Commentaries

Timely market commentaries from leading investment firms

Nationalism Will Go Bankrupt

The opposite of populist nationalism is not globalist elitism; it is economic realism. And in the end, countries such as Britain, the United States, and now Italy will learn the hard way that reality always eventually wins.

National Debt No Problem - We Owe It To Ourselves - WRONG!

Our national debt has swelled to a record $21.16 trillion as of this writing. That includes debt held by the public ($15.4 trillion) and intra-governmental debt ($5.7 trillion). At $21+ trillion, our national debt is well above 100% of our Gross Domestic Product of $19.97 trillion.

The Beautiful Game: Surprising Insights from the World Cup about Strategy and Teamwork

Team performance matters more than star players or a large resource base. And in a rapidly changing world, Totaalvoetbal can help teams adapt.

Debt Song: It’s Not a Pretty Tune

I spend a lot of time on the road speaking to our investors and advisors and one of the common questions I get during the Q&A sessions is, “What keeps you up at night?” Aside from having an 18-year old daughter—and being a chronic insomniac anyway—my reply usually centers around debt and the burden it has and will continue to place on our economy.

Tightrope Walking

As expected, the Fed raised short-term interest rates following the June 12-13 policy meeting. Investors were more concerned about the pace of future rate increases and the revised dot plot showed a median of four rate increases in 2018, although (as in the March plot), most fed officials were divided between three and four.

Social Security: It’s Healthier Than You Might Think!

Each year, Social Security’s Trustees report to Congress on the financial status of the program. This typically generates a number of anxiety-provoking media headlines about if/when it will run out of money. Gail Buckner, CFP, our personal retirement and financial planning strategist, takes a look at the facts. She says Social Security is actually in pretty good shape overall.

The Voting Machine vs. The Weighing Machine

The patriarch of value investing, Ben Graham, once said, “In the short run the market is a voting machine, but in the long run it is a weighing machine.” His statement is just as profound as the day it was first spoken. However, it is timelessly mystifying to most investors.

Emerging Debt in a Rising Interest Rate Environment

"A rising global interest rate environment is once again leading to volatility in the emerging debt markets,” writes GMO’s Carl Ross in a newly-published Emerging Debt Insights piece. As the US 10-year Treasury has risen to the 3% neighborhood, benchmarks of emerging country bonds, both in hard currency and local currency, have fallen.

Why Markets and Political Scientists Disagree on the G7

Contrary to the warnings of some political analysts, even after the recent debacle in Canada, the G7 can and will play a role – albeit a less important one – on the global stage. But that does not mean that the summit's failure was cost-free.

How to Avoid a Fund Blow Up

Greg Silberman explains his take on the life cycle of private investments.

Investing Without People

This memo covers three ways in which securities markets seem to be moving toward reducing the role of people: (a) index investing and other forms of passive investing, (b) quantitative and algorithmic investing, and © artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Oil Has Rebounded but Energy Equities Have Lagged. Is It over Already?

Energy equities have underperformed the S&P 500 materially over the last five years. While spot oil prices have risen significantly over the last twelve months, longer dated oil prices have not, and energy equities have remained under pressure.

Bonds Misjudge The Future

We've always been skeptical that bond yields carry deep meaning about the future. Low Treasury bond yields in recent years were said to be a signal of slower growth, or possibly a recession, ahead. And the bond world said stocks were over-valued.

Can Small-Cap Outperformance Continue?

Small caps have materially outperformed large caps in 2018, with the S&P SmallCap 600 Index outpacing the S&P 500 Index 7.80% to 2.58% between Dec. 29, 2017, and May 25, 2018. Below, I highlight the drivers of small-cap returns this year, and why I believe the trend could continue.

Mid-Quarter Update: The Monetary Policy Pitchfork

The big three central banks (Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan) met this week to review their monetary stance. In this mid-quarter update, we share our analysis, The Monetary Policy Pitchfork.