The General Advisory Channel

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 14K, Affected by Hurricanes

Today's seasonally adjusted 284K new claims, down 14K from last week's 298K, was better than the forecast of 300K. Hurricane Harvey and Irma impacted this week's claims.

Risk Tolerance and Behavioral Finance

We have seen a powerful recovery in asset prices in the wake of the global financial crisis (GFC). We cannot forget, however, that more than $15 trillion in asset values evaporated in 2008–2009, wiping out gains earned in the bull markets of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Woody Brock: Global Growth is Mismeasured and Understated

Has productivity growth slowed in the U.S. and around the world, as is the conventional wisdom? Or is that just an illusion, caused by the difficulty of measuring the quality improvements that constitute the bulk of productivity growth? In a provocative interview, Woody Brock puts his unique spin on questions like these.

Yet Again

“There They Go Again . . . Again” of July 26 has generated the most response in the 28 years I’ve been writing memos, with comments coming from Oaktree clients, other readers, the print media and TV. I also understand my comments regarding digital currencies have been the subject of extensive – and critical – comments on social media, but my primitiveness in this regard has kept me from seeing them. The responses and the time that has elapsed have given me the opportunity to listen, learn and think. Thus I’ve decided to share some of those reflections here.

Amazon’s Lessons for Growth Investors; A New Smart-Beta Growth Strategy

Growth stocks have been outperforming their value counterparts and investors can look at Amazon as an example for why this happened. Meanwhile, new research on a smart-beta-growth strategy looks at the theoretical foundations surrounding traditional growth indices.

The Ratio of Part-Time Employed: August 2017

Let's take a close look at Friday's employment report numbers on Full and Part-Time Employment. Buried near the bottom of Table A-9 of the government's Employment Situation Summary are the numbers for Full- and Part-Time Workers, with 35-or-more hours as the arbitrary divide between the two categories. The source is the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) of households. The focus is on total hours worked regardless of whether the hours are from a single or multiple jobs.

Moving Averages: August Month-End Update

Valid until the market close on September 29, 2017.

The S&P 500 closed August with a fractional monthly gain of 0.05% after a gain of 1.93% in July. All three S&P 500 MAs are signaling "invested" and four of the five Ivy Portfolio ETFs — Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI), Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU), iShares Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury (IEF), and Vanguard REIT Index ETF (VNQ) — are signaling "invested".

Masters Series Interview with Richard H. Thaler, PhD

Richard Thaler, PhD, is considered one of the founding fathers of behavioral economics, the nexus of economics and psychology—specifically how people and organizations make decisions that may have negative consequences and how they frequently repeat these mistakes. 

Helping Clients Who Overspend

How do I get through to clients who spend too much money?

Are You Prepared for These Potentially Disruptive Economic Storms?

I hope investors have taken steps to prepare for some potentially disruptive economic storms, including this weekend’s central bank symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the possibility of a contentious battle in Congress next month over the budget and debt ceiling.

Dysfunction Junction

The exodus of CEO support following President Trump’s response to Charlottesville shook the foundations, but the stock market outlook has remained constructive. Every administration has its share of difficulties early on, many self-inflicted, before settling down.

US Tech Sector: Continued Run-Up or Correction Coming?

Since the infamous “dot com” meltdown nearly two decades ago, people have tended to question any sort of extended run-up in technology-sector stocks.

DC Plan Sponsors: Fiduciary Matters Matter!

The US Department of Labor (DOL) has cut financial advisors some slack in getting ready to comply with its new fiduciary rule. But defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors don’t have the same luxury.

The S&P 500: Just Say No

James Montier and Matt Kadnar, members of GMO’s Asset Allocation team, have just published a new white paper -- “The S&P 500: Just Say No” -- warning of the risks to investors throwing in the towel on valuation, diversification and active management in favor of a passive allocation to large-cap U.S. equities.

In Defense of Millennials

If you’ve spent any time recruiting, you are painfully aware how hard it is to find good people. It’s even harder to keep them, particularly younger people. But those Millennials are not as unmotivated and unambitious as many claim.