The Smart Beta Channel

Ireland's Anxiety

In this issue, the Northern Trust economics team explores the challenges facing Ireland in Brexit, the continuing demand for eurozone debt, and wage growth within U.S. states.

Commodities Are Flashing a Once-in-a-Generation Buy Signal

The investment case for commodities, gold and energy is more compelling than at any other time in recent memory.

Volatility Awakens: A Market Review

The beginning of the first quarter was serene and pleasurable, as equity markets levitated on the back of increasing earnings expectations and solid world economic underpinnings. But the market euphoria didn’t last long.

ECRI Weekly Leading Index Update

This morning's release of the publicly available data from ECRI puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 148.9, up 1.1 from the previous week. Year-over-year the four-week moving average of the indicator is now at 2.71%, up from 2.70% last week. The WLI Growth indicator is now at 3.2, down from the previous week.

China’s Growth Rebalancing Provides Opportunities for Bond Investors

After a decade of relying on investment and exports for growth, China’s effort to rebalance its economy toward consumer-led growth is well underway and should continue to build steam in 2018.

Will 2018 be a Banner Year for US Bank Stocks?

Franklin Equity Group Vice President and Portfolio Manager Matt Quinlan explains why he thinks US banks could benefit from a more favorable economic and regulatory environment. Given this healthy backdrop, he believes select large-cap bank stocks may increase dividends and stock buybacks in the next two years.

Oil Is Breaking Out, So Are Inflation Expectations

After spending the last four months consolidating gains, crude oil is breaking higher again, and it’s taking inflation expectations with it. The break higher in crude isn’t surprising given that oil fundamentals haven’t been this good in years.

Vehicle Miles Traveled: Another Look at Our Evolving Behavior

"Travel on all roads and streets changed by -0.1% (-0.2 billion vehicle miles) for February 2018 as compared with February 2017. Travel for the month is estimated to be 226.7 billion vehicle miles." The 12-month moving average was unchanged month-over-month and 1.1% year-over-year. If we factor in population growth, the 12-month MA of the civilian population-adjusted data (age 16-and-over) is down 0.06% month-over-month and unchanged year-over-year.

Market Outlook: Don't Forget Your Umbrella!

Market volatility does exist! After a year of all-time low volatility and booming stock and bond markets, investors received a wake-up call in February when equity indexes around the globe sold off by as much as 10% in a matter of days.

At Cycle Turn, Fed Can Follow Two Possible Paths

Rieder and Brownback discuss how cyclical turning points result in market friction, even with solid growth, presenting the Fed with two potential paths.

10 Fairly Valued Dividend Growth Stocks for Total Return: Part 4

This is the fourth of a five-part series presenting 50 dividend growth stocks that I have screened for current fair value. With this article, I will be covering 10 additional dividend growth research candidates with moderate to higher yields...

Managing Volatility in Short‑term Markets: The Global Liquidity Ladder

In a storm, you want to be able to reach higher ground. Recent market volatility – sparked by concerns over interest rates, inflation, global trade, the tech sector and more – has many investors shifting toward more defensive portfolio positions.

Who Said the Rules of the Game Could Change Because LIBOR’s Going Away?

There’s been a lot of discussion in the fixed income world about the end of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and what might replace it. But what hasn’t been as widely discussed is an important consequence for investors in this space: changes to LIBOR language in new-issue and amended credit agreements—particularly how these changes are implemented.

Quarterly Review and Outlook, First Quarter 2018

Nearly nine years into the current economic expansion Federal Reserve policy actions appear to be benign, as even after six increases, the federal funds rate remains less than 2%. Changes in the reserve, monetary and credit aggregates, which have always been the most important Fed levers both theoretically and empirically, indicate however that central bank policy has turned highly restrictive.

Weekly Unemployment Claims: Down 1K, Slightly Worse Than Forecast

This morning's seasonally adjusted 232K new claims, down 1K from the previous week's figure, was slightly above the Investing.com forecast of 230K. From the release: "The claims taking procedures in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands have still not returned to normal."