stock market is 'up.' That upward trend would be reconfirmed if the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Dow Jones Transportation Average break above their respective August 9 closing highs of 10698.75 and 4516.35. Such action would also suggest a run toward the Dow's April 26th closing high of 11205.03. Last week, however, stocks stalled around their August recovery highs. With 75.8 percent of the S&P 500's stocks above their 50-day moving averages, we are currently overbought.

2010-09-14 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.

2010-09-14 Autumn Leaves... And Election Cycles by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The passion is palpable about the upcoming November 2 midterm elections, and more and more market watchers are starting to study the historical election cycle to see if it provides any clues as to how stocks are likely to behave in the near term. It's also September, historically the weakest month of the year for stocks, and this year it's following a bruising August. But here's a word of caution for those relying heavily on past performance trends: In five of the past six years, the market was actually up in September.

2010-09-14 Some Bullish Signs for U.S. Stocks by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The November U.S. congressional election is likely to bring in more pro-business and anti-tax legislators and the U.S. stock market is already beginning to discount this news. The fact that political gridlock is the most likely prospect for the next two years is music to the market's ears. This is because investors are nervous and unsettled by some political rhetoric that has been circulating, which portrays them as bad and even dangerous to the economic wellbeing of the nation. Guild also comments on strong performance by gold and silver, and demand pull in emerging markets.

2010-09-13 Market Comment and Forecast Update by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

One can call it a 'growth recession,' but if Mr. Market wants to focus on the word 'growth' and ignore the word 'recession,' then one may well see ebullience take hold for a time. The most important factor right now is the prospect of significant downward revisions to earnings estimates in the next several months and quarters. The next great buying opportunity will be when the market has come to grips with or even overreacts to that. Therefore, patience over the near-term will be extremely important; now is not the time for impulsive buying behavior.

2010-09-07 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 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.

2010-09-07 Looks Like a Bottom! by Mike Hurley of Incline Capital

WWhile the odds suggest stocks are most likely headed higher from here, trend-following indicators such as the 'golden cross' or the weekly MACD have yet to confirm a new intermediate term up trend. The MACD is quite close however, which would reverse the 'sell' signal it registered during the the week of May 7. Commodities are looking ready to move higher as well.

2010-09-07 Financial Markets Commentary by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

With federal tax credits for housing done, housing sales plummeted 26 percent in August. To soak up excess capacity in construction, the Obama administration just proposed a $50 billion infrastructure spending plan. Whether such a stimulus can be approved by a recalcitrant Congress two months before midterm elections is of course a big question. There already should be another round of excellent earnings in October, however, as well as an 8 percent year-end return in the S&P 500.

2010-09-07 Weekly Investment Commentary by Bob Doll of BlackRock

Equity markets have been shaky in recent months, but the tightening of financial conditions that occurred in the spring and summer appears to be reversing somewhat, which should act as an important stabilizing force. At present, stocks are attractively valued and are on the cheap side - the S&P 500 Index is trading at 11.5 times forward consensus earnings, and the dividend yield for stocks is close to the yield of the 10-year Treasury bond. While no dramatic breakout of the current trading range should come any time soon, the path of least resistance for stocks continues to be up.

2010-09-01 Land of Confusion ? Bubbles and Omens Dissected by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab is sticking with its view that the recovery is square root shaped (a 'V' followed by a stall), and there's little question that we've entered the stall phase. In addition to the havoc the stall has wreaked on stock market volatility, it's taken yields on Treasury bonds to near all-time lows. This, of course, has generated a very strong upward price move in bonds (as bond prices and yields move inversely) and much talk about a 'bond bubble.' That could be the case if yields move higher, which could trigger a swift move out of bonds as an asset class.

2010-08-31 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 that advisors shouldn't follow the advice of these "seers."

2010-08-31 Merger and Acquisition Activity Rises by Team of American Century Investments

Merger and acquisition activity has jumped dramatically in the past few months. The good news for investors is that increased M&A activity can help sustain the market during a period of economic softness or a slowdown that we may face in the next several quarters. The risk for investors is whether the money spent on M&A activity will be done wisely and with a clear eye on creating shareholder value. If not, that money is probably better spent buying back shares or increasing dividend payouts.

2010-08-31 Boston! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

While the various markets can certainly do anything, it's typically not the snake you see that bites you; and currently the media is replete with stories about the Hindenburg Omen. When so many people are asking the same 'Hindenburg Omen' question, it is typically the wrong question. Meanwhile, the equity markets have been see-sawing, buffeted by deflationary worries from the bond market. The counterpoint to those lower bond yields is copper, which has broken out to the upside in the chart, suggesting no economic double-dip.

2010-08-27 Increasing Risks by Tony and Rob Boeckh of Boeckh Investment Letter

Capital preservation is of critical importance in this volatile, highly uncertain world. Within that conservative context, Boeckh has been relatively bullish on risk assets. The time has come to add another layer of caution to portfolios. The S&P 500 may well remain in an extended trading range, but we may be much closer to the upper boundary than the lower. Seasonally, we are heading into a period when markets tend to be weak, and some important declines have occurred.

2010-08-24 Urbanization, Past and Present by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital

The discovery of an 18th century ship reminds us that the United States was once itself an emerging market. This suggests cues for today's investors as the world's population fills more and more megacities. Continued urbanization will have important implications for resource use and infrastructure development.

2010-08-23 Why Quantitative Easing Is Likely to Trigger a Collapse of the U.S. Dollar by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

A week ago, the Federal Reserve initiated a new quantitative easing program, purchasing U.S. Treasury securities and paying for those securities by creating billions of dollars in new monetary base. Treasury bond prices surged. With the U.S. economy weakening, this second round of quantitative easing appears likely to continue. Unfortunately, the unintended side effect of this policy shift is likely to be an abrupt collapse of the foreign exchange value of the U.S. dollar.

2010-08-23 Markets Are Pricing in the 'New Normal' by Charles Gave of GaveKal

Either the upcoming U.S. elections, in a repeat of 1994, will bring about a Congress able to reduce the pace of government spending, thus triggering a massive sell-off in government bonds and a significant rally in equity markets, or the expansion of the U.S. government will continue, in which case investors in U.S. government bond markets will likely thrive in a repeat of what happened in Japan over the past two decades. You can guess which outcome the biggest fixed income investment houses are rooting for.

2010-08-20 Malaysia, Truly Asia? by Jesper Madsen of Matthews Asia

Malaysia will need to proceed further down the path of liberalization in order to ensure that it stays relevant in an ever more competitive environment and truly grow with the Asian continent. Fortunately, over the past few years, policymakers have scaled back parts of the country's affirmative action system and placed emphasis on the expanding the services sector - both of which are long-term positives that could bode well for Malaysia relevance, not just as a tourist destination, but for long-term capital appreciation.

2010-08-18 Ten Ways to Improve The Returns on Your Portfolios by Kendall J. Anderson of Anderson Griggs

On May 25, 2010, Dr. Paul Woolley, former head of the International Monetary Fund's investment and borrowing activities and founder of the UK arm of Grantham, Mayo, van Otterloo, laid out 10 policies that if adopted, could increase annual returns after inflation by 25 percent and long-term returns by at least 50 percent. He addressed his comments to the world's biggest public pension and charitable funds. His 10-point manifesto, however, will work just as well for individuals, offering the same, if not greater, potential return benefits to their portfolios.

2010-08-17 Misconceptions about Risk and Return Uncovered by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

Our beliefs about risk and return determine how we construct portfolios and manage risk. Research over the last decade suggests that a number of the ideas on which many investors and advisors rely lead to portfolios that are too highly exposed to market risk. In this article, we review a number of ideas that determine how we select assets and how we determine what to expect from those assets.

2010-08-17 Cerulli Survey Results: New Themes in Advisors? Portfolio Strategies by Bing Waldert (Article)

New ideas, such as tactical asset allocation and the use of alternatives, have seen some uptake even before the market crisis, particularly within large institutions, but they are receiving increased attention as solutions for risk-averse clients. This article examines some of the evolutions, using data from a Cerulli Associates survey of Advisor Perspectives readers conducted in June and July of 2010.

2010-08-17 'Promised Land?' by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Last week investors gave up on stocks, worried that Wednesday's 90 percent downside day marked the end of the summer rally, and fearing that another big decline was in the offing as we enter the dreaded months of September and October. While statistically those months tend to be the worst of the year, that wasn't the way it played last year, and it is doubtful that it will play out again that way this year. While the equity markets may pull back, none of the characteristics that mark a major 'top' are currently in place.

2010-08-16 Late Summer Slumber? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The stock market rallied nicely in July after reaching the bottom of its recent range. Incoming data remains mixed but indicates that the economic expansion continues. However, risks remain elevated. The Federal Reserve downgraded its view and is discussing how to combat possible deflation, while federal and state governments continue to grapple with budget issues. Chinese growth has slowed, but the stock market is providing some positive indicators. Central banks around the world are creating a muddied picture.

2010-08-10 When Active Management Matters by Kenneth R. Solow, CFP and Michael E. Kitces, MSFS, MTAX, CFP (Article)

Financial planners have eagerly awaited any research that could finally, definitively prove - or disprove - the pesky notion that active management is effective. Though no one has yet risen to that challenge, past academic studies have been improperly interpreted to show that portfolio policy, or asset allocation affects portfolio returns far more than active management. As Ken Solow and Michael Kitces write in this guest contribution, the most recent study to tackle the active management debate, by Yale professor Roger Ibbotson, shares two weaknesses with previous research.

2010-08-10 Is the Market Efficient? by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

After Marxism, no economic theory today may be as derided and despised as the hypothesis of market efficiency. The idea is often misunderstood, sometimes willfully. So what does "market efficiency" mean? In the latest installment of his series for the educated layman, Adam Jared Apt provides some answers.

2010-08-03 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)

In a letter to the editor, a reader responds to Dave Loeper's article, Fake Diversification Exposed: Does Asset Allocation Work?, which appeared on July 13.

2010-08-03 Insights from the U.S. International Balance of Trade by Team of American Century Investments

The U.S. trade deficit increased to -$42.3 billion in May. Large and increasing trade deficits are sustainable as long as the rest of the world is willing to lend money to finance them. Growing trade deficits, however, are unhealthy in the long term. Trade imbalances also cause imbalances in capital flows. There was a time when it was argued that, as the U.S. entered a post-industrial society and economy, its growing trade deficit in goods would be offset by a growing trade surplus in services. Nearly three decades of experience, however, have demonstrated that this isn't the case.

2010-07-30 Inflation in 2010 and Beyond? Practical Considerations for Institutional Asset Allocation by Michael Katz and Christopher Palazzolo of AQR Capital Management

Traditional institutional portfolios with risk characteristics similar to a 60/40 stocks/bonds allocation are not well-positioned for unexpected inflation. Stocks are not effective inflation hedges, particularly in the short and medium term. Meanwhile, traditional institutional allocations resemble a 'bet' on low inflation. A risk-based approach to strategic asset allocation, however, may generate more balanced performance across both inflationary and deflationary periods.

2010-07-28 Market Thoughts and the Long-Term Outlook for Inflation by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The bull market in bonds will end reasonably close to the point in time that inflation (or deflation) bottoms. This is because the major economic factor that correlates consistently with the direction of market-determined interest rates, at least for long term Treasury Bonds, is CPI Inflation. Core inflation should recede from around 1 percent now to near 0 percent in the next 12-to-24 months, which would imply an ultimate bottom in the long bond yield of 2.5 percent and 2 percent for the 10-year T-note.

2010-07-27 Robert Shiller: A Cautious Outlook for Stocks by Dan Richards (Article)

Dan Richards recently spoke with Robert Shiller, the Yale economist who foresaw the financial crisis and created the Case-Shiller housing index. Shiller discusses the potential for a double-dip recession, valuations in the US equity market, and the outlook for a housing recovery. This is the transcript of the interview.

2010-07-27 Active Managers Add More Value in Bull than Bear Markets by Jane Li, CFA, CAIA (Article)

In this guest contribution, Jane Li of FundQuest argues that both active and passive investing have their strengths and weaknesses; it depends on the market segment in question and on the economic climate. Active managers tend to add value in bull markets, but their value is shakier in bear markets.

2010-07-27 We're All Chartists Now by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Fed chairman Ben Bernanke may not be the world's best forecaster. He has the deepest rolodex, however, deeper than that of any CEO. And when he uses the phrase 'unusually uncertain' to describe the economic outlook, it is irrational to ascribe anything fundamental to the current market rally. The technical picture has indeed improved. The market gets it wrong, however, as often as it gets it right. There is still potential for many disappointments in earnings reports to come.

2010-07-22 Musings on Asia by Vitaliy Katsenelson of Investment Management Associates

The popping of both the Chinese and Japanese bubble economies will lead to higher interest rates. The Japanese government will probably not be able to intervene in the economy for much longer, and so rates in that country will rise and there will be little they can do about it. China's government, meanwhile, seems to be mulling another multi-hundred-billion-dollar stimulus over the next few months. The Chinese government's actions are thus the wild card that will determine the duration and the magnitude of the bubble's pop - the longer they intervene, the direr the consequences will be.

2010-07-22 A Precious Metals Bubble? by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

In the first few days of July, the prices of gold and silver appeared to break a five-month upward trend by drawing back about 5 percent from the record June peaks. Despite many similar corrections that have occurred frequently during the long bull market in precious metals, pundits nevertheless looked to draw bold and significant conclusions from the drop.

2010-07-21 Readers? Questions Answered Part IV by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Mark Mobius responds to a new batch of reader questions. Topics include Brazil's long-term economic outlook, investing in India and the qualities of a successful investment manager.

2010-07-21 No Golden Ticket by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor

Why aren't we giddy about gold? In the abstract, gold is most attractive as a hedge in one of three extreme scenarios: high inflation, persistent deflation, or when the risk of global financial meltdown is large. Once national balance sheets are repaired through a protracted and gradual deleveraging of households and governments following the relatively rapid deleveraging of the financial sectors, particularly in the United States, excessive deflation and inflation fears will subside.

2010-07-20 Martin Leibowitz? Failed Defense of the Endowment Model by Michael Edesess (Article)

The latest book from Martin Leibowitz, one of the most respected thinkers in the investment industry, attempts to justify the endowment model of investing. As Michael Edesess writes in this review, Leibowitz's defense is highly problematic, and that should concern any advisor utilizing a Yale-like strategy.

2010-07-19 'New Normal' Nowhere in Sight by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

With GDP scheduled for release next week, Brian Wesbury and Robert Stein's estimate for annualized second quarter real GDP growth is 3.5 percent. While this is a significant reduction from their 5.5 percent forecast made in March, it is still higher than what the 'new normal' camp is predicting. Productivity growth is strong, monetary policy is (and will continue to be) easy, inventories are razor-thin, and corporate profits are growing rapidly. For the next four quarters, ending in mid-2011, Wesbury and Stein thus again anticipate growth at around a 4 percent rate.

2010-07-15 It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn (of Earnings Reports) by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

The gold market looks like yet another bubble. Over the last three years gold gained 85 percent while the broader Commodities Index declined 19.8 percent. The current surge, however, is related to 'fear factor' trade compounded by huge hedge buying of gold futures. Meanwhile, even after the rally of the last week, stocks still look cheap. The S&P 500 should close out 2010 with a gain of 8 percent, which is 9 percent higher than current levels. Corporations flush with cash and with surging revenues and earnings are a buy.

2010-07-13 Fake Diversification Exposed: Does Asset Allocation Work? by David B. Loeper, CIMA, CIMC (Article)

Domestic equities are down roughly 14.5% from their April 23rd high. Many advisors tout sophisticated (and very expensive) asset diversification strategies, supposedly to protect their clients against precisely these circumstances. So, with this recent decline, Dave Loeper asks whether all of those supposed diversifiers protected portfolios?

2010-07-09 July 2010 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

Evensky & Katz president Harold Evensky doesn't know about you, but he's getting tired of living in interesting times. Unfortunately the market gods don't much care for his opinion. So, given the reality that the markets have been a tad exciting lately, in addition to his regular meandering tidbits, he's included a number of items that he thought might provide a little perspective on the ranting of the financial talking heads.

2010-07-09 In the Shadow of the Dragon by John Downs of Euro Pacific Capital

For investors, the Chinese push into frontier markets may offer promising returns in the medium-term. For example, emerging market bonds have rallied every quarter since the end of 2008, and posted record inflows this year. Unfortunately, accessing frontier markets has historically been difficult for small investors. Poor accounting practices, corruption, lack of local knowledge, and illiquidity are risks to be considered. For the right investor, though, there are increasing opportunities to invest in these markets via enterprising Chinese firms.

2010-07-06 Currency Management Series - Part Two: Currencies as an Asset Class and Source of Alpha by John Lovito and Federico Garcia Zamora (Article)

Active currency management allows professional managers to extract alpha on a consistent basis. Two members of American Century Investments' management team explain why, despite being one of the most liquid markets, global currencies remain inefficient. We thank them for their sponsorship.

2010-07-06 Implications of a Likely Economic Downturn by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Instead of directing savings toward investments in real, productive assets that we would observe as physical output, fixed capital, and equipment (and claims on those assets in the form of corporate stocks and bonds), our economy has been forced to choke down a massive issuance of government liabilities in order to bail out bad debt. For every dollar of debt that should have defaulted, we now have two dollars of debt outstanding: the original debt, and a newly issued government security. What appears to be 'sideline cash' is simply the evidence of past spending.

2010-07-02 Focus on China: the Renminbi, Commodities and Real Estate by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The Remimbi's rise is likely to be gentle and controlled. This move does not dramatically change our overall outlook on Chinese stocks, which we think should perform well in the medium term. While the real estate market may have taken on bubble-like characteristics in some specific areas, the government has been quick to react, to control and prevent bubbles, such as introducing measures to restrict bank lending on second and third home purchases. But overall, I don?t think the Chinese real estate market is in dangerous territory in terms of a bubble.

2010-07-01 Bonding with the Bond by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The U.S. long bond yield is edging lower with each and every passing day, and now stands below 3.90%. It could ultimately reach 1.9%. The most important driver of bond yields is inflation expectations ? more important that fiscal policies or other variables. Core inflation will head lower. As for the equity market, the news, unfortunately, is not good. The S&P 500 has broken below the key line of support for the past five months of 1,040.

2010-06-29 Inflation Protection Investment Strategies by Vern Sumnicht (Article)

The value of the dollar is sure to erode, and investors will be left to grapple with the inflationary consequences. As Vern Sumnicht shows in this guest contribution, recent policies suggest steep inflation may be just around the corner. Fortunately, investors have some options to bolster their portfolios against the threat of inflation.

2010-06-29 'Getting, Keeping, Losing!' by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

From one main goal, keeping the profits accrued since the March 2009 bottom, springs many daunting questions. Is this a new bull market or a secular bear market? What should one glean from economic reports? What signals should one watch for? Jeffrey Saut explains a quote from _The Slippery Slope of Wealth_ by George Gilder and provides his commentary and call for the week.

2010-06-29 Market Insights by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Christian W. Thwaites takes a deeper look at some of todays big issues. He answers the question Inflation or Deflation, investigates the Eurozone collapse and explains the plight of the U.S. consumer. As the summer begins, Thwaites gives his outlook on the market and some simple rules to follow for a strong financial future.

2010-06-25 World Cup Fever in Africa by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The outlook for Africa is positive. It has stirred the interest of countries like China, India and other fast-growing emerging markets, which require increasing resources for their growing economies, as well as countries like Russia and Brazil, who look to expand their enterprises into global operations. South Africa, acting as a representative for the continent through the World Cup, has shown that it can host an international event to international standards, and this bodes well for the region's future investment prospects.

2010-06-25 The Big Picture by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Escalating global economic imbalances have dramatically increased the vulnerability of the global recovery. The chances of a growth relapse in the second half of the year are higher than the equity market and credit market have priced in. Treasury bonds seem to be the asset class that most closely shares these cautious views. Anyone with a pro-cyclical bent has to answer for why it is that the yield at mid-point on the coupon curve is below 2 percent, a year after a whippy rally in equities and commodities and what appeared to be a sizeable policy-induced GDP jump off the bottom.

2010-06-24 Daring to Compare Today to the 30s by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Look at what we have today: No room to cut rates. No room ? let alone political will ? to cut taxes. And, in contrast to starting a new war, the U.S. is going to be pulling troops out of Afghanistan, which is a good thing for the troops and their families, but in terms of GDP impact it does represent fiscal withdrawal. The options to resuscitate the economy when it enters a 2002-03 style growth collapse are extremely thin, and probably lie on the Fed?s balance sheet, which means the bond-bullion barbell will likely remain a viable strategy.

2010-06-24 No Surprises from the Fed by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Federal Open Market Committee surprised no one with its decision to keep the Fed funds target rate in a range between zero and 0.25 percent, where it's been since December 2008. The new statement marked the first time since the economic recovery began last summer that the Fed had to slightly dial back its language about the pace of the recovery. Stocks rallied immediately after the announcement, but in light of rampant intraday volatility lately, it's way too soon to judge if there will be any longer-term impact.

2010-06-23 What a Flexible Yuan Means for the Economy by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor

Even if the Chinese authorities allow two-way movement of the yuan against the dollar to reduce speculation, Chinese policies could support the U.S. Treasury market, commodities and risky assets more generally - especially if other emerging market countries take a cue from China and allow only gradual depreciation. However, a sharp appreciation against the euro and dollar without other policies to support Chinese consumption could contribute to much slower global growth and higher inflation as increased Chinese production costs are transmitted to G10 consumers.

2010-06-22 China Rising by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

China just decided it will once again let its currency - the yuan - get stronger against the U.S. dollar. Yuan appreciation will do two things. First, it will lower Chinese inflation relative to U.S. inflation. Second, it will raise the living standards of Chinese citizens. Where previously the Chinese government might have wanted the peg in order to encourage export growth, now the political calculus is starting to favor expanding the purchasing power of its workers. This is a sign of maturity for both the economy and Chinese policymakers.

2010-06-22 Inexpensive Protection Against Rising Rates by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

As is too often the case, the biggest risks are those that we discount. The possibility of a surge in interest rates appears to be today's ignored risk, despite the warnings of many experts, including David Einhorn, Bill Gross, and Seth Klarman. We discuss an inexpensive strategy to protect your portfolios from the tail risk of rising rates.

2010-06-21 China's Currency Shift Not a Game-Changer by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The big news over the weekend was the move by China to end the yuan peg to the U.S. dollar. This delink will allow the People?s Bank of China to pursue its own independent monetary policy. In turn, this will help to ease global trade imbalances, ward off the threat of trade protectionism, alleviate domestic credit strains and inflation pressures and accelerate the Chinese shift from export-led to consumer-led growth. It also suggests that the Chinese authorities have confidence in the sustainability of the global recovery.

2010-06-17 The New Economic Reality - Part III by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Inflation can occur in either an economic expansion or a depression. In either case gold, currencies of countries with conservative financial management and stable banking systems, real estate, and other real assets can do well. In an inflationary expansion fast growing companies and producers of commodities will also do well. During deflation, bonds will do well if the issuer can make the payments. Gold often holds its value in terms of buying power even in a depression.

2010-06-15 The Dow-Gold Relationship by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

David Rosenberg provides a chart comparing the Dow Jones Industrial Average to gold prices since 1900. If this ratio ends up retesting the two fundamental lows that it has achieved in the past, and if we are correct in our assertion that gold will go to $3,000 per ounce, then we may be getting a Dow 5,000 trough at some point down the road. Rosenberg also comments on the Fed's continued hold on monetary policy, and the threat posed by rising debt levels to growth.

2010-06-11 Schwab Sector Views: Why Sectors? by Brad Sorensen of Charles Schwab

Views on the S&P 500 sectors.

2010-06-10 April 2010 Commentary by Bill Middleton of Sound Portfolio Advisors

Perhaps the most encouraging signs in markets today are general pessimism and lowered expectations. Mass expectations tend to be dead wrong, and are therefore excellent contra-indicators. The first- and second-best performing asset classes of the past 10 years, gold and real estate, were so ill-regarded prior to 2000 they weren't even included in the data provided by the Wall Street Journal in January of that year. The best performing asset class for the 1995-1999 period, science and technology, was by far the worst performing for the following 10 years.

2010-06-09 Not Your Typical Pullback by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The outlook for the U.S. economy and the earnings backdrop have become highly uncertain due to the European debt crisis, which, with a lag, will end up hitting our shores. In the name of prudence, a higher risk premium must be applied to the investment decision-making process, which in turn means that a focus on income, capital preservation, and defensive, noncyclical strategies will work best. Trading up in quality and reducing risk will be the key to solid investment performance in coming months.

2010-06-08 Five Strategies for a Rising Rate Environment by Kane Cotton, CFA and Jonathan Scheid, CFA (Article)

The Federal Reserve can't accommodate forever, and the global stimulus effort will likely lead to inflation. Our growing indebtedness can only result in increased borrowing costs. That much we know. What we don't know is when and how quickly interest rates will rise. In this guest contribution, Kane Cotton and Jonathan Scheid examine five strategies for a rising rate environment.

2010-06-04 The New Economic Reality - Part II by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Some investors believe that deflationary influences will lead to an immense slowdown in world economic activity, and thus thus are selling stocks, buying bonds and short-selling commodities. Others think government action to forestall the deflation will end up creating inflation, and are buying commodities, buying stocks and avoiding bonds As the two sides pull markets back and forth, volatility will continue. To deal with the volatility, Guild is holding a large percentage of client assets in cash and gold, which can rise in either an inflationary or a deflationary situation.

2010-06-03 Spotlight on Southeast Asia by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The GDP of Southeast Asia is about the same size as India, and within two decades, the region is expected to have a larger and younger population than Europe. It is also a major exporter of soft commodities like palm oil, rice, tapioca, coconut oil, and rubber. Vietnam is one of the key frontier markets in Southeast Asia, and valuations there are among the cheapest in the world. Indonesia's extensive resources and large population put it in a favorable position to attract investments and establish a strong domestic economy.

2010-06-02 Manufacturing, Construction and Gold by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Deflation is still the primary trend, coupled with massive reflation efforts and the unintended consequences that come along with those efforts. The name of the game is therefore to focus on strategies that deliver income, minimize volatility and emphasize capital preservation in a secular bear market, and to use commodities as a buffer in a financially unstable world. Rosenberg also comments on rising manufacturing activity and construction, and rising gold sales at the U.S. Mint.

2010-06-01 Three Ways to Improve Safe Withdrawal Rates by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

Using Monte Carlo analysis, Geoff Considine examines three ways safe withdrawal rates can be increased beyond the baseline 4% guideline. He compares and quantifies the benefits of increasing diversification beyond equities and bonds, increasing allocations to fixed income, and employing tactical asset allocation.

2010-06-01 Equity Income Targets Utilities by Philip Sundell, CFA (Article)

Natural gas local distribution companies are appealing utility business models to conservative equity investors. They tend to have stable earnings and stronger balance sheets. Philip Sundell of American Century Investments discusses his overall outlook for utilities in this interview. We thank American Century for their sponsorship.

2010-05-28 Burgers, Parades & Baseball Games by Doug MacKay and Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

This year should bring only measured gains in equity markets, even as the economy demonstrates solid growth. A near-term range of 1050 on the downside and 1150 on the upside may likely persist until we get some sense of closure on both Europe and offshore drilling. If we can get past these issues, a year-end target of 1250 would still seem plausible, roughly the level where the markets traded when Lehman went down a year and a half ago. The good news is that this year-end target now represents a 14 percent gain from current levels as opposed to only 5 percent one month ago.

2010-05-28 May Volatility, Downward GDP Revision and Sputtering Labor Markets by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

We are still in the midst of a credit collapse. There is simply too much debt and debt service globally relative to worldwide income. The fact that we had a year-long respite does not alter this view, because that respite was induced by an unsustainable pace of bailout and fiscal stimulus in practically every country on the planet, not just in the United States. Governments bailed out the banks and stimulated the economy. But because the revenue cupboard was bare, public sector debt loads exploded at all levels of government, and to varying degrees, in every jurisdiction.

2010-05-26 Renewed Risks and Multi-Speed Global Recovery to Restrain World Trade Flows by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor

Global trade growth is unlikely to reach its pre-recession highs in the short term, with exports of several trade-dependent economies, particularly emerging markets, growing at a slower pace due to weaker import demand in the U.S. and EU amidst consumer deleveraging, fiscal austerity and slow recoveries in labor markets and household wealth. In the medium term, however, structural reforms in emerging markets and surplus countries to increase domestic demand will boost trade among emerging markets, as well as global trade flows, changing their direction and composition.

2010-05-25 Seth Klarman is More Worried than at Any Time in his Career by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The concern that the dollars he earns for his clients will lose their purchasing power is always on hedge fund manager Seth Klarman's mind. The possibility that the government will continue to print money to solve our economic problems has left him more worried than at any time in his career. We report on Klarman's remarks at last week's CFA conference.

2010-05-25 Sleeping with the Enemy by John W. Pfenenger II, CFA (Article)

When it comes to investing, our worst enemy may be the one we see in the mirror every morning - ourselves. In this guest contribution, John Pfenenger looks at how emotions affect investment decisions, and how understanding behavioral economics can help advisors work with their clients.

2010-05-21 Take Your Pick - A Tale of Two Investment Trends by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The developed world is deleveraging and Europe is moving toward deflation and depression. Meanwhile, the Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Indian-led developing world is growing and experiencing inflation. Guild?s portfolios are largely in cash and, and they will spend it as bargains appear. Investors should consider buying gold and begin looking at China?s market, which is becoming attractively priced. In the case of oil, Brazil, India, Korea, and Singapore Guild plans to wait until the fear subsides and use the correction as an opportunity to buy into these markets.

2010-05-18 Jeremy Grantham Guarantees Gold will Crash by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Jeremy Grantham, the investor celebrated for his ability to spot and exploit bubbles in asset classes, guaranteed yesterday that the current bull market in gold will end. His proof? He bought some - for his own account - at the end of last week. That comment was tongue-in-cheek, but he went on to identify two asset classes likely to go into bubble territory.

2010-05-18 Actively Passive or Passively Active? by Craig L. Israelsen, Ph.D. (Article)

The active-passive debate typically centers on the nature of the investment product - whether it is an actively managed fund or a passive index fund. This, however, is only one aspect of that debate, and to consider it alone represents too simplistic a view, says Craig Israelsen in this guest contribution. A broader issue, namely how a portfolio of actively or passively managed funds is managed over time, has a more profound impact on whether one is truly an active or passive investor.

2010-05-18 Sovereign Debt Crisis Drives Volatility Higher by Bob Doll of BlackRock

Investors have grown increasingly concerned about the potential for contagion from Europe, fearing credit issues could affect other markets. While European Union rescue plans do not address the underlying fundamental issues facing Greece and other countries, however, immediate liquidity risks should be contained in the short term. On a relative basis, U.S. markets have benefited from the uncertainty, as investors have continued to view the United States as a higher-quality haven for their assets. This makes U.S. stocks more attractive than those of other developed markets.

2010-05-14 Schwab Sector Views: Sea Change? by Brad Sorensen of Charles Schwab

Market volatility has heated up during the past couple of weeks as more eyes have turned toward the debt problems plaguing Europe. After a nice run in equities, it's certainly not surprising to see some sort of pullback, especially in areas of the market that may have outperformed to start the year. The United States is entering a time of more-steady growth, with flattening leading economic indicators, which typically represents a shift in sector leadership. The information technology sector, for example, should outperform the market, while materials should underperform.

2010-05-14 The Effect of Inflation on Purchasing Power by Robert Urie of Pioneer Investment Management

This paper provides an analysis of what inflation is and its effect on purchasing power. Inflation is a broad rise in the price level of goods and services that reduces purchasing power. In recent decades it has occurred in two predominant forms: rapid, steep increases in prices and a long, persistent rise in prices that gradually erodes purchasing power. Both forms result from a combination of the level of economic growth, monetary policy and unforeseen supply and demand shocks.

2010-05-14 Why the Depression is Ongoing; Gold Glitters by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The "depression" is ongoing because real personal income, once you remove all the government handouts, has barely budged. Outside of the lagged impact of all the government stimulus and the arithmetic impact of inventory accumulation, the U.S. economy is not growing. Separately, gold has broken out to the upside even as the U.S. dollar has done likewise on the back of a renewed flight-to-safety bid.

2010-05-11 Why Some Hedge Funds Made Money in 2008 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Steven Drobny is the co-founder of Drobny Global, an international macroeconomic research and advisory firm that counts many of the leading global hedge funds and money managers as clients. He is also author of a recently released book that identifies why some hedge funds made money in the 2008 crisis, while the majority did not. In this interview, he discusses the common themes among successful strategies.

2010-05-10 Brushwood is to Forest Fires as Leverage is to Financial Crises by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

Leverage ratios are way down since the financial crisis. The issuance of leveraged securities such as collateralized debt obligations, collateralized loan obligations and commercial mortgage-backed securities is nearly completely halted, and so the 'brushwood' necessary to stoke the next financial crisis is almost entirely absent. Heron also comments on the significance of Greece, Thursday's 'flash-crash,' the weakness of financial regulation, technicals vs. fundamentals, and investment strategy.

2010-05-10 The Technicals Were Ripe For a Correction... by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Last week's sell-off clearly resulted from a buildup of tension in technical factors coupled with overriding concern about the unfolding debacle in Europe. Numerous signs were flashing the caution light prior to last week. On the other hand, even though the technical factors were ready for a breakdown, a majority of the economic releases from last week suggest the recovery is still in its infancy. Investors should brace for another volatile week following the announcement that Europe will ready nearly $1trillion to bolster its capital markets.

2010-05-10 Euro-Sclerosis No Longer and Last Week's Market by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

In what can only be described as a spectacular showing of solidarity, European Union finance ministers managed to cobble together a 750 billion euro stabilization program. This is over and above the 110 billion euro Greek bailout package announced last week and is widely seen as a very powerful countermove against the 'wolf pack' that had been attacking the peripheral euro area financial markets over the past few weeks. Equities, commodities , credit and lower-tiered sovereign bonds should all improve markedly. Gluskin also comments on last week's uncertainty in capital markets.

2010-05-07 Keeping an Eye on Currencies by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Even though it is not clear if, when, and how China will make an upward revision in the value of its currency, one trend is clear: moves involving the renminbi by Chinese authorities will be closely watched around the world as China steps up to play a bigger role in world trade.

2010-05-05 The Commodities Con by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Investor allocation to commodities has grown dramatically in recent years - to the point where commodities have become a mainstream asset class. Commodity prices have thus at least partly been driven not by fundamental demand but by demand from financial investors eager to diversify their equity risk and attracted to the seemingly high probability of generating uncorrelated returns. What these investors do not seem to understand, however, is that now that traders themselves determine market prices, the promised land of uncorrelated returns is little more than wishful thinking.

2010-05-03 Violating the No-Ponzi Condition by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Greece has insufficient economic growth, enormous deficits (nearly 14 percent of GDP), a heavy existing debt burden as a proportion of GDP (over 120 percent), accruing at high interest rates (about 8 percent), payable in a currency that it is unable to devalue. This creates a violation of what economists call the 'transversality' or 'no-Ponzi' condition. Unless Greece implements enormous fiscal austerity, its debt will grow faster than the rate that investors use to discount it back to present value.

2010-04-28 Greece, Europe and the Significance of Yesterday's Market Action by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The Euro bounced back this morning, and the flight to higher quality German and French bonds has partly reversed course as markets swirl with speculation that the IMF will announce a stepped-up aid package. The problem, however, is that if Greece is bailed out then Portugal, Ireland, Spain and perhaps Italy may not be far behind. The inability of Greece - and others within European monetary union - to enact an independent monetary policy at a time of crisis has exposed the flaws of the union. The lack of a cohesive national government is another flaw in times of turbulence.

2010-04-27 Gary Shilling: America?s Lost Decade by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The US faces 10 years of slow growth and deflation that could rival Japan's "lost decade" - two words which Gary Shilling did not utter but which unmistakably characterize his forecast. Shilling is founder and President of the New Jersey-based economic consulting firm A. Gary Shilling & Co.

2010-04-27 China: House of Cards or Emerging Superpower? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Few topics are as contentious as the fate of the Chinese economy. The bulls argue that its growth will propel the global economic recovery and that China will ultimately supplant the United States as the leading world superpower. According to the bears, the Chinese economy has been fueled by unsustainable fiscal stimuliand is a prototypical bubble poised to burst. Five panelists at the Strategic Investment Conference debated this question.

2010-04-22 U.S. Politics and Bank Reform Legislation by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Election years often bring wild political actions as politicians defend their poor records by blaming anything that comes to mind. If the rhetoric against banks is not too strong, the rally could continue. If the rhetoric gets out of hand, we will see a market correction for a few weeks with a resumption of stock price increases later in the year. Guild continues to invest in Asian growth countries, oil, gold, and export driven companies who can grow earnings while shipping products worldwide.

2010-04-20 Lessons from Yale?s Endowment Model and the Financial Crisis by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

The Yale endowment's performance during the financial crisis was worse than what would be mathematically expected, but not significantly enough to question the endowment model's tenets. Moreover, Yale's performance and philosophy suggest two very important lessons for advisors and investors- to diversify beyond equities and fixed income, and that some illiquid asset classes can be an important source of alpha.

2010-04-13 What Correlates With Bond Yields: The Core and the CPI Are All That Matter by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Monetary policy is the strongest single predictor of bond yields, with an 88 percent correlation. Inflation and inflation expectations, meanwhile, drive Fed policy, and core inflation commands a 75 percent historical relationship with bond yields. Slack in the economy drives inflation expectations, and we currently have tremendous spare capacity in goods, labor and housing. Rosenberg also comments on the tenuous prospects for a big recovery, despite hopeful signals from equity markets.

2010-04-09 Portfolio Strategy by Bradley Turner of Chess Financial

Three first principles of preserving and growing capital deserve our attention at this juncture in financial markets: Never own too much of any one investment, keep only those investments that offer the prospect of a reasonable return, and accept that financial markets will behave in a way that confounds the majority of people. These first principles speak to the importance of portfolio diversification, maintaining reasonable expectations and avoiding the latest fads. Turner also discusses prospects in the bond, stock, commodity and commercial real estate markets.

2010-04-09 Reform We Can Believe In by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Appointments to positions of power in the Federal Reserve system should be independent of the political process and party politics. Credit default swaps should be regulated by requiring that they be traded on an exchange. Commercial and investment banking should be separated, so that commercial banks cannot engage in speculative activity such as running hedge funds. Leverage use by large banks should be restricted. "Fix the big things. Credit default swaps. Too big to fail. Leverage. Then worry about the details. And leave the Fed alone."

2010-04-07 When the Facts Change by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

An echo bubble is upon us. Echo bubbles are the children of primary asset bubbles, and emerge when monetary authorities respond to the bursting of a primary asset bubble by slashing policy rates. Extraordinarily low interest rates are currently encouraging another bout of excessive risk taking. If policymakers raised rates now, however, they would almost certainly kill the fledgling recovery. The pressure is therefore on monetary authorities to keep rates low and feed the new bubble. Investors should steer toward assets that benefit from high volatility.

2010-04-07 We Expect China to Remain Strong by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

China will not melt down in the near future, as some fear. Chinese exports have fallen in recent years, but infrastructure building and consumer spending will help pick up the slack. While bad real estate loans may become a problem in China, the problem should be well-contained. And provinces can raise taxes in order to pay off loans. Guild and Danaher also comment on instability in Mexico, Alan Greenspan's recent Congressional testimony and global markets.

2010-04-06 Do Not Give Up on Stocks: Stay Active by Jay Feeney of Robeco Investment Management

Stocks clearly have much better fundamental earnings support now than they did in mid-2009, when profits were still in a downward spiral. Money, however, is flooding away from active strategies and into passive indexing and ETFs. At this juncture, the headwinds against expansion are considerable and this stacks the balance of risk in favor of active stock-picking strategies that maintain a strong valuation bias. Higher-quality large cap stocks should also be emphasized, since the rally off the bottom has favored lower quality names, leaving the larger names with more attractive upside.

2010-04-05 The Rising Cost of Commodities on the Consumer by Team of Bespoke Investment Group

The price of oil is up sharply today, and is trading above $86. While commodity traders love the rise in oil prices, consumers aren't nearly as enthusiastic, especially ahead of the summer driving season. To them, higher prices mean more pain at the pump, and in their wallets. Indeed, while low food and energy prices continue to serve as a rebate for consumers, that rebate has been dwindling since March 2009, and could soon turn into a tax, as they were from the beginning of 2008 through the summer of that year.

2010-04-01 Market Insight by Duncan W. Richardson of Eaton Vance Investment Managers

A year ago today, changes in the financial markets were nearly overwhelming for investors. At the close of last year's first quarter even the most sanguine of observers couldn't help but worry that the worst might not be over yet. Investor fear was reflected in the March 2009 asset allocation survey by the American Association of Individual Investors showing record low 41 percent allocations to equities and record high 45 percent allocations to cash.

2010-04-01 The U.S. Bond Market is Losing Steam by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Smart investors will buy stocks on dips, sell their long term bonds denominated in the euro and the U.S. dollar, and shift into shorter maturity bonds or into stocks that can grow. Investors should consider selling all long term bonds of any type. Guild and Danaher favor foreign stocks in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. They also favor export-driven companies in developed countries, and commodity producers globally, especially oil companies that are increasing their production. Gold is in a trading range, and should be bought for below $1090 per ounce.

2010-03-22 Useful Frameworks For Investment Analysis by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

The S&P 500 rallied in March to an 18 month high, but is still below pre-recession levels. The daily volatility of the stock market has declined to levels not seen since the summer of 2006. The overall stock market, however, is still slightly overvalued. Corporate earnings and Federal Reserve policy over the next year will determine whether current levels are sustainable, and whether the U.S. avoids another double-dip recession. Sound frameworks for investment analysis will be crucial.

2010-03-18 How will an RMB revaluation affect China, the US, and the world? by Michael Pettis of Michael Pettis

Even if the U.S. took unilateral action to force a revaluation of the RMB and restore the balance of trade, it would take years to wean China away from its undervalued currency. An optimal solution would be to work out a multilateral plan that ends manufacturing subsidies in China, Japan and Germany and returns income to households, while the U.S. and the U.K. shift income from households to investment. Such a global solution, however, may prove politically intractable. Any country that benefits in the short term from stonewalling the adjustment process will probably do so.

2010-03-18 We Suggest Investors Listen to What China Is Saying by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

It is clear from China's pronouncements that the government is willing to raise the value of its currency, but that it will delay doing so if the U.S. or any other major nation threatens the country or pressures it to take action. If Western politicians keep their mouths shut, China probably will raise the value of the Yuan. Guild and Danaher also comment on recent gold purchases by the Chinese and Indian governments amidst inflation fears, as well as market conditions in China, Brazil, Russia, India, Europe and the U.S.

2010-03-16 The New Investment Paradigm: Graham Meets Markowitz by Bob Veres (Article)

Broadly speaking, the financial services industry has been divided into two competing paradigms since roughly 1950. One, articulated by Harry Markowitz, suggests advisors add value through diversified portfolios optimized along the efficient frontier. The other, advocated by Benjamin Graham, says advisors add value by purchasing assets at prices less than their fair value. Bob Veres reconciles those views and describes the New Paradigm that has emerged.

2010-03-11 What the PBoC Cannot Do with Its Reserves by Michael Pettis of Michael Pettis

What the People's Bank of China does to the value of China's currency and how it invests its reserves matter a lot to China and the world, but not always in the way China and the world think. To get it right, we need to keep in mind the functioning of the balance of payments, the PBoC and other balance sheets, and the way the two are interrelated.

2010-03-03 Will Silver Sparkle in 2010? by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor

Silver may never reach the price level of gold, but silver could gain relative to gold in the short term. The price volatility of silver compared to gold opens up short-term opportunities for higher capital gains. Silver has wider industrial applications than gold, and is therefore better positioned to benefit from the recovery in global industrial production. In the long run, however, silver is 16 times more abundant than gold, and has enjoyed increased mining production since 1999, and so gold probably always remain more precious than silver.

2010-02-24 Still No Tightening in China by Nouriel Roubini of RGE Monitor

A credit-fueled investment boom propelled China's 8.7 percent growth rates in 2009, but cheap money also drove up asset prices, especially in property markets. Loose money may now become inflationary, particularly if China's potential growth rate has come down. China's monetary policy has shifted toward a neutral stance in recent months, but may tighten to contain inflation and the property bubble.

2010-02-23 A Greek Tragedy, 'PIIGS,' and a Euro Challenge by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Greece's public debt has risen to 110 percent of its gross domestic product, and its budget deficit stands at 14 percent of GDP, well above the EU limit of 3 percent. This has raised concerns about other European states with questionable finances, including Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain. The political risks of a Greek default, however, will probably motivate other EU nations to support the troubled country.

2010-02-23 Jason Zweig on Protecting your Wealth by David Raileanu (Article)

Jason Zweig is a senior writer and columnist for Money magazine and frequently writes for the Wall Street Journal. In this interview, he discusses strategies for protecting client wealth, proper asset allocation, and the role of advisors in a fiduciary relationship.

2010-02-22 Inflation is Contained, Fed Focus on Growth and Jobs Remains in Place by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The January consumer price index report shows no inflationary pressures. The CPI rose 0.2 percent last month following similar gains in the previous four months. The Federal Reserve will continue to focus on economic growth and jobs, while eliminating emergency measures put in place as the economic crisis unfolded in August 2007.

2010-02-22 Financial Economics, Deregulation and OTC Derivatives: Interview with Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst

This is an interview with author Yves Smith, the creator of Naked Capitalism. Smith?s new book explores the methodological shift of economics in the 1940s and 1950s, when economists decided to make their discipline more "scientific" and thus more mathematical. This methodological shift ignored the flaws neoclassical and financial economics, and led to the deregulation of financial services, which in turn allowed for predation and looting.

2010-02-20 G7 Weekly Economic Perspectives by Christopher Probyn and Geoffrey Somes of State Street Global Advisors

U.S. housing starts rose 2.8 percent in January, and industrial production jumped 0.9 percent to its highest level since December 2008. Investor risk appetites revived, boosting commodities and sending equities higher for the second week in a row, while government bonds eased.

2010-02-16 G7 Weekly Economic Prospects by Christopher Probyn and Geoffrey Somes of State Street Global Advisors

Christopher Probyn and Geoffrey Somes of State Street Global Advisors say in their weekly economic commentary that US retail sales rose 0.5 percent in January, but consumer confidence fell 0.7 points, to 73.7. Investor risk appetites improved following assurances that the EU will stand behind Greek fiscal reforms.

2010-02-16 Outlook Report: 2010 Searching for the Afterparty by Robert N. Stein of Astor Asset Management

Markets will grow in 2010, but foreign and domestic gains will be harder to find than they were a year ago. The market's panic and robust recovery suggest a return to growth rates closer to historical norms, with some areas outperforming others. Sectors that performed best during the recession may be the highest performers during the recovery.

2010-02-16 How Professionals Select Investments by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

In this guest contribution intended for the educated layman, advisor Adam Apt discusses the process by which investment managers select individual securities, contrasting the disciplines of fundamental and technical analysis.

2010-02-13 Fear Takes the Wheel by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital says in his economic commentary that the recent strength of the stock market may be more attributable to fears of inflation than an improving economy. Growing U.S. debt levels threaten to swamp to dollar, and are leading investors away from dollars and treasury bonds.

2010-02-12 Insights from CM Analyst Conference Part II by Tom Wu of Franklin Templeton

Tom Wu of Templeton Asset Management says the emerging markets of Turkey and Hungary may offer opportunities for rapid growth. Turkey has built its foreign exchange reserves to $70 billion, while the MCSI Hungary Index posted 78 percent returns in 2009. Wu notes, however, that these opportunities for growth come with higher risks.

2010-02-11 U.S. Congress a Help or a Hindrance? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management say markets are undergoing a correction after the 2009 rally. Debt in Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain will keep investors on edge over the next few weeks or months, as will inflationary fears in China.

2010-02-11 Equity Investment Outlook January 2010 by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

In its equity investment outlook, Osterweis Capital Management says it expects the economy to continue expanding this year, but notes that it might face headwinds from a double dip in the housing market and an unwinding commercial real estate sector. Stocks recovered sharply last year in the face of expected profit recovery, but may but may suffer temporary setbacks if the economy disappoints.

2010-02-10 World Markets Dance to China's Tune by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Monty Guild and Tony Danager of Guild Investment Management say China is now recognized as the world's engine of economic growth, with $2.4 trillion in surplus capital and a fast growth rate. They expect China's GDP to grow at least 9 percent in 2010 even if the country's real estate bubble bursts.

2010-02-10 Global Trade in Recovery Mode by Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics

In an update to its Q1 2010 global economic outlook, Roubini Global Economics says that world trade will grow by between 4.5 percent and 5 percent in 2010, led by fiscal stimulus spending, inventory restocking and slight improvements to global demand. Global trade volumes shrunk by an estimated 13 percent in 2009 in the first decline since 1982 and the sharpest in the post-war period.

2010-02-09 China?s Quest for a Shortcut to Greatness by Vitaliy Katsenelson (Article)

The Chinese economy must be getting out of control, because the Chinese government is doing the unthinkable: It is desperately trying to put the brakes on its economy. Author and fund manager Vitaliy Katsenelson looks back at how China got into this trouble and looks forward to China's prospects.

2010-02-08 G7 Weekly Economic Perspectives by Christopher Probyn of State Street Global Advisors

In SSgA's weekly market roundup, Christopher Probyn says the latest Purchasing Managers Indexes suggest that activity is picking up, albeit unevenly, across the G7. Concerns over sovereign credit, regulatory policy and the sustainability and strength of the global recovery, however, are holding down appetites for risk.

2010-02-04 Market Review & Outlook by Ronald W. Roge of R.W. Roge

R.W.Roge is a NY-based advisor and fund manager. They call for a "slow and bumpy" recovery, and expect interest rates to rise. They are investing in the shorter end of the yield curve, TIPS, and high-quality dividend paying stocks.

2010-02-02 China's Strong GDP Up 10.7% in the Fourth Quarter, but is Inflation on the Horizon? by Team of American Century Investments

American Century looks at the sources of growth in the Chinese economy its future projected growth rate. Easy credit and stimulus measures are potentially leading to a real estate bubble and inflation. Exports from China grew in December, following 13 months of decline, and ??the world may have to continue to rely on China as the biggest engine of economic growth.?

2010-02-02 Change ? The Only Constant by Christina Ho (Article)

The Institute for Private Investors serves families with over $50 million in assets. Their data show wealthy investors have increased their use of tactical asset allocation and are positioning their portfolios to defend against liquidity, concentration and inflation risk.

2010-02-01 Breakfast With Dave by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Rosenberg provides an update to his bearish outlook. He says credit flows remain constrained, amid new bank failures last week. The spending freeze announced by the Obama administration will provide what amounts to a ?rounding error? of improvement in the context of the unemployment situation. Investors should consider a defensive allocation ? similar to what would have worked in 2008 but did not work in 2009.

2010-01-30 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

This client-oriented letter comments on a number of financial planning topics: the benefits of marriage (men now benefit more than women), the rise in scams due to low interest rates, the implications of volatility and how individual investors should view the market, new proposals for 401(k) plans, and a few others.

2010-01-28 Q1 2010 Market Commentary by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

?We expect world markets to be volatile but trade sideways or rise slightly through early spring. After that time, we expect a correction in world markets. We believe that the stock market correction

2010-01-28 "Extended Period" of Low Rates Starting to Lose Support by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Federal Reserve made no direct changes to the stance of monetary policy today, leaving the target range for the federal funds rate at 0% to 0.25%. However, one member dissented from the Fed?s comm

2010-01-28 Insights from EM Analyst Conference by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Mobius? posting has comments from analyst Dennis Lim about the role of commodities and consumer spending in the BRIC economies, notably in China.

2010-01-26 Diversification Really Does Pay Off by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

The last decade severely tested investors' belief in the value of diversification and strategic asset allocation, leading some in the financial media to assert that diversification and asset allocation failed and were worthless during the crash of 2007-2008. Now is an ideal moment to look back and assess the carnage.

2010-01-26 Using Alternative Investments to Build a Stronger Portfolio by Robert M. Hussey (Article)

Traditional asset classes may no longer provide sufficient portfolio diversification, but there's a new wave of mutual funds that offer alternatives strategies previously available only to large institutions. Robert Hussey of Natixis Global Associates describes how alternative strategies can be used in a mutual fund package. We thank them for their sponsorship.

2010-01-26 Robert Merton on Regulating Derivatives by Dan Richards (Article)

Robert Merton is a professor of finance at the Harvard Business School and the 1997 winner of the Nobel Prize in economics for his work on pricing models for options and derivatives. In this interview with Dan Richards, Merton explains the role of derivatives in creating the financial crisis, and what steps regulators should take to address them.

2010-01-26 Punctuated Equilibrium by Dan Richards (Article)

Dan Richards says we're dealing with a more fundamental issue than the recent market turmoil. "We're going through one of those rare periods of ground-shaking change that have taken place throughout history, something that was in the works well before last fall's market excitement," he says, and explains how advisors should deal with more demanding customers, new technology and global competition.

2010-01-25 The Week in Review by Christopher Probyn of State Street Global Advisors

SSgA?s weekly G7 market review and commentary

2010-01-23 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Politics and investors make strange bedfellows and, for the time being, the two do not seem to get along very well. Despite some reasonably favorable earnings reports, investors instead took their cu

2010-01-21 Breakfast with Dave: Market Musings and Data Deciphering by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

In my view, three years after the detonation in residential real estate, it is still all about housing. And it will be interesting to see how the markets handle (i) a near-term renewed decline in the

2010-01-20 A Strong Dollar Call by Art Patten of Symmetry Capital Management

We're taking a more bullish stance on the USD and related assets such as Treasuries? Markets are making the same case today, with the dollar up, and stocks and commodities down. Pundits are attribu

2010-01-19 Inflation Myth and Reality by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

It is in this context that we should consider inflation risks over the coming decade. At present, inflation risks are hardly considered to be problematic by Wall Street. From the standpoint of the nex

2010-01-19 G7 Weekly Economic Perspectives: 1/15/10 by Christopher Probyn of State Street Global Advisors

This week?s data were generally disappointing. They were not bad enough to believe that the recovery is in danger, but rather that despite a potential fourth-quarter growth ?blip? caused by the invent

2010-01-19 Steve Leuthold: The Market will Rally This Year by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Steve Leuthold is chairman of the $4.5 billion Leuthold Group and one of the most widely-followed market analysts. In his keynote presentation at last week's Fortigent conference, he offered an upbeat forecast for the first half of 2010.

2010-01-19 A Market for Contrarians by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Along with Steve Leuthold, Rob Arnott, Doug Kass and DoubleLine co-founder Joe Galligan were among the speakers at Fortigent's conference. These three speakers' bearish sentiment extended across a wide range of asset classes, opening lots of possibilities for those who prefer contrarian bets.

2010-01-18 Breakfast with Dave by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

2010-01-13 Payrolls, Policies, Politics by Art Patten of Symmetry Capital Management

2010-01-13 Commodity Prices and the Consumer by Team of Bespoke Investment Group

2010-01-11 Economic Freebasaing by Cliff W. Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

"Although the US stock markets received a tremendous boost in 2009 after a debilitating 2008, the performance of the Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite indices was not enough to overcome a decade of

2010-01-11 Inflation Expectations Approach Pre-Crisis Range by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

Inflation expectations as measured by the difference between yields of the nominal U.S. 10-year Treasury note and the 10-year inflation protected security are now at levels seen prior to the onset of

2010-01-09 2010 Forecast: The Year of Uncertainty by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

"This will be my tenth annual forecast issue. Time has flown by, and I enter a new decade of writing Thoughts from the Frontline. And even as I write about the high level of uncertainty of the curr

2010-01-05 The Falling Dollar: Should We Worry? by Elisabeth L. Talbot, CFA (Article)

Over the past several months, it has become increasingly fashionable to refer to the decline of the U.S. dollar as another financial "crisis." Yet, given the current state of the global markets, declaring that the dollar's recent losses amount to a "crisis" is an overstatement, says Elisabeth Talbot in this guest contribution. To the contrary, current conditions surrounding the dollar are arguably supportive of - if not integral to - economic recovery.

2009-12-30 China's Spending Bubble by Michael J. Schussele of Michael J. Schussele, CPA

2009-12-29 Special Report - Year Ahead: Can You Handle the Truth? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

2009-12-29 Jeremy Siegel on the Undervaluation in US Equities by Robert Huebscher (Article)

"I think that earnings growth next year will be stronger than anticipated and will break the all-time high for the S&P, which was in the second quarter of 2007, when earnings for the trailing 12 months were in the low 90s," says Siegel. "In 2011 or 2012 we will break that amount. With $90 in earnings and a 15 P/E ratio, you get 1,350 for the S&P."

2009-12-29 End-of-Year Letter Templates by Bob Veres (Article)

Bob Veres is the editor and publisher of Inside Information, a publication focused on practice management and related issues for the financial planning profession. He just introduced a new monthly service, Client Articles, which will contain articles (and cartoons) that can be sent to clients, for example as part of your quarterly newsletters. He provides two sample letters.

2009-12-26 Paul McCulley Discusses PIMCO's Cyclical 2010 Outlook by Paul McCulley of PIMCO

2009-12-23 And That's the Week that Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

2009-12-21 Looking Backwards to Move Forward by Charles Lieberman (Article)

2009-12-15 Barton Biggs on Undervaluation in the S&P 100 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Barton Biggs, the former Chief Global Strategist for Morgan Stanley who now runs the hedge fund Traxis Partners, says the high-quality, large-capitalization stocks in the S&P 100 are now undervalued by one standard deviation. In our interview, Biggs also discusses his fears and how investors should protect themselves from the worst-case scenarios.

2009-12-15 Investing in Range-bound Markets by Vitaliy Katsenelson (Article)

Vitaliy Katsenelson, a frequent contributor to these pages, reviews his thesis for secular market cycles, why the US markets remain locked in a range-bound state, and what it will take for them to exit from that state.

2009-12-08 The Investment Value of Art by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In a newly released study, Yale Professor Will Goetzmann shows that changes in art prices over long periods of time are mostly explained by changes in income inequality. As income inequality - the percentage of income earned by the top 0.1% of the population - grows, so does the value of art. Art has little diversification value with respect to equities.

2009-12-08 Cleaning up Messes by Dan Richards (Article)

Whether it's a phone call to a difficult client, a meeting with a retiree whose portfolio has been hit hard, a tough conversation with an underperforming staff member or getting through a mountain of filing, most of us have at least one issue on which we have been procrastinating for weeks, months, maybe even years. Dan Richards gives some tips for dealing with tough issues.

2009-11-24 Gary Shilling's Version of the New Normal by Robert Huebscher (Article)

A dramatic reduction in consumer spending has doomed the US economy to slow growth and deflation, according to Gary Shilling. America's 25-year spree of profligate spending is over, and it will be supplanted by a decade-long retrenchment that will ultimately bring the consumer savings rate from 4% to double-digits, where it has not been since the mid-1980s, he said.

2009-11-24 Interview: Brian McMahon of Thornburg Investments by Robert Huebscher (Article)

We speak with Brian McMahon, CEO and CIO of Thornburg Investment Management about the Thornburg Income Builder Fund (TIBAX) and the challenges of finding income-producing securities in today's markets.

2009-11-10 Roubini: Fed Policies are Destabilizing the Financial System by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Nouriel Roubini, the once-obscure economist who gained celebrity and the title "Dr. Doom" after correctly forecasting the financial crisis, believes that current Fed policies are destabilizing the markets and pushing the economy toward another collapse.

2009-11-03 Absolutely ? Maybe by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Since Putnam introduced its absolute return funds earlier this year, over 4,200 advisors and $650 million in assets have flocked to the new financial products. Putnam's four funds seek to beat inflation by 100, 300, 500 and 700 basis points, and their performance over their first nine months (3.1%, 6.4%, 8.4% and 12.2%, respectively) was encouraging for their investors. Impressive as those results may be, the question is whether they are sustainable.

2009-10-27 Leveraged Index Mutual Funds Evolve to Meet Market Needs by Direxion Funds (Article)

Until recently, leveraged index funds had daily objectives, rebalancing their leverage at the end of each trading day in order to match their stated exposure rate. This characteristic made it necessary for investors to monitor them daily in order to both track and manage the exposure rates applied to their investments in the funds. Direxion Funds has released the first monthly-rebalanced leveraged funds, and they explain how they operate. We thank them for their sponsorship.

2009-10-20 Letters to the Editor - Fama-French and the Active-Passive Debate by Various (Article)

Last week's article, Luck vs. Skill in Mutual Fund Alpha Estimates, on the latest research from Ken French and Gene Fama drew plenty of responses. We publish two of them, both in support of active management.

2009-10-13 In Defense of Leveraged and Inverse ETFs by Tom Lydon (Article)

Leveraged and inverse exchange traded funds (ETFs) have been a lightning rod for controversy. Reasonable concerns underpin criticism of them, but these funds are largely misunderstood. Tom Lydon sets the record straight and identifies those investors for whom leveraged and inverse funds are appropriate.

2009-09-29 Strategic and Tactical Perspectives on Gold by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

There are good reasons for investors to maintain a long-term strategic allocation to gold, which has clear, positive portfolio benefits (due to low correlation to other asset classes). That said, gold is in an historic run-up in value and has been generating unsustainably high returns. Because of its high price and rising volatility, Geoff Considine argues there is significant tactical risk in gold.

2009-09-29 The Case Against Inflation by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Investors should expect extremely low inflation - just slightly above zero - for the indefinite future, according to Connie Everson, the Managing Director and co-founder of the Capital Markets Outlook Group, a Boston-based economic consulting firm that serves institutional investors throughout the world. Everson delivered her remarks to an audience of financial analysts in Boston last Thursday.

2009-09-22 Will Momentum Move Your Portfolio? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Instead of mixing value and growth stocks, investors would be far better served by combining value and momentum stocks, according to Cliff Asness, co-founder and Managing Principal of AQR Management. In fact, momentum has "kicked butt" when compared to growth over the last 80 years, Asness said.

2009-09-15 The 'Cash For Clunkers' Economy by Michael Lewitt (Article)

We are once again privileged to offer the latest edition of the HCM Market Letter, edited by Michael Lewitt, titled The 'Cash for Clunkers' Economy. Lewitt examines the drivers behind the current market rally, the health of the banking system and the housing industry, the the future for derivatives regulation. If you enjoy this newsletter, we encourage you to subscribe directly though the link provided with our article.

2009-09-15 Five Reasons to Avoid the Gold Rush (Updated) by Vitaliy Katsenelson (Article)

The reasons why one should sell the cat, pawn the mother-in-law, and use the proceeds to buy gold are well known. However, in this guest contribution, Vitaliy Katsenelson offers arguments why one should think twice before jumping in bed with the gold bugs, or at least remain sober while determining gold's weight in the portfolio.

2009-08-25 The New Normal and Asset Allocation Merriman?s Response by Larry Katz, CFA (Article)

Larry Katz, Director of Research at Merriman, Inc., responds to Geoff Considine's article two weeks ago, What the New Normal Means for Asset Allocation. He has multiple objections concerning much of Considine's logic, and would not recommend his alternative portfolio to their clients.

2009-08-18 A Crash Course in Investing Six Lessons from the Market Meltdown by Dougal Williams, CFA (Article)

The market decline from October 2007 to early March 2009 was the worst since the late 1930's. Stocks dropped 60%, investor uncertainty skyrocketed, and trust and confidence were shattered. The age-old rules for personal investing are now being questioned: Is Buy-and-Hold dead? Has Asset Allocation outlived its usefulness? Does Diversification still work? In this guest contribution, Dougal Williams provides answers to these questions that can serve as a guide for long-term investment success.

2009-08-11 What the New Normal Means for Asset Allocation by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

Bill Gross of PIMCO forecasts a New Normal - slow economic growth, higher inflation, and increasing correlations among asset classes. If this view is correct, what should investors do? Geoff Considine examines the implications for asset allocation and financial planning by stress-testing some well-known asset allocations to see how well they will serve investors in the forecast environment.

2009-08-04 How to Think about Return and Risk at the Same Time by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

In this guest contribution targeted to the educated layman, Adam Apt discusses the relationship between return and risk. Only when you can keep in mind at one and the same time these two concepts can you properly understand how to invest. And you will also understand why you should invest. Without the marriage of the concepts, you will be playing the market-or shunning it-as if it were a casino.

2009-08-04 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

In our letters to the Editor, readers respond to last week's article, How Long is the Long Run?, Geoff Considine's article, The Retirement Portfolio Showdown: Jeremy Siegel v. Zvi Bodie , and Ted Wong's article, Moving Average: Holy Grail or Fairy Tale - Part 3.

2009-07-21 The Retirement Portfolio Showdown: Jeremy Siegel v. Zvi Bodie by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)

When investing for retirement over long time horizons, advisors can choose from two apparently conflicting approaches. They can follow the advice of Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel, who has steadfastly advocated equity-centric portfolios, most notably in his highly popular book, Stocks for the Long Run. Or they can listen to Boston University professor Zvi Bodie, who says equities are simply too risky over the long term, and the core of a retirement portfolio should be Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). Geoff Considine's article shows how to resolve this conflict.

2009-07-07 Gary Shilling: Recovery is a Year Away by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Among economists, Gary Shilling owns one of the most prescient forecasting records, having accurately predicted the credit crisis and the performance of key asset classes over the last several years. Now, he says, the chances that the current wave of "green shoots" will be the finale to the recession are "pretty low."e

2009-07-07 Burton Malkiel Talks the Random Walk by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Passive investing has no more outspoken advocate than Burton Malkiel. At age 72, Malkiel remains every bit as committed to the efficient market hypothesis as when he wrote A Random Walk Down Wall Street in 1973. Malkiel, who has taught finance at Princeton for the last 20 years, was a featured speaker at the Forbes Advisor Conference last week. He insists that investors should buy and hold index funds and defended his position against a series of challenges put to him.

2009-07-07 The True Cost of Volatility by Dan Richards (Article)

Most advisors and investors hate volatility - the up and down hits to clients' long term goals. (To be more accurate, we hate the downs - the ups we don't mind so much.) Dan Richards discusses the big price clients pay for that volatility - not just stress and lost sleep at night, but volatility in portfolios that induces behavior that costs many investors serious money.

2009-06-30 Letters to the Editor: The Road to Zimbabwe by Various (Article)

In the second set of our letters to the Editor, we publish responses to to our article, The Road to Zimbabwe.

2009-06-09 Simon Johnson on Obama?s Achilles Heel by Eric Uhlfelder (Article)

While he agrees with much of what the US administration is doing to confront the economic crisis, Simon Johnson, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, fears that present policy is not addressing a key issue: the overwhelming influence of the finance industry in US economic affairs. He likens this imbalance to what we see at the core of many emerging markets crises.

2009-06-09 Let?s Talk Stocks: Berkowitz, Marsico and Weitz by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Three of the industry's most accomplished value investors - Bruce Berkowitz of the Fairholme Fund, Tom Marsico of Marsico Capital Management and Wally Weitz of Weitz Funds - spoke at a panel discussion at the Morningstar Investor Conference on May 28. We present some excerpts of their thoughts on key questions raised during the panel.

2009-06-09 Jeff Gundlach: The Party is Over by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The easy money has been made in the credit markets, as investors have reaped strong year-to-date returns, topped by 17% in emerging market debt and 30% in high yield bonds. Now the markets are in a much riskier position, said Jeff Gundlach, Chief Investment Officer of the TCW Group, in his quarterly update to investors that he titled "It was Great While it Lasted."

2009-06-02 Jeremy Grantham's Warnings to Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Of the thousands of investment letters penned in the industry, only one draws as much readership as Warren Buffet's annual letter to his shareholders: The quarterly commentary written by Jeremy Grantham. Grantham, the Chairman of the Boston-based investment firm Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo, was a featured speaker at Morningstar's Investor Conference last week, and he spoke at two breakout sessions. Those who, like me, attended both were richly rewarded, as he gave two distinctly different talks, addressing many subjects not covered in his commentaries.

2009-06-02 John Bogle and the Lantern on the Stern by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In his remarks at the Morningstar conference last week, Vanguard founder and index fund pioneer John Bogle criticized many aspects of the mutual fund industry. Bogle, who turned 80 this year, is primed to fight his next battle - reducing investor reliance on past returns - which he likens to a lantern on the stern of a ship.

2009-06-02 Letters to the Editor What the "Missing Out" Argument Misses by Various (Article)

We publish a number of responses to Ted Wong's article last week, What the "Missing Out" Argument Misses.

2009-05-26 What the ?Missing Out? Argument Misses by Theodore Wang (Article)

Market timing is discredited by passive investment advisors as a voodoo ritual. Buy-and-hold proponents argue most compellingly by citing the "missing out" scenario - they show a dramatic drop in return, to Treasury Bill levels, if investors are out of the markets for only a few good days. In this guest contribution, Ted Wong debunks the missing out argument, using 137 years of market data.

2009-05-19 Opportunities in TIPS by Robert Huebscher (Article)

TIPS offer a perfect hedge against inflation for US investors, but advisors need to understand their risks. We look at the history of TIPS prices and explain why this asset class is more volatile than you might think.

2009-05-19 David Swensen's Ascent by Mebane Faber (Article)

Mebane Faber provides an excerpt from his new book, The Ivy Portfolio, on the ascent of David Swensen and the development of the tools employed to manage Yale's endowment. Faber shows the data Swensen used to determine Yale's aggressive allocation to alternative asset classes.

2009-05-05 Defending Against Inflation: A New Look across Asset Classes by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In the long-term performance race against inflation, stocks are the hands-down winner, outpacing inflation 9.7% to 3.0% since 1926. But that history is characterized predominantly by modest inflation, with one big exception - the 1970s, when double-digit inflation contributed to a bear market. We look at new research showing the effectiveness of different asset classes as inflation hedges, and Zvi Bodie explains the implications for retirement portfolios.

2009-04-28 Gary Shilling ? Economic Forecast and Current Market Opportunities by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Gary Shilling is well-known for his forecasting record, having correctly predicted major economic events over the past several decades. Beginning in 2002, he warned his clients that the housing market "has taken on self-feeding, bubble dimensions that will sooner or later collapse," and continued to sound this warning through 2007, when his predictions came true. Dr. Shilling shares with us his current forecast for the economy and the market.


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