The Factor-Based Investing Channel

Bring On Brexit

The British government is set to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty next week, formally signaling its intention to separate from the EU.

The Threat and Risk of Rising Interest Rates: Separating Fact from Fiction

The threat of rising interest rates is all the rage in financial circles today. However, the seminal question is: How real is the threat, and how much impact will rising rates have on stock prices and investor performance?

ECRI Weekly Leading Index: WLI Down from Last Week

Today's release of the publicly available data from ECRI puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 144.6, down 0.8 from the previous week. Year-over-year the four-week moving average of the indicator is now at 10.96%, down from 11.76% the previous week. The WLI Growth indicator is now at 9.0, also down from the previous week.

Allianz Global Investors’ House View on Brexit

The UK’s triggering of Article 50 on March 29 is like firing the starting pistol on the process of leaving the EU – but this race will be slow and tortuous. Here is our view on what investors should expect and how they should prepare.

S&P 500 Snapshot: Biggest Loss in Five Months

Today's S&P 500 opened at its daily high and proceeded to tumble throughout the day, ending the selloff with a 1.24% loss, its largest since October.

Gasoline Volume Sales and our Changing Culture

The Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration (EIA) monthly data on volume sales is several weeks old when it released. The latest numbers, through mid-January, are now available. However, despite the lag, this report offers an interesting perspective on fascinating aspects of the US economy. Gasoline prices and increases in fuel efficiency are important factors, but there are also some significant demographic and cultural dynamics in this data series.

The Biggest Trends in Family Wealth

Family wealth has emerged as the financial-industry topic of this decade, akin to what estate planning was in the ‘70s, investment planning in the ‘80s, financial planning in the ‘90s, and wealth management in the ‘00s. Today family wealth advisors serve 35,000 households that all together account for more than $5 trillion in assets.

Valuations and Volatility: The Highs and Lows

When building a portfolio, investors will often look at a stock’s valuation to determine whether or not it is a good investment.

On My Radar: A High Probability Way to Forecast Recession (Recession? No Sign Just Yet)

One of the realities we will face is recession. The good news is that we are in the eighth year of a growth phase (the last recession was in 2009) and as you’ll see in my favorite indicator charts below, there are no current signs of recession.

Global Supply Chains Contain Inflation

Globalization has profoundly affected politics, society and economic performance. Among its most significant results has been persistent downward pressure on prices.

Vehicle Miles Traveled: Another Look at Our Evolving Behavior

The Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Commission has released the latest report on Traffic Volume Trends, data through January. "Travel on all roads and streets changed by 2.2% (5.2 billion vehicle miles) for January 2017 as compared with January 2016." The less volatile 12-month moving average was up 0.16% month-over-month and 1.4% year-over-year. If we factor in population growth, the 12-month MA of the civilian population-adjusted data (age 16-and-over) is up 0.42% month-over-month and up only 0.7% year-over-year.

South Africa: Key Issues and Challenges

As I’ve previously written, I had the opportunity to visit South Africa recently and meet with a number of executives at companies there, as well as talk to people and observe various trends.

Monthly Market Risk Update: March 2017

Just as I do with the economy, I review the market each month for warning signs of trouble in the near future. Although valuations are now high—a noted risk factor in past bear markets—markets can stay expensive (or get much more expensive) for years and years, which doesn’t give us much to go on timing-wise.

Global Economic Perspective: March

In this month’s Global Economic Perspective, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group weighs in on the factors spurring the US Fed’s decision to raise rates, why the ECB’s Draghi is likely to resist calls to adopt a more hawkish line, and why the backdrop for emerging markets has improved.

Is the U.S. Workforce Nearing Full Recovery?

We've updated our monthly workforce analysis to include last week's Employment Report for February. The unemployment rate ticked down from 4.8% to 4.7%, and the number of new nonfarm jobs (a relatively volatile number subject to extensive revisions) was surprised forecasts at 235K.