Commentaries

Timely market commentaries from leading investment firms

It’s Tsar, Not Comrade

February 12th was the 100-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution. Surprisingly, the Kremlin has taken a very low-key stance on the centenary. We believe the government’s decision to downplay this historical event offers an insight into Russian President Putin’s thinking.

The Fate Of The Federal Reserve Is Now Up For Grabs

The mainstream media is intently focused on the fate of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Judge Gorsuch is imminently qualified to serve on the Supreme Court and, if confirmed, he would fill the seat of the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

Men Without Work

I have been promising a review of Nicholas Eberstadt’s very important book, Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis. The book is relatively short at 216 pages, but it is packed with meaty facts and insights.

Hard Day's Night

On a recent business flight, I watched The Beatles documentary (Eight Days a Week) which featured the song “A Hard Day’s Night.” The movie chronicled, via previously unseen footage, the early years of The Beatles and the mania surrounding their tours and albums. This documentary and song could teach us about how to navigate the stock market in the U.S. and what demographics mean to American culture and economic trends.

A Dramatic Comeback for Europe

The Dutch are famous for building dykes that hold back the tides and storms sweeping across the Atlantic. Have the Dutch now done it again, stopping the wave of populist politics that has been threatening to engulf Europe?

Hard Times: Time for the Hard Data to Catch Up to the Soft Data

Much ink has been spilled by Wall Street analysts, the media, and yours truly, about the historically-wide spread between the so-called "soft" and "hard" economic data. Before getting to my latest thoughts on the subject, some definitions are in order.

Pull

“Pull” comes from an era long gone by when they actually had real birds in cages and the shooter would say “pull” to have the cage cord pulled and release the bird. The term “pull,” however, took on a whole new meaning last Friday when Speaker Ryan “pulled” the Republican healthcare bill (H.R. 1628) from consideration.

Healthcare Reform’s Demise: Tax Reform Will Be Hard, Too

After the healthcare bill stalled in the House of Representatives, the most salient question is what’s next?

Why Passive Is a Risky Choice for Global Bonds

Passive global bond investors may be getting more than they bargained for—in terms of risk, that is. That’s because lower-yielding debt is overrepresented in the benchmark, providing less buffer—and passive investing locks other types of risk into the portfolio.

What Female Investors Want from Their Advisors

The opportunity to help women plan for retirement is great. Women control $11.2 trillion dollars in investable assets (Turner Moffitt 2015) and are forecast to hold two-thirds of the nation’s wealth by 2030 (O’Connor and Ettinger 2015). Women make up 44 percent of primary breadwinners and 48 percent of millionaires (O’Connor and Ettinger 2015).

Smartphones & Distracted Driving: What’s the Impact on Auto Insurers?

Auto insurers have been caught off-guard. Traffic deaths had been in decline for four decades, as a result of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), seat belts, crumple zones, anti-lock braking systems, air bags and a string of other safety improvements.

529 Plans: An A+ Choice for Employers?

College savings plans can help companies boost their employee benefits packages.

Bull Or Bear: Should Investors Still Care?

With the stock market in full swing, investors are questioning whether the end is nigh. This month, we review bull and bear market cycles past, and observe the difference between cyclical and secular periods.

The Fed is A Proxy for Government

Well, that was fun! The GOP's attempt to reform healthcare hit a brick wall of politics. Conservative Republicans wanted to completely "repeal" Obamacare, while moderates and leaders were willing to keep much of it as long as it cost less. Moving one way or the other lost too many votes. Democrats refused to participate. So, the bill died.

China in 2017: A Year of Uncertainty

The paper discusses a wide range of issues facing China’s economy in 2017, from the selection of Xi Jinping’s successor, to relations with U.S. President Donald Trump, to the outlook for China’s One Belt One Road initiatives in Asian infrastructure development. China’s currency volatility should continue this year, but geopolitical risks to its economy may be overstated.