The ETF Channel

Craftsmanship in Smart Beta

While somewhat at odds with today’s big-data, warp-speed approach to life and work, thoughtful craftsmanship—the product design and implementation elements that are tangible, measurable, and impactful—can create positive, persistent results in portfolio performance.

Gold and the Global Ticking Debt Bomb

Looking long-term, there are mounting risks involving debt that make gold appear very attractive right now as a safe haven and portfolio diversifier.

S&P 500 Snapshot: Highest Close in Weeks

The S&P 500 spent the day rising, closing at its highest since February 2. The index ended Friday up 0.55% from last Friday and is up 1.91% YTD.

Three Market Concerns Move to the Fore

Last week brought renewed focus to three areas of concern that I’ve been writing about for some time: populism, protectionism and pressure on debtors. It appears that we may be moving closer to certain outcomes that could be of concern to markets.

Defined Contribution: Four Themes for 2018 and Beyond

In our view, the prospective low-return environment calls for a capital-efficient approach that pairs actively managed bonds with passive or enhanced equities in target-date, core and retirement-income allocations.

The Four Horsemen of the Retirement Apocalypse

In biblical tradition, the four horsemen of the apocalypse are a quartet of immensely powerful entities personifying the four prime concepts – war, famine, pestilence and death – that drive the apocalypse. For today’s investors, the equivalent is historically high equity valuations, historically low bond yields, increasing longevity and, as a result, the increasing need for what can be very expensive long-term care.

Emerging Markets: Standing Up to Higher Volatility

During the second most significant repricing in U.S. Treasury bond yields since 2013, emerging market debt has so far significantly outperformed equity, oil and U.S. Treasury beta.

Little Ado About Volatility

Spikes in volatility levels can impact returns on a fund’s portfolio. The low leverage point for Portfolio+ ETFs provide for relatively minimal impact of negative compounding over time for long-term investors.

Global Allocation Flexibility: The Secret Sauce

Michael Grant, SVP, Senior Portfolio Manager, discusses why the team’s ability to asset allocate equity capital across the entire global equity universe is key in delivering superior returns. To learn more visit: http://bit.ly/AskPM-PLS

Boston

As readers of the missives know, the three sectors we have really liked are Financials, Technology, and Industrials. Therefore, we were excited to arrive in Boston last week to see portfolio manager (PMs) and renew friendships.

Italian Election Primer: Game of Coalition

Check out our primer on the March 4th General Election in Italy to learn about the potential political implications and possible market impacts.

Good News Is Bad News: Deconstructing the Market Sell-Off

Stocks globally have experienced more than a week of tumultuous trading, with the US stock market officially in correction territory. And after being relatively sedate for years, the VIX Index has risen dramatically in recent days, indicating rising volatility.

Weighing the Week Ahead: Is the Coast Clear?

The economic calendar is very light, and it is a holiday-shortened week. With the quadrennial CNBC switch to Olympic curling coverage after the market close, there is a little less air time to fill. What time and space remains will invite pundit opinion about last week’s stock rebound and the question: Is the coast clear?

Weekly Market Summary

After falling into their first correction in two years, US equities regained half of their loses in just 6 days. The rebound has been strong enough and persistent enough to suggest that it has further to run. Sentiment and volatility backwardation support that view. However, a low retest over the coming weeks is still a viable risk.

World Markets Update

Three of eight indexes on our world watch list have posted gains through Friday, February 16, 2018. The top performer is Hong Kong's Hang Seng with a gain of 4.00%. In second if our own S&P 500 with a gain of 2.19% followed by India's BSE Sensex with a gain of 0.59%.