More by the Same Author
2013-06-18 American Eagle Outfitters Inc: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This article will reveal the business prospects of American Eagle Outfitters Inc through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.
2013-06-18 High Yield Market Overview May 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch High Yield Master II Constrained Index (the “Index”), was down 0.53% for the month of May, as fears of eventual Fed tapering dominated investor sentiment and put upward pressure on Treasury yields. The end result was the most substantial setback in a year for the high yield market. Despite the fears of rising rates, mildly improving economic conditions, healthy corporate earnings/balance sheets, and reduced tail risks and stagnant global growth/low inflation continue to benefit the high yield market.
2013-06-17 Recent Volatility in the Foreign Exchange Market and the Strengthening Yen by Team of Nomura Asset Management
There are two issues underlying the increased currency market volatility; depreciation of the Yen may have resulted in worldwide competitive devaluation and concern about early tapering of quantitative easing (QE) in the U.S. appears to have triggered currency depreciation for countries that are running current account deficits.
2013-06-14 AdvisorShares Active ETF Market Share Update by Team of AdvisorShares
So far this month, money has flown into short-term bond active ETFs and funds in the alternative income category. There has also been a shift out of funds investing in longer-term bonds and emerging market debt, probably in response to rising interest rates and a strengthening US dollar. There was also a big increase in the smallest category of sustainable active ETFs, which is comprised of funds investing in companies that make efforts to improve their impact on the environment.
2013-06-14 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust
For 13 days of every fortnight, my kids think that "floor" and "hamper" are synonyms. Stray shoes litter the entryway, used cups adorn the coffee table and spent contact lens packaging forms a grand pyramid on the bathroom vanity.
2013-06-14 A Taste of Rising Rates by Team of Neuberger Berman
The mantra "sell in May and go away" has taken on a new twist this year. Equity markets saw mixed returns last month but bonds took a beating, with losses materializing in nearly every fixed income segment. The reason? Interest rates rose significantlyand rather unexpectedlyover the course of the month. What implications would rising rates have for the market? We consider what’s ahead.
2013-06-13 Securing a Lasting Economic Recovery by Team of Northern Trust
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, business expansions have averaged 59 months in the past 11 business cycles. June 2013 marks the fourth birthday of the current U.S. economic recovery, and this one seems very likely to be above average on this score.
2013-06-13 Pacific Basin Market Overview May 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
After a positive start, many Pacific Basin Markets ended the month lower amid concerns that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will soon begin to gradually scale back its quantitative easing measures by reducing the pace of central bank asset purchases. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan decreased by 4.8% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 4.3% lower in May. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)
2013-06-12 Curtiss-Wright Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Curtiss-Wright Corp (CW) is an innovative engineering company that provides highly engineered, critical function products, systems and services in the areas of flow control, motion control and surface treatment technologies to the defense, energy and commercial/industrial markets. The legacy company of Glenn Curtiss and the Wright brothers, Curtiss-Wright has a long tradition of design and manufacturing innovation and prides itself on long-standing customer relationships.
2013-06-12 Weekly Market Commentary by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
This past week has been volatile. Friday’s jobs number ended up being perfect, not to good, not too bad, causing a big market rally. It has to be noted that the two day rally also came when the market was oversold and was a bounce off of the S&P 500’s 50 day moving average.
2013-06-06 More Than a Feeling by Team of AdvisorShares
Tangible signs of fundamental weakness are appearing everywhere, yet financial market participants are simply choosing to ignore these signs. There remains a significant disconnect between the real economy and financial markets. Read this paper by Peritus Asset Management to learn how to navigate the weak fundamental picture in what they believe to be the beginning of a 15-20 year positive technical backdrop, which will put yield generating assets, such as high yield bonds, in the sweet spot.
2013-06-05 Weekly Market Commentary by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
Yesterday ended the streak of up Tuesdays in the market while last week saw an acceleration in the the "crush anything that pays any sort of yield" theme. Treasuries, high yield bonds, preferred shares, Utilities, REITs, etc. all got killed. At this point this just seems like the weird type of dislocation that happens sometimes in markets where money just doesn’t want to go anywhere except under a mattress.
2013-06-04 The REIT Market Today by Team of Managers Investment Group
In early May we interviewed Eric Rothman, of Urdang Securities Management and the portfolio manager for the Managers Real Estate Securities Fund. Below are his responses to our questions about the current state of the REIT market.
2013-06-03 Qualcomm Inc: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This article will reveal the business prospects of Qualcomm Inc through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.
2013-05-29 Ball Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Ball Corp (BLL) is a supplier of high quality packaging for beverage, food and household products customers, and of aerospace and other technologies and services, primarily for the U.S. government.
2013-05-29 Weekly Market Commentary by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
Last week we talked about the market being overbought in the short term, so the three day selloff (Wednesday-Friday) was to be expected. The media will blame the Fed but they didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. Bottom line, when the market gets extremely overbought traders will use anything and everything as an excuse to take profits. Interestingly, last week was the first streak of three down days this year. The S&P 500 seemed to find some support at 1640.
2013-05-29 Outlook on the Japanese Equity Market by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The Nikkei Stock Average closed 128 points higher, or 0.9%, to close the week at 14,612 following the dramatic 7.3% sell-off on Thursday, May 23, 2013. The Tokyo Stock Price Index (TOPIX) also added 6 points, or 0.5%, to 1,194, following a 6.9% sell-off on Thursday, May 23rd.
2013-05-28 Forward-Looking Broad-Market Investing by Team of AdvisorShares
The following is a research study that provides compelling data on a more efficient way to invest in broad markets. Many people have called the equity market of the last 10 years the “lost decade” due to its lack of net change. Madrona Funds research shows that it would have been possible to have profited by over 200% over the last decade by using their forward looking methodology, which is based on future expected earnings, not past performance.
2013-05-23 Investing in Gold: Does It Stack Up? by Team of Knowledge@Wharton
Gold has a timeless allure -- especially if you worry about stock market volatility, inflation, a decay of ordinary currency or the collapse of civilization. Yet not everyone agrees that gold offers the safe haven its promoters describe. How reliable can demand be for a commodity that very few people actually need? What is the proper role for gold in an investment portfolio? Why has its price been falling?
2013-05-22 Finding Real Value in Real Estate Investing: REITs by Team of Managers Investment Group
What if you could find an investment that added to portfolio diversification, generated income, was an inflation hedge and tax efficient? Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) fit right into that category. Most investors are unaware of the positive impact an explicit investment in REITs may have on their portfolios. They mistakenly believe that they already have more than enough real estate exposure through home ownership, not realizing that REITs are a distinctly different type of investment.
2013-05-22 The Right Question by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
As the market continues to make new highs the arguments about whether stocks can go higher or the rally will end become more interesting. As usual in any debate about the market, both sides can make a great case. There are a number of factors that I could point to that suggest stocks have room to run but there are also a number of troubling signs on the horizon that could stop the rally in its tracks. Investors almost always get drawn into this debate and most of the people I talk to are pessimistic that this rally can continue.
2013-05-22 The Benefits of Diversifying the Funding of a Gold Position by Team of AdvisorShares
The recent sell off in gold has sharpened the focus of even the most committed gold bugs, and has highlighted one of the key risks that many investors face when they access the gold market. Do you purchase Gold in dollar terms or something else? How do you look at Gold, as a currency or something else? For the purposes of this analysis, Treesdale Partners took a look at a gold transaction in foreign exchange terms.
2013-05-21 Developed Europe: Regional Economic Review 1Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International
After withdrawing into the background in late 2012, the Euro-zone sovereign debt crisis resurfaced in the first quarter with the Italian elections and Cyprus’ banking crisis. In late February, Italy’s national elections resulted in a fractured mandate, and Italians voted out the incumbent, the main architect of the country’s austerity and reforms agenda.
2013-05-21 High Yield Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Constrained Index, was up 1.86% for the month of April, as the high yield market continued to benefit from stable U.S. economic growth and steady asset reflation driven by the Federal Reserve and global central banks.
2013-05-17 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust
Predictions of an American manufacturing renaissance may be premature. Does the Fed have to worry about deflation? The U.S. fiscal deficit is narrowing rapidly.
2013-05-16 Saving for College: A Family Affair by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
The language of personal finance isn’t especially racy, but “debt” certainly has taken on the negative tone of other “four-letter words.” Even so, with college costs on the rise and many parents feeling especially pinched in this challenging economic environment, student loans rather than college savings have become the solution for many.
2013-05-15 Weekly Market Commentary by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
We have been talking about some troubling divergences in the market for the past couple of weeks. These have worked themselves out--- Small and mid cap stocks are now outperforming the S&P 500 over the past week and month and Treasury Bond yields are coming back up.
2013-05-15 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Pacific Basin equity markets continued to rally in April, led by Japan where the central bank announced that it intends to double the monetary base and inject liquidity into the markets. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 4.9% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.6% higher in April. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)
2013-05-14 Inflation Update by Team of North Peak Asset Management
Basing investment decisions on inaccurate measurements of the inflation rate can result in investors unknowingly positioning their portfolios to lose purchasing power over time. This mis-measurement could be especially dangerous when yields are low. For example, evaluating a nominal 3% investment opportunity using an inaccurate 2% inflation rate indicates a marginally attractive 1% real return opportunity. However, if inflation is actually running at 5%, this becomes a deeply unattractive negative 2% real return investment.
2013-05-13 Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
Equity markets remained strong and the portfolio continued to outperform well, with a monthly gain of 3.2% vs 0.6% for the index. After two decades of policy torpor, Japan’s government has rapidly adopted a trio of policies to kick start the economy: monetary and fiscal stimulus, plus a weak yen. This is shock and awe’ relative to GDP, being far greater than any experiment in any developed country since the Second World War.
2013-05-13 Americas: Regional Economic Review 1Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International
Weaker global demand and prices for energy and commodities, as well as softer than expected domestic consumption have restricted the growth outlook for most economies in the Americas region during the first three months of the year. Fewer monthly job additions in the U.S. have dented consumer confidence, and growth for the current year is now forecast to be moderately lower than earlier expectations.
2013-05-10 DICK's Sporting Goods Inc: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This article will reveal the business prospects of DICK’s Sporting Goods Inc through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.
2013-05-10 The U.S. Economy Stands to Gain from Actions of Central Banks by Team of Northern Trust
Recent central bank meetings have resulted in a reiteration of accommodative monetary policy from the Federal Reserve and new initiatives from its counterparts overseas.
2013-05-10 Countries Should Be Careful Not to Overstimulate Their Housing Markets by Team of Northern Trust
Countries should be careful not to overstimulate their housing markets. Credit extension is improving, but remains modest.
2013-05-09 BlackRock Inc: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This article will reveal the business prospects of BlackRock Inc through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.
2013-05-07 Deere & Co: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This article will reveal the business prospects of Deere & Co through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.
2013-05-07 Attractive Dividends? Earnings Growth? A Way to Get Both by Team of Lord Abbett
International equities provide broader opportunities for combining appealing divided yields and earnings growth.
2013-05-07 Bail-Ins, Bernanke, and Buyouts: Assessing Key Event Risks for Fixed-Income Investors by Team of Hartford Funds
While the eventual shift to less accommodative central-bank policy and a rise in global interest rates are perhaps the greatest focuses of concern today for bond investors, other risks also merit scrutiny. European sovereign debt worries have resurfaced as the tiny nation of Cyprus, representing just 0.3% of euro-area gross domestic product (GDP), joined the list of bailout recipients. Recent rhetoric from the Fed has prompted investors to consider the impact of an eventual winding down of its asset purchases.
2013-05-07 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management
In his April 2013 commentary, PIMCO’s Bill Gross wrote, “PIMCO’s epoch1, Berkshire Hathaway’s epoch, Peter Lynch’s epoch, all occurred or have occurred within an epoch of credit expansion What if an epoch changes? What if perpetual credit expansion and its fertilization of asset prices and returns are substantially altered? What if a future epoch favors lower than index carry or continual bouts of 2008 Lehmanesque volatility ?”
2013-05-03 Oracle Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
A quick glance at the historical earnings and price correlated FAST Graphs on Oracle Corp shows a picture of undervaluation based upon the historical earnings growth rate of 18.5% and a current P/E of 13.7. Analysts are forecasting the earnings growth to continue at about 10%, and when you look at the forecasting graph below, the stock appears undervalued (it’s inside of the value corridor of the five orange lines - based on future growth).
2013-05-03 Pring Turner Approach to Business Cycle Investing by Team of AdvisorShares
Like the seasons of the year, the environment for bonds, stocks, and commodities progress in a repeatable and sequential fashion. A gardener understands it is difficult to plant in the winter because nothing grows. The same is true for the financial seasons in the business cycle, where investors can use knowledge of the sequence to create a financial market roadmap. This paper from Pring Turner Capital Group, one of our valued sub-advisors, takes you through the six-stages of the business cycle.
2013-05-03 Job Creation May Be More Robust Than Official Statistics Suggest. by Team of Northern Trust
Job creation may be more robust than official statistics suggest; U.S. employment situation; Central bank meetings
2013-05-02 Nu Skin Enterprises: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This article will reveal the business prospects of Nu Skin Enterprises through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.
2013-05-01 On Top of the Market Chart Book: After a Fast Start, What's to Come? by Team of Managers Investment Group
Now updated through 3Q. This compendium provides an historical perspective of economic data compared to today’s results, and provides comments on any developing trends. We also include a synopsis of financial markets results. The OTOTM Chart Book is designed with easy-to-read graphics to tell a story and help you visualize the changes taking place in today’s economy.
2013-05-01 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International
Major emerging Asia Pacific economies, which picked up growth momentum during the latter half of 2012, struggled to carry forward the economic pace during the initial months of 2013. China, India, and Indonesia, some of the most populous countries in the region and in the world, faced significant headwinds to growth as key engines of the economy investment, consumption, and exports came under strain.
2013-05-01 May 2013 Commentary by Team of Sadoff Investment Management
The slow growing economy will cause the Federal Reserve to stay the course with continued stimulus via low interest rates and Quantitative Easing (QE) for some time. This environment continues to be bullish for stocks.
2013-05-01 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
he mixed economic numbers we have been seeing lately----higher than expected consumer confidence and home prices vs. lower than expected Chicago PMI---might be confusing to some. One number shows the economy improving while another shows the economy contracting. However, for investors this is actually good news as the data continues to confirm that we are in a Goldilocks economy, not too hot, not too cold.
2013-05-01 Looking at Leverage Outside the Box by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
Yield-seeking investors have been boxed in by the near-zero US rate environment, and it seems like there are few ways out. But for those willing to set aside preconceived ideas about the word “leverage,” the lesser-known leveraged loans category may be an alternative to consider in the credit space. Mark Boyadjian, senior vice president and director of our Franklin Floating Rate Debt Group, spoke to us recently about what these often-misunderstood vehicles are and what yield-seeking investors need to know before they take the plunge.
2013-04-29 High Yield in a Rising Rate Environment by Team of AdvisorShares
We have all witnessed a major move in Treasury rates over the last couple months, causing concern for many that we may be in the early stages of a rising interest rate environment. The traditional thought is that as interest rates rise, bond prices fall. But looking at history, the high yield market has defied this widely held notion. This paper from Peritus Asset Management examines the main reasons why high yield bonds have historically performed well during times of rising interest rates.
2013-04-29 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International
After facing subdued economic conditions for the most part of 2012, developed Asia Pacific economies started 2013 on a cautious note. While most countries opined that downside risk to GDP growth declined substantially, challenges to growth arose from a recessionary scenario in key developed economies, especially from the European Union.
2013-04-26 Coach Inc: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
A quick glance at the historical earnings and price correlated FAST Graphs on Coach Inc shows a picture of undervaluation based upon the historical earnings growth rate of 27.3% and a current P/E of 13.7.Analysts are forecasting the earnings growth to continue at about 13.5%, and when you look at the forecasting graph below, the stock appearsundervalued (it’s inside of the value corridor of the five orange lines - based on future growth).
2013-04-26 The Yin and the Yang of Commodity Price Trends by Team of Northern Trust
In recent weeks, financial press headlines have centered on the sharp drop in the price of gold. Of greater importance, however, are the significant price declines of oil, wheat, corn and copper. The S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index is down 6.1% year-to-date after a nearly steady reading in 2012 and gains exceeding 20% in both 2010 and 2011. It is essential to recognize the different nuances buried in these commodities’ price trends. First we will focus on the implications of declining commodity price trends and then discuss gold specifically in more depth.
2013-04-24 Will Abenomics' Ensure Japan's Revival? by Team of Thomas White International
According to a World Bank (WB) report, global growth in 2013 will remain sluggish as economic recovery in the developed nations is likely to be slow. Lower business and consumer confidence, government spending cuts, as well as high rates of unemployment may delay the recovery, the report says. The report has also noted that developing nations may experience slower growth due to structural and monetary policy challenges.
2013-04-24 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
Bulls and Bears continue to fight it out around the S&P 500 record high. There is a lot to worry about at this point----earnings and economic numbers have been somewhat disappointing, terrorism fears are back (Boston Marathon, Canada, fake Twitter posts, etc), and we continue to see a divergence between riskier areas of the market and less risky areas. On the plus side there is still nowhere else to go except for stocks. As we have said before, volatility around an all time high is normal and to be expected.
2013-04-23 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International
According to a World Bank (WB) report, global growth in 2013 will remain sluggish as economic recovery in the developed nations is likely to be slow. Lower business and consumer confidence, government spending cuts, as well as high rates of unemployment may delay the recovery, the report says. The report has also noted that developing nations may experience slower growth due to structural and monetary policy challenges.
2013-04-22 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was established in 1992 to help Russia and former communist states such as Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic among others in their transition to market-based economies. In its January forecast, the London-headquartered bank sounded optimistic over the economic prospects of most of the countries covered in this review, which also include Turkey.
2013-04-19 Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
Every so often we write an Investment Outlook with conclusions that prove to be both accurate and worth repeating. Such is the case with our prior outlook issued in January 2013. In it we stated that “At the risk of sounding complacent, we believe that the fundamental trends that produced such favorable results in 2012 are still in place and should support another good year in 2013. We are not blind to the challenges and uncertainties that still face us, nor do we believe that the year ahead will be devoid of volatility.
2013-04-19 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
Based on the nearly 2,500-point rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average since last June, it appears that Mr. Bernanke has been successful in increasing demand for risk assets and creating some exuberance in the stock market. Short-term volatility in the markets may be driven by questions about the Fed’s eventual exit strategy and how effectively the politicians will deal with U.S. fiscal issues. The good news is that that the U.S. economy is growing, albeit slowly, unemployment is falling, again slowly, and consumer confidence is improving.
2013-04-19 Archer Daniels Midland Co: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
For more than a century, the people of Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) have transformed crops into products that serve vital needs. Today, 30,000 ADM employees around the globe convert oilseeds, corn, wheat and cocoa into products for food, animal feed, industrial and energy uses. This article will reveal the business prospects of Archer Daniels Midland Co through the lens of F.A.S.T. Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool.
2013-04-19 Global Economic Overview - March 2013 by Team of Thomas White International
Global economic trends turned softer during the month of March as indicators from Europe showed further declines and U.S. consumer sentiment moderated on labor market uncertainties, government spending cuts, and tax increases. Continuing weakness in European demand has somewhat dulled the export outlook for emerging economies, while government policies to prevent excessive asset price inflation have led to concerns about domestic consumption growth in these countries.
2013-04-19 CSX Corp Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
A quick glance at the historical earnings and price correlated FAST Graphs on CSX Corp shows a picture of undervaluation based upon the historical earnings growth rate of 21.2% and a current P/E of 13.5. Analysts are forecasting the earnings growth to continue at about 12.5%, and when you look at the forecasting graph below, the stock appears undervalued (it’s inside of the value corridor of the five orange lines - based on future growth).
2013-04-19 First Quarter Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory
Looking ahead, significant uncertainty surrounds fiscal and monetary policy in terms of what policies will be adopted and their ultimate economic and financial market impacts. More broadly, still-high global debt levels pose an economic headwind. Against this backdrop, our outlook for stocks has not improved. If anything, given the sharp run-up in stock prices, we are getting closer to reducing our U.S. equity exposure further than we are to increasing it.
2013-04-18 Emerging Markets Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
The benefits of focusing on attractively priced, well managed and growing businesses, irrespective of their inclusion in an index, continued to aid fund performance. Thus it was virtually flat in March, capping a strong quarter in absolute and relative terms with a gain of over 10%, again beating the 5% gain by the index. These - achieved through a combination of a valuation discipline that sets the entry and exit prices and the focus on quality businesses. Not surprisingly, stock selection has been a consistent factor behind the outperformance, both this year and previously.
2013-04-17 The Interest Rate Environment: Comparing High Yield Bonds and Bank Loans by Team of Hotchkis & Wiley
In its first quarter 2013 newsletter, "The Interest Rate Environment: Comparing High Yield Bonds and Bank Loans," Hotchkis & Wiley’s high yield team analyzes the behavior of the high yield market and the bank loan market in different interest rate environments to determine whether they can make sensible assumptions about the future.
2013-04-17 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equities corrected for the second successive month in March, on concerns that continuing weakness in European demand could hurt export growth for several countries in Asia and Latin America. These economies had seen a revival in their export fortunes during the second half of last year as U.S. consumer demand turned healthier. However, the moderation in U.S. consumer sentiment during March has somewhat dulled the optimism.
2013-04-16 High Yield Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Constrained Index, was up 1.03% for the month of March, as the high yield market continued to benefit from stable U.S. economic growth and steady asset reflation driven by the Fed and global central banks.
2013-04-11 Bank of Japan Surprises Market and Yen Reacts by Team of Nomura Asset Management
We recently indicated on March 14, 2013 that we believed the Yen would remain range bound near the level of PPP (purchasing power parity), which we estimated to be between 90 to 95 Yen/USD. We wrote at the time that though currency movements will be affected by various factors, the monetary policies of both Japan and the U.S. are the most important.
2013-04-10 High Yield and Bank Loan Outlook by Team of Guggenheim Partners
While leveraged credit is far from the bargain it was four years ago, discussions of a bubble are premature at this point. Although we have entered the advanced stages of the rally, historical precedent and the continuation of accommodative monetary policy suggest that spreads, particularly those of lower-rated bonds and bank loans, may tighten materially from current levels.
2013-04-10 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Supportive U.S. economic data drove most markets higher during the first quarter of 2013. China underperformed the region amid concerns that the economic recovery may not be as robust as previously expected, while the National People’s Congress in March failed to provide any incentives to the equity market given the absence of pro-growth policies. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 5.5% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.0% higher during the quarter.
2013-04-10 Financial Markets Review and Outlook First Quarter 2013 by Team of Managers Investment Group
Risk-based assets rallied sharply during the first quarter on the heels of a fiscal tax-cliff compromise that overhung the market in the latter half of 2012. U.S. equities posted their best quarterly returns since 1998, with both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index reaching all-time highs. While the equity market rally extended abroad, returns overseas were muted by a strengthening U.S. Dollar. Bond markets, with the exception of high-yield investments, failed togenerate anything beyond middling returns, as investors’ risk appetites started the year strong.
2013-04-10 The Clock is Ticking for Passive Management by Team of The Royce Funds
It may feel like only yesterday, but it has been four years since the equity market bottomed in March 2009. Much has changed since that timegovernment debt and the Fed’s balance sheet have exploded, bond yields have declined, and quantitative easing has become the norm.
2013-04-10 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
The market continues to experience volatility around the new record high. Again, this is to be expected as this is a very psychologically important level so we shouldn’t expect the market to blow through this and never look back. There is still a lot of background "noise" in the markets. Last week’s jobs numbers were disappointing, we have had some weaker economic numbers, Cyprus, etc. None of this looks like it can change the fact that money has nowhere else to go but stocks at this point, but the economic numbers bear watching.
2013-04-09 Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
Another good month and a strong quarter, with the portfolio gaining by 3.5% and 15.2% (net) respectively, outperforming the rises in the index of 1.8% and 14.0%. Conspiracy theorists could be forgiven for believing that most political/central bank action is designed to support equity prices. The Cyprus fiasco is an example: whatever the legal frameworks, from government guarantees of bank deposits to the repayment of sovereign bonds, all are merely non-binding statements of intent, thus a wake-up call to buy real, income-producing assets.
2013-04-05 Could Consumers Change Japan's Tide? by Team of Matthews Asia
This year, investor attention has focused on Japan and its macroeconomic policy with hopes that rising inflation expectations might spur businesses to invest and consumers to spend. Since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) regained power late last year and proposed more aggressive monetary policies, including an ambitious inflation target, the yen has weakened more than 20% against the U.S. dollar and more than 15% against the euro.
2013-04-05 This Week's Central Bank Meetings Revealed a Range of Behavior by Team of Northern Trust
This week’s central bank meeting revealed a range of behavior. The U.S. employment report fell well short of expectations. Does China have a property bubble?
2013-04-03 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
After hitting a record close last week the market is showing some warning signs, which is to be expected. You don’t typically break through an important resistance point without testing it and re-testing it so some volatility around a record high is normal. We are also slightly concerned that small and mid cap stocks have drastically underperformed the S&P 500 over the past two days.
2013-04-02 Chuck Royce on 1Q 2013: Conditions Remain Favorable for Equities by Team of The Royce Funds
In stark contrast to what we saw in 2010, 2011, and most of the first half of 2012, the market tuned out a lot of seemingly ominous political news and enjoyed a strong first quarter.
2013-03-28 Emerging Markets Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
The increases in the portfolio’s net asset value continue easily to beat the hardly exacting returns from the index. The fund has gained 10.4% gross for the year to date (to 22 March), vs. a 3.0% rise for the MSCI Emerging Index. This outperformance (replicated over rolling 1- and 3-year periods) has been achieved by choosing investments irrespective of index country or sector weightings or where they are listed, so long as they derive the majority of income and profits from developing countries.
2013-03-27 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
The continuing mess in Cyprus and the S&P 500 nearing a record close dominated the news this week. As I said last week, Cyprus is insignificant, the only important aspects of what is going on is timing. If the crisis hit the news during a time when the market was oversold and due for a rally then it would have little, if any, impact. The fact that that market has rallied this year without much of a selloff gives traders an excuse to use something like this to take profits.
2013-03-27 RISE Survey Reveals Some Somber Retirement Realities by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
As numbers go, 1% and 99% have gotten more than their fair share of media attention, but if you’re one of the millions who hope to retire someday, you may want to pay attention to another figure: 21%. According to the 2013 Franklin Templeton Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations (RISE) survey, that’s the percentage of retirees who have no savings to speak of. So how do you avoid falling into this statistical group? That’s the $64,000 question that’s worth much more than thatit’s the price of your future.
2013-03-22 The Success of Central Bank Policy Is Not Measured By The Revenue It Generates by Team of Northern Trust
The success of central bank policy is not measured by the revenue it generates. Cyprus is a small country that could cast a long shadow. The U.S. dollar’s fortune is changing
2013-03-21 Goldilocks Roars by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
Equity markets are producing supra-normal returns. To March 18th, the portfolio is up over 15% year-to-date, over 100 basis points ahead of the index. Many investors would be happy with such a gain over a full year rather than a mere twelve weeks, so are puzzled, the more so as respected pundits agree that the data makes for easy stories of rampant inflation, collapsing government credit and a prolonged global recession. Equity markets, however, are stubbornly refusing to follow the script.
2013-03-20 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
The banking crisis in Cyprus dominated the news this week as the market sold off 3 days in a row after being up 10 days in a row. The selloff was blamed on what was going on in Cyprus but that was not the real story. Globally Cyprus is pretty insignificant, most people probably don’t even know where it is. The real story is that markets just don’t go up for 10 straight days without needing a breather from time to time, Cyprus was just an excuse to take some profits.
2013-03-18 Outlook for the Yen by Team of Nomura Asset Management
For several quarters ahead, we estimate that the Yen will remain range bound near the level of PPP (purchasing power parity), which is estimated to be between 90 to 95 Yen/USD. Though currency movements will be affected by various factors, we think the monetary policies of both Japan and the U.S. are the most important.
2013-03-15 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equities saw a moderate correction in February, broadly similar to the rest of the world. Prices reacted negatively to renewed concerns of a worsening European fiscal crisis as the results of the recent Italian elections turned out to be inconclusive.
2013-03-15 High Yield Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Constrained Index, posted a positive total return of 0.46% in February, as the high yield market finished on a positive note, after experiencing heightened volatility throughout the month.
2013-03-15 Global Economic Overview by Team of Thomas White International
Global economic trends largely remained positive during February, though the stalemate after the Italian elections and the failure by policymakers to reach a deal to avoid the U.S. sequester heightened the political and policy risks. The U.S. GDP figure for the last quarter of 2012 was revised higher, showing the world’s largest economy managed to avoid a decline.
2013-03-14 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
The Dow continues to make new highs but the rate of climb has slowed considerably this week. This is normal as markets have to take a breather after large moves.
2013-03-14 Municipal Bond Q&A Tax Implications by Team of Managers Investment Group
In light of continuing Federal budget issues, there is ongoing speculation as to whether or not the Federal Government will modify or eveneliminate the Federal tax exemption on municipal bond interest as a way to generate additional revenue. In this interview with GW&K Investment Management (GW&K), subadvisor to the GW&K Municipal Bond Fund and GW&K Municipal Enhanced Yield Fund, MIG discusses this issue and what the potential implications could be should the government decide to take action.
2013-03-14 Tightening the Noose: Can the SEC and Its New Chairman Be Tougher on Wall Street? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
Although the SEC has always been the federal government’s chief guardian of integrity in the financial markets, critics have a long list of grievances, including claims that the agency is too unsophisticated and too soft on wrongdoers. Assuming she is confirmed as the new SEC chairman, Mary Jo White will need almost superhuman skills to make the SEC more effective. Can she -- or anyone, for that matter -- accomplish this?
2013-03-14 Global Currency Battles: A Waiting Disaster or a Win for All? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
To many, Japan’s recent moves to devalue the yen looked like the spark that could ignite a global currency war -- a series of competitive devaluations that, last century, helped plunge the world into the Great Depression. Until now, central bankers have been resisting the urge to politicize exchange rates. However, while currency skirmishes can be dangerous and require monitoring, they are also necessary for establishing equilibrium in markets and will help in the global economic recovery, some experts say.
2013-03-13 Taking Stock in the U.S. by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
Is it time to take stock in the U.S. market? Equities started the year strong as the U.S. economy sidestepped the worst-case fiscal cliff scenario and continued showing signs of improvement despite global economic uncertainty. In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a record high in early March. While there are still a number of possible issues that threaten to derail the market, Grant Bowers, portfolio manager of Franklin Growth Opportunities Fund, believes economic resilience in the United States is encouraging news for stocks, and investors have taken notice.
2013-03-12 Pacific Basin Market Overview February 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Monthly returns for February 2013 were somewhat mixed, but the Pacific Basin regional markets generally ended in positive territory this month. Outside of Asia, political instability in Italy and concerns that the Federal Reserve might begin to scale back its monetary stimulus in the U.S. led to weaker investor sentiment. Economic data from China was weak, largely due to the effect of the Chinese New Year.
2013-03-08 Labor Policy Needs to Help, Not Hinder Employment. by Team of Northern Trust
Labor policy needs to help, not hinder employment. The U.S. employment report surprised on the upside. Watch the shadows behind China's official credit measures
2013-03-07 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
Yesterday saw a new record close on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a renewal of the panic buying we saw earlier in the year. While it is great to see that the Dow has retraced all of the losses from the 2008 decline I am concerned about what message will be directed towards individual investors. The asset allocation/buy and hold crowd will use this milestone to "prove" that markets always come back so that their approach is still valid. This is true, but it ignores the fact that it took the market almost 6 years to come back and the lost opportunity cost associated with that.
2013-03-07 New Highs by Team of Janus Capital Group
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a new record high the first week of March, breaking its previous closing high reached in October of 2007. The new record is symbolic more than anything else, but it still has some positive implications for equity markets.
2013-03-07 Three Dimensions of Discipline by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
As New Year's resolutions fade into guilty memories, it's a bitter reminder that maintaining discipline, in life and investing, is just plain hard. Despite best intentions, bear markets can tempt investors to sell everything, while bull markets can whip people into a buying frenzy, both courses of action that rarely end happily.
2013-03-06 U.S. Sequester: How Significant is it for the Global Economy? by Team of Thomas White International
Since the U.S. has been one of the brightest spots in the current global economic environment, any negative development that restricts activity in the U.S. could have a magnified impact on the economic prospects for the rest of the world.
2013-03-06 A New Yen for Japan by Team of Janus Capital Group
In Japan, a little inflation could go quite a long way. After stepping down six years ago, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned in November with a platform promising to put an end to the deflationary cycles that have plagued Japan for decades.
2013-03-05 Japan: Brave New Policies from Japan? by Team of Thomas White International
Time to Shine Again: After two decades of failed policies and stagnant economic growth, Japan is embarking on a bolder monetary policy under its newly-elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
2013-03-01 Seeking a Fixed Income Fix by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
While governments worldwide continue to struggle with debt and budget issues, for the most part, corporations have turned lemons into lemonade and have become lean and mean. While not without risk, corporate credit actually looks to be in fairly good shape, according to Eric Takaha who, as senior vice president and portfolio manager of Franklin Strategic Income Fund spends a good deal of time analyzing the space.
2013-03-01 There Are More Sellers Than Buyers in the World Economy. by Team of Northern Trust
There are more sellers than buyers in the world economy. The recent Italian election may usher in renewed instability. US bank lending is finally expanding, but not everyone is happy about it.
2013-02-28 What Italy's Election Result May Mean for the Markets and Your Investment Portfolio? by Team of Thomas White International
Global equity and bond markets have reacted sharply to the outcome of Italy's elections on February 24-25. The poll result is inconclusive, with no clear winner. And apparently, Italians have voted against the austerity measures and reforms that are widely believed to have improved international confidence in Italy last year.
2013-02-28 Jeremy Siegel on Why Stocks Are -- and Will Remain -- the Best Bet by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
Though stock market volatility continues to rattle investors' nerves, the future looks bright for equities in the U.S. and many emerging markets, according to Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel. That's not so for bonds, which could become money-losing investments as rising interest rates drive bond prices down. In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Siegel says that investors should think about reducing their bond holdings, buying more stocks and keeping just enough cash for a rainy day and other liquidity needs, since interest rates on cash are near zero.
2013-02-27 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
For a while it was obvious that the market had become overbought and was due for a selloff, all traders needed was an excuse, this past week they got two of them. First, the Fed hinted that QE might end and then Italian elections sparked uncertainty in Europe. Add those things in with the looming sequester and you have all the ingredients for a profit taking selloff. At this point this is all part of normal market machinations. The market doesn't go up in a straight line and it doesn't go down in a straight line.
2013-02-26 Global Investment Review First Quarter 2013 by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
At the beginning of last year the prospects for capital markets were grim yet the results surprisingly good: positive returns and modest economic growth. The cause was central banks in developed countries acting as a backstop for sovereign and other large debts, through direct purchasing funded by accelerated money printing. This also ensured low interest rates. Subsequently, mountainous debt problems are slowly being tackled, even as they appear to increase.
2013-02-25 Dodging the bullets by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
Although the year is barely a month old there are already signs that the long-awaited rotation out of the perceived safety of bonds and into inflation-proofed equities may have begun. Given the dismally low yields on offer it seems likely that, at the very least, it is the beginning of the end of the bond market bubble. Some of the biggest bubbles in the bond market, and thus most at risk from a sell-off, are in high yield and emerging market debt.
2013-02-25 Tupperware Brands Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This report presented essential fundamentals at a glance illustrating the past and present valuation based on earnings achievements as reported. Future forecasts for earnings growth are based on the consensus of leading analysts. Although with just a quick glance you can know a lot about the company, its imperative that the reader conducts their own due diligence in order to validate whether the consensus estimates seem reasonable or not.
2013-02-22 Finding What's Real in Real Estate by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
The U.S. financial crisis in 2008-2009 left many investors with a reluctance to take investment risks, particularly those related to any of the world's wilted housing markets. However, as your local real estate agent would likely tell you, the market in one location can be vastly different than it is in another. Wilson Magee, co-manager of Franklin Global Real Estate Fund would agree that the adage "location, location, location" applies not only to individual home buyers and sellers, but to investors seeking opportunities in the commercial real estate sector, too.
2013-02-22 Central Banks Are Factoring Financial Stability into Their Decision Making by Team of Northern Trust
Central banks are factoring financial stability into their decision making. The FOMC is taking a critical look at its asset purchase strategy. Don't look now, but the sequester is coming.
2013-02-22 Is it Time to Review Your European Investment Strategy? by Team of Thomas White International
A sharp equity and bond market reaction is likely expected in response to the outcome of Italy's February 24-25 general elections, several media sources such as THE GLOBE AND MAIL have reported. While the poll result is uncertain, these reports indicate that in the event of a clear victory for Silvio Berlusconi's political party, buying interest in equities and lower-quality debt may be affected.
2013-02-21 General Dynamics Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This article will reveal the business prospects of General Dynamics Corp through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.
2013-02-20 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
Markets continued to move up this week in spite of looming Fiscal Cliff budget cuts. Everyone still expects a selloff but money continues to flow into the market as it has nowhere else to go.
2013-02-16 Euro Relief: The Epic Fail That Wasnt by Team of Franklin Templeton
What a difference a year makes! Early in 2012, the eurozone appeared to be on life support and market prognosticators were busy weighing the odds of a breakup. At the time, the proposition that European stocks would actually post a positive performance for the year seemed almost absurd, but of course thats just the sort of fertile environment value-hunters such as Philippe Brugere-Trelat like. Brugere-Trelat found select opportunities in Europe that were ripe for the picking. While the debt crisis in Europe is far from over, he thinks the picture looks brighter for Europe this year.
2013-02-16 How To Remain Solvent Longer Than The Market Is Irrational by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
I believe it is extremely important that investors focus on the value of what they own more than they do on the day-to-day machinations of price volatility. However, I also believe, and even recognize, that very few investors are capable of ignoring volatile stock price movements. When the price of a stock that they own is rising or falling, especially when the swings are large and/or violent, it is very difficult for people to maintain a steady head and hand. Instead, emotions take over reason which often cause otherwise rational investors to make irrational decisions.
2013-02-15 High Yield Market Overview January 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Constrained Index, posted a positive total return of 1.38% in January, as the high yield market continued to rally into the new year.
2013-02-15 International Equity Commentary January 2013 by Team of Thomas White International
International equity prices sustained the uptrend in January, helped by data releases that supported the growing optimism over healthier global economic growth. Though the U.S. and U.K. economies declined unexpectedly during the fourth quarter of last year, the pace of growth improved in several Asian countries, including China, during the period.
2013-02-14 Pacific Basin Market Overview January 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Improving expectations for global economic growth underpinned a solid start to 2013 for the Asia Pacific equity markets. In Asia, interest focused on China, as economic data showed further signs of recovery. On the other hand, the depreciating Japanese yen drew concerns that Asia's main exporters, which include Korea and Taiwan, will become relatively less competitive. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 3.0% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.6% higher during the month.
2013-02-14 Pressure Points: Where Tax Reform Can Be Most Effective by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
The deficit deal that averted the fiscal cliff crisis at the start of the year raised taxes on the wealthiest and postponed -- for two months -- government spending cuts that threatened to derail the economic recovery. But the problem remains: Spending far exceeds revenue. So what's to be done? Five Wharton faculty members offer their views.
2013-02-14 A Bold New Direction for Japan's Economy by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
Newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to take Japan's economy in a daring new direction to end 20 years of stagnation and deflation. His policies resemble past efforts -- but with far more firepower behind them. That means even looser monetary policies and a sharp rise in government spending to boost demand. Some analysts say it's just the medicine Japan needs and, on the spending side at least, the opposite of what Europe and the U.S. are doing.
2013-02-14 Emerging Markets Consolidate After Last Year's Gains by Team of Thomas White International
After the strong relative performance towards the end of last year, emerging market equities settled with moderate gains during the month of January as global investor sentiment remained optimistic. Global economic data continue to be mostly positive, sustaining the trend from the second half of last year.
2013-02-13 Global Economic Overview January 2013 by Team of Thomas White International
Global economic trends continued the moderate positive momentum from earlier months and helped sustain investor sentiment in January. The unexpected decline in U.S. economic output for the fourth quarter of last year was mostly due to a sharp fall in government spending and a smaller inventory buildup, while consumer and business spending exceeded forecasts. Also, recent data suggest that U.S. labor market gains during last year were better than earlier estimates.
2013-02-13 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
After a decent selloff earlier in the month the market has continued to move up, but in very small increments. Most people seem convinced that we are due for another selloff, which seems to be tempering upside enthusiasm. On the other hand, there also doesn't seem to be any enthusiasm to sell.
2013-02-12 Looking Forward 2013: Fixed Income Outlook by Team of Managers Investment Group
On January 8, 2013 Managers Investment Group (MIG) hosted a webinar "Looking Forward 2013: Fixed Income Market Outlook." The discussion included insightful analysis of the 2012/2013 fixed income markets and Q&A sessions with renowned panelists Nancy Angell of GW&K Investment Management (subadvisor to our suite of GW&K Funds), Dan Fuss of Loomis Sayles (subadvisor to the Managers Bond Fund), and Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO (subadvisor to the Managers PIMCO Bond Fund).
2013-02-11 Brazil: Infrastructure Push Creating New Opportunities Across Sectors by Team of Thomas White International
Both corporates and the federal government have started investing heavily on overhauling Brazil's infrastructure.
2013-02-08 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust
Immigration reform would help the US economy at many levels. There is much going on with the US labor force participation rate. Will leadership change usher in a new era at the Bank of Japan?
2013-02-07 U.S. Companies Sense Great Opportunities in Shale Oil and Gas Boom by Team of Thomas White International
Thanks to the newfound sources of energy, the U.S. is forecasted to become self-sufficient in energy by 2035.
2013-02-05 Australia in the Asian Century by Team of Thomas White International
Early in 2011, The Economist magazine ran a cover story titled 'The Next Golden State.' The title, incidentally, referred to Australia. Today, Australias citizens enjoy some of the highest standards of living anywhere in the world. With a real income of $62,000 per person in 2012, the country ranked 13th worldwide. Five of the ten best livable cities in the world are in Australia. But, for all its advantages, the country's contribution to the world economy in absolute terms is small. It accounted for just over 1 percent of world GDP in 2011.
2013-02-04 Our Outlook: Very Bullish for the Stock Market by Team of Sadoff Investment Management
The combined readings of these breakouts, volume strength, significant pivots by a long list of financial stocks and improving commodity prices evidence major trend improvements. Restated, the underpinnings for both the economy and stock market evidence significant strengthening ahead.
2013-02-01 Monthly Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
Financial discipline is collapsing and with it, trust in the value of money. Many heavyweight thinkers in America, such as Nobel laureate Paul Krugman have suggested that a solution to avoid national debt ceilings imposed by Congress would be to mint a trillion dollar platinum coin. Meanwhile, heavyweights close to policy makers in Britain and Japan have been musing whether their central banks should write-off the mountains of government bonds they have bought recently.
2013-02-01 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust
Is the world engaged in a currency war? Januarys job report had some pleasant surprises, but more progress is needed. Purchasing managers surveys suggest growth in the US, retreat for Europe
2013-01-31 Q4 2012 Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management
During the second half of 2012, central banks turned their massive and coordinated monetary intervention "up to eleven." This is the overwhelmingly dominant economic and market force today. Despite the long-term consequences (which are very real), we believe the central bankers commitment is steadfast. It has and will likely continue to mute both real economic and financial market volatility (at the expense of long-term growth). A deeper analysis of what has changed, our assessment of the impact, and our portfolio response follows.
2013-01-31 Hasenstab: Little Value in U.S. Treasuries Right Now by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
The financial markets may have let out a collective sigh of relief on January 1 when U.S. politicians managed to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff, but the fact is the fundamental issue plaguing the U.S. still hasn't been addressed mounting debt. As a result, Dr. Michael Hasenstab, co-director of the International Bond Department and portfolio manager for the Templeton Global Bond Fund, says he doesn't see much value in U.S. Treasuries right now. He does see it elsewhere in the world, though, including Ireland and select emerging markets where fiscal houses appear in much better order.
2013-01-31 Elliott's Paul Singer On How Money Is Created ... And How It Dies by Team of TimeCapital
When we launched our series into the US Shadow Banking system in the summer of 2010 we had one simple objective: to demonstrate just how little the process of modern (and by modern we mean circa 2004 not 1981) money creation was understood.
2013-01-29 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
As the 2012 year closed, the emerging economies of Europe joined their cousins in the developed world for their share of woes, and in particular, were impacted by the debt crisis in the Euro-zone, their primary trading partners. Though Russia, the biggest of these economies, finally managed to become a member of the World Trade Organization, the resource-dependent economy recorded slowing growth during the third quarter as both household consumption and state spending expanded at a slower pace.
2013-01-29 Q4 2012 Market Commentary by Team of Altegris Advisors
With the end of a historically challenging year for alternative investment strategies, signs emerge of a potentially more favorable environment.
2013-01-25 Americas: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
The outlook for most economies in the Americas region improved during the fourth quarter as domestic consumption growth was sustained and the anticipated revival in global demand has lifted the prospects for export growth this year. Partly helped by fiscal and monetary policy measures introduced since 2011, consumer demand has held up across most countries in the region.
2013-01-25 Housing Is Off the Floor, But Faces Ceilings. by Team of Northern Trust
Housing is off the floor, but faces ceilings. The cost of housing could be a source of increased inflation. January's FOMC meeting should not break any new ground.
2013-01-24 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging Asia Pacific economies showed strong signals of a rebound in economic activity amidst generally rising exports and stabilizing inflation. While some major economies like China, which had cut interest rates throughout 2012 to stimulate the economy, saw a mild resurgence in inflation, many countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Philippines saw inflation stabilize significantly during the quarter. Still, India, the region's second largest economy, continued to be troubled by rising prices despite high interest rates.
2013-01-23 High Yield Market Overview December 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Constrained Index, posted a positive total return of 1.59% in December, as the high yield market rallied on the perceived benefits of a fiscal compromise in the U.S.
2013-01-23 Norfolk Southern Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Norfolk Southern Corp (NSC) is one of the nation's premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers.
2013-01-23 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Developed Asia Pacific economies witnessed mixed economic fortunes during the fourth quarter of 2012. While the group's largest economy, Japan, suffered from stubborn deflation and slumping trade due to a bitter territorial dispute with China, Singapore and Hong Kong managed to fare better.
2013-01-22 Latin America: Europe's Pillar of Strength by Team of Thomas White International
European firms are shaking off pressure at home through various business transactions in Latin America.
2013-01-22 Keep Your Eye On The Ball - 2012 Year End Letter by Team of Sloan Wealth Management
The members of the Portfolio Management Team at Sloan Wealth Management (SWM) coach two baseball teams, two soccer teams, one T-ball team and one basketball team for our collective young children. Thus, we find ourselves stressing the basics. Learning the fundamentals of how to catch a pop-up will eliminate some of the fear of getting hit in the face. In 2012, we found many parallels to the capital markets as our portfolios posted high double digit returns in the face of fear.
2013-01-22 Year-End Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory
Stocks shrugged off numerous worries to log a very good year in 2012, but can markets continue to climb? Certainly the worries remain. The most immediate has to do with the spending side of the fiscal cliff. The cliff deal made permanent the Bush tax cuts for all but high-income taxpayers but it did not address spending. So while the worst case of the cliff was avoided, the work is not nearly done. In this commentary we discuss our current assessment of the investment environment including a detailed look at what could go right, and tie it all back to our portfolio positioning.
2013-01-22 Fossil Inc Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Fossil Inc. (FOSL) is a global design, marketing and distribution company that specializes in consumer fashion accessories. The Company's principal offerings include an extensive line of men's and women's fashion watches and jewelry sold under proprietary and licensed brands, handbags, small leather goods, belts, sunglasses, soft accessories, shoes and clothing.
2013-01-18 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
According to the International Monetary Fund's Regional Economic Outlook report, countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are expected to grow at different rates. Oil exporting nations are cashing in on high energy prices and production, and are projected to expand 6.6 percent in 2012 before tempering in 2013. On the other hand, oil importers such as Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia among others are expected to clock growth just over 2 percent as the slowdown in the world economy and political tensions continue to hinder expansion for some of these countries in transition.
2013-01-18 Equity Investment Outlook January 2013 by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
Despite many headwinds and amid great uncertainty, both the U.S. economy and stock market enjoyed a rather good year in 2012. Real Gross Domestic Product ("GDP") grew around 2%, and the stock market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, returned 16%. At the risk of sounding complacent, we believe that the fundamental trends that produced such favorable results in 2012 are still in place and should support another good year in 2013.
2013-01-18 Are Central Banks Easing Off Prematurely? by Team of Northern Trust
Are central banks easing off prematurely? Washington is girding for another budget imbroglio; Inflation is contained, for now.
2013-01-18 VF Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This article will reveal the business prospects of VF Corp through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.
2013-01-18 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
We continue to feel that the mismatch between yield and interest rate exposure means that investment grade bonds are less attractive compared with the non-investment grade universe, especially in shorter maturities. Treasury, investment grade corporate and high yield bonds have yields and effective durations that are virtually unchanged compared to levels three months ago. Yields on short-dated high yield paper have actually risen a bit and are still, in our opinion, the most attractive sector we look at in terms of interest rate risk.
2013-01-17 International Equity Commentary December 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
International equity prices made robust gains in December, as further improvement in economic trends across most regions lifted the outlook for 2013. Policymakers in the U.S. managed to put together an agreement at the last minute and averted the 'fiscal cliff', one of the major risks that had restricted investor sentiment during earlier months. In Europe, though economic signals remain largely weak, the further fall in bond yields of the troubled countries has helped sustain optimism about resolving the region's fiscal crisis this year.
2013-01-17 The Fiscal Cliff: Overview of Tax Implications by Team of Neuberger Berman
The fiscal cliff bill, formally titled "American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012" ("Act"), was signed into law by the President on January 3. The Act extends certain tax relief provisions enacted in 2001 and 2003, and contains numerous other tax provisions.
2013-01-16 Global Economic Overview - December 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
The global economic outlook brightened further in December, as economic data from most regions indicated sustained, though moderate, improvement in both domestic and external demand. Europe showed further signs of stabilization in the financial markets, as bond yields of the most troubled countries continued to decline in response to the earlier assurance by the European Central Bank (ECB) to buy unlimited quantities of sovereign bonds.
2013-01-15 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: December 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equities outperformed during the month of December, helped by signs of further improvement in the economic growth outlook. Economic data released over the month were largely positive for most emerging countries, and strengthened the optimism that these markets could see a moderate improvement in growth rates during 2013.
2013-01-14 The 'Dark Continent' is Shining Bright by Team of Thomas White International
From a recipient of aid, Africa has transformed itself into a magnet attracting capital and investment.
2013-01-11 Pacific Basin Market Overview - December 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Equity markets ended the year on an upbeat note, shrugging off concerns over the impending "fiscal cliff" while focusing on better economic data from the U.S. and China. In Japan, expectations of a higher inflation target and a depreciating yen brought some overseas investors back to the Tokyo stock market. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 5.6%, while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index also closed 5.6% higher in the October-December quarter of 2012.
2013-01-11 Special Edition: The Outlook for 2013 by Team of Northern Trust
At this time of the year we typically get warm and generous wishes for the New Year and, of course, numerous questions about what our crystal ball has in store for 2013. While many economists publish their perspectives prior to January 1, we opted to wait in the hope of having a clear fiscal picture for the United States. A lot of good that did us...
2013-01-09 Financial Markets Review and Outlook: Fourth Quarter 2012 by Team of Managers Investment Group
As expected the fourth quarter economic landscape was dominated by the U.S. Presidential and Congressional elections and their collective impact on the fiscal cliff. After the elections were completed, markets nervously awaited the outcome of the fiscal cliff negotiations as economists generally predicted dire consequences for the U.S. economy in 2013 if a timely resolution was not reached by the end of the year.
2013-01-08 Crystal Ball Gazing by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
Several recent government announcements are likely to impact the global economy and equity markets over the medium term. In order of importance these are: the Federal Open Market Committee pledge to target zero interest rates until unemployment reaches 6.5%; the new government in Japan, under an increasingly monetarist LDP leadership; commitments by the new Chinese leadership to boost domestic infrastructure and consumption; and finally, the softening line of the Republicans on the fiscal cliff.
2013-01-07 4 Years Into a Bull Market, Now What? by Team of Managers Investment Group
Investors have been bombarded with gloomy news about risk and uncertainty in the global markets. This pessimism, along with spikes of volatility and multiple significant drawdowns over the last several years, has caused many to flee equities for the relative safety of bonds and cash. Amidst this uncertain backdrop, however, U.S. equity markets have quietly made nice gains over the last few years. Since the market hit bottom in March 2009, the S&P 500 is up cumulative 125% including dividends.
2013-01-07 Germany and Eastern Europe: Lessons in Free Trade by Team of Thomas White International
Economies in east and central Europe are attracting huge foreign investments into the automobile sector.
2013-01-06 Partial Deal: Perspectives on the U.S. Fiscal Policy Agreement by Team of Janus Capital Group
The U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama have patched together a deal that avoided the January 1 fiscal cliff. However, Washington has postponed a full resolution of fiscal and tax issues, creating continued uncertainty that can be expected to weigh on business and consumer spending and potentially keep U.S. gross domestic product growth below 2% in 2013.
2013-01-04 The US Congress Kicked the Fiscal Cliff Down the Road by Team of Northern Trust
The US Congress kicked the fiscal cliff down the road. Holiday sales in the US were tepid. December's job report will not impress the Fed
2013-01-03 Thailand: M&A Boom a Sign of Economic Resurgence? by Team of Thomas White International
Chaleo Yoovidhya was born in northern Thailand where his immigrant family scraped a living raising ducks and selling fruits. Without any formal education or vocational skills, he had nothing to fall back upon in his youth. But that didn't stop him from founding his own pharmaceutical company and developing what has turned out to be arguably the world's most popular energy drink Red Bull. In March 2012, Yoovidhya died aged 89 the third richest Thai and a towering figure in Southeast Asia's business community.
2013-01-03 High Yield Market Overview December 1, 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Constrained Index, posted a positive total return of 0.74% in November, as high yield investors focused on the fiscal cliff and the risk that the U.S. government fails to negotiate a resolution.
2012-12-27 Saving for Retirement Stage 3: Making Retirement Funds Last as Long as You Do by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
So you're finally ready to retire. You've worked hard. You've planned. You've saved. You're ready to toss the business section and flip to the travel pages. You hope the investment decisions you've made have positioned you to meet your future needs. You may be retired, but your money has to keep working, and luck, as they say, tends to favor the prepared. In this third installment of our "Saving for Retirement" series, we take a look at some considerations and strategies for those fortunate folks beginning or living in retirement.
2012-12-24 Emerging Markets Equity - Monthly Product Commentary: November 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Sustained domestic demand growth and a revival in export demand are anticipated to drive expansion next year.
2012-12-21 Some Non-Economic Thoughts for the Holidays by Team of Northern Trust
This past Wednesday, I took a short break from following the fiscal cliff saga. I was getting frustrated trying to sort out plan A, plan B, and plan C. I needed to put some distance between myself and the Federal budget, at least for a little while.
2012-12-21 The Fiscal Cliff, Taxes, and Muni Bonds by Team of Litman Gregory
We have written at length about our strategy on the bond side in many of our recent commentaries, and our focus has been almost exclusively on taxable bonds, addressing investors for whom taxes are not an issue, either due to tax bracket or account type (retirement assets for example). The fiscal cliff negotiations have brought taxes to the forefront of people's minds, and we want to update readers on our thinking about the municipal bond asset class. Our take may well be different than what youd expect based on the headlines.
2012-12-21 The Japanese Economy: The Result of the Lower House Election by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) reclaimed power in a landslide victory. Together with coalition partner, the New Komeito Party, the LDP secured 325 seats giving it two-thirds of the total seats, which allows them to pass legislation by using the supermajority position in the lower house. This will enable them to overrule the upper house where no party currently holds an overall majority, otherwise requiring the LDP to consult with opposing parties. In addition, on an individual case by case basis, the LDP would be able to seek cooperation from the third party Japan Restoration Party.
2012-12-19 Accenture: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This article will reveal the business prospects of Accenture (ACN) through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool.
2012-12-19 Energen Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This article will reveal the business prospects of Energen Corp (EGN) through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool.
2012-12-18 Israel: Natural Gas Bonanza Buoys Economy by Team of Thomas White International
From being an energy-deficient nation, Israel is poised to become a leading gas exporter in the region in the years ahead.
2012-12-17 Cliff Concerns by Team of Janus Capital Group
As negotiations over the fiscal cliff go down to the wire, potential tax hikes and spending cuts threaten a number of industries. Our sector analysts share their insights on the key issues facing the industries they cover. While we are monitoring the fiscal cliff's impact on sectors and individual companies, our portfolio managers are not making major changes based on unpredictable political outcomes.
2012-12-15 Saving for Retirement Stage 2: The Sandwich Generation by Team of Franklin Templeton
Youve probably heard of the term sandwich generation, a time at mid-life when many individuals find themselves caring simultaneously for their children and their aging parents. Its a time when investment dollars can get squeezed out by day-to-day and unexpected expenses, a mortgage and possibly even a college savings plan. In this second of our three-part Investing for Retirement series, we take a look at some retirement savings strategies for individuals coping with these mid-life challenges as they themselves begin to look toward transitioning into retirement.
2012-12-13 FOMC: More of the Same on QE, But New Language to Guide It by Team of Northern Trust
The Fed's decision to increase the scope and size of the quantitative easing program following the two-day FOMC meeting was largely expected. Its choice of new wording to express its posture came sooner than expected.
2012-12-13 Pacific Basin Market Overview - November 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Asian equity markets ended higher this month, although they were heavily influenced by events elsewhere. Improved economic data from Germany, coupled with expectations that Greece will receive a further round of financial support from the European Union (EU), helped to lift sentiment. Meanwhile, investors were paying close attention to the American congressional budget negotiations to avoid the looming year-end "fiscal cliff" risk to the economy, although U.S. economic data was generally positive.
2012-12-12 Nu Skin Enterprises: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This article will reveal the business prospects of Nu Skin Enterprises (NUS) through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool.
2012-12-10 Russia's WTO Entry a Big Boost to World Economy by Team of Thomas White International
The WTO's 156th entrant is the world's ninth largest economy and Europe's biggest.
2012-12-10 Property Taxes Paid, More on Housing and A "Quote of the Week" by Team of Lumesis
This week we will take a look at property tax data released this week, housing-related data and the possible impact of the same. Before doing so, a reminder from last week, a brief word on the deficit reduction talks (notice we did not use the "C" word) and a quote worth considering.
2012-12-08 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust
What are the margins of monetary policy? The November job report showed only modest improvement. Japan continues to struggle, with a change of government on the horizon.
2012-12-07 Saving for Retirement: Stage 1 by Team of Franklin Templeton
Most of us have certain expectations about our retirement. We may daydream of the golden years as a time to explore exotic locales, perfect a golf swing, or just relax. The reality is often quite different, particularly for those whove done more daydreaming than planning, or who have suffered setbacks to their portfolios in 2008-2009 and feel a sense of paralysis. Knowing where to begin can be confusing, and as with most things, overcoming inertia to take that first step certainly isnt easy.
2012-12-06 Questions and Answers Surrounding the Fiscal Cliff by Team of Northern Trust
There is no resolution yet to the US fiscal cliff. It is probably unfair to have expected one by now; the clock is too far from midnight. But as the negotiations continue, several questions have been raised that deserve some reflection. 1. The two sides seem to be making statements that reflect stark disagreement. Are talks failing? 2. Is our fiscal path a cliff, or a slope? 3. There is a proposal to limit the deductions claimed by high income taxpayers. How would these work, and what are the consequences? 4. The cliff has been in the news for a long time. Why isnt everyone prepared for it?
2012-12-01 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust
Many nations are being reminded that when times are tough, so is budgeting. Americas energy picture is changing for the better. The EU took an "extend and pretend" strategy with Greece.
2012-12-01 Are Corporate Bonds Expensive? by Team of Neuberger Berman
As in the case of Treasury bonds, yields for U.S. corporate credits have fallen to historic lows as prices have risen. The yield on the Barclays Aggregate U.S. Investment Grade Bond Index was recently at 2.8%far below levels achieved during the heady days of 2007. Obviously, this reflects overall interest rates, but is it also a sign that corporate issues may be overvalued? We explore the issues and consider how investors should position their portfolios for the current environment.
2012-11-30 Fiscal Cliff Countdown: Templeton Perspectives by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
The U.S. "fiscal cliff" clock is ticking loudly, and so far U.S. politicians havent been able to cooperatively silence it. A sweeping roster of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes remain set to go into effect at year-end with what could be detrimental economic consequences.
2012-11-29 Sizing Up the Fiscal Cliff by Team of Neuberger Berman
As year-end approaches, the U.S. is inching closer to a potentially defining moment in its post-debt crisis economic recovery. A series of expiring tax cuts, spending reductions and new taxes equating to over $600 billion (or 4% of GDP), popularly known as the "fiscal cliff," are slated to take effect in early 2013.
2012-11-29 Ready for Takeoff by Team of Janus Capital Group
Rising fuel costs grounded airline stocks for much of the last two decades, but we think those costs were the impetus for significant structural changes that have positioned them to take off.
2012-11-28 November 2012 Monthly Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
Equities have rarely been so attractive yet any investor acting on the perceived wisdom of the last 50 years would scoff and keep selling: the bad news will worsen for economic activity, growth in credit, wages, consumption, employment and in several countries, political stability. Few indices are glaringly cheap as measured by Cyclically Adjusted Price to Earnings multiples (CAPE: chart p.4) with many expensive, especially in many emerging markets.
2012-11-20 Fix the Debt! by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
In the "normal" course of a U.S. election, investors typically breathe a sigh of relief when the results come in, with at least one layer of market uncertainty removed. This time around, the political squabbling hasn't ended with the close of the polls on November 6. The debate about the "fiscal cliff," a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes set to go into effect on January 1, 2013, has heightened. Market volatility since the election seems to have heightened, too.
2012-11-20 Emerging Markets Equity -- Monthly Product Commentary: October 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Economic data from major emerging markets suggested a moderate reversal from the weak trends of recent months.
2012-11-17 Microsoft Has Been A Better Business Than It Has A Stock, But That Is About To Change by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Microsoft, the business, has been a stellar performer. It is only because the stock was so in credibly overvalued a decade and a half ago that investor shareholders received such poor returns. We believe that the opposite circumstances exist today for the stock; however, the prospects for the business remain intact. Therefore, we believe Microsoft represents a compelling opportunity to invest in a high-quality blue-chip dividend growth stock at a very low valuation.
2012-11-15 Pacific Basin Market Overview - October 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Equity markets derived support this month from improved U.S. economic data and an impression that China's economy might be bottoming out. In addition, the Euro Area Industrial Production numbers came in above consensus. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan declined by 0.39% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index gained 0.44% in October 2012.
2012-11-13 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management
The multiple hurricanes of fiscal deficits and monetary malfeasance are headed our way. Unfortunately, financial market models that seek to assess the magnitude, direction, and timing of economic tempests are far less precise than those of our scientific brethren. So, we prepare for the worst, but we dont immediately evacuate. There are still plenty of opportunities for solid investment returns and we will describe two new investments in the pages that follow. Yet, the risks are real, as we have discussed frequently in these letters, so our overall portfolio structure remains conservative.
2012-11-13 Equities Slumped Post-Election as Investors Grew Fearful of Approaching Fiscal Cliff by Team of ING Investment Management
Equities slumped post-election as investors grew increasingly fearful of the approaching fiscal cliff in light of a divided Washington, though encouraging economic data out of the U.S. and China helped stabilize markets on Friday.
2012-11-12 Surveying the Post-Election Landscape by Team of Lord Abbett
Of all the uncertainties facing investors over the past few years, the U.S. presidential election was among the most significant. And now that the election is over, asset managers are assessing the opportunities and riskssuch as the looming fiscal cliffwithin their respective markets. Indeed, the direction of fiscal policy remains investors' foremost concern, according to a recent survey of nearly 600 financial advisors conducted on Lord Abbett's postelection Web conference.
2012-11-09 Americas: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Economic trends in most countries across the Americas region saw a moderate recovery during the third quarter, though the pace of growth remains subdued. Slower global demand due to the ongoing European recession and the slower expansion in Asia continues to restrict exports from the Americas. At the same time, domestic consumption growth has been relatively more robust than expected and has helped most regional economies prevent a deeper slowdown.
2012-11-08 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging Asia Pacific economies faced a challenging third quarter in 2012 as exports to key developed markets such as the Euro-zone came under pressure. As the austerity policies implemented by many of the countries in the Euro-zone caused a significant slump in demand, emerging market economies, which serve as the workshop of the world faced significant difficulties. Almost all major export-dependent nations like China, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia faced pressure to export growth. Still, most of the economies possessed both monetary and fiscal ammo to overcome the slowdown.
2012-11-08 Obama Wins: What's Next? by Team of Janus Capital Group
U.S. President Barack Obama has been re-elected for another four years, while Democrats will continue to control the Senate and Republicans the House of Representatives. We believe this outcome was largely anticipated by the markets before Election Day. However, U.S. Treasury markets likely will gain and risk assets could decline as investors remain concerned about sluggish economic growth, the impact of the impending "fiscal cliff" and the effects of continued Federal Reserve (Fed) intervention.
2012-11-08 November Economic Update by Team of Cambridge Advisors
During the month of October, the S&P 500 traded within a 5% range. By the end of the month, stock returns for the S&P 500 reflected a loss of 1.8%. This decline is surprisingly low when you consider the stock market closed unexpectedly for two days and reopened after a major storm that caused extensive damage in highly populated areas along the East Coast. Treasury yields also did not significantly move during the month.
2012-11-08 A Delicate Balance by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who argues that balance is a bad thing, but in this time of austerity versus growth and political us-versus-them, you'd be equally hard-pressed to find agreement on how to achieve balance. Right now the U.S. economy is teetering on the edge of the much-publicized so-called "fiscal cliff," a one-two punch of automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to go into effect in 2013, and which threaten to tip the nation into recession.
2012-11-08 Developed Europe: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Amid signs of a deepening economic slowdown in Developed Europe, three key events brought some cheer to the beleaguered region, raising hopes of a lasting solution to its debt crisis. In early September, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced its new Outright Monetary Transactions scheme, which is in effect a commitment by the ECB to buy unlimited quantities of sovereign bonds with up to three years in maturity, providing the bond-issuing member country agrees to a reform agenda.
2012-11-05 Want to learn Mandarin and Hindi? Go to Australia by Team of Thomas White International
Australia has planned an ambitious 'Asian Literacy' program aimed at boosting cultural and economic ties with Asia.
2012-11-05 China Forges Ahead by Team of Janus Capital Group
Economic headwinds loom on the horizon as we approach 2013, including a sovereign debt crisis in Europe and pending fiscal cliff in the U.S., but we think you can cross China off your list of worries. Economic data pointing to a slowdown in China has troubled investors. Many even question the reliability of that data, and suggest things could be worse than reported.
2012-11-05 Commentary and Statistics by Team of ING Investment Management
U.S. equity markets were mixed during an abbreviated trading week in which Hurricane Sandy forced the longest weather-related shutdown of U.S. stock trading since 1888. While the S&P 500 eked out a small gain, the DJIA and Nasdaq closed slightly lower.
2012-11-02 Fiscal Cliff: Cataclysm or Non Event? by Team of Managers Investment Group
Now updated through 3Q. This compendium provides an historical perspective of economic data compared to today's results, and provides comments on any developing trends. We also include a synopsis of financial markets results. The OTOTM Chart Book is designed with easy-to-read graphics to tell a story and help you visualize the changes taking place in today's economy.
2012-10-30 Weekly Update: Commentary and Statistics by Team of ING Investment Management
U.S. equity markets fell back into decline during the week, as earnings reports and more specifically, forward outlooks inspired investor caution. Meanwhile, a potential "Frankenstorm" has the East Coast on edge for the coming week.
2012-10-26 October 2012: Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
Like last year, this summer's quarter was eventful. Investors entered the quarter with high expectations that the European Central Bank (ECB) and Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) would provide the markets with more monetary largesse. On July 26th, Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, vowed to "do whatever it takes" to preserve the euro. Risk assets then began an anticipatory rally heading into some key events in mid-September.
2012-10-26 October 2012: Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
Equity and other "risk" assets rallied in the third quarter in anticipation of further monetary easing by central banks around the world. The prospect of increased liquidity from the central banks appears to have focused investor attention, at least temporarily, away from the generally softer economic data that continue to emerge from Europe and Asia.
2012-10-26 Of Irish and Fiscal Cliffs by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
Dr. Michael Hasenstab, Templeton Global Bond Fund portfolio manager and co-director of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group's International Bond Department, doesn't prescribe legislative answers, but he can relate the fiscal challenges the U.S. faces to the experiences of a country with its own dramatic cliffs: Ireland.
2012-10-25 In or Out? The Case for - and Against - the Stock Market by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
Given ongoing volatility in the stock market, it's no surprise that investors are increasingly bearish on the market's prospects, beset by a lack of confidence in its institutional underpinnings and a general pessimism about the direction of the economy. But is that distrust misplaced? Wharton experts are mixed about the future fortunes of the stock market, with some saying that investors are withdrawing at the worst possible time and others noting that many people had entrusted too much of their retirement savings to the fate of equity markets.
2012-10-22 Cracker Barrel: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This article is going to examine the home-style country restaurant Cracker Barrel (CBRL) through the lens of FAST Graphs - fundamentals analyzer software tool, which shows us a picture of a company that is currently in value. The prudent growth and dividend investor may want to do their own due diligence into this fine company for possible addition to their own portfolio.
2012-10-19 International Equity - Monthly Product Commentary: September 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
International equities made strong gains in September as aggressive policy action from central banks in Europe and the U.S. helped offset concerns over moderating economic growth across the globe. The European Central Bank (ECB) announced a program to buy unlimited quantities of debt issued by troubled countries such as Spain, Portugal, and Greece, provided they adhere to a strict fiscal adjustment timetable.
2012-10-19 Getting Trampled by the Herd by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
Many people are programmed to assume the consensus view is the correct one. They see a particular movie based on a number of positive reviews, buy a particular phone because people have camped out in front of a store to get it, or change their hairstyle based on the latest fad. It's extremely hard to go against the crowd, even if you can't afford that fancy new phone, or that new hairstyle isn't actually so attractive on you. It may be easy to laugh off falling prey to a gadget trend or a hairstyle, but what happens when it's your investments that have been trampled by following the herd?
2012-10-19 Monthly Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
In their efforts to support growth, governments and central bankers have steadily chipped away at the free market. Through increased regulation, financial suppression and monetary intervention they have accentuated the lack of supply in quality fixed income paper, driving bond yields down to previously unthinkable levels. Policy makers are almost pathological in their belief that the end justifies the means as they try to inflate away their debt by keeping interest rates below nominal growth.
2012-10-19 Global Overview: September 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Aggressive policy action by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB) helped lift investor sentiment further in September, even as economic signals from across the world continued to be jaded. The Fed has committed to buy mortgage backed securities and keep interest rates low until U.S. economic growth becomes more vigorous and the unemployment rate declines to more comfortable levels.
2012-10-19 Not by Housing Recovery Alone by Team of T. Rowe Price
Strong August-September housing starts are a clear bricks-and-mortar response to reports of rising buyer traffic, confirming a broad-based cyclical recovery in new housing construction. This trend will contribute 0.4 percentage points (pp) to real GDP growth directly through in construction activity, and perhaps another 0.2 pp indirectly through the consumer purchases of those newly employed in housing-related industries and via wealth effects related to the nascent recovery in house prices.
2012-10-18 Quest Diagnostics, Inc: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
In this article we are going to examine Quest Diagnostics Inc (DGX) through the lens of FAST Graphs - fundamentals analyzer software tool. Quest Diagnostics, Inc. is the world's leading provider of diagnostic testing, information and services. FAST Graphs shows us a picture of a company that is current undervalued.
2012-10-18 Emerging Markets Equity - Monthly Product Commentary: September 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Investment inflows and low interest rates helped emerging market equities. Emerging market equities saw a healthy recovery during the month of September, as the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank rolled out aggressive monetary measures to support their respective economies. As the U.S. and Europe are the biggest markets for exports from emerging market countries, it is hoped that the latest monetary stimulus measures will help these countries revive the export growth that has slackened in recent months.
2012-10-17 Emerging Europe: Third Quarter 2012 Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International
In its recent economic assessment, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said it expects growth to slow down during the year in member countries such as Russia, Poland, Hungary, and Turkey as the effects of the Euro-zone crisis spills over. The bank said many of these countries have already seen lower growth, but Russia especially is affected by falling commodity prices. Striking a similar note, the International Monetary Fund in its World Economic Outlook said emerging economies of the world are at risk should the developed economies experience a continued slowdown.
2012-10-17 Q3 Investor Letter by Team of HORAN Capital Advisors
At the beginning of the third quarter, investors following the "sell in May" strategy felt vindicated as the S&P 500 Index declined over 9.0% from May 1st to June 4th. The June 4th date turned out to be the intra-year market low and the equity rally was almost uninhibited throughout the remainder of the third quarter. We have been experiencing mixed global economic data over the past several months and in response, the Federal Reserve announced a third round of quantitative easing. While the market initially responded favorably, it ultimately declined through the end of the quarter.
2012-10-15 Brazil: Infrastructure Push Creating Business Opportunities by Team of Thomas White International
With only 14 percent of Brazil's roads paved, motorways in the country are more suited to horse carts than vehicles. Those doing business in Brazil will be familiar with the "Brazil Cost." It's a disparaging pointer to the extra expenses investors inevitably incur in the country due to its befuddling bureaucracy, high taxes, and most of all, creaking infrastructure.
2012-10-12 Blue-Chip Dividend Aristocrats - There is a Lot of Value in this Market: Part 4 by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This is the fourth in a series of articles designed to counter a pervasive attitude that common stocks are expensive today. Furthermore, we would agree with those that contend that we have been in a stealth bull market for the last 18 months or more. However, would also contend that stocks were so cheap prior to this stealth bull-run that even though they have risen, there are still many stocks that remain fairly priced and even many that are undervalued. Blue-chip Dividend Aristocrats represent one of the best examples of our thesis.
2012-10-12 The Golub Group Commentary by Team of The Golub Group
High-quality businesses that have the ability to pay and increase their dividends are even more attractive in this low yield environment and the valuations of these businesses are cheap on an historic basis and relative basis to the alternatives.
2012-10-11 When Averting Loss Can Lead to Averting Gains by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
Think about something you'd really hate to lose, something of value to you such as a treasured possession. Now imagine you're told that if you lay that object on the line in a bet, you have a good shot at doubling its value, but there's also a possibility you'll lose it. How low would the chance of loss have to be before you'd be willing to take the risk? Maybe 10 percent? Less than that? The answer may lie in a behavioral economic theory called "loss aversion."
2012-10-11 Alternative Investments Offer Strategies to Avoid Fed-Inflated Bond Bubble by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
Over the past several years, investors have shifted hundreds of billions of dollars out of stocks and into investment grade corporate bonds and U.S. Treasuries. To date, this strategy has delivered solid results for many investors, as bond prices have generally continued to rally while bond yields have continued to fall.
2012-10-10 Munis and Tax Reform: Tempest in a Teapot or Taxmageddon? by Team of Neuberger Berman
We've heard increased dialogue recently about the future of the tax exemption for municipal bond income. While it has long been commonly thought that taxing municipal bond income would result in higher borrowing costs to governments potentially impairing their ability to operate the current political landscape, upcoming election and looming "fiscal cliff" have opened for debate the prospect of changes to longstanding provisions of the U.S. tax code.
2012-10-10 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Regional equity markets remained largely directionless and volatile during the third quarter amid the summer trading lull. Government policy action towards the end of the quarter triggered the biggest market moves. However, the euphoria was short lived following the announcements of the European Central Bank's Outright Monetary Transactions and the Federal Reserve Board's third round of quantitative easing.
2012-10-09 Global Investment Outlook by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management
Global growth remains positive but momentum is lacking. Central bank action has eased tensions. Markets are calmer but future direction is uncertain
2012-10-08 China: Towering Ambitions by Team of Thomas White International
The proposed Sky City will have schools, hospitals, homes, stores, and offices.
2012-10-08 3Q Financial Markets Review and Outlook by Team of Managers Investment Group
The summer months were dominated by the anticipation of a Federal Reserve (the Fed) action in the form of another round of quantitative easing in response to muted economic growth and a sluggish domestic job market. Investors' expectations were met when the Fed announced their third round of quantitative easing (QE3) in September with a promise of increased purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities and an extension of the promise to keep short-term interest rates at "exceptionally low levels" until mid-2015.
2012-10-05 Market Performance and the Party in Power: Is There Really a Connection? by Team of Janus Capital Group
The relationship between domestic securities market returns and U.S. Presidential elections is a favored topic of Wall Street commentators. As the 2012 Presidential election heads toward the tape, the pundits are in full swing once again, and claims about the impact of a Democratic or Republican victory on U.S. stock and bond markets pop up almost as frequently as political ads. In this paper, we address the question, Should investors take these prognostications to heart and, more importantly, apply them to their asset allocations?
2012-10-05 When Do You Ignore Your Gut? by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
Anyone who took an introductory psychology class probably remembers the classic study in which different people witnessing the same crime each report a different take on what happened. Though each presumably sane, sober person witnessed the events with his or her own two eyes, individual expectations and biases influenced how they perceived what happened. Sure, you say, but what does this have to do with investing? Well, it turns out that our individual expectations and biases influence how we view investments, too.
2012-10-05 Union Pacific Corp:Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
With this article we are going to examine Union Pacific Corp (UNP) through the lens of FAST Graphs - fundamentals analyzer software tool. Union Pacific Corp is a company that is currently in value. With analysts from Capital IQ forecasting earnings growth to continue at about 15.2%, this may be an opportune time for the prudent dividend and growth investor to look into this fine company further for possible addition to their portfolio.
2012-10-01 Chile: Lithium Adds More Energy to Export Growth by Team of Thomas White International
The world's largest producer and exporter of lithium has added another lucrative segment to its commodity fortunes.
2012-09-24 South Korean Entrepreneurs Want Company by Team of Thomas White International
South Koreans, who have traditionally prized secure life-long employment at a chaebol, are increasingly setting out to establish their own companies.
2012-09-24 Energen Corp: Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
With this article we are going to examine Energen Corp (EGN) through the lens of FAST Graphs - fundamentals analyzer software tool, which shows us a picture of a company that is currently in value. The prudent investor might want to do their due diligence on this company as a possible addition to their portfolio.
2012-09-19 Global Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
If America's Federal Reserve Bank were a battleship, it is losing off every available piece of ordnance. The portfolio has been positioned for such an event. The USS Fed does not know who or where the enemy is, or whether its attack will hit anything for several quarters.
2012-09-18 Buckle Inc: Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This article is going to analyze Buckle Inc (BKE) through the lens of FAST Graphs. Buckle announced at its quarterly meeting of the Board of Directors, held on September 17, 2012, the Board authorized a $0.20 per share quarterly dividend to be paid to shareholders of record at the close of business on October 15, 2012, with a payment date of October 26, 2012.
2012-09-17 Wall Street Up 20% Since the Occupy Movement Began by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The group calling themselves "Occupy Wall Street" is marking its one-year anniversary today with another round of protests in downtown Manhattan. So how has Wall Street done since Occupy Wall Street began one year ago? As shown below, the S&P 500 is up 20%, while the S&P 500 Financial sector is up 25%.
2012-09-17 Emerging Markets Equity Monthly Product Commentary: August 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equities saw a marginal price correction during the month of August, as concerns about growth moderation in these economies persisted. The economic downturn in Europe, one of the largest markets for export-oriented emerging market countries, continues to force policy makers in emerging economies to come up with programs to support domestic growth. However, renewed optimism over aggressive policy action to stem the fiscal crisis in Europe helped the emerging markets in.
2012-09-17 Global Overview: August 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Signs of emerging political consensus in Europe over supporting further action by the European Central Bank (ECB) and a closer banking union helped sustain investor sentiment during the month of August. Germany and select other countries that were skeptical of open ended policy measures by the ECB now appear to be scaling down their opposition.
2012-09-14 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
It is a heads I wintails you lose - scenario for American farmers. Everyone has heard about the drought throughout the U.S. being the worst since the 50s. However, dont feel too badly for the farmers as their net income will hit a record $122 billion this year. How can that possibly be, given all of the crops drying up? Easy. Since the supply is down and demand remains the same, the price has jumped dramatically and has offset the loss of yield per acre.
2012-09-14 Dont Be the Equivalent of a Stock Market Racist by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Common stocks are very different and come in all assortments, sizes, shapes and flavors. Consequently, we encourage investors to think more specifically and rely more on the precise characteristics of the individual company or companies they are contemplating. Worrying about the general state of the economy or the stock market, or their future direction, is not only an exercise in futility, but an unnecessary exercise as well.
2012-09-13 Back to the Future: What's at Stake for the Economy in the Obama-Romney Contest by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
To hear the two candidates tell it, the U.S. presidential election offers a dramatic choice on the economy: Vote for me, each says, if you want a robust recovery; pick my opponent, and we'll plunge back into recession. But given the huge problems the country currently faces, the future -- no matter who wins in November -- will look much like the present, according to several Wharton faculty.
2012-09-12 Pacific Basin Market Overview - August 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Pacific Basin equity market performances were mixed during August 2012 and generally underperformed markets in Europe and North America, largely due to the drag caused by concerns surrounding Chinas slowing economic growth rate. Numerous statements made by European leaders to support the Euro helped to allay fears and brought yields on sovereign bonds lower during the month.
2012-09-12 Equity Monthly: Drought Aftermath by Team of Janus Capital Group
Ramifications of this summer's once-in-a-generation drought in the United States stretch much farther than Midwestern farms. The drought's impact will be felt most in emerging markets, and how leaders in those countries choose to interpret higher food prices in the context of overall inflation will merit close watching in the next 12 months. While rising food prices will pinch consumer budgets and wreak havoc on input costs for food service companies, we also see some investment opportunities tied to the drought.
2012-09-11 High Yield Spreads At Lows For the Year by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Investors in equities will often look to the high yield credit markets for signs of confirmation or divergence from the prevailing trend in equities. Typically, spreads (yield on junk bonds relative to treasuries) move in the opposite direction as equities, so when the equity market is rallying, spreads decline (investors perceive less risk in holding lower quality debt). Conversely, when equities fall, spreads rise (investors perceive more risk in holding lower quality debt).
2012-09-10 Russia: Riding on the Fast Lane by Team of Thomas White International
The fall in oil and natural gas prices has prompted the Russian government to turn its attention to the country's hitherto ignored manufacturing sector.
2012-09-07 The Federal Reserves Next Move: QE3? Perspectives on U.S. monetary policy by Team of Janus Capital Group
We believe the Fed will take additional action by mid-September to stimulate the economy, probably through a third round of quantitative easing. U.S. economic growth remains well below potential and is slowing, and the Fed is not meeting its dual mandate to ensure price stability and full employment. We recently reduced our 2012 GDP growth estimate to between 1.5% and 1.7%.
2012-09-04 Postcard from India: Taking Frugal Engineering to the World by Team of Thomas White International
The first 25 ton truck that rolled out of Daimler's new Indian manufacturing plant in June this year was similar in most respects to other trucks the company sells across the globe. Even on a closer look, the only major difference seemed to be the name and logo on the front grill. The iconic Mercedes three pointed star logo had been replaced by a new round logo and brand name, BharatBenz.
2012-08-28 General Mills Inc: Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
General Mills Inc (GIS) is a high quality blue-chip dividend growth stock with a consistent long-term record of earnings growth averaging approximately 8% per annum.
2012-08-28 Intrade.com Presidential, House and Senate Odds by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
With the GOP convention kicking off tonight, below is an updated look at where the Intrade.com "prediction market" odds currently stand for the President, House and Senate.
2012-08-24 Economist Expectations for GDP and Unemployment Out to Q1 2014 by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Economist Expectations for GDP and Unemployment Out to Q1 2014.
2012-08-24 Taking Stock of Corporate Earnings by Team of Neuberger Berman
The corporate earnings season for the second quarter of 2012 has just about ended. Investors entered this period with much apprehension as the global economic slowdown set expectations for disappointing earnings. However, U.S. numbers surprised on the upside, contributing to a rally in equity markets worldwide. Given the importance of the corporate sector to the current economic recovery, we take a deeper look at recent earnings data to highlight important trends.
2012-08-23 Wall Street Strategists Bearish for Remainder of the Year by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Here we show an updated snapshot of where the various Wall Street strategists think the S&P 500 will end the year. Each week, Bloomberg surveys these strategists for their year-end S&P price targets. At the start of the year, the average year-end price target was 1,343.92. This would have corresponded to a 2012 gain of 6.86%. At its current level, the S&P 500 is up nearly double that at 12.4% year to date. So where do strategists as a whole currently think the S&P 500 will end the year?
2012-08-22 Dividends Provide A Return Bonus by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
With all things being equal, dividend paying common stocks provide their shareholders a return bonus, or what some might like to call a kicker, over an equivalent common stock that pays no dividend. Many investors do not see it this way, as they tend to think of the dividend providing them their return. However, the stock market capitalizes earnings whether a company pays a dividend or not.
2012-08-21 Drudge Headline Indicator Surges to New High Then Pulls Back by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The Drudge Report, with its 30,000,000 page views per day, is probably the most widely followed news source on the web. The Drudge Report is not a financial news site, however, so when a financial news story grabs the Drudge headline, it means that the story has crossed over from just a financial news story to a mainstream news story.
2012-08-20 Eaton Corp: Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
We believe Eaton Corp (ETN) currently represents an above-average dividend yield opportunity. The company can be purchased at a discount to its earnings justified fair value, and offers a dividend yield of over 3.3% (light blue highlighting). We recommend doing your own due diligence, but Eaton Corp looks like a classic buy low today to sell later at a higher value with a nice yield to sweeten the pot.
2012-08-16 Monthly Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
A good month: a gross increase of 3.13%, over twice the index at .49%. Opinion polls the morning after the opening ceremony for the London Olympic Games estimated that 2.5% of the television audience (or 30m viewers) actually believed that the Queen and James Bond parachuted into the Olympic arena. Even if true (the poll was tiny and perhaps respondents had a better sense of irony), such gullibility is understandable on live TV. But naivety in financial markets is unforgivable.
2012-08-13 Morocco: Making its Mark by Team of Thomas White International
Unlike some of its North African neighbors, Morocco is not known for its petroleum reserves. But here, there is another type of oil that seems to have attracted the world's attention these days. Deep inside the country's southwestern desert lies an herbal oil extracted from the seed of a thorny tree. Argan oil, which gets its name from the Arganier tree, is said to work wonders on thirsty dry skin, and now is being sought after by the beauty-conscious men and women across far-flung continents.
2012-08-10 Ross Stores Inc: Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
A quick glance at the historical earnings and price correlated FAST Graph on Ross Stores Inc shows a picture of overvaluation based upon the historical earnings growth rate of 19.6% (orange circle) and a current PE of 21.3 (red circle). Another interesting note is that Ross' price follows its Historical PE of 15 rather than following its Operating Earnings Growth Rate of 19.6%.
2012-08-10 Dividend Taxation and Stock Returns by Team of Neuberger Berman
With bond yields declining globally, stocks with high dividends have become increasingly popular as income seekers face a narrowing set of investment choices. The increased demand has caused dividend-paying stocks to outperform broader markets over the past few years, but as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts looms ever larger heading into year-end, investors are concerned that these stocks might grow less attractive. We explore the potential impact of higher taxes on dividend-paying stocks and how investors should be positioned in the months ahead.
2012-08-09 Food Inflation in Context by Team of American Century Investments
The news is full of reports about huge increases in prices for corn, wheat, and soybeans, as a result of a simultaneous, severe drought in many of the world's food-producing regions. Despite the dramatic headlines, the reality for U.S. consumers is that the food inflation they experience is likely to be much more tame. Indeed, the USDA projects a 2-3% increase in prices for fruits and veggies next year, with beef prices expected to rise a bit faster than that.
2012-08-09 Big Lots Inc: Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
As a special request of a reader, we are reviewing Big Lots Inc. (BIG) through the lens of FAST Graph with this article. In an instant, the Earnings and Price Correlated graph on Big Lots tells a story of a cyclical company with a rather erratic operating history. We believe this is important information for prospective investors to know.
2012-08-09 Pacific Basin Market Overview - July 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management Co.
Most equity markets in the Pacific Basin region recovered somewhat in July after a weak second quarter on expectations of further monetary easing and measures by the European Central Bank to forestall a Euro currency crisis. However, when we examine the sector results, it is hard to conclude that the recovery was accompanied by an improvement in sentiment.
2012-08-08 Emerging Markets Equity Monthly Product Commentary: July 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equities made modest gains during the month of July, as global markets sustained the optimism from the last week of the previous month. Select markets in Asia, such as Indonesia, Korea, and Malaysia, as well as Turkey and South Africa outperformed during the month. Repeated assurances by European policymakers over further policy action helped assuage market concerns about the region's fiscal crisis worsening, though economic data continues to be relatively weak.
2012-08-08 Monthly Product Commentary: International Equity - July 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
International equities made modest gains during the month of July on repeated assurances from European policymakers that they will explore all possible steps to prevent a collapse of the monetary union and arrest further economic decline. Developed markets in Europe's Nordic region and the Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, as well as select emerging markets in Asia ended with healthy gains for the month.
2012-08-07 Obama Remains Strong on Intrade; GOP Strong in Congress by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Four months from today, citizens across the country will hit the ballot boxes to cast their votes in this year's Presidential election. Over at prediction market website, Intrade.com, President Obama continues to hold a near 20-point lead over Mitt Romney in his re-election bid. Obama's odds of winning currently stand at 58.4%, while Romney's odds are below 40 at 39.7%.
2012-08-07 Investing in Central Utility Stocks - Do Todays Valuations Make Sense? Part 3 by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This is the third in my series on investing in utility stocks based on the sector's current valuation levels. The series was initially inspired by concerns that utility stocks may be overvalued because they had recently performed very well. When the series first started with Part 1, utility ETFs were showing the best one-year performance of any sector. By the second installment Part 2, the utility sector had fallen into second place (Utility Sector Performance July 31, 2012).
2012-08-06 Family Dollar Stores Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
A quick glance at the historical earnings and price correlated FAST Graph on Family Dollar Stores (FDO) shows a picture of overvaluation based upon the historical earnings growth rate of 15.2%. Analysts are expecting the earnings growth to continue at about 15%, and when you look at the forecasting graph the stock appears overvalued, (it's at the top of the value corridor of the five orange lines - based on future growth).
2012-08-06 What You Might Not Know About REIT Dividends by Team of Managers Investment Group
Mutual fund investors often fail to understand how the components of REIT distributions can lead to muddled yield comparisons among funds. In this analysis, we shed light on the components of REIT distributions and explain how the Managers Real Estate Securities Fund's distribution yield pay-out method compares with those of its peers.
2012-08-06 Global Overview: July 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Global equity prices made modest gains in July, helped by strong gains in the developed markets in Europe's Nordic region as well as in the Asia Pacific, excluding Japan. Most major emerging markets in Asia also saw price gains during the month, while Spain, Italy, and select other markets in Europe lost further ground. U.S. GDP growth for the second quarter declined below the previous quarter's pace, but was marginally ahead of expectations.
2012-08-06 TJX Companies Inc Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
A quick glance at the historical earnings and price correlated FAST Graph on TJX Companies shows a slight picture of overvaluation based upon the historical earnings growth rate of 18.6% (orange circle) and a current PE of 20.4 (blue circle). Analysts are forecasting the earnings growth to continue at about 12%, and when you look at the forecasting graph below, the stock appears overvalued, (it' outside of the value corridor of the five orange lines - based on future growth).
2012-08-03 2nd Quarter Small Cap Newsletter by Team of 1492 Capital Management
The stock market posted a strong start for the year but quickly surrendered most of its gains as the macro environment (European debt concerns and China’s slowing economy) caused near-panic selling pressure until the last week of the quarter.
2012-08-03 Family Dollar Stores - Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
A quick glance at the historical earnings and price correlated FAST Graphs on Family Dollar Stores (FDO) shows a picture of overvaluation based upon the historical earnings growth rate of 15.2%. Analysts are expecting the earnings growth to continue at about 15%, and when you look at the forecasting graph the stock appears overvalued, (it's at the top of the value corridor of the five orange lines - based on future growth).
2012-08-03 Hedging Against (and Profiting From) A Prospective Decline In The U.S. Dollar by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
The U.S. dollar has remained the world's reserve currency due to several factors: 1. Its large circulation (roughly $1.1 trillion); 2. The denomination of many transactions (especially commodities such as oil and other natural resources) being in USD; 3. The stability of its political system; and 4. The lack of any other viable options. However, that may not always be the case.
2012-08-02 Q1 GDP Revised Upward; Q2 Growth Remains Sluggish by Team of American Century Investments
The 1.5% rise in gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter was in line with market expectations, while growth for 1Q was revised up slightly to 2.0%. The major U.S. equity markets fared well, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing above 13,000 for the first time since may. In other news, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets this week, which could result in a third round of quantitative easing.
2012-08-01 The Vanishing Treasury Yield by Team of Neuberger Berman
Although Treasury bonds have performed well in recent years, investors should be aware of increasing risks as yields decline. Yields for 10-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities have been persistently negative since the fourth quarter of 2011 and continue to trend lower, implying that investors are paying increasingly higher prices for the relative safety these investments are supposed to provide.
2012-07-30 Turkey: 'Sick Man of Europe' No Longer by Team of Thomas White International
Despite the invasion of modern retail formats such as supermarkets, corner stores still account for 40 percent of retail sales in Turkey. Since the mid-19th century, Turkey has carried the unfortunate moniker 'Sick man of Europe'. Though still not considered in the same league as the BRICS countries, Turkey has enjoyed healthy economic growth over the last decade.
2012-07-30 Whitney, Revenue and Defaults by Team of Managers Investment Group
Shortly after Meredith Whitney's appearance on 60 Minutes, we published a Q&A with Gannett Welsh & Kotler, LLC, in which they discussed their view that Ms. Whitney's concerns were overblown. During the last 1 1/2 years, GW&K's view has proven to be correct and we have taken this opportunity to once again seek their thoughts on the financial challenges governments face today through a Q&A.
2012-07-26 Wage Inflation in China: Implications for Inflation and Global Investing by Team of American Century Investments
The transformation of China's economy since the late-1970s when the country opened up to foreign investment and began to take steps to participate fully in the global economy has been nothing short of remarkable. The Asian giant has undergone a dramatic transformation from a comparatively small, underdeveloped, rural economy to a dynamic, urban, manufacturing-based economy that is now the second largest in the world.
2012-07-26 On Top of the Market: Sustained Fear and Uncertainty Offer an Attractive Entry Point by Team of Managers Investment Group
Now updated through 2Q. This compendium provides an historical perspective of economic data compared to today's results, and provides comments on any developing trends. We also include a synopsis of financial markets results. The OTOTM Chart Book is designed with easy-to-read graphics to tell a story and help you visualize the changes taking place in today's economy.
2012-07-25 Economic Review: Americas - 2Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Among the developed economies in the region, growth forecasts for both the U.S. and Canada have been revised lower. Though the U.S. outlook has weakened, the Mexican economy has so far remained unaffected, as manufactured goods from the country remain competitive in export markets. Brazil is yet to see a recovery even after a series of monetary and fiscal measures taken since the second half of last year to support the economy.
2012-07-25 If You Own Utility Stocks, Consider Selling The Overvalued Ones - Part 1 by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Recently, I've come across several discussions by dividend growth investors as to whether the utility sector is overvalued or not today. Therefore, I decided to look into the sectors relative valuation as a whole to see what I could find. The only way to efficiently conduct this kind of research is to rely on a broad statistical array utilizing traditional valuation metrics. However, before I report my findings there are some caveats and clarifications that I feel are very appropriate.
2012-07-24 Investment Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
The headlines in Europe were dominated by political uncertainty and prospects for a prolonged recession, amid signs of deteriorating economic conditions around the globe. The U.S. economy decelerated, as the positive effects of the mild winter wore off and both hiring and spending slowed. Treasury yields fell to all-time lows and oil prices plummeted roughly 30% from their February peak.
2012-07-24 Litman Gregory Mid-Year Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory
High debt levels in developed countries create headwinds that are likely to hamper global economic growth in the years ahead. Europe's debt woes raise the risk of a damaging financial crisis, and global stock markets reflected these concerns in the second quarter. Why are we discussing this now? It is partly a reflection on having reached a quarter of a century in business and thinking about how we have conducted our business.
2012-07-23 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review 2nd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging Asia, which posted strong results during the first quarter of 2012 on optimism that Europe's sovereign debt problems would be solved quickly, returned to struggling ways during the second quarter of 2012 as prospects for Europe continued to wobble throughout the period. The uncertainty about Greece's fate in the European Union and the destiny of the single market itself kept industrial firms in Europe guessing for the most part of the second quarter.
2012-07-23 Economic Review: Developed Europe Second Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Developed Europe remained on tenterhooks for the greater part of the April-June quarter, but ended the period on a high note. At their Brussels summit on June 28-29, European leaders chalked out two crucial policies. They decided that the monetary unions permanent bailout fund or European Stability Mechanism (ESM) would be allowed to provide capital to ailing banks directly rather than through the governments of the countries in which they are located.
2012-07-19 Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
In the politically correct atmosphere that permeates many of our college campuses, the euro-centric view of world history is regarded as hopelessly anachronistic, small-minded and possibly even racist. In the last year, they have become hopelessly euro-centric, rising or falling in concert with the news coming from the eurozone. A few years ago the markets focused on growth in emerging markets. Today, they focus on problems in the developed world.
2012-07-19 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
Recent escalations in the euro crisis and weaker-than-expected global economic data have led to widespread calls for further stimulus. Global leaders believe they are addressing the issue, with China and the ECB lowering interest rates and the Bank of England announcing an additional 50 billion sterling of quantitative easing. We are skeptical about the benefits of such policy action and believe that the U.S. and Europe each require different solutions to solve their fiscal issues.
2012-07-19 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review 2nd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Developed Asia Pacific economies experienced significant headwinds during the second quarter of 2012. While optimism about business conditions in the Euro-zone helped sustain export growth during the first quarter of 2012, significant challenges from the Euro-zone hampered both investor and consumer sentiment in most developed Asian economies during the second quarter.
2012-07-18 Emerging Markets Equity: Monthly Product Commentary by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equities saw a moderate recovery during the month of June, as reduced fears about the European fiscal crisis led to a rebound in global markets. The latest agreement by European policymakers is expected to address some of the short-term challenges faced by countries such as Spain and Italy, as well as the troubled banks in the region.
2012-07-18 Global Overview by Team of Thomas White International
The new agreement reached by European policymakers during the last week of June has helped ease some of the fears over a breakup of the monetary union and more bank failures. It has been agreed that the regions financial crisis fund may be used to provide capital support to the troubled banks and also to try and lower the bond yields of countries such as Spain and Italy.
2012-07-18 GOP VP Poll Results - Thumbs Up for Rubio, Thumbs Down for Pawlenty/Portman by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Yesterday we ran two polls regarding Mitt Romney's VP pick to get a gauge on the topic from the investment community. In the first poll, we asked, "Who will Mitt Romney pick as his VP running mate?" As shown below, Marco Rubio got the highest percentage of votes at 28%, followed by Rob Portman at 18%, Tim Pawlenty at 15% and Condi Rice at 12%.Next we asked, "Who should Mitt Romney pick as his VP running mate if he wants to win?"
2012-07-18 The LIBOR Mess: How Did It Happen - and What Lies Ahead? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
When regulators in the United Kingdom and United States announced a settlement with Barclays bank over its manipulation of LIBOR, the benchmark interest rate used around the world, there were plenty of reasons for jaws to drop. First and foremost was the whopping fine of $450 million, reflecting the seriousness of the case, along with analysts' predictions that LIBOR rates could influence interest rates on between $350 trillion and $800 trillion in loans and investments.
2012-07-16 High Yield and Bank Loan Outlook - July 2012 Sector Report by Team of Guggenheim Partners
After a strong first quarter for high yield bonds and bank loans, the mixed performance of the second quarter has conjured up memories of 2011s volatility. While the lack of clarity in Europe and the looming U.S. fiscal cliff will continue to weigh on the economy, the current macro-induced price dislocations present attractive long-term opportunities for investors with patient capital.
2012-07-16 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Europe's sovereign debt crisis continued to hound the global equity markets throughout the second quarter, while economic data from the U.S. was also lackluster. Despite a late recovery, the Japanese equity market fell during the April-June quarter, owing to instability in the European financial system, economic distress in Europe, the U.S. and China, and the yens appreciation.
2012-07-13 On the Hoof by Team of Bedlam Asset Management
A good month for equity markets and for the portfolio, with both enjoying significant rises of around 3.2%. These took place against increasing evidence that economic activity is beginning to slow, yet again demonstrating the lack of correlation between economic growth and equity market returns.
2012-07-11 Advisor Perspectives Marketing Case Study: A Small Fund with Large Ambitions by Team (Article)
For many smaller investment firms, growing a fund’s assets can be an enormous challenge, typically constrained by labor-intensive lead generation and qualification processes, lengthy sales cycles, and limited resources. One Boston-based firm found a way to eliminate these bottlenecks—and nearly double their assets as a result.
2012-07-09 2Q Financial Markets Review and Outlook by Team of Managers Investment Group
Debt and growth issues dominated the headlines again causing a muted version of the risk off trade to return to prominence. Greece was the main culprit due to elevated debt levels, rising yields, social unrest and two elections. To the delight of many, disaster appears to have been avoided as the pro-austerity party won. Greece has a long road ahead, but this was a positive step forward to begin efforts to decrease debt levels and spur growth.
2012-07-06 Mid-Year 2012 Economic Update by Team of Horizon Advisors
The questions we hear most often from our clients have to do with the Eurozone, U.S. politics, and closely related, the so-called fiscal cliff. We thought we would approach each of these in turn.
2012-07-05 Focus on the Fed: Interest Rates and the "Dual Mandate" by Team of American Century Investments
When creating the Federal Reserve (the Fed), Congress set out some vitally important objectives for monetary policymaximum employment and stable prices. We use this issue of Chart of the Week to provide some context around the Feds sometimes competing policy goals in its dual mandate, as well as simplify and summarize the inflation and jobs data informing Fed interest rate policy in a single graphic.
2012-06-29 How to Know What Rate of Return to Expect from your Stocks: Part 1 by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
We believe there are two critical attributes that the prudent investor should consider before investing in a company (stock). Furthermore, these same two attributes can be used to calculate a reasonable expectation of the future return the stock is capable of generating on their behalf. These two attributes are valuation and the rate of change of earnings growth.
2012-06-29 U.S. Inflation Update: More Long-Term Threat than Near-Term by Team of American Century Investments
During the week of June 11-15, the U.S. governments Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported declines in May prices received by U.S. producers for their goods, as well as lower May prices paid by U.S. consumers. These May declines in the BLSs Producer Price Index (PPI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI) were largely the result of declining energy prices, particularly those for gasoline.
2012-06-21 H.B. Fuller Co - Can you Stick with Them? by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Founded in 1887, H.B. Fuller Co (FUL) is a world leader in adhesives and specialty chemicals. H.B. Fuller has generated an above-average growth rate, although results have been somewhat cyclical since 1998. The current consensus estimate shows that leading analysts believe earnings are expected to accelerate over the next five years. Prospective shareholders may want to review this company.
2012-06-21 Cohen & Steers Closed-End Fund Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the closed-end fund market as of May 31, 2012. For the month, the total return of the Morningstar U.S. All Taxable ex-Foreign Equity Closed-End Fund Index was 4.4 percent based on market-price and 4.6 percent on a net-asset-value (NAV) basis. Year to date, the index had a market-price total return of 5.1 percent and a NAV return of 2.6 percent.
2012-06-21 What Makes Investors Buy High, Sell Low? by Team of American Century Investments
Conventional investment wisdom says: Buy when the price is low, wait for the investment to increase in value, and sell it at the top to realize gains. It seems like a straightforward strategy. So why dont investors follow it?
2012-06-20 Is AutoZone A Little Out Of The Zone? by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
A good growth company is always a nice addition to a portfolio, but you have to watch to make sure you are not paying too much. The old saying is: You make your money on the buy side. Looking at AutoZone (AZO) at a glance, we see that it normally trades (Normal Historical PE the blue line) at or below its historical operating earnings growth rate (the orange line). Therefore, it appears that AutoZone may be trading at a slight premium to its historical valuation.
2012-06-19 South Africa: Opportunities in the Rest of Africa Beckon by Team of Thomas White International
The signs are evident all across Africa, from Kenya in the east to Ghana in the west. South African businesses are increasingly looking at opportunities in their own backyard on the African continent with newfound enthusiasm. Though South Africa still lags the U.S. and China in total investments in the rest of Africa, in recent years, the growth in investments by the countrys companies has been the highest.
2012-06-19 Cohen & Steers U.S. Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the U.S. real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. The FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index had a total return of 4.5% for the month, compared with a 6.0% return for the S&P 500 Index. Year to date, the indexes returned +8.8% and +5.2%, respectively.
2012-06-19 Cohen & Steers European Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the European real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. For the month, the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Europe Real Estate Index had a total return of 7.5% (in U.S. dollars, net of dividend withholding taxes). By comparison, U.S. REITs had a total return of 4.5%, as measured by the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index. Year to date, the indexes had total returns of +3.0% and +8.8%, respectively.
2012-06-19 Cohen & Steers Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for emerging markets real estate securities as of May 31, 2012. For the month, the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Emerging Real Estate Index had a total return of 9.7% in U.S. dollars (net of dividend withholding taxes), compared with 6.4% for the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index (net), a broad measure of the global real estate securities market. Year to date, the indexes returned +9.8% and +7.9%, respectively.
2012-06-18 Cohen & Steers Large Cap Value Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the U.S. large cap value market as of May 31, 2012. For the month, the Russell 1000 Value Index had a total return of 5.9%, compared with a total return of 6.0% for the S&P 500 Index. For the year to date, the Russell 1000 Value Index had a total return of +3.5%, compared with +5.2% for theS&P 500 Index.
2012-06-18 Cohen & Steers Preferred Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the preferred securities market as of May 31, 2012. For the month, the BofA Merrill Lynch Fixed Rate Preferred Index had a total return of 0.3% and the BofA Merrill Lynch Capital Securities Index returned 0.7%. Year to date, the indexes had total returns of +6.9% and +7.7%, respectively.
2012-06-18 Cohen & Steers Global Infrastructure Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review of the global infrastructure securities market as of May 31, 2012. The UBS Global 50/50 Infrastructure & Utilities Index had a total return of 6.2% (net of dividend withholding taxes) for the month. Year to date, the index returned 2.1%.
2012-06-18 Japanese Equity The Impact of Global Instability by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Mainly owing to fears of a potential Euro break up, the decline in the global stock markets in April 2012 continued through May as well. On June 4th, the Japanese equity market (TOPIX) sank to its lowest level in 29 years, declining even further below the bottom set in the aftermath of the Lehman shock in Japanese yen (JPY) terms. However, in U.S. dollar (USD) terms, the level of the Japan equity market is still above its post Lehman low recorded in March 2009.
2012-06-15 Its Not Just Dinah In The Kitchen Anymore At Williams-Sonoma! by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Founded in 1956, Williams-Sonoma (WSM) is not just a quality kitchen store, but a specialty leading home furnishing retail store. Williams-Sonoma has historically grown earnings at a compounded rate of 12.9% since 1998, resulting in a 3.4 billion dollar market cap. Williams-Sonomas earnings per share have risen from $0.51 per share in 1998, with a drop in 2008 to $0.22 per share, to a current forecast earnings per share of approximately $2.49 for fiscal 2012. The current dividend yield is 2.6% and the dividend has increased each year for the past 7 years.
2012-06-15 Falling Equity Prices Reflect the European Crisis and Slower Economic Growth by Team of Thomas White International
Heightened concerns over the European fiscal crisis and slower economic growth dragged down emerging market equity prices during May. The emergence of political parties opposed to short-term austerity measures in recent elections in countries such as France and Greece has upset the political consensus that paved the way for an agreement on tackling the crisis last year. Borrowing costs of some of the troubled countries such as Spain have increased substantially, while countries that are in better fiscal health such as Germany remain hesitant about the issuance of common euro bonds.
2012-06-15 Equity Prices Reflect Concerns over Global Growth Slowdown by Team of Thomas White International
International equity prices corrected in May on heightened worries over a further global growth slowdown as the European fiscal crisis worsened. Political consensus on ways to address Europes fiscal problems dissipated after political parties opposed to austerity measures gained popularity in countries such as France and Greece earlier this year. However, Germany and select other countries continued to insist that structural reforms agreed as part of last years pact should be adhered to.
2012-06-15 Global Outlook Dampened Further by the European Crisis by Team of Thomas White International
Apprehensions over a worsening European fiscal crisis and concerns about slower growth in the emerging economies continued to dampen investor sentiment in May. Europes political leadership is yet to find a common ground that would accommodate the opposition to short-term austerity measures expressed in recent elections in countries such as France and Greece. There is growing expectation of a possible Greek exit from the monetary union while borrowing costs of troubled countries such as Spain have increased further, following credit rating downgrades.
2012-06-15 Cohen & Steers Global Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the global real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index had a total return of 6.4% for the month (net of dividend withholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. Year to date, the index returned +7.9%.
2012-06-15 Cohen & Steers International Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for theinternational real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed ex-U.S. Real Estate Index had a total return of 8.0% for the month (net of dividendwithholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. By comparison, U.S. REITs returned 4.5% for the month, as measured by the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index. Year to date, the indexes returned +7.3% and +8.8%, respectively.
2012-06-14 Chart of the Week: Growth Dichotomys Diminished Influence by Team of American Century Investments
Despite weaker-than-expected U.S. employment data for May (released June 1) and other signs of slow economic growth, the Fixed Income Macro Strategy Team at American Century Investments does not believe the U.S. economy is headed toward another recession (though the marginal possibility of recession has increased). Rather, the team believes the economy remains on a sub-par recovery/slow (1-3%) growth path, with headwinds.
2012-06-13 Can Nu Skin Keep The Wrinkles Out Of Earnings? by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Founded in 1984, Nu Skin Enterprises (NUS) is a distributor in clean personal care products. Nu Skin has historically grown earnings at a compounded rate of 6.1% since 1998, resulting in a 2.71 billion dollar market cap. The companys earnings per share have risen from $1.49 per share in 1998, to current forecast earnings per share of approximately $3.06 for fiscal 2012. The company started paying a dividend about 11 years ago and has raised their dividend every year.
2012-06-13 The Tip of the Iceberg For Dividend Stocks by Team of Columbia Management
Post-crisis equity investors seek to lower portfolio volatility. Dividend stocks have provided higher returns with less risk compared with non-dividend payers. Baby boomers are retiring now with much smaller nest eggs than they had anticipated. They need reliable sources of income and growth. Cash-rich companies are in a position to pay and potentially grow dividends, while dividend payout ratios are historically low. Active managers leverage in-depth research to uncover promising opportunities among companies likely to initiate or raise dividends.
2012-06-12 Odds for Greece and the Health Care Law by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Below is an updated look at Intrade.com contracts for two of the biggest news stories going on this month -- the Supreme Court's health care law decision and the euro crisis. The first chart below shows the Intrade.com odds for the individual mandate of the health care law to be ruled unconstitutional by the end of 2012. This is essentially a bet that the mandate gets overturned when the Supreme Court announces its decision on the case later this month.
2012-06-12 Pacific Basin Market Overview - May 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Depressed market sentiment, high volatility, and low trading volume together resulted in another difficult month for the Pacific Basin regions equity markets. Following a great start to the year, Asian markets gave most of these gains back during May, as worries about the health of the Spanish banking system stoked deeper concerns about the progress of the eurozone debt crisis, with Greek elections looming on June 17th as well. U.S. data continued to disappoint, raising fears that the economic recovery could be stalling.
2012-06-12 Bemis Co Inc - Attractive Value, Yield and Growth by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Bemis Co Inc (BMS) has achieved a moderate record of long-term earnings growth in a semi-cyclical fashion. However, even though earnings growth had faltered slightly during our last two recessions, the company remained highly profitable. We believe the company appears reasonably valued at its current quotation. This article looks at Bemis Co Inc, a Dividend Champion, through the lens of the F.A.S.T. Graphs Fundamentals Analyzer Software Tool. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, the reader will be provided the essential fundamentals at a glance expressed vividly in pictures.
2012-06-11 Looking Over the U.S. Fiscal Cliff by Team of Neuberger Berman
Absent congressional intervention prior to year-end, over $600 billion (about 4% of U.S. GDP) of fiscal tightening is scheduled to take effect in the United States in early 2013. Dubbed the fiscal cliff by those in the financial community, the negative impact on growth caused by expiring spending and tax provisions has the potential to derail the ongoing recovery and, according to some observers, even tip the U.S. economy back into recession.
2012-06-08 Monthly Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory
Global stock markets dropped sharply in May amid renewed macroeconomic fears. Large-cap U.S. stocks fell 6%, while small and mid-cap stocks lost 6.6% and 6.7%, respectively. Domestic stocks are still well in positive territory for the year, with returns ranging from just over 5% for large-caps to 3.4% for small-caps. Foreign markets fell further, as questions over the stability of the eurozone dominated headlines. Both developed and emerging-markets were down 11% for the month and in negative territory year-to-date (down 3.3% and 0.4%, respectively).
2012-06-08 Five Tech Stocks with the Added Benefit of Dividends by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Here are five technology-oriented companies that are currently trading at a price earnings ratio that implies that the stocks are attractively valued. Each of these five companies currently offers a dividend yield that is above-average as represented by the S&P 500.
2012-06-07 The Specter of Default: How Safe Are U.S. Treasuries? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
Just how solid are U.S. Treasury bonds, long considered a "riskless" investment? Is a default possible? Desirable? Unthinkable? And what are the options for reducing the annual government deficits that cause the country's debt to grow? Those and other questions were the subject of a recent Wharton conference titled, "Is U.S. Government Debt Different?" The conference was set up in the wake of last summer's debt-ceiling showdown in Washington, which highlighted the risk of a default on government bonds.
2012-06-07 Companies with WORSE Valuations Than Facebook (FB) by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
We've read quite a few articles showing how far down Facebook (FB) would have to trade to have a valuation that's similar to big blue chip tech names like Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT). This kind of analysis is done to show that Facebook shares are overvalued. But the analysis can go the other way as well. There are 34 stocks in the Russell 1,000 that have a higher forward P/E (next 4 quarters) than Facebook (FB) right now, and quite a few of them are stocks that are loved by some of the same investors that are likely dumping on Facebook.
2012-06-07 Diversify to Take the Edge off Swings in Investor Sentiment by Team of American Century Investments
The investor sentiment cycle presented here is an excellent investor education tool. In a single snapshot, it captures both the cyclical nature of financial markets and the subjective, emotional response many investors have to those market movements. After all, saving and investing are relevant to the extent that they help us achieve profoundly important personal goals, such as funding retirement, a childs education, or a bequest to future generations. Under those circumstances, it is easy to understand why market swings would elicit an emotional response from investors.
2012-06-06 Energize The Growth Component Of Your Portfolio With Chicago Bridge & Iron Co by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Chicago Bridge & Iron Co (CBI) potentially offers high growth at a very reasonable price. Although the company does exhibit the occasional bout of cyclicality, long-term earnings growth has averaged over 16% per annum. Consequently, long-term buy and hold shareholders have earned returns that have exceeded the market by a large margin. Some of the best advances are achieved coming out of weak periods as earnings explode off of cyclical lows.
2012-06-05 On Their 30th Anniversary - Get Your Dividend Portfolio Rolling with Norfolk Southern Corp. by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Like most railroads, concerns regarding the coal industry have driven Norfolk Southern Corp.s share price to one of its lowest levels since 1998. Nevertheless, strength in other areas of their business seems to support continued confidence in long-term earnings growth. Therefore, current weakness in the share price may represent an excellent long-term opportunity.
2012-06-05 When OK is Good Enough by Team of BondWave Advisors
The US economy continues to grow, but in recent months manufacturing and employment indicators have remained positive but have been flagging. While there might not be a lot to get excited about economically here in the US, OK is better than elsewhere, like Europe. We discuss the situation in the US and Europe and provide a commentary of the US Treasury, Corporate and Municipal bond markets.
2012-06-05 Reynolds American Inc. - Reasonably Priced with a High Yield by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Even though Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) has risen substantially off of its lows in 2009, the company looks reasonably valued at todays quotations. Therefore, the dividend growth investor looking for above-average dividend yield with moderate growth might want to look closer. The company claims to be transforming the tobacco industry, and maybe it can transform your income portfolio as well.
2012-06-04 Opportunities in Credit Higher Quality High-Yield Bonds by Team of Columbia Management
One of the more compelling opportunities across todays fixed-income landscape is within the higher quality segment of the high-yield market bonds rated BB and B. Strong underlying fundamentals driven by a wave of refinancing and solid operating performance have greatly diminished credit risk among these issuers, as demonstrated by exceptionally low current and expected default rates. Despite this, spreads, or yield premiums relative to Treasuries, are generally higher than long-term averages.
2012-06-01 Obama Odds to Win Decline, But Mitt Doesn't Rally by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
2012-05-31 Charting the Benefits of a Diversified Approach by Team of American Century Investments
Weve written quite a bit about diversification recently. Rather than tell you about the potential benefits of a diversified approach, we thought wed use this initial issue of Chart of the Week to show you how a diversified portfolio can potentially smooth out performance and improve cumulative returns over time.
2012-05-30 McGraw-Hill It Provides A Lot of Information, So Let The Pictures Do The Talking! by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
McGraw-Hill Companies (MHP) looks like a good addition for the dividend growth investor. The market has historically applied a premium valuation to this company. Its historically above-average earnings growth had pushed the company to trade at premium, until recently.At its current valuation, McGraw-Hill sits at a fair valuation.Therefore, we believe today's price represents a sound valuation given McGraw-Hills quality and consistency.
2012-05-29 Canada: Untangling Pipeline Projects to Realize Energy Export Potential by Team of Thomas White International
Oil production in Canada is set to increase to 6 million barrels a day by the end of this decade, but the country lacks pipeline infrastructure to facilitate exports. For a country richly endowed in natural resources, and with growing energy production, Canada has been facing a perplexing problem in recent years. While its producers are supplying oil and gas to U.S. refineries at prices below the international market, Canadian refineries on the east coast are paying higher international prices for the oil they import.
2012-05-25 Caterpillars Earnings Look Like And Act Like A Caterpillar; Moving Slowly But Steady by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
This article looks at Caterpillar Inc, a Dividend Contender, through the lens of the F.A.S.T. Graphs Fundamentals Analyzer Software Tool. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, the reader will be provided the essential fundamentals at a glance expressed vividly in pictures. In order to provide you the opportunity to research this company deeper and faster we are providing a link to a live, fully functioning earnings and price correlated set of graphs.
2012-05-25 Searching for European Solutions, and Dividends by Team of Franklin Templeton
As the European debt crisis rages on, people in the eurozone are voicing their opinions about austerity measures, bailouts and such, not just on the streets, but also at the polls. As the winds of political change swirl, the future of the eurozone seems to hang in the balance. Tucker Scott, portfolio manager of Templeton Foreign Fund, and a vocal fan of a thorough vetting process, says hes focusing on long-term outlooks, not just todays headlines. And, hes finding select European stocks with dividend-growth potentialin some cases even better opportunities than in the U.S.
2012-05-25 General Mills: Food for Thought! by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
General Mills has an impressive dividend yield for the income investor. Its estimated earnings growth is on the mark at about 7.2% and would make a nice contribution to an income portfolio. This article looks at General Mills Inc (GIS), a Dividend Challenger, through the lens of the F.A.S.T. Graphs Fundamentals Analyzer Software Tool. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, the reader will be provided the essential fundamentals at a glance expressed vividly in pictures.
2012-05-25 Supply Your Portfolio With Healthy Growth From Medical Suppliers by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
With baby boomers being one of the biggest population bubbles, medical suppliers can be a healthy addition to a portfolio. Here are five medical supply companies that are trading below their normal historical PE ratios and inline or slightly below their estimated growth rates. Consequently, they represent an opportunity for above-average growth and yield.
2012-05-25 Sysco - Building A Case For A Return To Growth by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Sysco Corp is an extremely high quality powerful franchise that is positioning itself for long-term future growth. Currently, the company controls about 17 % of the $225 billion North American food service distribution market. Since this industry is currently experiencing stress, it seems only logical that Sysco is best positioned among its peers to survive and prosper. On the other hand, many of its smaller local and regional competitors may not.
2012-05-24 Europe's Tragedy Nears the End of Act One, but the Drama Continues by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
What a difference a year can make. When a group of European Union experts met at a workshop in Italy's Tuscan hills in the spring of 2011, the center of attention was Greece and its ever-growing sovereign debt crisis. Could it, should it, default on debt repayments? And what would happen then? The delegates wondered whether the result might be a meltdown not just of the Greek economy but of Europe as a whole.
2012-05-24 Repair Your Dividend Portfolios With Genuine Parts by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Genuine Parts Co (GPC) has over 80 years of distribution expertise in replacement parts for automotives and industrial parts, as well as office and electrical materials. It appears to be a company poised for continued earnings and dividend growth. The company is a Dividend Champion with 25 years of raising its dividend. The strong dividend yield should attract a conservative investor looking for income and steady growth.
2012-05-24 Measuring Active Management: The Basics of Active Share and Tracking Error by Team of American Century Investments
Every investor needs to understand the basics of portfolio management. In a broad sense, portfolio management can be divided into actively managed and passively managed categories. Although we describe both approaches at the outset, we fasten our attention on active portfolio management in this piece. Specifically, we focus on the Active Share and Tracking Error approaches to measuring active management in equities. The goal is to further develop an appreciation for the multi-faceted complexion of active portfolio management.
2012-05-22 Return to Normalcy: The False Argument of "Austerity" vs. Growth by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
To rescue Europe, to reinvigorate the United States, and to set the global economy on a sustainable path toward expansion, the current debate offers a so-called "choice": either slash government spending or spend your way to growth. In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is one of the most prominent proponents of fiscal restraint -- in part because Germany is picking up the tab for the continent's debt crisis. And in the United States, economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is the fullest-throated supporter of more government spending.
2012-05-22 Assessing the European Elections by Team of Neuberger Berman
In the two years since the onset of the European sovereign debt crisis, policymakers have struggled with the issue of fiscal integration and the tradeoff between growth and austerity. Although many observers hoped that some clarity would emerge from the recent elections in Greece, France and Germany, political paralysis continues throughout Europe. In this edition of Strategic Spotlight, we discuss the fiscal and growth outlooks for key eurozone countries and the region overall.
2012-05-21 Gilead Sciences Inc Strong Growth At An Unreasonably Low Price by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD) is an innovative healthcare company with a strong record of historical earnings growth and expectations for above-average growth into the future. Nevertheless, Mr. Market seems unwilling to recognize the past and future earnings power of this niche pharmaceutical growth stock. Consequently, the company trades at a single digit PE ratio that we believe significantly undervalues both the companys past and future potential. Therefore, investors seeking high growth at a reasonable level of risk might want to look further into this undervalued growth opportunity.
2012-05-18 S&P 500 vs. Obama Re-Election Odds by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Last year when the market tanked, Obama's odds tanked as well. Then they picked back up again nicely as the market rallied during the first quarter of this year. Since the start of the second quarter, however, the President's odds of winning have started to tick lower once again, just as the market has dropped. Continued market weakness would surely hurt the President's re-election chances, which makes us think he'll do as much as he can (which may not be enough) to keep things from falling apart before November.
2012-05-18 Solutions in Search of Problems by Team of Dana Investment Advisors
The American Institute for Economic Research has developed a new way of measuring inflation. They call it the Everyday Price Index. The EPI, which is a proprietary index, measures things people buy frequently such as food, gasoline, prescription drugs, TV and phone service, and child care. The Consumer Price Index by contrast measures large ticket items such as cars, appliances, houses and everyday goods. The CPI increased 0.8% in March while the EPI was up 1.9% in March. Most people would agree, that inflation is higher than what the CPI would indicate.
2012-05-18 Real Assets by Team of Cohen & Steers
Chinas economic growth is a key theme that drives our outlook for real asset categories. As the worlds dominant consumer of most commodities, China is the largest importer of iron ore, producer of steel and consumer of copper. About 65% of the worlds soybean production is imported to the region. Thus, we were encouraged by central bank easing in response to the first-quarter slowdown, as it seems to have orchestrated a soft landing. Should there be further policy actions, it could spur opportunities in a number of natural resource categories.
2012-05-18 U.S. Real Estate Securities Review & Outlook for April 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
We have a generally favorable view of key office markets, including life sciences, technology and media, as well as NY offices broadly. We have decreased our allocation to apartments based on valuations and the prospects for more direct and indirect (housing rentals) competition. We continue to favor prime retail owners, while staying cautious toward health care properties, suburban offices and secondary retail.
2012-05-18 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
In a global economy characterized by moderating inflation and tepid growth in developed markets, we believe emerging markets real estate securities offer attractive upside potential on a risk-adjusted basis. Policymakers in emerging economies have indicated increasing comfort with accommodative monetary policies, while domestic demand remains robust, creating a positive operating environment for both landlords and developers. On a relative value basis, we are finding more opportunities in residential developers, as we believe share prices remain depressed following their poor 2011 returns.
2012-05-18 European Real Estate Securities April 2012 Reivew & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
Valuations for many listed real estate companies have reached levels that are likely too low on a relative basis. We continue to closely monitor macroeconomic developments, and remain focused on companies that we think are best positioned to shield themselves from the adverse effects of deleveraging. Specifically, we generally favor high-quality companies with strong balance sheets and relatively low cash flow multiples. We continue to like London offices and the Berlin residential market.
2012-05-18 Global Real Estate Securities April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
North America fundamentals are on a slow but positive trajectory. European economic challenges keep us focused on high-quality names. Policy easing trends likely to benefit Asia Pacific.
2012-05-18 Global Listed Infrastructure Investment Review and Outlook April 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
The predictable income, modest volatility and long-term growth potential of infrastructure securities continue to offer an attractive combination in the present market environment. We remain focused on subsectors we believe offer attractive relative valuations and compelling growth dynamics, such as pipelines, water and communications infrastructure. We are significantly underweight electric utilities given continued sector-specific fundamental and regulatory risks.
2012-05-18 International Real Estate Securities April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
European economic challenges keep us focused on high-quality names. Policy easing trends likely to benefit Asia Pacific.
2012-05-18 U.S. Large Cap Value Investment Commentary As of April 30, 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
The economic expansion is likely to continue, but at a pace that is modest both in absolute terms and relative to previous recoveries. Many stocks are still attractively valued, in our view, and they have the potential to advance in the coming months. At the same time we are watchful of global economic developments, particularly in Europe and the Middle East. A winding down of monetary stimulus (such as the Federal Reserves Operation Twist program) could create headwinds.
2012-05-18 Preferred Securities Review & Outlook for April 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Barring meaningful erosion in the economic backdrop, preferreds can continue to deliver attractive total returns due to generally improving credit fundamentals and historically wide credit spreads. In addition, favorable technicals should continue to support the asset class, as investor appetite for income is likely to remain strong and the overall size of the market could shrink as banks retire issues that may lose Tier 1 capital status. Preferreds offer an average yield close to 7%, which is significantly higher than other investment-grade alternatives such as corporate bonds and Treasurys.
2012-05-18 Closed-End Funds April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
Given various risks to the domestic and global economies and generally modest inflation, monetary policy in the US will remain accommodative. With borrowing rates likely to remain low for an extended period, the yield advantage of leveraged closed-end funds will continue to draw investor interest. As a result, we see potential for the broad closed-end fund market to maintain historically narrow discounts, or even at times trade at premiums to NAV.
2012-05-17 Our Fixed Income Insights on Yield Traps by Team of American Century Investments
From a fixed income perspective, we explain why aggressive yield-enhancing strategiesresulting from this extended period of historically low U.S. interest rates and yieldscan threaten the potentially valuable long-term portfolio benefits from holding fixed income positions. In particular, chasing yieldand stumbling into yield trapscan derail the important volatility reduction and diversification benefits offered by carefully selected and well-managed fixed income holdings.
2012-05-17 Five Conservative Utilities From The Wild And Wooly West by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Utility stocks have historically been known as conservative investments with above-average dividend yields. Therefore, investors seeking income from equities within a reasonable level of risk may find opportunities within the utility sector. However, the reader should note that the dividend records from utility stocks can be somewhat spotty and therefore, moderately unpredictable. Consequently investors seeking a growing dividend income stream may want to look elsewhere in spite of the above-average yield these companies offer.
2012-05-16 A Taylor-ed View of Dividends by Team of Franklin Templeton
The baby boomer generation, people born in the U.S. from 1946 19601, numbers some 78 million and is now moving into retirement. Taylor challenges this group in particular to think differently about their investments given the current economic climate. We are currently in a low-growth, very low interest rate environment and I really dont think thats going to change too much anytime soon. Dividends and dividend yield in the equity market matter a lot more than they did before..."
2012-05-16 Keep Your Portfolio Rolling Along With Canadian National Railway by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
We believe at its current quotation CNI offers dividend growth investors an above-average total return at below levels of risk. Although the company only offers a market average dividend rate, we would expect its dividend to grow commensurate with its above-average expected earnings growth. We consider this a high quality dividend growth stock that is ideally suited for the long-term buy and hold conservative investor. As always, we recommend you conduct your own thorough due diligence.
2012-05-16 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
If you listened carefully to the CEOs during their earnings announcements, they were tepidly upbeat but upbeat nonetheless, as they looked forward into the remainder of the year. On a day-to-day basis the markets will be driven by the headlines and emotions. We encourage you to refrain from getting caught up in that fray. At the end of the day it will be about an economy that moves forward creating jobs and not one built on the back of debt.
2012-05-15 A Growing Attraction to Municipal Bonds by Team of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management
For income oriented investors, bonds can provide for a dependable and consistent stream of income, and principal protection when held to maturity. Bonds, whether they are Municipal, Government or Corporate bonds, can also provide for compounded growth opportunities when the income received from the bonds is reinvested. Additionally, for growth-oriented investors, fixed income securities can provide investors with downside protection and diversification within a growth portfolio especially in a highly volatile market where additional, measured, short-term flights to quality are likely.
2012-05-15 McDonald's Back In Value, Above Average Growth And Yield by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
McDonald's represents an excellent choice for the prudent dividend growth investor seeking both capital appreciation, and above-average current yield and the opportunity to grow both in the future. With its recent pull-back, McDonald's is priced at the upper end of our valuation corridor. Therefore, although the company is not cheap, we do consider it a sound long-term investment at these levels. Furthermore, we would suggest that if the stock continued to drop from these levels, the prudent investor could use the lower price as an opportunity to average down their cost basis.
2012-05-15 Cummins Inc: Gear Up Your Dividend Portfolio For Strong Growth With A Dividend Kicker by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
The recent pull-back in Cummins' stock price has created an excellent opportunity for prudent investors seeking growth and income an opportunity to achieve above-average long-term results. The company has little debt on their balance sheet, the potential for strong growth and a recent history of increasing their dividend consistent with their earnings growth. A quick glance at their historical earnings and price correlated graph show that anytime the company could be purchased at a PE ratio below 14, like it is today, represents an excellent long-term buying opportunity.
2012-05-10 Diversification 301: Tailored Solutions for Your Portfolio by Team of American Century Investments
We continue our discussion of diversification and its application to investor portfolios. We explain how there is no single universal diversified portfolio suited to all investors and occasions. Instead, diversification is a highly customizable framework that can and should be uniquely tailored to suit each individual investors goals and risk tolerances. Earlier articles in the series discussed the basic benefits and rationale for diversification and a discussion of alternative investments that can be used to diversify a traditional balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds.
2012-05-10 First Quarter Stepping Stone or Stumbling Block? by Team of Managers Investment Group
Popular headlines from last year took the sidelines and investors re-embraced risk. European government bond yields declined in response to long-term refinancing operations (LTRO). The much anticipated Greek default finally occurred in March and the firewall around Greece appeared to hold for now. The focus returned to the U.S. as the economic picture at home showed continued subtle improvement. Lower unemployment claims helped bolster equity prices. Several other major indicators pointed to a strengthening U.S. recovery. Market volatility fell to the lowest point since 2007.
2012-05-10 Speed Up Your Portfolio Performance With Comcast by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Comcast has been a very consistent growth stock since 2004. However, as we previously stated, overvaluation kept shareholders from earning the returns that Comcasts excellent operating achievements deserved. However, valuation became aligned with earnings in late 2008, and the company instituted a dividend in calendar year 2008. Today the combination of above-average past and expected future growth with an above market and potentially growing yield, position the company for attractive future returns.
2012-05-10 Five Consumer Staples For A Hearty Portfolio With Yield by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
The old adage that people got to eat apply to the five consumer staple companies covered in this report. From the farm to the table these companies provide sustenance to a hungry world. Therefore, we believe that conservative investors that are craving the opportunity for growth and income might want to look closer at these five consumer staples. Each appears to be reasonably priced, and the group provides various combinations of growth and yield.
2012-05-10 A Mixed Fixed Landscape by Team of Franklin Templeton
The lingering low-rate environment in the U.S, Eurozone, Japan and some other nations has many yield-seeking investors feeling stuck in the mud. At its April policy meeting, the Federal Reserve pledged to keep its key short-term interest rate exceptionally low at least through late 2014. Some other global central banks, even in emerging nations, have pushed their rates lower too this year to spur growth. On top of that, many countries are also still trying to dig out of debt, but seem to be spinning their wheels.
2012-05-10 International Equity: Monthly Product Commentary April 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
International equity prices remained subdued during the month of April as concerns over the European fiscal crisis continued to cloud market sentiment. Accordingly, price declines were the greatest in Europe while select markets in Asia and Latin America outperformed. As expected, the economies of both the U.K. and Spain contracted during the first quarter, and underscored the mild recession the region is facing at the moment. Bond yields of some of the troubled countries such as Spain and Italy have increased in recent weeks, and investor response to new bond issues remains lukewarm.
2012-05-10 Emerging Markets Equity: Monthly Product Commentary April 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equity prices were subdued for the second successive month in April as renewed concerns over the European fiscal crisis dulled the outlook for exports from some of the leading emerging economies. The moderate correction in energy and other commodity prices also dampened the optimism over economic growth in some of the leading resource exporting countries. Among the major emerging markets, Brazil declined the most followed by India and Taiwan. Most emerging markets in Europe also underperformed during the month.
2012-05-10 Global Overview: April 2012 The European crisis continues to cloud global outlook by Team of Thomas White International
Global equity prices corrected marginally for the second successive month, while energy and other commodity prices have also moderated in recent weeks. However, led by the U.S., China, and India, global factory output continued to expand in April. Consumer demand remains healthy in most major economies, except Europe, and data from Japan suggests that a healthy recovery is underway as expected. In its updated forecasts, the IMF has increased its global GDP growth expectations for the current year to 3.5 percent from 3.3 percent earlier.
2012-05-09 Pacific Basin Market Overview - April 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
In April, risk-averse sentiment prevailed throughout the global financial markets amid fresh concerns about the prospects for European sovereign debt. Recent economic indicators have presented mixed signals, with signs that the Western economies are at a standstill together with a recovery for Asian industrial countries. Our outlook for global economic growth remains reasonably optimistic, and financial markets in the near future will be highly dependent on monetary policy. In the developed economies, we believe the authorities will probably take additional easing measures.
2012-05-09 It's All About the Fraud: Madoff, MF Global & Antonin Scalia by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
In this issue, we return to the Lehman Brothers, Madoff and MF Global bankruptcies to talk about how the largest banks have wired US bankruptcy laws to their own advantage. Specifically, the 2005 changes to the bankruptcy code, combined with the traditional American caution regarding pre-judgement restraint on the parties surrounding a bankruptcy, has provided American banks with a free pass to facilitate fraud with no accountability. But first, Ally Financial has received the blessing of the US Treasury to file a bankruptcy for the ResCap real estate unit. This is a profoundly bad idea.
2012-05-09 Economic Update by Team of Cambridge Advisors
More money has flowed out of stock funds and into bond funds consistently over the past three years even though stock returns have outpaced bond returns and forward looking bond fund returns are expected to be low and possibly negative. This movement reflects investor aversion to the inherent risk in stocks. Bond investments tend to provide some stability to a portfolio when stock prices decline.
2012-05-09 Africa: Investing in the Cradle of Civilization: Part 2 by Team of Franklin Templeton
Africa is well known for its wealth of natural resources. These riches have attracted global investors, most notably from emerging market countries such as China, India and Brazil. Many of these investors have been seeking raw materials for their own economic development and markets for their industries. In return, many African countries have been receiving vitally needed infrastructure such as transport links, power stations, schools and hospitals, which brings into play another great African resource: a huge and youthful population.
2012-05-08 Baidu Inc: High Priced or Valued to Buy? by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Baidu Inc is most commonly referred to as the Chinese version of Google. On the one hand, the stock is cheap relative to expected growth. While on the other hand, its current valuation is more than twice the average company. Therefore, we believe that although the company appears attractively valued based on earnings growth, it should be recognized that it is only appropriate for the aggressive investor seeking maximum capital appreciation. Furthermore, there are additional risks that the discerning investor should consider before investing in Baidu Inc.
2012-05-08 Use Snail Mail to Place Your FedEx Order by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
After suffering from shrinking earnings during the great recession, FedEx (FDX) appears on track to once again deliver the goods profitably. However, the market seems to have already recognized the current opportunity and pushed valuation to the outer limits of fair value. Therefore, FedEx may be an investment that requires patience. Aggressive investors could take a position here, but more conservative investors may want to wait for a more attractive entry point.
2012-05-07 Q1 2012 Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management
The overall equity markets strong first quarter rally was narrowly focused and, from our perspective, fragile. Cutting to the chase, we think both stocks and bonds are expensive. During the quarter, we used opportunities presented by Mr. Market to trim some of our lower quality positions and to add starter positions in a few high quality businesses. We also added to our short-term, high-yield fixed income holdings, sources of return that we expect to show less volatility but results equal to or better than the broad equity market indices.
2012-05-04 Southern Co: A Solid Dividend Choice Worth Waiting For by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
We believe that Southern Company represents an extremely high-quality option for the investors seeking a high level of current income with an opportunity to grow moderately. However, we believe the current valuation is a little extended. Although Southern Co's current stock price is currently within our corridor of value, it is at the high end. Therefore, we would be more comfortable in recommending Southern Company if the PE ratio were a couple of points lower. On the other hand, Southern Company is an extremely high-quality and stable utility that may be worth waiting for.
2012-05-04 Five Healthy Dividend Growth Stocks to Cure What Ails Your Portfolio by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
These 5 above-average growing opportunities in the healthcare sector provide dividend growth investors potential alternatives to the traditional large-cap pharmaceuticals. This is a high quality group of healthcare companies that possess above-average growth potential plus an above-average dividend yield that is expected to grow at above-average future rates. Consequently, we believe these candidates offer the total package. Each of these nontraditional healthcare opportunities are attractively valued, provide an attractive dividend, and the opportunity for above-average total return.
2012-05-04 Trading Volumes in Perspective by Team of Neuberger Berman
NYSE Euronext recently reported a 44% decline in quarterly earnings, due largely to a 23% drop in the exchange operators trading volumes from a year earlier. The development confirmed something already known to many in the investment communitythat equity trading volumes have been depressed, which is traditionally a technical indicator of bearish sentiment. Curiously, this light volume has come in the midst of a 29% advance by S&P 500 since its October 4, 2011 market low. In this edition of Strategic Spotlight, we discuss the reasons for the meager volume and what it could mean for investors.
2012-05-03 A Troika of Problems by Team of BondWave Advisors
The troika of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Union (EU), and European Central Bank (ECB) has continued to prescribe austerity. But at the end of what is now a lengthy cycle of agreements and ever-increasing austerity measures, the debt still remains significant and much of the region has either been plunged into recession or is heading that way. We discuss these ongoing problems and provide additional insight on the US Treasury, Corporate and Municipal Bond Markets.
2012-05-02 A New Wave of Foreclosures Could Challenge the Housing Market by Team of American Century Investments
The most recent data on the U.S. housing market suggests we may have reached a bottom. However, most experts anticipate the housing market will be hit by a large new wave of foreclosures that will substantially affect the current supply-demand balance for the remainder of this year and possibly into 2013. As a result, we may be looking at one more phase of price declinesparticularly in local markets where the housing bubble grew largest before it burstbefore we truly find the bottom to our five year housing crisis.
2012-04-30 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
What part of leadership are our elected officials in Washington not getting? Last month the Supreme Court heard the case regarding the Affordable Care Act and a ruling is likely to happen sometime in late June. Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules, healthcare reform is a topic which is here to stay. First of all it is estimated that by 2020 healthcare will account for one in every nine jobs in the U.S., adding 4.2 million jobs during this decade. As the Baby Boomers move into retirement there will be a need for an ever-increasing number of physicians, nurses, home health aides, etc.
2012-04-30 Japans Quest to Replace Nuclear Energy with Natural Gas by Team of Thomas White International
During last summer when Japan was facing a severe decline in electricity generation, consumers readily answered to the governments call to reduce consumption. However, Japanese policymakers have quickly and correctly realized that such noble responses from a strongly patriotic people are not the answer to the energy challenges facing the county. Now, the new long-term energy roadmap being drawn up in Tokyo will go a long way to help Japan lighten the gloom that engulfed the country when those giant waves came ashore last year.
2012-04-27 High Yield and Bank Loan Outlook April 2012 Sector Report by Team of Guggenheim Partners
The leveraged credit market began the year strong with yields across the credit spectrum approaching historical lows. Investors should realize that it is no longer early in the credit market rally. We are coming into the seventh inning stretch and it is getting tougher to find opportunities. It is also important to watch for signs of overheating and to remain focused on fundamental credit work and security selection. As we look ahead, we continue to see room for further price appreciation as investor demand should remain robust, while new issue supply wanes from its record first quarter pace.
2012-04-26 Why Eurozone Woes are Creating Headwinds for Global Firms by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
Europe is in crisis -- and that has major implications for multinational firms with significant operations in the region. In fact, while much is written about the race by corporations to penetrate emerging markets like China and Brazil, the reality is that the investment by multinationals in Europe dwarfs the assets they have in those fast-growing economies. And the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, along with weak economic growth, is sparking changes in how these firms operate -- altering everything from manufacturing strategies to marketing to financial maneuvers.
2012-04-25 Developed Europe: Economic Review 1st Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
The first quarter of 2012 witnessed several comforting developments in Europe. Greece fulfilled the pre-condition for securing its second bailout by convincing its private creditors to accept a 53.5 percent write-off on its debt. The deal eased concerns about a disorderly default by Greece on its sovereign debt. Following up on the liquidity-infusing program it introduced late last year, the ECB carried out another round of its Long-Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO), this time handing out to about 800 banks a total of 529.5 billion in 3-year loans at a very low interest rate of 1 percent.
2012-04-25 Avoiding Equity Market Exposure by Team of American Century Investments
The year 2012 finds the search still on for income and capital appreciation with acceptably low volatility. Many investors remain leery of stocks and are also interested in opportunities that possess low correlation to equity markets. In addition, the low interest rate environment presents difficulties for those trying to achieve total return goals by relying on fixed income investments. Given these issues, some may wish to learn more about the techniques utilized by many equity market-neutral (EMN) strategies.
2012-04-24 Following the (Dividend) Yield Signs by Team of Franklin Templeton
Flush with cash on their balance sheets, many U.S. companies have increasingly been rewarding shareholders in the form of dividends over the past year. Thats good news to the many investors who have sought out dividend-paying stocks for potential relief in todays yield-scarce environment. Alan Muschott, is a vocal fan of not just dividends, but growing dividends. In a recent interview he shared his views on the dividend, including technophile-favorite Apples announcement that it plans to declare a dividend for the first time in more than two decades. Read on to see what he had to say.
2012-04-23 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review 1st Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging Asia Pacific economies, which reported dismal economic numbers during the fourth quarter of 2011, recovered some lost ground during the first quarter of 2012. Export-led growth in many Asian countries, which had come under pressure during the last months of 2011, witnessed slight improvements in 2012 thanks to receding fears about a sovereign debt crisis in the EU and a stronger-than-expected recovery in the U.S. China, the regions largest economy, however, signaled that it will accept a slightly lower growth rate of around 7.5 percent over the coming years.
2012-04-23 Middle East/Africa First Quarter 2012 Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International
While the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region continues to weigh the impact of the tumultuous Arab Spring uprisings, the area is facing against another challenge yet again. In addition to the existing domestic instability, a strained external environment (the Euro debt crisis) is proving to be a major threat to the regions trade, tourism, remittances and other exports receipts. According to the World Banks Global Economic Prospects report, the economic recovery seen in Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia in late 2011 is likely to stall in 2012.
2012-04-23 Americas: Economic Review First Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Optimism over economic prospects increased across the Americas regions during the first quarter of the year, as economic data showed sustained improvement and global risks eased somewhat. Despite costlier fuel, consumer spending climbed in most countries across the region, especially in the U.S. The European fiscal crisis now appears less worrisome when compared to last year, while the slowdown in Asia has turned out to be milder than expected earlier. Commodity prices have recovered after the correction during the second half of last year, on an improved outlook in global demand.
2012-04-20 Monthly Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory
Stocks and other risk assets surged in the first quarter, continuing the strong run that began in the fourth quarter of last year. In each of the past two quarters, domestic stocks gained about 12%, marking one the strongest runs over the October-March span going back to the 1920s. Developed foreign stocks increased nearly 12% in the quarter, emerging-markets stocks gained 14, small-cap U.S. stocks were up 12%, high-yield bonds rose 5%, and emerging-markets local-currency bonds added 8%.
2012-04-20 Whats Ahead for the Fed? by Team of Neuberger Berman
Although growth could slow from here, we do not believe economic conditions will deteriorate enough to provoke further accommodative measures from the Fed. The Fed may be on hold for the time being, but we also believe that Bernanke is acutely aware of the potential consequences of reversing monetary policy too quickly. As a result, interest rates may stay lower for longer. In this type of yield-constrained environment, we continue to favor segments like high yield fixed income and emerging market debt, which both offer attractive sources of income and upside potential.
2012-04-20 Equity Investment Outlook April 2012 by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
We think stocks are reasonably priced on an absolute basis and extremely attractive relative to bonds. Bonds have performed well over the past three decades, but with interest rates at record lows, there is not much room for bonds to continue outpacing stocks on a total return basis. Meanwhile, companies are steadily increasing dividends. Even Apple recently instituted a dividend. For some time, investors have been lowering their exposure to U.S. equities. We believe this trend should reverse, especially once interest rates start to rise and bond market returns turn negative.
2012-04-20 Fixed Income Investment Outlook April 2012 by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
The Feds easy money policy will likely not reverse in the near term, but may do so before 2014, if economic growth strengthens meaningfully; some inflation is also acceptable to the alternative deflation. We are seeing some economic strength in the U.S., which is translating into higher equity prices (and hopefully higher capital gains). We are still generally avoiding exposure to interest rate risk found in Treasuries and investment grade bonds. We believe the easy money has been made there and we are not currently being compensated for the risk of rising interest rates.
2012-04-20 Preferred Securities First Quarter 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
Preferred securities continue to offer a compelling total return proposition. Treasury yields are at or near historic lows, and the Federal Reserve appears committed to holding interest rates steady for the foreseeable future. At the same time, with preferred yields near 7%, the yield spread between preferred securities and Treasuries remains far wider than its long-term average, and few other investments offer as much income.
2012-04-20 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities Investment Review & Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
A general moderation in inflation pressures is giving emerging market authorities more liberty to pursue policy stimulus, auguring well for domestic growth. We believe this will create opportunities for residential developers in various markets and we have increased our allocation to these companies.
2012-04-20 Global Listed Infrastructure Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers
Infrastructure securities predictable income, modest volatility and long-term growth potential have always attracted income-focused, risk-averse investors. If market volatility increases in the second half of the year, we expect these qualities will exert an even greater pull.
2012-04-20 U.S. Real Estate Securities Review and Outlook, First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
We have a very favorable view of specific office markets, including life sciences, technology and media, as well as New York offices broadly. We also continue to like prime retail and self storage owners, which are seeing very strong fundamentals. In contrast, we remain cautious toward health care properties and secondary retail. We have also reduced our allocation to apartment REITs on the margin following their strong run in 2011.
2012-04-20 European Real Estate Securities Investment Reivew & Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Europes attempt to rein in its fiscal imbalances has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the continent, marked by more severe contraction in the southern region. The recent LTRO facilities have prevented a severe credit crunch and collapse of the EU banking system. However, we take the view that this three-year program merely buys time to sort out the overleveraged balance sheets of most EU banks; it does not solve the long-term solvency crisis facing Greece and possibly Portugal.
2012-04-20 International Real Estate Securities Investment Review & Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Europes attempt to rein in its fiscal imbalances has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the continent, marked by more severe contraction in the southern region. The recent LTRO facilities have prevented a severe credit crunch and collapse of the EU banking system. However, we take the view that this three-year program merely buys time to sort out the overleveraged balance sheets of most EU banks. It does not solve the long-term solvency crisis facing Greece and possibly Portugal.
2012-04-20 Closed End Funds First Quarter 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
. With borrowing rates likely to remain low for an extended period, we believe the yield advantage of leveraged closed-end funds will continue to draw investor interest. As a result, we see potential for the broad closed-end fund market to trade at even narrower discounts or even premiums to NAV. In addition, the recent success of new issues should allow the closed-end fund IPO window to remain open in 2012. At the present pace, we do not believe new supply will pressure pricing in the secondary market or impede discount narrowing.
2012-04-20 Global Real Estate Securities Investment Review and Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
We are encouraged by the recent trend of U.S. economic data showing measured improvement, although our expectation for GDP growth in 2012 remains modest at around 2%. With funding costs likely to remain low and demand showing signs of strengthening, we believe U.S. real estate fundamentals will continue to gradually improve in 2012, driven by growing demand from tenants and the scarcity of new supply in most markets. We believe these fundamentals will help support growth in asset values and dividend distributions for the U.S. public real estate sector.
2012-04-20 U.S. Large Cap Value Investment Commentary as of March 31, 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Valuations are still attractive, in our view, if somewhat less so than at the beginning of the year, and volatility has subsided. We expect to see an increase in dividend payers; Apple has opened the door for other technology companies, a sector that has had a relatively low proportion of dividend-paying companies. We are also seeing solid dividend increases among industrials companies.
2012-04-19 Current Conditions Cater to Our Rigorous Muni Investment Process by Team of American Century Investments
The last four years have been a remarkable period in municipal bond (muni) market history. The 2008 Financial Crisis and the Great Recession transformed the high-grade U.S. muni market and how people invest in it. What was once a relatively homogenous bond sector in terms of its credit quality and ratings became much more heterogeneous. Under these conditions, we believe experienced professional credit research and portfolio management are now crucial to investment success. This article outlines our muni investment processes.
2012-04-19 New Breed of Managed Futures Funds May Offer Downside Protection...and Upside Opportunity by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
The search is on for strategies and portfolio managers that can generate return streams uncorrelated to traditional equities and fixed income. Whether it's due to the low return and high volatility equity markets of 2011 or the historically low government bond yields that persist even today, investors are scratching their heads wondering where to turn. A variety of alternative investment styles are available, many of which take an absolute return approach and aim to generate low market correlation, or at least, relatively low correlation to the broad equity markets.
2012-04-18 Balancing Perception, Reality, Equities and Fixed Income by Team of Franklin Templeton
Never underestimate the power of perception to influence peoples fiscal behavior. Perception is such a significant influence, in fact, that economic tea-leaf readers have developed a myriad of surveys and indicators to monitor individuals perceptions of the investing environment because perceptions canand domove markets. When sentiment is negative, investors tend to shift out of assets they perceive as risky and into assets they perceive as safe. Ed Perks, portfolio manager of Franklin Balanced Fund and Franklin Income Fund, is well aware of the role perception plays in the markets.
2012-04-18 Monthly Product Commentary: Emerging Markets Equity March 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
After gaining during the first two months of the year, emerging market equity prices saw a moderate correction in March and underperformed the developed markets. There are renewed concerns that domestic consumption growth in some of the larger emerging economies could be lower than currently expected, and could restrict aggregate economic growth in the coming quarters. Signs of the European fiscal crisis worsening again have also dampened investor sentiment as further economic weakness in the Euro-zone would cloud the export prospects of several emerging economies, especially China.
2012-04-18 Monthly Product Commentary: International Equity March 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
After the robust gains during the first two months of the year, international equity markets corrected marginally during March as the markets waited for further economic data and trends from first quarter earnings announcements. Emerging markets underperformed on renewed concerns that domestic consumption growth in some of the larger emerging economies could be lower than current expectations. The lack of investor interest for a new issue of Spanish bonds drew renewed attention to the European fiscal crisis.
2012-04-18 Global Overview: March 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Select indicators showing a possible worsening of the European fiscal crisis and slower domestic demand growth in some of the emerging economies have dulled the global economic optimism in recent weeks. After Spain faced difficulties in finding enough buyers for a new issue of bonds, several distressed European countries have seen their bond yields rise. Inflation and retail sales data from China for the month of February suggested weaker than expected consumer demand, and slower growth in March imports strengthened these concerns.
2012-04-17 Emerging Europe: First Quarter 2012 Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International
In an interim review published in February, the European Commission reduced its growth outlook for most of the non-euro member states in the European Unions eastern periphery. The commission said while Hungarys economy is expected to contract, the Czech economy is likely to stagnate during the year. However, the agency singled out Poland for special praise. The EC said the Polish economy will continue to expand during the year. The commission said investment spending will be the driver of growth in Poland, while a weak zloty will encourage exports.
2012-04-13 Pacific Basin Market Overview - March 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Our outlook for global economic growth remains reasonably optimistic. The U.S. in particular has exhibited some surprisingly buoyant conditions driven by improvements in the job market and stronger consumption. Europe for now appears to have disproved the more pessimistic forecasts, whilst Japan will benefit from reconstruction activity. Our sector allocation strategy remains biased towards growth. We hold overweight positions in the Industrials, Consumer Cyclical, and to a lesser extent, Technology, while we remain underweight in the Telecommunications and Utilities sectors.
2012-04-13 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review 1st Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Developed Asia Pacific economies showed more promise in the first three months of 2012 compared to the gloomy scenario witnessed during the last quarter of 2011. A marked upturn in the U.S. economy along with receding fears about the debt crisis in Europe gave a fillip to export-based economies in Asia such as Japan and Singapore. Whats more, inflation in most of the developed Asia Pacific economies became less of a concern during the first two months of 2012, with Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand all reporting subdued inflation.
2012-04-12 Diversification 201: Implications of Diversification for Investor Behavior by Team of American Century Investments
Here we look at diversification as a tool to address many classic failings identified by the science of behavioral finance. Earlier we explained the rationale behind diversification and how it can be used for structuring a portfolio to help manage risk and maximize risk-adjusted performance. We also provided an Intro to Alternatives meant to highlight the types of strategies that can be used to diversify a traditional portfolio. In future months well address such topics as diversification in a post-Financial Crisis world, and what types of diversification strategies make the most sense.
2012-04-12 Global Investment Outlook - March 2012 by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management
Global economic growth sustains its momentum for now. Fiscal policy remains a global focus. Further monetary policy accommodation should support markets. Recent positive momentum within the U.S. economy is driving the global economic recovery, overwhelming the negative sentiment emanating from peripheral Europe. Real incomes, boosted by employment growth and easing inflation, are showing signs of turning positive in the U.S., feeding through to the broader economy.
2012-04-11 Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc.: A Financial Institution Investors Can Bank On by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
We believe Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc. represents an excellent opportunity for investors seeking a well-managed financial with an above-average dividend yield and excellent track record based on conservative and prudent business practices. The fact that this financial has strung together 18 years of dividend increases through the financial services industrys most difficult times is a testament to the quality and management of this banking institution. Therefore, investors seeking an attractive and growing dividend yield might want to consider a position in Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc.
2012-04-11 Carlisle Companies Inc.: Accelerated Earnings Potential and a Growing Dividend by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Carlisle Companies Inc. appears to be poised for accelerated earnings and dividend growth. Even though this company offers a below-market current yield, it is a Dividend Champion with 25 years of raising their dividend. On the other hand, the accelerated expected earnings growth should lead to a rapidly increasing future growth yield that could reward shareholders that are more concerned with future income than current. Investors seeking above-average capital appreciation, coupled with a dividend that could grow at above market rates might want to look deeper into Carlisle Companies Inc.
2012-04-11 Municipal Bonds: What a Difference a Year Makes by Team of Franklin Templeton
Nows an exciting time for investors to consider this asset class, which is on firmer footing today. In brief: We believe the fear and dire predictions about municipal bonds last year were largely unfounded and misguided. We think the municipal bond market is now trading on strong fundamentals. Fiscal constraints remain in the marketplace; we need to be disciplined and responsible in our investing. In our opinion, its nonsensical to compare the U.S. municipal marketplace to sovereign-debt countries. We are staying more defensive; we think its the most prudent course of action.
2012-04-11 We're Number One by Team of Dana Investment Advisors
The US has overtaken Japan as number one when it comes to the corporate tax rate. On April 1 Japan cut its corporate tax rate to 36.8% from 39.5%. The US has an average combined federal and state tax rate of 39.2%. In three years Japans corporate tax rate will drop further to 34.5%. Other Asian countries have even lower rates. Granted, corporations can reduce taxes through deductions and creative accounting. Nevertheless, high marginal tax rates hamper our ability to compete in the global market place.
2012-04-09 An Update on U.S. Manufacturing by Team of Neuberger Berman
On April 2, the Institute for Supply Management reported that the ISM Manufacturing Index had increased to 53.4 in March from 52.4 in February, slightly ahead of consensus forecasts. Although this often-watched indicator has flirted with contraction territory (below 50) at different points throughout the economic recovery, it has now expanded for 32 consecutive months since August 2009 and continues to point to strengthening economic growth. Here, we discuss our expectations for the manufacturing sector and its potential impact on financial markets.
2012-04-04 What Shall We Do with All Our New Natural Gas? by Team of American Century Investments
Youre probably aware of the revolution taking place in natural gas technology and supply. Horizontal drilling along with hydraulic fracturing has created the ability to capture huge quantities of natural gas trapped within large shale formations across the U.S. And so the United States is faced with an energy policy challenge and question not related to dealing with scarcity but instead what to do with this sudden windfall of new domestic energy. How we address this question will have important economic consequences for our various industries, employment and our economy overall.
2012-04-04 Drilling Into Fuel Prices by Team of Franklin Templeton
Gasoline, deodorant, dishwashing, liquid, eye glasses, crayons.What does this list of seemingly random items have in common? They are all made from refined crude oil.1 So even if you dont feel pain at the gas pump, you probably rely on more products made with or from crude oil than youd think. And of course even non-oil based products are generally shipped via fuel-consuming transport vehicles, so youre bound to feel the pinch in the form of fuel surcharges or price hikes sooner or later.
2012-04-03 Christine Lagarde: Emerging Market Nations Will Get More Power in the IMF by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, sees no alternative to the strict austerity policies being imposed on many peripheral European countries, says the double dip recessions in Italy and Ireland just announced come as no surprise, and notes that IMF reforms will shift 6% of current quotas to dynamic emerging and developing countries. Lagarde's comments came in an exclusive interview with Knowledge@Wharton and media partner ParisTech Review late last week, as BRIC countries demanded more voting power in return for the larger financial contributions being requested by the IMF.
2012-03-30 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
It seems all investors have dividends on their brains these days. Apparently this is also true of corporate boards. Even Apple, which during the second Steve Jobs era did not pay a dividend, decided to use some of its $97 billion of cash for a stock buy-back and for a dividend. Based on a $600 share price, the yield would be approximately 1.8% when it begins paying its $2.65 quarterly per share dividend. The first payment will begin July 1st. The dividend amounts to about $9 billion per year, which is the second largest dividend payment, behind AT&Ts $14 billion.
2012-03-29 China's Gravity-defying Economy: How Hard Will It Fall? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
As China's high-octane economy shifts into lower gear, virtually everyone agrees that the double-digit, super-charged boom years are drawing to a close. Speculation over the possibility of a so-called "hard landing" for the country flourishes with each boom and bust cycle, only to die down as China's growth revs up again. This time, however, both external and internal factors -- including global conditions, domestic politics and financial trends -- are reinforcing the downturn. Many experts warn that without some painful reforms, there will be worse trouble to come.
2012-03-29 Asset Allocation Committee Outlook by Team of Neuberger Berman
The resurgence of risk appetite witnessed in late 2011 has continued, with most major equity indices up in double digits for the year-to-date. In contrast, fixed income indices have posted very modest and, in some cases, negative returns in the first quarter. Much has been accomplished in the U.S. and globally that has contributed to the now six-month-old equity rally. However, concerns remain. Given this picture, the Asset Allocation Committee's core view remains steadyunderweight bonds, overweight equities.
2012-03-29 Intrade.com Odds for the Affordable Care Act's Individual Mandate by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The Supreme Court debate on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act ended today. The debate over the past three days has caused plenty of drama in DC, as everyone tries to decipher what the nine Justices will ultimately decide. At least over at the prediction market website, Intrade.com, the odds are showing that the individual mandate may be in trouble. As shown below, the odds on the Intrade contract for the individual mandate to be ruled unconstitutional (by the end of 2012) spiked from 35% before the debate started up to 65% as of this afternoon.
2012-03-28 Challenges and Change in Brazil by Team of Franklin Templeton
Brazils economy is grappling with some interesting challenges right now, such as shifts in monetary policy to cope with a possible economic slowdown and preparing to host two major events on the international stagethe 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil and the Olympics in 2016. Marco Freire, Franklin Templetons CIO, Brazil Fixed Income for the Local Asset Management team based in Sao Paulo, isnt sharing any locals-only secrets about either event, but hes happy to share his insights on how Brazil is approaching these challenges, and to clear up some common misconceptions about Brazils markets.
2012-03-28 The End of the 30-year Bond Bull Market? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
Is the great 30-year bull market in bonds coming to an end? Yes, perhaps -- or maybe not: It depends on whom you ask and how flexible your timing is. While many people think of bonds as conservative holdings, they have produced stellar returns for decades, thanks to the taming of inflation and other factors. But some experts say economic recovery could now reverse the process by driving interest rates higher, causing bond prices to fall.
2012-03-27 Uncovering Equity Yield Traps by Team of American Century Investments
As the low interest rate environment persists, uncertainties continue even as new marketplace concerns begin to emerge. This observation is especially applicable to investors that are desperate for current income opportunities. In their search for equity investments, many will opt to screen for opportunities using current yield as the main filtering criterion. In situations such as this, those in hot pursuit of rich rates find themselves at risk of falling prey to nasty yield traps. Although yield traps exist in the fixed-income space, this piece focuses on yield traps involving equities.
2012-03-26 Monthly Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory
We recently spoke with portfolio managers from two fund management teamsChris Davis and Ken Feinberg of Clipper and Selected American Shares, and Pat English of FMIwho have historically exhibited different views toward banks and financial services firms. In addition to providing insight on current risks and opportunities in the financial sector, the interview touches on a number of topical subjects including the Federal Reserve, the European debt situation, and the housing market.
2012-03-23 Preferred Securities - February 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
We are encouraged by the trajectory of U.S. economic data and credit trends, as well as positive developments in Europe that have somewhat brightened the outlook for risk assets. However, we are closely monitoring various macro risks that could weigh on the global economic recovery, including a recession in Europe, high oil prices and slowing growth in China. Our portfolio remains more heavily weighted towards domestic issuers and is somewhat conservative relative to credit. That said, we continue to add to certain European issues and other higher-beta securities.
2012-03-23 International Real Estate Securities- Investment Review & Outlook - February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
International real estate securities added to their year-to-date gains in February, although the pace of the rally moderated. Most markets in Europe and Asia Pacific continued to benefit from the retreat of macro risk concerns. Europes difficult grapple with its fiscal crises has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the region. Given this environment, we seek to invest in companies that are best able to shield themselves from the most adverse effects of slowing economies and a general deleveraging.
2012-03-23 Closed End Funds - February 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
The U.S. economic picture has brightened since the fall of 2011, and we expect the trend to continue. We are also encouraged by progress in Europe, as economic austerity measures will likely weigh meaningfully on the regions growth. In this period of extended easy monetary policy by the Fed, we believe the yield advantage of leveraged closed-end funds will continue to draw investor interest. The success of recent IPOs should bode well for closed-end fund issuance in 2012, although we do not believe new supply will pressure pricing in the secondary market or impede discount narrowing.
2012-03-23 U.S. Real Estate Securities - February 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
We are encouraged by the recent trend of U.S. economic data showing measured improvement, including solid employment gains, as well as positive developments in Europe that have somewhat brightened the outlook for risk assets globally. With funding costs likely to remain low and demand showing signs of strengthening, we believe U.S. real estate fundamentals will continue to gradually improve in 2012, supported by a scarcity of new supply in most markets.
2012-03-23 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities - Investment Review & Outlook February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
As emerging economies work through the late stages of a mid-cycle slowdown, policy markets are attempting to engineer soft landings as inflation pressures continue to moderate. Given the potential for better domestic growth in such an environment, we expect to take advantage of buying opportunities among residential developers. Our favored markets include Brazil, based on its natural resources, growing consumption trends and shareholder-friendly business environment. We particularly like the retail market, which continues to exhibit strong fundamentals.
2012-03-23 Europe Investment Review & Outlook February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Europes difficult grapple with its fiscal crises has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the region. The recent LTRO facilities have prevented a severe credit crunch and collapse of the EU banking system. However, we take the view that this three-year program merely buys time to sort out the overleveraged balance sheets of most EU banks; it does not solve the long-term solvency crisis facing Greece and possibly Portugal.
2012-03-23 Global Real Estate Securities Investment Review and Outlook February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Global real estate securities added to their year-to-date gains in February, although the pace of the rally moderated. Most markets in Europe and Asia Pacific continued to benefit from the retreat of macro risk concerns. U.S. REITs, which advanced in 2011 while other regions struggled, had a modest decline.
2012-03-23 Diversification at the Core by Team of Franklin Templeton
The late Sir John Templeton was certainly a champion of diversifying ones basket of investments. And so is Tucker Scott, portfolio manager for Templeton Global Equity Group and manager of Templeton Foreign Fund. Diversification is at the core of his investment strategy. A summary of his recent remarks: We try to find stocks that we believe are undervalued, then build a portfolio thats well-diversified by industry and by country. We try to limit position sizes in an attempt to help limit potential stock-specific risk.
2012-03-23 Global Listed Infrastructure - February 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
We have a positive near-term outlook for infrastructure securities based on improving U.S. economic data and stabilizing credit conditions in Europe. But our optimism remains tempered by rising sovereign debt levels in Europe and the United States and a likely protracted period of economic hardship in the European periphery. Emerging markets are likely to be somewhat stronger, in our view, driven by better structural demand and monetary easing. For this reason, we have increased our investments in Brazil, China and Mexico.
2012-03-23 Large Cap Value Strategy February 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
Our near-term outlook for the U.S. economy and markets is increasingly favorable, as several of our long-term concerns appear to be easing. Economic indicators are strengthening, the danger of a eurozone collapse has receded and earnings reports for 2011 have been good. Valuations remain attractive, if somewhat less so than a few months ago, and investors are poised to put their considerable cash balances back to work. Cyclical names and sectors are most likely to lead the rally over the next few months.
2012-03-22 Special Report Oil - "Nothing to Spare?" by Team of Erste Group Research
We see the risks for the oil price heavily skewed to the upside. At the moment, the market is well supplied, but the smouldering crisis in the Persian Gulf could easily push oil prices to new all-time-highs should it escalate. We believe that new all-time-highs can be reached in H1, at which point we could see demand destruction setting in. We forecast an average oil price (Brent) of USD 123 per barrel between now and March 2013.
2012-03-22 Brazil Retail Sector Riding the Wave of Middle Class Growth by Team of Thomas White International
Even in the late 1990s, Brazil was just like any other emerging economy, characterized by extremes of wealth and abject poverty with no social class dividing the bridge between. A decade and more down the line, the effervescence in the middle cannot be missed. Yes, the great Brazilian middle class defined as those who earn between $690 and $2,970 a month has arrived and is here to stay. If Brazil has made a name in the global retail sector, it had better thank these late comers, empowered with good purchasing power and access to credit.
2012-03-22 Explaining the Stir over Recent Fed-Speak by Team of American Century Investments
The official statement from the Federal Reserves March 13 interest rate policy committee meeting was relatively ho-hum (no significant changes from Januarys statement), but other recent Fed communications have raised more of a stir. In particular, we explain what fiscal cliff and sterilized QE mean, and help put them into context. Its all part of a mixed, uncertain economic outlook in which slower mid-year growth, like last year, cant be ruled out, but higher inflation by next year is also a possibility.
2012-03-20 International Equity Product Commentary February 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
The optimism in international equity markets remained unabated in February, as macroeconomic trends continued to allay concerns over a significant decline in global economic activity. At the same time, the worst fears about the risk of a disorderly default by any of the troubled European countries and their withdrawal from the common currency have also eased. Equity price gains during February were more even across regions and emerging markets outperformed the developed markets again, though by a smaller margin when compared to the previous month.
2012-03-19 The Search for Yield in a Low-Rate Environment by Team of Franklin Templeton
There are always opportunities to capture yieldif you are willing to shoulder the price of the associated risk. In their words: We look at the return profile for a company historically, and we project that out three to five years. A low-interest rate environment generally benefits heavy borrowers, whose cost of borrowing will be kept low. We believe investors tired of little return may move out on the risk spectrum in search of more potential return. Dividends can indicate a company cares about its shareholders. Dividends look like theyre here to stay.
2012-03-19 Emerging Markets Equity Product Commentary February 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
The renewed market optimism that surfaced towards the end of last year persisted in February as well, as emerging market equities again outperformed the developed markets. Though GDP growth forecasts for most emerging economies have been scaled lower for the current year and for 2013, it is widely expected that the risk of a further slowdown in economic activity is limited. Emerging markets in Europe and the Middle East continued to lead during the month, followed by Asia and Latin America. Egypt sustained its recovery during the month while Thailand, Russia, and Chile also outperformed.
2012-03-16 Far From Normal by Team of Dana Investment Advisors
Economists say that if we can sustain the current rate of job creation, we will need two more years to get the unemployment rate under 7%. Ben Bernanke at the Fed is still concerned that the job market is far from normal. As a result, you can expect the Fed to make no changes in their accommodative stance of near zero interest rates. Their goal is to control inflation while seeking lower unemployment.
2012-03-16 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
Lets take a few moments to talk about GDP, the economy in general, and investor psychology. the GDP figures for the fourth quarter were revised from 2.8% to 3%. This marks the tenth consecutive quarter of growth, and given everything we know at this point its likely that the first quarter of 2012 will also reflect growth. In other words, we will have 11 consecutive quarters of growth. Fortunately the concept of a double dip recession has faded. Make no mistakethere will be another recession at some time in the future, but it will clearly not be a double dip recession.
2012-03-15 Market Update: A Real Recovery, or a False Start? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
The Dow has hit its highest level in years, loan rates are at record lows and the U.S. economy appears to be gaining momentum. Even the housing market is starting to look inviting. But is this a real recovery -- or a false start like last year's? Wharton's Jeremy Siegel and Scott Richard think the economy is showing signs of a true rebound, and predict that stocks should do well in the next 12 months. But bonds, they warn, are in dangerous waters, and economic growth will be in jeopardy if oil prices keep rising and the European credit crisis worsens. (Video with transcript)
2012-03-14 Par for the Investing Course by Team of Franklin Templeton
Theres a certain Hollywood mystique around the quest for The Next Great Investment. The un-glamorous truth, of course, is that unearthing hidden opportunities actually takes equal parts elbow grease and know-how. Par Rostom, is that roll-up-the-sleeves kind of guy. Hes not looking to invest in companies just because they are household names with splashy advertising campaigns. The companies are the ones he feels are best in their particular niche, but that youve probably never heard of. Surprisingly, hes finding some of them in the eurozone, a place the crowd is largely avoiding today.
2012-03-14 Pacific Basin Market Overview - February 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
We still have a broadly positive view of the outlook for the Asia Pacific equity markets. The European Central Banks efforts to provide long-term liquidity support have alleviated the default risk among the peripheral Euro-zone countries. It also appears that the Federal Reserves easy money policy is beginning to have a positive impact on the U.S. economy. Given this optimism, we believe that equities in the region will continue to rally, particularly in the oversold cyclical sectors such as Industrials, Technology and Consumer Durables.
2012-03-13 Checking In With the Municipal Market by Team of Neuberger Berman
In 2011, many investors appeared concerned about the potential for widespread defaults in the U.S. municipal bond marketsomething that failed to materialize. Now, we check in with the municipal markets and find that the outlook is greatly improved; however, in the wake of recent robust performance, it may also be a good time to exert some caution.
2012-03-09 Economic Update - March 2012 by Team of Cambridge Advisors
We continue to deal with the added risk to the global economic system caused by the high degree of debt that exists throughout the developed world. A spirit of cooperation in Europe helped to put those concerns on the back burner in February. Solutions for Greece have been announced however, these are not permanent solutions and the problems go much further than Greece. We expect more turbulence from sovereign debt problems to reemerge in coming months.
2012-03-09 Earning Real Income With Real Estate by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
The oldest mantra about investing in real estate holds that the key to success is location, location, location. While there is always the chance that real estate investments will produce capital gains (or losses), we believe a better reason to consider real estate investments is for income, income, income. That's especially true in today's ultra low rate environment. While the words "real estate" conjure images of the woeful state of the residential real estate market, the commercial real estate market is in much better fundamental shape.
2012-03-08 Oil and Gasoline Prices Rise Again: How High and How Long? by Team of American Century Investments
One year ago, we wrote on the recent up-tick in crude oil and gasoline prices which was caused by turmoil and revolution in the Middle East. A year later, were experiencing a similar rise in crude and gasoline prices. Last week, the average national cost for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline was approximately $3.75 per gallon. One contributing factor has been the increase in tensions between Western countries (and Israel) with Iran over its continuing work to produce nuclear fuel which could be used in atomic weapons.
2012-03-08 Picking Stocks, Stock-by-Stock by Team of Franklin Templeton
Katrina Dudley, co-manager for Mutual European Fund, is a savvy stock shopper with both patience and resources. Here is a taste of her stock-picking approach as inspired by Mutual Series guiding principle: buy a dollars worth of assets at a discount. 1. Macro considerations are important, but they dont change our stock-by-stock selection process 2. Volatility is here to stay, but it can create opportunity 3. Were looking at the company-level impact of macro influences like eurozone austerity 4. Many European companies are readjusting their cost base, becoming more competitive.
2012-03-08 No Shortage of Oil Yet by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The price of oil has been on a tear this year, and the commodity recently surged past $100 per barrel on concerns that geo-political tensions in the Middle East will disrupt supplies. How the tensions will resolve themselves is anybody's guess, but one consolation as the tensions escalate is that oil supplies are way above average. The chart below compares the current weekly supplies of crude oil and compares them to the historical average going back to 1984 and over the last 10 years. Whether you look at the last 25 years or just the last ten, the current oil stockpiles are above average.
2012-03-05 Choosing the Right REIT Can Benefit Diversification by Team of American Century Investments
The quest for consistently high risk-adjusted return is an arduous, never-ending journey. This outline introduces the basics of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). That REITs can serve as a useful portfolio diversifier can easily be made apparent. The next issue becomes which type of REIT? The emphasis of this write-up is on identifying the different types of REITs. Outfitted with this information, investors can make better REIT choices, aiding portfolio diversification now and into the future.
2012-03-05 Dipping a Toe Back Into the Market by Team of Franklin Templeton
After the rollercoaster that was 2011, trying to explain why now seems like a good time to venture back in still sounds a little crazy. But for those who are looking for some perspective, youve come to the right place. Read on for why Ed Jamieson, president/CIO of Franklin Equity Group, Peter Langerman, president/CEO of Mutual Series, Gary Motyl, president/CIO of Templeton Global Equity Group, and Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, all think it might be time for investors to consider taking the plunge.
2012-03-01 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
When helping people with retirement and cash flow planning, we often have some detailed conversations concerning the costs of health care. Some retirees have a misconception that somehow, because of Medicare, things are free. Anyone who is a part of Medicare knows that is simply not the case. Not only do you pay premiums for Parts B and D, but there are some significant co-payments and deductibles attributable to Medicare, as well. Health care costs are estimated to be over $325,000 over the course of retirement for a 65 year old couple.
2012-02-27 Oil Prices vs Energy Stocks by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Earlier this week we highlighted the growing divergence between the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Dow Transports. While it is a negative divergence on a technical basis, given the breakout in the price of oil in recent days, it is understandable that the Transports would be underperforming. While Transports are big consumers of oil and see a negative impact from higher energy prices, energy producers who sell the energy should see a positive impact, and that is what we have been seeing...to a degree.
2012-02-27 South Africa: Resource Nationalism Gaining Political Currency by Team of Thomas White International
Increasing government control over natural resources is not a new trend. Governments in most emerging countries, including established democracies such as India and Brazil, directly or indirectly control most of their mineral resources. But in the case of South Africa, the consequences of such decisions can reverberate far and wide. The country has one of the worlds biggest reserves of natural resources, currently valued at $2.5 trillion.
2012-02-25 Is Decoupling for Real? by Team of Neuberger Berman
After an extended period of high correlations, U.S. and European stock markets have taken distinctive paths in recent months. In this report, we take a look at the link between underlying economic fundamentals and market results to consider whether these markets have truly decoupled or are simply going through a temporary separation.
2012-02-24 Global Real Estate Securities - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
We are encouraged by the recent trend of U.S. economic data showing measured improvement, including steady employment gains. With funding costs remaining low and demand showing signs of strengthening, we believe U.S. real estate fundamentals will continue to gradually improve in 2012. Importantly, new supply remains scarce in most sectors, due in large part to banks continued reluctance to finance speculative development projects.
2012-02-24 Global Listed Infrastructure - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
We have a positive near-term outlook for infrastructure securities based on improving U.S. economic data and stabilizing credit conditions in Europe. But there are still headwinds. The road to Europes recovery is unlikely to be smooth; and in the United States, state and local government debt may dampen growth. Emerging markets are likely to be somewhat stronger, in our view, driven by better structural demand. For this reason, we have increased our investments in Brazil, China and Mexico.
2012-02-24 International Real Estate Securities - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
International real estate securities rallied along with stocks broadly in January amid an easing of macro risk concerns. Positive developments in Europe significantly reduced the risk of a liquidity crisis, while data from China suggested the country was successfully navigating a soft landing to its economy. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy continued to show evidence of modest yet self-sustaining growth.
2012-02-24 Large Cap Value Strategy - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
January was a quiet but strong month for equities. Investors moved away from defensive sectors and into somewhat riskier names as sentiment about the global economic outlook improved. There was no bad news from Europe. Indeed, global markets expressed relief that Europes banks now have access to additional liquidity through the Long-Term Refinancing Operations program (LTRO) announced in December. The U.S. economy continued to show self-sustaining growth that, while modest, allayed fears of recession.
2012-02-24 Preferred Securities - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
Preferred securities had their best month in more than a year in January, driven largely by significant improvement in European credit markets. Investors also gained encouragement from positive U.S. economic data, as well as improving credit trends for U.S. banks despite their lackluster profitability. In Europe, yields on bank and sovereign debt declined sharply in the wake of the European Central Banks long-term refinancing operation. The program reduced systemic risk in the financial system by improving European banks liquidity, while also giving banks the capacity to buy sovereign debt.
2012-02-24 Greek Crisis: This Too Shall Pass by Team of Franklin Templeton
Jerry Palmieri, Vice President and Sr. Portfolio Manager for Franklin Equity Group, doesnt worry too much about whether the Greek drama dominating daily headlines will turn into global market tragedy. A veteran of Franklin Templeton since 1965, hes survived to tell the tale after more than four decades of market ups and downs. His wizened view summarized: Market ups and downs are to be expected. U.S. market, economy will survive the Greek debt crisis. Things will work out. Market timing not the ticket to long-term investing success.
2012-02-23 Muni Outlook Q&A with Portfolio Manager Alan Kruss by Team of American Century Investments
Municipal bonds (munis) are back in the bond market spotlight, but for different reasons than a year ago (when widespread defaults were projected, and muni funds experienced heavy outflows). Muni performance has rebounded strongly since then, which has triggered follow-up questions about the muni market outlook. We posed them to Alan Kruss, Vice President and Municipal Portfolio Manager at American Century Investments.
2012-02-22 Closed End Funds - January 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
The U.S. economic picture has brightened meaningfully since December, and we expect the trend to continue, albeit at a modest pace. We are also encouraged by progress in Europe, but continue to monitor developments closely, as the issues there are complex and will take considerable time to resolve, while economic austerity measures are likely to weigh on growth. In this period of extended easy monetary policy by the Federal Reserve, we believe the yield advantage of leveraged closed-end funds will continue to draw investor interest, as demonstrated by the IPO in January.
2012-02-22 Emerging Markets Real Estate Securities by Team of Cohen & Steers
We believe that recent developments within emerging real estate markets are consistent with our macro view. As emerging economies work through the late stages of a mid-cycle slowdown, policy markets are attempting to engineer soft landings as inflation pressures moderate. Given the potential for better domestic growth, we expect to take advantage of buying opportunities among residential developers (e.g., in Brazil), and have selectively been moving in that direction.
2012-02-22 European Real Estate Securities by Team of Cohen & Steers
Recent initiatives to address the sovereign credit crisis appear to be having a meaningfully positive effect on credit conditions across Europe. Importantly, the ECBs long-term repurchase program has given banks vital breathing room to recapitalize. While we are cautiously optimistic, we remain vigilant to the potential risks and have a keen eye on Greece, which is engaged in ongoing negotiations with international lenders.
2012-02-21 U.S. Real Estate Securities - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
We are encouraged by the recent trend of U.S. economic data including steady employment gains. With funding costs likely to remain low and demand showing signs of strengthening, U.S. real estate fundamentals will continue to gradually improve. New supply remains scarce in most sectors, due in large part to banks continued reluctance to finance speculative development projects.The positive trajectory, however, is not without potential dangers. Economic growth remains at risk to global macro concerns, and our global investment team continues to closely monitor developments in Europe and China.
2012-02-21 International Equity - January 201 by Team of Thomas White International
International equity prices recorded strong gains in January on increased optimism that the global economy is not headed for a significant downturn this year. Markets across all regions, led by Asia, recovered during the month. Emerging markets, which had seen price declines during the second half of last year, outperformed the developed markets. Economic indicators from most regions, except Europe, have been relatively healthy and suggest expansion. EU leaders have now agreed to set tighter fiscal rules for member countries, including limits on fiscal deficits and aggregate public debt.
2012-02-21 Emerging Markets Equity - January 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging market equities outperformed the developed markets by a wide margin in January, as investors became increasingly confident that weak data trends from the third quarter of last year were not an indication of a significant growth deceleration in the major emerging economies. The gains were well spread out as almost all regions participated in the uptrend. India, Egypt, and select markets in Europe that had seen the worst price declines during the second half of last year, recovered the most during January.
2012-02-16 Weekly Market Update: Introduction to Alternative Investments by Team of American Century Investments
Alternative investments (or alts as they are commonly known) have exploded in popularity in recent years. What began as specialty investment strategies utilized by only the most sophisticated institutional investorssuch as pension plans and university endowmentsare now readily available to retail investors through a number of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Here we try to explain alts appeal in broad terms, discussing how these strategies are used and what role alts may play in an individual investors portfolio.
2012-02-16 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
There was much to cheer about in the January jobs number, with unemployment dropping to 8.2% and 243,000 jobs being created; almost 90,000 more than was originally projected. On top of that, the government revised the November and December numbers, adding another 60,000 jobs to those two months, bringing the total number of people employed during 2011 to around 1.82 million. But, among all the good news that both sides of the political arena jumped all over, there remain some unpleasant facts.
2012-02-16 Hasenstab Sticks to His Guns by Team of Franklin Templeton
Michael Hasenstab, Portfolio Manager of the Templeton Global Bond Fund, doesnt scare so easily. As he reiterated recently, he actually sees times of market panic as opportunities to make investments where he sees long-term value. The key thoughts he shared: The challenge during periods of volatility is that, although investors can take a short-term hit, this volatility can create opportunity. Fears Europe will sink Asia appear overblown. China not likely to see a hard landing. The Eurozone drama continues to unfold.
2012-02-10 Pacific Basin Market Overview January 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The risk of a meltdown in the peripheral European economies now appears to have been alleviated due to aggressive monetary easing by the European Central Bank. We have also recently upgraded our GDP forecast for the U.S. Japan has started implementing the third supplementary budget for earthquake reconstruction. As such, the countrys growth rate will exceed those of other developed economies in the first half of 2012. A less hostile global environment will be positive for Asian stock markets as investors increasingly appreciate the regions superior fundamentals.
2012-02-10 Does Inequality Mean Slower Growth? by Team of Neuberger Berman
As the November election inches closer, taxes are as always a key element of the political debate. This time out, however, the issue of income inequality has become more prominent, altering the typically partisan argument over tax rates. Below, we take a closer look at the dynamics of income inequality, how it could affect the long-term outlook for U.S. economic growth and what that implies for tax policy.
2012-02-09 Our Budget Deficit and the Coming Elections by Team of American Century Investments
One week ago, the CBO released its latest federal budget and economic outlook for the U.S. In the associated report, they explain that their ten year baseline budget projection is not a forecast of future events. Instead, it is provided as a policy benchmark that reflects what will occur to the federal budget and deficits if the existing taxation and spending laws are kept intact without additional legislative actions. Of course, we are now within nine months of a major election where a key issue will be what changes are needed to address our present fiscal woes.
2012-02-09 Private Equity: Fact, Fiction and What Lies in Between by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
What good is private equity, anyway? Critics say these investment pools make money the wrong way -- buying "target companies," slashing jobs, piling on debt and selling the remnants, which by then are doomed to fail. Defenders say PE is a strong creator of jobs and value, and a vital source of outsized returns for pension funds, university endowments and other investment pools that serve ordinary people. Who's right?
2012-02-09 European Update: Volatility Will Remain High Amidst Rating Agency and Political Uncertainty by Team of Standish Mellon Asset Management Company
S&P downgraded nine of the 16 Euro area countries on credit watch negative. Germany is now the sole AAA country with a stable outlook. The primary drivers of the downgrades were reduced political and external scores. The near-term market impacts have been relatively muted, as the downgrades were not as bad as investors may have feared. However, the negative outlooks across the region and potential for further downgrades. Within the Euro area, further volatility is likely to be reflected in lower German yields relative to other Euro area bond markets.
2012-02-07 Financial Markets Review and Outlook Fourth Quarter 2011 by Team of Managers Investment Group
Volatility looks like it will persist within global capital marketsat least until there is more certainty about the future of European sovereign debt. Until that time, we continue to believe that markets will react with an elevated level of volatility, with gains and losses tied primarily to investors day-to-day perception of the ability of policymakers to manage this situation. Despite the persistent negative headlines, primarily surrounding the European sovereign debt crisis and the stubbornly high unemployment here in the U.S., there are signs of improvement as we head into the New Year.
2012-02-07 Global Overview: January 2012 by Team of Thomas White International
Concerns over a significant global downturn have faded further as economic data trends from the last days of 2011 and the early days of the current year remain healthy. Global manufacturing activity expanded again in January, helped by output growth in the U.S., China, Japan, India, and Australia. Manufacturing output also improved in the Euro-zone, helped by continued gains in Germany. U.S. labor market conditions advanced again in January, raising hopes for increased consumer demand that will also help export growth in other economies such as China.
2012-02-06 Obama Re-Election Odds Versus the Stock Market by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Obama's odds to win re-election onIntrade.comhave been steadily rising since hitting their lows in the mid-40s last September. Last week alone, the odds rose from 54% to 56.6%. We've overlaid the historical Intrade.com odds for Obama to win re-election on a chart of the S&P 500 going back to 2010. As shown, the lows in Obama's re-election odds came at the exact same time that the stock market made its low last year. Rest assured that the Obama team is watching the stock market just as closely as any poll out there as the 2012 election looms.
2012-02-03 The U.S. Economy Marches On To An Unsteady Beat by Team of BondWave Advisors
Despite the misgivings by the Fed about the recovery, and with much of Europe teetering on recession, domestic economic data continues to suggest moderate expansion in both output and employment. We discuss this situation along with the positive performance of the Treasury, Corporate and Municipal bond markets.
2012-02-02 The U.S. Economy: This is How Our Game is Played by Team of American Century Investments
In an election year, it is impossible to escape the bombardment of political rhetoric. Politicians typically have little compunction as they encroach into the arena of economics. As a result, people from all walks of life, including investors, are often left confused and wondering which of the various economic theories and norms remain relevant. The goal of this piece is to consider what recompense we receive from government intervention in the economy. Some bitter divisions exist regarding the style of play that should be adopted to guide our nation as the slow economic recovery continues.
2012-02-02 Knowledge is the Antidote to Fear by Team of Sloan Wealth Management
We feel investors should focus on the high probability that this could be a rewarding decade. The volatility of the market can often mask the improving fundamentals. Now two years into the decade, we are pleased that the SWM Moderate Risk Composite is up 14%. This election year will create endless entertainment, needed discussion on the future of our great nation and finally clarity for corporations and individuals. This clarity should allow corporations to loosen their purse strings and continue to fuel growth.
2012-02-02 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
If you dont think there is a huge disconnect between government spending and government revenues, perhaps some of the following facts will convince you. This information is important given discussions in Congress during the month of February regarding extending the payroll tax holiday to the end of the year, and how that will be paid for. For the fiscal year ending Sept 30, 2011 government spending equaled 24% of GDP, taxes collected were 15% of GDP. Combine the two and you can understand why the country is moving in the wrong direction.This cannot be sustained and it will require sacrifice.
2012-02-02 Royce Looks Back at 2011, a Year of Correlation, Capitulation, and Consternation by Team of The Royce Funds
Twenty-eleven saw disasters both natural and human. There were threats of European default, failures of political leadership, worries over recession, and the ever-present specter of staggering debt. All of these events contributed to one of the wildest years for stocks in recent memory. It seems likely that 2011 will be remembered not for the severity of its losses, which weren't nearly as bad as one might think, but for its daily drama of extreme volatility.
2012-01-31 Do Unresolved 2011 Economic Ailments Portend a Similar 2012? by Team of Managers Investment Group
Now updated through 4Q. This compendium provides an historical perspective of economic data compared to today's results, and provides comments on any developing trends. We also include a synopsis of financial markets results. The OTOTM Chart Book is designed with easy-to-read graphics to tell a story and help you visualize the changes taking place in today's economy.
2012-01-27 Adding to Our Pro-Muni Arguments by Team of American Century Investments
Last month, we outlined multiple reasons why investors and investment advisors should consider high-quality muni investments as core fixed income portfolio holdings. In support of owning funds vs. individual securities, we focused primarily on credit-quality issueshow we believe most of the muni market remains fundamentally sound and resilient, but pressured by the economic and fiscal environment. We think this has created a heterogeneous muni market with generally strong credit quality but dotted with potential credit risks and pitfalls in select areas that require professional vigilance.
2012-01-27 Europe Investment Commentary - Full Year 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Our global macro outlook has turned positive given the shift toward monetary easing as well as U.S. economic data steadily improving growth. However, Europes central role in fiscal crises has made for a difficult backdrop in the region. We have begun to envision a recession in Europe as a base-case scenario. Given this, we seek to invest in companies that are best able to shield themselves from the most adverse effects of a slowing economy. Broadly speaking, opportunities to invest in companies with good balance sheets that are trading at meaningful discounts to their property values.
2012-01-27 Global Infrastructure Investment Commentary - December 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
We are entering 2012 with a positive outlook for infrastructure securities based on better-than-expected U.S. economic data and credit conditions in Europe that show some signs of stabilizing. Even so, we recognize that it will take time for the global economy to achieve sustained growth. We will continue to monitor global monetary policies, having already seen the beginning of the next easing cycle. Despite the fact that the sector still carries meaningful political and regulatory risk, we believe infrastructure companies should perform well in 201
2012-01-27 Global Real Estate Securities Investment Commentary - Full Year 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Our macro outlook has turned more positive given the global shift toward monetary easing as well as U.S. economic data confirming steadily improving growth. However, we expect the fiscal crisis plaguing Europe to remain an overhang, as the region is likely heading into recession, making a long-term resolution increasingly difficult. Despite these challenges, we believe fundamentals for global real estate securities will continue to improve broadly, with the lack of new supply coupling with growing demand and effective expense reduction to generate meaningful cash flow growth.
2012-01-27 International Real Estate Investment Commentary - Full Year 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
We remain materially underweight Europe and Japan, and overweight Asia Pacific (ex-Japan). We have selective allocations to well-established companies in emerging markets whose business models are positioned to benefit from secular growth in consumer spending among emerging middle classes. We are overweight high-quality retail and offices in major city centers globally, where tenant demand has been more resilient and supply more constrained. Finally, we have allocations in property sectors and geographies where stronger cyclical recovery is emerging as a driver of outsized cash flow growth.
2012-01-27 Preferred Securities Investment Commentary - December 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
In terms of preferreds broad performance potential, we note that bond yields are at or near historic lows, and that the Federal Reserve is likely to hold interest rates steady until 2013. In such an environment, the income offered by preferreds (78% or more) will be hard to come by, likely resulting in good investor demand in the year ahead. At the same time, the high income these securities produce is also likely to continue to factor meaningfully into their total return and dampen returns volatility.
2012-01-27 LCV Web Commentary - December 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
We continue to believe that the crisis in Europe is far from over; that the improving U.S. economic data, while encouraging, signal something well short of a robust recovery; and consequently, that the first half of 2012 remains highly uncertain. For these reasons, we still expect (1) more intervention by politicians and central bankers, (2) continued historically low interest rates in the US, (3) modestly positive U.S. economic data, (4) high but slowing growth in China and emerging markets, (5) short-term measures to address Europes long-term debt crisis.. and others.
2012-01-26 Is There Value in U.S. Equities? by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
The importance of asset allocation and timing was again evident last year. After rallying earlier in the year, stocks took investors on a gut-wrenching ride over the summer before rallying again in the fall. And for all of the twists and turns, in the end the S&P 500 essentially ended the year where it began. But that's history. What do we expect looking ahead? As we examine today's investment landscape, we believe opportunities can be found in U.S. stocks, particularly large-cap stocks. There are several trends in place that support our view.
2012-01-25 Closed End Funds Investment Commentary December 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
The U.S. economic picture has brightened in recent weeks, a positive for equities and credit markets, and we expect slow sustained growth. However, Europe remains a risk. While recent fiscal, political and central bank initiatives to address the credit crisis in Europe are encouraging, the political landscape remains uncertain, and economic austerity measures will weigh on growth. With interest rates likely to remain near historical lows for an extended period, we believe that attractive spreads should continue to benefit the income-generating potential of leveraged closed-end funds.
2012-01-25 Emerging Markets Real Estate Investment Commentary Full Year 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Over the long term, we believe emerging market real estate securities are well positioned to benefit from secular trends such as expanding urban centers and the rise of the consumer class. In the near term, however, we expect volatility to continue as markets grapple with uncertainty about Europe and further deceleration in economic growth. In this challenging market environment, we continue to favor commercial landlords over developers.
2012-01-25 U.S. Real Estate Securities Investment Commentary - December 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
We expect GDP growth of between 1% and 2% in 2012, with modest but steady gains in employment. This should support continued gradual improvement in real estate fundamentals, given low new supply in most sectors. In this environment, we seek to identity markets with above-average employment (and income) trends. And in an election year that should present opportunities and risks, we will monitor how the results might affect employment in the financial and health care industries, and the Washington, D.C. market generally.
2012-01-24 Africa: Opportunities and Challenges in a Growing Economy by Team of The Royce Funds
As the South African economy continues to mature and other, even less developed, economies begin to thrive, we will keep our attention focused on company fundamentals, corporate governance, and what we think are attractively undervalued businesses with the potential to grow in the global economy. As the bulk of Africa's economies are frontier markets, still progressing toward the status of developing economies, the continent as a whole represents long-term opportunities that will require patience and diligence. Its resources and demographics are likely to make it well worth the wait.
2012-01-23 Obama and The Market: The First Three Years by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
While his critics argue that Obama is one of the most anti-business Presidents in US history, a look at the equity market's performance since Obama was inaugurated shows a different picture. The chart below shows the performance of the DJIA during the first three years of each US President since 1900. As of last Friday, the DJIA has now risen 60% under President Obama, making him one of only five Presidents to see the Dow gain 50% or more in their first three years in office! After last Friday's rally, Obama moved narrowly ahead of Clinton.
2012-01-19 Inflation: Wheres the Beef? by Team of American Century Investments
With inflation seemingly in check, we reevaluate the near- and longer-term inflation environment, and discuss implications for investor portfolios. It is easy to understand why this topic intrigues so many. Depending on your perspective, inflation can be said to be rising fairly rapidly from low levels seen just a few years ago; or it could be said to be quite restrained, given the calls in recent years for runaway inflation as a result of unprecedented U.S. monetary and fiscal policies and a number of pronounced global economic imbalances.
2012-01-19 Developed Europe: Economic Review Fourth Quarter 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Germany: Unemployment fell to historically low levels. Exports grew in November, while businesses and consumers remained optimistic. U.K.: The services and construction sectors stayed buoyant. GDP grew 0.6 percent in the third quarter of 2011 France: The unemployment rate rose suddenly in the July after being in a downtrend for several quarters. Italy: The new government introduced the countrys third austerity package in 2011. Spain: Tax hikes and spending cuts were announced by a new conservative government.
2012-01-18 Americas Economic Review: Fourth Quarter 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
As the year 2011 ended, the clouds of pessimism about the economy lightened across the Americas region, as key data trends suggested that earlier fears of a steep downturn were unfounded. Financial markets stabilized as investors turned more optimistic about the outlook for 2012. Concerns over external risks, particularly about the European fiscal crisis, also calmed down as hope was renewed that enduring political solutions will be found for the fiscal challenges facing the developed countries.
2012-01-17 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
The season for predictions is behind us and we thought it might be fun to come up with a few predictions that go out on a limb, both positively and negatively. Here are five semi-wild, but possible predictions for 2012. 1: Jobs, especially manufacturing jobs, return to America. 2: Switching from the economy to politics, the Republicans will hold a majority in the House, although they will lose some seats. 3: Turning to the world, the euro survives in spite of its being badmouthed over the past several months, and it strengthens late in the year. ...
2012-01-17 Global Overview by Team of Thomas White International
Fears of a recession in developed economies such as the U.S. have receded as recent data releases indicate that economic activity has not weakened as much as thought earlier. Though European economies are still expected to see a decline, there is now increased optimism that the monetary union and the common currency will survive the crisis. Large European countries such as Spain and France have been able to sell new bonds at relatively affordable costs and the European Central Bank has cut its benchmark rate again, besides extending additional liquidity support to the regions banks.
2012-01-13 Spin City by Team of Dana Investment Advisors
The December jobs report was recently released and politicians are falling all over themselves to spin interpretations. It pays to look at these numbers in an objective way. As Mark Twain once said, Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. So here goes. The private economy created 212,000 net new jobs in December and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.5%. Most industry sectors added jobs, even construction added 17,000 jobs. The government lost 12,000 jobs, but that is good news as it indicates that government is paring back to better control their budgets.
2012-01-12 Pacific Basin Market Overview December 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
For much of the fourth quarter of 2011, anxiety surrounding the ongoing European sovereign debt crisis has kept the Pacific Basin equity markets largely range bound, although most indices managed to trend higher from their October lows with the help of unexpectedly buoyant economic data from the U.S. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 0.66% and the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index gained 3.96%, resulting in declines of 17.31% and 17.98%, respectively, for the full year.
2012-01-12 A Look Back (2011) and Forward (2012) by Team of American Century Investments
The major US equity markets ended 2011 not far from where they began in terms of their index values. Now that the New Year has arrived, the question is where these markets might be headed in 2012. Three important considerations behind this question are: 1. How key macro-factorse.g. the EU debt crisisare or arent addressed 2. Can U.S. corporations continue to deliver the earnings growth they have for the past three years 3. What are the prospects for US consumers and householdsan increasingly important consideration as the global recovery slowed in the fourth quarter of last year.
2012-01-12 Global Investment Outlook by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management
Policy makers globally face the challenge of supporting growth while managing debt levels, and still remaining aware of inflation. The Eurozone crisis is a further complication, and has the potential to make matters more difficult. That being said, there is still growth in the world economy, though perhaps more disparate than in previous cycles. Given the inter-connected nature of countries in the globalized world, there are few areas truly insulated from turmoil. However, there are safer-havens where clearer policy frameworks and the ability to enact solutions more robustly are helpful.
2012-01-12 Emerging Europe: Fourth Quarter 2011 Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was established in 1992 to help the former communist states in their transition to market-based economies. The EBRDs mandate includes investments in Russia and its satellite states such as Poland and Hungary. The Czech Republic, which was the first country to complete the transition process successfully, has come out from under the EBRD umbrella. According to the banks latest forecasts, GDP growth in the central and eastern European region will be approximately 4.5 percent in 2011 and about 3.2 percent in 2012.
2012-01-11 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review 4th Quarter 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging Asia Pacifics economic expansion slowed considerably beginning in October 2011. In many economies, export growth along with investments grew at their slowest pace since the summer of 2009. Although the Purchasing Managers Index improved across key economies in November the index was still under the 50 mark, which generally means a contraction in manufacturing activity. Almost all the countries in emerging Asia Pacific posted slower third quarter expansion over the year-ago period.
2012-01-11 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International
Developed Asia Pacific economies faced economic headwinds for the greater part of the fourth quarter of 2011 beginning in October. Major export-oriented economies such as Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore witnessed slowing export growth as consumer confidence in key markets such as the U.S. and the EU remained weak. Although China boosted exports from Developed Asia Pacific economies, overall exports to emerging economies across the world came under pressure. Furthermore, the resilience of the labor market was also tested by the slowing export and domestic markets.
2012-01-11 Aberdeen Chile Fund, Inc. Fund Manager Interview by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management
Chile has developed a middle class quicker than many of its Latin American peers and consequently, more robust domestic consumption trends. Chile has formed close ties with China in recent years and in 2005 became the first country in Latin America to sign a Free Trade Agreement with the Asian nation. Chile has proven to be a model to the Latin American region in regards to good corporate governance and transparency. Though Chile will not be fully insulated from the global downturn, the countrys longterm fundamentals remain sound.
2012-01-10 Intrade Recession Odds Plummet by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The stock market has stabilized over the past few weeks here in the US. This has coincided with a belief that things might not be as bad as expected here in the US on the economic front. One way to highlight sentiment towards the US economy is through Intrade's contract for whether or not the US will go into a recession in 2012. As shown below, the odds have plummeted recently down to just 25.1%, which is the lowest level seen since mid-2011 before Europe really went haywire.
2012-01-09 2011 In A Nutshell by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
We ran our decile analysis on the S&P 500 to see which stock characteristics impacted performance the most in 2011. Based on our analysis, it was dividend yield that mattered the most. The three deciles of stocks with the highest dividend yields are the only ones that averaged gains in 2011.The stocks in the seven remaining deciles all averaged declines, with the three lowest yielding deciles seeing the biggest losses. If you had a conservative portfolio of high yielders, chances are you outperformed significantly. If you had an aggressive growth portfolio, chances are you underperformed.
2012-01-09 Investment Perspective Fourth Quarter 2011 by Team of Cambridge Advisors
The concerns over Europes debt problems continued and contributed to volatility in stock prices and bond prices. Although the markets have responded favorably to the partial solutions that have emerged, the issues are not entirely resolved. In this environment where the outlook can and does change quickly based on unfolding worldwide events, volatility is likely to persist. We continue to believe diversification across asset classes is the prudent strategy in this environment. Bonds provide stability, but stock exposure is needed for long-term growth.
2012-01-09 A Postcard from the Middle East & Africa by Team of Thomas White International
Retail therapy may or may not make the soul happy but it sure does make the feet sore. Young Middle Easterners though have warmed up to a retail format that promises to keep both soul and feet happy. E-commerce and online retail are getting bigger by the day across the Middle East for several reasons. For one, the region recorded the worlds fastest growth in internet usage between 2000 and 2009, and it is now home to more than 60 million internet users, which makes it a huge market for online transactions.
2012-01-09 Middle East/Africa Fourth Quarter 2011 Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International
Weakening global activity and further political uncertainty are the foremost risks that are likely to affect the Middle East and Africa (MEA) regions performance. The IMF report notes that oil exporting nations of the MEA region have benefited from continued high energy prices and are slated to finish off 2011 clocking in a GDP growth of 5% before easing to 4% in 2012. However, these countries do face a downside risk in the likelihood of fiscal and debt challenges in the developed nations that could adversely impact global activity and international oil prices.
2012-01-05 Finding Real Value in Real Estate Investing: REITs by Team of Managers Investment Group
REITs are not an asset class that investors typically consider for their portfolios. Yet REITs offer many benefits that make them attractive. In this paper, we explore what REITs are, the many advantages they bring, and why you should consider them for your portfolio.
2012-01-05 New Year, Old Worries by Team of BondWave Advisors
2011 was a volatile year where the old guard of the global economy was plagued by weak economies, bloated debt levels, tight credit, and action against normally stellar credit ratings. Europe dominated the headlines, both in December and 2011 overall, and continues to struggle. We discuss these issues and provide additional insight into the US Treasury, Corporate and Municipal Bond Markets.
2012-01-04 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
The year 2012 is upon us and looms large for a number of different reasons. Within the next few days, the first of the Presidential primaries will begin and by early November we will know who our next President is and who controls Congress, along with many State Houses. Some astrologists believe this is the Age of Aquarius and according to the Mayan calendar, December 21st will be the end of time, or as some prefer to think of it (ourselves included) the beginning of a new age. Maybe the astrologists and Mayans have something going.
2011-12-30 Beyond Beasts and Bossa Nova:The Brazilian Boom by Team of Guild Investment Management
What does all this mean for those who wish to invest in Brazil? It means that when it is time to buy Brazil and the time isnt here yet you will want to consider banks and credit card companies as a way to capture the wave of consumer cash since many consumers go abroad to buy personal and pricey consumer goods. To take advantage of rising internal Brazilian spending you will probably want to consider autos, housing, and big ticket durables that will not fit into the luggage of shoppers returning from spending trips abroad.
2011-12-23 U.S. Real Estate Securities - November 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Europe appears headed for recession, which would have at least some negative effect on the U.S. economy. However, that is a scenario we have incorporated into our models, and we continue to expect slow but steady domestic growth with gradually improving fundamentals for U.S. commercial real estate. Our estimates of net asset value are largely conservative. While transactional information has been relatively light, it has provided confirmation to our numbers. We believe acquisition activity could pick up as 2012 progresses, especially as REITs ability to raise capital remains in force.
2011-12-23 Emerging Markets Real Estate by Team of Cohen & Steers
Emerging markets real estate securities had a negative return in November following an exceptionally strong October. Worries about the global economy and Europe continued to weigh on equities broadly, while signs of slowing growth in China were of particular concern to developing countries. A sharp rally in the last few days offset some of the decline, as China cut its reserve requirement ratio for the first time in three years and central banks announced a coordinated effort to provide much-needed liquidity to European banks.
2011-12-23 European Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers
Our global macro view has turned more positive given the recent shift toward monetary easing in Asia Pacific and emerging markets, as well as U.S. economic data confirming slow but positive growth. However, we expect Europe to struggle in the intermediate term as austerity measures introduced by a variety of governments continue to hinder growth.
2011-12-23 Global Real Estate Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers
Our macro outlook has turned more positive given the recent shift toward monetary easing in Asia Pacific and emerging markets, as well as U.S. economic data confirming slow but positive growth. However, Europe is likely to remain an overhang, as the region appears to be heading into recession, making a resolution to its debt crisis considerably more difficult.
2011-12-23 International Real Estate Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers
Our macro outlook has turned more positive given the recent shift toward monetary easing in Asia Pacific and emerging markets, as well as U.S. economic data confirming slow but positive growth. However, Europe is likely to remain an overhang, as the region appears to be heading into recession, making a resolution to its debt crisis considerably more difficult.
2011-12-23 Large Cap Value Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers
We expect the markets to do better through year-end (although most of November gave us pause), but the outlook for the first half of 2012 remains wildly uncertain. Modestly improving U.S. economic data have not fully offset the European debt quagmire that is now inhibiting growth around the world. Recent economic news from the continent has been decidedly weaker, and is beginning to show up in data from Germany, the regions economic juggernaut and stalwart defender of a unified Europe.
2011-12-23 Preferred Securities Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers
With interest rates likely to remain near historical lows for an extended period, we believe the high income potential of preferred securities (which currently offer nearly twice the income of corporate bonds) will continue to attract investors. Not only is high income in high demand, but it also provides a meaningful buffer to the total return profile of the asset class in this volatile environment.
2011-12-23 Closed End Funds Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers
With interest rates likely to remain near historical lows for an extended period, we believe that attractive spreads should continue to benefit the income-generating potential of leveraged closed-end funds. As for new closed-end fund issuances, we believe the IPO window will remain open, but not to the degree that could pressure pricing in the secondary market or impede discount narrowing as investors bid for above-average income.
2011-12-23 Global Infrastructure Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers
The investment environment is likely to continue to be characterized by heightened risk, including political risk as governments institute austerity measures and posture ahead of upcoming elections. The delay in the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States and Canada and the challenge faced by Central Japan Railway in confirming government financial assistance underscore these risks. Positive fundamental trends do continue, such as in the North American pipeline space, where companies continue to benefit from the need to reshape the regions energy grid.
2011-12-22 Value Traps and Investor Psychology by Team of American Century Investments
Many financial market participants are familiar with what is generally known as the two basic emotions felt by investors, greed and fear. Very often, over-enthusiasm is observed accompanying greed during bull markets and over-despondency is seen on the heels of fear during bear markets. Besides the cyclical aspects of investor psychology, there are other aspects of behavioral finance (another name for this branch of psychology) to explore that relate to value trap avoidance.
2011-12-21 Seeking Absolute Return: Finding Opportunity in Overly Hyped Alternatives by Team of Litman Gregory
This commentary references and updates views originally shared in our 2003 whitepaper on hedge-fund strategies. Today, we have similar concerns about a low-return environment for stocks in the years ahead. As we concluded eight years ago, hedge-fund strategies do have the potential to add value to a portfolio. However, finding funds that are skillfully managed and offered at a reasonable cost remains a difficult challenge.
2011-12-20 The Three Scrooges by Team of Dana Investment Advisors
Lawmakers are lining up to play Ebenezer Scrooge in the seasons production of A Christmas Carol. The backdrop for this years production is energy and the key players trying for the lead role are the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the Department of Energy, and Congress. They are each doing their best to stifle energy development thereby keeping gas prices high and curtailing job growth.
2011-12-19 Pacific Basin Market Overview November 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
In our assessment the market has already priced in the prospect of future earnings deterioration and credit risk spreads. Although we must be watchful for the possibility of a temporary future decline in share prices in the event that investors again become more risk averse, we believe an up-tick in investor sentiment will be enough to support a market rally. Cash levels at institutions are relatively high, valuations are very reasonable and investor sentiment is weak. Nevertheless, support for Asian markets could come from the fresh evidence that the U.S. economy has regained some momentum.
2011-12-19 Changing of the Guard: Do European and U.S. Debt Woes Signal a Shift in the Economic World Order? by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
Industrialized nations in the West have enjoyed decades of economic prosperity and generous social safety nets. However, recent events have made it clear that shifting demographics and huge debt burdens will make it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for many industrialized nations to maintain the same standard of living for their citizens. It seems that many formerly emerged economies are now on the verge of submerging. As citizens and political leaders in Europe and the U.S. slowly awaken to this reality, economies in many emerging markets are moving ahead at full steam.
2011-12-16 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
The third quarter of 2011 produced negative returns for just about every asset class in every country in the world. Although the markets have rebounded over the past two and a half months, the net worth of each American household fell, on average, by 4% during those 90 days. This was the largest drop since the fourth quarter of 2008 which marked the beginning of the Great Recession. While the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers was the so-called catalyst for the decline in 2008, the decline from July 1st to September 30th this year was largely based on the fears of a default by the US government.
2011-12-14 The Credit Research Case for Using Muni Funds by Team of American Century Investments
We believe muni market credit quality remains generally high despite continuing changes and challenges, including the demise of the bond insurance industry (which has created a more heterogeneous muni market) and the slow economic recovery, which has put continued pressures on municipal budgets. However, we believe these challenges have made experienced, professional credit analysis more important than ever. One way for investors and advisors to access expert, experienced credit analysis is through the use of established muni mutual funds that have been through multiple market cycles.
2011-12-13 The Third Dimension by Team of Beacon Pointe
The uncertainty generated by the ongoing sovereign debt crisis in Europe and policymakers' deadlock in the U.S. is likely to persist for a while, but it should not drive long-term investors out of the market. We believe it is prudent to stay focused on the third dimension -- time -- and to remain committed to one's long-term investment strategy with an emphasis on diversification, capital preservation, and careful manager research and selection.
2011-12-09 Intrade Contracts for a Recession and the Health Care Law by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
We've been highlighting the Intrade contracts for the 2012 elections quite a bit recently, but below are two other contracts that readers may find interesting. The first chart shown is of the Intrade contract for whether or not the US will go into a recession in 2012. For the contract to pay out, US real GDP would need to be negative for two consecutive quarters. As shown, the odds of a recession in 2012 are currently at 38.2% This is down from a high near 50% that was reached in early October. Since then, economic indicator data in the US has gotten much better.
2011-12-08 Some Perspective on Recent Stock Market Volatility by Team of American Century Investments
Both October and November exhibited substantial price volatility. For the full month of October, the index was up 10.9% on a total return basisthe best October performance for the S&P 500 in nearly 20 years. In contrast, for November the index was down -7.5% through Friday the 25th before a substantial rally the last three trading days of the month. Well take a closer look at the volatility of the S&P 500 from a historical perspective to provide some insights about market volatility its history, trends and causes.
2011-12-08 Will a Eurozone Recession Put a Damper on the World's Fragile Economic Recovery? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
If large parts of Europe fall into a recession, as many experts are predicting, it is likely to have negative, although varied, effects on economies around the world, including those -- like the United States -- that are struggling to recover from the global financial crisis. As European leaders hammer out yet another package of solutions this week, Wharton faculty weigh in on the impact of a eurozone recession, as well as the pros and cons of the recovery measures that are up for debate.
2011-12-07 Asset Class Correlations by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The charts below highlight the rolling six month correlations for the S&P 500 relative to oil, US Treasuries, and gold. There has been much discussion recently regarding the extreme correlations within global financial markets. In fact, the correlation between the S&P 500 and US Treasuries was recently at a record inverse extreme.In recent weeks, however, the extreme correlations between the S&P 500 and all three asset classes has eased somewhat, with the inverse correlation between the S&P 500 and gold moderating substantially.
2011-12-06 Adding Some Holiday Gloss to a Not-So-Super Month by Team of BondWave Advisors
November began with a European shakeup that did little to bolster the confidence of investors. Fear raged as Greece and Italy threatened to roll back efforts made by the ECB and IMF. In the US, all eyes were on the supercommittee, which was tasked with reducing the deficit over the next 10 years. BondWave Advisors discuss the US economic indicators that brought a coat of gloss to the pessimism and provide additional insight into the US Treasury, Corporate and Municipal Bond Markets.
2011-12-01 Week in Review: Worst Thanksgiving Week for Equities Since 1932 by Team of American Century Investments
The continuing European sovereign debt crisis and the failure of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to reach an agreement on the U.S. budget deficit weighed on the major equity indices, with the S&P 500 Index down 4.69%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 4.78%. The European debt crisis continues to take center stage. While the peripheral countries of Greece, Portugal, and Ireland have dominated headlines for months, the bigger core countries of Italy, France, Germany, and Spain were the main acts this past week.
2011-11-30 The European Crisis and Global Investing by Team of Neuberger Berman
The sovereign debt crisis in Europe has placed persistent pressure on global equity markets since first emerging as a problem in Greece in the first half of 2010 and quickly spreading to Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy. In a recent panel discussion, moderated by Investment Strategist Leah Modigliani, Benjamin Segal, portfolio manager and head of the Global Equity team, and Tony Gleason, portfolio manager for the MLG Group, discussed the turmoil in Europe, prospects for global growth, and some potential areas of opportunity. We share their thoughts below.
2011-11-30 Residential Housing Hangover by Team of Neuberger Berman
The housing crisis has left a lasting mark on the U.S. economy. Six years after the market peak in 2005, home prices continue to falter in some areas of the country, volumes remain low, and many investors and potential homebuyers remain wary of the residential marketplace. In this edition of Strategic Spotlight, we examine recent data from the U.S. housing market to consider how they may figure into overall growth expectations going forward.
2011-11-29 Telecommunications Sector in India: Surviving the Scandals and Consolidating Past Gains for Future by Team of Thomas White International
From one of the most celebrated among emerging market success stories to a case study in corruption and nepotism, the Indian communications industry has seen a dramatic swing in fortunes in recent years. After several decades of stagnancy under a government-owned monopoly, the industry became a classic example of how the right combination of new technology, innovation, and supportive government policies can transform a sector. Through the industrys success, Indias large consumer market potential was boosted, attracting investments into several other sectors of the economy.
2011-11-26 Beyond the Supercommittee by Team of Charles Schwab
After months of negotiations, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction announced that it could not reach agreement, stating: "we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee's deadline" The supercommittee had a deadline of November 23 to make recommendations to trim at least $1.2 trillion from the budget deficit. What's beyond the supercommittee? Schwab answers the key questions. Such as, why did the supercommittee fail? and are US Treasuries still a safe-haven investment? among others.
2011-11-22 Liquidity of the Banking System Remains in Focus by Team of ChinaScope
With year end approaching, the release of financial deposits will have a magnified impact on the monetary base. Central financial deposits released are expected to exceed 1 trillion yuan in Nov-Dec this year. Loan-to-deposit ratio (LTD) and capital assessment were tightened by the end of October. A holistic approach to analyzing bank data is required is provide a complete picture of bank liquidity and its impact on SME financing.
2011-11-21 Investment Outlook: November 2011 by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management
Financial crisis continues to dominate the political agenda: a credit crunch looms as Europes banks shrink balance sheets, growth momentum is diverging among different regions, investor focus on global fiscal policy will intensify in 2012 and abundant liquidity via central bank easing is likely to prevail for some time. Economic data has tended to surprise analysts over the last few weeks, encouraging the view that growth may not be as weak as some were predicting only a month ago. However the picture is very different among different regions around the world.
2011-11-17 The Holiday Spending Outlook Reflects Continued Consumer Caution About the Economy by Team of American Century Investments
Santa may not be especially generous, but at least hes planning on adding a little extra compared to last year. That outlook is according to the National Retail Federation. And while this forecast is not one to get retailers especially excited about the season, it is the second best outlook for growth in spending in the past five years. The major challenge for retailers will be that, while spending is forecast to increase slightly, consumers will be price-conscious and bargain-drivenmeaning that generating profit growth off any sales increases will be a difficult challenge.
2011-11-17 Not a Level Playing Field: How Big Investors Benefit from Selective Access to Top Management by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
The title of a research paper by Wharton accounting professor Brian J. Bushee and two colleagues is in the form of a question: "Do Investors Benefit from Selective Access to Management?" The answer, the paper strongly suggests, is yes. Bushee and co-authors Michael J. Jung and Gregory S. Miller define selective access as the opportunity to meet privately with management at invitation-only investor conferences. That access, the researchers say, can result in profitable trading opportunities for big investors.
2011-11-17 Supercommittee Update by Team of Charles Schwab
New this week: the real deadline for the supercommittee; why we think there's still hope for an agreement; President Obama's vow to veto legislation to "undo" automatic cuts if an agreement isn't reached. What are the different deadlines for the supercommittee, and what do they mean? November 23 is the deadline by which the supercommittee must put forward recommendations to cut at least $1.2 trillion from the deficit. However, the supercommittee must post its recommendations publicly 48 hours prior to November 23, meaning the true deadline for finishing its work is Monday, November 21.
2011-11-17 Why The Price Of Oil Has Risen From About $75 To About $100 Over The Past Six Weeks by Team of Guild Investment Management
Many veteran observers seriously question the intelligence of ongoing policies that ignore domestic resources and keep the US sending billions of dollars a year to countries that dislike the US and actively seek Americas decline. After it's recent rise, we recommend investors take profits in oil. It can go higher but we like taking profits after a rapid rise. Also, a mechanism is being put in place that will allow financially-responsible Eurozone countries to force irresponsible members to either make necessary changes in their approach to government spending or to leave the Euro currency.
2011-11-16 As Alternative Investments Move into the Mainstream, Advisors and Investors Need to Choose Wisely by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
We believe that having a piece of an overall portfolio that is committed to liquid alternatives is a critical component to long-term portfolio stability, capital preservation and growth. No one wants a repeat of 2008, or anything close to it. There are an abundance of liquid alternative choices available, some of which have proven themselves through various market cycles and environments. They have gone from Wall Street to Main Street for good reason. Embrace the opportunity, and you and your clients may just sleep a bit better at night during these volatile times.
2011-11-16 It Ain't Over Till It's OverAnd Thats Not Happening Soon by Team of Guild Investment Management
Dont expect the current crisis of budgetary deficits and spending restraints to stop any time soon. Instead, think in these realistic terms: the era of fiscal restraint and spending limits has come, and will be with us for ten to twenty more years. It is obvious to veteran observers that Europe and America are facing hard choices that will result in slow growth and increased suffering for the people. And for that we have our incompetent legislators past and present to thank. They have misused their mandates, grossly exceeded their budgets, and are loath to correct wayward behaviors.
2011-11-15 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
2012 may be the year that banks get back into the business of actually lending money. While some of the banks that avoided the real estate fiascos have been in a position to lend money to the most highly qualified borrowers, we should see a significant increase in lending by all banks during 2012. Like consumers, big banks spent the last few years repairing their balance sheets. They now need to find ways to deploy their capital other than using it for a write-off. Interest rates are about as low as they can go, especially for high quality borrowers.
2011-11-14 Pacific Basin Market Overview October 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The Japanese equity market ended the month of October almost unchanged. Concerns about Europes sovereign debt crisis and a slowdown in the global economy initially sent the index sliding to a new year-to-date low at the outset. Subsequently, the Japanese stock market rebounded along with a steady retreat from the excessive investor pessimism surrounding overseas economic conditions. Positive U.S. economic indicators, including unexpectedly strong employment figures, housing data and solid GDP growth, boosted market confidence.
2011-11-11 Style Investing Revisited: A Disciplined Approach Means More Than Adhering to a Style Universe by Team of The Royce Funds
Over time much has been written about style investinggrowth versus valuewithin the small-cap universe. In fact, investors often rely on style indexes such as the Russell 2000 Value Index and Russell 2000 Growth Index as proxies for a particular style and/or performance pattern, such as moving to value in anticipation of a bear market or growth in expectation of a bull. While this is certainly easy and convenient, especially for performance comparisons, style indexes are often more about a particular type of company or narrow set of criteria as opposed to a specific investment approach.
2011-11-10 Alternative Investments in Focus by Team of American Century Investments
We recently conducted a survey of financial professionals to better understand their view and use of alternative investments. Alternative investments are defined as those outside the traditional big three of cash, bonds, and stocks. These alternatives include commodities, real estate, and inflation-linked securities, among many others. Alternatives have surged in popularity in recent years, as investors and their advisors seek out new and potentially more effective ways to diversify and reduce risk in traditional balanced stock, bond, and cash portfolios.
2011-11-10 'Collapse of Confidence': The European Crisis Grows by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
Financial markets have shown no sign of calming down following Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's announcement on Tuesday that he would resign once a series of austerity measures are passed by the Italian parliament. The big risk for Italy-and for the world financial system-is that it falls over the cliff before efforts to right the ship can be worked out, experts at Wharton say. In this special report, we offer insights on the latest developments in Italy, the reasons why the European debt crisis has become so acute, and what it would take to bring about a possible recovery.
2011-11-08 Corporate Market Transparency Report: October 2011 by Team of BondDesk Group
October was the stock market's best month in nearly a decade. As expected, the strong equity rally caused retail corporate bond yields to fall as concerns about credit risk receded. Bonds rated single A experienced the biggest decrease in yields, though yields for triple B bonds remained largely unchanged, providing continued opportunity for investors willing to own lower rated investment grade bonds. The buy/sell ratio increased to 1.9 in October, a modest increase over the 1.8 ratio in September but a material increase over the historical norm of 1.4.
2011-11-08 Municipal Market Transparency Report: October 2011 by Team of BondDesk Group
The big muni news last month was that Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. But the incident didnt have much impact on the retail markets. In fact, trading activity in October recovered from the ultra low levels of August and September, though it was still a relatively quiet month. Mutual funds had a solid October, receiving $1.8B in net inflows according to the Investment Company Institute.
2011-11-03 Households Continue to Reduce Debt and Embrace Frugality by Team of American Century Investments
Many things are different about the current economic recovery compared with past. One of the most important differences is the lack of any meaningful resurgence in consumer spending. Households continue to reduce their debt levels, which can be good for our long-term economic outlook. But in the near term, deleveraging means consumers cannot play the same role they have of driving strong economic growth by a surge in spending that satisfies their deferred consumption during the downturn. Well take a look at how households and consumers are faring in their efforts to reduce debt.
2011-11-03 Dressing Up a Default for Halloween by Team of BondWave Advisors
Politicians in Europe spent October trying to juggle three balls: 1) avoiding an unavoidable Greek default, 2) keeping a Greek default from cascading into Italy and Spain, and 3) shoring up the European banks before a Greek default. BondWave Advisors discuss the details of the Greek situation in our November Fixed Income Report and provide additional insight into the US Treasury, Corporate and Municipal Bond Markets.
2011-11-03 Third Quarter Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management
We fully expect markets to remain manic and co-dependent. The market cant live without Ben, so a few weeks of weak data and no intervention and well have a selloff. Likewise, as soon as rumors of the next hundred billion dollar intervention surface, traders wont be able to buy equities quickly enough. The situation in Europe is a mirror image. Thankfully, in a world of 20,000+ individual securities there are always pockets of opportunity. We must be prepared for our individual ideas to trade with the market for periods of time, but over the long-haul good things happen to cheap stocks.
2011-11-02 The Euro Zone of Denial Hits the Wall by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
The eurozones efforts to fence in Greeces debt problems have consistently lagged events. Last weeks summit addressed many key issues, but skeptics say potential pitfalls still lie ahead. The agreement also falls short of confronting longer-term root issues-underlying trade imbalances and an ultimate backstop role for the ECB. Another big worry: Creditors could lose all confidence in Europes ability to fix these problems, leading to a collapse in Europes banking system and other parts of the global economy. This commentary and video interview examines barriers to long-term solutions.
2011-11-02 Cain vs. Romney by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Herman Cain has definitely surged inthe polls, and he has taken the lead in many of them. As shown below,however,people are still putting their money on Romney to win the GOP nomination for President. Over atIntrade.com, the contract for Romney to win the GOP nomination puts the odds at 69.5%, while the contract for Cain puts his odds at only 6.3%. At its peak, Cain's Intrade odds to win were just over 10%, and they havepulled backover the past few weeks. Romney's odds to win keep on creeping higher.
2011-11-01 Will the U.S. and Europe Rise Again -- or Sink Together? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
In today's highly interconnected global economy, problems in one country often lead to difficulties in another. The United States and Europe are experiencing that reality up close as leaders try to deal with debt problems, investment-shy business sectors and seemingly intractable unemployment. At a recent presentation attended by Wharton board members, professors Franklin Allen, Richard Marston and Kent Smetters warned that a true recovery for either region will take time, and that conditions could get worse before they get better.
2011-11-01 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
October is a month that has provided much drama in the stock market through the years and this year is no exception. The S&P 500 was up over 11%, which is the second best October in history, and ended a five month losing streak. The S&P 500 was up 17.1% from October 3rdthrough October 28th. Those 19 days were better than 9 of the last 11 calendaryears. Do you see why market timing is virtually impossible?
2011-10-31 Tiedemann Wealth Management 3 Qtr Market Commentary by Team of Tiedemann Wealth Management
Despite the ongoing debt crisis in Europe the news is not as grim for investors as it may seem. We believe that markets have more than discounted the risk of European recession as fallout from this crisis, which an inept political system has exacerbated. It marks the first time in many years that markets are questioning political leadership in developed world nations something they normally only consider when investing in emerging markets. We do not believe that the G-20 leaders will allow a major counterparty bank to fail, despite their apparent lack of coordination over the past few months.
2011-10-27 Is It Time for a Trading Tax? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
To its advocates, the idea is a no-brainer: Charge a tiny tax on each stock, bond or derivative trade to raise badly needed revenue, discourage dangerous short-term speculation and make Wall Street help clean up its own mess. But critics of the financial transaction tax concept say that it would actually make the financial markets less efficient, hurting ordinary investors by raising costs. Wharton faculty and investment experts weigh in.
2011-10-27 Third Quarter Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory
Since 2008, we have been in a period where macroeconomic forces are particularly influential and must inform our portfolio strategy. This quarter's developments in which we saw heightened concerns about a global economic slowdown, political gridlock, and serious concerns about shorter-term European and longer-term U.S. debt problems are consistent with the risk scenarios we've been discussing the past several years.
2011-10-27 Outlining the U.S. Economys Growth Dichotomy by Team of American Century Investments
David MacEwen describes the growth dichotomy that has developed during the recovery from the Great Recession, and how its restricted the recovery, softened consumer sentiment, influenced the fixed income teams macroeconomic outlook, and shaped some of the teams sector outlooks. One of the key characteristics of the subpar, slow-growth recovery we have experienced since the Great Recession has been the clear divide between the recovery rates of the business and consumer sectors. Businesses have bounced back faster and stronger than the U.S. consumer who buys their goods and services.
2011-10-21 Global Equity OutlookFourth Quarter 2011 by Team of American Century Investments
In this edition of Weekly Market Update, presents the teams outlook for global equity markets, based on the latest research and discussions with companies from industries and countries across the economy and the globe. The team focuses on individual security selection, building portfolios from the bottom up, rather than making top-down judgments about the economy. In their view, economic trends matter to the extent that they relate to corporate earnings power. As a result, the outlook focuses on corporate earnings and other areas they deem important to successful global equity investing.
2011-10-19 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
We continue to favor short-term high yield securities.While the high yield market has generally been under pressure due to fears of lower economic growth, lower gross domestic product growth does not necessarily translate into weaker credit fundamentals. In light of all the uncertainty in the market, we have generally reduced our exposure to convertible bonds and have continued to favor bonds with high coupons that we think are likely to be refinanced before maturity.In addition we are keeping some cash on the sidelines so that we are in a good position to buy as future opportunities arise.
2011-10-19 Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
During the third quarter, the stock market plunged as investors hopes for a sustained U.S. economic recovery dissipated and fears of a world-wide economic slowdown and possible U.S. double-dip recession increased. The U.S. faces several major structural headwinds including a moribund housing sector, high unemployment, bank credit restraint, and a growing and worrisome federal debt. Underlying these and other problems is the depressing effect of the end of the debt super cycle.
2011-10-19 Pacific Basin Market Overview September 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Europes inability to find a solution for its current fiscal problems and the weakening macroeconomic outlook sent equity markets into a downward spiral during the July-September quarter. In Asia, concerns about the risk of a hard landing in China resurfaced as well. All country and regional indices declined, with the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan and the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index declining 16.35% and 21.28%, respectively, for the quarter. In the short term, the rush to raise cash could lead to further declines in markets
2011-10-19 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
The MENA region continues to grapple with instability in the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings. The draining of public finances, elevated levels of inflation and high rates of unemployment seem to paint an unfavorable picture for the region in the short term. According to the IMF World Economic Outlook report, inflation in the region is expected to average around 7 percent in 2011 and 10 percent in 2012. In addition, the report noted the adverse impact of weaker growth in the United States and Europe on commodity prices, foreign investments and economic activity.
2011-10-19 Emerging Europe: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
A leading economic sentiment indicator for the Central and Eastern European region recorded its lowest reading in more than two and a half years amid an uncertain outlook for the region and the continuing debt crisis in the Euro-zone, according to a news report published in Bloomberg. Europes failure to find a way out of the debt crisis amid a slowing global economy has clouded the outlook for the whole Eastern European region, which is dependent on exports for much of its growth. Hungary recorded the biggest fall in economic expectations, then Poland, according to the Bloomberg report.
2011-10-19 Developed Europe: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
With the world anxiously watching, Developed Europe battled against its sovereign debt problems on several fronts all through September. Investors became increasingly concerned as the month progressed because Euro-zone leaders delayed making a decision on paying Greece the next installment of its bailout package, despite the beleaguered country declaring that it would run out of money by mid-October without the aid tranche. News reports from the region indicated that the installment was being delayed to pressure Greece into speeding up crucial structural reforms.
2011-10-19 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
After battling inflation for over a year, many emerging Asia Pacific economies are now facing challenges over stimulating growth. A year of persistent monetary tightening in emerging Asia Pacific has unfortunately coincided with slowing growth prospects in the developed world. The U.S. and the European Union are the largest trading partners for many export-dependent emerging Asian economies like South Korea, Taiwan and even China. With economic growth slowing in the U.S. and the European Union, many emerging Asian nations are rightly worried about their export prospects.
2011-10-19 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Developed Asia Pacific nations continued to face headwinds to growth in September. With factory output across the world slowing down to a trickle, major developed Asia Pacific economies ranging from Japan to New Zealand started witnessing pressure on their economic output. As exports still act as the backbone for many of Asias developed countries, a global decline in manufacturing is causing concerns. A slowdown in the U.S. and Europe also cast a shadow on the economic prospects for Asian nations.
2011-10-19 Americas: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Financial markets faced significant volatility as the global economic outlook weakened and concerns about the European crisis worsened. Markets in the Americas region were also affected by the erosion in investor confidence, though the developed markets in the region fared relatively better. Latin American currencies saw steep falls against the U.S. dollar, as the weaker economic outlook is expected to force the central banks to cut interest rates in the future, potentially reducing the relative attractiveness of these markets to global investors.
2011-10-19 Global Overview: October 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Global financial markets have partly recovered from Septembers extensive price declines, helped by hopes of stability in the Euro-zone and moderately better economic data from major countries, including the U.S. Volatility in the currency markets has also eased somewhat after last months steep fall in international currencies against the U.S. dollar. Commodity prices have seen similar trends as well, though concerns about global demand persist. Monetary policy in major economies has seen significant shifts over the last month, as central banks have lowered their economic outlook.
2011-10-14 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
Low interest rates have certainly hurt savers, even more so those who live on a fixed income. The current bubble in bonds will eventually pop, and many people will be surprised. But this ProVise Bullet is not about the risk in bonds today. Its more about the fact there is some good news as it relates to interest rates. First, mortgage rates are near an all-time low. A 30 year mortgage loan is available at an interest rate slightly above 4% and 15 year mortgage loans have been quoted at just a little under 3.57%. Even the IRS is getting into the act.
2011-10-13 Our Fixed Income Macro OutlookFourth Quarter 2011 by Team of American Century Investments
Our economic outlook has become a bit more defensive and cautious, compared with earlier this year. After improvement last year, economic conditions have slowed. In particular, the financial sector has come under renewed pressure from the European sovereign debt crisis and continued housing market stagnation. It remains to be seen if this slowing is transitory or more significant. Both the consumer and business sectors have experienced slowing. But a subpar recovery with headwinds remains our projected most-likely scenario, not a recession.
2011-10-13 The Great Deleveraging: Will Consumer Spending Ever Recover? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
U.S. households are a critical contributor to economic health. But the financial downturn of recent years has hit consumers hard, and they are more hesitant than ever to spend, borrow or seek access to credit. Although a more debt-conscious outlook has positive implications for the individual, experts say the widespread deleveraging is making it difficult for the business sector and the economy as a whole to get back on its feet.
2011-10-13 Pointing Fingers: Can Europe and the U.S. Work Together to Solve the Financial Crisis? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
Even as U.S. officials and investors watch Europe struggle to shore up its financial system and avert another shock to the global economy, signs of a subtle transatlantic "blame game" have surfaced. Experts from Wharton and elsewhere note that although there are no immediate answers to the mounting crisis -- and its impact on capital markets in the U.S. -- it's clear that any finger pointing needs to be replaced by a sense of urgency and mutual cooperation before solutions can be found.
2011-10-12 Quarterly Review and Outlook by Team of Hoisington Investment Management
Negative economic growth will probably be registered in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2011, and in subsequent quarters in 2012. Though partially caused by monetary and fiscal actions and excessive indebtedness, this contraction has been further aggravated by three current cyclical developments: a) declining productivity, b) elevated inventory investment, and c) contracting real wage income.
2011-10-11 Setven Jobs - RIP by Team of Dana Investment Advisors
Just when it appears the free trade bills with South Korea, Columbia and Panama are about to be passed, South Koreans are protesting in the street to stop it. Before the worldwide economic crisis they were all for it. Now they feel their economy (exports) will be hurt by it. In this economic crisis it is every country for themself. There is legislation currently in Congress to impose a tariff on Chinese imports mainly because they will not allow their currency to float to levels that would be fairer to their trading partners - mainly us. Bad idea.
2011-10-07 The Hunt for (Sustainable) Yield by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
In any low-rate environment, it is easy to be seduced by any investment that can deliver high yields. But to achieve a consistent total return, you need to carefully weigh the risks and focus on investments that can deliver attractive yields that are sustainable, while also providing the potential for higher income in the future. Our answer thus far has been a combination of sources. Given the current miniscule yield environment, we expect these higher-quality asset classes to move the income-generation meter at least a little for client portfolios without exposing them to inordinate risk.
2011-10-06 Worry and Volatility Continue in September by Team of BondWave Advisors
September was a continuation of the fear and anxiety that plagued August. Worries about a global slowdown and the fiscal situation in Europe drove a volatile month. Fears of a double-dip recession have been growing as economic data has moderated. These fears were stoked after the September FOMC meeting when the Fed downgraded the state of the economy by announcing a new plan intended to stimulate growth. The IMF also adjusted its global outlook down, revising its estimate for global growth in 2011 and 2012 to 4% from 4.3% Estimates for the US were revised from 2.5% to 1.5%.
2011-10-06 The Risk of Recession and the Variable of Adjustment by Team of GaveKal
Looking solely at financial markets, it seems impossible to avoid the conclusion that we are heading straight into a global recession: most major equity markets have entered bear territory and registered new 52-week lows, commodity prices are plunging (see our Indicator of Economic Sensitive Prices on p. 2), spreads are widening everywhere, all currencies except for the US$ and Yen are feeling weak at the knees, etc... As one client put it to us, in September there was simply ―nowhere to hide; and such market dislocations are typically a harbinger of bad economic news.
2011-10-06 Taxes, Income and Fairness by Team of American Century Investments
From a recent address by President Obama, it is clear that it wont just be the economy that will be a key issue in next years presidential election campaign. In addition, the question of fairness regarding taxationespecially among the wealthy and highest earning Americans who he believes ought to pay a greater amount of taxeswill be a major topic of debate. His speech has sparked a broad debate over who pays federal taxes in America and whether increasing tax rates on the highest earners is a wise move to both address our massive budget deficits and stimulate the economy.
2011-10-06 Global Investment Outlook: October 2011 by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management
Global growth momentum continues to decline but is worst in Europe. Solvency of national governments and now banks is creating fears of a crisis. Coordinated policy action is key to stemming adverse market reaction. Although economic data has continued to demonstrate slower business activity, this is most obvious within Europe which has suffered from fiscal contraction as well as diminishing export demand from the emerging world. Unemployment levels remain elevated, and the reluctance to create new jobs is proving the Achilles heel of policymakers efforts to kick start private sector demand.
2011-09-29 European Banks Under Pressure by Team of American Century Investments
On the surface, the European banking sectors status in the fixed-income markets should be on the upswing. The Basel III Accord strengthened capital requirements for banks and also set stricter guidelines for liquidity and debt. Helping reduce the risk profile of the banking sector, and this would normally be attractive to fixed-income investors. However, bond investors have had the opposite reaction, shunning the bonds of European banks in recent months. The gap between bank bonds and government bonds recently rose to levels not seen since the height of the 2008 Financial Crisis.
2011-09-28 Fair -- or Unbalanced? Decoding the Buffett Rule Debate by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
Underlying the fairness debate over taxes is a practical issue: Can the federal government get its fiscal house in order without raising taxes on someone? While many Republicans prefer spending cuts and oppose any tax increases, many economists think tax hikes must play some role. "It's clear to me that both spending and taxes have to be adjusted as part of a grand compromise," notes Wharton finance professor Richard Marston. "Bush's tax cuts created too large a hole in revenues," he adds, referring to the cuts in 2001 and 2003 under President George W. Bush.
2011-09-26 Economic Recovery Starts with Bank of America by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
In this issue we provide a "how to" roadmap for the restructuring of Bank of America (BAC), this in response to a number of yowls of protest, spurts of indignation and outright do-not-knows. For those who've not done so, please read "A not so fictional FSOC memo for Bank of America" where we introduced the home audience to the concept of a parent-only view of BAC and other bank holding companies ("BHCs"). The restructuring of BAC creates a huge positive for credit creation in the US housing sector, the necessary condition for an economic recovery.
2011-09-23 A Dual View of Operation Twist by Team of iShares Blog
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve outlined its new Operation Twist program. The central bank will buy $400 billion of long-term Treasuries in an effort to lower long-term interest rates and spur lending and economic growth. The announcement came as no surprise: It had been clearly telegraphed by the Fed. Nonetheless, stock markets fell after the announcement and 10-year Treasury yields dropped to levels not seen since the 1940s. Two of our contributors weigh in to explain the markets reaction and the plans implications for equity and fixed income investors.
2011-09-23 Invesco Fixed Income Quarterly Outlook by Team of Invesco
While economic growth has been rather stagnant and the statement cites significant downside risks to the economic outlook, the Feds preferred core inflation measures, consumer inflation apart from the food and energy categories, have trended upward since the onset of QE2, the central banks second round of large scale asset purchases that swelled its balance sheet to more than $2.8 trillion. At the onset of QE2, core inflation measured year-over-year was low and trending lower, and deflation represented a realistic potential outcome.
2011-09-22 More Focus on Fixed Income by Team of American Century Investments
G. David MacEwen, discusses how volatile market conditions, a population boom in the 65+ years category, and increasingly conservative investment behavior by those in that category as they approach retirement (including growing demand for more predictable outcomes) are shifting the focus of investment strategies toward fixed income. We strongly believe that the scheduled, mostly predictable payments of interest and principal from bonds are becoming progressively more attractive to a growing pool of investors and their advisors.
2011-09-21 Pondering 2H 2011 Bank Earnings by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
This week, we do a short rant on the 2H 2011 outlook for financials and ask whether further deflation does not mean a mixed road ahead for some banks. To review, let's look at the Bank Stress Index for the past several years in the box below. You can look up the rating for your bank on our retail web site, www.irabankratings.com. The major factors affecting bank performance are largely economic as always, but the market value of the liquid, large-cap financials will be buffeted by the macro see-saw between the US and EU. We just hope that our BSI is not rising again by the close of 2011.
2011-09-19 Pacific Basin Market Overview August 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
The global economic environment seems to be deteriorating rapidly. European economies are increasingly weighed down by the de-leveraging of the peripheral countries, while confidence in the U.S. is being sapped by the political paralysis in Washington. As a result, we have significantly downgraded our economic forecasts. For the U.S. economy, we are now predicting 2.0% real growth for 2012. However, we still believe that a double dip recession can be avoided.
2011-09-16 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
In our opinion, Congress and the President need to do two things. The first is to develop a long-term, permanent solution to the Tax Code and to remove regulations that are, at best, postponing the decisions of employers to hire, and in some cases, driving jobs overseas. Heres what we would do if we were leaders in Congress: we would identify each and every one of the parts of the package where there is common agreement and pass them as quickly as we possibly could.
2011-09-16 Crises Ahead As U.S. Banks Fight Against Needed Overhaul by Team of Guild Investment Management
Banks are supposed to be conservative institutions that do prudent analysis of credit risk, make loans accordingly, and buy government bonds. In the initial years of the 21st century, the banks were far from prudent and conservative. They were gamblers, and when they lost, the taxpayer had to bail them out. The banking sector is currently hard at work trying to stop implementation of the Volcker rule, a key provision in a needed financial overhaul legislation targeting the over-speculation madness.
2011-09-16 Is the End Near for the Eurozone? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
Warning signs are flashing red. Bond markets are projecting a 98% chance of default on Greece's debt. Stock prices for French banks, heavily invested in that debt, have plunged 10% in recent days. Has the European debt crisis hit the breaking point, with Greece -- and perhaps others -- soon to exit the eurozone? Or, will officials once more cobble together new agreements that keep Greece in the club and prevent a huge contagion effect likely to cripple an already slowing global economy? Wharton finance professors Franklin Allen and Bulent Gultekin offer their insight.
2011-09-16 King of the Mountian by Team of Research Affiliates
Despite the market turmoil of the past two years, U.S. equity valuations continue to resist gravity. In this issue of Fundamentals, we look at the potential consequences of understated inflation and too-low real interest rates, combined with an accommodative Fed policy. What does that mean for the stock market?
2011-09-15 Addressing Our Chronically High Unemployment Rate by Team of American Century Investments
Anyone who listened to President Obamas speech to Congress last Thursday should have come away with one overriding theme: His goal for the remainder of his first term in office is jobs creation. But the stubborn persistence of extremely high unemployment since the Great Recession officially ended over two years agoalong with the massive stimulus spending and record low interest rates that accompanied efforts to revive the economysuggest the challenge were facing in lowering unemployment is unlike any weve faced in past recessionary recoveries since World War II.
2011-09-14 Asian Bonds Fund Manager Interview: A Misunderstood Opportunity by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management
Global investors remain under-invested to Asian bonds. Exposure is often made through global debt benchmarks; however, these benchmarks typically have low allocations to Asia, may not be particularly active, have allocations to less creditworthy countries and possess limited local currency exposure. Many investment opportunities in the Asian region have been overlooked. Asia provides a diverse set of markets and a broad set of country issuers across the credit spectrum, offering what we believe are good opportunities for investors to enhance portfolio yields.
2011-09-13 Fear and loathing at Bank of New York Mellon by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
In our last issue, we presented the case for the insolvency of the parent of Bank of America Corp, even though the subsidiary banks remain profitable and well-capitalized. This week, we ponder the situation at Bank of New York Mellon, where like BAC the operational performance of the depositories does not tell the whole story. Despite the high profile thrashing meted out to BAC and BK both by the NY AG in the Countrywide put-back settlement, markets may not fully appreciate just how deep is the rising kimchee swirling around BK.
2011-09-09 Americas: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
While markets have calmed after the anxiety caused by S&Ps downgrade of U.S. debt, economic indicators for most countries in the Americas region remain subdued. 2nd quarter growth declined for most countries and full year forecasts are being revised lower. The subdued global growth outlook has dulled the prospect for continued growth in export earnings while consumer spending in some of the larger economies is increasingly being restrained by higher interest rates and the heightened economic uncertainties. Nevertheless, inflationary risks have declined, except most notably in Brazil.
2011-09-09 Examining Systemic Risk in the Banking System by Team of Litman Gregory
When we spoke over two years ago, we discussed credit default swaps as speculative derivative instruments, the risks these presented to the financial system, and the need to better mitigate these risks. Can you comment on the progress the industry has made in reducing the systemic risk they pose to the financial system and talk about the risks they continue to pose? Derivatives, as such, were never entirely the problem. But, in some senses, they were symptomatic of a much deeper problemwhich is why we had created a system that was highly leveraged, highly complex, and highly networked.
2011-09-09 Hedge Funds Minimize Losses in August by Team of Greenwich Alternative Investments
Hedge funds turned in an excellent month of relative performance when compared to equity market benchmarks, notes Clint Binkley, Senior Vice President. Macro, Futures and Short Biased managers produced positive returns in spite of severe market declines. We continue to expect hedge funds to outperform long only strategies in this volatile market environment. Hedge Fund Strategy Highlights: Directional Trading funds are the best performing group of funds in August, gaining 0.3%. Market Neutral funds provide protection from market swings, declining only 2.9% on average for the month.
2011-09-08 Congressional Budget Office Updates Its Economic and Fiscal Forecast by Team of American Century Investments
Two weeks ago, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an update to their Budget and Economic Outlook that forecasts U.S. fiscal and macroeconomic trends over a ten year period (2012 to 2021). This update creates a baseline for negotiations by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reductionthat committee of six Democrats and six Republicans from Congress created by The Budget Control Act of August 2011 which resulted from the contentious debt ceiling negotiations in July. In this Weekly Market Update, well review what this baseline
2011-09-08 Bleak Outlook? MLPs May Help Cushion Against Market Volatility by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
Professional investors spend a lot of time studying probabilities. That is because, just as the direction of the recent Hurricane Irene featured a "cone of uncertainty," the financial markets often change course without warning and can wreak havoc on investor portfolios. Alternative investments, including Master Limited Partnerships, may help limit damage from the inevitable financial storms that investors may face. In today's uncertain economy and volatile markets, MLPs - while not immune - can provide attractive yields and relatively low correlation to the stock and bond markets.
2011-09-08 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Developed Asia Pacific countries faced increasing headwinds to economic growth during August. Lukewarm growth figures in developed Western economies such as the U.S. and the European Union are troubling the growth prospects of many export-oriented markets such as Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. Despite some support from emerging markets, export orders for Singapore and Hong Kong have slowed down substantially. In Japan the current account surplus slid, while the Singapore government revised its export growth figures down for the rest of the year.
2011-09-08 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging markets across Asia experienced flagging equity prices as fears of a global slowdown, triggered by the downgrade of the U.S. sovereign credit rating and concerns over the debt crisis in Europe, gripped markets. Stock markets in some of the emerging Asian economies flirted with yearly lows. The Asian Tigers including South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Thailand reported slower growth for the second quarter ended June 2011. Even China, the worlds second largest economy, reported headwinds to growth.
2011-09-08 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
According to the IMF, global economic prospects have taken a downturn in the wake of a weaker U.S. economic recovery, uncertainty surrounding the Euro-zones fiscal stability and relentless turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. In recent weeks, the MENA region has been in the spotlight yet again, with the Libyan revolt against Muammar Gaddafis 42-year long dictatorship gaining momentum. The IMF has been keeping a close watch on developments in the strife-ridden country and is yet to determine the uprisings impact on the Libyan economy.
2011-09-08 Developed Europe: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Last month, major economies such as Germany and France as well as the European Central Bank (ECB) took steps to allay fears about a debt contagion in Developed Europe. Still, investor sentiment remained weak in the region, echoing worldwide concerns over the state of the American economy and the loss of momentum in the global economic recovery. Amid worries that the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) may not have adequate funding to bail out Italy and Spain, if the need arises, the ECB stepped in to buy the sovereign debts of the two countries for the first time.
2011-09-08 Emerging Europe: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Economic growth in the Eastern European region faltered during the 2nd quarter. With this sputtering growth, the central banks are feeling pressured to reduce borrowing costs for consumers and businesses alike. Significantly, the economic recovery in the region is currently facing its most serious threat amid the burgeoning Euro-zone debt crisis and the recent downgrading of the U.S. credit rating. The woes of these former communist states are compounded further by the fact that most of these economies are dependent on their exports to the industrial powerhouse Germany.
2011-09-08 Global Overview: September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
The recovery in global equity prices towards the end of August could cover only part of the decline during the first half of the month and most markets have now given up all of their gains from earlier this year. Gold prices surged to a new high, and U.S. treasury yields fell despite the rating downgrade, as investors preferred safer assets. On the other hand, select barometers of global industrial activity, like copper prices, declined. Nevertheless, most developed economies continue to expand, though at a restrained pace, and are expected to gain speed during the second half of the year.
2011-09-02 The Land of Free Lunches by Team of Broadleaf Partners
Weve recently concluded that the innovation cycle will become paramount to wealth creation in an environment of slow growth and when credit is relatively scarce. The economy and financial markets are fluid and dynamic. While scarce today, banks will eventually start lending again, changing the dynamics of a muted economic cycle. And while innovation is always an investable theme, in an environment where growth is scarce, such scarcity can also lead to situations where select groups of stocks become wildly overvalued as was the case for the Nifty Fifty in the 1970s and technology years ago.
2011-09-01 Updated Ideas for Fixed Income Positions by Team of American Century Investments
The current environment and related factorsincluding double-dip recession concerns, equity and high-yield corporate bond market volatility, moderate inflation expectations in the near term, and premium pricing for U.S. Treasury securitieshave raised questions for investors as they return from summer activities and re-examine fixed income investment positions. It is difficult to address all investor situations and scenarios. So for our hypothetical allocations in this piece, we will focus on fixed income positioning within employer-sponsored retirement plans, both qualified and non-qualified.
2011-09-01 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
In the widely anticipated comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at Jackson Hole, WY, he acknowledged that, for a number of reasons, the recession was deeper than originally thought. The recovery has been more modest than he would like, notwithstanding the fact that we have had nine months of economic growth since the recession ended, albeit anemic growth. Unfortunately, the media focused on more of the negative parts of his comments. Fortunately, investors heard optimism. Why did investors see something different than the media?
2011-09-01 Q&A with Litman Gregory Research by Team of Litman Gregory
We regularly use a Q&A format to address questions from readers about our investment views and current strategy. This format permits us to address a range of different topics and allows readers to focus on areas that are of interest to them. This Q&A piece was worked on jointly by members of our research team and tackles questions received during the past several weeks. We have grouped the questions into broad categories for convenience. The main topics include the Fairholme Fund, Investment-Grade Bonds, Floating Rate Loans, Municipal Bonds, International Bonds, China and Commodity Futures.
2011-09-01 Q2 2011 Bank Ratings; FSOC Memo on Bank America by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
We present our view on Bank of America (BAC Q2 2011 Bank Stress Rating: B) from the perspective of a fictional analyst named Herbert Gold working at the Fed. He has been asked to write the briefing for the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the vehicle created by the Dodd-Frank confidence in bureaucracy legislation to liquidate insolvent financial firms. But before we delve into a fanciful exposition on the importance of a parent-only analysis of a bank holding company, let's check on developments at IRA and the new Q2 2011 bank stress index (BSI) ratings for the US banking industry.
2011-08-26 The US Financial Sector in an Environment of Turbulence by Team of Loomis Sayles
US financial companies have spent the past three years trying to improve their balance sheets. We saw this trend reflected in company reports of asset quality improvements, increasing capital and strengthening liquidity. Heightened anxiety about the European debt crisis, a potential slowdown in the global economic recovery and the US credit downgrade appears to have overshadowed financial company fundamentals. Fundamental improvements by financial companies have fortified the sector, leaving it substantially stronger than in 2008. Currently, we think financials are well positioned.
2011-08-25 Perspective on the Fed, Inflation, and the Economy, as Well as Implications for Income Investors by Team of American Century Investments
The Fed recently took the unprecedented step of declaring their interest rate policy for the next two yearsthey will be holding their short-term rate target essentially at zero well into 2013. Well give our perspective on why the Fed has taken this unusual step, and what these policy decisions tell us about the state of the economy, inflation, and the bond market. Finally, well address potential solutions for income-oriented investors in todays environment of record-low bond yields.
2011-08-18 What stage of deleveraging are we in? by Team of Litman Gregory
The Litman Gregory research team has been assessing how long it will take for the U.S. economy to deleverage and when we can expect earnings to revert to the old trend line, which has been adjusted downward slightly after the great recession. The bottom line is that we think deleveraging started in late 2008 and that it will probably take roughly 10 years to complete the process. What this means is that going forward we will roll earnings forward at a slightly higher rate than we have in the past and, as a result, our fair-value point for the S&P will also increase at a slightly higher rate.
2011-08-18 Year-End S&P 500 Price Targets by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Here is a table highlighting the year-end 2011 S&P 500 price targets of major Wall Street strategists from Bloomberg's weekly survey. We also provide where the targets stood at the start of the year when the slate was clean. As shown, the average year-end price target is 1,383, which would be a gain of 16.2% from current levels. Five firms have increased their targets while two have lowered them. The increases were done earlier in the year when the market was still in positive territory. It will be interesting to see how much these drop now that the market has turned decidedly negative.
2011-08-18 The GDP Growth Downgrade by Team of American Century Investments
While much of the nation focused on events leading up to the credit rating downgrade for the U.S. by Standard & Poors last week, this was preceded by another downgrade to the estimates of our recent, past gross domestic product (GDP) growth, which was announced by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on Friday, July 27. While garnering much less attention, this revision has some serious implications for our economic outlook at least through the end of this year.
2011-08-16 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
Volatility set a record last week when, for the first time in the Indexs 115 year history, the Dow Jones moved by more than 400 points for four consecutive days. The Index was down 635 points on Monday, up 430 points on Tuesday, down 520 points on Wednesday, and up 423 points on Thursday. We all know that the value of the underlying businesses did not change drastically even day by day. Jason Zweig said it well in his book, Your Money and Your Brain: In the short run, a stocks price will change whenever someone wants to buy or sell it and whenever something happens that seems like news"
2011-08-15 Emerging Europe: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has sounded a cautionary note for the east European region after a new $229 billion aid package for Greece by the Euro-zone leaders was awarded in July. The bank, which was established to help the former communist states in their transition to market economies, said Eastern Europe and central Asia are at serious risk from the Euro-zone debt crisis, according to a news report published by Bloomberg. Still, the EBRD upped its economic forecast for the current year for the countries where it has investments.
2011-08-15 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
China, India, Taiwan and Philippines and other Asian economies seeing inflation accelerate to new highs in June. In most of these countries higher fuel costs and food prices were the primary culprits. While large economies such as India and China hiked interest rates aggressively, many countries increased bank reserve ratios to drain excess liquidity and rein in credit growth. The lone exception to the inflation-ridden scenario in Asia was Indonesia. Indonesia has successfully navigated inflationary pressures by allowing its domestic currency to strengthen strongly.
2011-08-15 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Reconstruction spending in some key countries in the region, like Japan and New Zealand, also played a key role in improving labor markets. In Australia, however, labor markets turned sour as job losses inched up during the quarter. Inflationary pressures have become acute in Singapore and Hong Kong mainly due to labor shortage and a relentless rise in property prices. Economies that depend on China for their export industries are worried about a weakening in the Chinese economy in the quarters ahead.
2011-08-15 Americas: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Second quarter economic growth was weaker than expected in the U.S.. Canada is also expected to report slower second quarter growth, but may regain some of the lost pace by the second half. Slower growth in the U.S. will likely have a restrictive effect on economic activity in Latin America, especially in Mexico and Colombia, which have relatively deeper economic ties with the U.S. For the resource exporters in the region, the expected decline in global demand growth for commodities and industrial material is likely to be a dampener.
2011-08-15 Global Overview by Team of Thomas White International
Economic outlook softens further as the fiscal crisis in the developed countries escalates. While the European debt crisis continues unabated, the unprecedented downgrading of U.S. debt has shaken investor confidence across the globe. Policy responses to the growing crisis so far are widely perceived to be ineffective, as deep ideological and political divisions make compromises inevitable. Monetary policy is also constrained as central banks have limited tools left to effectively address the slowdown in economic activity.
2011-08-15 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Inflation has been the highest in the MENA regions due to capacity constraints and food prices. While rising costs of food and oil have increased inflationary pressures in South Africa, Israels inflation rate has breached the target range set by its central bank. In addition, South Africa is witnessing strained consumer demand, while growing economic disparity despite lower unemployment rates has triggered social unrest in Israel. Jordan is also battling pricing pressures and is looking to bridge its wide funding gap by raising capital with the issuance of its first Islamic debt instrument.
2011-08-12 Robert Rubin, Bank America and the fate of the dollar by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
This week in The Institutional Risk Analyst, we take a look at the latest week of inaction and indecision on the part of the leaders of the G-20 nations. Never has doing absolutely nothing taken so much time and garnered so much market and media attention. If the nothing doing dance by Barack Obama, Nicholas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel reaches a much higher frequency, life as we know if is definitely going to change big time. And that change may include altering the international role of the dollar, a change regarding which neither Congress nor the American people have been consulted.
2011-08-12 Making Sense of the Markets by Team of Neuberger Berman
It is one thing to theorize about markets. It is quite another to invest. With that sentiment in mind, we offer a sampling of views from some of our portfolio managers across our firm who each independently form their own conclusions as to what to make of the market and how to position portfolios according to their respective investment disciplines.
2011-08-12 Developed Europe: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Sovereign debt problems on both sides of the Atlantic kept the global investment community anxious in July. While the U.S. government struggled to build political consensus on the terms for having its debt ceiling raised, European leaders negotiated hard to push their domestic agendas through, while deciding on the exact nature of another aid package for Greece. Eventually, concerns about a Greek debt contagion eased slightly after the country was given a 109 billion bailout, which included provisions for lower interest rates and longer repayment periods.
2011-08-11 A Primer on Debt, Deficits, and Economic Growth by Team of American Century Investments
The recent kerfuffle in Washington over the extension of the debt ceiling presented investors with many competing arguments and seemingly contradictory information. On the one hand, we hear that debt is bad for growth. On the other hand, we are told that government spending is key to supporting the economy. And why is it that stocks tanked after an agreement was reached to avoid default and extend the debt limit? In this Weekly Market Update, we will try to provide some context for understanding these competing positions, as well as the recent market reaction to these events.
2011-08-10 Comments Regarding Recent Market Volatility by Team of Tweedy, Browne Company
Uncertainty, in our opinion, is one of the most difficult factors for professional as well as individual,investors to deal with, and it is dominating the markets currently. Uncertain markets are characterized by increased volatility and correlation between asset classes, as well as increasingly shorter time frames for investment decisions. None of this, in our opinion, will improve the probabilities of earning a satisfactory return over a reasonable period of time. Rather, we think that in most instances, these will improve the odds of the opposite outcome.
2011-08-10 Global Investment Outlook: Aberdeen's monthly outlook for economies and markets. by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management
Eurozone crisis threatens financial stability Global industrial production momentum may be turning back up Fiscal policy and sovereign indebtedness is the major medium-term issue Monetary policy remains accommodative with emerging countries becoming less restrictive
2011-08-10 Update on Global Economic Uncertainty by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Investors can afford to be less nervous in a market that has already declined significantly. Rather, we would recommend that investors should recognize the ability of these companies to generate earnings as well as their ability to sustain their dividends payments. Governments of all major developed and emerging countries have to deal with deteriorating economic forecasts, so until investor psychology calms down, patience may be needed. We will continue to monitor the changing investment environment and identify stocks that offer worthwhile investment opportunities.
2011-08-09 US Credit Rating Downgrade Q&A by Team of Loomis Sayles
Will foreign investors, who own almost half of US Treasurys, suddenly lose confidence in the US? We think not. The US is not the only nation struggling with a debt burden. But the US Treasury market is the largest, deepest, most liquid bond market in the world, by far. Investors may talk about diversifying their holdings away from the US dollar, but it is tough to execute. This is particularly true for countries who wish to maintain a fixed exchange rate or manipulate their currencies.
2011-08-09 Pacific Basin Market Overview July 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Equity markets in the Pacific Basin edged higher in July despite the ongoing sovereign debt issues troubling both Europe and the U.S. and the pressure from a slowdown in Chinas economy. Smaller ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) economies continued to provide support this month, so the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan and the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 1.33% and 0.03% higher, respectively.
2011-08-04 Insights from the 2010 Census by Team of American Century Investments
The good news is that while we are aging as a nation, we are also growing both in absolute size and the size of our young population. How quickly we grow is tied to a number of factors. But two of the most important are continued healthy economic growth (where a sense of growing affluence and economic possibility is a strong incentive for young adults to have children) and how liberal or restrictive our future immigration policy will be. Based on how these factors play out, we could easily be a nation of 450 million (or more) to 360 million (or less) just in the next four decades.
2011-08-04 Winners and Losers in the Debt Ceiling Deal by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
In a last-minute attempt to stop the U.S. from defaulting for the first time ever on its loan obligations, Congress voted this week to increase the country's debt ceiling by at least $2.1 trillion. The deal includes $917 billion in spending cuts over the next 10 years, and the establishment of a congressional committee to reduce the deficit further by $1.5 trillion. Questions remain, however, about what is at stake. To answer some these and other questions, Knowledge@Wharton spoke with Wharton professors Olivia S. Mitchell and Kent Smetters.
2011-08-02 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
Recently, the Tax Court affirmed a tax deduction a family had taken for the 24 hour supervision needed for an elderly family member. Caregivers were hired-even though they were not licensed healthcare providers-and the family took a tax deduction for the cost of these caregivers. The IRS denied the deduction, but the Tax Court affirmed it. The Court went further by stating that the costs of maintenance and personal care services could qualify as a medical expense if a healthcare professional certifies that at least two of the six activities of daily living cannot be done without assistance.
2011-08-02 Is the US a "BBB" credit? David Woolley on the MERS land title chain fiasco by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
In this issue of The Institutional Risk Analyst, we feature a summary of a paper by David E. Woolley, a California Licensed Land Surveyor and Certified Fraud Examiner, who is a principal of Harbinger Analytics Group in Tustin, CA. Thanks to David and Lisa Herzog, who edited the study and performed research, for summarizing the paper. But first a rant on the furious inaction of the past week.
2011-07-28 Rough Waters? Trim the Sail by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
These are interesting times, to say the least, for politicians, businessmen and investors alike. Given the systemic challenges and political standoffs in the U.S. and Europe, we believe it's wise to keep a little extra powder dry. While we generally prefer to be fully invested, we believe our more conservative stance may help dampen the impact of what could be some extreme market volatility in the time ahead. The situation is fluid and we intend to redeploy the cash and short exposure into the markets as some of these risks dissipate, but for the time being, we're trimming the sail.
2011-07-26 Would a Stock Market Decline Be a Good Thing For President Obama? by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
We have repeatedly noted in the past how even though many consider him to be a tough critic of Wall Street, President Obama has presided over one of the strongest stock market rallies in history.In fact, the only other President who saw better returns in his first two years in office was FDR.In spite of the strong stock market returns, President Obama has received little credit. Back in June wenotedthat even though he has one of the lowest approval ratings at this point in his Presidency, no US President has seen better stock market returns at this point in his Presidency.
2011-07-26 On Your Mind: The Debt Ceiling, US Credit Rating and Potential Default by Team of Charles Schwab
We are disappointed in the continued inability of Washington to resolve the current short- and long-term debt issues. However, we do not believe now is the time to make major portfolio adjustments given US companies' continued strong earnings reports, few signs of a double-dip recession, and few signs that the bond market currently questions the fundamental ability of the US to pay its bills. Be prepared for more volatility as the political negotiations continue. Watch the VIX index for upward spikes indicating that investors are losing patience.
2011-07-25 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management
We remain concerned about the global economy and suspect of broad asset class valuations.However, in a world of tens of thousands of securities there are always opportunities.Absent a significant market correction, we are likely to continue to hold cash or dry powder.We also continue to look to hold assets that can perform well in an inflationary environment, as dollar debasement seems to be the political path of least resistance out of our current problems.The politicians appear happy to solve the problems maana. We on the other hand are happy to make hay when the sun shines.
2011-07-22 Why We Think the U.S. Wont Default on Its Debt by Team of American Century Investments
We believe its highly unlikely that the U.S. government will miss any of its scheduled debt payments in coming months, or that related market uncertainty and volatility will cause our money market funds to break the buck (be forced to transact share purchases and redemptions at prices less than the usual $1 per share). To help explain market behavior under unstable conditions, we often repeat the following adage: investment markets hate uncertainty. We tend to be leery of uncertainty because it can trigger investor skittishness, irrational behavior, and volatility.
2011-07-21 Are the Housing GSEs and TBTF Banks Blocking the Economic Recovery? by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
The housing GSEs and the largest banks are blocking the economic recovery by denying Americans from refinancing their home mortgages. If the Obama Administration wants to see the US economy recover, then we must start the real process of restructuring that Washington & Wall Street have been avoiding since 2007. Obama may not be able to turn things around before the 2012 election, but he will be remembered more kindly in the history books if he has the courage to do the right thing. As always, we are available to help in this process.
2011-07-20 On Your Mind: Debt Ceiling and the US Dollar by Team of Charles Schwab
The uncertainty surrounding the upcoming decision on the debt ceiling has been a negative factor for the dollar. A US default and/or a downgrade of the US credit rating would almost certainly be negative also. It could weaken confidence in the dollar and cause it to fall. However, there are many global factors driving demand, including support of Japan and China, which continue to be large holders of US Treasuries. It would not be in their interest to sell dollar-denominated assets, including Treasuries, if there was simply a rating change or short-term default.
2011-07-19 Global Overview: July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
The most recent economic indicators suggest a moderation in global economic activity growth, and forecasts for the current year have been lowered. Manufacturing activity decelerated for the second successive month in June across most major economies, except the U.S. Even Japan, which was expected to bounce back, reported slower growth. Among the emerging economies, economies suggest a decline in the pace of expansion. Consumer sentiment has weakened across the developed world over concerns about income growth as the labor market slipped again in select countries, most notably in the U.S.
2011-07-18 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
The equity and high yield markets seem to be reacting to renewed fears of sovereign debt defaults in Europe and slower economic activity in the U.S. The duration and ultimate severity of our economic slowdown is still in question, as inflation fears seem to have temporarily abated and the yield curve in the U.S. is steep, which has historically preceded economic growth. We are avoiding highly leveraged companies and longer-dated bonds, which may be vulnerable if a double-dip recession were to occur. There seem to be many sellers of shorter-dated bonds from which to choose.
2011-07-18 Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
As evidence of a global economic slowdown accumulated, the stock market suffered a correction during the second quarter. This is hardly surprising given the market’s strong recovery from the depths of the 2008-2009 financial meltdown. After surging just over 100% from its low in March of 2009 and nearly 30% since August of just last year through the end of the first quarter 2011, the S&P 500 Index needed a breather. The 7% correction that occurred from the April high through the June low looks relatively modest to us in light of how far and how fast the market has rallied.
2011-07-15 We See This Slowdown as Temporary Too by Team of American Century Investments
We’re experiencing another mid-year economic slowdown, with renewed fears of a double-dip recession. Will the recovery regain momentum, like last year? The fixed income team, thinks so. Two years after the Great Recession ended, we’re still struggling to escape its lingering grip. Major facets of that struggle include the market and financial extremes the recession generated. U.S. economic growth and financial market benchmarks are striving to shift back to more normal/average levels. These cyclical shifts from historic extremes interest us as sources of potentially value-adding positioning.
2011-07-14 Ben Bernanke channels Genworth Financial; Chris Laursen on bank trading under the Volcker rule by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
This week we republish an important article by Christopher Laursen, NERA Vice President, on bank trading under the Volcker rule. And we ask whether Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke knew he was saying about the conforming loan limit yesterday before the House Financial Services Committee.
2011-07-14 Pacific Basin Market Overview – June 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Faced with the imminent withdrawal of the Fed’s QE2 policy, the ongoing sovereign debt woes in the Euro-zone, and concerns over a slowdown in China, the Asian equity markets were at best only able to range trade during the second quarter. The broad indices remained relatively flat, with the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index declining by 0.50% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific declined 0.87%. As the immediate concerns over the sovereign debt crisis in Europe subsided, a steady recovery in domestic production also helped to lift the Japanese market and trigger a late rebound in equity prices.
2011-07-12 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review June 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Developed Asia Pacific economies continued to face headwinds in June as the outlook for demand from both developed markets such as the U.S. and Europe, and emerging markets cooled. In the U.S., a lukewarm labor market caused concerns about the pace of economic recovery. In the emerging markets, persistent inflation fears were prompting higher interest rates. Both these factors are putting pressure on exports from Developed Asia Pacific economies. Japan, which specializes in exporting machinery and consumer durables, is feeling the heat of a slowdown in demand from consumer countries.
2011-07-12 Americas: Economic Review June 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
The economic growth outlook in the region has moderated, as both global demand and domestic consumption growth are slowing down. Consumers are less confident than earlier this year, public spending remains restricted due to continuing fiscal challenges, and businesses have become more cautious in their hiring and investment plans. Commodity and energy prices have corrected, while manufacturing activity growth has slowed down. Even in this environment, inflation risks remain significant in some of the large emerging economies where monetary policy is being tightened further.
2011-07-12 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review June 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
The Arab Spring brought with it waves of revolution, disrupting economies of almost all the countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. While governments of Tunisia and Egypt look to pick up the pieces, continued rumblings of unrest are heard from Bahrain, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The World Bank expects the lowest growth in Egypt and Tunisia, clocking in at 1 percent and 1.5 percent respectively, in 2011. However, despite uncertainty, these two economies are projected to improve in 2012 and witness economic expansion of around 5 percent in 2013.
2011-07-12 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review June 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Emerging Asia Pacific economies continued to be troubled by persistent inflation in June. Almost every country in the region had to either hike benchmark interest rates or bank reserve requirement ratios to rein in lending and credit growth. The monetary tightening effects are largely expected to make capital more expensive and this in turn is expected to crimp growth across many emerging markets. Inflation, which thus far has been more pronounced among food and fuel items, now seems to be spilling over to structural inputs like labor as well.
2011-07-12 Developed Europe: Economic Review June 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
The economic data reported from Developed Europe during June were mixed. According to the European Union’s statistics agency Eurostat, annual wage growth in the Euro-zone during the first quarter of 2011 was 2.3 percent compared to 1.4 percent in the last quarter of 2010. Although the figures reflect some degree of optimism in the labor market, they are a cause of worry in the context of inflation. In order to sustain their spending power amid rising prices, workers may continue to demand higher wages, which in turn may force producers to hike prices further and spark off a wage-price spiral.
2011-07-12 Emerging Europe: Economic Review June 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
In an update to its Global Economic Outlook published in April, the IMF sounded a cautionary note on the global economic recovery due to the slowing growth in the U.S. and the Euro-zone debt crisis. The Washington-based lender said it sees global activity slowing in the second quarter of 2011, though a rebound is expected in the second half of the year. Despite this forecast, the IMF exuded confidence that the strong growth in Germany, Italy, and France would offset the economic slackening in the U.S. and Japan.
2011-07-08 On Your Mind: Debt Ceiling and the US Dollar by Team of Charles Schwab
Theres been a lot of media attention on the US debt ceiling and the outlook for the US dollar. Here we'll answer some of the questions weve been receiving from clients. The US debt ceiling: What are the chances of the U.S. defaulting on its debt? Will the United States automatically default if the debt ceiling isnt raised? When can we expect a resolution? What will happen if the United States does default? What does this mean for investors? Outlook for the US dollar: Is there a risk of the dollar collapsing in the short term? Is the world going to abandon the dollar as a reserve currency?
2011-07-07 Lessons from Investor Behavior Studies: Better to Have Patience and a Plan by Team of American Century Investments
Recent studies raise important questions about investor behavior and the likelihood that investors will successfully reach their financial targets. It seems that the best way to increase the odds of investing success is to take a balanced approach, providing exposure to the broad asset classes without leaving investors overexposed to any single area. Risk and financial reward exist in relation to one another. But diversification works on the principle that the relationship is not linear—you have the potential to get more return for each unit of risk you take by spreading out your investments.
2011-07-07 Exit Interview: FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
This week in The Institutional Risk Analyst, we feature a conversation with FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair as she nears the end of her term. Bair has been in and out of public service for three decades, including working for Congress, the Treasury and lastly the FDIC. She spoke to IRA co-founder Chris Whalen before the July 4th break.
2011-07-06 The Drudge Headline Indicator by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The Drudge Report is not a financial news site, so whenever a financial news story grabs the Drudge headline, it means that the story has crossed over from just a financial news story to a mainstream news story. And when a financial news story crosses over into the mainstream media, it means that those that don't follow the market on a regular basis are suddenly following the market. This nearly all of the time occurs when the market (or economy, etc.) is going down and not up.
2011-07-01 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
There are a little over 30 days left before the U.S. will technically default on its debt. Congress is still playing Russian roulette with the economy and the stock markets. We have seen what this type of Russian roulette has done to the stock market over the past eight weeks. The Republicans have talked about tax cuts and spending cuts, while the Democrats have pushed for increased taxes and smaller spending cuts. Although this would have been a perfect time for a serious debate on tax reform at both the individual and the corporate level, both of these seem to have been pushed to the side.
2011-06-30 Macroeconomics and Presidential Elections by Team of American Century Investments
It’s now just 16 months until our next presidential election. Republican candidates have already begun the long process of party debates and fund-raising efforts. President Obama wasted no time as well, launching his re-election campaign effort in March. This upcoming election will likely focus on the economy and involve major debates over taxation, spending, job creation and the fundamental role of the government in our economy. As a result, the election outcome could have significant consequences for the types of policies, incentives and legislation that will be pursued post-November 2012.
2011-06-29 A Tough Month for One Party by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
After the Republican Party took control of the House following the 2010 elections, the Democratic Party staged somewhat of a rebound in the polls. Over the past five months on the prediction market website Intrade.com, the odds for the Democrats to control the House and Senate after the 2012 elections steadily increased. The odds for President Obama to win re-election also trended higher. For whatever reason, however, the GOP has surged back in June. Below are historical charts of the Intrade.com contracts for the GOP to control the House, Senate, and White House following the 2012 elections.
2011-06-28 Passing Fad or Enduring Legacy? The Case for Owning Gold in Good Times and Bad by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
Gold has been one of the few shining stars during a challenging 10+ years for most investors. In May, gold breached $1,500 an ounce, a new record. In fact, since bottoming out at $252 an ounce in 1999, gold has been enjoying a steady long-term bull run. This has prompted some prognosticators to warn that the "gold bubble" is ready to burst. On the other side of the coin, the more bullish "gold bugs" view the rally as confirmation of their long-held belief in the value of owning gold. Today, gold is still viewed by many as a somewhat exotic investment with little value.
2011-06-28 Second Quarter Earnings Growth Expectations by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The first chart below shows how expectations for Q2 S&P 500 earnings growth have changed over the past four months. From the end of February through the end of April, growth expectations rose from 10.7% to 14.1%. Since the end of April, however, earnings growth expectations have drifted lower and the consensus estimate currently stands at 13.3%. The peak in the Q2 earnings growth estimate coincides with the peak in the S&P 500 this year. Has the market dropped because of the drop in growth estimates, or have analysts lowered their estimates because of the market drop? We think the latter.
2011-06-23 Greek Drama and the Eurozone's Future: Wharton's Franklin Allen Weighs In by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
After a week of political drama within his Socialist Pasok party and a new wave of violent riots in the streets, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou survived a vote of confidence, helping to pave the way for his plans to unleash further austerity measures to keep the country afloat. It has been just over a year since he shepherded in a multibillion-euro rescue package from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, which commits Greece to several more years of drastic budget cuts and will save it from defaulting on its staggering debt.
2011-06-22 We’re Still Patiently Positioned for a Flatter Yield Curve by Team of American Century Investments
In this Weekly Market Update, we discuss the steep Treasury yield curve and our yield curve flattener trade. This economic cycle-based, duration-neutral, mean-reversion strategy—and how it fits with our other active positions—helps illustrate the investment process and outlook of the fixed income team. The gap between short- and long-maturity U.S. Treasury yields has been at or near historically wide levels since 2009. It’s an interesting facet of the latest economic cycle. One of our active positions is tied to an eventual narrowing of this spread to a more historically average level.
2011-06-22 Japan Outlook – June 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Nomura’s forecast for Japan’s CY2012 real GDP growth is 3.2%, up from an expected rate for CY2011 real GDP growth of just 0.1%. Although there has been a temporary deterioration in Japanese economic indicators due to supply side constraints, such as capital stock damage, supply chain disruption, and electricity generating capacity shortfalls, we have already started to witness signs that these constraints are easing. The supply chain will return to normal this autumn, as production bases in the disaster-affected areas are restored or the users quickly switch to substitute components.
2011-06-21 The “Great Recalibration” by Team of Columbia Management
Investors who have participated in the municipal market over the last several years are keenly aware of the volatility that the market has experienced. Increased market volatility has resulted from the reaction to subprime exposure; downgrades and eventual disappearance of monoline insurers; the exit of hedge funds and arbitragers from the municipal market; fiscal strains on state governments; and changes in demand dynamics with the intro and eventual elimination of Build America Bonds. As each of these issues came to bear, they were often the subject of sensational headlines.
2011-06-21 The World Held Hostage by Credit Default Swaps? Alford on the FOMC: Watch what they say by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
In this issue of The Institutional Risk Analyst, we feature a comment from Richard Alford on the state of thinking inside the Federal Open Market Committee regarding monetary policy -- at least based on what folks at the Fed say in public. We also comment on the latest financial bailout, in this case the apparent salvation of the European and US banks in the CDS market from taking a hit in the restructuring of Greece.
2011-06-21 What’s Wrong with Chinese IPOs by Team of Renaissance Capital
Another wave of Chinese IPOs is hitting the US equity market, but this time many US investors are staying dry. The reasons for this growing aversion are several, but paramount among them are evidence of actual fraud at a handful of companies. As a result, Chinese IPOs have been one of the worst performing groups in the US IPO market, which furthers investor avoidance of the sector. If an investor bought every Chinese IPO since 2008, the average return though mid June would have been a -24% loss, compared to a 25% gain on the average non-Chinese IPO.
2011-06-15 Understanding the Investment Process at Jensen Investment Management - Step One: Return on Equity by Team of Jensen Investment Management
We believe that Return on Equity is a very useful criterion for identifying companies that have the potential to provide attractive returns over long periods of time. Our experience and research suggest that our requirement of consistently high Return on Equity results in a universe of high-quality, profitable companies that are able to generate returns above their costs of capital in a variety of circumstances and economic environments. This paper serves to illustrate the reasons why we use Return on Equity the way we do, and why we use it for the first step of our investment process.
2011-06-15 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
The more things change, the more they remain the same. That trite expression has been applied to many different things. We are applying it to what may be an early stage tech “bubble”. Almost every investor is familiar with LinkedIn coming out at $45 per share then jumping to $120 per share in the first day of trading before settling in at $90 per share. Other examples abound. The very popular Facebook is estimated to be worth $76 billion. We have to admit that at least some of the tech companies are actually making money today with viable ideas, but the valuations still seem a bit absurd.
2011-06-15 The Economy Hits a Soft Patch—But How Soft and How Long? by Team of American Century Investments
Most economists concur that the economy recently has hit a “soft patch.” The revised estimate of first quarter GDP1 growth was only 1.8% on an annualized basis. Nonfarm payrolls grew only 54,000 in May, a substantial downward change from February to April when approximately 200,000 new jobs were added each month. And average housing prices have now declined for six consecutive months. The question investors are asking is whether this slowdown is temporary or a sign of a longer-term slowdown that is coming just as the Fed winds down its latest round of monetary stimulus at the end of June.
2011-06-14 Global Overview: June 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Slower manufacturing growth triggers fears of another global economic downturn. Even as the global economy appeared to have entered a phase of stable growth, the unexpected slowdown in global manufacturing activity during the month of May has led to fears of another economic downturn. Activity indicators declined the most in developed economies where growth was expected to gain pace this year. However, unless the trend persists, it is more likely that the moderation in manufacturing activity growth is only a readjustment after several months of rapid expansion.
2011-06-14 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Europe’s sovereign debt woes and inflation fears have plagued the Asian equity markets recently, sending indices lower during May. The eventual withdrawal of QE2 also became a real concern for the markets. Japan’s post disaster market downturn continued in May, but mainly due to negative international factors this time. Meanwhile, domestic concerns about the ongoing negative impact of supply-chain disruption on manufacturers’ earnings and the political disarray caused by a divided parliament and a weakened prime minister have continued to weigh on the market.
2011-06-13 Middle East/Africa Economic Review May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
The fiscal stability of the Middle East and N.Africa region continues to be threatened by social pressures, yet rising inflation on the back of increasing fuel and energy prices and high levels of unemployment remain the main causes of concern. According to the Regional Economic Outlook report by IMF, the region is expected to grow 3.9 percent in 2011. The oil exporting countries are anticipated to record better growth thanks to high oil prices and production, while oil importing nations such as Egypt, Morocco and Jordan are expected to expand at a much slower pace.
2011-06-13 Americas: Economic Review May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
In North America, the U.S. and Canada saw contrasting economic trends during the first quarter. While first quarter GDP growth in the U.S. slowed when compared to the previous quarter, growth accelerated in Canada. The U.S. housing market remains weak while the housing recovery in Canada started last year, and the labor market has also seen a similar divergence. However, the economic outlook for the two countries is expected to converge more in the coming quarters. As growth accelerates in the U.S., Canada may find it difficult to maintain its first quarter growth pace.
2011-06-13 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Developed Asia Pacific economies largely managed to boost output by leaning on exports in May. For some of the economies affected by natural disasters earlier this year, exports proved to be a blessing. Australia, which was affected by floods in February this year, not only managed to increase raw material exports but also gained by the investments associated with its export-oriented mining sector. Earthquake-hit New Zealand and Japan, however, faced difficulties in increasing output. New Zealand, which depends on food exports and tourism, suffered because of a strong domestic currency.
2011-06-13 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Aggressive interest rate hikes by emerging markets in the past twelve to eighteen months have started showing some results. Although food inflation in many emerging markets remains at elevated levels, the pace of inflation seemed to slow in some countries. Further, inflation expectations are expected to cool, primarily due to anticipation of record harvest of food grains in many countries. The threat from oil prices, which grew at a menacing pace during the first quarter of the year, also subsided a bit in May. Nonetheless, many central banks across Asia were cautious over monetary policy.
2011-06-13 Developed Europe: Economic Review May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
All through May, Developed Europe’s debt woes dominated market sentiment, in not only the region but also other parts of the globe. Several other developments, such as the surge in the bond yields of other indebted nations like Spain, Ireland, and Portugal; S&P’s downgrade of the outlook for Italy’s sovereign bond from stable to negative; electoral setbacks for the ruling parties in Spain and Germany; and the arrest of the IMF chief, a key leader of the discussions on Greece; also added to investors’ unease.
2011-06-13 Emerging Europe: Economic Review May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
According to data from EuroStat, inflation in the Euro-zone touched a 30-month high of 2.8 percent in the month of April as prices of fuel, electricity, and housing continued to soar. In line with the broader trend, the inflation gauge in the 27-member European Union, which also includes Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary registered an annual 3.2 percent in April, a touch above the 3.1 percent recorded in March. Among the east European economies, the Czech Republic recorded the lowest rate of inflation during the month.
2011-06-09 The Next US Policy Shift by Team of GaveKal
We were once told by a client that “when the US government decides to sell, no price is cheap enough.” Our friend added: “This is how Onassis made his fortune; buying the surplus cargo boats the US Navy no longer needed following the end of WWII for cents on the dollar.” If this is true, then there must be fortunes to be made in US housing today, not only is housing trading at very attractive levels against incomes and ability to service a mortgage, but the US government, through its GSEs, is proving to be a very willing seller. In 1Q11 the GSEs sold 110,000 foreclosed homes, 10% of sales.
2011-06-08 Gold at $1,500 an Ounce: Speculation or Fundamental Demand? by Team of American Century Investments
We believe gold’s performance in recent years and current price above $1,500 an ounce reflect solid fundamental demand, rather than speculative fervor. A key driver of gold demand in the current environment is buying by central banks around the world. In addition, it appears that investors looking for a hedge against both the falling dollar and broader economic uncertainty have been buying gold for its diversification benefits. Jewelry demand in India and China are other, underappreciated positives.
2011-06-08 The Economy: When Will Happy Days Be Here Again? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
The latest economic reports show the U.S. recovery has faltered. But someday, surely, there will be a real recovery. What forces will drive that upturn? And will the healthy economy of the future look different from those of the past -- establishing a "new normal?" Two intertwined factors are critical to any rebound, according to many experts: Home prices must stop declining and begin to rise, and consumers must spend more freely.
2011-06-08 Ratio of Earnings Yield to Long-Term Interest Rates by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The "Fed Model" is a valuation model used to gauge the relative valuation between stocks and bonds. While there are several variations, in its basic form the Fed Model compares the earnings yield on the S&P 500 (inverse of P/E ratio) and the yield on long-term interest rates (10-year Treasury yield). When the yield on the 10-year Treasury exceeds the earnings yield of the S&P 500, stocks are considered to be overvalued relative to treasuries, and vice versa when the earnings yield exceeds the yield on the 10-year Treasury. So what is the Fed Model saying now? Equities are undervalued.
2011-06-07 Strategist Year-End S&P 500 Price Targets by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Below we highlight the most recent year-end S&P 500 price targets. Just two strategists currently have year-end targets below the actual level of the S&P 500 at the moment. Morgan Stanley is looking for a year-end S&P 500 level of 1,238, while Credit Suisse is looking for 1,275. On the bullish side, Deutsche Bank remains above any other firm with its price target of 1,550. Also, a chart of the S&P 500 along with the average year-end strategist price target as the year has gone on. While the market has really taken a downturn in recent weeks, strategists have yet to lower their targets.
2011-06-07 Has the hour of the dividend stock arrived? by Team of Columbia Management
Surveying the present financial landscape-what are investors’ options? Bonds have been enjoying historic popularity. But they are at market highs and come with return and income potential inherently capped by their coupons. Turning to Treasuries, the price-to-yield is particularly unattractive. Then there’s the specter of interest rate risk. The steep rebound of equities off the crisis bottom ended with the arrival of 2010, and double-digit returns for many formerly cheap stocks went with it. Following a period of volatility, we appear to have settled into the slow-growth stage.
2011-06-07 Presidential Approval Ratings: How Obama Stacks Up by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Following last week's uptick in the unemployment rate, we have heard multiple references to the fact that no US President since WWII has ever been re-elected with the unemployment rate above 7.2%. Not surprisingly, with the jobless rate now at 9.1%, President Obama's approval rating currently stands at a rather tepid 47%.
2011-06-06 David Kotok on Central Bank Credibility; Bob Eisenbeis: Did the Fed Print Money with QE? by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
This week in The Institutional Risk Analyst, we republish a comment by Robert Eisenbeis, Chief Monetary Economist of Cumberland Advisers, "Did the Fed Print Money in QE1 and QE2?" Eisenbeis, who was Executive Vice President and Director of Research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta prior to joining Cumberland, corrects a puzzling comment on the Fed published last week in the Wall Street Journall by George Melloan. We assumed that Melloan and the Wall Street Journal editorial staff were aware of the rules of monetary quantum mechanics, but maybe not.
2011-06-03 Can Less Deliver More? The Case for Concentrated Equity Strategies by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
"Don't put all your eggs in one basket" is such a widely held notion within the financial services industry that it's almost blasphemous to suggest an investment strategy that questions this premise. But what if researching multiple baskets of stocks was too distracting and too much to manage? Could focusing your attention on a single, smaller basket of investment ideas produce better results? Some investment professionals-Warren Buffett among them-believe concentrated equity portfolios offer the opportunity for better risk-adjusted returns.
2011-06-03 Economic Update by Team of Cambridge Advisors
A consensus of economic analysts expected 1st quarter economic growth to be revised up to 2.2% but instead the final reading was left unchanged at 1.8%. This was a disappointment but the data hints that a good part of the slow growth is attributable to the earthquake/ tsunami / nuclear meltdown in Japan which created very significant supply chain disruptions that led to lower economic activity. These disruptions continued into the 2nd quarter so it is likely we will see disappointing growth continue a little longer.
2011-06-03 And That’s The Week That Was… by Team of Brounes & Associates
Congress failed to pass a bill to raise the government’s debt ceiling and help avoid a default in early August. Republicans refused to support any legislation that is not tied to specific deficit reduction, even though there is a potential downgrade on US debt without any progress on a deal. The bickering continued in the aftermath of the unemployment data as both parties blamed the other for the weaker results. Republicans questioned the “binge of taxing, spending, borrowing and over-regulating,” while Democrats claimed their counterparts are too focused on “tax breaks for millionaires.”
2011-06-02 High Unemployment Remains a Substantial Challenge for the Economy by Team of American Century Investments
Continued high unemployment and weak residential housing prices are two hangovers from the Great Recession that continue to act as brakes on the economy and current recovery. Some analysts say the housing problem is a several-year process of allowing prices to fall to where demand recovers. But the housing market is closely related to the labor market and the unemployment problem. However, no one has a definitive analysis of what’s wrong or what is needed to bring unemployment down from 9%. And adopting the same laissez-faire approach as the housing market is clearly not a solution.
2011-06-02 Still Chugging Along: The Market that Could by Team of Eagle Asset Management
The global economic recovery is moving along but there remain some areas of concern. Our managers’ discussion included such things as rising commodity prices, real estate problems and perhaps most interesting to readers, how they have investment portfolios positioned. Included in the roundtable were Bert L. Boksen (Small/Mid Cap Growth); James Camp (Fixed Income); Ed Cowart (Equity Income/Value); Todd McCallister (Small/Mid Cap Core); Jack McPherson (Small Cap Core Value); Eric Mintz (Small/Mid Cap Growth); Richard Skeppstrom (Large Cap Core); and Stacey Serafini Thomas (Small/Mid Cap Core)
2011-06-02 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
As the first of the Baby Boomers begin to turn 65, they are being greeted with some bad news concerning Medicare and Social Security, especially since they hope to enjoy a longer time in retirement. Social Security is now scheduled to be exhausted by 2036, a year earlier than was projected last year. In addition to longer life spans, the 2% reduction in Social Security tax this year was a major factor in this updated information. As bad as things are for Social Security, things are worse for Medicare, which is projected to be bankrupt by 2024, five years sooner than was projected last year.
2011-06-01 An Investment in Infrastructure by Team of Columbia Management
Neglecting infrastructure can have tragic consequences. Think about the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, levees breaking in Missouri or the San Bruno gas pipeline explosion. These and many other examples illustrate the type of destruction that can occur if the country’s aging infrastructure is not addressed. At the same time, demand for new infrastructure is growing exponentially in emerging markets. Data highlighting the scale of construction, transport, logistics and communications development are so large they render relevant context difficult to comprehend.
2011-06-01 Next Big Thing: "Rent to Own?" Recreating the Ear of the Markets by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
We feature a comment by Damien IslamFrenoy and David Cox, of Microsoft Banking and Capital Markets, about the need to restore context to information to better identify and manage risk. But first we make a few observations about the trends in the political economy. The first quarter of 2011 is now the best quarter since 2007 but does this mean that the future is assured? With an ROA<1% and ROE measured in single digits, the results are less than stellar. But the retrenchment of Americans away from housing assets and toward cash savings raises questions about the future of the banking industry.
2011-06-01 Is the Slow Economic Data Due to Japan or Something Deeper? by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
We have been discussing the slowdown in economic data on both an absolute basis and relative to expectations. Within the investment community there is a debate over whether the slowdown is a temporary effect from the massive earthquake in Japan back in March, or part of a broader global economic slowdown. Ultimately only time will settle this debate, but a look at two widely watched economic indicators and how they reacted following the January 1995 Kobe earthquake shows that the recent slowdown is more likely a result of the earthquake in Japan, and therefore temporary in nature.
2011-05-27 Prediction Market Contracts on the Debt Ceiling and 2012 Elections by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Everyone is following the debt ceiling story at the moment, and you can bet on whether and when Congress will approve its increase over at Intrade. While investors recognize the seriousness of the issue, Congressmen are unfortunately treating it as a political game. As we saw when Congress failed to pass TARP I, the market doesn't like political gameplay. At the moment, Intrade traders are putting the odds of a debt ceiling increase by the end of July at just 27%. Odds for an increase by the end of August are at 67%, and odds for an increase by the end of September are at 75%.
2011-05-26 Everything from Oil to Silver: Are Speculators Causing Too Much Volatility? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
Allegations that traders manipulated oil prices in 2008 are reinforcing the buzz -- at the gas pump and elsewhere -- that speculators are driving up the price of oil, triggering wild price spikes and nail-biting volatility. Fingering speculators is a popular pastime these days, but experts at Wharton and elsewhere say the blame is often misplaced. Although speculation can affect prices, most of the recent price swings in oil and other commodities are happening for fundamental economic reasons.
2011-05-26 Protecting Bond Portfolios From Rising Rates by Team of Neuberger Berman
As the U.S. economy continues to strengthen and the prospect of inflation rises, investors are concerned the U.S. may potentially face a sustained period of rising interest rates. This matters to bond owners because changes in interest rates directly impact the market value of bonds and bond portfolios. With today’s fixed income markets now implying an increase in interest rates and higher volatility in credit spreads, a traditional buy-and-hold bond portfolio or a more traditional fixed income mutual fund strategy may not be as attractive to investors.
2011-05-25 Global Mergers and Acquisitions Activity Continues to Rise by Team of American Century Investments
Mergers and acquisitions activity is on the rise worldwide. In the U.S. this increase has been accompanied by the return of mega-deals ($10 billion+) driven primarily by large multi-national corporations flush with cash. These deals (and the anticipation of more to come) have helped drive markets up in the first quarter of this year. But the question on the minds of many investors is whether acquiring companies are at risk of overpaying for acquisitions that—while deemed “strategic”-may only end up transferring (not creating) value from shareholders of the acquiring to the acquired companies.
2011-05-23 Is Deflation in the US Housing Sector Accelerating? by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
This week in The Institutional Risk Analyst, we offer our view on the housing sector as we travel to Philadelphia on Tuesday to participate in the 29th Annual Monetary and Trade Conference sponsored by the Global Interdependence Center and Drexel University. John Burns walked the participants through the current situation in the US housing sector and the outlook for a recovery in prices. The bottom line: Even though affordability has returned, new home sales are likely to remain depressed for years due to massive inventories of unsold homes, dwindling finance and weak employment markets.
2011-05-19 Explaining U.S. debt levels, credit ratings, and recent bond market behavior by Team of American Century Investments
This week, we discuss the U.S. debt ceiling and the credit ratings for U.S. sovereign debt, plus explanations for seemingly counterintuitive bond market behavior. To fully comprehend the ceiling, we should first review the U.S. federal debt it’s attempting to cap, and why. The U.S. federal debt reflects what the U.S. government has to borrow to help pay for its multitude of operations, services, and financial commitments. Like some of its citizens, the U.S. government has been living beyond its means in recent years, spending more money than it has in reserve or receives in tax revenues.
2011-05-19 Best First Day IPO Returns: Current Bull Market by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
As of now, shares of LinkedIn (LNKD) are up 171% from their offering price, making it the best performing IPO on its first day of trading in the current bull market. The stock is moving around like crazy, but if it manages to close above $117.56, LNKD will maintain its spot on top of the list.
2011-05-18 Floating rate: Hedging the interest rate risk in your fixed-income portfolio by Team of Columbia Management
Following the Great Recession of 2008, many investors aggressively moved to cash and fixed-income securities in a classic flight to safety. In early 2009, we could point to a historic opportunity to capture significant total return. Much of that correction has already occurred and valuations across the fixed-income market have largely recovered. At this juncture in the business cycle, credit risk has declined dramatically, as evidenced by defaults that are running below long-term averages, robust new issuance and demand for bonds, and healthy corporate balance sheets and earnings.
2011-05-16 Ally Financial + ING Bank? Richard Alford on Lessons Forgotten at the Greenspan/Bernanke Fed by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
This week in The Institutional Risk Analyst we feature a comment from Dick Alford on the lessons forgotten by the Fed when it comes to financial regulation. Showing his considerate nature, Dick even uses the official histories of past crises prepared by the FDIC as the timeline to make it easier for some of our former colleagues at the Fed to follow along. But first, let's have some fun with one of the toys developed for The IRA Bank Monitor, namely our pro forma M&A analysis tool.
2011-05-12 The Value of Gold Company Stocks and Gold’s Role in a Diversified Portfolio by Team of American Century Investments
Two questions we’ve heard a lot lately are “Why haven’t the stocks kept pace with the metal?” and “What’s the right amount of gold for my portfolio?” The recent disparity in performance between gold bullion and gold mining stocks is largely down to concern about higher costs to extract and refine the metal. Compare those fears with conditions in 2009 and 2010, when gold mining stocks did very well as the price of gold bullion surged, while changes in production costs were comparatively tame. This meant better top-line revenue and margin figures, making for attractive stock performance.
2011-05-12 Pacific Basin Market Overview - April 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Equity markets in Asia continued to gain ground in April after a volatile first quarter of 2011. Stock markets ended higher as companies reported strong earnings, while expectations that inflation may have peaked out also helped to support market sentiment. Disruption to manufacturing industry supply-chains and ongoing problems surrounding the Fukushima nuclear power plant have continued to weigh on Japanese stock prices, although the market was able to stabilize from the massive sell-off that followed the Tohoku earthquake.
2011-05-11 UK Country Risk: Is Lloyd's of London Too Big to Sue? by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
Last month an American investor named Richard Tropp filed a writ of certiorari with the US Supreme Court to review a decision by the Second Circuit in New York regarding an epic litigation against the Lloyds of London insurance market. To us, the case of Tropp v. the Corporation of Lloyds is troubling not only because it implies that thousands of investors in the Lloyd's insurance market have no contractual rights enforceable at law in the courts of England and Wales, but also because of what it says more broadly about the state of the law in Britain.
2011-05-10 Emerging Europe: Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International
The International Monetary Fund in its latest report observed that the economic recovery in Europe as a whole is proceeding modestly. However, the agency noted that the pace of growth varied substantially across countries in the region. The large emerging European economies in the region are performing at or above capacity, according to the agency. Preliminary data showed that the Euro-zone economy expanded at a better-than-expected pace in April, allaying concerns that the recent rate hike by the European Central Bank would strengthen the euro and slow down German export growth.
2011-05-10 Developed Europe: Economic Review April 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
A widely anticipated European Central Bank (ECB) rate hike and Portugal’s plea for a bailout in early April failed to dampen investor optimism surrounding the steady, albeit fragile recovery in Developed Europe. However, around mid-April, equity indices in the region did register a sharp fall in response to the news of another jump in the Euro-zone inflation rate, but recovered quickly to remain in an uptrend for the rest of the month. After recording its highest level for 28 months in February, inflation in the Euro-zone climbed further to 2.7 percent year-on-year in March.
2011-05-10 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review April 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Faced with persistent inflation, central banks across emerging Asian economies turned more active in the foreign exchange markets during April, aggressively raising interest rates. However, these actions have coincided with a loose monetary policy in the developed markets. Consequently, the investment capital, which typically chases high interest rates, continued to flow from the developed markets to emerging markets, pushing up the value of the currencies of emerging markets. To prevent a sudden appreciation of their respective currencies, central banks turned into buyers of the U.S. dollar.
2011-05-10 Americas: Economic Review April 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Rising inflation remains the major policy concern across most economies in the Americas region and is attracting stronger policy responses, as energy and commodity prices remain elevated. While some of the Latin American countries continue with monetary policy tightening, Canada is widely expected to start hiking interest rates later this year. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve will end its quantitative easing program by the end of this quarter, though interest rate hikes are not expected until early next year.
2011-05-10 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review April 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Developed Asia Pacific economies that were hit by natural disasters during the initial months of 2011 registered mixed economic performance with some countries in the group recovering faster even as other countries are still dealing with the aftermath of the crisis. While Japan, finalized a fiscal and monetary plan, investment-led growth was helping Australia recover from floods. New Zealand, which also suffered a devastating earthquake, showed a considerable rise in dairy exports. Other advanced economies continued to do well, although strong growth has been stoking inflation.
2011-05-10 Global Overview: May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Global economic growth now appears more sustainable, as the developed economies continue to recover and the emerging economies maintain their rapid pace of growth. The Euro-zone economy is expanding faster than expected while the U.S. growth slowdown in the first quarter is widely believed to be due to seasonal factors. The IMF acknowledged that global economic activity is set to accelerate again, and maintained the global growth forecasts for both this year and 2012 at 4.5 percent. However, the IMF warned that growth remained unbalanced and that inflationary risks have increased.
2011-05-10 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review April 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
According to research by the World Bank, unrest in the Middle East and North Africa has affected economic growth in the region, which previously had been expected to zoom upwards in 2011 until the turmoil began. In its economic forecasts in January, the World Bank had projected that the region, which had come out of the 2009 global recession, would enjoy a rise in gross domestic product (GDP) from 3.3 percent in 2010 to 4.3 percent in 2011. In stark contrast now, some of the affected countries like Egypt will have a growth rate as low as one percent.
2011-05-06 Is The Drop in Oil Good For Stocks? by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
During yesterday's drop in oil and other commodities, we heard several commentators say they were puzzled over why stocks were down as commodities were plunging. While their argument seemed to be based on the assumption that lower commodity prices will benefit the consumer, have they been paying any attention at all to the markets in the last two years? Although lower commodity and energy prices will increase the amount of money that consumers have to spend on other things, the reality is that oil and stock prices have been positively correlated for some time now.
2011-05-05 Corn Price Increases Tell a Story About Why Commodity Prices Are Rising by Team of American Century Investments
In case you haven’t been watching, the price of corn for delivery in July (a futures price set on the Chicago Board of Trade) rose 35% just in the month of April from $216 to $293 per metric ton. As both a commodity and agricultural product, the demand and pricing of corn can provide interesting insights into whether inflation is rising, why and (if so) what factors are driving it. In this Weekly Market Update, we’ll take a look at the market dynamics for corn, what is driving recent price increases and how this is likely to unfold over the remainder of this year and beyond.
2011-05-05 Entropy and the Mechanics of Reflation by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
All we can say with some degree of certainty is that the real economy seems to be slowing rapidly from our perspective. The problem is not so much a dearth of credit as a lack of demand for credit and goods of all descriptions. Have you noticed your retailers and service providers trying harder recently? Even the major airlines are treating passengers with a degree of deference that is almost unnerving -- but the planes are mostly full.
2011-05-04 More Than 14% of Americans on Food Stamps by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
As if we needed another reminder of the depressed level of the US economy, a recent WSJ article noted that one out of every seven Americans are on food stamps. Breaking out the numbers by state shows some wide divergences. Mississippi, has the highest percentage of its residents on food stamps at 20.6%. The only other state where one in five residents are on food stamps is Oregon. On the low end of the spectrum, Wyoming has the smallest proportion of its residents on food stamps, 6.6%, and believe it or not there are only seven other states where less than one in ten people are on food stamps.
2011-05-03 Profiting From the Urge to Merge by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
If it seems there has been a significant uptick in mergers & acquisitions ("M&A") lately, it's not your imagination. In the first quarter of 2011, worldwide M&A activity rose 55% from the comparable period in 2010. More than 9,600 deals with a value of nearly $800 billion were announced, the highest levels since the second quarter of 2008. We believe the recent pick-up in M&A activity is more than a simple rebound off the lows of the Great Recession and is likely part of a broader, longer-term trend. A confluence of factors supports this hypothesis.
2011-04-29 Akre Focus Fund Q1 Commentary by Team of Akre Capital Management
We continue to be cautious on the economy, as the “big” problems (a hangover from the financial crisis and mounting US government debt) are likely to stay with us for some time. The large dosage of negative news and events worldwide, from Portugal to Japan, has been absorbed by the U.S. stock market with barely a hiccup. During the 1 quarter of 2011 we continued to take advantage of opportunities in the market and ended the quarter with a cash balance of 17.2%. Our portfolio today reflects a number of businesses that have proven their ability to thrive in a consumer constrained environment.
2011-04-29 Quarter 1 Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management
QEII is set to end no later than June 30th. Prominent money managers disagree on the impact. PIMCO’s Bill Gross thinks yields are bound to rise as the largest net buyer of Treasuries moves to the sidelines. Gross has sold all of the US Treasury holdings in the flagship Total Return Fund. Jeff Gundlach, formerly of Trust Company of the West and now with DoubleLine Capital, believes the opposite. According to him, yields will fall in the short term because quantitative easing is inflationary. When QEII stops, bond buyers will require lower yields as future inflation expectations recede.
2011-04-29 We Are Not Perma-Bears, But We Are Cautious Now by Team of Litman Gregory
To understand the potential upside for stocks it's important to evaluate the factors that drive returns and how they might behave over our investment horizon. The three key variables are dividends, earnings growth, and changes in the price/earnings ratio. Our analysis focuses on assessing these key factors under several broad economic scenarios. This allows us to estimate return ranges for stocks, and to weigh these potential returns against the risks we see to make informed portfolio allocation decisions.
2011-04-28 Weekly Market Update by Team of American Century Investments
Total returns began looking better for municipal bonds (munis) after mid-January this year as issuance eased and a wave of non-traditional (not tax-exempt income-seeking) buyers entered the market in pursuit of relative value and return opportunities provided by falling muni prices and rising yields compared with those of Treasuries. But the rewards from that influx of demand have not been uniform across the muni market, the non-traditional “crossover” buyers have targeted some segments much more than others, creating a divided market that has rewarded some investors at the expense of others.
2011-04-27 The Impact of Interest Rates on Real Estate Securities by Team of Forward Management
How interest rate movements impact real estate securities is a complex but topical matter. After studying the historical performance of these securities, our findings indicate that: Not all interest rates move together. Real estate securities have had surprisingly low correlations to interest rates. More often than not, real estate securities have generated positive performance during periods of rising interest rates. These observations indicate that credit quality, yield spreads and underlying fundamentals play an equal or more important role in investment returns than interest rates alone.
2011-04-26 Are You Watching Your Brokered Deposits? Bob Eisenbeis: What's a Central Bank to Do? by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
In this issue of The Institutional Risk Analyst, we feature a comment from Bob Eisenbeis, Chief Monetary Economist of Cumberland Advisors. Bob clearly states the obvious in his excellent analysis of the choices facing the Federal Open Market Committee, namely that the Fed continues to steer monetary policy based upon largely domestic factors, this even as the global role of the dollar creates dangers for the US and other nations as they flee the perils of deflation.
2011-04-21 Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
The bifurcation of the market, with small caps outperforming large caps, has led to a valuation disparity between overvalued small caps and undervalued large caps, which we believe can be profitably exploited. We, and others, have observed for some time that many excellent, growing large cap stocks are quite cheap relative to both the overall market and to more richly priced smaller companies. We expect that, over time, more investors will agree and large cap stocks may then begin to outperform the general market, as they have to a modest extent this year.
2011-04-21 South Korean and Taiwanese Electronics Giants Fight for Global Influence by Team of Thomas White International
The East Asian nations of South Korea and Taiwan have transformed themselves from being the manufacturing backyards of US and Japan into high-tech giants in the past four decades. Their growth in the field of electronics has been impressive especially since the late 1990s. Currently, South Korean and Taiwanese firms are not only engaged in the manufacturing of the highly-commoditized chips but also in the production of hi-tech electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, televisions and personal computers.
2011-04-21 Banking Sector in India: Counting on Credit Growth by Team of Thomas White International
In 2008, when the global banking industry was being shaken by the tremors of the unfolding financial crisis, only one bank in India felt the aftershocks, and this, only because one of its overseas subsidiaries had made an opportunistic bet on debt issued by the failed investment bank Lehman Brothers. While the market valuations of all the leading banks in India slipped as equity prices tumbled, their businesses were not affected and their balance sheets remained healthy. Most domestic commentators continue to hold up this as evidence of the inherent strengths of the Indian banking industry.
2011-04-21 Retail Sales Continue to Grow—and Raise Questions About the Consumer by Team of American Century Investments
Last week, the U.S. Commerce Department released its monthly report on retail sales for March. With gasoline prices up almost a dollar over the past six months and consumer demand already challenged by sagging home prices plus high unemployment, investors and analysts were eager to see if the streak of eight months of positive growth in retail sales through February could be sustained in March. And the answer was “Yes, but barely.”
2011-04-20 Is Europe at the Tipping Point? Sol Sanders & Bill Alpert on Keynes, Keynesianism -- and Keynesianit by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
With the world preparing for the collapse of the post-WWII, post-Bretton Woods economic order, we thought it might be useful to look at what Keynes actually said. We depart from our optimism due to the situation in Europe. Forget the threat of a ratings downgrade by S&P, Washington on debt ceilings or our part-time POTUS, the final collapse of the southern states of Europe is accelerating. Most banks in the EU are insolvent and the states supposedly backing them cannot access the global markets. The collapse of the EU bank bailout effort could be the next catalyst for global contagion.
2011-04-19 Emerging Europe: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Upbeat forecasts from the European Commission as well as stable financial and economic conditions in European economies indicated that the recovery is on track in the region despite the tragic developments in Japan, increasing oil prices, and the continuing political unrest in the MENA region. Equity markets also seem to be signaling that the sustained pace of global economic recovery will offset these developments. The decision by seventeen Euro governments to strengthen the €440 billion rescue fund and to lower interest rates on Greece’s bailout helped allay fears of a lingering debt crisis.
2011-04-19 The Reserve Currency and the S&P Warning by Team of GaveKal
Back in May 2009, S&P placed its AAA rating for the UK on negative watch for a possible downgrade, in effect putting the UK government on notice that its proposed policy path was unsustainable. Then in October 2010, after the UK took aggressive deficit-slashing measures, S&P revised the UK outlook from negative to stable and maintained the country’s AAA rating (see p. 2). Yesterday, S&P similarly placed the US government on notice with the same warning and equal odds (one in three) of a downgrade, even if this downgrade is unlikely to be realized until after the 2012 election.
2011-04-19 Developed Europe: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Despite several discouraging developments in March, such as the fighting in Libya, the tsunami devastation and nuclear scare in Japan, as well as the resignation of the Portuguese prime minister, Developed Europe stabilized, following an initial bout of volatility, seemingly shrugging off these events and, instead, focusing on the positive economic data from the region. Portugal’s sovereign debt crisis has been simmering for a while now, and given the scale of the country’s problems, the latest setback was not exactly a surprise to investors.
2011-04-19 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Inflation continued to be the watchword for the emerging Asia Pacific economies in March. The world’s second largest economy, China, has slowly but firmly gained control over its banks, whose relentless lending had stoked inflation. Consequently, fears about excess inflation affecting China’s economy are expected to come down over the next few months. However, worries over the damage done to Japan by an earthquake could affect a number of export-based emerging economies in the Asia Pacific region. In other emerging Asian economies, monetary tightening continued at an accelerated pace.
2011-04-19 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
During March, most developed Asian economies faced headwinds to export growth. Continued efforts to tighten credit in China, inflationary pressures and strengthening currencies were some of the factors affecting export growth across many developed Asian economies. However, a devastating earthquake that struck Japan in early March disrupted supply chains across Asia. Japan, which accounts for 9 percent of the worlds GDP, plays a crucial role in the functioning of the global auto and electronics industry. It is estimated that Japan will require another 2-4 quarters to recoup the losses suffered.
2011-04-19 Americas: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
The economic repercussions to the Americas region from Japan's earthquake are expected to be limited. Though Japan is a large trading partner the percentage share of Japan in their total external trade is low. However, some of the large manufacturers, especially in electronics and automobiles, may face slower output because of shortage in supplies from Japan. Similarly, the escalation of political unrest in the MENA region, have not yet caused a flare up in energy prices. Though retail prices of gasoline have risen, they are not considered high enough to cause damage to consumer spending.
2011-04-19 Global Overview by Team of Thomas White International
While the earthquake and the tsunami have caused extensive damage in Japan, the impact on global economic growth is not expected to be significant. Though exports to Japan may slow in the short term, this will likely be offset by increased demand as the country starts rebuilding. The supply disruptions faced by manufacturers who depend on Japanese components are also likely to be short-lived. Global equity prices saw increased volatility during March, but recovered towards the end of the month as fears of slower global economic growth due to the disaster in Japan subsided.
2011-04-19 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review March 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
The turmoil in the Middle East region continues, with Libya exploding into civil war, and troops from the Gulf Cooperation Council being called in to suppress the protests in Bahrain. In terms of the economic repercussions, stock markets in the MENA are estimated to have lost around $140 billion in market capitalization during the last month. According to the Arab Monetary Fund, the market capitalization of 16 Arab bourses was valued at $862 billion on March 4, compared with $1.002 billion on January 25, a day before the political crisis in Egypt triggered upheaval across the Middle East.
2011-04-15 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
Herb Meyer said during tough economic times family size tends to shrink because people tend not to get married, and if they do they try to avoid having children because they can’t afford them. It was only a few days after this talk that we read that the birth rate in the U.S. from 2007 through 2009 fell 4%, which was the single largest drop in any two year period since the mid 1970s. The stock market declined by 50% in the mid ‘70s and interest rates climbed to over 20%. That’s right – 20%! In short, a thriving economy creates a growing population which in turn creates a thriving economy.
2011-04-14 Expectations Are High for Continued and Impressive Earnings Growth by Team of American Century Investments
This week marks a quarterly ritual on Wall Street where companies report their actual financial results for the most recent quarter, and analysts use these results to update their forecasts for companies, including their target share price and sell or buy recommendations. Most expect to see a continuation of the growth that began in 2009 as the economy was struggling to exit the Great Recession. This recovery of U.S. corporations has been the one bright spot for our economy, which continues to struggle with high unemployment, record government budget deficits and a weak housing market.
2011-04-14 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Asian equity markets began the year in a particularly volatile state as they came to terms with regional inflationary pressure, unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, and the natural disaster in Japan. Notwithstanding these negative factors, most markets in Asia rebounded in late March to end the quarter on a positive note. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan, however, decreased by 1.4% in the first quarter of 2011, while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index increased by 1.5%.
2011-04-13 Global Demographic Trends: 1950 - 2050 by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The OECD recently issued its annual Society at a Glance report which highlights and compares trends in income, age, and other vital statistics across countries. One interesting aspect of the report highlights trends in the age of the global population. In the charts below we compare the percentage of the entire OECD population above the age of 65, as well as in BRIC and G7 countries. As shown in the top chart, 14.61% of the population within all OECD countries is currently above the age of 65 years old. Between now and 2050, this percentage of the population will increase to 25.66%.
2011-04-13 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
Investors sometimes walk a fine line between either over-reacting to temporal changes, which ultimately don’t have a lasting impact on either the economy or the markets, or underestimating the impact of real risks that can bring about lasting and meaningful changes. Currently, the main areas of concern are the Japanese triple disaster, the Middle Eastern/North African “Arab Spring,” and inflation. While we do not believe the Japanese and Middle Eastern situations pose a real threat to financial markets long term, we do believe inflation may.
2011-04-13 Powering Up Asia by Team of Matthews Asia
Energy is a fundamental building block of all modern economies. As such, it should not be an overstatement to say that the availability, or lack of energy has been a primary driver of growth. This is why it has been imperative for all nations, to secure stable sources of energy. With Japan’s current nuclear crisis and high oil prices causing concern, the topic has drawn recent attention. And as Asia's population continues to climb, the region’s energy demands are also set to soar. China and India, are expected to develop ever greater appetites for energy sources, such as nuclear power.
2011-04-12 Private Mortgage Insurance Endgame by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
In this issue of The Institutional Risk Analyst we feature a comment on the XBRL pilot program at the Securities and Exchange Commission by Daniel Roberts CEO of raas-XBRL. First let's focus briefly on some related technical developments at the IRA HQ in Torrance, CA. Both of these data points directly impact investors, regulators and other consumers of financial data. And we feature a reader comment on the endgame of the private mortgage insurers at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, namely stuff the taxpayer.
2011-04-07 Weekly Market Update by Team of American Century Investments
“Dodd-Frank” is shorthand for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The main focus of the legislation is on increasing regulation/supervision of banks and other major players in derivatives, lending, and securitization businesses. Few of the law’s provisions are aimed directly at the registered fund industry, likely reflecting the industry’s distance from the 2008 financial crisis and general effectiveness of the framework already in place. Nevertheless, a number of provisions could affect mutual funds and their investment advisers in meaningful ways.
2011-04-07 Valuation Changes During the Current Bull Market by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
There is always a lot of attention paid to the price changes that sectors have experienced during the current bull market, but there's not much focus on the changes in their valuations. Below we take a look at both using a scatter chart that shows the percentage change in both price and P/E ratio since March 9th, 2009. As the price of the sector rises, earnings need to rise just as much or else the P/E ratio will increase. It's common for P/E ratios to expand during bull markets, but a sector becomes more attractive if it can keep its valuation down as its price increases.
2011-04-06 The 10-Year Earnings Picture by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Here at Bespoke, we have a huge database that has every US earnings report going back to 2001. For each earnings report, we have how earnings and revenues came in versus expectations, any guidance that was issued, and in-depth price action analysis. From our database, we're able to combine all of the earnings information for individual stocks to come up with macro earnings trends as well. Since 2001, there have been more than 64,000 quarterly earnings reports. Of those 63% of companies have beaten consensus analyst earnings per share estimates, while 25% have missed earnings estimates.
2011-04-05 Inflation Worries? Commodities May Help by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
Many of you may remember the movie This classic shed some interesting light on the world of commodities. Commodities include natural resources, industrial metals, precious metals, and agricultural products. Or, as Duke explained to Billy Ray Valentine, "Commodities are agricultural products...like the coffee you had for breakfast...wheat, which is used to make bread...pork bellies, which are used to make bacon, which you might find in a BLT sandwich. And then there are other commodities, like frozen orange juice...and gold. Though, of course, gold doesn't grow on trees like oranges."
2011-04-05 Mergers, Acquisitions and Opportunities by Team of Eagle Asset Management
After several years in which worldwide M&A activity dropped steeply, corporate dealmaking could make a comeback in 2011. Corporate cash balances are near record highs, and management teams are turning to M&As to create shareholder value, a trend that is likely to continue over the next 12 to 18 months. Last year saw worldwide small-cap M&A deals jump 14.7% over the previous year, especially among technology, healthcare and industrial names. The Small Cap team at Eagle Boston, witnessed the same trend in their portfolios, as several holdings were acquired by larger competitors during 2010.
2011-04-04 The Revolving Door at the Fed of New York; Dick Alford on False Dichotomies in Monetary Policy by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
This week in The Institutional Risk Analyst, we feature a comment by Richard Alford on the false dicotomy between discretionary and rules-based regimes when it comes to monetary policy. But first we want to do a little review of the latest disgorgement of documents by the Fed. Listening to the debate between the "borrow and spend" camp led by Paul Krugman et al and the cut the deficit camp led by the Tea Partiers in Congress and around the nation, we are reminded again of the film "The Matrix" and its predecessors.
2011-04-01 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
Here we are at the end of the first quarter of 2011 and we watched the markets move basically upward for the first six weeks of the year, advancing as much as 8% in some cases. Then, uncertainty escalated around the world beginning in mid February. First, there was the fall of the Tunisian and Egyptian governments, along with unrest in other Arab countries. Then in mid March, Japan suffered its earthquake. Meanwhile, the U.S. government kept itself running by passing a series of continuing resolutions, while the politicians still could not come to grips with an approved budget and deficit.
2011-03-31 Weekly Market Update by Team of American Century Investments
Last week brought more bad news regarding the residential housing market. There were declines in sales volume of both new and previously occupied homes for the month of February. Additionally, one major and closely followed home price index exhibited a 3.1% decline in January, marking the fourth consecutive month of price declines for this index. In most regional markets, the situation remains deflationary as prices continue to slip and (as is characteristic of deflationary markets) demand declines as buyers await further price declines before jumping in.
2011-03-31 Small-/Mid-Cap Growth — Why Today’s Market Cycle is Different by Team of Columbia Management
We believe the outlook for small- and mid-cap growth stocks remains bright as we move into the later stages of the economic recovery. While the asset class is typically expected to underperform at this point of an economic rebound, there are three important distinctions that make this cycle different: 1) scarcity of growth, 2) continued M&A activity and 3) commodities inflation.
2011-03-29 Unemployment Rates By State by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
While traders are already eagerly awaiting this Friday's employment report, we thought we would tide you over with a look at recently released levels of unemployment by state from the Department of Labor. The states with the lowest unemployment rates are North Dakota (3.7%), Nebraska (4.3%), and South Dakota (4.8%). While some will attribute the low unemployment rates in these states to the boom in agriculture, the reality is that these states have routinely had among the lowest unemployment rates in the country throughout history.
2011-03-24 Bill Miller vs The S&P 500 by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Even though "the streak" of beating the S&P 500 for fifteen consecutive years ended in 2005, Bill Miller still commands the respect and attention of investors all over the world. Although Miller had some rough years during the financial crisis, ever since the S&P 500 bottomed in March 2009, his Legg Mason Value Trust Fund (LMVTX) has outperformed the S&P 500. Since March 9th, 2009 Miller's fund is up 115% through yesterday, while the S&P 500 is up 91.2%.
2011-03-24 Mixed Fed Messages Reflect Murky Outlook by Team of American Century Investments
Mixed. Unsettled. Not altogether reassuring. Sounding a lot like the current state of the U.S. economy, that was the tone of the policy statement issued March 15 by the open-market operations committee of the U.S. Federal Reserve. It certainly didn’t provide comfort to those fearing that the Fed is in the process of fueling future inflation flames, nor did it offer any encouragement to savers hoping for higher short-term interest rates in the near future. What the statement did accomplish was help support the economic, inflation, and Fed policy outlooks of the fixed income team at ACI.
2011-03-23 A Crime Called Private Mortgage Insurance; Alex Pollock on the Political Finance of Covered Bonds by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
This week in The IRA Advisory Service, we review the Fed's latest stress test exercise and discuss what it means for the banking industry and the US economy. While the US central bank did not provide results for specific institutions, the assumptions in the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) are more instructive than the Big Media seems to notice. Indeed, a close reading of the CCAR document provides a compelling argument for why the Fed should not be supervising financial institutions.
2011-03-22 Asset Correlations to S&P 500 by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
While oil and stocks are positively correlated, stocks and bonds have an inverse correlation. In fact, the two asset classes haven't been this inversely correlated in at least ten years. Finally, with respect to the dollar, there is little correlation with the S&P500. The current lack of correlation between the dollar and equity prices stands in stark contrast to the credit crisis and the bull market, when the two had an extreme negative correlation. Today, equities are being driven by more than just the dollar, indicating an environment driven by fundamentals and not just asset flows.
2011-03-21 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group
Republican lawmakers may have gotten a PR boost for their attempt to cut $60 billion out of the budget. The Treasury Department announced last week that the largest monthly deficit in history was created in February, at $222.5 billion, surpassing the previous record set last February at $220.9 billion. As bad as it seems, the news wasn't all bad, as revenues were up 8.6% and spending was only up 4%. That's a move in the right direction. The biggest concern we have, and the one lawmakers have the least control over is rising interest rates.
2011-03-19 What the Heck is Going On??? by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
In recent weeks, the capital markets have weathered a bout of volatility not seen for quite some time. What are the main causes and how does this volatility affect our strategies and your portfolios? While there are many flashpoints around the world, we will highlight the "Big 3" (Japan, the Middle East, and federal budget issues) that have made the most headlines, and those which we believe have had the greatest and most recent impact on volatility.
2011-03-19 Japan Update by Team of Matthews Asia
As reports of Japan’s nuclear crisis grew bleaker this week, Japan and the world continued to grapple with one of the country’s worst natural disasters. While fears are high, thus far, elevated radiation readings have not been recorded outside the government-imposed exclusion zone around the nuclear plant in Fukushima.
2011-03-17 Could Gasoline Price Increases Affect the Economic Recovery? by Team of American Century Investments
The recent political uprisings in N. Africa have had a major impact on oil and gas pricing here in the U.S. Increases in energy prices have a negative impact on consumer disposable income and confidence, not just in the U.S but globally. When gasoline prices spiked in July 2008, consumer spending posted its biggest one month decline since September 2001. Higher energy prices also contribute to increases in the overall rate of inflation. These are risk factors in terms of sustaining our current economic recovery, bringing down unemployment, and continuing to drive growth in corporate earnings.
2011-03-17 Uranimum/Nuclear ETF Holdings by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Market Vectors has an ETF (NLR) that tracks the main uranium/nuclear stocks around the world. The ETF is down 16%. The holdings in NLR come from France, Canada, Japan, Australia, and the US. Below we highlight these holdings, and we include each stock's country of origin, weighting in the ETF, and performance over the last week. The uranimum exploration and mining companies have been the ones getting hit the hardest. Uranium Resources here in the US is down the most of all the ETF's holdings at -42%. Canada's Hathor Exploration is down the second most, followed closely by Uranium One.
2011-03-14 Japan Default Risk by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
This piece examines 5-year credit default swap prices for Japanese sovereign debt. As shown, there has been a small increase in default risk in the days since the earthquake and tsunami hit, but default risk is still below levels it was at in May 2010 and February 2009. At the moment, it costs $95 per year to insure $10,000 worth of Japanese sovereign debt for five years. Japan remains at the low end of default risk compared to other countries around the globe. With the resilient country fighting to get back on track, investors don't appear to be worried about Japans financial problems.
2011-03-11 Europe: Economic Review February 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Various data released in Feb. confirmed once again that the economic recovery in Europe is gaining momentum. Nevertheless, investor sentiment on the continent, and indeed everywhere in the world, remained largely subdued during the month due to the growing political uncertainty in the Middle East and N.Africa region. Since rising food, raw material, and crude oil prices have already pushed up inflation to worrying levels in most parts of Europe, the recent surge in oil prices amid the protests in Libya and some MiddleEastern countries eclipsed encouraging signals about the Euro-zone economy.
2011-03-11 Middle East turmoil not yet a significant threat to the global economy by Team of Thomas White International
The political unrest spreading across the Middle East and the resultant disruptions to the regional economy are not considered very significant for the global economic prospects for this year. Though oil prices have reacted on fears of lower supplies from the region, there have been no actual disruptions so far and any perceptible deceleration in global economic growth is expected only if prices shoot up further. It is widely believed that, unless the agitations spread to the region’s major oil producers like Saudi Arabia, the prospect of a sustained upsurge in energy prices is limited.
2011-03-11 Americas: Economic Review February 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Rising energy prices, due to the political upheavals in the Middle East, are becoming the primary economic risk for the Americas region. While the subdued inflationary trends will provide banks leeway to hold interest rates, they may be forced to advance their rate hikes if prices rise at a faster rate. In contrast, several of the emerging economies are expected to slow down this year. These economies may see interest rates rising faster, which may slow their pace of expansion even more. Also, higher interest rates will likely keep their currencies stronger and may restrict export growth.
2011-03-11 Middle East/Africa: Economic Review February 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
With countries led by autocratic rulers marred by stagnation in the economy, high unemployment rates and poor human rights records, protests in the region sparked off in classic ‘domino effect’ style. With rumblings being heard from countries like Iran, Syria, Jordan, Yemen and Morocco. The economic repercussions of the protests and the unseating of these regimes are yet to be calculated. The first obvious impact would be on oil prices. With the entire world economy hinging on the oil rich Middle East, the seismic shift in the political landscape of the region will be monitored closely.
2011-03-11 Asia Pacific: Economic Review February 2011 by Team of Thomas White International
Asian economies recorded some of their best performance for the full year 2010. In particular, Southeast Asian nations witnessed a banner year, clocking their best performance in recent memory. However, although the full year record was exemplary, growth in the final months of 2010 began to cool off. While a rising currency continued to trouble export-based economies, inflation haunted almost all central banks in the region. Central banks, having to choose between raising interest rates and attracting foreign capital, opted to hike rates.
2011-03-10 Turmoil in the Middle East: Should It Have Been Predicted? by Team of American Century Investments
The turmoil began, when a young Tunisian college graduate immolated himself on December 17 after being harassed by police as he attempted to sell fruit on the street. Some claim the vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, did not have the money needed to bribe police officials to continue peddling and earn a living. He died on January 4, sparking deadly demonstrations and riots throughout Tunisia (now called the Jasmine Revolution) in protest of social and political issues in the country. And just 10 days later, on January 14, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced to step down after 23 years.
2011-03-09 2011 Year-End Price Targets by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Each week, Bloomberg surveys the head equity strategists at the major Wall Street firms for their year-end S&P 500 price targets. At the start of 2011, the average S&P 500 year-end price target for these strategists was 1,371. This would have resulted in a gain of 9.02%. Since the start of the year, five strategists have increased their year-end targets, Goldman Sachs , Barclays, Bank of Montreal, HSBC and UBS. These increases put the average year-end price target at 1,401, which would result in a gain of 11.40%. With a YTD gain of more than 5% already, the S&P 500 is nearly halfway there
2011-03-09 Finding Low Risk Value in Today's Market by Team of GaveKal
The investment environment is transitioning from a macro-driven, reflation environment into one where earnings drive performance. US companies are well positioned at this juncture and contrary to consumers and the government have come out of this crisis in good shape. Some commentators question the outlook for corporate profitability, arguing that profits are meanreverting and that they can only weaken. We disagree, however, we acknowledge that price pressures are now showing up in import prices, and companies will need to offset these costs with increased prices or improve their productivity
2011-03-04 Are Emerging Markets Still by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
Political unrest in Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere in the Middle East, along with surging food prices around the world, has provided fresh reminders of the inherent risks of investing in emerging markets. Indeed, while the U.S. stock market has been inching steadily upward in recent months, emerging markets have been struggling. Year-to-date through February 28, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index is down -3.79%, while the S&P 500 Total Return Index has gained 5.88%.
2011-03-03 The Debate Over Spending and Taxes Kicks into High Gear by Team of American Century Investments
What impact might President Obama’s recently submitted 2012 federal budget have on future federal budgets? Using historical data as our guide, we’ve forecast how it could play out through 2021.
2011-02-24 January’s Employment Situation Report Generates More Questions than Answers by Team of American Century Investments
The conflicting trends in the January Employment Situation report has forced all labor market observers to wait for February’s report in hopes of discerning some clearer trends. Generally speaking, the underlying trends are positive, as we’ve shown using the JOLTS data. On the other hand, things are not nearly as strong as the .8 percentage point drop in the official unemployment rate over the past two months would suggest. And that rate will likely rise again in the short term before it begins a long-term trend back to levels consistent with full employment and a healthy economy.
2011-02-17 Responding to the Stubbornly Steep U.S. Treasury Yield Curve by Team of American Century Investments
Disciplined, active investment managers are constantly on the lookout for capital market extremes, which can provide value-adding opportunities for investors. One such market extreme has been developing in the U.S. Treasury market for the past three years, reaching historic levels in 2010 and earlier this year. We’re talking about the very wide, stubbornly persistent gap between short- and longer-maturity U.S. Treasury yields.
2011-02-15 US and State Default Risk by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The US stock market has been on a tear lately, but default risk for the country has remained stubbornly high. Granted, default risk for the US is very low compared to most countries, but it is currently near 1-year highs. Below is a chart highlighting US default risk using 5-year CDS (credit default swaps) price in Euros. While risk is nowhere near as high as it got during the financial crisis in late 2008 and early 2009, it is more than 100% higher than where it was in late 2009.
2011-02-10 The Housing Market Remains a Weak Link in the Current Recovery by Team of American Century Investments
Recent data on single family home selling prices for the 20 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. indicate that prices in most markets continue to decline. The monthly decline for the Case-Shiller Home Price Index was -0.5% in November, which marks the 5th consecutive monthly decline. So while other measures of our economy such as GDP growth (3.2% annualized increase for the fourth quarter of last year) or corporate profit growth continue to show solid progress, home prices—which are important in affecting consumer confidence and spending—continue to exhibit vestiges of deflation.
2011-02-04 Odds for the 2012 Elections, Health Care Repeal, and an NFL Lockout by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The current Intrade odds for the Democratic Party to maintain the Presidency in 2012 stand at 62.5%. The contract for Republicans to control the Senate after 2012 last traded at 69 (or 69% odds). The odds are 50/50 for which party will control the House after the next set of elections. Odds are at 12% for the Supreme Court to rule the individual mandate unconstitutional by October 31st, 2011.
2011-02-03 Deconstructing the Current Inflation Conundrum by Team of American Century Investments
As the old saying goes: “The best time to buy flood insurance is when the river is still running low.” We suggest not waiting until inflation pressures increase further before making sure you have some inflation insurance in your portfolio.
2011-02-01 Fourth Quarter Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management
In spite of Bernanke’s objective to put a floor on asset prices, including equities, we remain conservatively positioned. Equity and credit markets appear overvalued. In addition, with the U.S. and most developed-market economies significantly more leveraged than in the last 50 years, economic growth will likely be more volatile. Further, many potential exogenous forces could negatively influence public markets: over-leveraged municipalities, the PIIGS, and continued issues in the US housing market to name a few. Finally, there is no evidence that monetary policy can create real growth.
2011-01-26 World Bank Says Developing Countries Driving Global Growth by Team of American Century Investments
During the recent Great Recession, developing countries such as China and India played a key role in sustaining global economic growth, while developed economies struggled to cope with issues such as the subprime market meltdown, sovereign debt issues, and soaring unemployment numbers. In the coming years, developing nations will continue to play an increasingly important role in driving the global economy.
2011-01-20 December’s Unemployment Report Masks Lingering Challenges by Team of American Century Investments
On January 7, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued its Employment Situation report for the month of December. On the surface, the news appeared very good: The national unemployment rate dropped 0.4% from 9.8% to 9.4%. That is the lowest rate of unemployment we’ve experienced in nearly two years (April 2009 was the last month unemployment that was under 9%). And nonfarm payroll employment increased in December by 103,000. However, financial markets reacted with some pessimism that day. Overall, the S&P 500 declined 0.2% while broader indices also registered slight declines.
2011-01-18 Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
During the fourth quarter, the stock market staged a strong rally, reflecting both growing evidence of a sustained economic recovery and the reversal (thanks to the Republican victory in November) of the seriously anti-business tone in Washington. These two factors enabled investors to begin thinking not just of a recovery from the recent crisis and recession, but of a more sustainable and enduring expansion. As a result, they were able to bet on a longer stream of favorable corporate earnings.
2011-01-18 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
As for our strategy, we continue on a steady course of balancing major risk aversion while opportunistically seeking returns. Although there are no longer any soft pitches like there were in late 2008 and early 2009, we feel that there are still enough bond issues from well-run companies that offer reasonable returns without going too far out on the risk or duration curves. We do not believe it is prudent to lower quality standards or to take excessive duration exposure at this time in order to increase returns. We believe there will be better opportunities for that in the future.
2011-01-15 A Near Perfect Pair: The Markets and Obama by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
President Obama has quietly maintained his position as one of the equity market’s most well loved Presidents. As the data show, the 47.6% gain in the DJIA since he took office ranks as the third best first two years for any President since the start of the 21st Century (FDR 90.5% and Coolidge 52.6%). Whether or not you give the President credit for the market’s performance will undoubtedly depend on your political views, but strictly at face value, the numbers don’t lie.
2011-01-11 Inflation a Growing Concern for Emerging Market Countries by Team of American Century Investments
As a group, emerging market countries have rebounded from the Great Recession in much better shape than developed economies. And driven by higher commodity prices, robust domestic consumption, and a growing middle class with buying power, the emerging market asset class appears poised for more growth heading into 2011. While investors have been focusing on the European debt crisis, however, many emerging market economies have been getting a little overheated from the rapid pace of growth, and inflationary fears are quietly becoming a daily reality.
2011-01-11 Global Outlook and Strategy by Team of Loomis Sayles
After being challenged in November by renewed Eurozone sovereign debt concerns, global risk markets ended 2010 on a strong note. The key to the late-2010 and early-2011 optimism was the potential for the two biggest engines of global growth – the US and Chinese economies – to pull together this year.
2011-01-05 A Rare and Dying Breed by Team of Beacon Pointe
Despite the rapid ascent of index funds and ETF investing during the past decade, we contend that carefully researched and selected active strategies offer the best opportunities for our clients to achieve their investment objectives while taking the least amount of risk possible. Our conviction is based on past experience, and our analysis of manager performance in the context of "active share", an objective new measure introduced by Yale School of Management's Cremers and Petajisto in a 2006 academic paper discussed below.
2010-12-30 Not As bad As You Might Think: State Revenues Q3 2010 by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
We found that compared to Q3 of 2009, 42 of the 50 states saw revenue increases in the third quarter while only eight saw declines. On the positive side, nine states saw their revenues increase by more than 10%, with Alabama leading the way. Looking at the list of states with declines, the more notable aspect of that list may be the notable names that are absent. California, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York are generally considered to be the states that have the worst finances, but of those four only New Jersey saw a decline in revenues during the quarter.
2010-12-21 Demographics and Sovereign Debt by Team of American Century Investments
Events surrounding what the press calls the European Sovereign Debt Crisis have been in the news for much of the past year. Unfortunately, this label masks an underlying major contributing factor: demographics. The combination of long life expectancies, relatively early retirement ages, generous retirement benefits and a shrinking base of workers to support the growing proportion of retirees in the population will put tremendous burdens on the budgets of these countries.
2010-12-14 Encouraging Signs of Life from the U.S. Consumer by Team of American Century Investments
Early data from the start of the 2010 holiday shopping season indicate this could shape up to be the best year for consumer spending (and retailers) since 2005. Some have attributed this simply to consumer psychology based on pent-up demand and frustration after nearly three years of relative austerity. However, there are other indicators suggesting that consumer finances are at least on the mend.
2010-12-07 'Shadow' NAVs for Money Funds Available by Team of American Century Investments
In January 2011, so-called "shadow" net asset values (NAVs) for money market funds (MMFs) will become available publicly for the first time. They will be posted by the SEC on their Web site 60 days after they are filed monthly with the commission by fund management companies, including American Century Investments(R). As one of the investment industry's MMF pioneers, American Century Investments supports the new regulations and manages five MMFs.
2010-11-30 Bond "Bubble" Fears Overblown by Team of American Century Investments
In this paper, we consider the argument that there is a bond “bubble” in the context of current economic and market conditions. We examine academic literature for commonly accepted characteristics of speculative bubbles, finding little evidence to support the notion that the bond market is currently experiencing a “bubble.”
2010-11-23 Global Tensions Rising Over Fed's QE2 Initiative by Team of American Century Investments
QE2 represents a dramatic intervention in the capital markets, and its ultimate impact is hard to predict at this point in time. Critics of the plan, including some Fed members, believe that too much monetary stimulus might lead to runaway inflation, which in turn could derail economic growth or even create future asset bubbles. Alternatively, a weaker dollar could create incentives for other countries to implement capital controls and foreign exchange interventions that negatively impact global trade.
2010-11-18 Bullish Sentiment Sees Largest Drop in Nearly Two Years by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Large swings in bullish sentiment once again highlight the 'drive by' mentality and lack of conviction that investors have in the current market environment. When the headlines are positive, they get bullish, but the slightest hint of any negative news sends investors scurrying for cover.
2010-11-16 Education, Employment and Earnings by Team of American Century Investments
American Century Investments analyzes salary growth, real wages, and unemployment levels as a function of education levels to conclude that education plays a crucial role in our economy and in determining the opportunities for employment, the risks of unemployment and the level and growth of wages within our society. This was true 70 years ago when earning a high school diploma put one in a minority of workers, and it is even truer today when earning a bachelor’s degree or more is one of the best options a young adult can pursue to ensure a prosperous future.
2010-11-09 Latest GDP Growth Report Points to Continued Economic Weakness by Team of American Century Investments
After one quarter of robust gross domestic product (GDP) growth late last year - characteristic of an economy snapping out of a recession - the trend that has followed has been very uncharacteristic, with a substantial downward shift in GDP growth. American Century Investments investigates quarterly shifts in consumer spending and investing and other factors that effect GDP.
2010-11-05 Advance 3Q Bank Delinquencies by Team of Foresight Analytics
Final figures for the third quarter 2010 are not due until late November, but based on earnings reports and call report filings from many smaller banks, Foresight Analytics offers its advance estimates of what final 3Q 2010 real estate and business loan delinquency results will be.
2010-11-02 'Bubble' Bashing Does Not Imply a Risk-Free Bond Outlook by Team of American Century Investments
The present bond environment still doesn't fit previous 'bubble' profiles. We are, however, in a period of historically low interest rates and Treasury bond yields, with more room to rise than fall. Future bond price declines are a realistic expectation, but these declines are unlikely to rival other post-bubble, extended price plunges. Bonds continue to provide a cushion for equity exposure in diversified portfolios and a source of steady income for those who need it.
2010-11-02 November Economic Update by Team of Cambridge Advisors
We have enjoyed the recent rally, but we expect volatility to continue. Investors should remain cautious. It is not necessary to chase stocks higher as buying opportunities are expected to present themselves throughout the next year. If Bill Gross is right, government bonds may not be the safe investment they once were. To reduce risk, broad diversification across many asset classes is the best strategy during these uncertain times.
2010-11-02 Grey Owl Q3 Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management
Uncertainty abounds and all broad asset classes are beginning to look expensive again. Unemployment shows few signs of improvement and business confidence is low, yet the stock market continues to climb the 'wall of worry.' Frankly, we have little confidence in the economy or in the broad stock market. However, we continue to find pockets of value in out-of-favor names across industries and market capitalizations. Macro uncertainty may continue to drive the market for some time, but eventually the weighing machine will win out.
2010-10-26 Have the Financial Markets and the Real Economy Become Disconnected? by Team of American Century Investments
There are solid and logical reasons why equity markets have been up substantially since the start of the third quarter. The U.S. economy remains in a fragile situation and the global financial system is far from healthy. Nonetheless, progress is being made and, barring any new crises or setbacks, the case for the market's recent rise can be justified. What's different this time is that two sectors that have traditionally led economic recoveries in the U.S. - consumer spending and real estate - will remain on the sidelines for the foreseeable future.
2010-10-22 What Lack of Innovation? by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
In a recent address at the home of Google executive Marissa Meyer, President Obama implied that there has been a lack of innovation in the American economy in recent years. As Bespoke illustrates in a chart provided, however, the number of U.S. patent applications granted has increased steadily each year since 2000, with the exception of 2005. In fact, many have argued that it has never been cheaper for someone with an idea to spread and develop it.
2010-10-19 The World According to TARP by Team of American Century Investments
Taken together, initiatives enacted under the Troubled Asset Relief Program will provide up to $45.6 billion in home mortgage foreclosure relief. Proponents of these programs argue that if they finally stabilize the housing market and pricing, all homeowners will benefit. Opponents believe they create a huge problem of moral hazard in the residential housing market. They also point out that stabilizing home values above what may be a lower floor based on market supply may preclude other individuals from being able to enter the market and purchase a home they can afford.
2010-10-18 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
Low yields, high corporate debt issuance, increased monetary stimulus and the rising dollar do not mean that growth will accelerate any time soon; the outlook of a slow and meandering recovery still holds. Corporations continue to rebuild balance sheets and margins at the expense of hiring and investment. While this bodes well for future debt repayment, the outlook is not rosy for job seekers. When the job outlook does change, however, and the economic pulse quickens, the era of low interest rates could end quickly.
2010-10-18 Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
Housing is still deflating, but commodities are mixed. The concern longer term is that the Fed is printing money in order to stimulate the economy. At some point, all this liquidity in the system could cause inflation to accelerate, perhaps to a level that the Fed cannot contain. We are not forecasting either serious deflation or serious inflation. On the other hand, we do not regard the probability of a negative outcome as trivial.
2010-10-12 The Great Depression, the Great Recession and Lessons from 1937-1938 by Team of American Century Investments
While much shorter and less severe than the Great Depression, the recession of 1937-1938 added approximately three years to the recovery period. It is extremely unlikely that we will see a repeat of this type of recession. However, depending on the outcome of elections in November, there could be substantial shift in the fiscal and taxation policies of the federal government away from Keynesianism and toward fiscal discipline and supply side economics.
2010-10-08 Dem Turnaround Yet to Happen by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The Intrade odds for the Republican Party to win the House of Representatives have been well above 50 percent for some time now (currently at 75 percent), but the Democratic Party has been favored to retain the Senate throughout the Intrade contract's entire history. Today, however, that contract fell below 50 percent for the first time, and the odds are currently at 47.5 percent for the Democratic Party to keep a Senate majority.
2010-10-05 Challenges and Solutions for Income-Seeking Investors by Team of American Century Investments
The Fed's prediction that it will keep its short-term interest rate target at 0-0.25 percent for 'an extended period' continues to affect the near-term game plan for risk-averse investors and savers. A period of potentially heightened uncertainty and low absolute returns means that maximizing risk-adjusted returns is crucial to investment success over time. An optimized mix of fixed income holdings with a variety of different risk levels can add value to investor portfolios in this low-yield and low interest rate environment.
2010-10-01 Claims of the 'Death of Stock Picking' Are a Good Sign for Value Investors by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management
A recent Wall Street Journal article highlights the macro-driven nature of today’s stock market. Long-time value investors lament the current environment where stocks appear to trade in unison based on unemployment data or European bank stress test results. If stocks are driven by macro factors instead of company fundamentals, stock pickers can’t get an edge. We think stock-picking is very much alive. Call us contrarian, but we couldn’t think of a better sign that fundamentally-driven, bottom-up stock-picking is likely to make a comeback sooner rather than later.
2010-09-29 The U.S. Oil Glut by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Although U.S. oil inventories declined by 475,000 barrels in the latest week, the decline was less than the forecasted decline of 700,000 barrels. As shown in charts provided, oil inventories in the U.S. are currently right near their highest levels of the year relative to the historical average. Since oil stockpiles peaked earlier in the year, inventories have declined by 2 percent. In an average year, however, oil stockpiles are down 6 percent from their seasonal high by this time.
2010-09-27 Is Deflation Still a Risk? by Team of American Century Investments
Last Friday's Consumer Price Index report found that prices rose 1.1 percent on an annual unadjusted basis in August. Because the U.S. Federal Reserve Open Market Committee noted in last week's statement that inflation is currently at levels somewhat below what it judges to be consistent with long-run price stability, some have suggested that the central bank is still concerned about deflationary pressures in the economy. Whatever happens, one thing is clear: As long as the residential housing crisis drags on without resolution, the risk of deflation should remain a concern for investors.
2010-09-21 American Century Investments by Team of American Century Investments
Among the first items the U.S. Congress is likely to deal with after the midterm election are the federal budget deficit and taxes. The accepted wisdom is that markets prefer the more incremental change based on political compromise brought by divided governments. However, median returns data looking back 60 years do not provide any strong support for this. Indeed, if a divided government leads to intransigence and gridlock, then it will take another two years and the next general election before key issues can be addressed.
2010-09-17 Japan Invervenes to Bail Out America.com by Team of Euro Pacific Capital
This week the Japanese government decided to intervene in the foreign exchange market, initiating a vigorous campaign to buy U.S. dollars, thereby stemming the rise of the yen and pulling up the greenback. The effects were immediate, with the yen falling an astonishing 3 percent on the day of the announcement. The media spin doctors cast the Japanese decision as an attempt by the island state to prop up its own fragile economy. The intervention was actually done to help American consumers buy more cars and electronics from Japan.
2010-09-16 Pass the Ammo by Team of Dana Investment Advisors
The Fed has kept interest rates near zero and has purchased more than $1.5 trillion in Treasury and agency bonds in order to inject cash into the banking system. Although there has been disagreement within the Fed, interest rates will remain low. Free enterprise has worked for us for several hundred years. There have been and always will be recessions and even financial panics, but markets have the propensity to straighten themselves out.
2010-09-16 The Woody Hayes Economy by Team of Applied Finance Group
By preventing additional redistribution policies, the split government that will likely emerge from the November U.S. midterm elections will probably loosen some purse strings to invest, hire and grow. However, we probably will not see any policies that will meaningfully change the overall economic condition or the outlook for equities as an investment. The next two years will thus most likely bring a Woody Hayes economy - 'Three yards and cloud of dust'- meaning we will have some renewed economic activity, but not the sustained, robust growth to be expected coming out of such a long slump.
2010-09-14 Latest Bond 'Bubble' Fears are Overblown by Team of American Century Investments
Despite considerable discussion in the financial media about the existence of a bond market bubble, the fixed-income team at American Century Investments finds little evidence to support this claim. Bond bubble proponents base their argument largely on record flows into fixed-income investments, bonds' extended outperformance over stocks, and record low interest rates. However, a confluence of economic headwinds argues for a prolonged period of low interest rates and inflation, while investor demographic and behavioral finance trends also appear to favor further bond inflows.
2010-09-10 Using the Past to Predict the Future by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Most technical analysts believe that chart patterns tend to repeat themselves. Using quantitative analysis, Bespoke went back and compared the last six months in the S&P 500 to every other six month period since 1928. They found that the stretch that most closely resembles the last six months is the period from November 1959 through May 1960. While the majority of investors still believe we will avoid the double-dip recession this time around, the 1959 to 1960 example suggests that even if we do go back into a recession (as we did then), a new bear market is not necessarily a sure thing.
2010-09-07 Cheap Labor Helps Southeast Asia Compete with China, But It Won’t Be Easy by Team of American Century Investments
Labor disputes in China and other emerging market countries have been catching global media attention. As employees in the low-cost workshops of the world fight for higher wages and better working conditions, the longer-term outcome will be better standards of living and rising disposable incomes in emerging market countries. These changes hold positive implications for many global-based companies' present and future growth. A growing consumer class with 'buying power' will certainly be beneficial.
2010-08-31 Merger and Acquisition Activity Rises by Team of American Century Investments
Merger and acquisition activity has jumped dramatically in the past few months. The good news for investors is that increased M&A activity can help sustain the market during a period of economic softness or a slowdown that we may face in the next several quarters. The risk for investors is whether the money spent on M&A activity will be done wisely and with a clear eye on creating shareholder value. If not, that money is probably better spent buying back shares or increasing dividend payouts.
2010-08-30 Views on Developing Markets by Team of First Eagle Funds
As the developed world stumbles from crisis to crisis, many developing countries seem poised to continue taking a greater share of the world's wealth. This trend, however, is not an automatic signal to invest. China, India and Brazil, the most sought-after developing markets, now demand double-digit multiples, and have higher inflation and monetary growth than developed markets. These factors suggest that the margin of safety is significantly smaller in developing markets than in developed markets.
2010-08-26 How Low Are Bond Yields Really? by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
A growing number of investors are calling the bond market a bubble. Bespoke presents a chart showing the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds minus the year-over-year change in the CPI. Using this method, the adjusted 1.62 percent yield on the 10-year bond is still below its historical average of 2.66 percent, but nowhere near historical extremes. While one could make the argument that Treasury bonds are unattractive due to increased supply and their low yields relative to other periods in the past, it is hard to argue that their current valuation fits the criteria for a bubble.
2010-08-24 India to Open Equity Markets to Foreign Retail Investors by Team of American Century Investments
While opening up its equity market to foreign retail investors will likely benefit India and increase capital inflows in that country, there is also more growth potential for investors who are prepared to accept the risks and invest for the long term. Over the next five years, India and emerging market economies will be driven not only by export demand from the rest of the world, but by growth in domestic consumption, including health care, technology, infrastructure, and finance. This will create huge opportunities for investors and companies doing business in these sectors.
2010-08-19 Dow Dividend Yield Versus 10-Year Treasury Yield by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
There has been a lot of talk this week about how 'the great bond bubble' is about to crash and that equities look attractive compared to them. One data point that commentators have been citing is that the Dow's dividend yield is now greater than the 10-year Treasury bond yield. We've heard some say that this is the first time this has happened in decades, but in actuality, the Dow's yield got much higher than the 10-year bond yield as recently as late 2008 and early 2009. Bespoke presents a chart Dow yields minus 10-year Treasury bond yields from 1920 to the present.
2010-08-19 Summer Camp For Stock Traders (But Will the 'Fall' Arrive Before Summer Ends)? by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
There is no shortage of reasons to believe that the environment for stocks is weak, if not outright dangerous. Debts and deficits, for example, have climbed to record proportions. Consumers are learning what 'austerity' means. And governments in developed markets are acting as if they can continue to delay enforcing real, sustainable improvements. Maybe these real world concerns will matter this autumn, when stocks are historically very vulnerable. But the world's troubles seem to have little meaning to the summer campers.
2010-08-16 The New Normal by Team of Dana Investment Advisors
The housing bubble is slowly winding down and inventories are being worked off. The stock market has recovered half of its losses since February 2009, while corporations have cleaned up their balance sheets, increased productivity and stand ready to expand. Consumers have cleaned up their debt and increased their savings. The government can now lead us out of a slow growth economy by cutting spending dramatically and keeping the tax cuts in place.
2010-08-16 Consumers, Credit Cards and Deleveraging by Team of American Century Investments
The August 6 report from the Federal Reserve on consumer credit and indebtedness depicts consumers and households that are still in the throes of a difficult deleveraging process. In the longer term, this is exactly what is needed to help put the U.S. economy back on a solid foundation for recovery and renewed growth. Because deleveraging involves two steps, however - first, avoiding spending based on new borrowing, and, second, directing current discretionary income toward debt repayment rather than consumption - it limits how much consumers can contribute to the recovery.
2010-08-11 Democrats Now the House Underdogs by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
For those that haven't checked the odds for the November elections over on Intrade.com lately, the odds for Republicans to win control of the House have jumped all the way up to 61 percent. At the start of 2009, the odds for Republicans to win were at just 15 percent. From mid-March to mid-June, odds for control of the House hovered around the 50/50 mark. Since mid-June, however, traders have been betting big on Republican control. At this point, we have to assume that the market is 'pricing in' a Republican victory.
2010-08-11 Real Real Returns Study by Team of Thornburg Investment Management
This commentary features Thornburg's annual look at what investors are left with after expenses, taxes and inflation take a bite out of nominal returns. Once again, common stocks and municipal bonds are the best performers. This year's study also looks at implications for retirees, a group for whom nominal returns don't mean much, since they need to be concerned about actual spending dollars to protect against outliving their retirement income.
2010-08-06 Comparing Our Path to Recovery with Past Recessions and Recoveries by Team of American Century Investments
What appears to be a preliminary trend in declining rates of GDP growth has led many to speculate that the current economic recovery is weakening, or that we are slipping into another recession. The latter scenario seems very unlikely given the number of simulative factors at work in our economy, such as record-low interest rates and record-high deficit spending by the federal government. But the fact that we are less than three months away from an important midterm election in the U.S. Congress means that the state of our economy will be hotly debated and in the headlines.
2010-08-03 Insights from the U.S. International Balance of Trade by Team of American Century Investments
The U.S. trade deficit increased to -$42.3 billion in May. Large and increasing trade deficits are sustainable as long as the rest of the world is willing to lend money to finance them. Growing trade deficits, however, are unhealthy in the long term. Trade imbalances also cause imbalances in capital flows. There was a time when it was argued that, as the U.S. entered a post-industrial society and economy, its growing trade deficit in goods would be offset by a growing trade surplus in services. Nearly three decades of experience, however, have demonstrated that this isn't the case.
2010-08-02 Growing Federal Debt Will Cause Major Challenges in the Years Ahead by Team of Litman Gregory
A combination of sharply declining tax revenues and a surge in stimulus and bailout spending, both stemming from the financial crisis, caused the federal budget deficit to soar to almost 10 percent in 2009. Total debt to GDP ratios are climbing sharply, and could pass 90 percent by next year. The growth track of entitlement programs has led many to conclude that growing federal debt levels are unsustainable in the long term. Additionally, the Greek debt crisis could trigger increasing awareness of sovereign default risk with investors demanding higher rates for owning government debt.
2010-07-30 Core|Satellite Investing with First Eagle Funds by Team of First Eagle Funds
Many practitioners of core/satellite investing use the core of their clients’ portfolios to generate market-like returns with market-level risk exposure, or beta, and use satellite investments to produce excess returns, or alpha. Within this framework, passive investment vehicles — index funds and ETFs — have become standard core investments. First Eagle questions this approach, and believes an actively managed global portfolio should be the core.
2010-07-28 Grey Owl Capital Management's Q2 Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management
The equity and fixed income markets are still modestly overvalued. In addition, the economic recovery may only have been a mirage that the slow dwindling of the government stimulus will reveal. The majority of Grey Owl's equity portfolio is made up of 'high quality' companies – those with consistent earnings growth and low financial leverage. Japanese-style deflation and 1970s-style stagflation are both possible given the slow private sector growth, increasing government regulations, growing government debt loads, and expansive monetary policy.
2010-07-27 Sizing Up the Jobs Growth Challenge by Team of American Century Investments
While labor market data indicates the economy is still adding jobs, the pace of additions is far slower than what is needed to meaningfully reduce our 9.5 percent unemployment rate. Much of the half-a-percentage-point rise in employment during the second quarter of this year came from the hiring of up to 700,000 temporary workers for the decennial Census survey. Now that this effort is winding down, some economists are forecasting that short-term unemployment will rise again.
2010-07-21 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
It is unlikely that the Federal Reserve will soon reverse its easy-money policies amidst worries about the European government debt crisis, meager job growth and low inflation in the U.S. In light of all these concerning developments, Osterweis continues to take a conservative approach by focusing on securities that will experience less volatility in the current unpredictable environment. These include short duration bonds and certain 'cushion' bonds, which are longer-term, high coupon bonds that will likely be refinanced in the near term, well in advance of their maturities.
2010-07-21 Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
The economy is not headed towards a serious double-dip recession, but rather towards a slowdown or moderation of its growth rate. That is, the economy has been improving, just not as fast as investors envisioned earlier this year. Osterweis is therefore staying the course, focusing on solid companies with strong or improving balance sheets and a history of stable or growing dividends. They are also keeping some cash as a buffer against further erosion in the overall market and as a buying reserve to use when compelling bargains emerge.
2010-07-20 World Growth on the Rise but Europe's Weakened Economy Threatens Global Recovery by Team of American Century Investments
Global economic activity is improving, but significant headwinds remain, particularly within the developed world, where mounting sovereign debt threatens long-term economic gains. So far, government responses to the crisis have varied, and this lack of coordination may lead to divergent economic performance in the year ahead. Emerging markets have held up relatively well, primarily because they have managed their economies frugally throughout the past several years. Globally, corporations are generally enjoying expanding profit margins, while balance sheets remain solid.
2010-07-16 Keynesian Economics: RIP by Team of Dana Investment Advisors
The American public and many members in Congress are waking up to the fact that Keynesian economics is not working. It did not work in the 1930s either, as we actually had a recession within the depression, and suffered double-digit unemployment throughout the decade. This time can be different if the public demands and Congress enacts legislation that will lift the veil of uncertainty and help build a more conducive environment for establishing new businesses and creating new jobs in existing businesses. Then money would come out of hiding and get this economy moving again.
2010-07-14 U.S. Equity Newsletter by Team of W.P. Stewart
One thing is certain - there is a lot of bad news around and many people are now forecasting a double-dip recession. 'Bad news,' however, may already be factored into prices. Global growth is still expected to be solidly positive in 2010 and 2011, albeit somewhat skewed to the emerging markets. Corporate balance sheets are very robust, productivity has never been higher and earnings growth remains strong even on somewhat reduced estimates. Equities should therefore offer significantly better returns than bonds or cash.
2010-07-13 Our Muni Market Perspective: The Sky is Not Falling by Team of American Century Investments
The muni market sky is not falling. Municipal credit downgrades and defaults are indeed likely to increase in the months ahead, even as the U.S. economy regroups and moves forward. It may seem odd that muni credit quality faces continued challenges at a time when businesses and other sectors of the economy are going ahead, but that's just an unfortunate feature of a lagging market, one that municipalities share with the labor market. In the long run, municipal bonds as an asset class still have credit quality second only to U.S. Treasury bonds.
2010-07-08 Lebron James to New York? by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
There's been lots of movement on the Intrade contracts for where LeBron James will end up, on the eve of his announcement. As Bespoke shows in charts provided, the Cleveland contract has dropped significantly while the New York Knicks contract has spiked this evening. News that he'll be making the announcement from Greenwich, Connecticut instead of somewhere in Ohio seems to be what shifted the odds.
2010-07-06 Liquid Assets Are at a 37-Year High on Corporate Balance Sheets: Is This a Bullish or Bearish Sign? by Team of American Century Investments
Whether bullish or bearish, the rapid growth in corporate liquid assets does reflect one undisputable fact: The corporate sector of the economy generally responded quickly and effectively to the Great Recession, cutting costs, shedding excess inventory and curtailing unnecessary investments. As a result, corporations are poised to perform well based on the overall strength of the current economic recovery. Earnings growth over the past five quarters has been impressive. However, whether this trend and rate of earnings growth can continue will increasingly depend on what happens to revenues.
2010-06-29 General Motors and Lessons of Externalities by Team of American Century Investments
The decline and collapse of GM was a long-term phenomenon and not that uncommon a story for corporations in the history of U.S. business, except for its sheer size and (perhaps) the length of time over which it unfolded. One after another attempts to salvage the company fell short of expectations. Why GM failed—and why other companies in similar situations have managed to execute successful turnarounds or avoid collapse is an important question.
2010-06-24 Ten Year Treasury Yield Hits a 52-Week Low by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Remember back in April when the yield on the ten-year was approaching 4 percent and everyone seemed to be worried that the era of low rates was over? That didn't last long. Less than three months later, the ten-year yield is not only lower, but it's also on pace to close today at a 52-week low of 3.14 percent Since April's peak in interest rates, there has been no shortage of concerns popping up regarding Europe and the strength of the US economy.
2010-06-22 Indian Economy Poised for Double-Digit Growth by Team of American Century Investments
India was not severely impacted by the global economic recession and the country is projected to grow rapidly over the next decade. For investors, a consumer-based Indian economy holds positive implications because many global companies view potential Indian demand as a ticket to future growth. Indeed, India's is one of the biggest and fastest growing consumer populations in the world. Nevertheless, the government's inability to keep building infrastructure and power generation and tackle core problems in education, land reform, corruption and social reform may temper growth.
2010-06-18 Gold vs Dollar Correlation by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
With gold trading at a record high, we wanted to highlight the shifting correlation between it and the US Dollar. Normally, when gold rallies, the dollar declines and vice versa. However, as the chart below illustrates, gold and the dollar have become increasingly unlinked. In the chart, positive readings close to one indicate a strong positive correlation, while readings closer to negative one indicate a strong inverse correlation. The current level of -0.18 indicates a very weak inverse correlation.
2010-06-17 Hayward to Depart as CEO? Goldman to Pay $25 Million or More? Place Your Bets by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Traders on Intrade are currently putting the odds of BP's Tony Hayward to depart as CEO by the end of the year at 59 percent. How about Goldman Sachs? The last trade on the contract for CEO Lloyd Blankfein to depart by the end of the year puts the odds at 20 percent. Odds for Goldman to pay a fine of at least $25 million to the SEC by the end of the year are at 80 percent. The November elections are being heavily traded on the site. Odds for the Republicans to take back the House of Representatives in November are at 47 percent.
2010-06-17 Assessing Investment-Grade Bonds by Team of Litman Gregory
Investment-grade bonds are likely to generate average returns in a 1 percent to 2 percent range in most scenarios over the next five years. That is markedly lower than any historical rolling five-year average annual return number since the mid-70s. Forward-looking scenarios project that bond yields and inflation higher than their current levels and capital losses due to rising yields will cut into income from coupon payments.
2010-06-15 'May Momentum Killers' Supported Economic, Rate Outlooks by Team of American Century Investments
Now that stocks are suffering a bona fide correction this quarter and Treasury yields are again pricing in low inflation expectations in the near term, the case for a long, slow, grinding economic recovery with continued low interest rates for months to come is a lot easier to make than it was seven weeks ago. Money market and FDIC-insured accounts should provide the most predictable path with the least price fluctuation. Investors who want more yield and return should consider high-quality short-maturity bonds and bond funds.
2010-06-15 June Economic Update by Team of Cambridge Advisors
Former hedge fund manager Keith McCullough compares America's current situation to Lehman in 2008 in that it is borrowing short to fund long-term liabilities. We can see the effect that high sovereign debt is having in Europe, and the U.S. is heading down a similar path. U.S. debt as a percentage of GDP is already higher than that of troubled Spain. Analysts have warned that higher taxes alone will not be enough to solve America's debt problem. Reduced government spending is needed and higher inflation may be unavoidable.
2010-06-15 Builders Report Twenty-Seven Percent Decline in New Home Sales by Team of John Burns Real Estate Consulting
Following the expiration of the home buyer tax credit on April 30, net sales per community across more than 1,900 communities dropped 27 percent according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting's June survey of home builders. In the previous month, sales per community reached 1.84 units, but this month fell to 1.35 units, which is the lowest level since March 2009. Chief executive John Burns says the price correction thus far has been only minor, while falling mortgage rates, great affordability and positive job growth will build demand back up.
2010-06-08 Insight on the Current Status of the Housing Market by Team of American Century Investments
Both existing and new residential homes sales have seen impressive increases in volume over the past several months ending in April. Two factors will likely weigh on residential home sales for the remainder of this year, however. The first factor is the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit. The second is the rate of economic recovery and growth in employment for the remainder of this year. Over the next one to three years, little can contribute more to recovery in the residential housing market than reduced unemployment accompanied by rising incomes and increased consumer confidence.
2010-06-03 Thoughts on the Correction by Team of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management
From an entirely rational perspective, the last few weeks of volatile market declines have created a strong opportunity for investors. The average stock in the S&P 500 is 13 percent cheaper than it was on April 23, 2010 - a fine bargain considering nothing much has changed about sales and earnings prospects. Unfortunately, fear has and will continue to precipitate selling, when it should do the opposite. A recent Stanford study yields interesting insights into the impact of fear on investors.
2010-06-01 Global Equity Markets Slip on Greek Debt Crunch by Team of American Century Investments
Fears of a Greek default have heightened concerns about the financial stability of several other peripheral European countries. Spain, Ireland, Italy and Portugal, however, are not in the same situation as Greece. Italy in particular is in a separate, stronger category than the others. It is less reliant on foreign financing, with Italians owning a high percentage of their own sovereign debt. Italy also lagged in the economic boom prior to the global recession, a blessing in disguise because its banking sector is now not as over-leveraged to the housing market as banks in other countries.
2010-05-26 Emerging Market Vs. G7 Debt Levels by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Bespoke provides tables comparing debt levels in G7 and emerging market countries. The average level of public debt to GDP among G7 countries is 94 percent. Two countries, Japan and Italy, have levels of debt that are in excess of 100 percent of GDP. Compared to the other six countries on the list, the U.S. debt level of 52.9 percent seems downright thrifty. Meanwhile, the average level of debt in emerging market countries is just 37.4 percent. If concerns over debt are the major issue behind the correction, emerging market countries should thus rebound the strongest in any recovery.
2010-05-25 Three Reasons Why the Economy is Mending, Despite the Rise in Unemployment by Team of American Century Investments
Despite the rise in the unemployment rate to 9.9 percent in April, there are at least three reasons why the economy appears to be on the mend after the recent recession. First, growth in labor productivity foreshadows new hiring. Second, the economy is adding jobs. And third, the civilian labor force is growing again. These three trends mean we could continue to see official unemployment figures inch higher despite an improving economy overall.
2010-05-18 Understanding Recent Negative International Bond Returns by Team of American Century Investments
This year so far has been a challenge for U.S. investors in high-quality, unhedged international bonds, continuing a downtrend for this sector that began in December of last year. Fortunately, the long-term strategic reasons for holding international bonds remain intact, including inflation protection from a potentially weaker dollar as the U.S. budget deficit grows, and diversification benefits versus traditional domestic fixed income.
2010-05-11 Two 'Takes' on the Latest GDP Growth Figure by Team of American Century Investments
Overall, the preliminary report of first quarter GDP growth was good news for consumers, businesses and investors seeking to finally put the Great Recession in the past. Consumer spending and business investment are both showing healthy signs of growth, which is to be expected during the early phases of a recovery. Concerns are now focused not on whether we are in a recovery phase, but whether the recovery will be strong enough to pull us out of the large hole the recession created.
2010-05-07 The Right Page of the Right Book by Team of Beacon Pointe
The beginning of 2010 saw a continuation of the 2009 rally. Most stock exchanges around the world, with the notable exception of China, posted positive returns for the quarter and added to their gains off the March 9, 2009 trough. The major indices, however, remain well below their previous highs. The post-bear rally has been fast and furious and at this time, a pause seems justified. The exact timing and nature of this pause, however, are highly uncertain.
2010-05-07 The Big Picture, the Investment Landscape, and Our Portfolio Strategy by Team of Litman Gregory
Debt reached binge levels during the past decade. Money to reduce the debt will have to come from somewhere, and much of it will come from reduced spending. Spending cuts could produce a sluggish economy, possibly for many years to come. There are some positives that could contribute to a better outcome, however, including continued strength from emerging economies. Domestically, we could see stimulus spending, low rates, and inventory rebuilding create a virtuous circle in which businesses with strong balance sheets add jobs, and consumer and business confidence builds and feeds on itself.
2010-05-06 Chipan? by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
In this commentary, Emerald responds to a reader question about China and Japan. Emerald says that equities in both countries are overvalued, but that this is less important than the fact that buying pressure is still outweighing selling pressure. The long-term ascension of the Chinese economy is one of the most prominent secular themes in today's markets. Japan, on the other hand, like the U.S., faces an obvious mess. The ultimate ruler is price, however, and Japanese stock prices have stubbornly risen for many months without a long-overdue correction.
2010-05-05 High Yield Outperforms by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The average stock in the S&P 500 is now down 4.26 percent since the index peaked on April 23rd. But at least based on dividends, the high-yield stocks have outperformed their low or no-yield brethren by quite a wide margin during the recent pullback. When breaking up the S&P 500 into deciles based on dividend yield, the deciles of stocks with the highest yields are barely down, while stocks with low or no yields are underperforming. Investors typically flock to safer names during market declines, and it seems to be no different this time around.
2010-05-04 Weren't Interest Rates Supposed to Be Rising? by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
A couple of months ago, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond was rising towards 4 percent, and commentators everywhere were declaring an end to the 'bond market bubble,' which would send interest rates sharply higher. So what happened? Thanks to the problems in Greece and the rest of Europe, US treasuries have been a magnet for investors looking to protect their cash. At a current yield of 3.62 percent, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond is currently trading at a two-month low, and breaking below support.
2010-05-04 Consumer Sentiment and the Economic Outlook by Team of American Century Investments
The animal spirits John Maynard Keynes described in 1936 as a substantial force in determining the direction of the economy are still with us today. At the moment we are in a prolonged period of below-average consumer sentiment that began in mid-2007. Ultimately, consumer sentiment will rebound. When this occurs, the change in sentiment as measured by the Consumer Sentiment Index is likely to be quick and large. However, there will likely have to be some change in the environment or course of events to convince the population that our difficult times are behind us.
2010-05-03 A 1 in 4 Chance We Say Bye-Bye to Blankfein? by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
For those wondering what the odds are for Lloyd Blankfein to depart as chief executive of Goldman Sachs, Intrade.com has you covered. The last trade on the Intrade contract for Blankfein to depart by December 31, 2010 was 25 (25 percent odds). The current bid/ask is 27/28, so the odds are slightly higher than one in four at this point. The contract started out at a higher price and has drifted lower over the past few days to its current level.
2010-04-27 Financial Strains and Modest Gains for the Eurozone by Team of American Century Investments
The Eurozone fell into recession later than the U.S., and thus will recover later. European factories are heavily dependent on exports for growth. Investors should note that the global economic recovery and a stronger euro have been positive factors for the Eurozone's export machine. But with exports accounting for 35 percent of Eurozone GDP and half of that number going to other countries neighboring the Eurozone, major headwinds could soon be on the horizon.
2010-04-23 Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
During the first quarter, the stock market continued to work its way higher as evidence mounted that the economic recovery was solidly underway. While Osterweis is reasonably comfortable with the very near term outlook for the economy, it is quite concerned with the longer-term implications of the rising federal deficit, as well as about how the economy will perform as monetary and fiscal policy inevitability shift from maximum stimulus to a more neutral stance. The company, therefore, wants to focus its 'bets' more on individual companies than on broad macro-economic trends.
2010-04-23 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
The consensus is that we are well past the crisis point and will gradually see more economic sunshine. While Osterweis generally agrees, there are a couple factors that are prompting the firm to keep a conservative posture. In particular, they are concerned with China’s large trade surplus and the prospect of rising interest rates in the U.S. While the market may remain buoyant for some time as the economy recovers, Osterweis does not believe there is much opportunity cost at this time in taking a more conservative posture and waiting for the next good buying opportunity.
2010-04-21 Republicans Now Favored to Take Back the House? by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Intrade.com has contracts on whether the Republicans or Democrats will control the U.S. House of Representatives following the 2010 midterm elections. While the Democrats currently hold a large majority in the House, the odds for them retaining that majority after 2010 have been declining over the past year or so. As of today, the Republicans are now favored to win a majority in the House after the 2010 elections. The current odds based on Intrade's contract prices are 50.1 percent for a Republican majority and 45 percent for a Democratic majority.
2010-04-21 Market Review by Team of Applied Finance Group
During the depths of the downturn a little over one year ago, many investors were quick to provide a lesson on the mathematics of loss. A 50 percent decline would require a subsequent 100 percent gain - not a 50 percent gain - to get back to even. Such truths, it seemed, were a justification for remaining bearish and a comfort perhaps to some, in making the painful decision to sell. Unfortunately, while the mathematics of loss is indeed an investing truth, it may also be an author of lies by suggesting that the only investor goal worth its salt is 'getting back to even.'
2010-04-20 It's Census Time: Where in the World Are We Growing? by Team of American Century Investments
International population forecasts provided by the U.S. Census Bureau provide directional insights that can be useful to investors. The U.S. will continue to be a dynamic, growing and expanding country from a population perspective well into the 21st century. One implication is that we can deal with concerns over our rapidly growing government debt by growing out of the problem. In addition, despite the recent gloom caused by the housing bubble bursting, real estate values are likely to recover and continue growing long-term as a result of population growth.
2010-04-20 U.S. Equity Quarterly Newsletter by Team of W.P. Stewart
The recovery in U.S. corporate earnings underpins the equity market's current valuation and offers scope for further upward movement over the coming quarters. In many respects the continued recovery in equity prices is likely to become self-fulfilling. As confidence in equities returns, investors are likely to move more money from cash and bonds, where they have parked it over the last 18 months, into equities. This in turn will push P/E's higher, which together with better earnings should offer investors good positive returns.
2010-04-13 Another Month, Another Huge Deficit by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
With total revenues of $153 billion and spending of nearly $219 billion, the federal government spent 43 percent more than it took in this month for its record 18th straight monthly deficit. Believe it or not, this month's $65 billion shortfall was the fourth-lowest over the last 12 months. When all is said and done, the total cost of the Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout is likely to reach $89 billion. When the federal government runs $65 billion in the red during its normal course of business, $89 billion to avert the collapse of the entire financial system doesn't seem so bad.
2010-04-12 Sizing Up a Saw-Toothed Portrait of Potential Sustainability by Team of American Century Investments
A number of key leading indicators - including recent stock market performance, the expanding manufacturing sector, and the steep upward slope of the Treasury yield curve - point toward continued recovery. In addition, the unemployment rate, while still high, does not appear to be moving higher, and has in fact come down from its recent 10.1 percent high reached last October. History suggests that after an unemployment peak is attained, significant improvement follows soon afterward; there hasn't been a historical tendency for the unemployment rate to 'plateau' at levels near its peaks.
2010-04-06 Don't Discount Dividends by Team of American Century Investments
During long and sustained bull markets, investors tend to overlook the importance of dividends in long-term wealth creation for equity investors. Benjamin Graham and David Dodd emphasized the importance of dividends in the overall valuation process for equities in a classic 1934 text. Because of their consistency in both good times and bad, dividends and dividend reinvestment can help cushion the downsides as well as enhance ultimate wealth. Investors, therefore, should not 'discount dividends.'
2010-04-05 The Rising Cost of Commodities on the Consumer by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The price of oil is up sharply today, and is trading above $86. While commodity traders love the rise in oil prices, consumers aren't nearly as enthusiastic, especially ahead of the summer driving season. To them, higher prices mean more pain at the pump, and in their wallets. Indeed, while low food and energy prices continue to serve as a rebate for consumers, that rebate has been dwindling since March 2009, and could soon turn into a tax, as they were from the beginning of 2008 through the summer of that year.
2010-03-31 Yield Curve Back Near Highs by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
With long-term interest rates rising and short-term interest rates contained, the rising yield curve is once again starting to receive attention. The Fed defines the yield curve as the difference in basis points between the yield on 10-year and 3-month U.S. Treasury bonds. High values in the yield curve are positive for the economy, while an inverted yield curve is a harbinger of weakness. The curve is currently at the high end of its historical range, and has made multiple attempts to break through the 380 bps level in the current period.
2010-03-31 Corporate Cost Of Health Care: Announced Charges as of 3/31 by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Since Congress passed the health care reform bill on March 21st, we have seen numerous companies announce that they will take charges to earnings. The charges stem from one aspect of the legislation that eliminates deductions for tax-free subsidies companies receive from the government for providing prescription drug benefits to retirees. Due to the material and quantifiable impact that the bill will have on their business and financial results, the companies are required by law to disclose it. So far at least fourteen companies have announced charges totaling at least $1.6 billion.
2010-03-30 China's 2010 Growth Forecasts Upgraded by the World Bank by Team of American Century Investments
The World Bank raised China's 2010 growth forecasts to 9.5 percent last week from the 8.7 percent projected in November, but also predicted that China's growth will slow somewhat in 2011, to 8.7 percent. It also recommended higher interest rates and a stronger currency for China amidst growing concerns over rising inflation and a property sector bubble. The Chinese government emphasized the need for structural reforms in recent presentations to the National People's Congress.
2010-03-23 Barron's' Pension Warning Doesn't Change Our Pension Outlook by Team of American Century Investments
A recent Barron's magazine piece about unfunded public pension liabilities painted an otherwise solid bond sector with a broad negative brush. While pension liabilities are a serious problem for state and local governments, they are neither a new problem nor an immediate problem, and they are not the most pressing issue that municipalities face in the post-recession environment, according to American Century Investments credit research director David Moore. Despite unfunded pension liabilities, no state runs a serious risk of default on its general debt obligation.
2010-03-16 Latest Unemployment Report Reveals the Growing Problem of the Long-Term Unemployed by Team of American Century Investments
Four out of 10 unemployed workers are designated as long-term unemployed, meaning that they have been seeking a job for at least six months. This rate exceeds any other since the 1940s. As we have evolved towards a service- and knowledge-based economy, people with at least an undergraduate degree have fared better both in terms of lower unemployment rates and higher wages. This trend has become even more pronounced during the recession that began in December 2007 relative to the past two periods of peak unemployment in June 1992 and 2003.
2010-03-11 Headlines Fail to Derail Munis by Team of BlackRock
Municipal bonds of all maturities enjoyed positive returns in February, outpacing their U.S. Treasury counterparts. Money market rates remain low, however, encouraging investors to move further out on the municipal curve to capture yield. While state and local governments continue to face fiscal challenges and worries over bond defaults, Moody's released an updated default rate study that continues to point to the relative safety of municipals.
2010-03-09 What's Next for the High Yield Market by Team of Pioneer Investment Management
The economy can achieve 3 to 4 percent growth in 2010. This growth rate, along with low interest rates, should provide a favorable environment for riskier fixed income asset classes such as high yield. Corporate profit margins, cash flows and productivity are all near record levels relative to prior cycles, and balance sheets are relatively healthy. This puts companies in a good position to capitalize on the recovery. A strategy that balances high yield, equity, convertible and bank loan securities is prudent, given the anticipated investment environment.
2010-03-09 Underwater in the Housing Market by Team of American Century Investments
The number of negative equity mortgages, situations where the borrower owes more on their mortgage than the current market value of the home they bought, increased substantially since the housing bubble burst in 2007. While these homeowners continue to make payments, there is a weak correlation between how badly their mortgages are underwater and foreclosure rates. This is also a problem because many middle and lower income people use their homes as their most important source of retirement savings. In addition, negative equity may diminish labor mobility at a time of high unemployment.
2010-03-08 What Happened to Nanotech? by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Nanotech was one of the next big things during the 2002-2007 bull market, but has faded in recent years. Stocks and ETFs related to nanotech lost investor interest, and the sector has seen a drop in news coverage. Unlike many crazes during the internet bubble, however, nanotech does serve a purpose. If the bull market continues, it will be interesting to see whether nanotech resurges.
2010-03-05 Preferreds are Preferred by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The ETF that tracks U.S. preferred stocks has soared to bull market highs in recent days. Preferred stocks fell more than common stocks during the 2007-2009 bear market, but since March 2, 2009, the iShares S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index ETF is up 153 percent, while the S&P 500 is up 66 percent.
2010-03-05 Intrade Odds for Obamacare to Become Law by 6/30/2010 by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The odds for Obamacare to become law by June 30, 2010 jumped to 60 percent on Intrade a few days ago after the president pushed for the Senate to use reconciliation to pass reform, a procedure that requires only 51 votes and cannot be filibustered. Before then, odds ranged from 30 to 35 percent.
2010-03-03 Recommended Bond Allocation by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Have analysts become more conservative, or will the recommended bond weighting continue to fall as the market goes up? Wall Street strategists currently recommend a 30.5 percent weighting in bonds. Before the run-up in treasury bonds during the financial crisis, the recommended bond weighting ranged between 15 and 20 percent. As bond prices rallied, strategists increased their recommended weighting. Bond prices peaked in December 2008, however, and have been drifting lower since the onset of the current bull market in stocks.
2010-03-02 Eurozone's Economic Recovery Loses Steam in Fourth Quarter by Team of American Century Investments
Economic growth in the 16-country eurozone stalled in the fourth quarter of 2009, raising concerns about the durability of the region's nascent recovery. Output expanded just 0.4 percent on an annualized basis in the fourth quarter, down from 1.7 percent in the third quarter. Meanwhile, after negative growth in 2009, the world economy is projected to expand by 3.9 percent in 2010 and 4.3 percent in 2011. Asia and emerging markets will lead the charge, while advanced economies such as the eurozone will remain sluggish and dependent on government stimulus measures.
2010-02-23 Stock Market Performance and Inflation by Team of American Century Investments
The world is awash in liquidity as a result of the recent financial crisis and subsequent risk of deflation. Many investors are concerned that this \"cheap money\" will result in rising inflation. Historical S&P 500 data suggests, however, that the highest price to earnings ratios occur when inflation is between 1 percent and 6 percent.
2010-02-23 Where Do We Go From Here? by Team of Fred Alger Management
Investors are showing signs of uncertainty amidst uneven economic growth. The S&P 500 is down 5.64 percent from its peak on January 19. Alger thinks the market pause could go on until well into the second half of 2010, but predicts a significant rally in U.S. equities and a continuation of the bull market in 2011.
2010-02-22 A Speeding Ticket by Team of Beacon Pointe
Most indices are down from their January highs. But this pull-back is more of a speeding ticket than a suspended license, and markets will soon be able to travel cautiously toward their destinations. This environment will favor investors with a focus on security selection, a strong research effort and unwavering valuation discipline.
2010-02-18 Taxes Paid by the Highest-Paid Americans by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
A recent IRS report provides ammunition for both sides in the debate over whether the ultra-rich should pay higher taxes. The 400 top U.S. earners accounted for 2.1 percent of all taxes paid in 2007, up from 1.2 percent in 1997. They paid an average tax rate, however, of 16.6 percent, down from 24.2 percent ten years earlier. Their average income in 2007 was $137.9 million.
2010-02-17 Sirius Breaks (Above) the Buck by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Sirius XM Radio's stock broke the $1 mark for the first time since September 2008. Shares rose by 1,900% since trading for as low as five cents last February, and are up 80 percent since their low on December 22. An improving auto sector may be driving up share prices.
2010-02-14 Growing Problems in the Residential Real Estate Market (Part 2) by Team of American Century Investments
The problem of growing housing delinquencies has spread to states not originally affected in the sub-prime crisis and to higher-quality prime mortgages as the nation’s unemployment rate has reached double-digit levels. This commentary looks at the failure to-date of policy initiatives intended to stem defaults, and at the range of possible future policies.
2010-02-13 Historical S&P 500 Sector Weightings by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Bespoke Investment Group reviews historical sector weightings in the S&P 500, and says the Technology currently has its highest allocation since the internet bubble burst in 2000, at 19.2 percent. Financials rank second at 14.4 percent after falling to 8.9 percent in March 2009. Consumer Staples still weigh bigger than the Consumer Discretionary sector as they have since 2007, but Consumer Discretionary could overtake Consumer Staples once again if the bull market continues.
2010-02-11 Fixed Income Investment Outlook January 2010 by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
Osterweis Capital Management says in its fixed income investment outlook that increased investor appetite for risk drove up prices of high-yield bonds, equities and other financial assets in 2009. Investors may want to avoid Treasury bonds and other underweight longer-dated assets in order to avoid the impact of a possible interest rate hike.
2010-02-11 Equity Investment Outlook January 2010 by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
In its equity investment outlook, Osterweis Capital Management says it expects the economy to continue expanding this year, but notes that it might face headwinds from a double dip in the housing market and an unwinding commercial real estate sector. Stocks recovered sharply last year in the face of expected profit recovery, but may but may suffer temporary setbacks if the economy disappoints.
2010-02-10 Bespoke's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Indicator by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Bespoke Investment Group says the appearance of American model Brooklyn Decker on the cover of this year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue may be a good sign for investors. The S&P 500 remained positive in 13 out of 16 years an American appeared on the cover since 1978 and posted average returns of 10.6 percent. It stayed positive in 12 out of 16 years an American did not appear on the cover, and posted average returns of 8.2 percent.
2010-02-09 Growing Problems in the Residential Housing Market by Team of American Century Investments
American Century Investments says in its weekly market update that rapidly rising delinquencies and foreclosures on residential housing could soon eclipse unemployment as an object of focus for economists, policymakers and the public. Delinquencies on loans secured by one- to four-unit properties, including home equity lines of credit, have soared since the end of 2007 to approximately 10 percent of the total value of mortgages.
2010-02-08 Tweedy Browne: Cautious in the Short Term, Optimistic in the Long Term by Team of Tweedy Browne
Robert Huebscher recaps a recent webinar by investment firm Tweedy Browne. The company's four managing partners explained their focus on downside risk, expressed a preference for high-quality dividend-payer stocks and noted their emphasis on developed markets rather than emerging markets. The partners said they were optimistic about recovery in the long term, but cautious about the short term.
2010-02-05 Sovereign Debt Default Risk by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Since the beginning of the year, sovereign default risk (measured by credit default swap prices) has risen for Portugal, France, Iceland, German and Australia. It's even risen for the US - by a greater percentage than for either Dubai or Greece.
2010-02-05 US Sovereign Debt CDS Spikes by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Default risk has spiked for US sovereign debt and is now significantly above its June 2009 high - but well below highs earlier in the financial crisis.
2010-02-04 Country Stock Market Performance by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Worries about a few EU countries and the Euro currency have rattled global equity markets. Sovereign debt credit default swaps have been rising sharply for countries such as Greece and Portugal in recent days. Equity markets in Spain, Portugal, and Hungary are down more than 5% today alone. They highlight the year to date performance and performance since the 1/19 peak for the major equity markets of 81 countries around the world.
2010-02-02 China's Strong GDP Up 10.7% in the Fourth Quarter, but is Inflation on the Horizon? by Team of American Century Investments
American Century looks at the sources of growth in the Chinese economy its future projected growth rate. Easy credit and stimulus measures are potentially leading to a real estate bubble and inflation. Exports from China grew in December, following 13 months of decline, and “…the world may have to continue to rely on China as the biggest engine of economic growth.”
2010-02-01 A New Landscape Creates Opportunity by Team of Alliance Bernstein
This is a mostly bullish survey of global capital markets.
2010-01-29 GDP Rises to Highest Levels Since 2003 by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Bespoke comments on the higher-than-expected GDP announcement. They note that earnings announcements so far this season have been strong and “based on what we\'ve seen so far in terms of guidance,
2010-01-28 Monthly Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory
When the dust settled on one of the most eventful and upended years in memory, investors had generous gains in stocks and certain segments of the bond market to salve the wounds of a disastrous 2008 a
2010-01-26 Weekly Market Update by Team of American Century Investments
2010-01-26 Guidance Is Also Strong by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Just like the earnings beat rate this quarter, the percentage of companies raising guidance versus lowering guidance is also strong. As shown below, 12.6% of companies that have reported earnings thi
2010-01-23 Bernanke Confirmation Odds by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The Intrade odds for Ben Bernanke to be confirmed by the Senate for a second term have dropped from about 95% down to 80% today. This is a pretty big drop, but the money is still betting that he'l
2010-01-21 Presidential First Years: Stock Market Returns by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
“While his detractors will argue otherwise, based on his first year in office, Barack Obama has been a good friend to the stock market. Since 1897, the 33% return in the DJIA during his first year in
2010-01-20 Intrade Contracts For Health Care and House Ownership by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
After Scott Brown's unlikely win last night for the open MA Senate seat, we checked Intrade to see which way the odds have moved for various political scenarios. After the special election, Intrad
2010-01-19 Country "PEG" Ratios by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The PEG ratio is the P/E ratio over the growth rate, and a PEG of less than one is generally considered good. In this regard, we have created "PEG" ratios for a number of countries using the P/
2010-01-15 50 Best Performing Stocks by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Of the 2,971 stocks currently in the Russell 3,000, 1,997 of them were around at the start of the 2000s. The average price change of these 1,997 stocks during the 2000s was 182%, so this shows you th
2010-01-14 Preferreds and High Yield Bonds Surge by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
The preferred stock and high yield bond markets have done extremely well lately. The two charts below, PFF (preferred ETF) and HYG (high yield bond ETF) have both been surging since the start of Dece
2010-01-14 Domestic REITs by Team of Litman Gregory
At current valuations, we believe REITs are overvalued. We think REIT investors are anticipating a quick and meaningful rebound in cash flows/dividends. Our dividend growth assumption over the next ye
2010-01-13 Commodity Prices and the Consumer by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
2010-01-12 VIX At Lowest Level Since May 2008. Should You Care? by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
Now that the VIX index is at its lowest levels since May 2008, and down nearly 80% from its record high in late 2008, there is a growing concern among some investors that there is not enough fear in t
2010-01-09 Forecasts by Team of State Street Global Advisors
2010-01-08 High Yield Bonds Continue to do Well by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
2010-01-08 4th Quarter Commentary - Investing Proactively Without Predictions by Team of Partnervest Advisory Services
\"\'If you’re going to predict,\' an anonymous economist famously quipped, \'predict often.\' 2009 by all accounts was a good year. The S&P500 gained 23.4%. Emerging ma
2010-01-07 High Yield Bonds Continue to do Well by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
2010-01-06 Final 2010 Strategist Predictions by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
2010-01-06 Average P/E Ratio by Decade by Team of Bespoke Investment Group
2009-11-13 Investment-Grade Bonds Asset Class Review by Team of LItman Gregory
2009-11-07 The Amazing Race by Team of Beacon Pointe
2009-10-09 Bond Funds vs. Individual Bonds by Team of Litman Gregory
2009-09-28 Investors Take a Breath by Team of Fortigent
2009-09-21 The Recession Is Likely Over! by Team of Fortigent
2009-09-14 Stocks Advance with Little Data to Digest by Team of Fortigent
2009-09-08 Employment Creating Headwinds by Team of Fortigent
2009-08-31 So Long Sweet Summer by Team of Fortigent
2009-08-24 Economy Hems and Haws by Team of Fortigent
2009-08-17 Disappointing Economic Data Weighs on Markets by Team of Fortigent
2009-08-11 Economic Improvement Going Global by Team of Fortigent
2009-08-03 Another Record Month Officially Behind Us by Team of Fortigent
2009-07-27 Equity Markets on a Tear by Team of Fortigent
2009-07-21 Investors Throw Caution to the Wind by Team of Fortigent
2009-07-13 As Earnings Kick Off, Investors Remain Cautious by Team of Fortigent
2009-07-06 Out with a Wimper, In with a Bang by Team of Fortigent
2009-06-29 Short, but Busy, Wekk Forthcoming by Team of Fortigent
2009-06-22 Is the Economic Glass Half Full…or Half Empty? by Team of Fortigent
2009-06-16 Is It Time to Change the Way We Invest? by Team of Litman Gregory
2009-06-15 Global Leaders Provide Optimistic Outlook by Team of Fortigent
2009-06-08 Economy Moving in the Right Direction by Team of Fortigent
2009-06-01 Dog Days of Summer Nearly Here by Team of Fortigent
2009-05-26 Long Weekend Ushers in Busy Week Ahead by Team of Fortigent
2009-05-18 Lackluster News Drags on the Markets by Team of Fortigent
2009-05-18 Market Overview: The Upside of Dividends by Team of Miller/Howard
2009-05-11 Focus Shifts from Earnings to Economy by Team of Fortigent
2009-05-04 Economic News Remains Fast & Furious by Team of Fortigent
2009-04-27 Are the Bulls Ready to Take Out the Bears? by Team of Fortigent
2009-04-20 Earnings Keep the Market Afloat by Team of Fortigent
2009-04-13 Investors Await Earnings by Team of Fortigent
2009-04-06 World Leaders Winning Back Investor Confidence by Team of Fortigent
2009-03-30 March Rallies Bring April... by Team of Fortigent
2009-03-23 The Fed Decides to go 'All In' ... Again by Team of Fortigent
2009-03-23 The Fed Decides to go 'All In' ... Again by Team of Fortigent
2009-03-16 March Madness Comes a Week Early by Team of Fortigent
2009-03-09 The Clocks Changed: Now If Only We Could 'Spring Forward' the Economy by Team of Fortigent
2009-03-03 Things Have to Get Better, Right? Right?? by Team of Fortigent
2009-02-23 Markets Have Another Case of the Mondays by Team of Fortigent
2009-02-17 A Keynesian Experiment Unlike Any We Have Seen by Team of Fortigent
2009-02-09 Even Cupid is Having Trouble Finding a Job by Team of Fortigent
2009-02-02 It's Groundhog Day and the Economy Sees its Shadow by Team of Fortigent
2009-01-26 Buckle Up for the Week Ahead by Team of Fortigent
2009-01-20 A Wild Week in the Economy by Team of Fortigent
2009-01-12 Happy New Year?? by Team of Fortigent