The Insurance & Annuities Channel

The Big Four Economic Indicators: A December Bounce in Industrial Production

Today's report on Industrial Production for December shows a month-over-month increase of 0.8 percent (0.83 percent to two decimals), which was above the consensus of a 0.6 percent increase. However, the previous month was revised downward from -0.4 percent to -0.7 percent. Industrial Production peaked in November 2014, only one point higher than its pre-recession peak in November 2007. It has contracted for 17 of the last 25 months. The year-over-year change is 0.5 percent, the first YoY increase after 15 consecutive months of YoY contraction.

Small Business Optimism Soars to Highest Level Since 2004

Small businesses and entrepreneurs have had a rough time of it for these past eight years. New startups and entrepreneurial activity have pretty much been stagnant, weighed down by heavy regulation, high taxes and an economy that’s just been stumbling along.

Consumer Price Index: Headline CPI Rises Above 2%

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the December Consumer Price Index data this morning. The year-over-year non-seasonally adjusted Headline CPI came in at 2.07%, up from 1.69% the previous month. Year-over-year Core CPI (ex Food and Energy) came in at 2.20%, up from the previous month's 2.11%. This is the first month of Headline CPI above 2% since June 2014, 30 months ago.

New Tools to Prove You Acted as a Fiduciary

This article, the first of two parts, is a review of some of the more prominent new tools that advisors can lean on as they prepare for the full DOL rule implementation on April 10. Each of them addresses a different aspect of the rule, and they all approach it from different angles.

Playing Chess With China

China suffered the twin indignities of a currency correction and an equity correction on the first trading day of last year. Fortunately, order was restored and investor attention turned to other global developments.

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Up 10K, Better Than Forecast

Today's seasonally adjusted 247K new claims, up 10K from last week's revised number, was better than the forecast of 255K.

2017 Commodity Outlook

While many group commodities as one asset class, in reality each commodity trades on its own fundamentals. Historic correlation between commodities has been relatively low. In this outlook we will provide an overview of our views on major commodities within each sub-category.

2017 ETF Top Trends and Insights

The Year of the Dynamic ETF With the world digesting the surprising results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, the team at IndexIQ has turned their thoughts to next year and their top five ETF-focused trends and insights for 2017.

It's Checkers Not Chess

While many investors ascribe recent market performance solely to a post-election surprise, we argue that there’s a simpler explanation. Remember, it’s checkers not chess.

How Financial Advisor Marketing Will Be Different in a Post-DOL World

While it’s well-known that the DOL’s fiduciary ruling requires all financial advisors to put their clients’ interests first, financial services professionals are still unable to know how broad of an impact the ruling will have on other aspects of their practice, including marketing.

The Tragic Consequences of Overlooking Life Insurance

Three recent events had a meaningful impact on me. They illustrated the devastating consequences of inadequate life insurance. I want to share them with you.

B.I.C.E.: Financial Advisors Beware

I question why any financial advisor would want to use B.I.C.E., given the likelihood of significant reputational damage that would result for the advisor.

The Big Four Economic Indicators: December Nonfarm Employment

This commentary has been updated to include today's release of Nonfarm Employment for December. As the adjacent thumbnail of the past year illustrates, Nonfarm Employment remains in its upward trend. December's 156K increase in total nonfarm payrolls was accompanied by a 19K upward revision for November and a 7K downward revision for October (a net revision gain of 12K). The unemployment rate ticked upward from 4.6% to 4.7%. The consensus was for 178K new jobs and the unemployment rate to do precisely what it did.

Milliman FRM Risk Matters: Low Rates Make the past a Virtually Impossible Prologue

Factors ranging from China’s evolving economy to the rise of nationalism combined to make 2016 a year that will not be quickly forgotten.

The Civilian Labor Force, Unemployment Claims and the Business Cycle

What does the ratio of unemployment claims tell us about where we are in the business cycle and our current recession risk? At present, the ratio for Continued Claims has been trending down. Excluding the 1981 recession, the Initial Claims trough lead time for a recession has ranged from 7 to 22 months with an average of 12 months if we include the 1981 recession and 14 months if we exclude it. Admittedly, the last recession is an extreme example, but the Initial Claims trough preceded its December 2007 onset by a whopping 22 months.