More on Related Themes
2015-01-07 Recession Probability Models - January 2015 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC
There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession. While I don?t agree with the methodologies employed or probabilities of impending economic weakness as depicted by the following two models, I think the results of these models should be monitored.
2015-01-06 Hurts So Good: When Exactly Are Falling Prices Bad? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital
The sudden fall in the price of oil provides a unique opportunity to examine the widely held belief that deflation is economic poison. As many governments and central banks have vowed to fight deflation at all costs in 2015, the question could hardly be more significant. While falling prices may strike the layman as cause for celebration, economists believe that it can kick off a nasty, and often inescapable, negative cycle, which many believe leads inevitably to a prolonged recession, or even a depression.
2015-01-05 Paul Krugman and the Obama Recovery by Jeffrey Sachs of Project Syndicate
The Nobel laureate economist is a great economic theorist and a great polemicist. But he should replace his polemical hat with his analytical one and reflect more deeply on recent experience: rather than throwing the US back into recession, deficit reduction has been accompanied by recovery, job creation, and lower unemployment.
2014-12-22 A Look Back at 2014 (and a 2015 Preview) by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
At the beginning of this year, we had three broad thoughts about what it would look like. First, we expected U.S. economic growth would accelerate moderately. Second, we believed Federal Reserve tapering would occur slowly and that global monetary policy would remain accommodative. And third, we forecasted that the U.S. equity market would grind higher due to central bank liquidity, modest economic acceleration, solid corporate earnings, contained inflation and an improving fiscal situation. These views formed the basis for the predictions we made in January. And at this point, we can offer a
2014-12-21 Your Time is Gonna Come: From Considerable Time to Patient by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab
Regardless of the obsession around the specific words used, the statement is somewhat par-for-the-course; and supports our consistent view that rates should begin rising at some point in mid-year 2015, that the US dollar will remain strong, and that the yield curve should continue to flatten (as a result of benign inflation keeping longer-term rates fairly low). Although our view is that the stock market will be at the mercy of more frequent mood swings, the secular bull market we believe began nearly six years ago should persist in 2015.
2014-12-19 5 Things To Ponder: Variegated Contemplations by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live
Yes, it is that magical week leading up to Christmas and the subsequent low volume push into the new year. For individuals, it is "magic time" as hopes are high that "Santa Claus" will come to WallStreet.
2014-12-11 The Fed, Jobs, and the Financial Markets by Scott Brown of Raymond James
Looking ahead to 2015, the labor market is expected to play the key part in the Feds path to policy normalization. However, as we learned from New York Fed President Dudley last week, the Fed will also consider the reaction in financial markets.
2014-12-05 Monetary Policy Outlook by Scott Brown of Raymond James
The minutes of the October 28-29 Federal Open Market Committee meeting suggested that there is still no consensus opinion among senior officials regarding when the Fed will begin raising short-term interest rates. There is strong agreement that monetary policy moves will be data-dependent. However, policymakers differ in their views on the amount of slack in the job market.
2014-12-03 Recession Probability Models - December 2014 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC
There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession. While I dont agree with the methodologies employed or probabilities of impending economic weakness as depicted by the following two models, I think the results of these models should be monitored.
2014-11-25 Monetary Policy Outlook by Scott Brown of Raymond James
The minutes of the October 28-29 Federal Open Market Committee meeting suggested that there is still no consensus opinion among senior officials regarding when the Fed will begin raising short-term interest rates. There is strong agreement that monetary policy moves will be data-dependent.
2014-11-24 Equities Benefit as U.S. Growth Solidifies by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
The dominant news story last week was President Obamas announcement of new executive actions on immigration policy, but investors chose to look past any political risks and focused on the positives. Specifically, markets reacted well to signs that the European Central Bank would expand its monetary easing and to a surprise interest rate cut in China.
2014-11-20 The U.S. Labor Market - Show Me the Money by Marie Schofield of Columbia Management
The U.S. labor market data has improved in the last six months now that many measures have reached cyclical highs. For the Federal Reserve though, this is not enough. They want to see this data feed through to a broader rise in incomes and wages, and ultimately spending. This will be necessary to bend the economic trajectory toward sustainably higher growth.
2014-11-13 The October Employment Report by Scott Brown of Raymond James
The headline figures from the September jobs report were better than expected. However, the details were more consistent with moderate growth and a continued high degree of slack. Fed officials arent going to jump to any conclusions.
2014-11-05 QE Worked, But Not As Advertised by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management
Last week the Federal Reserve announced the end of its bond-buying program, which has been running with only brief interruptions for the last six years. Besides its ultimate size and duration, the striking thing about the Feds experiment with quantitative easing (QE) is that there is still not a firm consensus on exactly how it worked. Academic economists will be busy with this question for years. But from a bond investors point of view, theres enough evidence to make a few tentative conclusions.
2014-11-05 Recession Probability Models - November 2014 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC
There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession. While I dont agree with the methodologies employed or probabilities of impending economic weakness as depicted by the following two models, I think the results of these models should be monitored.
2014-10-27 Equities Recover Some Ground and Still May Have Room to Run by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
With global deflation and growth fears fading, U.S. equities snapped their four-week losing streak last week with the S&P 500 Index gaining 4.1%. This advance marked the largest weekly gain since January 2013. Following the correction from the mid-September to mid-October, the S&P 500 has now rallied 8%, leaving it only 3% from its all-time high.
2014-10-24 5 Things To Ponder: To QE Or Not To QE by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live
Over the last few weeks, the markets have seen wild vacillations as stocks plunged and then surged on a massive short-squeeze in the most beaten up sectors of energy and small-mid capitalization companies. While "Ebola" fears filled mainstream headlines the other driver behind the sell-off, and then marked recovery, was a variety of rhetoric surrounding the last vestiges of the current quantitative easing program by the Fed. As I have shown many times in the past, there is a high degree of correlation between the Fed's liquidity programs and the advance in the markets.
2014-10-17 A Moody Market by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners
For those that may not have noticed, stock market volatility has been on the rise in October, with more up and down 1-2% days and powerful intraday moves than we've seen since the Great Recession. Weak overseas economies, fears over what rapid declines in energy prices could mean, and Ebola are just a few of the factors that have been used to explain the disappointing action.
2014-10-14 Finally, a Five Handle! by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull
Last Fridays jobs report was significant in that for the first time since July of 2008 the unemployment rate dipped below 6%. The September report indicated that the unemployment rate fell from 6.1% to 5.9%. While we have seen improvement in labor markets for some time now, the Fed still seems to want to take their time reducing stimulative policy.
2014-10-10 The September Employment Report by Scott Brown of Raymond James
The headline figures from the September jobs report were better than expected. However, the details were more consistent with moderate growth and a continued high degree of slack. Fed officials arent going to jump to any conclusions.
2014-10-08 Recession Probability Models - October 2014 by Ted Kavadas of StratX, LLC
There are a variety of economic models that are supposed to predict the probabilities of recession.
2014-10-07 Most Risk Assets Should Continue to Find Support by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
Equity prices continued to slide in the face of uncertainty over global growth and pending changes to monetary policy. U.S. growth is continuing to improve, and shows further signs of divergence from the rest of the world. Markets may remain sloppy for a while, but fundamentals suggest most risk assets should continue to perform well.
2014-09-30 The Fed Trap by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate
The US Federal Reserve is grappling with the disparity between its unconventional policy's success in preventing economic disaster and its failure to foster a robust recovery. Given that this disconnect has fueled financial-market excesses, the exit will be all the more problematic especially for the market-fixated Fed.
2014-09-19 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust
The choice for Europe: coming together or breaking apart; Scotland votes nay; The dollar has been the beneficiary of global uncertainty
2014-09-18 A New Fed Playbook for the New Normal by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital
While many economists and market watchers have failed to notice, we have entered a new chapter in the short and checkered history of central banking. This paradigm shift, as yet unaddressed in the textbooks, changes the basic policy tools that have traditionally defined the sphere of macroeconomic decision-making.
2014-09-18 Mind Your Language! by Scott Brown of Raymond James
The Federal Open Market Committee is widely expected to take another trip to Taper Town on Wednesday, reducing the monthly pace of asset purchases by another $10 billion, one step closer to ending the program in late October. The more interesting issue is whether well see any change in the Feds forward guidance on short-term interest rates specifically, whether the FOMC will jettison the considerable time language.
2014-09-16 Of Kilts, Ballots, Bankers and Dots by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
Kristina Hooper breaks down the hairy mix of economic data, central bank policy and geopolitical events, including Scotland's potential exit from the UK, that markets are combing through right now.
2014-09-04 Global: Recovery Continues, but Headwinds Persist by Keith Wade of Schroders Investment Management
Keith Wade, Chief Economist at Schroders, discusses why Schroders has trimmed global growth projections for 2014 and 2015.
2014-08-29 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust
Flexible labor markets are key to recovering from recession; Wage trends present a challenge for the Fed; Bank settlements are sizeable, but the benefit to housing has been limited
2014-08-26 Yellen at Jackson Hole by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management
I must have heard it on the radio recently, because Janet Yellens speech at this years Jackson Hole conference brought to mind lyrics from one of my favorite Beatles songs.
2014-08-23 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company
Sometimes, Im tempted to write same as last time. This is one of those times.
2014-08-21 Fed Revises Down Potential GDP In More Hawkish Minutes by Team of GaveKal Capital
In our latest quarterly presentation in July, we noted how spare capacity in the economy may be much smaller than is generally perceived. We found out today the FOMC came to similar conclusions in their latest FOMC meeting.
2014-08-12 What a Credit-Shy Consumer Means for Growth by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
Consumers have been cautious about running up credit-card debt since the financial crisis. But is that necessarily bad for the economy? Kristina Hooper breaks it down.
2014-08-06 What Asset Class Rallied Last Week amid the Sell-Off? by Luciano Siracusano III of WisdomTree
Last Thursdays 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 Mixed Signals by Brian Andrew of Cleary Gull
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to take in baseball tryouts. I know you are thinking it is August so what tryouts would be taking place in the middle of the season? These tryouts were for U-8 boys. For the uninitiated, this is when boys aged 7 and younger try out for next seasons teams. My son spent two days at a baseball camp and then finished yesterday with team tryouts. During tryouts there were six stations covering the fundamentals of the game.
2014-08-05 So, What Did We Learn? by Scott Brown of Raymond James
The busy week of economic news left investors uneasy. The 4.0% GDP growth figure contributed to concerns that the Fed may be forced to raise short-term interest rates sooner rather than later. However, while the economic data reports, and even the Fed policy statement, had something for everybody, the outlook for monetary policy should be essentially unchanged.
2014-08-04 Mounting Pressure Weighs on Equities by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
U.S. equities experienced a sharp pullback last week, with the S&P 500 Index falling 2.7%, its largest weekly decline in over two years. A number of factors contributed to the downturn, including rising geopolitical tensions, concerns over Federal Reserve policy, Argentinas debt default, a slowdown in the housing recovery and a sense that the market rally has been getting tired. Not all of the news was negative, however, since we also saw some strong economic and earnings data and increasing merger and acquisition activity.
2014-07-19 Bull Stumbles by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Any near-term correction would be healthy in the context of an ongoing secular bull market. Trying to time the market is always difficult, even though the market is in a potentially weak phase, both in terms of the annual and election cycles. And while sentiment is elevated in the United States, both Europe and China provide opportunities to invest where the mood is decidedly less enthusiastic.
2014-07-11 Why The Fed Needs You To Sell Your Bonds by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management
Today I will attempt to explain why longer-term interest rates have fallen significantly this year when almost everyone expected rates to rise. This discussion focuses on the fact that there is a shortage of Treasury securities in the marketplace today, especially in maturities of 10 years or longer. The shortage is due to a combination of factors that I will discuss below
2014-07-08 Blowout Jobs Data Wont Trigger Quicker Rate Hike by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
The markets are digesting a stellar jobs report, which may fuel debate over when the Fed will start raising rates. But its important for investors to understand the Feds holistic approach in order to avoid a kneejerk reaction, writes Kristina Hooper.
2014-07-08 Volatility Takes a Sabbatical by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates
The theme of the second quarter was low volatility, as stocks continued to grind higher. As June ended, the S&P 500 had gone 51 consecutive trading sessions without moving 1% or more in either direction. Not since April 16 has the index moved at least 1% in a given day. This is a remarkable streak and quite a contrast with the volatility of recent years. Naturally, when something like this happens, the inclination is to try to figure out what it means for the market going forward.
2014-06-25 The Feds Outlook: Optimistic? Or Just Hopeful? by Scott Brown of Raymond James
As expected, Federal Reserve policymakers left short-term interest rates unchanged, did not alter the forward guidance on the federal funds target rate, and trimmed the monthly pace of asset purchases by another $10 billion (to $35 billion beginning in July). In its policy statement, the FOMC was a bit more optimistic about a pickup in growth. Fed officials forecasts of 2014 GDP growth were revised lower, but implicitly, forecasts for the final three quarters of 2014 remained strong.
2014-06-24 A Mosaic Approach to Raising the Fed Funds Rate by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
The Federal Reserve is using a wide swath of economic data and anecdotal evidence to determine when to raise its benchmark interest rate. While prudent, it may stir up anxiety and volatility for equity investors, writes Kristina Hooper.
2014-06-14 Whos Afraid of Low, Low Rates? by James T. Tierney, Jr. of AllianceBernstein
Falling yields on Treasuries are often seen as a signal of a weakening economy that could undermine stocks. We think there are other explanations that dont threaten the outlook for equities.
2014-06-12 An Intriguing Six Point Three by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management
The latest jobs report may look pretty bland on the surface, but I can assure you that it will generate plenty of intrigue among close observers of the Fed. After falling sharply in April, the unemployment rate held at 6.3%, in contrast to expectations that it would partially reverse course.
2014-05-15 Thoughts on Investing in Convertible Securities by Alan Muschott of Franklin Templeton Investments
Changes and potential changes in monetary policy across the globe, along with increased volatility in currency and equity markets, have thrown a spotlight on convertible securities, described by some as offering the best of both worlds in terms of stock and bond characteristics. But what are they, how do they work, and how can they play a part in a diversified investment portfolio in todays market? Alan Muschott, portfolio manager for Franklin Convertible Securities Fund, who has been investing in convertible securities for more than a decade, provides his take.
2014-05-13 Equity Markets Remain Mixed as Fundamentals Slowly Improve by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
U.S. equities finished mixed last week as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was the only major index to end in positive territory. The overall macro narrative appears favorable despite the lack of market direction. Scrutiny of beaten-down momentum stocks resurfaced, although broader market spillover remained muted.
2014-05-09 Thoughts on Investing in Convertible Securities by Alan Muschott of Franklin Templeton Investments
Changes and potential changes in monetary policy across the globe, along with increased volatility in currency and equity markets, have thrown a spotlight on convertible securities, described by some as offering the best of both worlds in terms of stock and bond characteristics. But what are they, how do they work, and how can they play a part in a diversified investment portfolio in todays market? Alan Muschott, portfolio manager for Franklin Convertible Securities Fund, who has been investing in convertible securities for more than a decade, provides his take.
2014-05-09 New Dawn for Peripheral Europe? by Darren Williams, Dennis Shen of AllianceBernstein
When Mario Draghi pledged to do whatever it takes to save the euro in July 2012, nobody expected things to change so quickly. Peripheral bond markets have since turned around sharply, supporting the European economic recovery. But can the improvements be sustained after countries exit their bailouts?
2014-05-09 You Gotta Have Heart by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James
Secretariat (3-30-70 10-4-89) is considered the greatest American racehorse of all time. In 1973 he became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, and in the process he set records in all three races that still stand today. In the Kentucky Derby his time was 1:59 2/5, in the Preakness it was 1:53, and in the Belmont Stakes 2:24.
2014-05-06 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners
US Treasury yields declined across the entire maturity spectrum last week, as renewed geopolitical risk more than outweighed a strong employment report. With inflation remaining well below the Fed?s target rate of 2%, long dated Treasury yields continued to decline at a faster rate than shorter dated yields, further flattening the yield curve.
2014-05-06 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.
2014-04-28 Equities Awaiting Stronger Growth Before Next Move by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
U.S. equities finished modestly lower last week with the S&P 500 nearly unchanged. Most of the damage occurred on Friday when escalating tensions surrounding Ukraine weighed on sentiment. Positive dynamics included an improvement in first quarter earnings metrics, a notable pickup in M&A activity and deal speculation. A broader macro narrative reflects better traction for the recovery and gradual policy normalization. With momentum plays under renewed scrutiny, several internet, software and biotech companies sold off despite an expected cushion from solid first quarter results.
2014-04-25 A Creative Approach to Revitalize South Korea?s Economy by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments
South Korea has been an exciting country to follow since Templeton started investing in emerging markets in 1987. The country represents one of the great success stories of the modern age, rising from extreme poverty at the end of the Korean War to become an affluent, democratic and highly technologically advanced country. However, we believe recent years have seen signs that the methods and structures that gave rise to the years of dramatic economic progress have started to lose their effectiveness.
2014-04-24 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company
Most of the economic and market trends we've been discussing for the past few years remain in place. Russia's action in the Ukraine/Crimea may have long-term implications, particularly for Europe, but the near-term economic implications are modest. It remains to be seen whether this gets added to our long-term worry list or not.
2014-04-16 An Uncomfortable Discussion by Scott Brown of Raymond James
Income inequality is a touchy subject. It?s hard to have a polite conversation, but like it or not, we are going to have a discussion this year. I will not take a position here (this is largely a political question). Rather, I will try to illustrate what the data say and to present the different points of view.
2014-04-15 Equity Market Insight by Thomas Faust, Jr. of Eaton Vance
After a powerful rally in 2013, the first quarter of 2014 saw the bull market demonstrate a measure of resilience in the face of several headwinds. In the latter half of January, stocks fell sharply on emerging-market concerns, with volatility spiking to more "normal" post-financial crisis levels. The market bounced back strongly in February and went on to record a new all-time closing high on March 7. Performance was choppy in the final few weeks of the quarter, as investors digested mixed economic reports, geopolitical issues and the latest U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting.
2014-04-14 Economic Insight: Fed Policy Goes Back to the Future by Thomas Luster of Eaton Vance
We fully expected the strength the economy showed in late 2013 to carry over into 2014; however, that simply was not the case. Instead, we saw weaker-than-expected economic data across a wide range of economic indicators. Not surprisingly, interest rates fell modestly during the quarter rather than continuing their trend higher from last year, while U.S. stocks (as measured by the S&P 500) reacted similarly ? barely advancing after a 32% gain in 2013.
2014-04-12 In the End, Time is Everything by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners
While some will claim that valuations are to blame for the large selloff in growth stocks, high growth stocks almost always have premium valuations. In some sectors of the market, weve found that it makes more financial sense to pay up for a company of the future than to pay down for one in the past. As Warren Buffet has said, "Price is what you pay, but value is what you get."
2014-04-11 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Co.
Most of the economic and market trends we?ve been discussing for the past few years remain in place. Russia?s action in the Ukraine / Crimea may have long-term implications, particularly for Europe, but the near-term economic implications are modest. It remains to be seen whether this gets added to our long-term worry list or not.
2014-04-10 The March Employment Report by Scott Brown of Raymond James
Last week began with a speech by Janet Yellen. The Fed Chair was not expected to say much of consequence, but instead, she continued to emphasize the large amount of slack in the labor market and the Fed?s strong commitment to reduce it. The clear implication is that short-term interest rates are not going up anytime soon. This message may have been meant to counter misconceptions taken away from her recent press conference.
2014-04-08 Cementing Europe?s Recovery by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate
Europe?s renewed sense of hope and confidence, however encouraging, is not yet sufficient to produce appreciable gains for current and future generations. A few things need to happen over the next several weeks and months if Europe is to minimize the risk of another prolonged period of under-performance and financial risk.
2014-04-03 Yellen?s Labor Market Dashboard by Scott Brown of Raymond James
In her years as a Federal Reserve official (governor, district bank president, and vice chair), Janet Yellen expressed a greater concern about job conditions than her peers. As expected, that emphasis has continued into her tenure as Fed chair.
2014-03-31 Will Jobs Benefit From a Spring Thaw? by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
The upcoming jobs report, a bellwether for the health of the US economy, could reveal that the harsh winter has created a coiled spring in the labor market, writes Kristina Hooper.
2014-03-28 Fed on Target to Raise Interest Rates in the Spring of 2015 by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh
Last Wednesday, Janet Yellen presided over a press conference as the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve (Fed) following the conclusion of the Federal Open Market Committees (FOMCs) two day meeting and their release of the official FOMC statement. Markets hung on every word and some confusion was created afterwards as Yellen offered a more transparent look at the Feds timeline for raising interest rates.
2014-03-28 What Investors Should Know About Fed Forward Guidance by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management
Last week, at Janet Yellen?s first meeting as Fed Chair, the FOMC revised its forward guidance for the funds rate, dropping its reference to 6.5% unemployment and instead stressing the committee?s qualitative assessment of the economy. The change was a symbolically important step, but did not alter the broader outlook for policy rates, in our view.
2014-03-26 Yellen Speaks, Do the Financial Markets Listen? by Scott Brown of Raymond James
No surprise, the Federal Open Market Committee tapered the monthly rate of asset purchases by another $10 billion and altered the language in its forward guidance on the federal funds rate. In its policy statement, the FOMC indicated that ?it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends.?
2014-03-26 Unleashing Africa?s Potential by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton
Many investors who have never traveled in Africa probably have preconceived ideas about it, perhaps as a land of safaris and political strife, rich in coveted natural resources that have failed to bring widespread wealth and development to the continent. Many also might not realize how diverse the landscape, the economies and the people are on the continent, which boasts more than 1,000 languages spoken in more than 50 countries and climates ranging from hot deserts and tropical rainforests to frozen glaciers.
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.
2014-03-19 The Fed Policy Outlook by Scott Brown of Raymond James
Much of the recent economic data have been distorted by adverse weather, which makes it difficult to gauge the underlying strength. However, while economic activity appears to have slowed in early 2014, the longer-term outlook hasn?t changed. Growth should pick up.
2014-03-18 Can the Fed Fend Off the Ides of March? by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
Mid-March hasn?t been associated with much good luck in Europe historically. And with Ukraine mired in conflict, this year?s no different. But investors should resist the urge to react to geopolitical uncertainty and expect steady guidance from the Fed.
2014-03-16 Inequality and Opportunity by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Today we will continue our thinking about income inequality, and I will respond to some of your letters, as they make good launching points for further discussion of the topic.
2014-03-12 Housing: An Oft Forgotten Pivot Point by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management
Today we got the newly released data on the state of the economy in the form of the Fed Flow of Funds. We have often cited it as a way of corroborating certain trends and potential reversal of trends when warranted.
2014-03-12 High and Sustainable Profitability by William Smead of Smead Capital Management
To understand our third criteria for selecting stocks, you need to imagine athletes who have found the fountain of youth. Consider this: Robinson Cano has been one of the most consistently successful baseball players over the last ten years, and the Seattle Mariners just signed Cano to a 10-year contract for $240 million. Companies, however, don't have ten to twenty-year careers, because the average company in the S&P 500 Index lasts 50 years.
2014-03-10 With Fed in Charge, 5-Year Bull Run Poised to Continue by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
The Federal Reserve?s loose monetary policy and gradual improvement in the economy are two big reasons the stock market can keep moving higher, says Kristina Hooper. Will it be reflected in this week?s consumer sentiment and spending data?
2014-03-09 The Problem with Keynesianism by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Keynes himself would appreciate the irony that he has become the defunct economist under whose influence the academic and bureaucratic classes now toil, slaves to what has become as much a religious belief system as it is an economic theory. Men and women who display an appropriate amount of skepticism on all manner of other topics indiscriminately funnel a wide assortment of facts and data through the filter of Keynesianism without ever questioning its basic assumptions. And then some of them go on to prescribe government policies that have profound effects upon the citizens of their nations.
2014-03-06 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
February ended up being a strong month for stocks despite the growing perception of a slow economic start to the year 2014.
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.
2014-02-28 Bounce Back by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
US stocks have bounced and the markets still attractive and in the midst of a secular bull market. But there are likely to be bumps along the way; notably given that this is a midterm election year; which are known for first-half pullbacks. A diversified portfolio is important and both European and Chinese stocks appear to have upside, while Japan continues to frustrate with a two-steps forward, two-steps back sort of approach. And a final reminder not to replace fixed income assets with equities in search of higher income without recognizing the risk profile of a portfolio has changed.
2014-02-21 Investing in an M&A Boom by James Tierney, Jr. of Alliance Bernstein
Equity markets got off to a rough start in 2014, but a resurgence of corporate dealmaking has given investors reason to cheer. With executives? confidence increasing, and companies sitting on a mountain of cash, we think that the stage has been set for a sustained recovery of US takeover activity.
2014-02-18 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital
The new thinking amongst market analysts is that one must respond to every news flash, every short-term nuance, any variable that creates a daily ripple in prices or attitude, or risk having your portfolio drift in obscurity and underperformance. The new "keeping up with the Jones" demands that we stay tuned to business news programming 24/7 to see if were conforming to expectations.
2014-02-15 The Economic Singularity by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Today, let’s think about central banks and liquidity traps and see if we agree that central bankers are driving the car from the back seat based upon a fundamentally flawed theory of how the world works. That theory helped produce the wreck that was the Great Recession and will have its fingerprints all over the next one.
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.
2014-02-10 Growth and Policy Uncertainty Cause Choppy Markets by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
U.S. equities closed with modest gains last week, as the S&P 500 overcame Monday?s decline, the largest one-day percentage loss since June 2013. The weaker-than-expected ISM manufacturing and vehicle sales data drive the sell-off on Monday, exacerbating the focus on slowing momentum for the U.S. recovery. The impact of adverse weather complicates the picture. Also, although January non-farm payroll missed expectations, there were more upbeat indications for the household survey.
2014-02-05 The Fed's Forced Feeding Will End Badly by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services
This financial market reminds me of when we were kids sitting at the dinner table and the one thing almost all of us heard back in the 1970s was "that plate better be clean by the time I get back or else." This left us with images of torture that would follow the "or else."
2014-01-30 FOMC Sticks With the Tapering Plan by Team of Northern Trust
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) at the conclusion of its meeting today announced a further $10 billion reduction in its monthly rate of asset purchases. The increment was similar in size and composition to the first tapering step taken in December.
2014-01-28 Emerging Market Issues Weigh on U.S. Equities by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
U.S. equities finished lower last week as the S&P 500 declined 2.6% and suffered the largest weekly pullback since June of 2012. U.S. stocks are down approximately 3.0% both year to date and from all-time highs. In 2014, lack of direction in the market has been a focus, and the waning influence of macroeconomic news caused a notable shift late last week.
2014-01-27 America's False Dawn by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate
Financial markets and the so-called Davos consensus are in broad agreement that something close to a classic cyclical revival in the US economy may finally be at hand. But, while the celebration may seem warranted at first glance, the champagne should be kept on ice.
2014-01-23 Economic Growth is Likely to Improve in 2014 by Derek Hamilton of Ivy Investment Management Company
We believe a global economic upturn is likely in 2014, although the overall growth rate will remain sluggish. We think developed countries will show the largest improvement, which in turn will help support growth rates in emerging markets.
2014-01-18 Forecast 2014: 'Mark Twain!' by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
The surface of the market waters looks smooth, but the data above suggest caution as we proceed. Perhaps slowing the engine and taking more frequent soundings (or putting in closer stops!) might be in order. The cry should be "Mark twain!" Let’s steam ahead but take more frequent readings and know that a course correction may soon be necessary.
2014-01-16 A Flight to Quality by Ben Fischer of Allianz Global Investors
CIO NFJ Ben Fischer delivers his 2014 outlook, focusing on the Feds tapering of its bond-buying program and how high-quality, dividend-paying stocks should respond.
2014-01-16 Let the taper begin! Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
At the December meeting, the Federal Reserve (the Fed) decided to reduce its purchases of Treasury and mortgage securities (a.k.a. quantitative easing/QE) beginning in January 2014. This answered the question of when the taper would begin, and the markets reacted predictably. Two questions remain, however: How long until the Fed completely winds down QE; and when will short rates begin to reflect the improving economy? We feel it may be sooner on the former and could be quite some time on the latter.
2014-01-13 Stocks Rise Modestly in First Full Week of Trading by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
U.S. equities finished mostly higher for the first full week of the year, with the S&P 500 gaining approximately 0.6%. There were no meaningful directional drivers behind the price action, which is a dynamic that has been prevalent so far in 2014.
2014-01-10 Yellen's Inheritance: Monetary Policy in Flux by Joseph Carson, Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein
Evolving economic challenges are transforming central banking around the world. The new monetary-policy doctrine is likely to put greater emphasis on asset-price developments. But, without a true monetary anchor, central banks could still risk a repeat of the recent boom/bust cycle.
2014-01-07 Where are Margins Headed? by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates
The fourth quarter was another good one for stocks, with the S&P 500 returning 10.5%, and 32.4% for the year. This was the best calendar-year performance by the index since 1997. All four quarters of 2013 produced positive returns, with the first and fourth quarters, typically the strongest seasonally, both hitting double-digits. For the year Consumer Discretionary and Healthcare were the standout sectors, while Utilities and Telecom lagged. The laggards are not surprising, as they are income-oriented - an area of the market that was hurt by the backup in bond yields.
2013-12-24 The Three Key Words in Client Conversations by Dan Richards (Article)
Here are four suggestions to help read between the lines in conversations with both existing and prospective clients, including the three key words that you should always be ready to say.
2013-12-24 A Spoonful of Sugar by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital
The press has framed Ben Bernankes valedictory press conference last week in heroic terms. Its as if a veteran quarterback engineered a stunning come-from-behind drive in his final game, and graciously bowed out of the game with the ball sitting on the opponents one-yard line. In reality, Bernanke has merely completed a five-yard pass from his own end zone, and has left Janet Yellen to come off the bench down by three touchdowns, with no credible deep threats, and very little time left on the clock.
2013-12-24 Fed Taper Brings Us Back to the Future by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
A return to normal economic conditions is now more palpable following the Feds decision to start unwinding QE and early signs of a revival in consumer spending, growth and jobs, writes Kristina Hooper.
2013-12-21 Start Me Up: Fed Announces a Much-Anticipated Taper by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab
The Fed decided to begin tapering its QE-related bond purchases with a reduction of $10 billion; split evenly between Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. In a sign that tapering was already priced in, the stock market surged on the announcement; while bond yields remained quite tame. The Fed announced slightly sunnier economic forecasts, suggesting quantitative easing could wind down within a year.
2013-12-21 What Has QE Wrought? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Now that we have begun tapering, we will soon see lots of analysis about whether QE has been effective. What will the stock market do? The US economy seems to be moving in the right direction, but the Fed has forecast Nirvana (seriously) - do we dare hope they can finally get a forecast right? Or have they jinxed us?
2013-12-19 A Dovish-Bullish Taper by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors
They finally did it. At Chairman Bernankes next to last meeting, the Federal Reserve announced a modest tapering of quantitative easing, reducing its monthly purchases of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities by $5 billion each ($10 billion total) to $75 billion starting in January. As a result, the size of the Feds balance sheet will continue to rise, but slightly more slowly than before.
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 2013 A Pretty Good Year by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments
This time last year we were bullish about equities and positive on the slow but steady strengthening of the economy. The market did not disappoint. The economy was almost heroic, you might say, with its performance enduring government sequestrations and higher taxes almost a 2% drag on GDP but comporting with our expectations of 2 - 2.5% growth. 2013 is ending with GDP and the markets coming fairly close to what we thought theyd achieve. Now the year is almost out, so lets take stock of 2013 but look ahead to 2014.
2013-12-17 Taper Time? by Scott Brown of Raymond James
There are many arguments for and against an initial reduction in the Feds monthly rate of asset purchases, but the balance has shifted toward a December taper. It appears to be a very close call, but even if the Fed decides to delay again, we all know (or should know) that QE3 is going to wind down in 2014.
2013-12-10 Fiscal Policy and Monetary Policy - Update by Scott Brown of Raymond James
Market participants expected the November Employment Report to be the deciding factor on whether the Federal Reserve would begin to slow its rate of asset purchases this month. However, officials arent going to react to any one piece of data. The best argument for tapering is that it has to start sometime. However, the key factors that delayed the tapering in September and October are still with us to some extent.
2013-12-09 America's Partisan Peril by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate
Many Americans started 2013 with high hopes that congressional leaders would overcome, even if only partly, the polarization and political dysfunction that had slowed recovery. But optimism foundered over the course of 2013, while frustration soared.
2013-12-09 Pessimists Get Desperate by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors
Payrolls keep growing. Economic data stays positive. The stock market makes new highs. Its been consistent for nearly five years. And so has the pessimism. In fact, the pouting pundits of pessimism get more determined each month, trying to prove that things are really bad out there.
2013-12-06 To Taper Or Not To Taper? Digging In To Today's Employment Report by Team of GaveKal Capital
Todays employment and personal income and outlays reports may be strong enough for the Fed to begin tapering later this month. November employment came in at 203k jobs and the unemployment report dipped to a 5-year low (7%). The net revisions for September and October were also 8k higher.
2013-12-06 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust
The U.S. employment report puts taper onto the table. Dont expect further rate cuts from the ECB or the Fed. Auto sales have been a bright spot amid sluggish consumer spending.
2013-12-04 An Agenda to Save the Euro by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate
It has been three years since the outbreak of the euro crisis, and only an inveterate optimist would say that the worst is definitely over. It is not, and it wont be unless and until the eurozones structure is fundamentally reformed.
2013-12-03 Looking Out on the Horizon for Equities by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
U.S. equities finished higher for an eighth consecutive week as the S&P 500 increased 0.1%, representing the longest positive streak since 2004. Inertia may have carried markets forward in a relatively quiet trading week without major headlines. Retail news appeared fairly positive in anticipation of a strong start to the Thanksgiving shopping weekend. Economic data was mixed.
2013-11-28 Five Reasons Inflation Is Still Missing by Chun Wang of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management
Apart from a couple of market-oriented drivers that could reverse course on a short-term basis, we are not seeing convincing evidence of an imminent pick-up in inflation. Let us be clear. There is most definitely inflation in the financial markets, but that does not seem to benefit the average person in the U.S. The liquidity injected by various central banks went mostly into the financial markets first and foremost; only a small fraction of it trickled down to the average person. That is why all this money printing has not been reflected in various inflation measures.
2013-11-24 Game of Thrones - European Style by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
The Eurozone crisis is not over, and it will not end quickly or soon. Even if it seems to unfold in slow motion - like the slow build-up in a Game of Thrones storyline to violent internecine clashes followed by more slow plot developments but never any resolution, the Eurozone debacle has never really gone away. The structural imbalances have still not been fixed; politicians and central bankers have still not agreed to solve major fiscal problems; the overall economy still disintegrates; unemployment is staggeringly high in some countries and still rising; and the people are growing restless.
2013-11-21 Looking Beyond Inventories by Team of Northern Trust
Inventories have the habit of offering surprises in reports of real gross domestic product (GDP). The third quarter GDP report was one such occurrence, with inventories making an unexpectedly hefty contribution. A reversal of this event is most likely to influence the headline GDP number in the final three months of the year.
2013-11-20 Yellen: Farther To Go by Scott Brown of Raymond James
Janet Yellen gave a balanced assessment of how monetary policy will be conducted during her tenure as Fed chair. However, the financial markets perceived a dovish tilt. She stressed that conditions in the labor market are still far from normal and noted that inflation has been running below the Feds goal of 2% and is expected to do so for some time. However, Yellen noted that there were risks of removing support too late as well as too soon. QE3 cant go on forever.
2013-11-19 A Glimpse of a Yellen-Led Fed by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
Kristina Hooper highlights some key takeaways from incoming Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellens testimony before the Senate last week, including when the Fed is likely to taper its bond-buying program.
2013-11-17 The Unintended Consequences of ZIRP by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Two recently released papers make an intellectual and theoretical case for an extended period of very low interest rates and, in combination with other papers from both inside and outside the Fed from heavyweight economists, make a strong case for beginning to taper sooner rather than later, but for accompanying that tapering with a commitment to an even more protracted period of ZIRP. We are going analyze these papers, as they are critical to understanding the future direction of Federal Reserve policy. Secondly, we’ll look at some of the unintended consequences of long-term ZIRP.
2013-11-13 Fed Research on Policy Rules by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management
In a paper for last weeks IMF annual research conference, William English (head of the Federal Reserve Boards Monetary Affairs division) discussed current monetary policy strategy, with a focus on threshold rules and forward guidance. The paper caused a stir in markets but we do not think it signals a fundamental change in Fed communication. Small changes to the so-called Evans Rule are possible, but the basic framework will probably remain in place even as QE tapering begins.
2013-11-12 Markets Vacillate Between Stronger Economy and Fed Accommodation by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
U.S. equities finished mostly higher last week as the S&P 500 increased 0.6%, ending higher for the fifth straight week. The return of central bank action was a primary concern. The European Central Bank (ECB) surprised investors with a 0.25% rate cut, while the debate over the Federal Reserves impending tapering decision continued in earnest.
2013-11-12 Taper Talk by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors
Taperingplease bring it on. We wanted it yesterday, or last month, or even years ago. We never thought QE helped the economy and certainly dont think keeping it around is a good idea. Its created uncertainty at an unprecedented level.
2013-11-12 Will 39% Hike in Minimum Wage Tank The Economy? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management
President Obama called for a whopping 39% increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour last Thursday. There is already a bill working its way through in the Senate to do the same thing. If this legislation passes, the minimum wage will be increased 95 cents each year for the next three years starting this year, to bring it to $10.10 by 2015.
2013-11-11 Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! by Scott Brown of Raymond James
The economic data were mostly stronger than anticipated last week. GDP growth exceeded expectations, although the details were a bit troublesome. With everyone anticipating some impact from the partial government shutdown, nonfarm payrolls accelerated in October. Moreover, revisions to August and September, painted a much stronger picture of job growth. What does this mean for the Fed and its decision to taper?
2013-11-08 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust
The ECBs rate cut signals concerns about deflation. The U.S. job numbers provide an upside surprise. How reliable are the U.S. employment data?
2013-11-05 Geo Scores and Election Predictions by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis
Its the economy, stupid. Im sure many of us remember that statement from a few years back. With a couple of gubernatorial and many mayoral elections at hand, I thought it might be fun to provide our call on these races by looking at how the economies of those States and cities have fared over the past year. If it is indeed the economy, stupid, the below may provide some insight into where incumbents are safe and where change may come. This report will print longer due to the inclusion of more tables than usual.
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 Barrons.
2013-11-04 Why Wealth Taxes Are Not Enough by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate
The IMF is right on grounds of both fairness and efficiency to raise the idea of temporary wealth taxes in many countries. But, as appealing as such taxes may seem at first sight, a closer look reveals that the revenues are lower, and the costs higher, than calculations used to promote them would imply.
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.
2013-10-28 Beyond the Noise, More of the Same? by Scott Brown of Raymond James
Delayed economic data reports have begun to arrive. The figures point to a disappointing 3Q13 (relative to expectations) and the partial government shutdown is unlikely to help in 4Q13. The recovery had been poised for improvement this year, but fiscal policy has been a major headwind. Economic figures will be distorted in October (due to the government shutdown) and in November (due to the rebound from the shutdown). Yet, beyond the noise, the underlying pace of growth is likely to remain disappointing in the near term. Is there hope for 2014?
2013-10-26 A Code Red World by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
The heart of this week’s letter is the introduction of my just-released new book, Code Red. It is my own take (along with co-author Jonathan Tepper) on the problems that have grown out of an unrelenting assault on monetary norms by central banks around the world.
2013-10-23 Lackluster Employment Report Leaves Fed on Hold by Team of Northern Trust
The sluggish hiring pace visible in the September employment report justifies the Federal Reserves decision to postpone tapering of asset purchases. Data for the September report were gathered prior to the government shutdown, but October employment numbers will contain distortions arising from not collecting data during the typical survey period, rendering comparisons difficult.
2013-10-23 Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
The portfolio enjoyed another index-beating month with a gain of 0.9% versus 0.6%, so improving further the long term numbers. As noted in previous Bulletins, correlations between growth and equity market returns are low. Investors remain fixated otherwise, but some confusion is reasonable given that growth in earnings per share is also slowing. Yet strong equity markets can be justified by the Free Lunch Theory.
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).
2013-10-22 Bond Legend Dan Fuss on Rising Rates by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Having just celebrated his 80th birthday, Dan Fuss can claim a unique achievement ? his tenure in the fixed income markets has spanned a full market cycle, from the great bear market that began in the early 1950s through the equally great bull market that commenced in 1981. Fuss said today’s environment most closely resembles what he confronted in the late 1950s, when long-term rates were 3% and beginning their march upwards.
2013-10-21 Winners and Losers - Pensions and Food Stamps by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis
To the brink they went and a deal was had. I dont know if I call it much of a deal I kind of feel like Ive seen this B movie before. I could go on but that would put me in the same stature as the talking heads on the left and right news channels that prophesize to their viewers without regard for the rest of us. That said, one quick digression.
2013-10-21 Fourth Quarter Investment Outlook by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
The macro theme of the fourth quarter and early 2014 is monetary reflation and global growth resynchronization. The Feds surprising decision to postpone tapering its QE program will likely encourage further risk-taking. In the meantime, we observe increasing signs of a synchronized improvement among the four important economies - the United States, Europe, Japan and China.
2013-10-21 Europe Turning a Corner? by Brandon Odenath of J.P. Morgan Funds
Since late last year, investors have seen periods of strong outperformance by assets from the most impacted parts of Europe, leaving many observers wondering if Europe is turning a corner. Intervention by the ECB and the ability of those liquidity injections to stop the bleeding in the economy has helped. The reduction of austerity and drag coming from fiscal policy should be the key to faster economic growth.
2013-10-17 Politics Secondary to US Equity Fundamentals by Grant Bowers of Franklin Templeton
Its easy to get caught up in the tense drama surrounding the government shutdown and the debt ceiling squabble between Congressional Republicans and Democrats, but Grant Bowers, portfolio manager of Franklin Growth Opportunities Fund, maintains that looking beyond the political posturing and focusing instead on US corporate fundamentals is his preferred approach. Read on for more from Bowers on how he views the issues at hand, and why, even in the face of another political showdown in the Capitol, he thinks the US still presents a strong investment case.
2013-10-16 Economic Assessment Without Government Reports by Team of Northern Trust
The very near-term economic outlook is unclear and will remain so until the political impasse in Washington over the government shutdown and debt ceiling is settled. If differences are resolved in a day or two, the damage could be about 0.2 percentage points to fourth quarter real gross domestic product (GDP). A failure to raise the debt ceiling would more of a calamity, which we hope not to encounter.
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?”
2013-10-14 House Republicans Determined to Burn Country to the Ground (In Order to Save It!) by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group
Whenever our financial markets commentary strays into the realm of politics, were guaranteed to offend at least half of our clients and readers. So let us state up front that our job is NOT to choose sides but to evaluate how politics will affect the US economy and by extension corporate earnings, which are the bedrock of stock market performance. By that measure, the current tactics of House Republicans to shutdown the non-essential parts of the federal government and block raising the debt ceiling is an unmitigated disaster. Businesses crave predictability and reliabi
2013-10-14 No Sign of Economic Problems by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors
With the federal government partially shut for the past couple of weeks, the normal steady stream of economic indicators has slowed to a trickle. Weve missed reports on employment, construction, retail sales, international trade, and inventories.
2013-10-08 The Only Story in Town by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors
Its strange times in the United States. The government is partially shut down and isnt releasing any statistics. Even John Muir wouldnt be allowed to hike in a national park. All the while, the President and the Treasury Secretary are predicting an economic calamity for the US (and maybe the globe) if the debt ceiling isnt raised. Yet, they refuse to negotiate to prevent that from happen.
2013-10-08 Listen to the 10th Man by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
Theres no shortage of short-term risks in todays market or conventional wisdom on how they will play out. But prepping for the unexpected could limit the number of surprises and better insulate investors portfolios, writes Kristina Hooper.
2013-10-07 When Economic Data is Worse Than Useless by John Hussman of Hussman Funds
Investors and analysts fall over themselves daily to analyze and interpret the latest data from regional Fed surveys (e.g. Philly Fed, Empire Manufacturing), purchasing managers indices (e.g. national manufacturing, national services, regional PMIs), and other economic measures (e.g. new unemployment claims, average weekly hours). The problem is that virtually all of these measures have become not only uncorrelated with subsequent economic outcomes, but negatively correlated with subsequent outcomes.
2013-10-04 The Fed and Its Big Thumb by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Co.
Weve seen what happens when prices get ahead of the economy reality. The bubbles in the dot-coms in 2000 and the housing market in 2007 were such effects. We fear that the apparent Fed desire to continue to manipulate interest rates may engender more bubbles.
2013-10-02 And That's The Week That Was by Rob Brounes of Brounes & Associates
Move over Ben BernankeTed Cruz has the floor. (Somehow investors seem more interested when Dr. B speaks.) With politicos facing debates on debt ceilings and budget funding, few have confidence that they can act reasonably and with compromise (and the Cruz debacle did not help matters). Stocks fell over five consecutive days as portfolio managers set up positions for the next quarter. Labor and manufacturing releases highlight a hectic week on the economic calendar, but shenanigans from DC may steal the headlines.
2013-10-01 The Looming Threat to China’s Economy by Marianne Brunet (Article)
The debate over China’s economic prospects centers on its real-estate bubble, excessive leverage and rising labor costs. But regardless of its short-term fate, China’s economic growth will ultimately be limited by the availability of a key resource. China ranks second lowest in the world for water availability per capita. Water-scarcity poses a threat to its future growth. The challenge is determining how severe this will be.
2013-09-27 Read My Lips... by Dimitri Balatsos of Tesseract Partners
Chairman Ben Bernankes press conference this week, commenting on the decision by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) not to taper, reminded us of the famous slogan of Presidential hopeful George H.W. Bush at the 1988 Republican National Convention Read my lips: no new taxes. Yet, after he won the election, he raised taxes in an effort to reduce the public deficit.
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 didnt taper and de-emphasized several of the targets theyd 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.
2013-09-25 Muni Market Resurgent by Andrew Clinton of Clinton Investment Management
In light of the recent recovery in fixed income markets and the outperformance of the municipal bond market in particular, I thought I would send a note to provide a brief update since we last sent our market observations in July and August. As you may recall, we stated in the clearest terms that we felt the recent rise in interest rates provided an attractive entry point for municipal bond investors.
2013-09-23 America's Labor Market by the Numbers by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate
Net monthly job creation in the US was up in August, while unemployment was down. But, to get a real sense of the American labor markets health, we need to look at other indicators, and what these numbers have to tell us about both the present and the future is far from reassuring.
2013-09-23 Loose and Looser by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors
Larry Summers took his name out of the hat and wont be considered for the top spot at the Federal Reserve. And while nothing is a slam dunk, it looks very much like current Vice Chair Janet Yellen is going to get the call from President Obama to step up and replace Bernanke.
2013-09-23 Post Fed, Expect More Surprises by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
Kristina Hooper says investors should brace for more big market swingsand some fiscal curveballsin the wake of the FOMCs decision not to taper in September. But the economy is throwing some good surprises our way too.
2013-09-21 Rich City, Poor City by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
This week we will conclude our look at pension plans for the nonce with a 30,000-foot overview of the states and then take a deeper dive into one city: mine. This will give you at least one version of how to do your own homework about your own hometown. But fair warning, depending on your locale, you may need medical help or significant quantities of an adult beverage after you finish your research.
2013-09-19 When Doves Cry, "Not Yet" by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab
The Fed surprised markets and the consensus by maintaining its full QE bond buying program; while both stocks and bonds soared on the news.
2013-09-18 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management
Depending upon where you reside, or on which side of the issues you fall, it was a good week last week. We averted a military strike on Syria by the U.S., at least temporarily; we had reasonable adjustments to economic growth statistics; and most made some money in their portfolios. While cyclical dynamics are relatively benign, the broader secular outlook continues to build a solid foundation for recovery.
2013-09-16 FOMC Preview: Taper Likely To Be Deferred or Minimal by Team of Northern Trust
Market participants have been working overtime to refine their expectations of what the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) might do at its meeting next week. Many are calling for a cut in the Feds pace of asset purchases from the current level of $85 billion per month.
2013-09-13 Waiting for Clarity From the Fed and Congress by Team of Northern Trust
U.S. economic growth averaged roughly 2.0% in the first half of the year and the average gain of real gross domestic product (GDP) during the entire 16-quarter economic recovery is 2.2%. Real GDP is projected to grow close to this trend in the second half of the year.
2013-09-11 Demand and Supply Fundamentals Point to Continued Price Growth by Adam Artunian of John Burns Real Estate Consulting
Will home price appreciation remain strong in the face of modest job growth and the recent uptick in mortgage rates?
2013-09-10 Notable Lines by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management
One of President Obamas most notable lines, "you didnt build that," sent chills up my spine when I first heard it. As an entrepreneurial-minded business owner, I found that statement shocking, to be honest. But maybe there is some truth to it...
2013-09-09 The Shape of Things to Come by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
With a week to go before the September FOMC meeting, theres little that stands in the way of Fed tapering. Fridays jobs report didnt impress but it probably wasnt bad enough to stop central bankers from pulling some punch, writes Kristina Hooper.
2013-08-28 On Tapering, All Signs Point to “Maybe” by Scott Brown of Raymond James
Investors looking to the July 30-31 Fed policy meeting minutes for clear clues on future moves were left disappointed. Nearly all senior Fed officials expect that a reduction in the pace of asset sales is likely to be warranted by the end of the year. However, they appear evenly divided on whether that will be sooner (September) or later (December). The economic data remained mixed, suggesting that the decision will be a close call.
2013-08-26 The Case for More Mortgage QE by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
Disappointing new home sales dont mean that tapering is less likely to occur in September. Rather, it may only mean that when tapering begins, the Feds likely to start small and only trim Treasuries.
2013-08-25 France: On the Edge of the Periphery by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Charles de Gaulle said that "France cannot be France without greatness." The current path that France is on will not take it to renewed greatness but rather to insolvency and turmoil. Is France destined to be grouped with its Mediterranean peripheral cousins, or to be seen as part of the solid North Atlantic core? The world is far better off with a great France, but France can achieve greatness only by its own actions.
2013-08-20 Part-Timers and the Labor Market by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors
Over the past few weeks we keep getting the same two questions about the labor market. Basically, investors want to know whether the labor market is really improving if so many of the jobs are going to part-timers and if the more expansive definition of the unemployment rate (the one that includes discouraged workers and part-timers who want to work full-time) is about double the regular unemployment rate.
2013-08-20 The Speed of Fed Rate Hikes by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management
For the last several months, talk of tapering has dominated the Fed debate. Although there remains some uncertainty around the detailssuch as how large the initial step might bemost observers now expect the Federal Reserve to begin slowing the pace of quantitative easing (QE) at the September 17-18 meeting. Attention is now turning to another major issue on next months agenda: the publication of Fed officials forecasts for the funds rate in 2016. The Fed rolls forward the Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) by one year each September.
2013-08-19 A Bear Market Is Here: In Bonds! by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors
While it certainly hasnt made the headlines that it should have, the bond market has been kicked in the teeth. After bottoming at 1.61% on May 1, the yield on the 10-year Treasury Note hit 2.84% on Friday, its highest level in two years the worst bear market move in bonds since the end of the 2008-09 financial panic.
2013-08-19 A Warning Regarding Broken Speculative Peaks by John Hussman of Hussman Funds
We presently observe what might best be called a broken speculative peak a strenuously overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising yield syndrome followed by a breakdown in market internals.
2013-08-14 Why GDP Deserves Less Attention by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management
Before joining Columbia Management I worked for several years as an economist at a few of the large broker-dealers in New York. One of my primary functions was to maintain an ongoing estimate of growth in the nations gross domestic product (GDP)a so-called GDP bean count. Most investors use GDP as their primary summary measure of overall economic performance, so they are keenly interested in how incoming data are likely to impact the estimates. Our running tally of GDP growth for the current quarter was one of the most sought after pieces of research we produced.
2013-08-13 So Now What? by Scott Brown of Raymond James
What did we learn last week? The Fed may not be in any hurry to begin reducing the rate of asset purchases. The economic data suggest a mixed picture.
2013-08-10 We Can't Take the Chance by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
What would it have been like to be a central banker in the midst of the crisis in 2008-09? You’d know that you won’t have the luxury of going back and making better decisions five years later. Instead, you have to act on the torrent of information that’s coming at you, and none of it is good. Major banks are literally collapsing, the interbank market is nonexistent and there is panic in the air. Perhaps you feel that panic in the pit of your stomach. This week we’ll perform a little thought experiment to see if we can extrapolate what is likely to happen in when the nex
2013-08-06 Unlocking the Two Mysteries behind SPIAs by Wade Pfau (Article)
Two mysteries confound planners who purchase single-premium immediate annuities (SPIAs) for their clients: Why does the present value of a SPIA often exceed its cost, and why do equity allocations appear to increase when a SPIA is purchased? Unlocking those mysteries requires advisors to use a different framework ? based on the household balance sheet ? for the withdrawal phase of retirement.
2013-08-06 Human Capital in the Digital Economy by Alan Winger (Article)
Human capital is a key asset that planners manage as they strive to maximize consumption throughout clients’ lives. Human capital, or lifetime income, often peaks in value early in their careers. Moreover, today’s digital economy means human capital is more volatile and less predictable than in the past, and that carries important implications for financial planners.
2013-08-06 The Employment Situation and A Look at Housing by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis
This week, we start with a return to our tidbits and then insight and thoughts around the Employment Situation as reported on Friday and our take on that and related data. We also take a look at Homeownership data and wonder if the glass is half full or empty.
2013-08-06 Equities Grind Higher as the Economy Continues to Muddle Through by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
U.S. equities advanced last week, with the S&P 500 increasing 1.10%.1 For the month of July, the S&P gained 5.09%, and equities have increased 21.33% year to date. Second quarter earnings season is nearly complete, and there has not been a material change in estimated earnings for the balance of the year or 2014. Revenues were slightly ahead of expectations, and earnings per share were approximately 3% higher than expected, annualizing at about $110 per S&P 500 share.
2013-08-02 The Federal Reserve in a Time for Doves by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate
The battle is on to replace current US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and two of the leading candidates, Lawrence Summers and Janet Yellen, display a dovish bias regarding inflation. In normal times, that would be a handicap; under current conditions, it is an advantage.
2013-07-30 Result of Japan's Upper House Election by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito coalition have secured an upper house majority by winning 76 seats in the July 21st House of Councilors election to reach the total of 135 seats together with the seats that were not contested this time (out of a total 242 seats). This has ended the state of a divided National Diet, allowing more stable management by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cabinet and the ruling coalition parties.
2013-07-27 A Lost Generation by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
This week we will briefly look at why weak consumer spending is going to become an even greater problem in the coming years, and we will continue to look at some disturbing trends in employment.
2013-07-19 Fixed Income Fed Insight: It's All About Employment by Christopher Molumphy of Franklin Templeton Investments
We can try to guess what the Fed is thinking, but ultimately the Fed is driven by inflation and the labor markets. With inflation seemingly under control, its really the labor markets that dominate. So if you want to know what the Feds going to be doing, look at the labor markets how many jobs we create each month and, most importantly, the unemployment rate.
2013-07-18 What's Next for the U.S. Dollar? by Nic Pifer of Columbia Management
Global government bonds have performed poorly so far this year. Year to date through July 13, the Barclays Global Treasury Index, which covers 30 investment grade domestic government bond markets, is down 5.5% in unhedged U.S. dollar terms. The same index hedged back to U.S. dollars is down 0.6% year to date. This difference in returns highlights a key point.
2013-07-17 The Bernanke Guessing Game by David Wismer of Flexible Plan Investments
There can be little doubt that US equity markets have become more dependent than ever, at least in the short-term, on the every utterance of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his fellow FOMC members.
2013-07-16 AdvisorShares Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares
The market increased again last week and both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached record highs by the end of the week. The Nasdaq Composite Index also rose significantly, hitting a 12 year high.
2013-07-16 Bernanke Still Trying To Get The Message Across by Scott Brown of Raymond James
Economists view the Federal Reserves communications with the public as being consistent over the last several weeks. There has been no change in the monetary policy outlook. The Fed had been expected to reduce the pace of asset purchases later this year. The financial markets, however, seem to be hearing different things at different times.
2013-07-16 Arc of a Diver: The Budget Deficit's Plunge by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab
The budget deficit has been cut by more than halffrom over 10% of GDP to less than 5% today. June saw a budget surplus! The health of the private sector (given its deleveraging since 2007) more than offsets the drag from public sector deleveraging.
2013-07-15 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
After weeks of naysaying and fear-mongering about the Fed, investors finally embraced news from Bernanke and friends and equities moved back into record-setting territory. While most accept the fact that the Fed has entered the beginning-of-the-end of its bond-buying stimuli, the minutes from the latest policy meeting and a few comforting comments from Dr. B. himself helped calm the masses that the program would not end yesterday.
2013-07-13 The Bang! Moment Shock by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
This week we resume our musings about Cyprus, to see what that tiny island can teach us about our own personal need to engage in ongoing critical analysis of our lives and investment portfolios. Cyprus is not Greece or France or Spain or Japan or the US or (pick a country). I get that. No two situations are the same, but there may be a rhyme or two here that is instructive.
2013-07-12 Weekly Market Review-Highlights of the Prior week by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares
Stocks moved higher but volume was notably low over the holiday shortened trading week. This week for a change, positive economic data, not speculation about the Federal Reserves tapering of Quantitative Easing drove the market in the US.
2013-07-11 The Taper by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
If SNLs Emily Litella worked on Wall Street, shed probably be asking Whats all this hubbub about the Feds tapir? After all, its a fine animal that never hurt anyone on Wall Street. It would then be pointed out to her that the word was taper and not tapir. She would politely end her commentary with her famous Never mind.
2013-07-10 3 Risks that Could Derail the Market Rally by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
Stocks can withstand moderate rate increases, as we saw last Friday when they rallied despite a sell-off in bonds. But Russ K warns that they may not withstand these three other scenarios.
2013-07-09 The Germans Deserve Credit for Extending Credit by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments
Germanys government agreed to (indirectly, via guarantees) provide Spains government-run ICO development banks with the funding to make up to 800 million of low-interest loans to small and medium-sized businesses.
2013-07-05 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust
The odds of a September tapering have increased but are conditional on labor market conditions continuing to evolve at least as favorably as viewed at the present time. The important caveat is that the Feds forward guidance has stressed the importance of improvements in the outlook of the labor market and inflation to consider tapering, which implies that economic data between now and the September FOMC meeting will play an important role in the timing of tapering of asset purchases.
2013-07-03 The Fed's Prisoner Dilemma: Interest Rates Too Low for Too Long by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments
The Prisoner Dilemma is based on the example of two prisoners who are told that if one testifies against the other, the one who testified will go free, but if both testify against the other, both will be jailed a conundrum about courses of action that dont result in the ideal outcome. We believe the Federal Reserve (Fed) will try to manage expectations so that the Treasury yield curve does not adjust too violently.
2013-07-02 Investors Gear Up for Earnings Post-Taper by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent
Following a few weeks of FOMC-induced turmoil, investors are looking forward to getting back to the fundamentals.Second quarter earnings season are set to kick off July 8 with Alcoa, in what will mark an important reporting period for financial markets.Given the now much telegraphed intentions of the Fed, investors are scrutinizing whether the US economy and corporate sector is ready to stand on its own feet.
2013-07-01 "This Country is Different" by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Cyprus is a very small country, some 800,000 people. Among the leadership, everyone knows everyone. There is much to admire, as we will see. But Cyprus has had a gut-wrenching crisis, proportionately more dire than any in other European countries recently; and precedents are being established here for how future problems will be dealt with in the Eurozone and elsewhere.
2013-06-27 What We've Got Here is (a) Failure to Communicate by Scott Brown of Raymond James
In his press briefing following the June 19 FOMC meeting, Fed Chairman Bernanke outlined how the evolution of the economic outlook will drive policy decisions in the months ahead. The key messages are that monetary policy will remain data-dependent, that tapering is not tightening, and that higher short-term interest rates are still a long way off.
2013-06-25 The Great Debate on Inequality: Stiglitz versus Krugman by Michael Edesess (Article)
Economics Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz is the chief alarmist warning that income and wealth inequality in the U.S. is a very serious threat to the economy. So it comes as a surprise that his fellow Nobelist Paul Krugman ? Stiglitz’s intellectual comrade-in-arms ? disagrees with him. Their disagreement goes to the heart of today’s economic problem.
2013-06-25 The Price Your Clients Pay for Using Safe Withdrawal Rates by David B. Loeper (Article)
Safe-withdrawal rates (SWRs) are perhaps the most extensively studied topic in financial planning literature. But applying a single SWR-driven methodology to all clients neglects their unique and individual needs. A better approach is for advisors to assist clients in defining their ideal and acceptable goals and the relative priorities among them. Then they can demonstrate through Monte Carlo simulation the likelihood of the recommended plan becoming over- or under-funded relative to those goals.
2013-06-25 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
All markets came under pressure last week (and this morning) over the dual concerns of a slowing global economy coupled with the Federal Reserves suggestion that things are improving and thus tapering might start by the end of the year.
2013-06-21 Outlook for the Global Bond Market by Nic Pifer of Columbia Management
The global economy continues to expand, but seems stuck on a moderate, below-trend trajectory. Lately, the story seems to be more about a growth rotation across regions than a clear-cut acceleration or deceleration at the global level. Looking to 2014, however, we still expect the global economy to accelerate to a more trend-like pace.
2013-06-20 Fed Slightly More Optimistic by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors
The Federal Reserve made only slight changes to the text of its statement, but those it did make signal slightly more optimism. It said labor market conditions show further improvement, rather than some improvement and sees diminished downside risks for the broader economy.
2013-06-19 3 Reasons to Consider Spanish Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
While Europe is not out of the woods yet, Russ is less concerned about the Spanish market.
2013-06-18 GMO’s Montier on Why to Hold Cash by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Central bank policies have distorted markets to such a degree that investors are devoid of any buy-and-hold asset classes, according to James Montier. But according to Richard Bernstein, the flood of liquidity unleashed through quantitative easing (QE) now offers investors compelling opportunities.
2013-06-17 Keynesian Model Blew It Again by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors
If theres one economic conclusion we can make from recent data, its that the Keynesian model has failed - again.
2013-06-15 Economists Are (Still) Clueless by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
The economic forecasts of mainstream economists are quite positive, if not enirely optimistic, reflecting the current data. Should we not take heart from that? Alas, no. This week we look at some of our recent musings on that topic, triggered by a letter from a very serious economist who took umbrage when I wrote disparagingly about economists and forecasting a couple months ago.
2013-06-12 Silver Lining: Fed's Tapering Signals Stronger Economy by Eric Takaha of Franklin Templeton Investments
The Federal Reserves warning that it planned to scale back purchases of Treasuries sparked a storm on Wall Street, bringing instability to what had been a pleasant May in the US markets. Almost lost in the noise, however, is a silver lining: the Fed thinks the economy may be healthy enough to fly on its own.
2013-06-11 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
The last few weeks have seen volatility emerge as concerns about the Feds policy of quantitative easing and the timing of changing it have taken center stage.
2013-06-08 Banzai! Banzai! Banzai! by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
In practice it may be harder for Japan to grow and generate inflation than it might be for other major nations. Today we’ll focus on Japanese demographics. While the letter is full of graphs and charts, it does not paint a pretty picture. The forces of deflation will not go gently into that good night.
2013-06-06 Inflation Is Still the Lesser Evil by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate
The worlds major central banks continue to express concern about inflationary spillover from their recession-fighting efforts. That is a mistake: given the political, social, and economic risks of continued slow growth, policymakers should encourage a sustained burst of moderate inflation.
2013-06-04 Vincent Reinhart on Debt and Growth in the U.S. and Japan by Robert Huebscher (Article)
High debt levels translate to slower growth, according to Vincent Reinhart. That conclusion will be disheartening to those who jumped on the errors several University of Massachusetts scholars found last month in Carmen Reinhart (Vincent’s wife) and Ken Rogoff’s research. But Vincent Reinhart is the author, along with his wife and Rogoff, of a study published in 2012 that documented the degree to which high debt-to-GDP levels correlate with slower economic growth in developed countries.
2013-06-03 Following the Fed to 50% Flops by John Hussman of Hussman Funds
One of the most strongly held beliefs of investors here is the notion that it is inappropriate to Fight the Fed reflecting the view that Federal Reserve easing is sufficient to keep stocks not only elevated, but rising. Whats baffling about this is that the last two 50% market declines both the 2001-2002 plunge and the 2008-2009 plunge occurred in environments of aggressive, persistent Federal Reserve easing.
2013-06-01 After the Gold Rush by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate
The run-up in gold prices in recent years from $800 per ounce in early 2009 to above $1,900 in the fall of 2011 had all the features of a bubble. And now, like all asset-price surges that are divorced from the fundamentals of supply and demand, the gold bubble is deflating.
2013-05-31 The American Consumer is Not Okay by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate
The spin-doctors are hard at work arguing that falling unemployment, rising home values, and record stock prices mean that the American consumer the major drag on the economy in the post-crisis period is finally back. The facts say otherwise.
2013-05-28 Economic Climate Change & the Long-Term View on Yields by Sponsored Content from Loomis Sayles (Article)
Will rates rise? It’s a logical question. US Treasury yields have been in a secular downward trend since the 1980s and almost frozen at historic lows for the last several months. While recent cyclical improvements suggest the US economy is heating up, we do not expect interest rates to start soaring to record highs. The interest rate environment will eventually undergo climate change, but the process will be gradual. There are secular headwinds cooling rates, and we expect them to persist for years to come.
2013-05-28 Taking Stock by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
U.S. and global equities were under pressure last week, with all major U.S. indices lower for only the fourth time this year. With discussion of the Fed tapering its stimulus, market uncertainty gained momentum. The S&P 500 was down 1.0% for the week.1 We consider the market pullback technical in nature since the mention of a Fed quantitative easing exit likely created a natural point to take profits after the recent rally.
2013-05-22 Is Japan's Economic Rebound For Real? by Daisuke Nomoto of Columbia Management
The two phrases Abenomics and the BOJs Shock and Awe Monetary Easing are all over the headlines about Japan. Prime Minister Abe unveiled his economic policy late last year calling for a 3% annual nominal gross domestic product (GDP) growth target and an aggressive monetary easing by the BOJ (The Bank of Japan) to achieve 2% inflation. The BOJ unleashed the worlds most intense burst of monetary stimulus last month promising to double the monetary base to 270 trillion yen ($2.7 trillion) by the end of 2014 to defeat deflation.
2013-05-20 Bernanke's JEC Testimony by Scott Brown of Raymond James
On Wednesday, May 22, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify on The Economic Outlook. The next monetary policy meeting is four weeks away, but Bernanke is likely to provide a preview of what will be discussed at that time specifically, on the issue of when to begin reducing the rate of asset purchases. The short answer may be it depends.
2013-05-15 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
Fiscal Cliff. Sequester. Different names for similar budgetary issues that both basically resulted in games of Congressional kick the can. Now in a stroke of luck for non-compromising politicos, the budget deficit is shrinking as higher payroll taxes and paybacks from previously bailed out entities (thanks Fan) have enhanced government revenues since the beginning of the year.
2013-05-14 David Rosenberg ? My Love Affair with Bonds is Over by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The chorus of rate-spike-fearing inflationists has a new member. David Rosenberg, a stalwart advocate of fixed-income investing for the last quarter century, publicly declared on May 3 that his “love affair with the bond market has come to an end.” Prepare for a redux of 1970s stagflation, he said, and he advised investors how to construct portfolios to prepare for that scenario.
2013-05-14 Mohamed El-Erian: The Three-Speed Global Economy by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The global economy is operating at three distinct speeds, according to Mohamed El-Erian, and investors need to understand the implications of the divergent paths that key countries are following. Japan and most European countries are going backward, he said, and could continue in that direction for decades. The U.S. is “healing,” but not quickly enough to get to “escape velocity.” Certain emerging markets, meanwhile, are adapting technology and innovation and are growing rapidly.
2013-05-14 The Budget Deficit by Scott Brown of Raymond James
The Monthly Treasury Statement showed a large budget surplus for April. Some of that may prove to be temporary. Income was pulled forward into 2012 ahead of expected tax increases in 2013 and that was reflected in higher tax payments in April. Some of it is payback from the bailouts of a few years ago (for example, earnings from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). However, much of the improvement reflects a rebound from a severe recession. Tax revenues are recovering and recession-related expenses are trending lower.
2013-05-07 Meredith Whitney ? State-issued GO Muni Bonds are Safe by Ben Huebscher (Article)
Meredith Whitney has softened her tone regarding muni bonds. The analyst who famously predicted disaster for the entire market on national TV now she says that new governors have been elected and states have begun reforming. There will be problems in four key states, but she is not predicting a disaster. In fact, she said investors will be safe in general obligation bonds.
2013-05-06 The Economy: Why Interest Rates Shouldn't Rise Anytime Soon by Ron Sloan of Invesco
Real is irrelevant. The US Federal Reserve (the Fed) is unconcerned about real GDP the inflation-adjusted measurement of US economic growth. Rather, without inflation in our economy, the Fed is focused on raising nominal GDP. And that priority means that interest rates should stay low for the foreseeable future.
2013-05-06 All's Well That Ends Well by Scott Brown of Raymond James
The economic data reports were decidedly mixed last week. However, the April Employment Report exceeded expectations, which provided a good excuse for share prices to move higher. Bonds were whipsawed, encouraged by the view that the Fed was less likely to taper its asset purchases, but then hit hard by the better-than-expected payroll figures.
2013-05-06 Beyond the Headlines: Job Growth, Exports and Housing by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis
Congress has done something for the American public. FAA, sequester, flight delays we can fix that! While I would usually take a cynical swipe at Congress (something like, did they act because they, too, were impacted by their own stubbornness), Ill let well enough alone and simply pass on a heartfelt thanks. Perhaps this is the start of something. I hear they are working closely on immigration reform and an exemption for Congress and their staff from the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Ok, so two of three initiatives garnering bi-partisan support are purely self-ser
2013-04-30 Zebras?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James
We saw many outside zebras gorging themselves on stocks in late 2007 as the D-J Industrial Average (DJIA) made a new all-time high and then registered a Dow Theory sell signal in November 2007. Subsequently, those outside zebras ended up as lion lunch when the senior index shed an eye-popping 53% over the ensuing 17 months.
2013-04-29 The Trapdoors at the Fed's Exit by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate
It may be too soon to say that many risky assets have reached bubble levels, and that leverage and risk-taking in financial markets is becoming excessive. But the reality is that credit and asset/equity bubbles are likely to form in the next two years, owing to loose US monetary policy.
2013-04-26 The Sustainability of U.S. Interest Rates Rising by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments
Investors are growing concerned, with good reason, we think, that yields have bottomed for the 10-year Treasury and will surge as the economy gains strength. Prices, which move inversely to yields, would fall, and the question is whether rising rates in 2013 could trigger a bond bear market along the lines of the Great Bond Bear Market of 1994. We dont think so.
2013-04-25 The End of “Expansionary Austerity?” by Scott Brown of Raymond James
A few years ago, an economic paper by Harvard professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff helped fuel the push for austerity. It was met with some criticism from economists, but was widely embraced by the press and by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. The study has now been demonstrated to have had serious flaws, but will those in power fold? Or will they double down on bad economic policy?
2013-04-23 The New Challenges to Reinhart and Rogoff by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Advocates for debt reduction and austerity have had no more authoritative sources than Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff. But last week, these two professors had to defend claims that errors in their research ? ranging from a typo in a spreadsheet to the failure to include data from New Zealand ? invalidated their much-acclaimed findings.
2013-04-23 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
A reader responds to Michael Edesess’ article, Will Germany Lead the World’s Energy Revolution?, and a reader responds to Robert Huebscher’s article, Michael Pettis - Can China Save Itself?, both of which appeared last week.
2013-04-23 Federal Funds, Interest Rates and Defaults and Bankruptcies by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis
This week we focus on Federal Funds delivered to the States and consider some interesting data points to contemplate as folks pretend to get a bit more serious about addressing fiscal issues at the National level. We move on to an interesting and surprising quote on rates and then a look at some facts and figures around bankruptcies and defaults.
2013-04-22 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management
The deadly bombings in Boston last week, along with a spate of senseless killings in Newtown and Aurora, should highlight for those consumed by economics and financial market statistics the fragility of life and a sense of perspective about helping those in need at their darkest hour. How noble that on the day of the U.S. equity markets most damaging point collapse in years, our focus was on Boston and not on our wallets or portfolios.
2013-04-20 Austerity is a Consequence, not a Punishment by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Austerity is a consequence, not a punishment. A country loses access to cheap borrowed money as a consequence of running up too much debt and losing the confidence of lenders that the debt can be repaid. Lenders don’t sit around in clubs and discuss how to “punish” a country by requiring austerity; they simply decide not to lend. Austerity is a result of a country’s trying to entice lenders into believing that the country will change and make an effort to restore confidence.
2013-04-18 Reversing Quantitative Easing by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
The Fed is likely to lag the markets, as they do in most cycles. The markets will probably anticipate the Fed reversing QE. The Fed will surprise few investors. The Fed should reverse QE in a yield curve-neutral way, in our view. Steepening the curve risks perversely stimulating the economy by making carry trades and loan spreads more profitable. This cycle will probably end as do most cycles. The Fed will be behind the curve, play catch-up, tighten too much, invert the curve, and cause a recession. That end result, however, is probably quite far in the future.
2013-04-18 Inflation and Interest Rates by Scott Brown of Raymond James
The Federal Reserve began its first asset purchase program in the fall of 2008, during the depth of the financial panic. Some observers feared that the Feds actions would fuel higher inflation. However, the Fed is now well along in its third asset purchase program and inflation (as measured by the PCE Price Index) has remained low. In fact, Fed officials expect that inflation will trend at or below the 2% target for the next couple of years. That hasnt stopped the inflation worrywarts from predicting that inflation is still just around the corner.
2013-04-15 Housing Is it Getting Better, A Second Look by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis
This week we take a quick look at some of what is in the Presidents budget and then focus on the housing market (the title harkens back to something we wrote a few months back). You may sense, as you read on, Im a bit cranky this week. As you read through the housing section youll understand why.
2013-04-15 Keynes And Retail Sales by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors
No, just because retail sales fell 0.4% in March does not mean Keynes was right. Sequestration did not cause the decline. Nor did the end of the temporary 2% payroll tax cut, back in January, cause it either.
2013-04-10 Economic Slowdown Halts Equity Rally by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management
The latest softness in economic indicators probably means that more consolidation in the equity markets is required before we can advance beyond the recent all-time highs. During March, nearly all of the activity for the S&P 500 was within 1% of 1550. Equities may move lower due to deteriorating technical conditions and the possibility of weak first quarter earnings reports.
2013-04-09 BLS Revisions Include 464K More Jobs Than Previously Reported by Ali Wolf of John Burns Real Estate Consulting
The largest 358 metros created 464,000 more jobs in 2012 than the 1,472,000 jobs previously estimated, a 32% increase from initial employment gain figures. 310 of the 358 metros showed job growth.
2013-04-02 Bernanke’s Motives Behind Quantitative Easing by Paul Franchi (Article)
We are at a turning point: away from one global monetary standard, to a yet-to-be-determined new form.
2013-03-28 Today's Good News Isn't Bad for US Stocks by Daniel Loewy of AllianceBernstein
Believe it or not, recent US housing market gains, the slight reduction in jobless rates and other signs of a revival in US economic growth are making some investors bearish about US stocks. We think their fears are misplaced.
2013-03-25 Fed Outlook: Cautiously Optimistic or Just Hopeful? by Scott Brown of Raymond James
The Federal Open Market Committees latest policy meeting generated few surprises. The FOMC maintained its forward guidance on the federal funds rate target, which is still not expected to start rising until 2015, and did not alter its asset purchases plans ($40 billion per month in agency mortgage-backed securities and $45 billion in longer-term Treasuries). However, in his press briefing, Bernanke indicated that the pace of asset purchases could be varied as progress is made toward the Feds goals or if the assessment of the benefits and potential costs of the program were to cha
2013-03-22 Is Plan B for Cyprus an Exit from the Euro? by Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab
Having rejected an initial bailout package that would have imposed a levy on bank deposits, Cyprus now faces some difficult choices in exchange for continued emergency bank funding.
2013-03-21 Global Markets Time Factor by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate
In recent months, the dichotomy between booming financial markets and sluggish economies (and dysfunctional politics) has loomed large. The critical element of time and who controls it could well mean the difference between an orderly global resolution of todays ongoing financial problems and a return to serious trouble.
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.
2013-03-19 How Strong? by Scott Brown of Raymond James
The recent economic reports have been mixed. The stock market seems to have embraced the strength and ignored the weakness. The bond market typically approaches the information in a more balanced way. How might the differences between the two markets be resolved?
2013-03-18 And That’s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
Move over Dow Jones, here comes the S&P. What few thought possible a year ago is coming to fruition as the major indexes continue to push toward record territory. The S&P 500 is close (but no cigar) to besting its personal high set in late 2007, before this whole banking mess emerged and sent equities into a tailspin. Confident investors seemed to be overlooking the numerous concerns (budget/sequester, payroll taxes, Europe, China) so they can participate in the record run.
2013-03-18 Conflicting Data and Market and Credit Risk by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis
Conflicting data and information is everywhere. The equity markets make new highs, the talking heads on the various business shows talk of the new bull run, unemployment is down and a recent article in Barrons highlights the fact that State tax revenues have increased for 11 quarters running fueled by a recovery in home prices (citing BlackRock). Others challenge the recently released employment numbers saying the headlines do not tell the whole story and, once the Fed steps back and the inevitable budget cuts (less increases) come, the economys true status will b
2013-03-13 Dow--Then and Now by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is making record highs, knocking the 2007 peak off its pedestal, but investors arent celebrating.
2013-03-12 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
Stocks rose each day last week as the notion of a ho-hum global economy was reassuring to those who fear either a recession or a surge in economic activity.
2013-03-11 The Job Market: Not As Strong As It Looks by Scott Brown of Raymond James
With headwinds fading, the U.S. economic recovery appeared poised to pick up more substantially in 2013. Unfortunately, fiscal policy is going in the wrong direction.
2013-03-04 What is Italy Saying? by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate
The outcome of the Italian elections should send a clear message to Europe's leaders: the austerity policies that they have pursued are being rejected by voters. Indeed, it will take a decade or more to recover the losses that austerity has wrought.
2013-03-01 What Are The FOMC Minutes Telling Us? by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management
The release of the minutes of the January Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve (Fed) caused a tremor in the bedrock of investor euphoria last week. The minutes confirmed that the cost/benefit analysis of quantitative easing (QE) is at center of policy debate right now. However, the minutes did not provide a definitive signal that the program may be cut short. In particular, it is not clear where Chairman Bernanke and Vice Chair Yellen stand. I believe the level of debate slightly raises the odds that QE will end this year.
2013-02-27 Singapore A Wise Owl Among Currency Snakes by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital
As China enters the "Year of the Snake," Singapore stands as a beacon of sound currency in a world gone mad. China's renminbi remains pegged to the US dollar, while even steadfast Switzerland has followed the US, UK, EU, and Japan into an impoverishing strategy of currency debasement. Singapore, alone, has been able to sustain genuine economic growth in the context of a strong national currency.
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.
2013-02-21 Fed Must Tune in to Changing US Economy by Joseph Carson of AllianceBernstein
With each passing month, more questions are being asked about the sluggish US economic recovery. Why has growth been subdued since the recession ended in mid-2009? What's changed in the economy? How long can loose monetary policies persist before promoting more inflation or creating a new bubble?
2013-02-19 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)
A reader responds to Gary Halbert's commentary, The Economy: Worst Five Years Since the Depression, which appeared on February 13.
2013-02-19 On Competitive Devaluations by Scott Brown of Raymond James
Aggressive monetary policy moves in recent years have been accompanied by a growing fear of a currency war. In a currency war, or competitive devaluation, countries attempt to weaken their currencies to boost exports, but each devaluation leads to counter devaluations. That's not what's going on now. However, whether a country is purposely devaluing its currency or is merely pursuing accommodative monetary policy is irrelevant, the consequences are the same. The recent meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bankers highlights the lack of coherent policies to boost growth.
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 World War C: Neosho Capital On The Currency War by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital
This summer, Brad Pitt will star in a new film called "World War Z", an action-horror film about a post-zombie apocalypse Earth, hence the "Z" in the title. Zombie films are not our cup of tea at Neosho (we thought the genre was dead), so it is debatable whether we will see this film, but one thing is clear to us, we are perched on the precipice of "World War C", where "C" stands for "currency".
2013-02-06 The Job Market Data and the Fed by Scott Brown of Raymond James
Nonfarm payrolls fell by 2.8 million in January before seasonal adjustment, that is. Adjusted, payrolls advanced 157,000, about as expected. However, annual benchmark revisions showed a more rapid pace of job growth over the last two years a pace at odds with the Household Survey data. How might the Fed view the range of job market data?
2013-02-06 What Happens When the Fed Loses Money by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management
The Federal Reserve's exit from ultra-easy monetary policy still looks very far offby most accounts, rate hikes will not begin for more than two years and asset sales for even longer. However, the exit strategy could matter for markets well before that point. Fed officials have said that they will consider the costs and risks associated with quantitative easing (QE) when deciding how long to continue their purchases, and one factor they will be looking at will be whether the program could "complicate the Committee's efforts to eventually withdraw monetary policy accommodation."
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.
2013-02-05 2012 Equity Market Market Year in Review by Natalie Trunow of Calvert Investment Management
Equities started the year strong as global inflation remained tame, and aggressive, accommodative monetary policy by central banks around the globe helped equity markets rally hard off their lows posted in the fall of 2011. Continuously improving U.S. economic data, strong corporate earnings, and policy steps toward mitigation of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe also provided support for the equity markets worldwide.
2013-01-29 Investment Basics by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management
I've always been curious about how famous people would have done had they pursued completely different careers. Some of our former presidents make excellent examples. For instance, Abe Lincoln towered over his contemporaries. I wonder how he would have fared as a basketball player had the game existed during his life. Our heaviest president, William Howard Taft weighed well over 300 pounds. Had football risen to prominence a few decades earlier, could gridiron greatness have been part of his resume?
2013-01-24 Beggar Thy Currency Or Thy Self? by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate
One need not be an economist to figure out that, while all currencies can depreciate against something else (like gold, land, and other real assets), by definition they cannot all depreciate against each other. Yet, when push comes to shove, country after country is being dragged into a negative dynamic of competitive depreciation.
2013-01-23 Inflated Expectations? by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors
Investors should prepare themselves for higher long-term inflation because the market may be ignoring it, a mistake that could come back to haunt. On the heels of encouraging economic data, central bankers are projecting only modest price increases for goods and services over the next 10 years. But history tells us that an inflation spike is inevitable when governments print money so aggressively. As such, investors with long-term time horizons should have substantial exposure to inflation-hedging asset classes. Now, more than ever, real returns matter.
2013-01-22 Sunglasses and Cockroaches ? Six Rules for Surviving in a Bear Market by Michael Skocpol (Article)
After more than three decades investing in Japanese securities, Peter Tasker has little patience for other investors' self-pity ? and he doesn't want to hear your horror stories from 2008. Overcoming the challenges posed by bear markets requires the adaptive instincts of a cockroach, and Tasker identified six lessons investors can take away from those lowly insects.
2013-01-22 The Political Cliff by Lawrence Grossman (Article)
Cliff-dwelling politicians are sending our country toward insolvency. Averting this crisis requires unconventional yet bold thinking. I propose such a plan.
2013-01-22 Equities Set to Break Out of the Bear Trap by Catherine Wood of AllianceBernstein
In the face of significant uncertainties, US and global equities rallied in 2012 and at the start of the New Year. We think there might be more to come as stocks break out of the bear trap.
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.
2013-01-17 Rehab: An Update on Housing Recovery by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab
The National Association of Home Builders' Housing Market Index has staged a record-breaking run higher. Home prices have been rising and are feeding into real mortgage rates, consumer confidence, household net worth...and pushing fence-sitters off the fence. Housing's contribution to job growth could push the unemployment rate down more quickly than many believe.
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 Inflation, Still Not Taking Off Anytime Soon by Scott Brown of Raymond James
A few years ago, amid exceptionally large federal budget deficit and extraordinarily accommodative Fed policy, a number of pundits warned of impending hyperinflation. Instead, inflation has stayed low. That hasn't stopped the inflation worrywarts. It's just a matter of time, they say. Inflation "has to show up at some point." That's not an argument. There are a number of reasons to expect inflation to stay low.
2013-01-14 Bond Market Review & Outlook by Thomas Fahey of Loomis Sayles
The ?nal quarter of 2012 was the icing on the cake of an exceptional year for the credit sectors. Fourth quarter credit gains stemmed in part from uncommonly aggressive monetary policy responses in the third quarter. As economic growth continued to undershoot expectations, major central banks made clear that they were dissatis?ed with the status quo of tepid economic growth and high unemployment. The Federal Reserve went so far as to tie its monetary policy to the level of the unemployment rate.
2013-01-11 Charting the U.S. Employment Situation by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management
The continuing jobless claims relative to past measurements has been a chart we like to detail to show the more psychological impact of where we stand and the sentiment about the employment situation. As we have shown, the current level is just below the high points of past recessions (recessions denoted by gray rectangles). Although we are approaching the long-term average, currently 6.7% above the 30-year average, the negative sentiment is understandable.
2013-01-08 The Cliff, the Fed, and the Economy by Scott Brown of Raymond James
The budget deal removes a major uncertainty for the financial markets. We now know what tax rates will be. However, the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) has a number of drawbacks. The December 11-12 FOMC policy meeting minutes showed a split among Fed officials, but that doesn't necessarily mean that asset purchases will end any sooner. The economic data reports have been mixed but generally indicate that the recovery is in reasonable shape.
2013-01-07 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
The stock market has started the New Year in fine shape, relieved that President Obama's threat to raise taxes to the moon on capital gains and dividends were thwarted with the deal agreed to on New Year's Day.
2012-12-26 Gundlach's High-Conviction Investment Idea by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Count Jeffrey Gundlach among those who expect Japan's currency to collapse because it can't service its debt. Japan's challenges may parallel those that the US faces, and Gundlach feels strongly that they have created a compelling investment opportunity.
2012-12-26 The Ten Key Benefits of Investment Committees by Bob Veres (Article)
In this first part of a two-part report, I'll identify ten core purposes that investment committees serve in different types of firms, ranking them in order of the number of responses I received. If your investment committee is serving all ten purposes, based on the survey, you're among a select minority - which means that many advisors may find new ways to use this versatile new tool in their RIA practices.
2012-12-18 Jeremy Siegel on 'Dow 15,000' by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeremy Siegel was one of very few individuals to have correctly predicted the strong performance of the equity markets over the last year. The Wharton professor and author of the renowned book, Stocks for the Long Run, forecasts continued strong performance for the year ahead.
2012-12-18 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.
2012-12-11 Loomis Sayles' Matt Eagan on the Macro and Fixed Income Outlook by David Schawel, CFA (Article)
In this interview, Loomis Sayles' Matt Eagan discusses the fixed income universe, Fed policy and issues facing the global macro economy. Eagan is the co-manager, along with Dan Fuss, of the Loomis Sayles Bond Fund and he manages the Loomis Sayles Strategic Alpha Bond Fund.
2012-12-04 The Big Picture by David Rosenberg (Article)
Our crystal ball says to stick with what works in an uncertain financial and economic climate - in other words, maintain a defensive and income-oriented investment strategy.
2012-12-04 Cliff Diving by Michael Lewitt (Article)
While there may be compromise to avoid the self-inflicted crisis of the fiscal cliff, the course of fiscal policy is unlikely to alter significantly. There is a great deal of bold talk about tax reform, but the odds of our current leaders replacing our profoundly flawed tax regime with one that would breed economic growth and productivity are low. Congress will be lucky to avoid the fiscal cliff; asking it to alter the economy's DNA is unrealistic.
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.
2012-11-27 Over the Cliff: Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles on the Looming Deficit Crises by Michael Skocpol (Article)
As President Obama and Congressional leaders hurtle Thelma-and-Louise-style toward a budgetary precipice, another deficit-tackling duo hit the road earlier this month to deliver a simple message: This all could have been avoided.
2012-11-27 Ten (Near?) Certainties to Invest Around by David Rosenberg (Article)
The ten key trends that should guide your investment decisions.
2012-11-13 David Rosenberg on Obama's Victory by David Rosenberg (Article)
The election is behind us. The Fed has spent its last bullet. We are at an inflection point of the earnings and sales cycle. The fiscal cliff, the Chinese political transition and the spread of the euro zone recession to the north lie ahead.
2012-11-06 ClearBridge Advisors - Market Commentary Q312 by Harry ?Hersh? Cohen (Article)
Vibrant end demand is missing, as consumers have neither the wherewithal nor the will to spend as they did in prior periods.
2012-10-30 The Yield Hunt by Michael Lewitt (Article)
The high-yield market is not in danger of imminent collapse as some have argued. As long as defaults remain relatively low, and interest rates remain invisible, investors will continue to chase yield. But a few things could cause a sharp sell-off in the near future.
2012-10-23 Understanding the Central Issue behind Entitlements by Michael Edesess (Article)
How should our government assure that its citizens have enough to get by - enough food, enough shelter, good enough health, etc.? It is easy to forget that today's fiercest political battles ultimately revolve around this simple question.
2012-10-16 Will Bonds Be ?Burnt to a Crisp?? by David Schawel, CFA (Article)
Bill Gross's recent monthly commentary painted a disturbing picture for investors - he foresees bonds being ?burnt to a crisp.? This isn't just hot air. Such a conflagration is possible, and investors in bond funds, especially those that are constructed similar to the widely followed Barclays bond index, need to heed risks inherent in today''s market.
2012-10-16 The New World of Credit by Michael Lewitt, Editor, The Credit Strategist (Article)
In an era in which economies are driven by the creation of fiat money by central banks, and where the base of hard money is dwarfed by the volume of outstanding debt, every form of capital is tied to credit. In 1919, William Butler Yeats famously wrote that 'the center cannot hold.' A century later, there is no center.
2012-10-09 We Need a Bold Solution to Fix the Retirement System by Joe Tomlinson (Article)
Our retirement system is broken. The average American isn't saving enough to comfortably retire, and the fault lies in our reliance on defined-contribution (DC) plans, such as 401(k)s. Tinkering with DC plans won't solve the problem, and the other extreme - a federally mandated guarantee - isn't likely to gain support. But a number of compromises that lie between those approaches offer a better way forward for future generations.
2012-10-09 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?
2012-10-02 Confronting the Unemployment Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Policymakers seeking a path to economic recovery must first answer one crucial question: Is our persistently high unemployment structural or cyclical? If it's cyclical, then monetary and fiscal measures designed to boost consumer spending will restore the US to full employment in due course. But if we face a structural problem, then quick fixes won't work until we correct deeper imbalances that have left 12.5 million Americans without jobs.
2012-10-02 Woody Brock on Why to Own Stocks Now by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Dr. Horace 'Woody' Brock is the founder Strategic Economic Decisions and the author of American Gridlock. In a recent talk, he explained why investors should own stocks - particularly those with stable dividends - and why bonds are very risky in today's environment. This is the transcript; a video of this talk is also available.
2012-09-25 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 Bill Gross: Hedging Your Bet on Deflation versus Inflation by Ben Huebscher (Article)
Will deflation or inflation prevail? The answer to that one question determines portfolio construction, according to Bill Gross, founder, managing director, and co-CIO of PIMCO.
2012-09-25 Investing in a Resource-Constrained World by Richard Vodra, JD, CFP (Article)
The potential consequences of stagnant oil production and climate change for society are written about frequently, but here is a simpler question that is important to our community: How are these and related facts likely to affect investment returns going forward? How can we even frame such questions usefully?
2012-09-25 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.
2012-09-18 Gundlach ? The End of the Bond Bull Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Likening bullishness on Treasury bonds to a 'mass psychosis,' Jeffrey Gundlach made his strongest statement yet that interest rates are about to rise. In a conference call with investors last Tuesday, he said that the rate on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond could increase by 100 basis points by the end of the year.
2012-09-18 Selling Your Practice ? After Negotiations Fall Apart by Beverly Flaxington (Article)
I was hoping to sell my firm to another financial advisor. When the time came to close the deal, he turned into a different person, trying to negotiate for all kinds of things and generally being very nasty. The deal fell apart. How do I find a suitable buyer who will treat me with respect and negotiate fairly?
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.
2012-08-21 Hype and Reality in the Muni Bond Market by Hildy Richelson (Article)
Meredith Whitney's prediction last year of billions of dollars in municipal bond defaults stirred investors' fears. Earlier this summer, bankruptcies in three California cities reignited them, and last week a Federal Reserve study revealed that muni bonds have defaulted at a higher rate than previously reported. But no crisis has befallen the municipal bond market, and it is highly unlikely that one ever will.
2012-08-14 Blind Faith by Michael Lewitt (Article)
Central banks are facing political and practical obstacles that will render it very difficult for them to deliver anything more than anodyne words and actions as summer moves into the always dangerous August holiday season. IPhones should be kept on alert at the beach through Labor Day.
2012-08-07 Robert Shiller on the Social Benefits of Finance by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)
It's a bad sign for the finance industry that one of its leading minds - the distinguished Yale economist Robert Shiller - has felt compelled to write a book in order to defend the idea that finance itself is a constructive pursuit, worthwhile to modern society. Have things really gotten that bad?
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.
2012-07-10 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.
2012-06-26 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.
2012-06-12 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 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
A number of readers respond to our article, Can Krugman Fix Our Economy?, which appeared on May 29.
2012-06-05 Featured Video from Henderson Global Investors by Bill McQuaker (Article)
Bill McQuaker provides a market update and touches on recent changes including political developments in Europe and the slowing of job creation in the US.
2012-06-05 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
A number of readers respond to our article, Can Krugman Fix Our Economy?, which appeared last week.
2012-05-29 Can Krugman Fix Our Economy? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Our economy faces depression-like conditions, according to Paul Krugman, in its alarmingly high unemployment rate. It needn?t be that way, though, Krugman says ? a few simple steps could quickly solve our problems.
2012-05-29 The Bargains in Europe's Great Oversell by Bob Veres (Article)
When was the last time we saw negative headlines drive valuations as low as they have in Europe? Evermore's David Marcus, who succeeded Michael Price as manager of the Mutual European Fund, says this period of obsession with Greek debt, bank restructuring and single-digit P/Es may be known as The Great Oversell.
2012-05-22 David Rosenberg - I am not a Permabear by Robert Huebscher (Article)
While most sell-side analysts are correctly classified as permabulls, Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg has been branded as the opposite - a permabear. He rejects that label. He recently said he's indeed bullish - on bonds and income - and has been so for quite a while.
2012-05-22 Life-cycle Finance and the Dimensional Managed DC® Pension by Wade Pfau (Article)
Pension plans are like cars, according to Nobel laureate Robert Merton. People want a car they can drive and a pension that will maintain their standard of living in retirement; they do not care about what goes on under the hood. Advisors, however, must care. So when a new pension-like option hits the market, as DFA's recently did, it's important to go beyond simply kicking the tires and carefully examine how it works as a retirement-saving vehicle.
2012-05-22 What History Tells Us about a Potential Greek Exit by David Schawel (Article)
Greece's future is less certain given the recent elections. Is an exit now possible or probable? What would an exit from the euro look like, and how would it be accomplished? Some historical examples give us a clue to the repercussions.
2012-05-15 Lacy Hunt on Debt, Austerity and Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Global economies are experiencing unsustainable debt disequilibrium, according to Lacy Hunt. Economic textbooks preach that equilibrium, rather than transition, should be the predominant condition. But our attempts to reduce our indebtedness by taking on more ? and less productive ? debt are weakening our economy and creating unstable conditions.
2012-05-15 Ponzi's Children by Michael Lewitt (Article)
Europe, whose economic condition is nothing less than terminal, is about to receive what physicians refer to as a 'zetz' of morphine in the form of M. Hollande. A 'zetz' is the final dose that doctors give to dying patients to hasten their passage to the afterlife. In Europe's case, however, the medicine is not going to be painless, and its administration is not based on mercy but on resentment and stupidity.
2012-05-08 Q2 Outlook: "Sell in May" May Not Work This Year by OppenheimerFunds (Article)
Chief Economist Jerry Webman explains why he believes the U.S. economic recovery is real and CIO Art Steinmetz talks about how stocks are as cheap compared to bonds as they have been in decades.
2012-05-08 Mohamed El-Erian and David McWilliams: The Key to Resolving Europe's Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Dealing with a crisis requires three things, according to Jack Welch, General Electric's former CEO. Define your reality - not as you would like it to be, but as it is. Do something about it. Then, third, acknowledge that the crisis wasn't half as difficult as you thought it was. Germany is the key player in Europe's crisis today, and it is still struggling to accurately define its reality.
2012-05-01 Q2 Outlook: by OppenheimerFunds (Article)
Chief Economist Jerry Webman explains why he believes the U.S. economic recovery is real and CIO Art Steinmetz talks about how stocks are as cheap compared to bonds as they have been in decades.
2012-04-24 Bruce Greenwald on Structural Imbalances in the Economy by Eric Uhlfelder (Article)
Bruce Greenwald likes to say that he is constituted to disagree with everybody about everything, and he was true to his word at the recent Hyman P. Minksy Conference in New York. Taking immediate exception with the virtually unanimous characterization of the economic crisis as a balance-sheet recession, Greenwald, a professor of finance at Columbia University, argued that, far from being unusual, balance-sheet recessions can in fact be found at the heart of almost all business cycles.
2012-04-17 Muppet Capers by Michael Lewitt (Article)
Investors enjoyed strong stock market and credit market gains during the first quarter of the year, but storm clouds may be forming on the horizon. Corporate profits have likely peaked. Stocks may be the best house in a bad neighborhood, but houses in that neighborhood appear to be fully priced for now. There are also some troubling signs in the bond markets, particularly the long end.
2012-04-17 The Unemployment Rate: A Coincident Recession Indicator by Georg Vrba, P.E. and Dwaine van Vuuren (Article)
For what is considered to be a lagging indicator of the economy, the unemployment rate provides surprisingly good signals for the beginnings and ends of recessions. We have developed a model that uses unemployment figures to produce these signals and to determine the probability of when a recession may start.
2012-04-10 Paul Kasriel's Parting Thoughts on the Economy by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Paul Kasriel, the chief economist at Northern Trust, will retire at the end of this month. In this interview, he explains why he is optimistic about the prospects for the US economy and why supposed headwinds - from the price of oil to the housing market - pose much less of a threat than most people believe.
2012-04-10 Super Macro - A Fundamental Timing Model by Theodore Wong (Article)
Rather than endure losses in bear markets - as passive investors must - I have shown that a simple trend-following model dramatically improves results, most recently in an Advisor Perspectives article last month. Now it's time to extend my approach by showing how this methodology can be applied to fundamental indicators to further improve performance.
2012-04-03 The Easy Money Saloon by Michael Lewitt (Article)
When two of the world's soundest central banks (Israel and Switzerland) start investing their reserves in stocks (the Bank of Israel is run by the highly respected Stanley Fischer for God's sake!), one has to wonder what the world is coming to. Apparently the global saloon is expanding its boundaries. No doubt we will soon hear the ECB is merging with the London Stock Exchange.
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 Our Current Perspective on the Global Economic Outlook by American Century Investments (Article)
As we proceed through the first quarter of 2012, the U.S. economy continues to drift? not in recession, but far from the level of growth and dynamism we would like to have. Meanwhile, global economic growth has slowed as the world anticipates a solution to the European sovereign debt crisis. In short, we are in a period of uncertainty, not only about how key events will unfold, but about the timing associated with their future progress and resolution.
2012-03-20 Bob Rodriguez on the Dangers in Today's Markets by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Bob Rodriguez is the managing partner and chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based First Pacific Advisors. In this interview, he discusses how the challenges faced by the US economy will impact the capital markets.
2012-03-20 The Wages of Denial by Michael Lewitt (Article)
Europe is insolvent, and hopelessly so. Her procurer - the European Central Bank (ECB) - can front her some money for a while, but in the end she is either going to have to repay him or suffer a very rough consequence. In the meantime, however, she can continue to entertain her customers, in this case those willing to extend her credit in one form or another. Sooner rather than later, however, these creditors are going to grow tired of her tricks and turn their attention otherwise. At that point, she will be left to deal with the ECB because nobody else will have her.
2012-02-28 Woody Brock on Healthcare Reform and Trade Relations with China by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Dr. Horace 'Woody' Brock is the founder Strategic Economic Decisions, an economic research and consulting service. In the second part of this two-part interview, he discusses his recently published book, American Gridlock, and focuses on how to fix two of our nation's most pressing problems: the crisis in health care - made worse by ObamaCare - and our trade relations with China.
2012-02-28 Globalization: Its Saboteurs and Its Chicken Littles by Michael Edesess (Article)
The word 'globalization' provokes both excitement and fear. The excitement has sold millions of Tom Friedman books and turned a drab annual business conference, the World Economic Forum, into one of the hottest events of the year. It is front-and-center in recent tensions between the U.S. and China, and makes the European Union's economic crisis a concern for the whole world. Should we fear or embrace globalization?
2012-02-21 Woody Brock on Solving America's Fiscal Problems by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Dr. Horace 'Woody' Brock is the founder Strategic Economic Decisions, an economic research and consulting service. In this interview, he discusses his recently published book, American Gridlock, and how America can grow its economy through 'good' deficit spending.
2012-02-21 David Rosenberg: "Searching for Certainty in a Sea of Uncertainty" by Katie Southwick (Article)
David Rosenberg is known for his bearish outlook, and he has not yet seen anything in recent economic news that persuades him to change his tune. Contrary to prevailing "bullish complacency" and the widespread belief that central banking systems "have the answers to the ongoing global debt deleveraging cycle," in the United States Rosenberg sees monumental deficits, flat growth, an underlying trend of deflation, and current fiscal policies that will limit future flexibility. In other words, trouble remains on the horizon.
2012-02-21 Gundlach: The Two Questions that Matter Most by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Two questions stand out amid the complexity of the current economic and market environment, according to Jeffrey Gundlach, both of which relate to critical elements of fiscal and monetary policy and should guide portfolio construction for investors.
2012-01-31 Lacy Hunt on the Roadblock to Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)
'The fundamental key to prosperity is not governmental financial transactions, or even private sector financial transactions,' according to Lacy Hunt, the widely respected economist at Hoisington Investment Management, with whom we spoke last week. 'The key to prosperity is the hard work and creativity of our individuals in businesses.'
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.
2012-01-24 Beyond Reinhart and Rogoff by Robert Huebscher (Article)
My article two weeks ago, The Misreading of Reinhart and Rogoff, elicited a number of challenges, both from those who argued that excessive debt imperils our economic growth and from those who claimed that my proposed solution was unworkable. Among those challengers was Lacy Hunt, who raised several valid concerns. I will explain why I disagree with Hunt and others, and why the dollar's position as the reserve currency increases our borrowing capacity. But our ability to borrow cannot be a license to spend unwisely, and I will conclude by expanding on the policy choices the US must pursue.
2012-01-24 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.
2012-01-17 A Nobel Laureate?s View on the US A Debt Problem, but an Unemployment Crisis by Dan Richards (Article)
Peter Diamond is a professor emeritus at MIT and the winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on unemployment and labor market policy. In this interview, he discusses the degree to which US unemployment is a structural problem and whether it can be reduced through fiscal stimulus. This is the transcript of the interview.
2012-01-17 A Nobel Laureate?s View on the US - A Debt Problem, but an Unemployment Crisis - Video by Dan Richards (Article)
Peter Diamond is a professor emeritus at MIT and the winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on unemployment and labor market policy. In this interview, he discusses the degree to which US unemployment is a structural problem and whether it can be reduced through fiscal stimulus. This is the video of the interview.
2012-01-17 Letters to the Editor - the Misreading of Reinhart and Rogoff by Various (Article)
Many readers responded to Robert Huebscher's article, The Misreading of Reinhart and Rogoff, which appeared last week.
2012-01-10 The Misreading of Reinhart and Rogoff by Robert Huebscher (Article)
If the cry for deficit reduction rests on an intellectual framework, it would be the work of Reinhart and Rogoff, whose book, This Time is Different, has been hailed for its historical study of financial crises. A key finding - that growth slows once the ratio of debt-to-GDP exceeds 90% - has been widely cited by those calling for decreased government spending. But those calling for deficit reduction have largely ignored a number of caveats that Reinhart and Rogoff gave with respect to their 90% threshold, and as a result many warn that the US faces a Greek-like sovereign-debt crisis.
2012-01-03 Dale Mortensen on Addressing Unemployment - Video 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 video.
2012-01-03 Ghosts of Christmas Past by Michael Lewitt (Article)
While Europe desperately needs the liquidity that the latest bailout scheme provides, nobody should mistake liquidity for solvency and think for a moment that the crisis is over. Much more work is needed to heal the wounds that European policy makers and business leaders have inflicted on their societies since the European Union was formed.
2012-01-03 US Recession - An Opposing View by Dwaine van Vuuren (Article)
A large number of reputable analysts and companies are forecasting a new U.S recession on the immediate horizon. Attracting the most attention is ECRI, which made a public recession call on September 30th and several television reaffirmations since. But an examination of a broader range of other composite economic indicators shows that sole reliance on ECRI's forecast would be misplaced.
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.
2011-12-20 Expectations Creep by Jamie Cornehlsen (Article)
Today's generation of college students have it easier, at least in one respect, than any of their predecessors. Over the years, college professors had made it easier for students to get good grades, a phenomenon known more commonly referred to as 'grade inflation.' The reasons for this erosion of expectations continue to be debated, but there is ample data showing that the trend toward more generous grading is real. Today, a similar phenomenon plagues economic expectations.
2011-12-06 The Unspoken Truth about Hedge Funds by Michael Edesess (Article)
The popularity of the endowment model among advisors has been driven by the belief that hedge funds have produced positive risk-adjusted returns. But the basis for that notion has been statistics gleaned from hedge fund databases, and new research shows returns from those databases are even more upwardly biased than previously thought; the supposed alpha never really existed.
2011-11-29 Jeremy Siegel on Why Stocks are 'Extremely Attractive' by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeremy Siegel is the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His book, Stocks for the Long Run, now in its fourth edition, is widely recognized as one of the best books on investing. We spoke to him last week about equity valuations and the prospects for the economy.
2011-11-29 The Investment Case for Israel by Jamia Jasper (Article)
What country went into the 2008-2009 recession in a stronger position and exited sooner than any western nation? Whose stock market has outperformed the MSCI EAFE over the past 10 years?
2011-11-29 Sometimes We Lose Perspective by Scott A. MacKillop (Article)
It's been a rough ride lately for investors. Looking back over the course of my lifetime, however, what has been particularly exceptional is not recent market swings - these come and go - but rather the return one would have earned if they had been continuously invested in the stock market over the past 60-plus years.
2011-11-22 Krugman versus Summers ? Will the US mirror Japan? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Larry Summers and Paul Krugman may share ideological leanings, but they disagree sharply about our economic prospects. Both agree that political gridlock is responsible for the failure to grow our economy, but is that impasse is so severe that the US is destined to endure the slow growth, high unemployment and deflation that has plagued Japan for the last two decades? It depends who you ask.
2011-11-15 A Strategy with a 25-year Record of 25% Returns by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Indiana-based SBAuer Funds launched its inaugural mutual fund in December of 2007, after having established a successful track record with a separately managed account business. I spoke with Bob Auer, who has employed the same stock selection system used by the fund for the last 25 years, over which time returns have averaged 25% annually.
2011-11-15 It's All Greek to Me by Michael Lewitt (Article)
As one who has written that there is little chance of a long-term solution to Europe's problems without a radical rethinking of global economic policy, the Europeans still have little choice once they peer over the cliff to realize other than to step back and buy some time before taking the inevitable leap. For, in the end, they have no other options than to jump.
2011-11-08 Politics, Taxes and the Markets by Robert Huebscher (Article)
One of the most engaging speakers at last week's Schwab IMPACT conference was Andy Friedman, who offered some provocative predictions about next year's elections and what we can expect from the deficit super committee.
2011-11-01 What, Me Worry? by Scott A. MacKillop (Article)
As we gnash our teeth over the latest crisis du jour let's remember that difficulties do not, ultimately, prevent progress. On the contrary, over my lifetime progress has continued unimpeded despite a more or less constant stream of difficulties.
2011-10-25 A Jeopardy Champion and our Economic Future by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Several years ago, a group of IBM scientists watched the television quiz show Jeopardy at a local bar and decided that they could develop the technology to beat a human contestant. They succeeded, and the system they built, Watson, is situated at the leading edge of a wave of breakthroughs in artificial intelligence that will lower health care costs and accelerate economic growth.
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.
2011-10-11 A Critical Look at Obama?s Economic Team by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)
Confidence Men is an exposé, by the reporter Ron Suskind, of what he claims is incompetence, infighting, and insubordination at the highest levels of economic leadership in the Obama administration during the global financial crisis. Those accusations are largely misdirected. After all, there was no playbook for the administration's economic thinkers to work from - the rapidly unfolding crisis forced them to improvise.
2011-10-11 A Q3 Client Letter Drawing on Buffett?s Optimism 'The U.S. is coming back now' - and why three inves by Dan Richards (Article)
Since 2008, each quarter I have posted a template for a letter to clients; these are consistently among my most popular articles. This quarter's letter provides clients with perspective on the recent market turmoil.
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.
2011-09-20 The Irrational Optimist by Michael Lewitt (Article)
'Most past bursts of human prosperity have come to naught because they allocated too little money to innovation and too much to asset price inflation or to war, corruption, luxury and theft,' writes Matt Ridley. These words hit the proverbial nail on the head. The misallocation of capital in today's economy is a severe threat to future prosperity and perhaps survival itself.
2011-09-13 $20 Million Saved is $20 Million Not Earned by Justin Locke (Article)
A recent news poll showed that Americans were evenly divided over whether Mitt Romney's plans to bulldoze his California home and build a much larger one constituted his right to spend his money as he wished or whether it was in bad taste to build a lavish house at a time of such high unemployment. If I had responded to that poll, I would have encouraged Romney to build as big a house as he could afford.
2011-09-06 Byron Wien Reflects on His List of Surprises by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)
Byron Wien is a senior managing director and vice chairman of Blackstone Advisory Partners, the largest alternative investment firm in the world with $140 billion under management. Each year, for the last 26 years, he has published a list of 10 'surprises' investors should expect in the capital markets and the economy. In this interview, he reflects on his list for 2011 and what see sees ahead.
2011-08-30 What to Tell Clients Today - Ten Tips for Effective Client Communication by Dan Richards (Article)
Given the recent market tumult, many advisors know they should be communicating with clients, but hesitate because of uncertainty about what to say and apprehension about making things worse rather than better. Here are five general guidelines for client communication in turbulent markets and five tips for crafting the message that you send today.
2011-08-30 Borking the Budget by Michael Lewitt (Article)
It now appears that the obstreperous approach that succeeded in the Bork nomination fight is being applied to the federal budget. Instead of treating this subject with objectivity and reason, both parties have borrowed the tactics that their most radical elements have historically applied to social issues like abortion.
2011-08-23 Strategies for a Rising Rate Environment by Jayant Kumar of Fisher Francis Trees & Watts (Article)
Shortening the duration of a fixed-income portfolio is often considered the default option, but it is not the only way to hedge against a potential rise in interest rates. This article provides investors with a framework to analyze and implement a range of fixed-income strategies, and highlights various investment considerations that should carefully be taken into account.
2011-08-23 Why Investors are 'Mad as Hell' ? And what you can do about it by Dan Richards (Article)
Last Friday, Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal wrote about fear and anger as the two dominant attitudes of American investors today ? fear about their future and anger at those they see as responsible for the latest crisis. Today's investor psyche has fundamental implications that will require changes in how you interact with clients. Before getting into how to respond, let?s look at what's driving today's mindset.
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.
2011-08-23 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
A reader responds to our article, Jeremy Grantham Guarantees Gold will Crash, which appeared on May 18, 2010. Another reader responds to Michael O. Kokesh's Letter to the Editor, published last week, which was in response to Paul Kasriel's July 26 commentary, Washington Had a Spending Problem.
2011-08-02 Solving the REAL Debt Crisis by Michael S. Falk, CFA, CRC (Article)
Now that the debt ceiling impasse (circus) has been resolved, it's time to address this country's real debt crises. Our leaders need to conquer the far more daunting entitlement issues we face. Our choice is simple - either reduce costs and face austerity, or raise taxes. Those alternatives need not be as painful as you or they might think, as I will demonstrate.
2011-07-26 Investing with a View of Significant Inflation by Bob Kargenian (Article)
Almost all the analysis we read has concluded that, with the Fed seemingly printing money out of nowhere, the inevitable consequence must be significantly higher inflation. We're not convinced, but we have identified which strategies are likely to best protect clients if inflation accelerates.
2011-07-19 Gundlach: A Debt Ceiling Impasse Could Drive Rates Lower by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Failing to raise the debt ceiling would be a 'huge financial calamity,' according to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the general consensus view. But that opinion is 'exactly wrong,' at least as far as the Treasury market is concerned, DoubleLine's Jeffrey Gundlach said in a conference call with investors last Tuesday.
2011-07-05 The Chinese Black Swan by Vitaliy Katsenelson (Article)
Party rulers in China are trapped in a position that chess players deeply fear - zugzwang - where any move make puts you at disadvantage. In China, the cost of both action and inaction is potential economic collapse.
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.
2011-06-28 Smart Risk Taking: Realigning Client Portfolios with Their Long-Term Goals by American Century Investments (Article)
The financial crisis sparked widespread flight from risk. Although the crisis is over and equity prices have rebounded, many investors have not yet returned to the capital markets. For them, the safe-haven appeal of money market funds remains strong. In this paper, American Century Investments® proposes a strategy of "smart risk taking," an active asset management approach that seeks to identify, understand, manage, and be consistently rewarded for risk.
2011-06-14 The Consequences of Policy Failure by Michael Lewitt (Article)
Investment performance for the rest of the year will be determined by the macro-economic views of investment managers. While microeconomic factors are always extremely important in charting investment strategies, they are particularly important today as the U.S. and global economies continue to fight their way through the detritus of the global debt crisis. A compelling case can be made for weaker 2Q112 growth based on a combination of factors.
2011-06-14 A Cautionary Tale from the World's Most Influential Economist by Dan Richards (Article)
Raghuram Rajan was recently cited by The Economist as having the most important ideas for the post-crisis world. In this interview, he identifies key policy issues the Obama administration must confront. This is a transcript of the interview.
2011-06-14 A Cautionary Tale from the World's Most Influential Economist - Video by Dan Richards (Article)
Raghuram Rajan was recently cited by The Economist as having the most important ideas for the post-crisis world. In this interview, he identifies key policy issues the Obama administration must confront. This is a video of the interview.
2011-05-24 Robert Shiller: I'm Betting the Farm by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Yale's Robert Shiller, the economist who foresaw the implosions of the tech bubble in 2000 and the housing market in 2007, is now closely watching a different asset class. This time, however, it is one that is in an early stage of bubble formation, not of collapse.
2011-05-24 A Washington Forecast for Advisors and Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Only entitlement reform can bridge the federal deficit, and your clients should prepare for changes to Medicare and Social Security, according to Andy Friedman. Cost-sharing and means-testing are among the big changes that Friedman sees on the horizon. Don't expect much progress in the near term, though, as Friedman forecast continued gridlock on the budget at least until the 2012 elections are decided.
2011-05-17 Pippa Malmgren on Inflation and its Geopolitical Impact by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The Cold War may have been over for a quarter century, but the inflation-driven challenges that characterized that historical era are heating back up. Today, global volatility is back, according to Pippa Malmgren, who says that commodity-driven inflation will lead to political instability in emerging markets.
2011-05-17 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.
2011-05-10 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 Housing Outlook: Where Do We Go From Here? by John Burns (Article)
The housing market will struggle over the next several years, but longer term there is plenty of upside. That was John Burns' message when he recently spoke to a housing industry trade group. Burns is a leading expert on the housing industry, and he shared with us his presentation.
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 Gary Shilling - Five Things that can Derail the Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Die-hard deflationists - those who foresee a continued bull market in bonds - are so few in number these days they could all share an elevator, according to Gary Shilling. One is Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg, whose views are considered elsewhere in this issue. But the loudest such voice belongs to Shilling himself, who has advocated for a long position in Treasury bonds continuously since 1980, a stance that has always proved prescient so far.
2011-05-03 Martin Barnes - How Safe is the Equity Market? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
When members of the Federal Reserve Board seek counsel on tough issues, one of the economists to whom they turn first is Martin Barnes. Speaking publicly last week, Barnes addressed two themes in the US economy and markets: the potential for a sustained bear market in equities and the likelihood of higher taxes. These two distinct questions are both critically important to investors.
2011-04-26 Long-term Failure with Short-term Bonds by Hildy and Stan Richelson (Article)
Fear of an impending rise in interest rates has many recommending short-term bonds. Such fears are misplaced, however, and investors can better position their portfolios by constructing a ladder of high-quality individual bonds, rather than moving assets into only short maturities.
2011-04-19 Gundlach: Treasuries will Rally When QE2 Ends by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The bonds that PIMCO's Bill Gross sold to take a 3% short position in the Treasury market may have found a buyer in Doubleline's Jeffrey Gundlach. In a conference call with investors last week, Gundlach said that Treasury prices would rise in the near term, once QE2 expires on June 30.
2011-04-12 Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Michael Lewitt (Article)
"The budget crisis is a crisis of leadership," writes Michael Lewitt in the latest issue of the HCM Market letter. "There is no intellectual mystery involved in cutting the budget - entitlement spending must be reduced through the adoption of tighter eligibility standards... The markets will also have to evaluate whether Congress and the Obama administration can make any meaningful progress on budget reform, which will mean tackling the entitlement issue. The failure to rein in federal deficits remains a profound threat to the dollar and interest rates."
2011-04-12 Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest by Barry M. Ferguson (Article)
The two stupidest characters ever to grace the big screen - Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne - were first introduced to the world in Jim Carrey's 1994 movie, Dumb and Dumber. If that movie were made today, its leading characters could easily be our government and the supposedly independent Federal Reserve Bank. Both of these institutions have foisted their misguided policies on the American public, who, in their passive acceptance, have proven themselves to be the dumbest of all.
2011-03-29 Inflation versus Deflation: Two Experts Disagree by Robert Huebscher (Article)
An important question for all investors is whether low inflation rates will persist or whether the economy is heading toward much higher inflation. The answer to that question will dictate asset class allocations, portfolio construction and ultimately the rates of return investors should expect.
2011-03-22 Consensus: Groundhog Decade for Stocks by Ed Easterling (Article)
Just as Bill Murray woke up to the same thing day after day in the movie 'Groundhog Day,' it's likely that your outlook foretells a groundhog decade for the stock market that will repeat its near-breakeven returns from the past decade.
2011-03-22 No Shortcuts to Greatness by Vitaliy Katsenelson (Article)
Nothing defined Alan Greenspan's tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank more than his wholehearted embrace of capitalism. According to a current Fed governor, however, both Greenspan's Fed and the Fed today have not been the stalwarts of capitalism that the Maestro believed them to be.
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.
2011-03-08 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.
2011-02-01 Can Economics Save the Economy? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Christina Romer, Greg Mankiw and Paul Krugman were among a group of thought leaders who spoke at a conference in Cambridge last week. They cited a lack of sufficiently powerful and politically feasible policy options, calling into question whether economists will be able to produce the clear path to the stronger recovery that the Obama administration seeks.
2011-02-01 Why Public Funding of Venture Capital Has Failed by Dan Richards (Article)
Josh Lerner is a professor at the Harvard Business School, with a joint appointment in finance and entrepreneurial management. In this interview, he discusses his research on why public-funded venture capital sometimes succeeds but other times fails. This is a transcript of the interview.
2011-02-01 Why Public Funding of Venture Capital Has Failed - Video by Dan Richards (Article)
Josh Lerner is a professor at the Harvard Business School, with a joint appointment in finance and entrepreneurial management. In this interview, he discusses his research on why public-funded venture capital sometimes succeeds but other times fails. This is a video of the interview.
2011-01-18 Jeffrey Gundlach: The Greatest Investment Opportunity of 2011 and 2012 by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In June of 2007, against a backdrop of strong equity and corporate bond performance, Doubleline's Jeffrey Gundlach was one of the first to warn investors that sub-prime mortgages were 'a total unmitigated disaster, and they are going to get worse.' In an equally bold statement, last week he identified the asset class he considers the greatest investment opportunity for the next two years. Again, it was one for investors to avoid.
2011-01-11 A Bold Forecast for Consumer Spending by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In a world where mainstream media has become overly fond of alliterative headlines, 'frugality fatigue' has emerged to characterize the view that consumers have loosened their belts and begun to spend some money. That's far from the consensus view. However, if it proves to be correct, as one prominent retail analyst claims, it would be the clearest indication that the economy is recovering strongly.
2011-01-11 The Two Elephants Facing the US Economy by Michael Lewitt (Article)
The consensus has reached the conclusion that financial markets will enjoy a strong start to 2011. This is reason enough to approach the markets with caution as the year begins. When everybody is leaning to one side of the boat, the vessel is far more likely to tip over, particularly if it hits an unexpected wave.
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.
2010-12-21 Gundlach: Are Taxes Too Darn Low? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
One way to avert the crisis posed by growing fiscal deficits is a significant tax increase, according to Doubleline's Jeffrey Gundlach. Although he did not advocate this policy, in his conference call with investors last week he said the strain of fiscal deficits poses as yet unanswered challenges to the economy and the markets.
2010-12-21 Ed Hyman: We Are Not Japan by Katie Southwick (Article)
Despite his worrisome outlook earlier this year, the ISI Group's Ed Hyman provided an upbeat forecast of the US economy, arguing that we are in the midst of an economic recovery that will lead to expansion. We are demonstrating that we are not Japan, he said.
2010-12-14 Looking Back at a Year of Policy Mistakes by Michael Lewitt (Article)
As we approach the end of 2010, the global economy remains captive to a boom-and-bust cycle resulting from years of pro-cyclical monetary, fiscal and regulatory policies. With very limited exceptions, the same policies that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis remain in place. The only difference is that government balance sheets are far more leveraged than they were heading into that crisis.
2010-12-14 Year-end Letter to Clients: Investment Advice from Winston Churchill by Dan Richards (Article)
For the past 18 months, my draft letters have been designed to balance some of the extreme pessimism among many investors with an objective, positive outlook - the draft year-end letter for 2010 continues with that goal. In it, I borrow from Winston Churchill's insight into the difference between optimists and pessimists.
2010-12-06 Research-driven Market Insights from Janus: 4Q Market Perspectives by Janus Investments (Article)
Offer clients research-driven market insights. Every quarter, Janus equity and fixed income teams share their insight and outlook on global market sectors and key macroeconomic indicators in Janus' Market Perspectives Series. We thank Janus Investments for their sponsorship.
2010-12-06 An Uncertain Future for Housing Prices by Robert Huebscher (Article)
A renewed decline in housing prices would surely impede economic growth. Yet that is a strong possibility, according to housing expert Laurie Goodman of Amherst Securities. Goodman was joined in Boston last week to discuss the housing market by Karl Case, who, along with Yale professor Robert Shiller, created the Case-Shiller index.
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.
2010-11-23 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.
2010-11-16 Reducing Portfolio Risk through Sustainable Investing by Jon Quigley (Article)
By incorporating a broad swath of extra-financial data as a risk factor and tilting a portfolio away from companies with poor environmental, social and governance policies, we can better reduce that portfolio's risk of extremely negative outcomes.
2010-11-09 Keynesian Confusion by Michael Lewitt (Article)
Keynesian policies are inflicting untold damage on the U.S. and global economies today. Keynes did not have to be misread. The reason that the current recovery is below par is that the economy is experiencing a massive paradox of thrift. We doubt that reducing already low rates is going to stimulate much of anything other than more frustration on the part of savers. Sooner or later, everything being earned on the upside of this liquidity-induced rally will be given back in spades - the only question is when.
2010-11-02 A Top Economist's Nightmare Scenario by Charlie Curnow (Article)
Remember the 1970s? Stagflation like we saw then could return to the U.S. if unsustainable public debt levels trigger a selloff of government bonds and dollar-denominated holdings, according to a recent study by John C. Cochrane. Cochrane, a finance professor at the University of Chicago, is perhaps best known for his response to Paul Krugman's article in the New York Times on why mainstream economics failed to anticipate the financial crisis.
2010-10-29 BlackRock?s Rieder: The US Faces a Structural Dilemma by Roberth Huebscher (Article)
The U.S. economy faces a structural dilemma with high unemployment that cannot be addressed with conventional policy measures, according to Rick Rieder. Rieder is the CIO of Fixed Income for BlackRock. The 'bond bubble' will not burst, he said, and the high-yield market now offers attractive yields.
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.
2010-10-19 Bernanke's Impossible Dilemma by Robert Huebscher (Article)
David Wessel, economics editor of the Wall Street Journal, examines the challenge Ben Bernanke faces. His goal is to provide full employment and price stability. Yet he faces a slowly growing economy, unemployment close to 10%, consumers deleveraging and spending frugally, renewed fears of banking system instability, and the threat of an asset bubble is growing somewhere in the markets. Monetary and fiscal policy options have been seemingly exhausted, and the public is losing confidence in all aspects of government.
2010-10-19 Allen Sinai: US at the Crossroads by Robert Huebscher (Article)
America is at a crossroads in a shifting global economy, and it's not just our economy that is in trouble. We have moved from a mindset of prosperity to a much gloomier self-conception, and dysfunctions within our government and society are pushing us downward. That sobering assessment was delivered by Allen Sinai, the president of Decision Economics, an economic research firm he founded in 1996.
2010-10-19 Harvard Experts: Economy is Like a Bus Winding Down a Mountain Road by Charlie Curnow (Article)
Five Harvard economists, including Ken Rogoff and John Campbell, emphasized the need for U.S. policymakers and households to cut down on borrowing and increase savings during a panel discussion on Tuesday, October 13 at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
2010-10-12 Misconceptions in the Great Bond Bubble Debate by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Interest rates, many claim, have bottomed, making bonds the latest asset class worthy of the dreaded "bubble" label. Others counter that deflationary forces will prevail and that bonds offer the best risk-adjusted returns in the market. Which side of this debate you take matters profoundly, but making that call is not simply a matter of predicting the direction of interest rates, as is the typical focus of analysts.
2010-10-12 Simon Johnson on Why This Crisis Wasn?t the Last by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Is the last financial crisis over? Did we at least fix the problems that caused the crisis? Were those the worst of our problems? Answering those three questions was the focus of a talk by Simon Johnson, formerly the chief economist at the IMF.
2010-10-12 Why Warren Buffett is Optimistic: A Quarterly Letter to Send Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richard's quarterly letter is designed to balance some of the extreme pessimism among many investors. Negative sentiment is understandable given the real challenges facing the U.S. and European economies, but is also a function of the overwhelmingly negative media coverage to which clients are exposed. To balance today's disproportionately negative views, you need hard facts.
2010-10-12 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.
2010-10-05 Charles Brandes on Investing Lessons from Benjamin Graham by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, Charles Brandes, the founder and Chairman of the Brandes Investment Management, discusses the lessons he learned from legendary value investor Benjamin Graham. Brandes also offers his forecast for equity market performance, as well as why he believes value stocks have an inherent, sustainable advantage over growth stocks. This is the transcript of the interview.
2010-10-05 Charles Brandes on Investing Lessons from Benjamin Graham ? Video by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, Charles Brandes, the founder and Chairman of the Brandes Investment Management, discusses the lessons he learned from legendary value investor Benjamin Graham. Brandes also offers his forecast for equity market performance, as well as why he believes value stocks have an inherent, sustainable advantage over growth stocks. This is the video of the interview.
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 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.
2010-09-21 America?s Demographic Advantages by Art Patten (Article)
Joel Kotkin's inherent optimism is a welcome antidote to the gloom and doom that's taken hold of so many in the wake of the great recession. In The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050, he uses copious reference material and broad strokes to paint a relatively cheery vision of America's future, which he believes will be driven largely by people, place, and national character.
2010-09-21 The Housing Elevator: Going Up or Down? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Several prominent analysts have written recently that the bear market in housing is nearing its end. Writing with varying degrees of conviction and citing a range of statistical measures, they reach the broad conclusion that now is the time to buy a house. We provide a summary of those opinions - from James Grant of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, Dave Leonhardt of The New York Times, and Anatole Kaletsky of GaveKal Research - along with our own contrasting thoughts.
2010-09-21 Jeffrey Gundlach: No Double-Dip Recession ? but by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The economy won't suffer a double-dip recession, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. But that doesn't mean the DoubleLine co-founder, CEO and CIO expects strong economic growth. To the contrary, Gundlach said that we haven't yet recovered from the recession. "The people who are looking for robust and sustained growth are really kidding themselves," he said.
2010-09-21 Two Compelling Articles to Send Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
One of the most important roles for advisors is being an emotional anchor for clients ... preventing the highs from being too high and the lows from being too low. Dan Richards offers two recent articles that counteract the sense of pessimism about the economy ... driven in large measure by daunting headlines about housing prices, unemployment, deficits and political discord in Washington.
2010-09-21 The One-Sided Fallacy by Richard E. Cripps, CFA (Article)
The current tenor of political debate has amplified one-sided arguments as each party attempts to sell their view to voters. The same polarization has become evident in approaches to investment, and market bears are exhibiting all the classic symptoms of confirmation bias. But we know better than to let these slanted arguments sway our market convictions. As Richard Cripps explains in this guest contribution, there are plenty of reasons to remain invested in equities.
2010-09-14 Identifying Opportunities in the Municipal Bond Market by RidgeWorth Investments (Article)
Ridgeworth Investments shares its perspective on the muni bond market in a recent white paper entitled "Identifying Opportunities in the Municipal Bond Market" which outlines the historical benefits of municipal bonds, the changing market dynamics in 2009 as well as RidgeWorth's outlook for municipal bonds in 2010 and potentially beyond. RidgeWorth concludes that despite a challenging market environment, munis still offer attractive investment opportunities. We thank them for their sponsorship.
2010-09-14 The Centre Cannot Hold by Michael Lewitt (Article)
"A refusal to shed discredited monetary and fiscal policies and embrace creative and politically bold solutions is keeping our economy mired in high levels of structural unemployment and below-trend growth," writes Michael Lewitt in the latest edition of the HCM Market Letter. He also believes that "misguided faith in Keynesian solutions to debt crises, a near-religious belief that mild deflation must be avoided... and uninformed media hype about the alleged benefits of mergers and acquisitions" should be added to the list of bad ideas that lead economic policy and markets astray.
2010-09-14 What the Taylor Rule Says about Interest Rates by Charlie Curnow (Article)
The Taylor Rule, a widely cited forecasting tool, predicts that the current inflation rate of 1.2 percent and the unemployment rate of 9.6 percent will keep the target federal funds rate in the range of -3.5 to -4.5 percent. We report on a presentation last week by an official at the Boston Federal Reserve Bank.
2010-08-31 Why Mid-Cap? by RidgeWorth Investments (Article)
RidgeWorth Investments has published research detailing six distinct reasons why investors should consider a specific allocation to mid-caps. Specifically, it explores historical performance, evaluates current conditions that favor mid-caps as well as examines how mid-caps have performed during different points in market and economic cycles. Finally, the research looks at the incremental benefit of adding an allocation of up to 40% of mid-cap stocks to a portfolio of solely large and small cap stocks. We thank RidgeWorth Investments for their sponsorship.
2010-08-31 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."
2010-08-17 A Double-Dip Recession Remains Unlikely ? A Mid-Year Update by Bob Doll (Article)
The past couple of months have been difficult for investors, but we are holding to our view that the recovery will continue and stocks will gain ground. Bob Doll, Vice Chairman and Chief Equity Strategist for Fundamental Equities at BlackRock, discusses the current situation, the predictions he made at the beginning of 2010 and opportunity in the financial markets for the second half of the year. We thank BlackRock for their sponsorship.
2010-08-10 Zvi Bodie on Stocks and Annuities in Retirement by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, retirement expert Zvi Bodie discusses the role of stocks and annuities in a retirement portfolio, and how advisors and clients should think about risk. This is the transcript of the interview.
2010-08-03 Woody Brock: How to Achieve Growth without 'Bad' Deficits by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Of all the challenges facing our nation, none is as daunting as trying to achieve economic growth and reduce unemployment without adding layers of debt to our already bloated deficit. Legislators and economists have debated the merits of stimulus measures, changes in tax rates, and monetary policies, but they are no closer to a consensus than they were at the onset of the financial crisis. H. 'Woody' Brock, however, says a genuine solution is possible.
2010-08-03 Rebuilding Confidence in Stocks by Dan Richards (Article)
These days, there's a cloud of uncertainty over markets, with questions about economic growth, government deficits, the timing and impact of interest rates increases, unemployment levels and the housing market. As Dan Richards writes, this environment is when advisors can bring value, by providing perspective on both sides of the debate about the value that stocks provide at today's levels.
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 Robert Shiller: A Cautious Outlook for Stocks (Video) 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 video of the interview.
2010-07-20 Cash Investing: Considerations for Investing in a Low Interest-Rate Environment by Northern Trust Investments (Article)
Northern Trust's chief economist, Paul Kasriel, forecasts that interest rates will remain low for the remainder of 2010. Investors are looking for guidance on how they should best position their cash and fixed income portfolios to take this environment into consideration, and should consider the tradeoff between liquidity and yield. We thank Northern Trust for their sponsorship.
2010-07-20 The Opportunity in Build America Bonds by Jeff Westergaard (Article)
While the unique aspects of Build America Bonds (BABs) and recent Treasury Department actions are meaningful, the risks to investors have been over-emphasized. BABs remain an attractive vehicle for investors and issuers, and the market for them is likely to grow.
2010-07-13 The Retirement Readiness Checklist by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards describes a recent research report which offered a retirement readiness index. Attached to the report was a questionnaire that advisors can walk clients through to benchmark where they stand on each task and identify areas that need improvement.
2010-07-13 Deficits Monetary and Moral by Michael Lewitt (Article)
"The word 'deficit' has come to epitomize not only our economic dilemmas but also our moral and intellectual failures to address them in an era that should be boasting of new breakthroughs in the social and physical sciences," writes Michael Lewitt in the latest installment of his HCM Market Letter, Deficits Monetary and Moral. "Instead, our ability to solve complex problems is weighed down by flawed and corrupted government processes and the lack of courage to forthrightly change them."
2010-06-01 Europe: Value or Value Trap? by Dan Trosch, CFA (Article)
European equities seem much cheaper than in the US, says Dan Trosch of Fortigent in this guest contribution. Europe trades at a 26% Price to Book discount and a 20% Price to Cash Earnings discount to the US. Some European industries and stocks are deservedly cheap and value traps; other industries and stocks are attractive and will benefit from global growth in exports and other macro trends.
2010-05-25 Ken Rogoff Expects Slow Growth and Sovereign Defaults by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Among the crush of analysis devoted to the financial crisis, perhaps none has been as influential as that of Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, co-authors of the book This Time is Different. Looking back at 800 years of data on emerging and developed economies, they showed that financial crises - and the recoveries from those crises - follow a highly predictable pattern, and the title of their book was a jab at those who suggest otherwise. Rogoff also spoke at the CFA conference.
2010-05-18 Anthony Boeckh on the Great Reflation by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Tony Boeckh has been the guiding force behind Bank Credit Analyst, and in this interview he discusses his new book, The Great Reflation. Boeckh stakes out a deflationary forecast, and explains how the flow of liquidity in the financial system will determine asset class performance.
2010-05-18 Spain: After the Bubble by Charlie Curnow (Article)
Today, Barajas Terminal 4 one of the most visible artifacts of the profligacy that fueled Spain's property bubble and led to the country's current financial crisis. Spain, like several other European states, has continued to spend rapidly over the past two years, even as its economy has contracted. As a result, the Spanish government's debt has skyrocketed, raising fears of a possible sovereign default.
2010-05-11 A Historical Perspective on the Slight Depression by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Armed with textbooks and formulas, economists attack a problem by drawing lines, forming equations and trying to fit data to the real world. Niall Ferguson, a historian by training, thinks you can learn more simply by analyzing what has already happened. So what's a historian's take on the current crisis? Ferguson says it has yet to run its course.
2010-05-04 Lacy Hunt: Keynes was Wrong (and Ricardo was Right) by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Underpinning the Obama administration's economic policies is the work of John Maynard Keynes, the legendary British economist who called for large fiscal and monetary interventions to counter the Great Depression. On this critical issue, Keynes was wrong, says Lacy Hunt, the internationally renowned economist with Texas-based Hoisington Investment.
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.
2010-04-27 The Four Horsemen of Growth: David Kelly?s Guide to Markets by Katie Southwick (Article)
With unprecedented volatility now largely behind us, J.P. Morgan's Chief Investment Strategist David Kelly believes that the economy is entering a period of recovery. To move forward, we must abandon our negative mindsets and focus on opportunities for expansion.
2010-04-20 Unconventional Wisdom: An Interview with Robert Shiller by John Heins (Article)
"Few macroeconomic prognosticators have been as publicly right as Yale's Robert Shiller,whose first and second editions of the book Irrational Exuberance laid bare, with remarkable timing, the speculative bubbles forming first in the Internet-crazed stock market and next in residential real estate," writes the highly regarded newsletter Value Investor Insight in its preface to this interview with Shiller and excerpt from his latest book. Value Investor Insight, which bills itself as the "Leading Authority on Value Investing, offers a no-obligation, one-month free trial subscription.
2010-04-20 A Short-Term Buying Opportunity for Long-Term TIPS by Michael Brennan (Article)
Fixed income investors should consider a short-term buying opportunity for Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) with maturities of ten or more years, writes Michael Brennan in this guest contribution. The 10-year TIPS should have a total return anywhere from 30 to 40 basis points greater than the comparable nominal Treasury bond.
2010-04-13 Today?s Number One Way to Demonstrate Your Value by Dan Richards (Article)
Advisors provide the greatest value by being an emotional anchor for clients- keeping the highs from being too high during times of untrammeled optimism, such as we saw in 2000, and the lows from being too low during periods of absolute pessimism, such as we saw a year ago and in many cases still see today. Playing that role takes more than just having an opinion - you need credible evidence to back you up, which Dan Richards offers.
2010-04-13 Shameless by Michael Lewitt (Article)
The fiscal train wreck in the United States has not been set back on the tracks, and the global imbalances that led to the financial crisis have not gone away. Quite to the contrary, writes Michael Lewittin Shameless, the latest edition of his HCM newsletter. In fact, if progress isn't made with respect to these issues, and if intelligent financial reform is not enacted, future instability is guaranteed.
2010-04-09 Interest Rates are Creeping Up by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust
The Fed is on hold in the near term, with nearly all its emergency programs either closed or expired. The effective federal funds rate has moved up in recent weeks, to an average of 16 bps in March, as have yields on other Treasury securities. The upward trend of Treasury market yields places the Fed is a tight spot, because the objective of easy monetary policy is defeated if Treasury market yields continue to move up and raise the cost of credit. Northern Trust's best bet is that interest rates will decline somewhat in the weeks ahead as bearish economic news comes out.
2010-04-06 Liz Ann Sonders on the US Economic Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Liz Ann Sonders is Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Strategist at Charles Schwab & Co. In this interview, she discusses her positive outlook for the US economy, which she believes has been recovering since last summer.
2010-04-06 A Q1 Letter to Send Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards provides the latest in his very popular series of quarterly letters for advisors to send to their clients. This Q1 2010 article combines the attributes he considers essential: a balanced outlook, candor, short enough for clients to get through yet long enough to be substantial, fact-based, and customizable to your own voice.
2010-04-05 No Double-Dip For Housing by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors
While the end of the Federal Reserve's massive mortgage purchasing program will certainly not help the housing market, it probably will not result in a double dip for housing of the economy. Instead, home building, home sales and home prices should all be up nationwide a year from now versus today. Perhaps the most important reason for this is that the labor market, the last of the lagging economic indicators, has finally turned positive.
2010-03-30 China's 2010 Growth Forecasts Upgraded by the World Bank by Team of American Century Investments
The World Bank raised China's 2010 growth forecasts to 9.5 percent last week from the 8.7 percent projected in November, but also predicted that China's growth will slow somewhat in 2011, to 8.7 percent. It also recommended higher interest rates and a stronger currency for China amidst growing concerns over rising inflation and a property sector bubble. The Chinese government emphasized the need for structural reforms in recent presentations to the National People's Congress.
2010-03-30 America's "Failing" Infrastructure? by Charlie Curnow (Article)
In 2007, the spectacular collapse of the Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis killed 13 people and was the catalyst for calls for massive investment in infrastructure projects. Whether that catastrophe was truly symptomatic of systemic failure or simply an unfortunate but relatively isolated incident, however, remains up for debate. In fact, once one looks past the politics of infrastructure investment to the hard data, there's reason to believe the latter.
2010-03-29 And That's the Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates
Last week's data revealed continued economic recovery, even though housing continues to lag, an alarming trend given that future Fed moves could negatively impact the sector. Optimists still hope that dismal housing numbers reflect poor winter conditions, however, and will reverse themselves in the coming months. As the first quarter comes to a close, expect managers to rebalance positions, take some profits and even lock in losses for tax purposes. The new month will bring a plethora of economic data, highlighted by the unemployment rate late in the week.
2010-03-23 Employment Gains Likely by Bob Doll of BlackRock
The jobs-shedding phase appears to have ended, but new jobs are still not being created. Unemployment claims have declined in March, however, and so this scenario may soon reverse. Temporary employment has increased, and many firms have discussed plans for permanent hiring. Factoring in census hiring, payrolls may increase by more than 200,000 this month. Once jobs growth commences in earnest, corporate earnings should also increase and investor uncertainty should diminish, and this should drive the next cyclical bull market in equities.
2010-03-22 Health Care Fallout by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors
The health care bill is no reason to run for the hills. In the short term, there are no policy changes that will derail or noticeably slow the V-shaped economic recovery slowly underway. There are harmful policy shifts, including extra fees on health insurers and the makers of medical devices, but these are sector and not macroeconomic issues, at least in the short term. The biggest macroeconomic effects will stem from tax hikes scheduled to go into effect in 2013. In the meantime, however, Wesbury and Stein retain their bullish stance.
2010-03-19 Jobless Claims, Inflation and Retail Pricing Power by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Jobless claims are down to 457,000, the same place they were in late 2001 after the terrorist attacks. Sustained job creation does not occur, however, until claims drop below 400,000. The headline inflation rate was 2.1 percent in February and the core was 1.3 percent, the lowest core inflation rate since February 2004. Pricing trends suggest that airlines, shipping and hospital services have retained pricing power, while restaurants, home improvement, apparel, movies, telecoms, books and newspapers have not.
2010-03-16 Greeks Bearing Gifts by Michael Lewitt (Article)
We are again privileged to publish the most recent edition of Michael Lewitt's HCM Market Letter, Greeks Bearing Gifts. Lewitt comments on Goldman Sachs' derivative transactions that helped Greece hide its debt and its larger implications for the financial system, for the European periphery and for Spain in particular. Lewitt also addresses the state of decline of the US economy and other topics.
2010-03-16 Latest Unemployment Report Reveals the Growing Problem of the Long-Term Unemployed by Team of American Century Investments
Four out of 10 unemployed workers are designated as long-term unemployed, meaning that they have been seeking a job for at least six months. This rate exceeds any other since the 1940s. As we have evolved towards a service- and knowledge-based economy, people with at least an undergraduate degree have fared better both in terms of lower unemployment rates and higher wages. This trend has become even more pronounced during the recession that began in December 2007 relative to the past two periods of peak unemployment in June 1992 and 2003.
2010-03-15 Ordinary Outcomes of Extraordinary Recklessness by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds
The recent credit crisis did not emerge as a surprise, but was the ordinary outcome of extraordinary recklessness. Overvaluation and reckless lending do not always translate into near-term market weakness, but they invariably haunt investors in the form of poor long-term returns. Significant damage in the stock market often takes place during the "recognition phase" where the troubling reality departs from optimistic expectations. Fundamental measures suggest that markets are currently overvalued, and recommend a defensive position for assets.
2010-03-15 Weekly Commentary and Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
The conventional wisdom seems to be that the worst is over and a slow but self-sustaining recovery is taking place. A very quiet and slow week of trading produced yet another advance in the stock market. Concerns over Greece and other sovereign debt issues receded, while evidence on the global economy was mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.5 percent while the NASDAQ gained 1.8 percent over excitement generated by the new product line by Apple.
2010-03-15 Market Rebound Continues by Bob Doll of BlackRock
Equity markets notched positive returns again last week, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.6% to 10,625, the S&P 500 Index advanced 1.0% to 1,150 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.8% to 2,368. Economic growth should continue to improve, which should provide a boost to investor confidence. Additionally, merger and acquisition activity has picked up strongly in recent weeks, as have corporate share buybacks, trends that help promote an equity-friendly environment. On balance, equity markets should endure ongoing periods of volatility, but the cyclical bull market has further to run.
2010-03-11 Market Comment by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Government stop-and-go policies have fostered an environment of intense volatility for equity markets over the past 12 years. The market has basically been flat for a buy-and-hold investor during this period. While this may make a great case for active portfolio management, chasing performance at this juncture is probably unwise. Housing is the quintessential leading indicator for economic activity, and many realtors still say business is slow. As the Japanese experience shows us, a double-dip recession may come faster than we think.
2010-03-09 Healthcare, Unions and the Next Bull Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In order to reduce health care costs, consumers must be empowered to shop for and select health care services in a competitive environment, according to Jack Ablin. Ablin, the chief investment officer of Harris Private Bank, delivered the keynote address at last week's Boston Security Analysts Society market forecast event, where he also spoke of the need to reform labor practices in the public sector.
2010-03-09 Equities Notch Weekly Gains by Bob Doll of BlackRock
Last week was strong for risk assets, and equities in particular, as the broad U.S. averages entered positive territory for the first time since early January. All sectors were positive, with materials up the most at 6 percent. A profits-led recovery seems to be unfolding, which will lead to increases in capital expenditures, and eventually, employment. After six negative weeks, flows in equities have been positive for three weeks running. Accommodative liquidity conditions and a healing economy support a pro-growth investment stance.
2010-03-09 A Looming Lack of Liquidity by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Headlines warn that the rapid buildup in the money supply, caused by the Federal Reserve's efforts to confront the financial crisis, is destined to result in inflation. That may be the case, but a more ominous signal from the money supply warns of impending economic contraction.
2010-03-08 Weekly Commentary and Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn
Stocks rallied last week as evidence continued to show that even though unemployment is lagging, the rest of the economy is doing better. While the unemployment rate stayed constant at 9.7 percent, falling labor costs allowed companies to increase profit margins, and thus buoy stocks through solid fundamentals. If interest rates stay low, conditions will be perfect for stocks, because stock markets respond to prospects for profits and interest rates. McIntyre also examines the possible impact of health care reform, and the recent performance of Dow Chemical and Boeing.
2010-03-05 Economic Update by Justin S. Anderson of Cambridge Advisors
In the coming months it will be important to track the changing dynamics in both the domestic labor market and international sovereign debt markets as these represent, quite possibly, the two most significant headwinds to growth in the US economy and stock markets in general.
2010-03-02 Asset Allocation Perspective by Scott Wittman, CFA (Article)
Scott Wittman, Chief Investment Officer for American Century Investments, provides his quarterly review of macro-economic factors and trends which influence the tactical weighting decisions for American Century's asset allocation funds. In the article, Wittman reviews and comments on recent events, trends and expected short-term future changes in monetary, fiscal, industrial, trade, regulatory, political and financial macro economic factors. We thank them for their sponsorship. This is sponsored content.
2010-03-02 Recovery Continues, But Jobs Data Critical by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management
The economic recovery remains intact, but data remains mixed and outlooks are still uncertain. Employment trends remain the most critical economic data, because the labor market is the mechanism that sustains and reinforces growth. At present, corporate earnings and balance sheets are supportive of companies increasing their payrolls. Trading remains uneven, but higher-risk assets still hold long-term upside potential.
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 Notes on a Difficult Employment Outlook by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds
The 4-week moving average for unemployment claims stands at 468,500. This suggests monthly payroll job losses of about 80,000. Census hiring should make a positive impact on short-term job growth. Debt burdens could produce credit strains if weak employment conditions continue. Hussman also comments on the current market climate for stocks and bonds.
2010-02-22 DC's Economy Went South, Despite Government Hiring by John Burns of John Burns Real Estate Consulting
Contrary to industry buzz, the Washington, D.C. economy is not on the mend. Local job markets posted solid losses as 2009 progressed. D.C. could be one of the first housing markets to stabilize, however, due to improved affordability, a lack of new home construction and relatively few foreclosures.
2010-02-20 The Fed Tests the Waters by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors
The Federal Reserve took a big first psychological step toward a tighter monetary policy yesterday when it raised the discount rate to 0.75 percent, from 0.50 percent. The Fed wants to make sure, however, that markets understand that a rising discount rate does not necessarily entail higher federal funds rate.
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 Boom and Bust by Michael Lewitt (Article)
The US and global economies are "trapped in a cycle of boom and bust as a result of fiscal and monetary policies from which there is no easy escape," says Michael Lewitt of Harch Capital Management. Lewitt believes the S&P will rally to 1,200-1,250, but says the long-term prognosis is "somewhere between grave and terminal." We are privileged to provide this excerpt from Lewitt's monthly newsletter and encourage our readers to subscribe to it directly.
2010-02-16 Robert Shiller on Trills, Housing and Market Valuations by Dan Richards (Article)
Robert Shiller, a professor of economics at Yale University and co-creator of the Case-Shiller Housing Index, discusses several topics in this interview with Dan Richards, including his plan for governments to finance their debts by issuing "trills," a security representing a fractional claim on the country's GDP.
2010-02-14 Growing Problems in the Residential Real Estate Market (Part 2) by Team of American Century Investments
The problem of growing housing delinquencies has spread to states not originally affected in the sub-prime crisis and to higher-quality prime mortgages as the nation?s unemployment rate has reached double-digit levels. This commentary looks at the failure to-date of policy initiatives intended to stem defaults, and at the range of possible future policies.
2010-02-12 Net Interest Outlays in the U.S. Federal Budget - Let the Picture Speak for Itself by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust
Asha Bangalore says in Northern Trust's daily global commentary that the U.S. federal government's debt service burden is a problem, but that it is not as bad Moody's recent warning made it out to be. The country's net interest outlays are projected to peak at 3 percent of GDP by 2017, from 1.3 percent in 2009.
2010-02-12 Bernanke Ain't Doin' Nothin' plus Comments on Commercial Real Estate and Employment by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff says Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke won't try to tighten up liquidity conditions until after the deleveraging cycle runs its course. Bank lending to households and businesses shrank $28 billion last week, and is down by $100 billion since mid-January. He also takes a look at declining commercial real estate figures and improving jobless claims numbers.
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.
2010-02-09 The China Conundrum by Dan Richards (Article)
Few issues divide investors today more than the investment merits of China, despite that country's tremendous potential. China's strong economic performance through the global financial crisis has reinforced this divide. Dan Richards looks at the cases for and against investment in China, and offers his own opinion.
2010-02-08 Cautiously Pessimistic by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds
Hussman notes that he foresaw the market decline in his comments a few weeks ago, and that it would be a mistake to attribute that decline to a single piece of news. His most significant concern is a ?significant second wave of defaults,? and he says those concerns (other than issues pertaining to Greece) have not been the focus of analysts? attention. Hussman believes the decline in the unemployment rate to 9.7% is an ?anomaly,? and expects unemployment to rise to 11-12%.
2010-02-06 January Employment Situation - Mixed Report, Deduce Carefully by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust
Although the jobless rate declined and the pace of job losses has slowed noticeably, the labor market situation remains a source of serious concern. A total of 8.4 million jobs have been lost since the recession commenced in December 2007 and the jobless rate is high. Consistent back-to-back gains in employment are necessary to declare the worst is behind us. One monthly decline of the jobless rate is adequate to act on; the FOMC is predicted to stay on hold for several more months.
2010-02-02 Stiglitz: U.S. Economy Will Falter without More Stimulus by Susan B. Weiner, CFA (Article)
The U.S. government has botched its handling of the economy over the last eight years, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. He explained how the U.S. created the global recession - and how we can get out of it - in a public presentation on his new book, Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy.
2010-02-02 Chuck Akre on the Akre Focus Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Chuck Akre is the Managing Member and Chief Executive Officer of Akre Capital Management, which he founded in 1989. He has a track record of above-average performance over the last 20-plus years managing mutual funds, separately managed accounts and partnerships, and he discusses the strategy he employs in his new Akre Focus Fund.
2010-02-02 Easy Money by MacKay of Broadleaf Partners
The authors are bullish on US equities, noting that ?that at current rates of improvement, S&P 500 profits could be back to the peak levels achieved in 2006 by the second quarter of this year,? and when profits were at that level, the S&P 500 was 30% higher than it is now. The economy is stronger than many suspect and they forecast ?a recovery based on the strength of corporate profits and business spending rather than the consumer.?
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
2010-01-26 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
In our letters to the Editor, readers comment on recent articles about Paul Krugman, health care, John Cochrane and the need for trust in advisory relationships.
2010-01-22 Reflections Across the Pond by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital
Having been among the economic engines of Europe for much of the past decade, it appears as if the British economy has run out of steam. Inflation is rising while bankruptcies and unemployment continu
2010-01-19 John Cochrane on the Dangers of Current Economic Policies by Dan Richards (Article)
John Cochrane is a professor of finance at the University of Chicago and the incoming president of the American Finance Association. Cochrane is also author of the widely-circulated article, How did Paul Krugman get it so Wrong?. In this interview, Cochrane identifies the shortcomings and dangers of current economic policies.
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.
2010-01-15 Ballooning Treasure Deficits - It Takes both Outlays and Receipts to Tango by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust
...although high growth in federal spending is contributing mightily to our record federal deficit, the rate of growth in that spending is slowing. What often is forgotten is that the rate of contract
2010-01-14 Recent Fed Rhetoric and Highlights of Beige Book by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust
In speeches late yesterday, Fed Presidents Plosser and Fisher of Philadelphia and Dallas, respectively, were of the opinion that unemployment rate is most likely to trend higher than the December jobl
2010-01-14 Is Recovery Here to Stay? by William H. McAfee of WHM Capital Advisors
There are still high levels of uninvested cash sitting idly on the sidelines. Equity markets are likely to do well in 2010 as the perception of risk diminishes and cash flows out of low yielding mone
2010-01-12 How to Use LinkedIn When Your Compliance Department Says No by Kristen Luke (Article)
For those advisors who are allowed to have a LinkedIn profile but are restricted in their use of the site, there are still strategies that can be utilized to make LinkedIn a valuable sales and marketing tool. Kristen Luke provides four strategies to implement even if you can't use LinkedIn to its fullest potential.
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 December Employment Report: Hiring Freeze Yet to Thaw by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust
2010-01-05 Paul Krugman on Deficits, Taxes, Inflation, and Recovery by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards' interview with Paul Krugman, the 2008 Nobel prize winner in Economics, covers his views on the size of the next stimulus package, how high marginal tax rates should go, and lessons from the Japanese experience. Whether or not you agree with him, Krugman is highly influential and his views may presage future policy decisions.
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 Monetary Policy: Inflation-Deflation, Debt, Excess Reserves, Currency Volatility by Michael J. Schussele of Michael J. Schussele, CPA
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.
2009-12-29 The Top 10 Articles You Didn?t Read (But Should Have) by Robert Huebscher (Article)
We closely monitor which articles draw the most readership. This allows us to fine-tune our content to the preferences of our audience. Reflecting on those articles that were most popular over the last year, however, we believe other articles also deserved your attention. We provide the "Top 10" articles you didn't read - but should have.
2009-12-22 ECRI: Recovery and Jobs Growth are Underway by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Lakshman Achuthan, the managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), provides an upbeat forecast in our interview. He says the economic recovery has been underway since the summer and he expects to see jobs growth in the coming quarters. ECRI is a global research firm serving buy- and sell-side institutions and Fortune 500 companies.
2009-12-22 Stimulus II: A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Tardi (Article)
Our worthy public servants in Congress, not to mention in the White House itself, have worked tirelessly to solve the vexing problem of unemployment. They have courageously ignored their own ignorance in matters of commerce and finance and have unleashed a veritable cornucopia of well-intended solutions on a trusting public. In this guest contribution, Jonathan Tardi offers a modest proposal for reducing the rolls of the unemployed and, while he's at it, eliminating the national deficit.
2009-12-17 Shifting Gears by MacKay of Broadleaf Partners
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 The Next Black Swan? Underfunded Public Pensions by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The plights of California and other states reveal an ominous threat our economy faces: underfunded public pension liabilities. We examine the size and scope of this problem, focusing on whether the underlying assumptions used to calculate liabilities are realistic.
2009-12-15 A Template for a Year-end Letter by Dan Richards (Article)
Many advisors have told Dan Richards they receive a positive response from the quarterly review letters they've sent over the past year based on the templates he has provided. Here's a template that can be a starting point for a year-end review letter.
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.
2009-12-01 Allen Sinai: Jobless Recovery and the Failure of Current Economic Policies by Robert Huebscher (Article)
As the Democratic leadership in Congress has looked for ways to simultaneously create jobs and reduce the deficit, a key person they have turned to and continue to rely on is Allen Sinai. Sinai now fears the US is in the "mother of all jobless recoveries" and that the economic policies of the Obama administration are not working.
2009-11-24 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.
2009-11-17 Bruce Greenwald on Positioning First Eagle?s Funds by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Bruce Greenwald is a professor of finance at Columbia, the Director of Research at First Eagle Funds, and a leading expert on value investing. Last week we published part one of our interview, where he discussed the structural problems in the economy and his forecast for higher unemployment. This week he discusses the positioning of First Eagle's investments, and why Warren Buffett's purchase of Burlington Northern was a mistake.
2009-11-17 Our Steroidally Challenged Economy by Vitaliy Katsenelson (Article)
Vitaliy Katsenelson writes that the US economy is like a marathon runner who, after suffering an injury, takes steroids in order to return to racing. His performance is fine, but what don't see are the risks, just as our economy is now "steroidally challenged."
2009-11-17 Disheartened by Michael Lewitt (Article)
We are again privileged to publish an excerpt from Michael Lewitt's HCM Market Letter. In this issue, titled "Disheartened," Lewitt argues that the powers-that-be are making limited progress addressing the structural problems in the economy, and that the greatest challenge is to achieve budgetary discipline.
2009-11-17 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
We have two letters to the Editor - one responds to last week's interview with Bruce Greenwald and the other responds to two recent articles which argued that advisors should avoid active management.
2009-11-10 Bruce Greenwald on Structural Problems in the Economy and Unemployment by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Bruce Greenwald is a professor of finance at Columbia University, the Director of Research at First Eagle Funds, and perhaps the foremost expert on value investing. In part one of our two-part interview, he discusses the structural problems facing the economy, the parallels to the Great Depression, and the implications for the unemployment rate.
2009-11-03 Worry of the Dollar?s Collapse Is Overblown by Frank Wei, CFA (Article)
The fundamentals for the dollar could not be worse. The U.S. economy has continued to struggle, the federal deficit has skyrocketed, and the government has adopted super-easing monetary policies and aggressive fiscal spending. But anxiety over a potential dollar collapse is overblown. A gradual decline appears more likely, according to Frank Wei of FundQuest in this guest contribution.
2009-10-27 The ?V? Points Downward by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Long-term equity investors face a critical juncture. They can believe a V-shaped economic recovery is imminent, if not underway, and valuations for broad-based equity indexes properly reflect an end to the "decrepit decade" of return-less risk in US markets. Or they can believe true economic recovery - growth, not just stability - is still a long way off and US equity valuations are in bubble territory, not reflective of the rough terrain ahead. We provide our thoughts.
2009-10-20 Asset Allocation Perspective from American Century Investments by Scott Wittman, CFA (Article)
Scott Wittman,Senior Vice President, Asset Allocation at American Century Investments reflects on the one-year anniversary of the near-meltdown by our financial system and provides perspective on what kind of recovery may be coming. We thank American Century Investments for their sponsorship.
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.
2009-09-29 Interview: Jeff Mortimer, CIO of Charles Schwab Investment Management by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeff Mortimer is Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer-Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc. (CSIM). Mortimer has overall responsibility for approximately $240 billion in Schwab Funds and managed accounts. We spoke with Mortimer two weeks ago about the economy and why he believes the market has already priced in the bad news trumpeted by the media.
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.
2009-08-11 At the Risk of Repeating Ourselves by Michael Lewitt (Article)
We have said before that Michael Lewitt's newsletter is a must-read, and this edition is no exception. Lewitt questions whether we are witnessing a summer calm before the storm, comments on the secured and unsecured debt asset classes, and opines on the abuses of unregulated dark pools of capital. We encourage you to subscribe to this valuable publication through the link we provide.
2009-08-11 Letters to the Editor ? Paul Krugman by Various (Article)
Our interview last week with economist Paul Krugman drew an unprecedented number of responses - all of which were critical of Krugman's proposed policies. Read our letters to the Editor.
2009-08-04 Paul Krugman on the Prospects for Recovery by Eric Uhlfelder (Article)
Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman tells Eric Uhlfelder that massive government spending is essential for generating growth, but fears the first stimulus package will not be enough to keep the economy from slipping back into recession nor reducing unemployment.
2009-07-14 Some Signs of Life and Hope for a New Recovery by John P. Calamos and Nick P. Calamos (Article)
Calamos Investments' co-CIOs John P. Calamos, Sr. and Nick P. Calamos discuss the current market climate, implications of Fed and government actions, and investment opportunities in the shorter- and longer-term. Global governmental policies have restored a degree of confidence in the financial markets and many key financial metrics are back to pre-Lehman levels. Many investment opportunities will be available in the future. We thank them for their sponsorship.
2009-07-14 When the Referee Says ?Game Over? Too Soon by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Robert J. Gordon, an economist at Northwestern University, published a study in early May that found that the recession is all but over. Gordon's statement was remarkable for its audacity and, more so, because for the last three decades he has been a member of the prestigious Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - the committee charged with setting the official start and end dates of recessions. We examine Gordon's claims.
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 Q Ratio Sends a Modestly Bearish Long-Term Signal by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Strong market performance during the second quarter has claimed a victim. Tobin's Q ratio, one of the most reliable barometers of market valuation, is now 0.72 - up from its March low of 0.33 - indicating the market is modestly overvalued for long-term investors.
2009-06-30 In Search of Unconventional Thinking by Dan Richards (Article)
Astute investors search out insights that aren't reflected in stock prices. For this to work, though, you have to be prepared to differ from the pack and defy conventional thinking - once an idea enters the mainstream, it no longer gives you an edge. Dan Richards discusses some important positive ideas that unconventional thinking elicits from the news and analysis presented in traditional media.
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 Bill Gross and the New Normal by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Nearly a half-century of global economic prosperity has ended, and investors must gird themselves for muted returns from the capital markets, according to Bill Gross, a Managing Director at PIMCO. Gross shared his outlook at the Morningstar Investor Conference.
2009-05-26 Dan Fuss and the Eisenhower Recession Redux by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Those of us old enough to remember Studebakers and the military-industrial complex will recall the Eisenhower Recession, which began in 1957, lasted eight months and was followed by the 10 month "Rolling Adjustment" recession beginning in 1961. The W-shaped path of the US economy during this period is the correct analogy to today's crisis, according to Loomis Sayles and Company's Dan Fuss.
2009-05-19 Turning Corporate Downsizing into Prospecting Success by Dan Richards (Article)
Optimists in the investment business claim "Crisis breeds opportunity." Dan Richards looks at the worst consequence of the current crisis - corporate downsizing - and shows how advisors used five different approaches to create opportunities while helping those faced with job losses.
2009-05-12 Will the Commercial Property Market be the Next to Fail? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
If you've read a headline foretelling the next shoe to drop or domino to fall lately, it was probably about commercial real estate. We speak with two experts on this market and analyze the data to uncover the truth about whether investors should brace themselves for a collapse in commercial real estate.
2009-05-12 The Well-Meaning by Michael Lewitt (Article)
We are once again privileged to publish the latest version of the HCM Market Letter, edited by Michael Lewitt. Lewitt's analysis and writing are a cut above virtually everything else we see, and you will enjoy reading his latest thoughts. You can also subscribe directly to his newsletter using the link at the beginning of the article.
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.