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

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2015-07-01 00:00:00 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

Okay, so where did the last six months go? Hard to believe that half of 2015 is gone and even harder to believe that we have a presidential election coming up in “only” 16 months. Of course, with all the candidates coming out, especially on the Republican side, it is going to be an interesting 10-12 months while the primaries play out.

2014-12-23 00:00:00 Setting the Scene for 2015 by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Market prospects in the coming year would seem to hinge on four major considerations. One is geopolitics, inherently unpredictable but potentially disruptive, especially these days. Another is the Federal Reserves plan to raise interest rates along a gentle path beginning sometime in the middle of the year. Third is the perennial question of where value lies within and between markets. Fourth is the state of the U.S. economy.

2014-12-09 00:00:00 Stocks: Going with the Flows by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Mutual-fund data show that retail investors remain reluctant to commit money to equities. That actually could help extend the rally in the months ahead.

2014-12-08 00:00:00 Are You Prepared for Short-term Rates to Rise? by Craig Brandon of Eaton Vance

In this timely Q&A, Craig Brandon, portfolio manager of Eaton Vance Floating-Rate Municipal Income Fund, offers his thoughts on the asset class, how he manages the Fund and which investors may find the strategy attractive.

2014-10-21 00:00:00 The Skinny on Fatter Tails for Fed Policy by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

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

2014-05-15 00:00:00 Fed's Zero Interest Rate Cost Savers A Trillion Dollars by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Get a group of adults together in a social setting and the conversation almost invariably gets around to a discussion about the paltry returns savers have been earning on their money in recent years. Three-month certificates of deposits are averaging only 0.23% nationally; one-year CDs are at only 1% if you can get it; and five-year CDs get you only about 2%. And rates have been at or near these depressed levels for the last four years.

2014-03-25 00:00:00 A Slip and Fall? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Despite last week?s vernal equinox, signaling the first day of spring on Thursday, another arctic blast is hitting the Midwest yet again this week, and cabin fever has become an epidemic. So many of my friends and family are singing the same refrain; ?When will this winter be over??

2014-03-15 00:00:00 Like Houdini, the Markets Escape Again and Again by Stephen C. Sexauer of Allianz Global Investors

Like the great escape artist Harry Houdini, the markets have repeatedly escaped a series of potential catastrophes. Central banks around the world have coordinated policy making these escapes possible, but the end result is another trap from which we need to escape - seemingly permanent low interest rates for savers ("financial repression"), slow growth, and high asset prices. Financial repression is better than an outright debt deflation, but it causes its own problems. The outlook is for low returns.

2014-02-13 00:00:00 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.

2014-02-05 00:00:00 Most 'Medieval' by William Gross of PIMCO

Unlike today, when most believe that animals were put on this Earth for humanitys pleasure or utility, most people in the Middle Ages believed that God granted free will to Adam, Eve and all of His creatures. Animals were responsible in some strange way for their own actions and therefore should be held accountable for them.

2014-02-04 00:00:00 It Looks Messy Even From a Distance... by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Im traveling outside the country but I am never far from the latest financial market update. I saw todays market move and with the sluggish start to the New Year in stocks, I thought Id drop you all a line with my thoughts.

2013-12-06 00:00:00 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.

2013-10-26 00:00:00 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.

2013-10-22 00:00:00 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 00:00:00 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

Last month, a Wells Fargo/Gallup survey of non-retired investors showed just how lingering the hangover is from the financial crisis five years ago. Much like the Great Depression financially scared their great grandparents and grandparents, the Great Recession is impacting investors expectations about the future.

2013-10-18 00:00:00 Trying To Beat The Market Is A Fool's Errand by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Proponents of indexing as the best investment strategy seemed to take great delight in reporting how the vast majority of professionally managed portfolios (mutual funds, separately managed accounts, hedge funds, ETFs, etc.) fail to outperform the S&P 500. Therefore, they argue, it is best not to even try. Investors should simply invest in index funds and forget about it.

2013-10-17 00:00:00 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

Last month, a Wells Fargo/Gallup survey of non-retired investors showed just how lingering the hangover is from the financial crisis five years ago. Much like the Great Depression financially scared their great grandparents and grandparents, the Great Recession is impacting investors expectations about the future. 41% indicated they were concerned about another global crisis during their retirement years, and 28% were convinced they would have a lower standard of living during retirement.

2013-07-25 00:00:00 Retirement: The Vacation of a Lifetime by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

Most of us plan for our vacations with giddy anticipation. We pore over glossy travel magazines and surf web sites for the perfect place to pursue our passions, or to just put our feet up and relax. And, if were responsible, we save our pennies, sometimes years in advance, to make our dream a reality. But when it comes to the ultimate vacation retirement many people are far less prepared. You probably have a good idea of how to finance a weeks vacation, but do you have a viable plan for a vacation that can last decades?

2013-07-09 00:00:00 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.

2013-06-15 00:00:00 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.

2013-05-09 00:00:00 The Effect of Negative Interest Rates in Europe by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

In his press conference last week, European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi signaled that policymakers may be more open to a cut in the central banks deposit rate. Although Mr. Draghi acknowledged this move could have negative side effects, he added we will be able to deal with the negative consequences we will look at this with an open mind. Several major central banks considered negative deposit facility rates during and after the financial crisis, but so far, all have determined that the idea did not pass the cost/benefit test.

2013-03-13 00:00:00 Who Cares if There's a High-Yield Bond Bubble? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

High-yield bonds, or "junk bonds" as they are widely known, have received a lot of attention in recent months. Is there a high-yield bond bubble? Certainly a ton of new money has gone into high-yield bond funds over the last few years. Millions of Americans who would have never considered high-yield bonds have bought in due to near zero returns on traditional savings vehicles.

2013-02-01 00:00:00 Monthly Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

Financial discipline is collapsing and with it, trust in the value of money. Many heavyweight thinkers in America, such as Nobel laureate Paul Krugman have suggested that a solution to avoid national debt ceilings imposed by Congress would be to mint a trillion dollar platinum coin. Meanwhile, heavyweights close to policy makers in Britain and Japan have been musing whether their central banks should write-off the mountains of government bonds they have bought recently.

2013-01-23 00:00:00 The Washington Hurdles by Scott Brown of Raymond James

While President Obama is now beginning his second term, the new Congress isn't expected to "get down to business" until next month. There are three hurdles for Washington, which are likely to have significant implications for the financial markets.

2013-01-08 00:00:00 Why China Won't Crack by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

For the world's second largest economy, a hard landing scenario looks increasingly remote.

2012-12-27 00:00:00 Saving for Retirement Stage 3: Making Retirement Funds Last as Long as You Do by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

So you're finally ready to retire. You've worked hard. You've planned. You've saved. You're ready to toss the business section and flip to the travel pages. You hope the investment decisions you've made have positioned you to meet your future needs. You may be retired, but your money has to keep working, and luck, as they say, tends to favor the prepared. In this third installment of our "Saving for Retirement" series, we take a look at some considerations and strategies for those fortunate folks beginning or living in retirement.

2012-11-01 00:00:00 Time To Vote! by Bill Gross of PIMCO

So I pulled out my magic lamp that for some reason works only every October 22nd, and rubbed until the Genie appeared in his red and white checkered cloak with a 10-inch diameter Flavor Flav clock hanging ceremoniously around his neck. Being a rather forward, although not disrespectful Genie, he immediately said, "Mr. G, instead of the yield on the 10-year Treasury, perhaps this year you should wish to know who is going to win the Presidential election?"

2012-10-24 00:00:00 Policy at a Crossroads by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

On September 13, the Federal Reserve announced a third round of quantitative easing, dubbed QE3, in the hope of providing an additional boost to the slow U.S. economic recovery. Although this latest policy action reinforces the notion that the U.S. is prepared to support its economy for as long as needed, some economists question whether the stimulus can really make a difference. In this issue of Strategic Spotlight, we consider the recent effects of loose monetary policy and whether the Fed has "reached its limit."

2012-10-19 00:00:00 Getting Trampled by the Herd by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

Many people are programmed to assume the consensus view is the correct one. They see a particular movie based on a number of positive reviews, buy a particular phone because people have camped out in front of a store to get it, or change their hairstyle based on the latest fad. It's extremely hard to go against the crowd, even if you can't afford that fancy new phone, or that new hairstyle isn't actually so attractive on you. It may be easy to laugh off falling prey to a gadget trend or a hairstyle, but what happens when it's your investments that have been trampled by following the herd?

2012-10-11 00:00:00 When Averting Loss Can Lead to Averting Gains by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

Think about something you'd really hate to lose, something of value to you such as a treasured possession. Now imagine you're told that if you lay that object on the line in a bet, you have a good shot at doubling its value, but there's also a possibility you'll lose it. How low would the chance of loss have to be before you'd be willing to take the risk? Maybe 10 percent? Less than that? The answer may lie in a behavioral economic theory called "loss aversion."

2012-10-05 00:00:00 When Do You Ignore Your Gut? by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

Anyone who took an introductory psychology class probably remembers the classic study in which different people witnessing the same crime each report a different take on what happened. Though each presumably sane, sober person witnessed the events with his or her own two eyes, individual expectations and biases influenced how they perceived what happened. Sure, you say, but what does this have to do with investing? Well, it turns out that our individual expectations and biases influence how we view investments, too.

2012-09-25 00:00:00 The Future Of Money Market Funds by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

The Financial Crisis of 2008 has left its mark on the capital markets and the economy, and money market mutual funds are one of those areas that were affected. One of the pieces of unfinished business following the financial crisis is improved regulation of money market mutual funds.

2012-07-31 00:00:00 Beyond the Ultimate Death Cross by Georg Vrba, P.E. (Article)

Last week, I showed why the 'ultimate death cross' is not a bearish signal. But the methodology behind that signal - what's known as a 'golden-cross trigger' - can indeed offer a reliable guide to investors. And one can do even better with a simple improvement to the trigger that I have devised.

2012-04-20 00:00:00 Maybe Diversification Is Not All It's Cracked Up To Be by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

As I began digging into the many faces of diversification, I quickly learned that it is a much more complex concept than at first meets the eye. I feel I learned that there is no one-size-fits-all or even a set of universally applicable rules or principles. To a great extent, diversification turns out to be a very personal issue. How much or how little depends more on your goals and objectives, the knowledge and experience you possess, the time you can allocate to your investment portfolio, and of course, your tolerance for risk. Some of us need a great deal of diversification.

2012-01-06 00:00:00 Doing Nothing Nothing Done by Cliff W. Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

Somehow, this is about the only time of year when most people reflect on the past, ponder the present, and plan/predict the future. There are several themes we have identified that will affect our asset-allocation discipline for 2012. As I commented in November, the market risks are geopolitical and the sentiment is driven by government policies. Our themes for 2012: Germanys Euro, Inflation versus Deflation, Election Year and It Isnt All Bad . For the year 2011, stocks basically broke even, although the 37 days where the Dow was plus or minus 200 points certainly made for a wild ride.

2011-12-09 00:00:00 You Can't Print More Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As central banks print money and increase supply, currencies become devalued. Whereas in the recent past, one currency may be reduced in value compared with other currencies, this time there is global competitive devaluation as excess liquidity is put into the system. Historically, this excess liquidity has made its way to riskier assets, i.e. stocks and commodities. Gold is generally a benefactor of this flight to riskier assets as many investors see it as a store of value. This chart illustrates the interconnectivity of gold and global money supply growth.

2011-09-22 00:00:00 Talking Our Way to Recession! by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

The Europeans do not yet have a political structure for engineering a rescue, and that will be the over-hang in Europe. They will figure it out - eventually. The risk remains whether Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland will require equivalent rescues. The largest unknown risk is: of all the banks and hedge funds that sold Credit Default Swaps on Greek bonds, do any have enough capital to pay off their exposure. Remember that the US Treasury directed $62 billion to AIG to cover CDS exposure at that firm in 2009. We doubt that the European central banks are prepared to do the same.

2011-07-01 00:00:00 Expert Roundtable on Interest Rates by Mark W. Riepe, Liz Ann Sonders, Kathy A. Jones, Rande Spiegelman & Brad Sorensen of Charles Schwab

US short-term interest rates have hovered near zero percent for a record period of time. The Fed has kept the funds rate extremely low, not only to boost economic growth, but also to ward off the threat of a deflationary spiral. Given the economy's recent soft patch, we don't expect the Fed to raise rates too soon. But, at some point rates will rise, it makes sense for clients to start planning now. With this in mind, Mark Riepe, led a roundtable discussion of investment and debt strategies for both the current low-interest rate environment and a future point when rates begin to tick up.

2010-08-24 00:00:00 Improving on Buy and Hold: Asset Allocation using Economic Indicators by Georg Vrba, P.E. (Article)

Most long-term stock market investors follow a buy-and-hold strategy, one that makes big losses unavoidable when major downturns strike the stock market. This strategy assumes that an investor cannot know when to switch from one asset to another and that if one avoids the bad days of the market, one is also likely to miss the best days. In this guest contribution, Georg Vrba presents a way to resolve this dilemma, based on various economic indicators that provide timely buy and sell signals for the S&P 500 index.

2010-04-05 00:00:00 Weekly Commentary and Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The unemployment report for March showed that employers added 162,000 nonfarm payroll jobs last month, but the unemployment rate stayed steady at 9.7 percent. The economy needs to add 200,000 jobs per month just to stay even given population growth and new entrants into the labor pool, including immigrants and college graduates. From an investor's perspective, however, the news remains encouraging. The data shows conclusively that economic activity is advancing despite the sluggish job market. Higher activity without higher costs spells higher profits.

2010-03-26 00:00:00 Inflation in 2010 and Beyond? Practical Considerations For Institutional Asset Allocation by Michael Katz and Christopher Palazzolo of AQR Capital Management

The monetary stimulus has justifiably focused investor attention on potential inflation. Despite significant growth in the U.S. monetary base, however, the money supply has grown only modestly. Furthermore, there is excess capacity in the economy, as evidenced by an approximate 70 percent capacity utilization and a 10 percent unemployment rate. Inflation rates remain below pre-crisis levels, and the trend in the CPI index is not currently showing signs of a dramatic increase in inflationary pressures.

2010-03-16 00:00:00 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.

2010-02-11 00:00:00 Chairman Bernanke on Fed's Exit Strategy/ Trade Gap Widens in December by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

Asha Bangalore discusses the ?exit strategy? from quantitative easing, and notes that the interest rate on reserves could soon replace the federal funds rate as the Federal Reserve's main policy tool. The large volume of reserves in the current banking system and the resulting loss of activity and liquidity in the federal funds market have made the federal funds rate less reliable as an indicator. The Q4 trade deficit data are also discussed.

2010-01-16 00:00:00 Q1 2010 Newsletter by Bradley Turner of Chess Financial

It is our expectation that the returns of the major assets classes will generally be lower and less correlated in the year ahead. We reach this conclusion based on several factors, the first of which

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