ACTIONABLE ADVICE FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS: Newsletters and Commentaries Focused on Investment Strategy

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2014-07-22 Is Timing Everything? Practical Implementation of Tail Risk Hedging?? by Michael Connor, Markus Aakko of PIMCO

“Just in time” hedging is nearly impossible: By the time an investor decides to hedge, the market may already price in the significant risk of a tail event. Instead, hedges could be included as a permanent part of an asset allocation: what we might call “just in case” hedging. An optimal strategy may involve averaging into a hedging allocation. In addition, using a broader set of hedge instruments may help lower the costs. We believe that tail risk hedges have a place in any portfolio that has a substantial allocation to risk assets. ?

2014-07-22 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

The intensifying geopolitical backdrop of Ukraine/ Russia, Israel/ Gaza, and Iraq/ ISIS continued to influence market activity and investment flows last week. As a result, intermediate and longer-dated Treasury rates were able to revisit their low yields of the year, last touched in May. However, the one thematic constant that continued unabated last week was the persistent flattening of the yield curve—the one trend that we are unwilling to fade.

2014-07-22 How to Choose the Best Retirement Income Strategy by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

In the competition among retirement-planning methodologies, systematic withdrawals have been winning the battle against the essential-discretionary approach. But given today's low interest rates, the essential-discretionary approach may work better for many clients, especially if SPIAs are used.

2014-07-21 A Farmland Investment Primer by Julie Koeninger of GMO

Farmland is a real asset that combines solid investment fundamentals with the potential for attractive cash yields, inflation hedging, and consistent returns from biological growth. Furthermore, farmland total returns tend to be uncorrelated with financial asset returns, offering genuine portfolio diversification for institutional investors.

2014-07-19 Bull Stumbles by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Any near-term correction would be healthy in the context of an ongoing secular bull market. Trying to time the market is always difficult, even though the market is in a potentially weak phase, both in terms of the annual and election cycles. And while sentiment is elevated in the United States, both Europe and China provide opportunities to invest where the mood is decidedly less enthusiastic.

2014-07-19 Perspectives from the Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group by Christopher Molumphy, Michael Materasso, Roger Bayston, Michael Hasenstab, and John Beck of Franklin Templeton Investments

In early July, there was a noticeable disconnect between the median forecast of Fed officials for interest rates by end-2015 and the markets’ forecast, as expressed in the federal funds futures rate. But if unemployment continues to decline and inflation to pick up in the coming months, the danger for bond market participants is that their predictions for interest rates may be too low and will have to be adjusted.

2014-07-19 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 135.2, down from the previous week's 136.2. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) slipped to 4.5 to 4.2.

2014-07-19 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

From the Suez Canal, to Japanese bullet trains, to the American interstate highway system, to the Millennium Bridge to the Three Gorges Dam, the grandeur of infrastructure is on full display the world over. Awe-inspiring and beautiful to some, these fixtures also play a critical role in the functioning of the global economy. The choices nations make in the area of infrastructure can bear critically on prosperity.

2014-07-19 The Municipal Bond World, According to John Derrick by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I sat down with Director of Research John Derrick, who also manages our Near-Term Tax Free Fund (NEARX), to get his thoughts on interest rates, the bond market and what investors should pay attention to as we move into the second quarter of 2014.

2014-07-18 Free Lunches and the Food Truck Revolution by Ben Inker of GMO

Over the past year or so, there has been a welcome change to the culinary landscape of the Boston financial district. After two decades of wandering to largely the same old haunts for lunch, I am now faced with a whole new set of inexpensive and tasty choices literally outside our door, changing daily as the food trucks perform their mysterious nightly dance.

2014-07-18 Is it Time to Prepare for Inflation? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Inflation has ticked up recently, leaving many investors fearing that it’s time to prepare portfolios for rising prices. According to Russ, while this fear isn’t irrational, it’s too early to restructure a portfolio around a big shift in the inflation outlook. Russ explains.

2014-07-18 Domestic and Indian Gold Rally Points to a Strong Second Half by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Earlier this week we reported that gold, defying expectations, is one of the best-performing commodities of the year so far.

2014-07-18 Fixed Income Outlook: Moving From Zero by Christopher Molumphy, Roger Bayston of Franklin Templeton Investments

Some prior market prognostications of rising rates have proven slow to play out as global central banks, namely the Bank of Japan and European Central Bank (ECB), have continued to ramp up easing measures and the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) has only slowly begun to lay off the gas pedal recently.

2014-07-18 Why Japan? Why Now? by James Calhoun of AdvisorShares

One of the most popular investment themes coming into 2014 was Hedged Japanese Equity (owning Japanese equities while simultaneously hedging out the risk of the Japanese Yen weakening against the US Dollar). At its core, this theme leaves investors long Japanese equities in US Dollar terms, not Japanese Yen terms. This investment turned in very poor performance for the first half of 2014. By the end of Q1 2014, Japanese equities had sold off rather sharply and the US Dollar had weakened 2.01% versus the Yen.

2014-07-18 Why We Favor Owning Gold in Euro Terms by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

In this discussion piece we discuss the rationale for why investors looking to buy gold as a defensive asset during these uncertain times should consider buying gold in euro terms. When an investor buys gold in dollars they are expressing the view that they expect the price of gold to increase relative to the dollar. Similarly when an investor buys gold in euro, they express the view that they expect the value of gold to increase relative to the euro.

2014-07-18 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Gaza, Iraq, Ukraine...ongoing turmoil and global tensions have been topping the headlines far too frequently these days. At times, markets are affected; at times, business is disrupted. Even more sadly, lives are lost. Hopefully calmer heads can prevail, but history is not often on the side of common sense.

2014-07-18 Fireside Chats by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

While I was in the Pacific Northwest and Canada most of last week, I did have the privilege of listening to J.P. Morgan’s (JPM/$55.80/Strong Buy) Chief Market Strategist last Monday. Dr. David Kelly has long been known for his keen insights on the equity markets, with JPM’s senior portfolio managers like George Gatz and Tom Luddy steering their mutual funds, on said strategic views, to outsized gains for many years.

2014-07-18 Comparison of Rising Rates Strategies by Yung Lim of AdvisorShares

With the ultra low interest rate environment becoming more of a norm in many investors’ mind, complacency has driven portfolio managers to maintain the status quo and stick to traditional duration and asset allocation targets. Recent history of bond market behavior has also supported this view. On a forward looking basis, however, the important questions center around how risk/return profiles change under rising interest rate environments and what investors should consider in evaluating the risk of their current portfolio mix.

2014-07-17 Quarterly Review and Outlook, Second Quarter 2014 by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

Hoisington and Hunt review the second quarter in their regular review.

2014-07-17 Quick Thoughts by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners

We made a final trip to Latvia to complete an adoption, had a graduation party for my high school senior, and attended orientation weekend at The Ohio State University. In between all that, we squeezed in no fewer than sixty baseball games for our three boys. I think I have a daughter too, but I’m not entirely sure if she lives with us or her girlfriends. As much as I love summer ball, the season ends this weekend and I’m hoping life will settle down to a more sustainable pace and not one reminiscent of a minor leaguer with four kids, a mortgage, and a full time business.

2014-07-17 The Tolling Bells of Complacency by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

A few years ago, facing a world in crisis, central banks aggressively employed monetary policy to avoid catastrophe in financial markets. Now, they must be equally aggressive in fighting complacency.

2014-07-17 Equities Remain Resilient in Current Environment by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

While there was a brief shift towards higher quality from April through mid-May, low quality reasserted itself in June to mark a fairly muted—and mixed—second-quarter performance for small-caps. Forty-plus-year industry veteran Charlie Dreifus discusses the market's behavior during this period, as well as the U.S. economy and stock market.

2014-07-17 Constraints of Convention - Does a Portfolio Design Have to Be Static? by Jeff Knight of Columbia Management

There was a charming story from the world of youth sports featured in Malcolm Gladwell’s book "David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants."

2014-07-15 High-Yield and Bank Loan Outlook by Team of Guggenheim Partners

Certain areas of leveraged credit are overvalued, particularly CCC-rated bonds and bank loans, but often some of the best profits come in the final phase of a cycle. Low yields on U.S. Treasury bonds and European sovereign debt have kept the global search-for-yield theme alive and have lured more capital into U.S. credit markets, helping the ongoing rally in high-yield bonds and bank loans, which gained 2.4 percent and 1.2 percent (as represented by the Credit Suisse High Yield Index and Credit Suisse Institutional Leveraged Loan Index) in the second quarter of 2014, respectively.

2014-07-15 The New Neutral: Investment Implications for Insurance Companies by David Braun of PIMCO

Low rates are unhelpful to an industry with legacy long-term liabilities containing rigid embedded credited rates; they exacerbate asset-liability mismatches and pressure earnings margins. Insurers may want to recalibrate their expectations of future interest rates, as well as broad bond and equity market returns. In The New Neutral, with beta from stocks and bonds likely to be relatively low, insurers should look to enhance buy-and-hold return potential via active management.

2014-07-15 Is the Euro the New Yen? by Jeremy Schwartz of WisdomTree

Currency-hedged equity strategies broke onto the exchange-traded fund (EFT) investment scene in late 2012 following significant weakening of the yen, which led to a wide disparity in performance between unhedged and currency-hedged Japanese ETFs.

2014-07-15 The Fed Announces Its Intentions by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Minutes from the mid-June FOMC meeting were released last week, offering keen insight to the Federal Reserve’s current thinking on the economy. While the Fed suggests that the economic outlook is benign, the minutes offered guidance on the Fed’s exit path, which is expected to arrive by the end of the year.

2014-07-15 What Risks Are Worth Taking in the Bond Markets Now? by Kathleen Gaffney of Eaton Vance

Pursuing returns from the bond market’s traditional risks – such as interest-rate and credit-risk – has become quite expensive. Treasury bonds, which are the most sensitive to interest-rate risk, have low yields and high prices now. Corporate debt, which also has credit risk, is similarly high priced. Investors may be better served by avoiding these “systematic” risks (so-called because they tend to have a blanket effect across whole categories of bonds). Greater opportunities may lie in pursuing “idiosyncratic” risks that are unique to each issuer of

2014-07-15 The High Tide in China by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

One axiom that has been used over the last couple decades is that high tide lifts all boats; meaning that a rise in economic or market conditions will lift every component of an economy or market to some degree. While true, we deal with relative measurements when discussing returns comparable to a benchmark. So, while the high tide does lift all boats, if the boat is tethered too tightly, you may be higher than being beached, but you also could still be underwater.

2014-07-15 Time to Invest in Change by Dan Kozlowski of Janus Capital Group

After significant multiple expansion in 2013, some of the best remaining opportunities for equity investors may lie with stocks that are due for a change in market sentiment as the company enacts dramatic changes to its business.

2014-07-15 Retirement Planning with Annual Available Spend by John Craig (Article)

Sound financial planning requires neither the determination of safe withdrawal rates nor the use of Monte Carlo simulations. Relying on the past to predict the future is unnecessary. Instead, one must focus on how much can be spent each year, given expected returns and inflation, and then consider how negative and worst-case scenarios would affect retirement planning. That is the basis for the annual available spend methodology I describe here.

2014-07-14 Col. Jessup and Rufus T. Firefly by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

There is a tried and true methodology for dealing with disconcerting trends in the equity market. Read on to find out what it is.

2014-07-14 Ockham's Razor and the Market Cycle by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

“This time is different” requires a lot of counterfactual assumptions. Ockham’s razor would suggest a nice shave.

2014-07-14 Strategies for Income-Seeking Investors by Ed Perks of Franklin Templeton Investments

Many income-seeking investors have traditionally centered their portfolios around government bonds, often failing to consider other asset classes. Ed Perks, executive vice president and director of portfolio management, Franklin Equity Group, believes equities can be a key part of an income-oriented portfolio, although individual stock selection is particularly important as valuations rise and interest rate dynamics may change.

2014-07-14 Economic Signals Are Improving, Which Should Help Equity Prices by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities lost ground last week, with the S&P 500 Index dropping just under 1%, its largest weekly loss since early April.1 Cyclical sectors lagged, while defensive areas (chiefly utilities and telecommunications) led the way. A number of factors could be blamed for the decline, including signs of slowing European growth and lingering debt problems, as well as some downward revisions in corporate earnings guidance. In our view, however, the most reasonable explanation for the pullback may simply be fatigue and consolidation following the multi-week price advance.

2014-07-12 2014 Commodities Halftime Report by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

What a difference six months can make. After a disappointing 2013, the commodities market came roaring back full throttle, outperforming the S&P 500 Index by more than 4 percentage points and 10-year Treasury bonds by more than 6.

2014-07-11 Solving the Income Puzzle by Christopher Remington, Michael Cirami, Kathleen Gaffney, Scott Page of Eaton Vance

With interest rates at near historic lows, investors are starved for income. Government bonds and high-grade corporates have generally been the core of investors’ income portfolios, but yields on these bonds are minimal. Delivering a potential double whammy for investors, the prospect of rising interest rates could bring principal losses because the prices of bonds in these core sectors are highly sensitive to changes in interest rates. Diversifying into nontraditional income sectors may provide investors with greater income and lessen their exposure to interest-rate risk.

2014-07-10 Are Prices Too High in U.S. Commercial Real Estate?? by John Murray of PIMCO

The recovery in commercial real estate (CRE) has been driven more by low rates than improvements in fundamentals. However, fundamentals are improving and capitalization rates should remain low amid low New Neutral policy rates. We expect capital flows in both debt and equity to CRE to continue to increase, and we see opportunities for investors resulting from capital flows, demographics, loan maturities and regulatory reforms. ?

2014-07-10 Two Portfolio Moves to Consider after Second Half’s Strong Start by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Economic data showing improving U.S. growth helped the market kick off a strong start to the second half of the year. Russ believes the economic strength is likely to continue, and he shares two moves investors may want to consider to position portfolios for such an environment.

2014-07-10 The End of Quantitative Easing by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

During the Financial Crisis, as the capital markets seized up and interbank lending froze, traditional tools of monetary policy proved ineffective. The Federal Reserve implemented a series of initiatives called Quantitative Easing that essentially used the central bank’s balance sheet to purchase bonds in the open market and directly manipulate interest rates lower. This tool proved extremely powerful and allowed the Fed to manipulate interest rates across the yield curve which, in turn, allowed for a wave of refinancing activity that helped to lower borrowing costs.

2014-07-09 Choosing Winners in Asian Credit: Key Trends and Themes by Raja Mukherji, Ronie Ganguly of PIMCO

Key trends include Asian credit supply, which is on track for another record year in 2014, and China's priority to promote cleaner and more efficient energy. Our bottom-up research and careful risk assessments – informed by macroeconomic perspectives – have us favoring select investments in several sectors of Asian credit markets, including state-owned enterprises in China and Korea, investment grade new issues and Basel III Tier 2 bank capital bonds. ?

2014-07-09 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter: Second Quarter 2014 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), remarks in his latest quarterly letter that it appears "the precious metals complex, both mining shares and bullion, appears to be in the process of completing a major bottom extending back to mid-2013." He goes on to add that he is "becoming more comfortable with the proposition that the downside potential has been fully exhausted after nearly three years of declining prices and that the stage has been set for a major advance in the years to come."

2014-07-09 And That's the Quarter That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

The dismal winter weather is finally in the rearview mirror and stocks continued their record-setting ways.

2014-07-09 U.S. & European Flows: Potential Opportunity in European Debt? by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

In discussions with our clients, we often notice their interest in hearing where WisdomTree or the industry is seeing inflows in order to gain new ideas for investment. As the market for global exchange-traded products continues to evolve, we believe that investors will increasingly look to global ETP flows for investment ideas.

2014-07-09 Will Firming Fundamentals Lead to a Firmer Fed? by Team of Northern Trust

Real gross domestic product (GDP) of the U.S. economy declined at an annual rate of 2.9% in the first quarter. Bad weather and distortions from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) left overall growth significantly weaker than expected. Nominal GDP fell at an annual rate of 1.7% in the first quarter, the first such occurrence during an expansion in the entire post-war period.

2014-07-09 Gut Wrenching by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The greater-than-expected downward revision to first quarter GDP was a shocker (even more of a surprise than Spain, Italy, and Portugal not making it out of group play in the World Cup). However, investors were willing to dismiss the bad first quarter performance. An inventory correction and a wider trade deficit subtracted 3.2 percentage points from 1Q14 GDP growth.

2014-07-08 Why Free Trade Hurts Economic Growth by Marianne Brunet (Article)

Free trade, deregulation and limiting the federal government's powers form what Columbia professors Joseph Stiglitz and Bruce Greenwald call the Washington Consensus - the core precepts that have dominated policymaking for the last 50 years. But those ideas are misguided, they contend. Tariffs and trade restrictions, for example, are fine, especially if they are part of a broad framework that stimulates learning throughout a society.

2014-07-08 The Power of Share Repurchases by Patrick O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessey Asset management

One of the most effective stock selection strategies in the U.S. over the past several decades has been to buy stocks that are in the midst of repurchasing significant quantities of their shares—but just blindly following buybacks isn’t always the best strategy. While many companies that are repurchasing large quantities of their shares make for great investments, others are dangerous and should be avoided. There are several important factors that should be considered when evaluating a stock with impressive buybacks.

2014-07-08 Blowout Jobs Data Won’t Trigger Quicker Rate Hike by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The markets are digesting a stellar jobs report, which may fuel debate over when the Fed will start raising rates. But it’s important for investors to understand the Fed’s holistic approach in order to avoid a kneejerk reaction, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-07-08 Slow but Steady Growth by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

In the second quarter of 2014 major asset class performance was positive. The Dow was up 2.4%, the S&P up 4.7%, and the NASDAQ up 5%. International equities nearly kept pace with US equities; the MSCI ACWI ex US was up 3.8%.

2014-07-08 Will Latest Jobs Report Force the Fed to Act? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

After a reasonably bleak winter, labor markets are on the rebound, just in time for the Federal Reserve to decide when they should stop asset purchases. Recent figures suggest that labor markets are very near Fed targets, raising the possibility that interest rate hikes could begin sooner than expected.

2014-07-08 An Allocation to Currencies May Provide Income and Lower an Overall Portfolio’s Volatility by Michael Cirami, Eric Stein, John Baur, Matthew Murphy, Bradford Godfrey of Eaton Vance

Most investors understand the benefits of diversification and the risks of owning just one security. But many overlook the benefits of broadening their currency exposure and have all their investments concentrated in the U.S. dollar. Investing in a mix of foreign currencies may lower the risks of an overall portfolio, provide additional sources of income and can potentially enable investors to pursue a wider array of opportunities around the world.

2014-07-08 Managing Valuation Risk by Rebalancing by Tripp Zimmerman of WisdomTree

We think it is important to be mindful of how an annual rebalance back to an underlying fundamental such as dividends can help manage valuation risks—a key factor in why the non-cap-weighted indexes are included in the “smart beta” category of indexes.

2014-07-07 TIPS Outperform in the 2014 Second Quarter and First Half by Stephen Percoco of Lark Research, Inc.

TIPS have been on a tear so far in 2014. While returns on straight Treasury securities have been strong, TIPS returns have been stronger. After scampering away from Treasurys last year out of fears about the winding down of Federal Reserve stimulus, bond investors seemed reassured, after the weak first quarter GDP report and statements by the Fed, that interest rates are not about to rise anytime soon.

2014-07-07 The Tide is High by Edward Talisse of Chelsea Global Advisors

It took a while but I think I finally get it. The Federal Reserve has embarked on a Parallel Campaign - operating on two separate planes that seemingly never intersect, yet both having readily recognized similarities. My eureka moment finally came this past week when Ms. Yellen, in a rebuff to the Bank for International Settlements, said "because resilient financial system can (now) withstand unexpected developments, identification of bubbles is less critical."

2014-07-07 The Prudent Investor’s Approach to Retirement Income by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Each day, ten thousand people reach the age where retirement is a possibility. For some the choice is optional, but for others it is mandatory. A lively debate is taking place among academics and professionals in the investment industry regarding what the proper approach is for meeting financial needs in retirement.

2014-07-07 India and Indonesia: Change, Challenge and Opportunity by Jack Deino of Invesco Blog

In both India and Indonesia, leaders are facing intense pressure from markets and investors to initiate reforms that are real rather than merely cosmetic. Our outlook is somewhat more bullish for India, but we believe change can lead to opportunity in both countries.

2014-07-05 I'm Grateful to Live in America. Here's Why. by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

An important principle of our investment process at U.S. Global Investors is a belief that government policies are a precursor to change. As a result, we closely monitor the fiscal, monetary and other impactful governmental policies of the world’s largest countries, both in terms of economic stature and population. We’re always listening for the proverbial shot heard around the world. As we approach America’s Independence Day, this belief rings especially true.

2014-07-05 June Employment Situation: Fitting Gift for America’s Birthday by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Today’s U.S. employment report was a very good one. It was strong enough to suggest good economic momentum but not so strong as to alarm the Federal Reserve.

2014-07-03 Reality-Based Cost Of Living Index Tells The Real Reason Why So Many Americans Are Struggling by Steve Rumsey of Optimus Advisory Group

Ever wonder why rises in the Consumer Price Index ("CPI") seem low compared to your own personal experiences? Or why social security annual cost of living increases seem to get smaller and smaller? Or why inflation-adjusted pensions can't seem to keep up with general price increases? Or why the American worker gets such meager annual raises (if at all) that they seem to fall further behind year after year?

2014-07-03 One Big Idea?? by William Gross of PIMCO

?Investing and business success can often depend on one BIG idea and its timing. The peaking of short-term interest rates at 20% in the early 1980s and the bursting of the DotCom and NASDAQ bubble 20 years later were excellent examples of big ideas that made or broke investment portfolios.

2014-07-03 The Consumption Drag: What it Means for Investors by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

The one segment of the U.S. economy that still appears to be lagging is also the biggest: household consumption. Russ explains why slower consumer spending is likely to continue dragging down U.S. economic growth, noting three implications for investors.

2014-07-03 The Outlook for Yields by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

As U.S. economic growth gathers pace, yields on 10-year U.S. Treasuries should shift higher over the next two to three years, eventually moving as high as 3.75-4 percent.

2014-07-02 Alternative Investments: The Right Expectations by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

Every year around this time we hear about the fiscal year investment results for the various college endowments and typically there is much written about the endowments and 2014 is no exception but this year most of the attention seems to be on the extent to which various forms of alternative investments have been a drag on endowment results after years of their having provided outsized gains.

2014-07-02 1Q GDP Plunges Nearly 3% - What Will The Fed Do Now? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we take a closer look at last week’s very ugly 1Q GDP report and see if we can discern why it was so much worse than anyone expected (hint: it was more than the severe winter weather). Fortunately, it continues to look like 2Q growth will come in at +3.0% or better. But even if GDP for the rest of the year comes in strong, the devastating 1Q will ensure yet another slow growth year.

2014-07-02 On Top of the Market Chart Book - "Global Equities Inch Forward in the First Quater" by Team of AMG Funds

Now updated through 1Q. 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.

2014-07-01 New Research on How to Choose Portfolio Return Assumptions by Wade Pfau (Article)

Care must be taken with portfolio return assumptions, as small differences compound into dramatically different financial outcomes over a lifetime. My research shows just how big those differences are and how they vary in the pre- and post-retirement phases.

2014-07-01 The 2014 Mid-Year Geopolitical Update by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

As is our custom, we take the middle of the year to reflect on the current geopolitical situation. This report is less a series of predictions as it is a list of potential geopolitical issues that we believe will dominate the international landscape for the rest of the year. It is not designed to be exhaustive; instead, it focuses on the “big picture” conditions that we believe will affect policy and markets going forward. They are listed in order of importance: America’s Strategic Drift, Chinese Maritime Expansion, The German Problem, and The Remaking of the Middle East.

2014-07-01 LPL Financial Research Mid-Year Outlook 2014: Investor’s Almanac Field Notes by Jeff Kleintop of LPL Financial

At this year’s halfway point, we are pleased to offer the LPL Financial Research Mid-Year Outlook 2014: Investor’s Almanac Field Notes containing key observations and updates to our outlook for 2014. Similar to a farming almanac, our Investor’s Almanac is a publication containing a guide to patterns, tendencies, and seasonal observations important to growing. The goal of farming is not merely to grow crops, but to sustain living things—investing shares the same goal.

2014-06-30 The New Normal of Healthcare Spending by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

A rather interesting shockwave came across the newsfeeds this week. I was actually doing a TV interview when the host announced that GDP was down 2.9% for the first quarter. There was not much else I could do but note that that was a really bad, ugly, terrible, not very good number.

2014-06-30 Taking a Balanced View of Equities by Lisa Myers of Franklin Templeton Investments

With the US S&P 500 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average advancing into record territory this year and some European equity benchmarks likewise nearing new highs, some investors may be wondering whether it’s still wise to be jumping into the market at this stage. Lisa Myers, executive vice president, Templeton Global Equity Group, thinks that a long-term investment horizon, supported by bottom-up analysis, can reveal hidden value.

2014-06-30 The Delusion of Perpetual Motion by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The Federal Reserve’s promise to hold safe interest rates at zero for a very long period of time has not created a perpetual motion machine for stocks. No – it has simply created an environment where investors have felt forced to speculate, to the point where stocks are now also priced to deliver zero total returns for a very long period of time. Put simply, we are already here. Investment decisions driven primarily by the question “What other choice do I have?” are likely to prove regrettable.

2014-06-28 Health Care Sector Spurred by Population Growth and M&As by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Recently I spoke with John Derrick, director of research here at U.S. Global, to pick his brain about what he thought was the most interesting sector right now. You might expect him to have said energy, perhaps because of the intensifying violence in Kurdistan Iraq, a major oil producer. But instead, he said that he had his eyes on health care.

2014-06-28 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 135.4, down from the previous week's adjusted 135.3. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) is unchanged at 4.3 (the previous week adjusted down from 4.4).

2014-06-27 Timing Low Volatility Investments by Feifei Li of Research Affiliates

If a secular bear market is coming, a low-volatility strategy might serve well. The five-year return of a simulated low-vol portfolio beat cap-weighting 75% of the time when the market P/E exceeded 20.

2014-06-27 How Road Construction Can Help With Portfolio Construction by R. Scott Dennis of Invesco Blog

Investors have long looked to real estate to provide income potential, hedge against future inflation and provide diversification to traditional stock and bond portfolios. More recently, an increasing number of investors have been expanding their horizons and including real assets in their portfolio construction as well – such as infrastructure and master limited partnerships (MLPs). At Invesco Real Estate, we believe the US — and the world — is heading for a building boom that would bode well for real assets.

2014-06-27 Avoiding the Losers by Team of Hotchkis & Wiley

In Hotchkis & Wiley's 2014 High Yield 2Q Newsletter, Ray Kennedy, Mark Hudoff, and the rest of Hotchkis & Wiley's high yield team discuss the team's belief "that averting mistakes is the single most important quality in successful high yield investing," and that an "avoid the losers” mentality can be achieved by focusing on securities that are senior in the capital structure, emphasizing asset coverage, and looking closely at covenant packages, a third level of defense that the team believes is often overlooked by high yield investors.

2014-06-26 Stock Picking Matters in the Current Market Climate by Whitney George of The Royce Funds

Has the current market environment begun to favor less speculative companies and investment managers with a more active orientation? Director of Investments, Managing Director, and Portfolio Manager Whitney George talks about valuations, sectors and industries that he believes look promising, and some names in which he has high conviction.

2014-06-26 The Signal and the Noise by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers are dismissing as “noise” signs that inflation pressure is building, but perhaps they should be listening more closely.

2014-06-26 Behind the Curve? by Anthony Valeri of LPL Financial

Despite the Fed labeling the recent inflation increase as “noise,” longer-term bond yields rose, inflation expectations increased, and the yield curve steepened -- all signs of the bond market pricing in inflation risks. As the low inflation pillar of year-to-date bond strength fades, it may be one more reason to be cautious in the bond market.

2014-06-26 Could Events in Iraq Shock Your Portfolio? by Greg Sharenow of PIMCO

We expect a relatively small impact on oil prices for the rest of the year once the dust settles and sectarian lines are drawn. These events call into question Iraq’s ability to keep increasing oil production, which will likely support elevated prices in the years to come. We believe owning oil as a portfolio defense presents an interesting opportunity. ?

2014-06-26 U.S. Rates — Data Dependence by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

The June FOMC meeting contained a little bit for everyone and interest rates reacted only marginally after the announcements. But looking across asset markets—including nominal and inflation-linked bonds, equities, commodities and the dollar—it’s clear that investors interpreted the news as another dovish surprise from the Fed. We are not sure that is the correct interpretation, and the reason comes down to the issue of “data dependence”.

2014-06-25 World Cup and World CPI Are Heating Up, Risking Mistakes by Key Players by Jeffrey Kleintop of LPL Financial

Just as the World Cup has been heating up, increasing the risk of player mistakes, the world consumer price index (CPI) has also been heating up, complicating the task for policymakers at the world’s central banks and increasing the risk of mistakes that could have market implications.

2014-06-25 The Fed’s Outlook: Optimistic? Or Just Hopeful? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

As expected, Federal Reserve policymakers left short-term interest rates unchanged, did not alter the forward guidance on the federal funds target rate, and trimmed the monthly pace of asset purchases by another $10 billion (to $35 billion beginning in July). In its policy statement, the FOMC was a bit more optimistic about a pickup in growth. Fed officials’ forecasts of 2014 GDP growth were revised lower, but implicitly, forecasts for the final three quarters of 2014 remained strong.

2014-06-25 Truth or Consequences? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I am always trying to manage the “risks” inherent with investing (or trading), for as Benjamin Graham stated, “The essence of investment management is the management of risks, not the management of returns. Well-managed portfolios start with this precept.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I often “wait” on an investment until its share price is at a point where if I am wrong, I will be wrong quickly, and the incidence of “loss” will be small and manageable.

2014-06-25 Just Because the Fed Is Doing the Right Thing Now Is No Guarantee It Will Continue to Do So by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

The Fed is continuing to slow the growth in the amount of credit it is creating. In December 2013, the year-over-year growth in the sum of Fed outright holdings of securities and its net repurchase agreements (repurchase agreements minus reverse repurchase agreements) was 41.1%. As of May, the year-over-year growth in this sum had slowed to 24.8%.

2014-06-24 Is the Equity Premium Getting Smaller? by Michael Edesess (Article)

An estimate of the expected return on equities in excess of the risk-free rate seems to be anybody's guess. It would be nice to have a sound theory that tells us how to estimate it.

2014-06-24 Red Sky in the Morn', Junk Bond Investors Be Warn'd. by Bryce Fegley of Saturna Capital

Investor appetite for income has pushed yields and spreads on high-yield bonds to very low levels, while corporate borrowers have fed that demand with record issuance of new debt. On top of low yields and heavy issuance, bond dealers have retreated from corporate bonds in response to new financial regulations. As a result of these factors, we believe now is a particularly risky time to invest in high-yield bonds. Here we offer some of our suggestions for seeking income and yield with less risk.

2014-06-24 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

With geopolitical risks abound, financial markets were resilient yet again last week, thanks to the mostly dovish tone struck by the Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve and its Chair, Janet Yellen. Despite recent economic indicators registering a pickup in growth and inflation, namely CPI, the FOMC reiterated its “lower for longer” theme in managing interest rate policy.

2014-06-24 Hexavest Viewpoint: Neutral on Japan by Frederic Imbeault of Eaton Vance

Macroeconomy: With little traction from fiscal policy and structural reforms, the pro-growth policies of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe known as “Abenomics” will continue to rely on the Bank of Japan’s loose monetary policy to maintain economic momentum. Valuation: Rising profits and the 2014 correction have pushed down P/E ratios on Japanese equities into more attractive territory. Investor sentiment: As contrarians and as the crowd has become less bullish on Japanese stocks, we have become more constructive about investor sentiment.

2014-06-24 Equities Rally on Surprise-Free Fed by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The Federal Reserve held its regularly scheduled meeting last week, and equity markets raced to their strongest daily gain of the week after the announcement was released. There were few surprises, as the Fed chose to maintain its course, while painting a cautious economic picture.

2014-06-24 A Mosaic Approach to Raising the Fed Funds Rate by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The Federal Reserve is using a wide swath of economic data and anecdotal evidence to determine when to raise its benchmark interest rate. While prudent, it may stir up anxiety and volatility for equity investors, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-06-24 Is The Fed Underestimating Inflation? by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Following a week in which investors took pause and focused on the negatives, they reversed course last week and pushed equity prices higher. A number of factors seemed to contribute to the positive tone, not the least of which was an indication from the Federal Reserve (Fed) that there will be no near term change to its accommodative monetary policy.

2014-06-23 Italy: When Hope Is a Strategy by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

I came back from Italy this week, and one of my guilty pleasures was being able to sit down and watch the last three episodes, including the season finale, of Game of Thrones. For those readers who are not enthralled with the fantasy epic from HBO or have not read the first five books (will he ever finish?), author George R.R. Martin has written one of the most complex fantasy series ever, about a world where everyone is occupied with who will sit on the Iron Throne.

2014-06-21 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The Bank of England changes course; U.S. inflation is rising, but the Fed seems unconcerned; The situation in Iraq creates additional uncertainty around oil prices.

2014-06-21 Ah, the Power of Mean Reversion. by Frank of U.S. Global Investors

The chatter this week has been gold. The precious metal flew up $45 an ounce on Thursday, surprising investors, the media and markets alike.

2014-06-20 A Brief Review of Year-to-Date Gold/Currency Performance by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

As a brief primer on how the performance numbers are calculated, we note firstly that all figures shown here are expressed in US dollar terms.

2014-06-20 June Municipal Market Commentary by Team of SMC Fixed Income Management

In order to gauge the potential impact of an interest rate hike on a fixed income portfolio’s performance, not only does the amount of the rate move have to be ascertained, but the timing and duration must also be quantified. In summary, investors should not necessarily jump to the conclusion that rising interest rates automatically result in negative total returns.

2014-06-20 Global Economic Perspective: June by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group of Franklin Templeton Investments

With 10-year US Treasury yields dropping below 2.5% at one point during early June in spite of improving forward economic indicators, the US bond market has continued to send out confusing signals, in our view. Purchasing manager indexes have remained well over the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction for many months, consumer demand has remained relatively buoyant, and nonfarm payrolls show job creation running at over 200,000 per month for 13 of the 21 months to May 2014.

2014-06-20 Japan: Time to Give the Land of Falling Stocks Another Look? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

So far, 2014 has been the year of the falling stocks in Japan. But according to Russ, Japan still stands out as one of the few potential bargains in the developed world. He explains.

2014-06-19 Designing Balanced DC Menus: Considering Inflation-Hedging Strategies???? by Stacy Schaus, Ying Gao of PIMCO

Inflation-hedging strategies are fundamental to DC investment lineups and participants’ need to build and preserve purchasing power in retirement. Plan sponsors should evaluate these assets separately and in combination before adding them to core lineups and target-date strategies. Selected assets or blends should be designed to deliver the primary benefits of inflation responsiveness, diversification relative to stocks, volatility reduction and downside risk mitigation.

2014-06-19 The Fed Continues Tapering; Tightening Still Seems Far Off by Team of Northern Trust

At its June meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) extended its predictable string of asset purchase reductions. Most of the attention was trained on an updated set of forecasts from the Fed that offers some clues to the future path of American monetary policy.

2014-06-19 The Euro Goes Negative by Dickson Buchanan Jr. of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

The European Central Bank's (ECB) decision to charge a negative interest on overnight deposits is not going to lead to a higher targeted inflation rate, despite ECB President Mario Draghi's insistence that it will. Like all cases of central planning, this decision will have unintended and costly consequences - some of which are already starting to play out. In this particular case, instead of stimulating business lending or higher prices, the decision will only stimulate the increased buying of insolvent government debt - leading us all one step closer to the economy's eventual unravelling.

2014-06-18 Outlook on the US Dollar, Currencies & Markets: Look Out Below! by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

The FIFA World Cup and market predictions have in common that we are tempted to create a world of make-believe when it comes to predicting outcomes. While others ponder about the meaning of a round ball, we’ll focus on the implications of a make-believe world comprised of ever-higher asset prices. Our caution: look out below!

2014-06-18 Getting in Gear for The New Neutral – What Does It Mean for Investors? by William Benz of PIMCO

Smart beta is increasingly important when returns are likely to fall short of what most investors need and expect. Active managers can use multiple tools to help generate higher returns. With outcome-oriented strategies, investors can align their portfolios toward meeting specific risk and return objectives. Investors with more aggressive income or return needs may benefit from bespoke, multi-asset solutions. ?

2014-06-18 Euro-Sterling Credit: Yield and Spread Still Appeal by Ketish Pothalingam of PIMCO

Framed by ongoing renormalisation in Europe and stronger UK growth, euro-sterling investment grade credit markets are in a favourable part of their respective cycles as corporates continue to deleverage, default rates are expected to remain low ahead and market liquidity has improved across Europe. We believe the sterling credit market provides a more balanced credit market and offers investors the opportunity for better total carry versus euro and global investment grade credit markets.

2014-06-18 Fed Outlook: Playing It Close to the Vest by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The Federal Open Market Committee will meet this week to set monetary policy. The FOMC is widely expected to further taper the monthly pace of asset purchases (not “on a preset path,” but continuing “in measured steps”). The bigger question is when the Fed will begin to raise short-term interest rates. The correct answer is “it depends.” Fed officials are currently debating the order of steps to be taken as they begin to normalize monetary policy.

2014-06-18 One Step Closer: Public Sector Taking Deleveraging Baton from Private Sector by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The budget deficit has plunged; but government debt remains extraordinarily high. Private sector deleveraging began alongside the financial crisis; and may be largely in its finale. Objective measures of household/consumer stress have come down markedly.

2014-06-17 Separating Risk from Reality by Zachary Karabell of Envestnet

Unless the global financial system implodes or panic engulfs the system, investments such as high-yield bonds and emerging market debt may be less risky than many believe.

2014-06-17 Long Term Parking by W. Ben Hunt of Salient Partners

Like the Soprano Family in 2002, the problem with the US economy in 2014 is not that there is too much private debt being created, but too little. The danger for US markets is not that there is some private debt bubble about to burst, but that markets have become disconnected from the natural cycle of debt and growth, a cycle which remains decidedly anemic.

2014-06-16 Some Gold Indicators to Watch by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

With recent sharp falls in the price volatility of a wide range of assets including gold and the markets’ apparent insensitivity to macroeconomic news, many gold investors have shifted focus to some of the more widely watched gold technical indicators to see if they provide insight into the future direction of the gold price. In this week’s short discussion piece we look at the Gold Forward Offered Rate (GOFO), the US inflation adjusted (real) interest rate and the Gold/S&P500 ratio.

2014-06-16 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

The grind toward higher Treasury yields—and June’s bearish momentum in interest rates—persisted through most of last week, only to reverse on Thursday with an escalation in geopolitical concerns, especially Iraq. After reaching a high of 2.70%, 10 year Treasury notes recovered on the selloff in risk assets and closed the week up only 1 basis point, at 2.60%.

2014-06-16 Unconstrained Bond Investing in The New Neutral by Mohit Mittal, Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

At our recently concluded Secular Forum, PIMCO investment professionals from around the globe gathered in Newport Beach to discuss and debate the secular outlook for major world economies. With insight from guest speakers and new MBA/PhD hires, PIMCO coined the phrase The New Neutral to define its secular three- to five-year outlook for the world economies. In his most recent Investment Outlook, Bill Gross further elaborated on The New Neutral.

2014-06-16 Formula for Market Extremes by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market extremes generally share a common formula. One part reality is blended with one part misguided perception (typically extrapolating recent trends as if they are driven by some reliable and permanent mechanism), and often one part pure delusion (typically in the form of a colorful hallucination with elves, gnomes and dancing mushrooms all singing in harmony that reliable valuation measures no longer matter).

2014-06-14 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The World Cup begins amid a series of financial controversies; Is the honeymoon over for Japan's Abenomics program?; The last word on Thomas Piketty

2014-06-14 The Good News In All The Bad Data by Adam Taggart of PeakProsperity.com

We are at the rare moment in history, where probability is unusually high that a large move to the downside will happen in the financial markets in the relatively near future. This gives investors a degree of confidence in future price movement that they rarely enjoy. The importance of building dry powder and developing an actionable investment plan -- for before, during and after the coming price reset -- is of top priority:

2014-06-14 Stealthy, Silent…Sustainable? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

US stocks should continue to move generally higher although activity may remain sluggish through the summer and the possibility of a correction is elevated as per both seasonal/election cycle tendencies and elevated optimistic sentiment. The U.S. economy should help support the market as signs are increasing that we may be entering the long-waited for self-sustaining expansion. The ECB's actions weren't game changing but are helpful and European equities look attractive, while we believe the worries over a Chinese slowdown are overblown.

2014-06-14 Gold Investors: Let This Cycle Be Your Guide by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

U.S. Global Investors recently welcomed Doug Peta, an economist from BCA research, to our offices. He presented some interesting research regarding the Fed Funds Rate Cycle, and in turn, what that research could mean for gold. I wanted to share points from his presentation, as well as our own in-house research, to help you understand the positivity we see for the precious metal looking towards 2015.

2014-06-14 ECB Leaves the Door Open for Further Action by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

he European Central Bank (ECB) delivered a robust package of monetary policy measures on June 5 and promised more to come if needed to help stave off deflation and support the eurozone’s fragile economic recovery. Among the moves announced were interest rate cuts, including a negative interest rate on excess deposits that banks hold with the ECB, and new facilities to support bank lending to small businesses. We asked David Zahn, portfolio manager for the Franklin Global Government Bond Fund, for his thoughts on what these latest measures could mean for investors.

2014-06-13 Taking A “FUN” Look At Kimberly-Clark by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Kimberly-Clark is a storied company and often a reasonable investment opportunity based on ordinary metrics. Frequently investors view these few basic metrics and come to an investment decision. With this article we would like to highlight additional fundamental data on this specific company that that might be useful.

2014-06-13 Trading the Last Third of a Move by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

When bull markets mature, investors fear a coming crisis and today there are plenty of candidates from Europe to China to Thailand. Still, some of the best profits may lie ahead.

2014-06-13 New Faces at the Federal Reserve by Craig Elder of Robert W. Baird

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve System. This article provides a behind the scenes look at recent changes in the composition of FOMC voters, characterizing them as a dove, focused more on higher employment, or a hawk , concerned more with the central bank’s inflation targets. One of the implications from this analysis is that the Fed will be more reluctant to raise interest rates next year than most people think.

2014-06-13 ECB Leaves the Door Open for Further Action by David Zahn of Franklin Templeton Investments

The European Central Bank (ECB) delivered a robust package of monetary policy measures on June 5 and promised more to come if needed to help stave off deflation and support the eurozone’s fragile economic recovery. Among the moves announced were interest rate cuts, including a negative interest rate on excess deposits that banks hold with the ECB, and new facilities to support bank lending to small businesses. We asked David Zahn, portfolio manager for the Franklin Global Government Bond Fund, for his thoughts on what these latest measures could mean for investors.

2014-06-13 Is the European Economy Turning Japanese by PJ Grzywacz of CMG Capital Management Group

Turning Japanese in today’s macroeconomic environment means that your country is at risk of deflation which can turn into a 20 year battle, like in Japan.

2014-06-12 Central Banks Chart a Course for Overheating by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

When bull markets mature, investors fear a coming crisis. Today there are plenty of candidates from Europe to China to Thailand. But bull markets climb a wall of worry and there are reasons now not to expect a looming crisis.

2014-06-12 Many Moving Parts by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter, but it appears very unlikely that we’ve entered a recession. Weather disruptions and the late Easter have made it difficult to gauge the underlying trends in the economic data, but a significant second quarter rebound appears to be baked in. Still, taking the first two quarters together, growth in the first half of the year is likely to be disappointing relative to earlier expectations.

2014-06-12 EM Debt Seems Risky by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

At RBA, we search for gaps between perception and reality, and this seems to be the case for emerging market debt. Investors have been lured to these securities by their higher yields, yet the underlying economic and currency fundamentals are deteriorating without commensurate widening of spreads.

2014-06-12 A Quarter Century of Emerging-Markets Investing by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

At one time or another, every country could have been classified as “emerging.” Back in the 1800s, the Western part of the United States was called the “new frontier.” Investors purchasing farmland there were likely to consider it a highly speculative venture putting stakes in such a rugged and wild place.

2014-06-11 Disturbing Headlines, Strong Equity Markets: Why the Disconnect? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

It’s hard not to see some disconnect between recent disturbing world news headlines and the market’s quiet advance. Russ examines why this disconnect is rational in the short term, but not necessarily in the long term, and gives three rules of thumb for how investors can potentially respond.

2014-06-11 Muni Investors Should Watch Both Ends of the Curve by Guy Davidson of AllianceBernstein

In early 2013, we urged investors to take a hard look at the interest-rate risk in their bond portfolios. If they didn’t do it then, they have a chance to do it now.

2014-06-10 A Test for Small-Cap and Value Stock Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Readers of this publication are well versed in the findings of the 1992 Fama-French paper, which documented the outperformance of small-capitalization and value stocks. But few are aware of these two sentences, which appeared in the conclusion of that paper

2014-06-10 The Crossroad by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

As summer peeks around the corner, a machine with two wheels is silently calling me, telling me that a new adventure awaits. This machine stirs up memories of past adventures, which builds in me a desire to head out to places unknown. I know that before summer ends I will answer its call, but for now I will just have to relive a few moments from trips past.

2014-06-10 The Central Bank Divide: 3 Implications for Investors by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Major central banks are no longer moving in lockstep. While the Fed is pulling back, other central banks are maintaining very easy monetary policy. Russ explains three implications this new dynamic has for investors.

2014-06-09 Bright Signs for the Economy and Equity Markets by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The macro backdrop last week was positive for the markets. As expected, the ECB cut interest rates, highlighting the favorable global monetary policy backdrop. Closer to home, solid vehicle sales and a good May labor market report gave investors additional reasons to bid up stock prices. The S&P 500 Index advanced 1.4%, marking a third straight week of gains above 1% — the longest such streak since last September. Looking ahead, we believe the combination of an improving world economy, low levels of volatility and easy global monetary policy should continue to provide support for equ

2014-06-09 Why are bond yields and volatility so low? by Carl Tannenbaum and Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

This year’s mid-point review would not be terribly kind to me or to other forecasters. None of us foresaw a big U.S. economic contraction during the first quarter of the year, although we should have better times ahead (as long as the Polar Vortex doesn’t return). A more vexing surprise, however, has been the steep decline in U.S. Treasury yields and the persistently low market volatility during the year’s first half.

2014-06-09 May Jobs Report: 4 Key Takeaways by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Allianz Global Investors US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper analyzes the May employment report, including what it means for monetary policy, markets and investors.

2014-06-09 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

Treasury yields rose sharply last week, with intermediate and long date bonds registering the sharpest price declines, as US equities again reached new highs. Friday’s eagerly anticipated May employment report came in line with market expectations, continuing to signal gradual improvement in the labor market. With +217,000 jobs created last month, May marked the first 4-month string of payroll reports over +200,000 since 1999.

2014-06-09 And That's The Week That Was... by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Let the summer partying begin. With the ECB alerting its Fed counterparts (and investors everywhere) that its policymakers will take whatever measures necessary to aid its economy and combat deflation, stocks again moved to record levels on key indexes and even the small-cappers recovered from the perpetual April slide and turned "in the black" for the year. The manufacturing and labor sectors appears to have put the winter storms behind them and even the consumer has shown signs of thawing out in time for the summer. Vacation anyone?

2014-06-09 Jobs return to pre-recession peak by Ryan Davis and Brian Payne of Fortigent

Global equity markets cheered the European Central Bank’s (ECB) decision to lower rates and provide further monetary stimulus last week, as the DJIA and S&P 500 gained 1.2% and 1.3%, respectively. As one might imagine, notable outperformance came from Europe’s peripheral countries with Italy (MSCI Italy) and Spain (MSCI Spain) gaining 3.4% and 2.6%, respectively.

2014-06-07 China Leads the World in Green Energy, Gaming and Gambling Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Last month, Xian Liang, co-portfolio manager of our China Region Fund (USCOX), attended the 19th CLSA China Forum in Beijing. There he and hundreds of other global attendees were given the opportunity to meet with representatives from Chinese corporations, some of which U.S. Global owns. Xian also managed to get a sense of how the nation’s recent changes in consumer behavior and governmental policy reforms might affect its investment outlook. Although China remains an emerging market, it has lately taken a number of considerable strides to position itself as one of the world’s most

2014-06-06 The 4% Non-Solution by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

The idea of permanently raising inflation targets to 4%, first proposed by IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard, has been endorsed by a number of other academics, including, most recently, Paul Krugman. Unfortunately, the problem of ensuring a smooth and convincing transition to a new target is perhaps insurmountable.

2014-06-06 The ECB finally acts and hopes for a good reaction by Carl Tannenbaum and Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

Many have criticized the European Central Bank (ECB) for preferring words over action in recent months. So credit must be given to ECB President Mario Draghi and his colleagues for enacting a series of measures aimed at shaking the eurozone from its malaise. The question is whether yesterday’s decision will result in more credit given to eurozone borrowers.

2014-06-06 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 134.9, down from the previous week's adjusted 135.3. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) fell to 4.8 from 5.3. Last Friday (May 30th), ECRI posted a brief overview of post-recession GDP forecasts from the Fed's Open Market Committee and the less optimistic series from the Congressional Budget Office.

2014-06-05 Q2 2014 Investment Letter by Sean Butson of DC Capital Management

• The S&P 500 is now more than 5 years into the bull market that started on March 9, 2009 • Historically, buying the S&P 500 at high valuations and low dividend yields has resulted in sub-par investment returns on average • The S&P 500 is currently overvalued based on 7 different metrics, implying that future long-term returns are likely to be disappointing • Overvaluation is not limited to the S&P 500, as a number of recent technology valuations are reminiscent of the late 1990s tech bubble • We believe a bear market within the next few years is likely

2014-06-05 Time (and Money) in a Cellphone by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Our modern age is becoming more virtual than physical, which I find increasingly depressing if only because I’ve failed to keep pace. I don’t even own a cellphone. Still, it doesn’t take a Boomer to observe that the reality outside as opposed to inside a computer or a cellphone should be the preferred experience. Scientists claim we are all just bits of information with billions of 1’s and 0’s, glued together to form a beating heart. Even so, I’m sticking with live chirping as opposed to Angry Birds for now. Virtual reality seems just a tad UNreal to me.

2014-06-05 Is Your Portfolio a House of Cards? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Politics and financial markets may both be resting on an increasingly unstable house of cards. The S&P 500 continues to hit new all time highs, while central banks try to enforce low volatility and financial stability and politicians demagogue in their quest for higher office. The one thing politicians throughout the world have in common is that they rarely ever blame themselves. They tend to diffuse responsibility or place blame on groups such as political opponents, the wealthy, or foreigners.

2014-06-05 Acta Non Verba by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Now is the time for strong actions rather than words from the European Central Bank, but their actions could send more capital to the United States and push interest rates lower over the summer.

2014-06-05 Investor sentiment: Looking inside the market’s mood swings by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Jeff Hussey, global CIO, highlights why Russell Investments currently sees investor sentiment in a state of cautious optimism and explains how sentiment plays into Russell’s investing recommendations.

2014-06-04 Schroders Multi-Asset Insights: What is the forward curve telling us about US Treasury yields? by Matthias Scheiber and Aymeric Forest of Schroder Investment Management

If central bank liquidity provision and the use of forward guidance has been dampening volatility, then its withdrawal over the coming 12 months could result in an increase in volatility. Arguably the recent flattening of the yield curve is a harbinger of this. Given the gradual path of the reduction in liquidity, this process of normalization could be extended. However, with the mean reverting nature of volatility, we believe it is currently cheap and will normalize upwards over the coming months towards its longer term average of 20. This is why we recommend adding actively managed volatilit

2014-06-03 Slow Ride: Housing’s Recovery Taking a Breather by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Key Points Housing's recovery has stalled courtesy of several headwinds. But it's less a driver of economic growth; and some trends could begin reversing. Long-term bears may be ignoring the (eventual) force of demographics.

2014-06-03 May 2014 Pension Finance Update by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

Pension sponsors treaded water in May, with both assets and liabilities edging up in tandem for both ‘model’ plans we track . Our traditional ‘Plan A’ remains down 5% during 2014, while the more conservative ‘Plan B’ is down 2% on the year.

2014-06-03 Beware of the Theme and a Dream by Brian Demain of Janus Capital Group

Mid-cap equities generally remain attractive, but momentum has driven up stocks tied to several hyper-growth industries. The bubble around these stocks began to pop in March, and we believe limiting exposure to those areas of the market will be critical to maximizing returns going forward.

2014-06-02 June Swoon Ahead? Maybe, But Not Because of Valuations by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Given the recent extraordinary performance of most equity markets, many investors are wondering whether the bull market has run its course. Russ explains why valuation alone doesn't signal an imminent correction.

2014-06-02 Multi-Asset Investing: Is Now the Time for Emerging Market Equities? by Mihir Worah of PIMCO

Although emerging markets (EM) will continue to grow faster than developed markets (DM), we believe the difference may be lower than what has been seen over the last five years. Higher earnings yields in EM equities offer partial compensation for risks, but careful analysis is warranted to assess the true valuation differential. A modest allocation to EM equities may be warranted based on relative price-to-earnings multiples and our expectation that policy rates will stay lower for longer than markets expect, which makes higher-yielding EM assets more attractive.

2014-06-02 Equities and Bonds Diverge Amid Low Volatility by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Another week brought another record close for equities. The S&P 500 Index increased 1.2% for the week, notching a new high, but investor attention appeared to be focused elsewhere. Low levels of market volatility, a pickup in M&A activity, a difficult revenue environment for banks and improving housing data all gathered headlines, yet the bond market garnered the most focus.

2014-05-31 From Constantinople to Istanbul, Turkey Has Never Been Better by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Every time he travels to Turkey, portfolio manager of our Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX), Tim Steinle, says the country continues to develop. Although technically classified as an emerging market, one wouldn’t think to label the country as such upon arrival. The population is young and growing, there are improvements to infrastructure everywhere you look, beautiful green parks are more prevalent, and the professional staffs that run many of the shops and businesses are both well organized and thriving.

2014-05-31 Looking at the Middle Kingdom with Fresh Eyes by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

China has the potential to become a real problem. It seemed to me that almost everyone who addressed the topic was either seriously alarmed at the extent of China’s troubles or merely very worried. Perhaps it was the particular group of speakers we had, but no one was sanguine. If you recall, a few weeks back I introduced my young colleague and protégé Worth Wray to you; and his inaugural Thoughts from the Frontline focused on China, a topic on which he is well-versed, having lived and studied there. Our conversations often center on China and emerging markets (and we tend

2014-05-30 Small Cap Weakness Is Not A Market Death Knell by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

The celebration of the DJIA’s new record high on April 30th was notable for its absence. Small Cap stocks, in fact, commemorated the event by falling to an 11-month relative strength low, and many technicians point to this divergence as evidence that a dangerous period of “distribution” is now underway. We’re not so sure.

2014-05-30 Global Economic Perspective: May by Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group® of Franklin Templeton Investments

We believe a substantial improvement in US growth is underway, despite first-quarter 2014 gross domestic product (GDP) growth coming in at an annual rate of -1.0%, well below market expectations.

2014-05-30 How Not To Get Soaked When The Bond Bubble Bursts by Steve Blumenthal of CMG Capital Management Group

As I wrote in my latest Forbes article and in my current weekly column On My Radar, most investors are unaware and ill-prepared for the impact that rising interest rates will have on their bond funds and ETF investments. There has been an unprecedented period of Fed participation (manipulation) with six years of near zero-percent interest rate policy and trillions of newly created currency.

2014-05-30 How Tax Savings from a College Savings Plan Could Pay for a Year of College by Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

The option to front-load funding makes a tax-deferred college savings plan is a great way to avoid taxes on the future growth of funds earmarked for higher-education expenses. We project that the taxes avoided over a 10-year savings horizon could pay for a full year of college.

2014-05-30 Taking Advantage of Pessimism by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The world is distracted with fears of the next great calamity, but heading into summer U.S. financial markets are enjoying a remarkably positive environment.

2014-05-30 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 135.4, down from the previous week's 135.1. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 5.3 from 5.0. That's the highest since June of last year.

2014-05-30 Real Median Household Income Fell 0.42% in April by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Sentier Research monthly median household income data series is now available for April. The nominal median household income was down $84 month-over-month and up only $1,420 year-over-year. Adjusted for inflation, it was down $222% MoM and only $409 YoY. The real numbers equate to a -0.42% MoM decline and a 0.78% YoY increase.

2014-05-30 Tax-Exempt Securities Confounding the Consensus in 2014 by Michael Smith, Bob Meyer of SMC Fixed Income Management

Rarely do the financial markets provide the double treat of simultaneously rising equity valuations and falling bond yields. Almost midway through the second quarter of 2014, key stock indices reached new all-time highs while global bond yields have retreated to levels not seen in over six months. Something has to give: either stock prices retreat or yields rise. Right? At least this is the popular assumption supported by classic economic rationale for a normal investment environment.

2014-05-29 Is There a UK Housing Bubble???? by Mike Amey of PIMCO

We see the UK experiencing a very traditional monetary cycle involving lower mortgage rates, higher house prices and then – hopefully – higher transactions. The Bank of England can address rising house prices either by raising financing costs via the banking system or by raising interest rates. Markets will watch BoE activity closely. Our expectation is for a gradual and modest interest rate cycle, with low rates in the UK economy for years to come. Housing may be an overvalued asset, but one that is secularly supported by low rates.

2014-05-28 Fed Official: We're Sitting On A "Ticking Time Bomb" by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

It is very rare for high-ranking Fed officials to issue dire warnings, but that’s exactly what Charles Plosser – the president of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank – did last Tuesday. Mr. Plosser is very concerned about the $2.5 trillion in “excess reserves” that banks have on deposit with the Fed.

2014-05-27 Lacy Hunt: The Dark Side of Debt by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Lacy Hunt has used econometric research to persuasively demonstrate the statistical relationship between excessive debt and slow economic growth. Although Hunt and I disagree over whether this analysis can be applied to the U.S., our forecasts for growth in the U.S. economy and for the bond markets are remarkably similar.

2014-05-27 Defensive Position Rotation: Achieving Financial Goals with Less Volatility by Dale W. Van Metre, Ph.D., CRPC®, APMASM (Article)

Defensive position rotation is an alternative to MPT. It is a portfolio-construction philosophy that adapts to changing market conditions and can increase risk-adjusted returns over time.

2014-05-27 After India’s Election, Execution takes Center Stage for Debt Markets by Jack Deino of Invesco Blog

Financial markets in India have already rallied strongly in anticipation of the overwhelming majority win by incoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The country’s currency (the Indian rupee) rose 15% from its August peak, while five-year credit default swaps on the State Bank of India (SBI) tightened from a spread of 371 to 207 in the same period.

2014-05-27 Economy Begins to Accelerate While Equities Push Higher by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished higher last week as the S&P 500 advanced 1.3%, snapping a two-week losing streak and ending at a new record high. Markets seemed to lack conviction, but the path of least resistance appeared skewed to the upside as momentum for the economic recovery was positive.

2014-05-25 A Bubble in Complacency by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

The simple fact is that we are in what I call a Muddle Through Economy. Things aren’t terrible, but they are not great, either. We’ve come through a devastating Great Recession caused by a crisis in the financial sector. It is quite typical for the effects of such a crisis to linger for a decade or more. So compared to where we were at the bottom of the Great Recession, the glass is half-full. But compared to the expectations we have for economic recovery and the resumption of vibrant growth, half-full seems like an exaggeration. And for many people, the glass is simply empty, whil

2014-05-25 Mounting Momentum? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Although the stock market remains sluggish, with the potential for a correction elevated, the U.S. economy appears to be improving. There is probably no great rush to get into the stock market at this point, but maintaining a steady investing discipline in the face of what we think is a continuing secular bull market is key. Investors frustrated with the low yield environment should be careful about adding too much risk to a portfolio in search of higher yields.

2014-05-25 Exit Strategy by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Overly compressed risk premiums are now the largest ticking time bomb in the global financial environment.

2014-05-24 In a Flash, China Looks Strong by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If you want to know where the world economy is headed, there is one number that I believe investors should focus on: the HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). On Thursday, the preliminary flash PMI for May came in at 49.7, beating Bloomberg’s consensus of 48.3.

2014-05-23 See No Evil by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In this week's release of the minutes from its April 29-30 meeting, Federal Reserve policymakers made clear that they see little chance of inflation moving past their 2% target for years to come. In order to make such a bold statement, Fed economists not only had to ignore the current data, but discount the likelihood that their current stimulus will put further upward pressure on prices that are already rising.

2014-05-23 Freddie, Fannie, finis? by Team of Northern Trust

The destruction wrought by the 2008 financial crisis necessitated a good deal of repair. In some areas, that repair is complete; in others, it is well along. But in one spot, it hasn’t really begun. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the giant U.S. mortgage companies, remain in structural limbo more than five years after the American government rescued them. Just as plans to restructure these government-sponsored entities (GSEs) finally began making their way through the U.S. Congress, cross currents arose that greatly complicate the way forward. Some former shareholders are suing to recover so

2014-05-23 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 135.1, down from the previous week's 136.3. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 5.0 from 4.9. That's the highest since June of last year.

2014-05-22 China’s Property Problems by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Alarm bells are warning of a Chinese property bubble, but Beijing can avoid a crisis by allowing inflation to fix the problem.

2014-05-21 Interest Rates Have To Go Up. The "Bond King" Says No by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The prevailing view on Wall Street and Main Street is that medium and long-term interest rates have to go higher in the months and years ahead. Interest rates have to get back to “normal” at some point, so we’re told. Yet in the last several months, yields on 10-year Treasury notes and 30-year Treasury bonds have fallen rather significantly. What’s up with that?

2014-05-21 Pacific Powers: Australia and Japan by Don Huber of Franklin Templeton Investments

Separated by nearly 4,000 miles of sea, the economies of Australia and Japan are often lumped together under the Asia Pacific (APAC) label. Both of these countries can be considered global powers and powerful GDP generators, but their economies, the challenges they face and their responses to those challenges have been very different. Don Huber, vice president, research analyst and portfolio manager, Franklin Equity Group, looks at how these APAC powers are navigating their unique issues and shares his market outlook for each.

2014-05-21 Despite the “Grand Reversal,” Stick With Stocks by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

In a reversal of 2013’s performance, stocks are struggling to hold onto gains while bond yields are plunging, leaving many investors asking: “How should I be positioning for the long term?” Russ explains why he still advocates sticking with stocks.

2014-05-21 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

What goes up must come down (and then go up again). Such was the fickle week in the stock market. After soaring to new highs on the major indexes, investors went into selling mode (profit-taking for the most part?), before jumping back in for the end-of-week bargain shopping.

2014-05-20 Inflation Becomes the Latest Topic du Jour by Chris Maxey, Brian Payne of Fortigent

Long discussed pricing pressure is beginning to show up in various domestic indices, leading some to believe the Fed will pull its foot off the brakes sooner than anticipated. While inflation is stabilizing, there are few signs that it is accelerating materially, leaving plenty of room for the Fed to maneuver. It will be important to keep an eye on prices going forward, though, as any acceleration could alter the investment and economic landscape quickly.

2014-05-20 Bonds Rally, But Stocks Still More Attractive Long Term by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

Stocks have floundered, while bonds continue to rally. Markets are showing a sharp reversal from 2013, when stocks were up strongly while bonds struggled. We maintain our long-term preference for equities and suggest investors exercise caution before adding to positions in bonds.

2014-05-20 A Revised Bond Market Outlook? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

A year ago, as Fed Chairman Bernanke spoke of the possibility of tapering the Fed’s Large-Scale Asset Purchase program (QE3), bond yields moved higher. They’ve been range-bound over the last year, but have more recently dipped to the lower end of that range. What’s driving the bond market?

2014-05-20 Computer Tutor?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

My friend Jerry Goodman died recently. His nom de plume was Adam Smith, obviously taken from the legendary economist Adam Smith (1723 – 1790). In addition to the book The Money Game, Jerry wrote numerous other books. In his later years, he worked at another friend’s establishment, that being Craig Drill, eponymous captain of the insightful Drill Capital Management.

2014-05-19 Three Questions Investors Need to Ask About Alternatives by Donna Chapman Wilson of Invesco Blog

The world of alternative investments includes a range of hedge fund-like strategies that typically consist of publicly traded equity and fixed income investments, but are unconventionally managed using a variety of exposures (long, short, market neutral) and financial instruments. These strategies have gained acceptance in recent years, and have become more widely available to individual investors through vehicles such as mutual funds. However, questions still remain about the best ways to incorporate them into an asset allocation strategy.

2014-05-19 The Belgian Connection by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

One of the biggest questions at the end of 2013 was how the Treasury market would react to the reduction of bond buying that would result from the Federal Reserve’s tapering campaign. If the Fed were to hold course to its stated intentions, its $45 billion monthly purchases of Treasury bonds would be completely wound down by the 4th quarter of 2014.

2014-05-17 Which Resource Areas Show Signs of Strength? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Global synchronized growth, as measured by the Global Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), remained stable or positive for the past 12 months until Japan reversed the momentum in April with a precipitous drop in its PMI. China is contributing modest growth but, fortunately, the U.S. and Europe are rebounding. This lack of consistent global momentum has created a short-term, volatile, hot and cold, stop-and-go sentiment. Global real GDP growth peaked in 2010 at 5.2 percent then slowed for the next three years to 3 percent. Global growth in 2014 is likely to accelerate, for the first time in four y

2014-05-17 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

China: Two different stories, one conclusion. The jury is still out on long-term U.S. growth. Fond memories of Gary Becker.

2014-05-16 Concerned Optimism by Scott Brown of Raymond James

In her congressional testimony, Fed Chair Janet Yellen chose her words carefully. She indicated that if the economic outlook evolves as anticipated (growth picks up, the labor market tightens, and inflation moves toward the Fed’s 2% goal), then the Fed’s asset purchase program (QE3) will likely end in the fourth quarter. However, she refused to be pinned down on when the Fed would begin raising short-term interest rates. Global concerns and the housing sector “will bear close observation.”

2014-05-16 Mixed Signals and the Road Less Traveled by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover, Mike Czekaj of Broadleaf Partners

As the markets flirt with all-time highs and a potential shift in Fed policy, earnings season has not altered the fact that the level of investor uncertainty feels elevated. Throw in the case of a really bad winter, a geopolitical environment that rhymes with events just prior to World War I, and poor trading volumes, and it all suggests that heightened levels of unease remain.

2014-05-16 College Costs 101: What are 529 Plans? by Beyond Bulls and Bears of Franklin Templeton Investments

Tabulating the costs of a college education can be overwhelming for new parents, so overwhelming, in fact, that many choose not to think about it at all, assuming the situation will resolve itself in time. Many parents wind up turning to student loans as the solution to finance a college education, often resulting in a shiny new diploma accompanied by a mountain of debt.

2014-05-16 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Strike up the band! The Dow is now in positive territory for the year AND even set a record close. Who would have thunk that after the dismal January and the pessimism that reigned from the winter? The recovery continued as earnings season offered more surprises and the economic numbers show a country moving beyond the thaw of winter. Now if only China (Europe and Russia) could follow suit.

2014-05-15 Schroders Monthly Markets Review: Overview of Markets in April 2014 by Keith Wade, Azad Zangana, Craig Botham of Schroder Investment Management

Global equities edged higher in April. Some stronger macroeconomic data from developed economies helped to support returns but the ongoing crisis in Ukraine remained a headwind for equities. Developed markets outperformed emerging markets. In the US, a generally firmer tone to macroeconomic data and a broadly encouraging corporate earnings season supported sentiment. Investors were also reassured by comments from Federal Reserve (Fed) Chair Janet Yellen about maintaining low interest rates.

2014-05-15 Five Things Your Credit Manager Shouldn’t Be Doing (But Probably Is) by Christian Stracke of PIMCO

Questionable behavior among credit managers is back, but the good news is that we believe the credit markets still offer plenty of opportunities to potentially generate attractive returns. Smart, rational credit investing that avoids some managers’ naïve reach for yield, and sticks instead to a deep focus on the long-term sustainability of companies’ balance sheets, may still reap rewards.

2014-05-15 Fed's Zero Interest Rate Cost Savers A Trillion Dollars by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Get a group of adults together in a social setting and the conversation almost invariably gets around to a discussion about the paltry returns savers have been earning on their money in recent years. Three-month certificates of deposits are averaging only 0.23% nationally; one-year CDs are at only 1% if you can get it; and five-year CDs get you only about 2%. And rates have been at or near these depressed levels for the last four years.

2014-05-14 Worried about the Downside? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

There have been numerous academic studies that suggest investors’ reactions to market risk are not symmetric. Investors consistently react more negatively to losses than positively to gains. At RBA, we incorporate this asymmetry in our sentiment work. Data clearly show that no group of investors is currently willing to take excessive US equity risk. Pension funds, endowments, foundations, hedge funds, individuals, Wall Street strategists, and even corporations themselves remain more fearful of downside risk than they are willing to accentuate upside potential.

2014-05-14 Has Dividend Investing Lost its Luster? by Paul Stocking and Dean Ramos of Columbia Management

With interest rates rising in 2013 and after a number of years of outperformance from high-yield dividend paying equities, investors want to know if dividend investing remains an attractive strategy. With corporate balance sheets looking healthy and dividend payout ratios remaining low by historical standards, we believe dividend growth will continue to be strong. In our view, high-yielding equities will continue to provide strong total returns especially relative to fixed income alternatives.

2014-05-14 The Good, the Bad and the Opportunity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The press is demanding the attention of investors more than ever. Whether it was the recent jobs report or last week’s testimony from Janet Yellen, sorting through the market noise is no easy task. Since the world is so interconnected from Facebook to WhatsApp, a spark of news can ignite unfounded fear in an instant. What’s truly significant when it comes to your investments?

2014-05-13 The Virtues of Rebalancing by Craig L. Israelsen, Ph.D. (Article)

Does rebalancing improve portfolio performance? Yes - but it takes time for the benefits of rebalancing to be fully manifested, at least in the case of a broadly diversified 12-asset portfolio.

2014-05-13 How to Tame an Aging Bull by Bill Hackney of Eaton Vance

Despite more than five years of strong stock market performance, the evidence suggests that the current bull market could continue for the foreseeable future. That being said, the “easy money” has likely already been made, so investors may want to increase their focus on equity risk management going forward. One way to mitigate the risks attendant with an aging bull market is to evaluate funds and managers based on three key portfolio metrics: active share, beta and downside capture ratio.

2014-05-13 Dollar Bulls Drop Their Heads in Frustration by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

For some time, strategists have been bullishly positioned on the U.S. Dollar, anticipating a rally that failed to materialize. The arguments were straightforward – the Federal Reserve is exiting its easing cycle, Europe is facing deflationary pressure and likely to ease further, and the economy in the U.S. is on improving footing. Those expectations, while true to some extent, are not translating into gains for the Dollar, leaving many frustrated. The Dollar is suffering from a bad case of dejection and could struggle to see a sustained breakout for some time.

2014-05-13 Goldilocks and the Global Economy by Douglas Cote of Voya Investment Management

Macro conditions are lukewarm but positive and largely absent any systemic risk. Momentum stocks have fallen out of favor as the market rotates into names with more attractive valuations. Europe and especially the U.K. have been showing signs of strength despite geopolitical risk with its energy supplier, Russia. The “safety” of sidelined cash exposes investors to what we view as the greatest current risk in the market — upside risk.

2014-05-13 Market Perspective by The CCR Wealth Management Investment Committee of CCR Wealth Management

US equity markets have seen what we would describe as mild volatility over the last few weeks, mostly attributed to geopolitical tensions emanating from the Ukraine-Russia belligerence. For the first quarter, the S&P 500 rose 1.30%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ composite were both down slightly.

2014-05-13 Equity Markets Remain Mixed as Fundamentals Slowly Improve by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished mixed last week as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was the only major index to end in positive territory. The overall macro narrative appears favorable despite the lack of market direction. Scrutiny of beaten-down momentum stocks resurfaced, although broader market spillover remained muted.

2014-05-12 Setting the Record Straight by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

If you think the market is not going to lose a large fraction of its value over the next few years, a century of history thinks you’re wrong.

2014-05-11 Are Valuations Really Too High? by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

I have done quite a number of media interviews and question-and-answer sessions with audiences in the past few months, and one question keeps coming up: "Are valuations too high?" In this week’s letter we’re going to try to look at the various answers (orthodox and not) one could come up with to answer that basic question, and then we’ll look at market conditions in general.

2014-05-10 The Good, the Bad and the Opportunity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Twice a day, in the morning and at lunch, our investment team sits down together to discuss what’s important and what’s immaterial. This past week, in my opinion, the good outweighed the bad. Much of the economic news was a direct result of government policies, both fiscal and monetary. Here are my findings, which I hope will help you filter through the noise.

2014-05-10 What's the Game Changer for Gold? by Douglas M. Hodge of PIMCO

In the coming days, PIMCO will publish its annual Secular Outlook. A cornerstone of our investment process, it sets the direction for how we will invest our clients’ assets over the coming three to five years. Of course, we revisit our outlook and investment conclusions each year to ensure their continued resonance and efficacy. Similarly, we have a regular strategic business planning process and conduct intermittent reviews. And, like our secular process, we often invite an outside expert or two to spark our thinking and challenge our priors.

2014-05-09 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The global recovery remains very uneven, deflation and debt: a very bad mix, a new look at Das Kapital, continued.

2014-05-09 Fighting History? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

A lot of movement to go nowhere can characterize the major indexes to this point in the year. History suggests we're entering a potentially tough period for stocks, due to both seasonal and midterm election year tendencies.

2014-05-08 In the First 100 Days, Janet Yellen Puts Her Own Imprint on the Fed by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Janet Yellen's initial tenure as chairwoman of the Federal Reserve has been fairly smooth, but long-term challenges loom as the Fed considers its ongoing response to a still-stagnant economy.

2014-05-08 Europe, ‘Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold’ Sweet Spot for Credit Investors by Eve Tournier of PIMCO

European economies are improving, yet the region’s low growth and low inflation will keep the central bank engaged. As such, European duration should be safer versus other major developed economies. Given recent European Central Bank comments pointing to a further easing bias, we believe it makes European assets relatively attractive, especially in sectors with deleveraging fundamentals, positive technicals and attractive valuations.

2014-05-08 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review - Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

As the Middle East and Africa region stepped into the New Year, the three regional economies under our coverage did not see any material change in their political or economic situation. Labor problems remained the most immediate concern for South Africa while Egypt unveiled yet another stimulus program to mend an economy that has been struggling amid political uncertainty for three years now.

2014-05-07 Does a Perfect Policy Portfolio Exist? by Jeff Knight of Columbia Management

The idea of a policy portfolio, the core strategic asset class weightings for an investment portfolio, has evolved significantly during the course of my career as an asset allocation specialist. From the humble beginnings of standard balanced investing (the good old 60/40), investors have searched for the best neutral asset allocation to serve their goals over the long term.

2014-05-07 First Quarter Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

The broad equity market displayed a fair amount of volatility during the quarter, but essentially went sideways. This pattern continued through April; 2013’s losers became 2014’s winners and vice versa. In the broadest sense, bonds narrowly beat stocks on the heels of 2013’s thorough drubbing.

2014-05-07 The Top Five Government Policies I’m Watching This Week by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Every morning when I meet with the investment team, we review the news of the previous day, the movements of the markets around the world, and corporate actions that may affect our funds. This is how we keep our ears open in order to manage money that shareholders like you have entrusted us with. We meet again at lunchtime, daily, to share ideas, because something happening in China may affect the U.S. markets, or an energy company might have news that can benefit our domestic funds as well as our resources funds.

2014-05-06 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to several articles and commentaries that appeared within the last week.

2014-05-06 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

US Treasury yields declined across the entire maturity spectrum last week, as renewed geopolitical risk more than outweighed a strong employment report. With inflation remaining well below the Fed?s target rate of 2%, long dated Treasury yields continued to decline at a faster rate than shorter dated yields, further flattening the yield curve.

2014-05-06 The Risk Trilogy by W. Ben Hunt of Salient Partners

Gregg Greenberg at TheStreet.com was kind enough the other week to give me a few minutes (2:30 to be exact) in a video interview to enumerate the three biggest risks I saw facing markets today. At first I rolled my eyes at the request and the format. 150 seconds? Really? I mean, have you heard my Alabama drawl? It can take me 150 seconds just to order a cup of coffee.

2014-05-06 Managed Futures: Positive Trends Ahead?? by Vineer Bhansali, Matt Dorsten, Graham Rennison of PIMCO

Trend-following, the primary approach used in managed futures strategies, seeks positive returns by capturing momentum across major asset classes. Despite exceptional performance in the 2008 financial crisis, trend-following strategies were less successful in subsequent years, in part because massive central bank interventions increased market correlations, suppressed volatility and curtailed left-tail events.

2014-05-06 An Improving Economy, But Lower Rates. Why the Disconnect? by Russ of iShares Blog

Despite economic data showing an improving economy, interest rates remain stuck in a low and narrow range. Russ explains why this is and what it means for investors.

2014-05-05 Economic Capital Market Summary by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

After the Financial Crisis and the resulting Dodd-Frank Act and Affordable Health Care Act, we knew there was no way we would go back to normal, whatever normal really was. Our world changed and we still continue to feel the uncomfortable mutations after the crisis. The management of Citigroup showed another disconnect with regulators as its 2014 capital plan was rejected. After several attempts to launch its healthcare website, the Obama administration announced that over 8 million people had signed up for health care insurance through the government exchange.

2014-05-05 The Impact of Interest Rates on Real Estate Securities by Team of Forward Management

Interest rate risk is one of most pressing topics being discussed among advisors, consultants and investors. As of March 2014, we have been through five and a half years of extraordinarily aggressive monetary policy and outright intervention in the capital markets by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

2014-05-05 Big Pharma's Bitter Pills by Peter Nielsen of Saturna Capital

Price Pressure Becoming Pharmaceutical Industry's Bitter Pill as Breakthrough Drug Therapies Break the Bank

2014-05-04 Albania's Fertile Grounds for Oil Opportunities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Texas is oil country. The state I now call home leads the nation in oil production and would be one of the top oil-producing nations if it were its own country. But that doesn?t stop us from exploring other promising oil opportunities further afield. Last week I traveled to Albania to check out a drill site of Petromanas Energy, a Calgary-based international oil and gas company focused on exploration and production throughout Europe and Australia. We own the junior stock in our Global Resources Fund (PSPFX) and Emerging Europe Fund (EUROX).

2014-05-03 How to not get screwed by the bond bubble by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

To paraphrase an old Sean Connery/Roger Moore movie: bonds?high quality bonds. Bond funds, too. Bond funds, particularly those that invest in US Treasuries and other types of bonds at the low end of the risk spectrum, have been popular investments with individual investors for a long time. Since a lot of those bond buyers are generally risk-averse, many of them likely moved cash out of money market funds to buy the bond funds, so there is likely a strong element of ?reaching for yield? occurring there. That is, they were used to earning 6-7% on their Treasury Bonds not very long ago.

2014-05-03 Housing may be returning to a bad neighborhood by Team of Northern Trust

The head of financial stability at the Bank of England recently called rising property prices ?the very brightest [hazard] light on its dashboard.? But he may have a difficult time getting his colleagues who are charged with promoting full employment to agree with him. And if they do, it is far from clear what they might do about the issue. Some favor supervisory curbs; others prefer the more-traditional method of raising rates. The recovery in global real estate has been pronounced. While it beats the alternative, one wonders whether the hard lessons learned in recent corrections have been su

2014-05-03 A Yen for a Mortgage by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

For some time I have been saying that I was going to close the mortgage on my new apartment and then hedge it in yen. I promised to tell you the story, including what type of loan I got and how I am doing the hedge. This week I was finally able to pull the trigger. This topic will also let us re-examine why I think the Japanese yen is a screaming short. This is not a big think piece, but I think many of you will find it interesting. It outlines how I put my economic thinking into actual practice, and names names, if you will, of those who helped me do it.

2014-05-02 Looking for Bubbles Part One: A Statistical Approach by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

It is a sensible expectation that reasonable long-term value investors will endure pain in a bubble. It is almost a rule. The pain will be psychological and will come from looking like an old fuddy-duddy? looking as if you have lost your way in the new golden era where some important things, which you have obviously missed, are different this time. For professionals this psychological pain will also come from loss of client respect, which always hurts, and loss of peer group respect, which can be irritating.

2014-05-02 Yellen?s Three Big Questions (and a Few Others) by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Speaking to the Economic Club of New York, Fed Chair Janet Yellen presented an analysis of the monetary policy actions taken to address the Great Recession and offered guidance on what will drive policy decisions going forward. The centerpiece of her talk was about the three big questions that the Fed has to answer. However, there are a number of other debates going on in economics right now that have long-term consequences.

2014-05-02 Throw Deep?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Back in the late 1980s a newspaperman visiting the Raiders football training camp in California had just returned from the Jack London Historic Monument. He read a sample of London?s prose to the Raiders? colorful quarterback, Ken ?The Snake? Stabler:

2014-05-02 Emerging Markets Outlook - April 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities as an asset class have been underperforming developed market equities for more than three years, though they continue to maintain the lead over 10-year returns. The divergence in returns between emerging and developed markets widened sharply in 2013, when the prospect of reduced capital inflows heightened investor concerns about slower economic growth in the emerging countries.

2014-05-02 Need for New Midstream Energy Infrastructure Remains Strong by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

Capital expenditures expected to surpass $640 billion by 2035, says David Chiaro, co-portfolio manager of the Eagle MLP Strategy Fund.

2014-05-02 April 2014 Pension Finance Update by Brian Donohue of October Three Consulting

April was another down month for pension sponsors, marked by declining interest rates and sluggish stock markets. Both ?model? plans we track lost ground last month, with our traditional ?Plan A? losing about 2% and the more conservative ?Plan B? dropping less than 1% during April. For the year, sponsors have now given back roughly one-fourth of 2013's ?bounty? ? Plan A is now down 5% during 2014, and Plan B is down more than 2%.

2014-05-02 Down Under: Commodities to Consumption by Tarik Jaleel of Matthews Asia

Ever since China's demand for commodities intensified around 1999, its increased reliance on imported energy and minerals has underpinned Australia's boom in the natural resources industry. Naturally, as China's import growth has recently slowed, materials and energy sector firms in both Australia and New Zealand have grown cautious about their business prospects.

2014-05-01 A Tepid Cyclical Lift by Tom West of Columbia Management

The S&P 500 Index should grow earnings by about 7% this year, while consensus estimates for the U.S. economy are for 2.5% real growth. One reason for the gap between the two numbers is that the constituent companies of the broad market have a more cyclical tilt than the economy itself, and could be expected to expand faster in a recovery. Fair enough. But are the cyclical drivers like investment and discretionary spending on track to deliver that cyclical boost to earnings? The answer is probably yes, but only if expectations are tempered.

2014-05-01 The ?Whites of Their Eyes?: The Fed?s Changing Reaction Function by Scott Mather, David Fisher of PIMCO

While the unemployment rate has historically been one of the Federal Reserve?s key measures of spare capacity, and thus inflation risk, those eagerly awaiting each month?s employment report for signals on the Fed?s likely response may be barking up the wrong tree. The central bank still attempts to estimate the natural rate of unemployment, but conflicting signals from the labor market have clearly made the Fed less willing to trust its models. The result: Inflation will be more important than employment in the Fed?s decision-making process.

2014-04-30 The Debate Debate by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

While there is wide agreement that the cost of college education has risen far faster than the incomes of most Americans, there is some debate as to whether the quality of the product has kept pace with the price. Not surprisingly, almost all who argue that it has (college administrators, professors, and populist politicians) are deeply invested either ideologically or financially in the system itself. More objective observers see a bureaucratic, inefficient, and hopelessly out of touch ivory tower that is bleeding the country of its savings, and more tragically, its intellectual acuity.

2014-04-30 De-Risking Pensions in a Time of Tapering by Rene Martel, Markus Aakko of PIMCO

Despite improved funding in corporate defined benefit pension plans, some sponsors concerned about rising rates may be tempted to delay glide path prescriptions to boost fixed income allocations. For these sponsors, a better approach might be to break de-risking into two steps, potentially allowing for significant risk-reduction benefits yet preserving tactical flexibility in timing purchases of long-duration bonds. Any reduction in equity and other return-seeking assets should be implemented in short order to lock in recent market gains. ?

2014-04-30 Achoo! by William Gross of PIMCO

There?s nothing like a good sneeze; maybe a hot shower or an ice cream sandwich, but no ? nothing else even comes close. A sneeze is, to be candid, sort of half erotic, a release of pressure that feels oh so good either before or just after the Achoo! The air, along with 100,000 germs, comes shooting out of your nose faster than a race car at the Indy 500.

2014-04-30 Valuing Legends by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

Some time ago a sportswriter asked legendary quarterback Johnny Unitas what he thought he was worth relative to the enormous salaries being paid to today's best quarterbacks. Unitas said, "Maybe about $750,000." The sportswriter was incredulous and said, " Mr. Unitas, the top quarterbacks today make several million dollars a year." To which Unitas replied, "Well, you have to understand, I'm 75 years old." I love that story. It tells you so much about one of the greatest players in NFL history, but it also serves as a reminder that the process of valuation is far from an exact science.

2014-04-29 Americas: Regional Economic Review - Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

The developed economies in North America continue to see relatively healthier growth prospects this year, while the outlook for the emerging economies in Latin America remains subdued. Trends from both the U.S. and Canada indicate that these economies are recovering from the slowdown at the beginning of the year, caused by adverse weather.

2014-04-29 The Race for Speed by Dan Royal, Daniel Scherman of Janus Capital Group

Much attention has been given recently to the complexities of U.S. equity market structure, and the potential for predatory high-frequency traders to work within that complex structure in a way that negatively impacts other market participants. There is no question the market structure faces challenges, but there are a number of tools and best practices that asset managers can utilize to mitigate the negative impact of high-frequency trading.

2014-04-29 Will a Rise in Rates See a More Lasting Shift to Quality? by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

Late March saw signs of a re-emergence and shift back to the kind of quality names that we like. Portfolio Manager and Principal Charlie Dreifus discusses the recent Fed policies and their effects on the market, his outlook on the U.S. and global economy, current valuations, small-cap quality, and more.

2014-04-29 Why Are Hedge Funds Struggling in 2014? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

2014 has been a year marked by shaky equity markets and relatively higher volatility than observed in 2013. With falling equity market correlations and increased stock dispersion, it was presumably a more favorable environment for hedge funds. Unfortunately, that has not been the case as most alternative investment approaches are posting less than stellar results so far this year.

2014-04-29 Putin's Ideologist by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

For the past few months, Western leaders have been baffled by Russia?s behavior toward Ukraine and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Europe. To better understand Russia?s actions, we will examine the ideology of Aleksandr Dugin, the man who created the ideology that appears to be behind Putin?s behavior. We will offer a short biography of Dugin, focusing on his intellectual roots and the creation of the Eurasian Concept. Using Dugin?s framework, we will examine Putin?s recent behavior. As usual, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2014-04-28 Henny Pennies by Tony Crescenzi, Mike Amey, Tadashi Kakuchi, Ben Emons of PIMCO

While the Fed?s qualitative guidance may have increased uncertainties over monetary policy, volatility will likely remain contained by powerful short- and long-run forces related to the economic outlook. In the UK, we should at least respect the risk of a hike late in the first quarter of 2015, earlier than what is currently priced in. In Japan, we believe the BOJ will remain full throttle on its current monetary easing for some time.

2014-04-28 Fed?s Inflation Target Misguided? Good vs. Bad Disinflation by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investment Management

For more than a year the Federal Reserve Board has cited inflation below its targeted 2% level as one justification for maintaining its extraordinarily accommodative monetary stance. As of February, the core inflation rate was 1.1%, based on the Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) inflation series, the Fed?s preferred measure of inflation. But there is good reason to question whether the 2% target justifies current policy.

2014-04-28 The Search for Yield: How Long Could It Last? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

How long will low rates ? and the accompanying search for yield ? continue? Russ weighs in.

2014-04-27 The Cost of Code Red by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

There is reason to believe that there have been major policy mistakes made by central banks - and will be more of them - that will lead to dislocations in the markets - all types of markets. And it’s not just the usual anti-central bank curmudgeon types (among whose number I have been counted, quite justifiably) who are worried. Sources within the central bank community are worried, too, which should give thoughtful observers of the market cause for concern.

2014-04-26 China Holds the Keys to the Gold Market by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It’s important to follow the money, or in this case the gold, to see how people around the world react to this rare commodity. Looking forward, stay curious as an investor and you’ll see if China can keep the key to the gold market.

2014-04-25 Rhyme or Reason? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks have seen wide swings recently, but year-to-date major indexes are roughly flat. Volatility may persist, but we suggest investors look past the near term and focus on the underlying fundamentals.

2014-04-25 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 134.9, up from last week?s 133.6 (revised from 133.5). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 3.3 from last week?s 3.0. Here are some notable developments since ECRI?s public recession call on September 30, 2011: 1) The S&P 500 is up 61.0% at yesterday?s close, although off its record close on April 2nd. 2) the unemployment rate has dropped to 6.7%, and 3) Q4 GDP was revised upward to 2.6%.

2014-04-25 "The 10 Plagues" of Retirement Investing by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Last Tuesday marked the end of the Passover holiday, in which Jews around the world celebrate the exodus from Egypt in biblical times (see the classic movie ?The Ten Commandments? for a visual version of the story). One highlight of the ?Seder? dinner conducted on the first two nights of the holiday is for all gathered to recount a part of the story known as ?The 10 Plagues.? Biblical references aside, it got me thinking about 10 plagues that today?s retired and retiring investors must grapple with. Here they are, sans the Matzoh Ball soup.

2014-04-25 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The link between money and inflation has clouded, but it hasn?t disappeared

2014-04-25 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review ? Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies showed increased resilience as loose monetary policies of the past two years helped create demand, boost employment, and increase output.

2014-04-24 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company

Most of the economic and market trends we've been discussing for the past few years remain in place. Russia's action in the Ukraine/Crimea may have long-term implications, particularly for Europe, but the near-term economic implications are modest. It remains to be seen whether this gets added to our long-term worry list or not.

2014-04-24 Global Economic Outlook by Team of Northern Trust

Advanced economies should dominate the growth picture in 2014, but the jobless rate is likely to show only a small improvement

2014-04-24 Sell-Off in Health Care Sector Overlooks Strong Fundamentals by Andy Acker, Ethan Lovell of Janus Capital Group

After a strong run over the last two years, stocks for biotechnology, pharmaceutical and specialty pharmaceutical companies have fallen significantly in recent weeks. While a couple of near-term headwinds surfaced recently, in our opinion much of the sell-off was driven by momentum investors who had indiscriminately bid up stocks for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

2014-04-24 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

The byword for economic prospects in emerging Asia Pacific economies during the first quarter of 2014 was "optimism". The countries in the region, despite undergoing a torrent of political activity and struggle, pinned their hopes on a revival in global trade. With other avenues of growth such as investment and consumption showing little promise, the emphasis on global trade took on even greater importance.

2014-04-24 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

After a week of panic, investors focused on the positives and went bargain hunting throughout. Thus far, earnings are not as bad as expected; China’s woes could mean new stimulus; labor and manufacturing seem to be in full fledge thaw. Hope the holiday season brings more good news.

2014-04-23 Trading Secrets: Understanding the Boom and the Bust by Tad Rivelle of TCW Asset Management

It isn?t what you earn ? it is what you keep that matters in investing. While systematically underwriting too little risk may mean that you do not earn all that you might, underwriting too much towards the end of a business cycle can be disastrous. With this in mind, it becomes obvious that timing an investment strategy may be the most important single decision an investor needs to get right. But how is one to know where you are in the cycle?

2014-04-23 Positioning Your Portfolio for Rising Rates. by Team of Forward Management

Accelerating outflows from bond funds in 2013 highlight investor nervousness over the prospect of rising interest rates. Investors may want to carefully assess the role of fixed-income investments in their portfolios, particularly in light of other types of income-producing vehicles. Upon careful evaluation of their options, investors can make adjustments suitable to their objectives.

2014-04-23 Yellen?s Three Big Questions (and a Few Others) by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Speaking to the Economic Club of New York, Fed Chair Janet Yellen presented an analysis of the monetary policy actions taken to address the Great Recession and offered guidance on what will drive policy decisions going forward. The centerpiece of her talk was about the three big questions that the Fed has to answer. However, there are a number of other debates going on in economics right now that have long-term consequences.

2014-04-22 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to three recently published articles, and the authors of those articles respond to those letters.

2014-04-22 Taxes are the Pits, But Not for Everyone It Seems by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

A number of Americans breathed a joyful sigh of relief last week after closing the books on their 2013 income taxes. The annual rite of passage rarely elicits excitement when addressed in conversation, and this year was unlikely to be any different. But, the latest tax data suggests the economy is gaining speed, news bound to make even the most hardened filers crack a smile.

2014-04-22 Israel ? Under the Radar by Brad Jensen of AdvisorShares

In recent travels and presentations, I was asked frequently about Israel. How is it that the Israeli market is #2 in our country ranking methodology? It seems as though the country is off the radar screen of most investors, so a quick overview of the market and why it ranks high currently seems to be in order.

2014-04-22 2016 (Part 3, The Election Situation) by Bill O?Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this final report, we will analyze why we think 2016 may be a pivotal election and examine the potential that it could bring about a coalition change similar to the 1932 and 1980 elections. We will discuss the various methods of addressing the current high level of private sector debt and offer what we believe to be the three highest probability scenarios of how the current problems can be addressed and their impact on the domestic political scene and on America?s superpower role. Unlike our last two reports, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2014-04-22 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review - Q1 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

The International Monetary Fund’s latest assessment of the global economy pointed out that robust economic recovery in developed countries has significantly reduced the risk of a downturn this year. The Washington-based lender said it sees growth in emerging and developing Europe as a whole at 2.4 percent in 2014, which is expected to accelerate to 2.9 percent next year.

2014-04-21 Spring Checkup: Five Investment Ideas for Your Portfolio by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

As the second quarter of 2014 gets underway, many investors are wondering how they should adjust their portfolios given the events of the first three months of the year. Russ shares five investing opportunities that he and his BlackRock colleagues think are worth considering this spring.

2014-04-21 The Federal Reserve's Two-Legged Stool by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In viewing the Fed?s mandate as a tradeoff only between inflation and unemployment, Chair Yellen seems to overlook the feature of economic dynamics that has been most punishing for the U.S. economy over the past decade. That feature is repeated malinvestment, yield-seeking speculation, and ultimately financial instability, largely enabled by the Federal Reserve?s own actions.

2014-04-21 Rising Food Prices May Whet Investors\' Appetite for Agriculture by Nick Kalivas of Invesco Blog

Food prices are affected by a wide range of factors - from weather to geopolitics. Today, these factors seem to be pointing toward rising food inflation, and investors want to know where potential opportunities may lie.

2014-04-18 Quarterly Review and Outlook by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

After examining much of the latest scholarly research, and conducting in house research on the link between household wealth and spending, we found the wealth effect to be much weaker than the FOMC presumes. In fact, it is difficult to document any consistent impact with most of the research pointing to a spending increase of only one cent per one dollar rise in wealth at best. Some studies even indicate that the wealth effect is only an interesting theory and cannot be observed in practice.

2014-04-18 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

In a currency war, everyone loses. Should monetary policy be coordinated across countries? The International Monetary Fund is at a crossroads.

2014-04-17 A Bend in the Road is Not the End of the Road by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Turmoil in Ukraine, growth concerns in Japan, and weakness in U.S. equity markets are giving U.S. investors a short-term case of heartburn but none of this should undermine the overall case for optimism.

2014-04-17 Designing Balanced DC Menus: Considering Diversified Fixed Income Choices by Stacy Schaus, Ying Gao of PIMCO

Sponsors of defined contribution plans face a dual challenge: They must present investment options appropriate for plan members and design menus that encourage selection of well-structured portfolios. We believe that actively managed strategies designed to potentially reduce risks, invest globally and enhance yield relative to the index may improve diversification and lower concentration risk in fixed income offerings. Plan sponsors may consider a range of return and risk measures as they evaluate current and prospective fixed income offerings.

2014-04-17 Equity Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Short term, we would not be surprised if the market took a breather after its strong gains last year. Additionally we may see volatility related to news coming out of the Middle East and Russia. But longer term, we remain very optimistic on the outlook for U.S. equities. In addition to the reasons we discussed above we believe U.S. equities are very attractive relative to the alternatives. The great bull market in bonds appears to be over. The great decades of emerging market growth appear to be behind us.

2014-04-17 Why Energy is Catching the Market\'s Eye by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Over the last month the energy sector has outperformed the market, and as you can see in the chart below, has done so by 6.5 percent. Year-to-date the sector is beating the S&P 500 Index by over 3 percent. In a spectacularly performing market during 2013, energy lacked some of the incredible performance seen throughout the other sectors, but recently it has turned up, catching the attention of the market yet again.

2014-04-17 Pinning Hopes on the \'Chosen One\' by Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia

, I would caution against expectations of a quick fix or a fixation over the short term. As in much of the rest of Asia, India and Indonesia are attempting to tackle their issues and this makes us optimistic for the future. We look forward to an environment of better governance that is critical for both social and economic progress.

2014-04-17 Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust by Sam Stewart of Wasatch Funds

Former Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes was well-known for his conservative offense-often quoted as saying, "There are only three things that can happen when you pass, and two of them are bad." The two bad outcomes are either an incompletion or an interception. Instead, Hayes favored a methodical, grind-it-out approach, running the ball directly into the line: "three yards and a cloud of dust." What Hayes’ style of play may have lacked in pizazz, it more than made up for in results. The U.S. economy today is following a similar offensive playbook, but with less satisfying results.

2014-04-16 Echo-Mania at The Fed by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

Greetings from a thawed out Savannah! Q1 of 2014 will be remembered for a number of things, but the most prominent were the erratic weather patterns and arctic-blast temperatures that most of the country experienced. I missed writing my Q1 letter for the first time in ten years due to a nasty bout with pneumonia in mid-January. For those of you who have never had pneumonia, I do not recommend it!

2014-04-16 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

And what a bad week it was. After flirting (and setting) new record highs on both the S&P and Dow, equity investors worried about the upcoming earnings reports and freaked out over the some disturbing news from China. Stocks plunged late in the week with the Nasdaq particularly hard hit, though the other indexes followed suit and gave up all of their prior gains for the year. For the most part, domestic developments remain strong but news on the global front have prompted investors to seek out the safe-haven of treasuries. Over-reaction or new trend?

2014-04-15 Equity Market Insight by Thomas Faust, Jr. of Eaton Vance

After a powerful rally in 2013, the first quarter of 2014 saw the bull market demonstrate a measure of resilience in the face of several headwinds. In the latter half of January, stocks fell sharply on emerging-market concerns, with volatility spiking to more "normal" post-financial crisis levels. The market bounced back strongly in February and went on to record a new all-time closing high on March 7. Performance was choppy in the final few weeks of the quarter, as investors digested mixed economic reports, geopolitical issues and the latest U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) meeting.

2014-04-15 Our Most Read Article from Last Week: Do Small Cap-Value Stocks add Value in Retirement Portfolios? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Research going back to Fama and French in the early 1990s has shown that small-value stocks have produced superior returns. Subsequent debate has centered on whether this superior performance will continue and if investors should tilt portfolios to capture those returns. I’ll examine the historical evidence, incorporate it in retirement examples and discuss the future prospects for small-cap value.

2014-04-15 2016 (Part 2, The Political Situation) by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

As we survey the political landscape for 2016, the next presidential election could be historic. In this report, we will examine the domestic political situation using four different archetypes to describe the U.S. political landscape. We will then offer a history of the interaction between these groups and address the likelihood of various policy outcomes based on the relative strengths and weaknesses of the four political groups. Unlike our usual reports, we will not conclude with market ramifications but instead discuss the transition to Part 3 of this analysis.

2014-04-14 Uncovering Opportunities in Emerging Markets by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

Emerging markets have underperformed expectations, but the longer-term secular outlook remains constructive for many regions. Highly negative investor sentiment and outflows have sharply reduced prices, significantly improving relative value in emerging markets. We see opportunities in emerging markets in interest rates, sovereign credit and select companies for investors with a longer-term investment horizon. ?

2014-04-14 Economic Insight: Fed Policy Goes Back to the Future by Thomas Luster of Eaton Vance

We fully expected the strength the economy showed in late 2013 to carry over into 2014; however, that simply was not the case. Instead, we saw weaker-than-expected economic data across a wide range of economic indicators. Not surprisingly, interest rates fell modestly during the quarter rather than continuing their trend higher from last year, while U.S. stocks (as measured by the S&P 500) reacted similarly ? barely advancing after a 32% gain in 2013.

2014-04-12 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Federal Reserve’s search for stability. The patterns of world trade are undergoing important changes. Greece issued debt this week: good news or bad news?

2014-04-12 In the End, Time is Everything by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners

While some will claim that valuations are to blame for the large selloff in growth stocks, high growth stocks almost always have premium valuations. In some sectors of the market, we’ve found that it makes more financial sense to pay up for a company of the future than to pay down for one in the past. As Warren Buffet has said, "Price is what you pay, but value is what you get."

2014-04-12 Proper Perspective by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Getting caught up in the weeds is easy in this 24-hour news cycle where everyone is looking to make a splash, but successful investing requires staying above the fray. The U.S. economy is growing and equities appear fairly valued, Europe has issues to deal with but has come a long way from the depths, Japan may be working against itself but improvement has been seen, and the threat of a Chinese debacle at this point seems minimal.

2014-04-12 Every Central Bank for Itself by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Whether the FOMC can actually turn the taper into a true exit strategy ultimately depends on how much longer households and businesses must deleverage and how sharply our old-age dependency ratio rises, but markets seem to believe this is the beginning of the end. For now, that’s what matters most. Under Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s leadership, the Fed continues to send a clear message to the rest of the world: Now it really is every central bank for itself.

2014-04-11 Chinese Checkers with Gold Prices by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

For decades many of us in the hard money world have speculated that cloak and dagger activity by large financial interests has played a large role in determining performance in the gold market. The focus of this alleged manipulation is believed to be in the London market, and has been widely referred to as "The London Fix." However those who have blown the whistle have been dismissed as alarmists, gold bugs, conspiracy theorists or worse. But recent revelations should bring us closer to the truth.

2014-04-11 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Co.

Most of the economic and market trends we?ve been discussing for the past few years remain in place. Russia?s action in the Ukraine / Crimea may have long-term implications, particularly for Europe, but the near-term economic implications are modest. It remains to be seen whether this gets added to our long-term worry list or not.

2014-04-11 Why China's A-Shares Matter Now by Winnie Chwang of Matthews Asia

Although we often receive questions on mainland China?s A-share equities, which trade on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges, we currently invest in Chinese equities primarily via Hong Kong-listed companies and also by way of U.S.-listed Chinese firms. China?s domestic A-share market remains largely closed to foreign institutional investors. The only way for foreigners to participate in this market is to enroll in China?s Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) program or invest via a manager who has a quota in this program.

2014-04-11 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 134.9, up from last week's 133.6 (revised from 133.5). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 3.3 from last week's 3.0.

2014-04-10 The Russians Are Coming by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming is a 1966 American comedy film directed by Norman Jewison and based on Nathaniel Benchley?s book The Off-Islanders. The movie tells the Cold War story of the comedic chaos that happens when a Soviet submarine runs aground closely offshore a small island town near New England and the crew is forced to come ashore. Last Friday, however, rumors that the ?Russians are coming? swirled down the canyons of Wall Street, causing a late Friday Fade that left the S&P 500 (SPX/1865.09) down an eye-popping 24 points.

2014-04-10 Wanting Work Makes a Difference by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

As the Fed considers the precise timing of tightening monetary policy, a key consideration will be how many Americans want to get back to work. Monetary doves found an olive twig amid the floodwaters last week when the labor force participation rate increased slightly.

2014-04-10 Investment Success Often Depends On Choosing the Right Investment Horizon by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, reminds investors of the dangers of extrapolation, terming it "one of the worst biases of investing." Complicating matters is Sicart's contention that "possibly the second worst investment bias is our need to believe a good story."

2014-04-10 Assuage Your Fears of Rising Rates with Global Diversification by Julie Salsbery of PIMCO

?Although PIMCO believes interest rates are fairly anchored in the near term, we think investors can position their fixed income portfolios more defensively. Global diversification across developed and emerging markets can offer a defense against rising U.S. rates by reducing the concentration of risks within a portfolio, while also potentially lowering volatility and enhancing returns.

2014-04-10 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

One quarter down; three to go. After a rough January, stocks rebounded to complete a solid quarter with the Dow Jones the lone main index still "in the red." The new week found decent numbers from manufacturing and labor and investors moved past the "bad weather" excuse, though still took profits from high-flying bio-techs and internet stocks. The late-week selling hindered the overall equity performance.

2014-04-09 Whatever It Takes 2.0? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

If you are convincingly irrational the market may expect extreme measures and front run your bluff. It?s in this spirit that ECB President Draghi is threatening the market with another bazooka. We discuss implications for investors.

2014-04-09 Reasons To Remain Optimistic In 2014 by Sandra Martin of Martin Investment Management

The equity markets have taken a respite in 2014 after returning more than 32% in 2013. Margin expansion has been the largest influence on profit growth and should continue with present low inflation expectations. We believe that mergers and share buybacks may continue to increase shareholder value for large capitalization stocks.

2014-04-09 Master Limited Partnerships by Greg Reid and the Salient MLP Team of Salient Partners

Master Limited Partnerships (?MLPs?) are a unique asset class in the investment landscape. Historically, MLPs have been primarily owned by high net worth and retail investors due in part to the tax complexities. However, MLPs have started gaining traction over the past few years among institutional investors as they seek alternative sources of yield in our present low-yield world.

2014-04-08 Do Small Cap-Value Stocks add Value in Retirement Portfolios? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Research going back to Fama and French in the early 1990s has shown that small-value stocks have produced superior returns. Subsequent debate has centered on whether this superior performance will continue and if investors should tilt portfolios to capture those returns. I’ll examine the historical evidence, incorporate it in retirement examples and discuss the future prospects for small-cap value.

2014-04-08 Overcoming Fear and Loathing in Lost Wages by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Personal income, not job growth, may have drawn the ire of investors as stocks sold off on Friday. But look for the market to rebound on continued economic progress and soothing remarks from the Fed, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-04-08 On Cruise Control by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The first quarter was a relatively calm start to the year. The Dow was down 0.7%, the S&P up 1.3%, and the NASDAQ up 0.5%. International equities were nearly flat as well with the MSCI ACWI ex US down 0.1%. European equities were up 1.5% and Pacific equities were moderately negative, with the MSCI Pacific down 3.3% for the quarter. Emerging market equity indices were down 0.8% for the quarter, with China down 6.7%.

2014-04-08 Asset Allocation Implications of a Flattening Treasury Yield Curve by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

The Treasury yield curve has started to flatten in recent weeks. Based on historical relationships, this process is likely to have important implications for investors because it signals that the business cycle has moved to a more self-reliant and less Fed dependent state.

2014-04-08 Avoiding Losers Is as Important as Picking Winners in High Yield Markets Today by Andrew Jessop, Hozef Arif of PIMCO

Although high yield bonds span a broad range of sectors, industries and individual credits, their yields today tend to fall within an increasingly narrow range. Narrow dispersion means portfolio decisions that target outperformance should now be guided by avoiding deteriorating credits as much as by selecting the most attractive rising stars. Strategies for picking the rising stars can extend to CCC rated credits where agency ratings lag the improvement in the underlying credit profile.

2014-04-08 Moving Forward With the Normalization of Yields by Scott Mather, Michael Story of PIMCO

One response to yield normalization is to consider retaining core bonds and diversifying the specific risk factor of concern, in this case duration. In the past, global bonds have captured most of the upside but avoided a significant amount of the downside relative to domestic-only bonds. Generating capital gains from bonds in a rising yield environment requires defining concretely what yield normalization means ? where yields are going and when they will get there ? and setting these expectations against forward market pricing, country by country.

2014-04-07 The Other Side of the Mountain by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Having witnessed the glorious advancing portion of the uncompleted market cycle since 2009, investors might, perhaps, want to consider how this cycle might end. After long diagonal advances to overvalued speculative peaks, the other side of the mountain is typically not a permanently high plateau.

2014-04-07 The Doubt of Appearances by Dimitri Balatsos of Tesseract Partners

Households have made significant progress mending their balance sheet in the post-crisis period. Assets have been boosted on the back of higher home values and stock prices, while liabilities have been trimmed, mostly mortgages, thanks in large part to widespread home foreclosures.

2014-04-05 Investing for Retirement: The Defined Contribution Challenge by Ben Inker and Martin Tarlie of GMO

Target date funds are rapidly becoming the workhorse for DC plans. These funds have grown substantially in recent years, partly as a result of automatic enrollment made possible by the Pension Protection Act of 2006. By and large, current target date funds resemble the old investment advisor adage that stock weight should be about 110 minus a person’s age. While this satisfies the common-sense intuition that, all things being equal, weight in stocks should go down as a person ages, there are a number of problems with this approach. In this paper we focus on two in particular.

2014-04-05 The Lions in the Grass, Revisited by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Today we explore a few things we can see and then try to foresee a few things that are not quite so obvious. The simple premise is that it is not the lions we can see lounging in plain view that are the most insidious threat, but rather that in trying to avoid those we may stumble upon lions hidden in the grass.

2014-04-04 Bob by Bill Gross of PIMCO

PIMCO recommends overweighting credit and to a lesser extent volatility and curve. Underweight duration. Although credit spreads are tight, they are not as compressed as interest rates, which are now in the process of normalization. While PIMCO agrees with Janet Yellen that such normalization will be a long time coming (the 12th of Never?), probabilities suggest that as the Fed completes its Taper, the 5?30 year bonds that it has been buying will have to be sold at higher yields to entice the private sector back in.

2014-04-04 Putin and the Naughty Chair by Robert Stimpson of Oak Associates

On the surface, the first quarter of 2014 appears to be decent. The S&P 500 eked out a gain of 1.8% in the first three months of the year, despite heightened geopolitical tensions, a changing of the guard at the Federal Reserve, and frigid weather hampering economic growth. Accounts managed by Oak Associates have topped the S&P 500 year-to-date. That being said, signs of internal weakness are present in US equities.

2014-04-04 Meet "Lowflation": Deflation's Scary Pal by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In recent years a good part of the monetary debate has become a simple war of words, with much of the conflict focused on the definition for the word "inflation." The latest front in this campaign came this week when Bloomberg News unveiled a brand new word: "lowflation" which it defines as a situation where prices are rising, but not fast enough to offer the economic benefits that are apparently delivered by higher inflation. Although the article was printed on April Fool's Day, sadly I do not believe it was meant as a joke.

2014-04-04 Warning Signs in Leveraged Credit? by Elizabeth (Beth) MacLean of PIMCO

· Though leveraged credit markets are less levered than they were pre-crisis, signs of more lenient, issuer-friendly terms are prompting regulators (including the Fed) and investors to voice concerns. · Regulators have tightened lending guidelines, but strong demand versus supply means the market is able to find ways around such guidance. · Detailed bottom-up credit analysis with an emphasis on long-term fundamentals and loss avoidance remains crucial to investing in leveraged credit today.

2014-04-04 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.6, unchanged last week (which was revised from 133.5). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 3.0 from last week?s 2.9. Here are some notable developments since ECRI?s public recession call on September 30, 2011: 1) The S&P 500 is up 61.9% at yesterday?s close, fractionally off its record close on April 2nd. 2) the unemployment rate has dropped to 6.7%, and 3) Q4 GDP was revised upward to 2.6%.

2014-04-04 What\'s Abuzz About Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If we continue to see these large movements of the physical metal, especially from the West to the East, it would appear to be only a matter of time until these supply-and-demand factors lift the gold price.

2014-04-04 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

For the European Central Bank, actions will speak louder than words. US hiring is back on track. The debate over unemployment and wage pressure.

2014-04-04 Income Is Always a Good Idea by Jack Tierney of Invesco Blog

Most of the 2014 forecasts were positive on stocks, albeit at a lower return after such a strong year in 2013, and negative on bonds. However, January was a down month for stocks and a very strong month for bonds, February saw stocks rebound and bonds range-bound, and March thus far has stocks down more than up and bonds still range-bound. With apologies for altering the famous quote attributed to Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, "Paris is always a good idea," I would say that "income is always a good idea."

2014-04-03 Foolish Investment Ideas by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

With April Fools? Day behind us, it?s time to get serious about investing. Don?t be fooled by this week?s non-farm payroll report; nor by the assertion that the U.S. may have the cleanest of the dirty shirts. And certainly don?t be fooled into thinking the market has your interests in mind?

2014-04-03 Plans are Nothing; Planning is Everything by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

U.S. investors are largely convinced that the Fed will raise interest rates in the middle of 2015 but sluggish inflation could push that eventuality back into 2016.

2014-04-03 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week saw a correction in many of the high-flying groups, but overall another quiet week with investors unsure of the economic outlook.

2014-04-03 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

During the Great Recession, America laid off two million factory workers and factory output fell 20 percent. Before the Great Recession, of course, manufacturing jobs were headed overseas. As we have slowly emerged from the Great Recession, it’s a little surprising to some that manufacturing has led the way, outpacing overall GDP growth. This year it looks like manufacturing could add 3.5 percent in growth. Is this just a replacement of jobs that were lost during the Great Recession?

2014-04-02 The Treasury Yield Curve Starts its Tightening Process by Martin Pring of AdvisorShares

Martin is the Investment Strategist to the AdvisorShares Pring Turner Business Cycle ETF (DBIZ)?and since 1984, he has published the ?Intermarket Review,? a monthly global market report revered among analysts and market technicians. Here, Martin shares his latest technical analysis.

2014-04-02 Foolish Investment Ideas by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

With April Fools? Day behind us, it?s time to get serious about investing. Don?t be fooled by this week?s non-farm payroll report; nor by the assertion that the U.S. may have the cleanest of the dirty shirts. And certainly don?t be fooled into thinking the market has your interests in mind?

2014-04-01 Have You Looked at India Lately? by Eric Stein, Patrick Campbell of Eaton Vance

In our judgment, it?s time to remove India from the ranks of the so-called ?Fragile Five?* emerging-market countries. We believe the strong investment case to be made for India today underscores the importance of taking a country-by-country approach to emerging-market investing.

2014-04-01 U.S. Growth Offers a Tailwind for the Region by Mohit Mittal, Ed Devlin, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

PIMCO expects growth in the U.S. to improve due to a reduction in fiscal drag, although the Federal Reserve?s tapering and slowing growth in China are risks. While higher U.S. growth should offer a boost to exporters, Canada will likely face headwinds from a housing correction and drop in consumption. Latin America has fared relatively well amid the recent volatility in emerging markets, but differentiation across credits and markets continues to increase.

2014-04-01 Signs of Life?? by Adam Bowe, Robert Mead of PIMCO

As mining investment in Australia tapers, improvements in other sectors of the economy recently have allayed some concerns of a collapse in domestic demand. We share the cautious optimism but stop well short of expecting higher policy rates this year. Australian bond yields remain highly correlated to global developed market bond yields, and without a near-term domestic catalyst to cause that correlation to break, Australia?s yields are more likely to gradually rise, particularly in the longer end of the yield curve, which isn?t supported by anchored policy rates. ?

2014-04-01 2016 (Part 1, The Economic Issue) by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we are tackling the geopolitical impact of the 2016 elections. Given the size of the topic, it will be discussed over a three-part series. As we survey the political landscape for 2016, the next presidential election could be historic. In our opinion, the last three presidents have been unable to create a consistent foreign policy that reflects America?s role as the unipolar superpower. We will begin by examining the economic challenges the next president will face, with a broad analysis of the issues of inequality and economic growth.

2014-04-01 Fundamental Tango by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

The economy and financial markets are forever sending out mixed, parallel, or confusing messages. Inflation or stagflation? Buy now, or take your profits? Proceed slowly, or go home? At this moment, the signals are hardly synchronized.

2014-03-31 European Rally Has Legs by Nick Kalivas of Invesco Blog

Since hitting a low on June 1, 2012, the MSCI Europe Index has rallied 64.73%. In our view, there?s room for European equity markets to advance further, supported by strong fundamentals, positive flows and a steady uptrend from the June 2012 low.

2014-03-31 Labor Market Clues for Bond Investors by Christopher Molumphy of Franklin Templeton

When the US Federal Reserve (Fed) began tapering early this year, the general assumption was that investors would flee en masse from fixed income investments. Certainly, there has been some volatility in Treasury yields, most recently after Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested interest rates could start to rise around six months after tapering ends ? which would be somewhat sooner than many were expecting.

2014-03-31 Raising the Minimum Wage: Cure or Curse? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

There?s been a lot of talk lately about raising the minimum wage, both on the federal and local level. Russ and an investment strategist on his team weigh in on what higher minimum wages could mean for the economy and for investors.

2014-03-31 Will Jobs Benefit From a Spring Thaw? by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The upcoming jobs report, a bellwether for the health of the US economy, could reveal that the harsh winter has created a coiled spring in the labor market, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-03-28 Americas: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

The outlook for the developed economies in North America remains healthy while the emerging economies of Latin America continue to face headwinds. Though recent data from the U.S. and Canada have indicated moderation in economic activity, most of the slowdown was likely caused by adverse weather conditions in the region.

2014-03-28 Fed on Target to Raise Interest Rates in the Spring of 2015 by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

Last Wednesday, Janet Yellen presided over a press conference as the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve (Fed) following the conclusion of the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC’s) two day meeting and their release of the official FOMC statement. Markets hung on every word and some confusion was created afterwards as Yellen offered a more transparent look at the Fed’s timeline for raising interest rates.

2014-03-28 ?Mind the Gap?: Adapting to a Post-Crisis World in Transition by Virginie Maisonneuve of PIMCO

??Barring any sharp deterioration in global geopolitical risk, the medium term outlook for equities is quite positive in an environment where we see subdued growth and inflation amid healing economies. From a markets standpoint, valuations are not very expensive ? they?re not cheap, but they?re not expensive versus historical standards for the market overall.

2014-03-28 What Investors Should Know About Fed Forward Guidance by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

Last week, at Janet Yellen?s first meeting as Fed Chair, the FOMC revised its forward guidance for the funds rate, dropping its reference to 6.5% unemployment and instead stressing the committee?s qualitative assessment of the economy. The change was a symbolically important step, but did not alter the broader outlook for policy rates, in our view.

2014-03-28 Asia's E-Commerce Trends by Jerry Shih of Matthews Asia

On a recent research trip, I went to Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Melbourne and spoke with Internet companies in industries as diverse as automotives, travel and real estate. I also met with several e-commerce companies with varying Internet penetration rates. As growth rates for new Internet users across parts of Asia level off, comparing these firms offered me an interesting glimpse into the potential opportunities and challenges facing the region's newer Internet firms.

2014-03-28 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.5, up from 133.0 last week (a revision from 132.9). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place rose to 2.9 from last week's 2.3.

2014-03-28 Lacking Conviction by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Investors seem to lack conviction, what will potentially push them to one side or the other.

2014-03-28 Four Areas Revved Up for a Resources Boom by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Commodity returns vary wildly, as experienced resource investors can attest and our popular periodic table illustrates. This inherent volatility can spell opportunity for the nimble investor who can look past the mainstream headlines to identify hot spots. Our global resources expert, Brian Hicks, CFA, identified four we believe are revved up for a resources boom.

2014-03-27 What Has Been Fueling the Rise of Gold in 2014? by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

Gold declined approximately 28% for the year of 2013, its worst annual performance since 1981 according toUSA Today. At that time, the downturn ended Gold’s own bull market run of 12 consecutive years as investors jumped on the back of this current bull market by piling into stock funds in 2013 and largely exiting bond funds.

2014-03-27 Plant a Tree Today, Sit in the Shade Tomorrow by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The Federal Reserve?s desire to be predictable should lead to an incremental path for the coming tightening cycle and that suggests increasing exposure to floating-rate instruments.

2014-03-27 A Sustainable Recovery?? by Mike Amey of PIMCO

Early signs indicate that the long awaited increase in business investment is underway. In turn, that bodes well for real income growth and the sustainability of the economic recovery. Given the improved economic prospects and the change in rhetoric at the Bank of England, the central bank could well be an early adopter of tighter monetary policy. We expect the BoE to hike rates ahead of the US Federal Reserve. While we beli?eve the British pound has already reflected the BoE?s guidance for official rates to rise by mid-2015, the bond market has yet to fully reflect the new environment. ?

2014-03-26 Looming Retirement Crisis ? Boomers In Big Trouble! by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Let?s face it, we all know this country is facing a retirement crisis. The first of the Baby Boomers turned 65 and started retiring in 2011. The number of Boomers retiring each year will rise rapidly over the next decade or more. Before the end of this decade, Boomers will be turning age 65 at the rate of 8,000 per day.

2014-03-26 Striking a Balance: Risks and Opportunities in Emerging Market Debt? by Francesc Balcells, Anton Dombrovsky of PIMCO

?We believe the risk of a full crisis in emerging markets is greatly diminished as the initial conditions of such economies nowadays are quite different. Although there are vulnerable credits out there, the mark-to-market volatility in the financially strong emerging market economies can present advantages as longer-term fundamentals reassert themselves. By monitoring key triggers and employing a differentiated investment approach, investors may be able to take advantage of attractive valuations in emerging market debt. ?

2014-03-26 Yellen Speaks, Do the Financial Markets Listen? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

No surprise, the Federal Open Market Committee tapered the monthly rate of asset purchases by another $10 billion and altered the language in its forward guidance on the federal funds rate. In its policy statement, the FOMC indicated that ?it likely will be appropriate to maintain the current target range for the federal funds rate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends.?

2014-03-26 Picture This by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Picture this: you?re an investor starting out in the 1940s after World War II came to an end. Your own experience in the contemporary history of the stock market would've taught you that bonds were the safer, and superior, asset allocation over the long-term.

2014-03-25 How to Confront the End of the Bond Bull Market by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

What does the title of Simon Lack’s latest book, Bonds Are Not Forever, mean? It’s a question that Lack clarifies and then answers - by proposing a creative way to construct portfolios that have many of the beneficial characteristics of bonds but without much downside interest-rate exposure.

2014-03-25 Janet Yellen Enters the Picture by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

After bursting onto the scene earlier this year, Janet Yellen held her first official FOMC meeting last week. Rather than upset the apple cart, she held a largely status quo stance, but several comments raised more than a few questions.

2014-03-25 A Slip and Fall? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Despite last week?s vernal equinox, signaling the first day of spring on Thursday, another arctic blast is hitting the Midwest yet again this week, and cabin fever has become an epidemic. So many of my friends and family are singing the same refrain; ?When will this winter be over??

2014-03-25 Stocks: "Aging Bull" Could Still Pack a Punch by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Bearish market observers fret that earnings growth will falter and that current equity valuations are unsustainable. Their worries are misplaced.

2014-03-25 Higher Rates on the Horizon? Three Implications by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Investors were temporarily taken aback last week by the prospect of an earlier-than-expected rate hike. While it?s not yet clear yet whether the market interpreted the Fed correctly, Russ explains that the possibility of higher rates has three implications for investors.

2014-03-24 March Flash Update by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

At the end of February, the market as measured by the S&P 500 moved slightly above the year-end levels. Subsequently, a brief calming of the tensions surrounding the events in the Ukraine (time will tell) generated a relief rally that extended a bit further resulting in new record highs exactly 5 years after the financial crisis lows of March 2009.

2014-03-24 Stocks Rise as Economic Backdrop Slowly Improves by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished higher last week, with the S&P 500 increasing 1.4%. Ukraine seemed to be receding in investors? minds. Despite the volatility and sharp increase in bond yields on Wednesday, the hawkish takeaways from the FOMC meeting were not a lingering overhang.

2014-03-24 Market Had Its Way With Yellen?s Words by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Fed Chair Janet Yellen got a taste for how sensitive investors are to her public remarks last week, but the kneejerk response was probably an overreaction, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-03-24 Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

Last week?s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) produced a more hawkish tone than anticipated, driving interest rates higher and flattening the yield curve in the process. Between the Fed?s summary of economic projections and Chairwoman Janet Yellen?s remarks following the meeting, the FOMC suggested a shorter timeframe for rate hikes than the market had expected.

2014-03-22 Debt and Taxes by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

It seems that the majority opinion on Wall Street and Washington is that we have entered an era of good fortune made possible by the benevolent hand of the Federal Reserve. Ben Bernanke and now Janet Yellen have apparently removed all the economic rough edges that would normally draw blood. As a result of this monetary "baby-proofing," a strong economy is no longer considered necessary for rising stock and real estate prices.

2014-03-22 China\'s Minsky Moment? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In speeches and presentations since the end of last year, I have been saying that I think the biggest macro problem in the world today is China. China has run up a huge debt, and the payments are coming due. They seem to be proactive, but will it be enough? How much risk do they pose for the global system?

2014-03-22 We See Opportunities in Commodities by Bob Greer, Ronit M. Walny, Klaus Thuerbach of PIMCO

Fundamentals and some recent data suggest that challenging trends for commodity investing may be coming to an end. Commodities may increase their role as an important and unique source of returns, diversification and protection from unanticipated inflation. As commodity sectors are each dominated by unique factors, we see even more opportunities to add value through active management.

2014-03-22 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Federal Reserve’s updated guidance takes a page from its past. Wage trends will guide the timing of tightening. Chinese banking reformers should be careful what they wish for.

2014-03-22 What Makes a Slam-Dunk Portfolio? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As a native Canadian, hockey is in my blood, but after moving to Texas, the icy arenas changed to basketball courts, as the sole major league sports team in the city is the San Antonio Spurs.

2014-03-21 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.9, down from 133.6 last week (a revision from 133.8). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place rose to 2.3 from last week's 2.1 (a revision from 2.3).

2014-03-21 We See Opportunities in Commodities by Bob Greer, Ronit Walny, Klaus Thuerbach of PIMCO

Fundamentals and some recent data suggest that challenging trends for commodity investing may be coming to an end. Commodities may increase their role as an important and unique source of returns, diversification and protection from unanticipated inflation. As commodity sectors are each dominated by unique factors, we see even more opportunities to add value through active management.

2014-03-21 Debt and Taxes by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The red flags contained in the national and global headlines that have come out thus far in 2014 should have spooked investors and economic forecasters. Instead the markets have barely noticed. It seems that the majority opinion on Wall Street and Washington is that we have entered an era of good fortune made possible by the benevolent hand of the Federal Reserve. Ben Bernanke and now Janet Yellen have apparently removed all the economic rough edges that would normally draw blood.

2014-03-21 China's Evolving Health Care Landscape by Hayley Chan of Matthews Asia

China has begun a long-term transformation of its health care industry. Much of this industry is still fragmented and in the early stages of consolidation. China?s top 10 pharmaceutical companies, for example, account for a combined market share of approximately 20% versus more than 60% in the U.S.

2014-03-19 What if Grantham is Right? by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

There were two articles recently both exploring the same possible outcome; that investor returns from capital markets could be much lower in the coming years. No matter what markets end up doing, advisory clients and do-it-yourselfers still have financial plans that likely require some amount of growth over time in order to have a chance of succeeding without something, such as desired lifestyle or working longer than hoped for, having to give.

2014-03-19 Feelin? the Fire, Investors are Hot for Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold seems to be sparking more attention these days, as investors have seen the precious metal steadily rise from its December low of around $1,200, to a new high of $1,350 just three months later.

2014-03-19 Is the Fed's Monetary Mojo Working at Last? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

It just might be. Data suggest that the central bank?s massive liquidity boost may be starting to flow into the broader economy.

2014-03-19 Retire with Power?Purchasing Power by Richard Davies of AllianceBernstein

Retirement planning isn?t just long-term investing, it?s long-term spending, too. How can retirees help insulate the nest eggs they?ve accumulated from the corrosive long-term effects of inflation?

2014-03-19 Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are: A Look Back at the 1990s by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Human nature tells us to look back to help divine the future. Today's environment looks strikingly similar to the mid-1990s, which has pros and cons.

2014-03-19 If They Will Lend, Someone Will Spend (on Something) by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

Upon awakening from my winter hibernation way up here in beautiful northeastern Wisconsin, I have noticed that bank asset managers have been anything but hibernating. Rather, they have been quite busy expanding their loans and securities.

2014-03-18 Gundlach - Rates Will Remain Low in 2014 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Slowing economic growth, low inflation and a lack of motivated sellers will keep interest rates depressed, at least for the rest of this year, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. But investors should prepare for an eventual rise in rates, he said, because he is skeptical of the Federal Reserve’s ability to successfully exit from QE.

2014-03-18 Japan?s Rising Opportunity by Neil Hennessy, Masakazu Takeda of Hennessy Funds

After WWII, the Japanese economy began what is sometimes referred to as the ?Economic Miracle?, a three-decade long period of growth and prosperity. Japanese firms and their management teams were studied around the world as the model of efficiency and an example for all companies and leaders to strive for. In 1989, a bubble in real estate fueled by speculators burst, and the Japanese markets crashed. Since then, the Japanese economy has been in a virtual standstill with more than two decades of stagnant growth and a deflationary environment.

2014-03-18 Currency Markets Heat Back Up, and Will Likely Remain that Way by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Long dormant after the financial crisis, foreign exchange markets are beginning to heat up, offering ample trading opportunity for asset managers. The U.S. dollar was widely viewed as being the best long trading opportunity for 2014, but so far, that has not played out, with activity in the Euro, Chinese Yuan, and other currencies impeding dollar strength.

2014-03-18 Fishing for Gold? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

If interest rates are supposed to be on the rise, why has the price of gold gone up so much this year? Is it merely because it is bouncing back after a sharp decline in 2013? We have a closer look at the link between gold and interest rates to gauge how investors may want to approach the bait provided by the Fed.

2014-03-18 Global Economic Overview - February 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Pessimism over the sustainability of global growth this year has subsided as it is now widely acknowledged that softer data from some of the developed countries in recent months were influenced by the severe winter weather.

2014-03-17 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary - February 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

After a weak start to the year, emerging market equity prices recovered in February as concerns about slower than expected global expansion and a further decline in Chinese economic growth subsided.

2014-03-17 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Remember when tiny Greece was a market mover? Well, now it’s tiny Crimea. With the growing global tensions and concerns about Crimea’s secession from the Ukraine to Russia, investors chose to take a week off (for the most part) and take some equity profits, while moving back into the safe haven of treasuries. With little news on the domestic economic calendar, investors looked abroad and didn’t care much for what they saw in China. (Still, the yuan must be better than the ruble these days.)

2014-03-17 Stocks Weighed Down by Ukraine, China and U.S. Economy by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities came under pressure last week as the S&P 500 declined almost 2.0%. Blame was primarily placed on the crisis in Ukraine and the growth slowdown and tight credit environment in China. Safe haven investments such as U.S. Treasuries and gold outperformed. Stocks may have already discounted the weather distortions on early 2014 data, and an overhang is expected to linger into first quarter earnings season. Cautiousness surfaced for investments that support the recovery, including banks and homebuilders.

2014-03-17 Recalibrating the Retirement Clock: Should 75 Be the New 65? by Nick Kaiser of Saturna Capital

Retirement sounds pretty sweet, doesn't it? Exotic holidays. Finally writing that novel. Never having to rely on an alarm clock to wake up early. Being your own boss. Retirement goals are as varied as people themselves.

2014-03-16 Inequality and Opportunity by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Today we will continue our thinking about income inequality, and I will respond to some of your letters, as they make good launching points for further discussion of the topic.

2014-03-15 Follow the Money to Asia\'s Tech Hub by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China’s slower economic data points and a surplus in copper and iron ore drove many commodities lower this week, while gold rose. In the short term, until the copper and iron ore surplus is liquidated, or absorbed at a slower pace, the base metals market will likely be sloppy. As the second-largest economy in the world and a huge driver of commodities demand, it’s not surprising China provoked such a significant response from world markets. Interestingly, most of the media thought it was geopolitical fears from Ukraine that chopped up the market and lifted gold.

2014-03-15 Heating Up and Thawing Out by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Concerns over growth and geopolitical issues have largely been set aside by investors in the United States, but complacency can be dangerous and another pullback in the near term could unfold if history holds. Investors should keep longer term goals in mind and remember that trying to time the market is an extremely difficult task. The weather is turning and economic data will be watched to see if recent softness was temporary or something more serious. We lean toward the former, but a retrenchment in bond yields would cause some concern about the potential for something more than weather.

2014-03-15 Like Houdini, the Markets Escape Again and Again by Stephen C. Sexauer of Allianz Global Investors

Like the great escape artist Harry Houdini, the markets have repeatedly escaped a series of potential catastrophes. Central banks around the world have coordinated policy making these escapes possible, but the end result is another trap from which we need to escape - seemingly permanent low interest rates for savers ("financial repression"), slow growth, and high asset prices. Financial repression is better than an outright debt deflation, but it causes its own problems. The outlook is for low returns.

2014-03-14 Deflationary Pressure and Tight Credit Facilities Weigh on Eurozone Recovery? by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

The eurozone is enjoying a broadly balanced resurgence in economic output and domestic demand. Deflation risk is real, and the European Central Bank?s asymmetric attitude toward its inflation target could contribute to a decline in inflation expectations. In the current climate, we continue to favour select regional credit exposure and look to generate attractive returns across European credit and asset-backed securities.

2014-03-14 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.8, up fractionally from 133.5 last week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place rose to 2.3 from last week's 1.8.

2014-03-14 An Exhaustive Debate by Colin Dishington of Matthews Asia

Australia, which is among the largest polluters per capita in the developed world, is exploring ways to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and has set a target for reducing emissions at 5% below 2000 levels by 2020. One of its current initiatives, the carbon pricing mechanism often referred to as the carbon tax requires polluters to pay an amount proportional to the carbon dioxide equivalent emitted during a given year.

2014-03-14 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Global trade negotiations have stalled; This is a delicate time for Chinese finance; Where will Europe’s growth come from?

2014-03-13 Consider paying a premium for municipal bonds: Focus on yield to worst rather than a municipal bond' by Eaton Vance Municipal Insight Committee of Eaton Vance

The price of a premium municipal bond should not be the sole determinant of value; Yield to worst is a meaningful metric to help determine the value and risk of a premium municipal bond; In rising rate environments, higher cash flows from a premium municipal bond may help to protect purchasing power.

2014-03-13 Waiting for Winter?s End by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

Undoubtedly, the long cold winter season has many yearning for more pleasant weather. Despite a strengthening economy, the economic data over the past few months appears to have been weighed down by the snow and ice. Come springtime, I believe the data will reflect an economy that is in bloom.

2014-03-12 Reflections on Ukraine by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past five weeks there have been a number of significant events that have occurred in Ukraine. A president has fled, a revolutionary government is forming and Russia has taken de facto control over the Crimea. The events themselves are momentous but the broader effects are significant as well. In this report, we will offer three reflections?Putin?s Gambit, The U.S. Adrift and A Dangerous New World. Although any of these could be a topic in themselves, we will shorten these issues to offer a single journey through the current crisis. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications

2014-03-12 The Goldilocks Conundrum: A Market Review by Rick Vollaro of Pinnacle Advisory Group

When we decided to ride the central bank liquidity wave in 2013, we knew there was a chance the market could have a pretty good year, but like most investors we were pleasantly surprised with the gains that the U.S. stock market delivered. Including dividends, the S&P 500 Index soared by 32%, well in excess of what even the most optimistic prognosticators envisioned at the start of the year.

2014-03-12 U.S. Household Net Worth Hits New Record High by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Federal Reserve announced last Thursday that US household net worth reached a new record high by the end of last year ? at $80.7 trillion. The Fed said the new record was made possible largely due to vaulting stock prices, increased home values and Americans paying off more of their debts.

2014-03-10 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

The irascible, and sometimes irrational, actions of the major indices this year should confirm for all observers that there's something at work in the financial markets that goes way beyond "traditional" fundamental analysis and good stock picking.

2014-03-10 M&A: A New Rx for Specialty Pharma by Janus Equity Team of Janus Capital Group

Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity is heating up among specialty pharmaceutical companies and potentially creating a once-in-a-generation investment opportunity in an industry that is quickly consolidating.

2014-03-10 Positive Payroll Report Offsets Geopolitical Concerns by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities increased 1.1% last week after somewhat volatile trading due to heightened tension in Ukraine. Although the crisis dominated headlines, the market relegated the major geopolitical issue to the back burner. The broader macro narrative did not change, as concerns about dampened growth momentum continued to be pacified by the distortion from adverse weather.

2014-03-10 Happy Birthday, Bull Market by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock

March 10, 2014, could be considered the fifth birthday of the current equity bull market. Investors looked beyond mixed economic data and turmoil in the Ukraine to push stocks to further gains last week. Stocks still remain a more attractive option relative to traditional bonds and cash.

2014-03-10 Four Reasons to Consider Emerging Markets for the Long Term by Borge Endresen of Invesco Blog

Emerging markets are at that peculiar place where everyone likes them over the long term, but very few like them in the short term. Many well-publicized headwinds from 2013 remain going into 2014, accompanied by election uncertainty in Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey. And political uncertainty keeps surfacing in such places as Thailand, Turkey and the Ukraine.

2014-03-10 How Much Slack Is in the U.S. Economy? The Inflation Jury Should Decide by Jeremie Banet of PIMCO

The unemployment rate may not be a reliable indicator of output slack in the U.S. economy. We?ll know (with a lag) if the economy has reached the end of the cyclical downturn when inflation picks up. The Fed will have to choose between risking a hawkish mistake or being behind the curve, waiting to see inflation actually increase. We expect it will choose the latter.

2014-03-09 The Problem with Keynesianism by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Keynes himself would appreciate the irony that he has become the defunct economist under whose influence the academic and bureaucratic classes now toil, slaves to what has become as much a religious belief system as it is an economic theory. Men and women who display an appropriate amount of skepticism on all manner of other topics indiscriminately funnel a wide assortment of facts and data through the filter of Keynesianism without ever questioning its basic assumptions. And then some of them go on to prescribe government policies that have profound effects upon the citizens of their nations.

2014-03-07 ECB Officials' Inflation Forecasts by of GaveKal Capital

The ECB announced that interest rates would be maintained at current levels earlier today, citing staff macroeconomic projections for the euro area, which foresee annual HICP inflation at 1.0% in 2014, 1.3% in 2015, and 1.5% in 2016. Though few economists predicted a rate cut, there were rumors that Europe's central bank might discontinue the sterlization of bond purchases under its Securities Markets Program (SMP)-- an action consistent with the adoption of a more accomodative and active policy.

2014-03-07 Inflation Blues: Is it Time to Start Worrying? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Inflation was revised higher in the latest GDP revision; while an increase in the minimum wage could push it higher still. But we remain sanguine about inflation risk as long as velocity and wage growth remain low. The key to watch near-term is bank lending, which is starting to accelerate sharply; signaling the possible return of "animal spirits."

2014-03-07 Tensions between Russia and Ukraine Worry Investors by Gene Goldman of Cetera Financial Group

Over the weekend, tensions escalated between Russia and Ukraine as Russian forces invaded and took complete operational control of the Crimean peninsula.

2014-03-07 Making Green from Gold, Palladium and Pollution by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold is coming back with a vengeance, experiencing a clear recovery and grabbing the attention of market cynics. Analysts from Noruma Securities even upgraded its outlook for gold, expecting bullion to climb over the next three years, according to Barron's.

2014-03-07 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 135.5, up from 131.8 last week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place rose to 1.8 from last week's 1.7.

2014-03-06 The Dollar's Long Term Decline by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

The cleanest of the dirty shirts doesn?t necessarily preserve your purchasing power. Sure, the U.S. dollar has beaten the Russian Ruble and some others of late, but when it comes to real competition, the U.S. dollar has taken a back seat. The U.S. dollar?s long-term decline may be firmly in place and investors may want to buckle up to get ready for the ride.

2014-03-06 Gold Scams Revisited by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

Before Bear Stearns and Lehman collapsed, the market for physical gold was limited to a relatively small group of investors who understood the havoc inflation was wreaking on our savings and the US markets. As the financial crisis took hold, a flood of new and inexperienced buyers entered the market, creating an opportunity for unscrupulous metals dealers to swindle their way to massive profits. This is what drove me to launch my very own gold dealer, Euro Pacific Precious Metals, to provide a safe alternative for those who were taking my advice to diversify into sound money.

2014-03-05 2014: A Transition Year - Back to Fundamentals by Lorenzo Pagani of PIMCO

The past several years have seen multiple regime changes in financial markets in Europe, each dominated by different factors and requiring a distinct approach to fixed income investing. As spreads tighten to pre-2008 levels, it is now time to ask whether a shift in investment style is due. Macroeconomic developments and inflation expectations are likely to be key determining factors in whether 2014 will be a good year for European bond investors.

2014-03-05 The Renminbi's New Normal by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

The gyrations in Chinese money markets in the last few weeks have caused much alarm in the financial press. The moves in these markets are not only inline, but healthy for an economy looking to increase the role of the market in allocating resources. Those who believe these moves indicate financial stress, or draw parallels between the recent volatility and that which preceded the subprime crisis in the U.S., might be looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

2014-03-05 What Is the Fed Thinking? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The central bank's decision to taper, despite its earlier caution on the economy, has puzzled many observers. New research from the Fed's own staff may provide some clues to its current mindset.

2014-03-05 The Renminbi's New Normal by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

The gyrations in Chinese money markets in the last few weeks have caused much alarm in the financial press. The moves in these markets are not only inline, but healthy for an economy looking to increase the role of the market in allocating resources. Those who believe these moves indicate financial stress, or draw parallels between the recent volatility and that which preceded the subprime crisis in the U.S., might be looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

2014-03-04 Does International Diversification Improve Safe Withdrawal Rates? by Wade Pfau (Article)

Safe withdrawal rate (SWR) studies have been based on a few asset classes and rarely incorporated international diversification. This is problematic, as an SWR depends on portfolio return and volatility, and broader diversification can extend the efficient frontier toward better retirement outcomes. To determine the benefits of international diversification, I looked at the relative performance of withdrawal rates in 20 developed-market countries.

2014-03-04 Turmoil in Venezuela by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died about a year ago. In the year since his passing, elections were held and Chavez's handpicked successor, Nicolas Maduro, won in what turned out to be an unexpectedly tight race. Since the elections, the Venezuelan economy and society have struggled. In this report, we will examine the underlying structure of Venezuela's political system and the divisions that exist. We will compare and contrast how Chavez was able to manage these divisions and how Maduro is struggling to replicate his success. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2014-03-04 The Second Coming by William Gross of PIMCO

Almost permanently affixed on the whiteboard of PIMCO's Investment Committee boardroom is a series of concentric circles, resembling the rings of a giant redwood, although in this case exhibiting an expanding continuum of asset classes with the safest in the center and the riskiest on the outer circles. Safest in the core are Treasury bills and overnight repo, which then turn outwards towards riskier notes and bonds, and then again into credit space with corporate, high yield, commodities and equities amongst others on the extremities.

2014-03-04 What the Jobs Report Will Tell Us-And What It Won't by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper puts the soon-to-be-released February employment report in context, including what it means for Fed policy, consumer confidence and stocks.

2014-03-04 A Consumer Releveraging Renaissance? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

After a long period of deleveraging, there are appearances that consumers are entering a stage of releveraging. The devil is always in the details, though, and this releveraging cycle is likely to play out vastly different than those of previous expansions.

2014-03-03 Equities Rise Despite Mixed Fundamental News by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities increased 1.3% last week as the S&P surpassed the key 1850 level and pushed to new record highs. One favorable dynamic of the rally was the upside leadership from retail stocks, as earnings were largely ahead of expectations. Fed Chair Janet Yellen suggested concern about softerthan-expected spending in a number of recent data releases, but the bar for adjusting the tapering process has not been lowered.

2014-02-28 Is an Avalanche Waiting to Hit the U.S. Stock Market? (The Slippery Slope of Stupidity) by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

The U.S. economy as we know it is headed for a huge correction. The only questions remaining are when will it start and what will be the trigger that starts the cascade? Financial and economic implosion is always a slow and stealthy process that grows over time behind the scenes.

2014-02-28 The Stock Market's Shaky Foundation by Chris Martenson of Whitney Peak

Martenson explains the headwinds that make the long-term case for lower valuations than we've seen in previous decades. But more urgently, he lays out the litany of short-term triggers likely to result in a vicious correction in stock prices this year. In fact, for the first time in years, he believes the time to actively short equities is arriving.

2014-02-28 Emerging-Market Risk and Reward by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Industrialization, urbanization, and the rise of a middle-class consumer society were supposed to boost emerging-market countries' long-term economic and sociopolitical stability. But in many countries recently wracked by political unrest, it is the urban middle classes that have been manning the barricades.

2014-02-28 Korea's Changing Consumer Patterns by Michael Han of Matthews Asia

Following a recent research trip to Korea, I was able to spend some time there with my family. Three consecutive weeks away afforded me the opportunity to observe changes in spending patterns among Korean consumers as well as the improving competitiveness of the country?s service industries.

2014-02-28 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.8, down from 123.3 last week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place slipped to 1.7 from last week's 2.5 .

2014-02-28 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: January 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices corrected in January as investors worried about slower growth in China as well as political and economic turbulence in some the frontier economies such as Argentina and the Ukraine. Markets were also unnerved by the unexpectedly large interest rate hike in Turkey, which failed to prop up the currency.

2014-02-28 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The sensitivity of emerging markets complicates the Fed?s exit plans; Raising the minimum wage is not the only way to aid low-income workers; Brazil?s economy is faltering as the World Cup approaches.

2014-02-28 Hide and Seek by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

Hide and seek. A game investors played as children but should not forget these days. Currently, investors need to hide safely to protect from some unfavourable developments in an environment that could hurt them.

2014-02-28 What Areas of the Market Will Remain in the Limelight? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The current bull market has been five years in the making. Since the bottom on March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 Index has grown an incredible 174 percent. With this spectacular performance, investors are asking if U.S. companies will stay in the limelight or if it is time to draw the curtain on equities.

2014-02-28 Bounce Back by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

US stocks have bounced and the market’s still attractive and in the midst of a secular bull market. But there are likely to be bumps along the way; notably given that this is a midterm election year; which are known for first-half pullbacks. A diversified portfolio is important and both European and Chinese stocks appear to have upside, while Japan continues to frustrate with a two-steps forward, two-steps back sort of approach. And a final reminder not to replace fixed income assets with equities in search of higher income without recognizing the risk profile of a portfolio has changed.

2014-02-27 Trading Secrets: The Godot Recovery by Tad Rivelle of TCW Asset Management

With this recovery, prosperity has always been just around the corner. It wasn?t supposed to be this way. True, the massive fiscal and edgy new monetary measures enacted in the wake of the 2008 crisis kept the economy?s heart beating. The Fed deftly executed its role of lender as last resort, and for this we should all be grateful. What has become steadily less clear is why, five years after the crisis, the Fed remains committed to its zero rate policy. Are artificially low rates truly the secret sauce that takes a weak recovery and makes it strong?

2014-02-27 Big Wheel Keep on Turning by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Economic uncertainty from this winter soft patch will linger for months, but strong housing fundamentals should underpin a strengthening U.S. economy while low inflation augers well for stock prices.

2014-02-26 Is It Time for the Fed to ?Level? With Markets? by Richard Clarida of PIMCO

If unemployment continues to diminish and quantitative easing tapers to its expected conclusion, the Federal Reserve will likely feel compelled ? if not by consensus, then by markets ? to refine the forward guidance that it provides to the public today. With inflation running below 2%, the Fed may consider a price level target, together with more holistic measures of the state of the labor market, as a replacement for the unemployment threshold in offering guidance on the future pace of policy normalization.

2014-02-26 What Columbus Missed: Royce Rediscovers India by David Nadel of The Royce Funds

In 1492, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus set sail to discover India. He missed his mark, however, landing in America instead. The rest, as they say, is history-with the exception that more than 500 years later India is still worthy of discovery for many Western investors.

2014-02-26 Supply and Demand in the Balance by John Burns of John Burns Real Estate

We look at the housing demand/supply balance two ways.

2014-02-26 A CAPE Crusader by James Montier of GMO

In a new white paper today, James Montier of GMO's asset allocation team reviews a range of valuation measures to assess current U.S. equity market valuations. He concludes: "We continue to believe that the weight of valuation evidence suggests the S&P 500 is significantly overvalued at its current levels."

2014-02-26 EM and the Fragile Five: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff by Blaise Antin, David Loevinger, Anisha Ambardar of TCW Asset Management

The shift in capital flows triggered by former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s tapering remarks in May 2013 set off a cascade of market events that continues to this day. His comments also birthed a cottage industry of emerging market doomsayers, who now predict regularly: 1) the end of growth in emerging markets (EM), given that it was, in their view, all a mirage fueled by carry and leverage; and 2) a wave of defaults of the kind last seen in the 1990s that threaten to bring down not only emerging but developed markets as well.

2014-02-26 Gaps, Not Growth by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

Monetary policy is primarily about "gaps" not growth: the Fed is trying to reduce spare capacity in the economy, not bring about a rapid expansion per se.

2014-02-26 Weather-Beaten by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Harsh winter weather often shows through in the economic data. Large seasonal adjustment can magnify that impact. Snowstorms happen every year, of course ? the key is whether they are worse than usual. This year, bad weather has been relatively widespread, affecting many areas of the country and much of the economic data for December, January, and February. None of the bad weather has had a significant impact on the longer-term outlook and investors have begun to take the economic news with an appropriate grain of salt.

2014-02-25 Time to Worry About Europe Again? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The European sovereign debt crisis has all but faded from investors? minds since ECB President Mario Draghi?s famous pronouncement on July 26, 2012 that he would do ?whatever it takes? to save the monetary union. Since that time, equity markets in Europe rallied sharply as accumulated risk aversion fell away.

2014-02-25 How to Profit from the Yellen Fed by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Janet Yellen might have the most powerful job in the world, as the Federal Reserve (Fed) she now chairs controls what may be the world?s most powerful printing press. We take a closer look at what her reign might mean for investors? portfolios.

2014-02-25 Flirting With Deflation by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

Over the medium term, we see downside risks to both growth and inflation in the eurozone, unlike the ECB?s more balanced view. However, even if eurozone inflation sinks close to 1% in 2014?2015, as PIMCO forecasts, this in itself probably would not be low enough for the ECB to consider further easing. A lack of further policy action may undermine the ECB?s credibility to anchor longer-term inflation more closely to 2%.

2014-02-24 Secular Bull Or Bear? by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

At the January highs, the S&P 500 had gained almost 175% in just 58 months, while secondary stocks and equal-weighted market measures have gained considerably more. If it?s already over (and we don?t think it is), this cyclical bull will go down as a memorable one. But is this move the first leg of a new secular bull market? ? We think the next cyclical bear market will drive the market to levels low enough that debate will rage over the true date of the secular bear market low: was it 2009, or 201X?

2014-02-24 Three Reasons Frontier & EM Equities Are Not Created Equal by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

With all the turmoil in emerging markets recently, some investors may be especially wary of investing in so-called frontier markets. Russ explains why frontier and emerging markets are separate asset classes, each deserving of a strategic allocation.

2014-02-24 Leading Indicators Offer a Window into Europe?s Recovery by Matthew Dennis of Invesco Blog

We?re seeing signs that the recovery in Europe is progressing. I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the positives, uncertainties and opportunities that we believe investors should consider about the region.

2014-02-22 Going for the Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Everyone wants the gold. Around the world, athletes train for years to compete for a gold medal. In Hong Kong and China, the Love Trade seeks gold coins, bars and jewelry.

2014-02-21 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Retail Sales by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

With yesterday's release of the January Consumer Price Index, we can now calculate Real Retail Sales for the underlying sales data released on February 13th. Nominal Retail Sales had fallen 0.4% month-over-month, the second month of contraction, and are up only 0.3% year-over-year. When we adjust for inflation, January sales were down 0.6% MoM. The YoY change was a fractional 0.1% growth. Real sales are down 0.9% from their all-time high in November.

2014-02-21 Is the U.S. Economy Under the Weather? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Is the U.S. economy under the weather?; Japan is faltering a bit as year two of Abenomics begins; Bitcoin has generated a lot of attention, some of it unwanted

2014-02-20 Lack Of Slack - Why Aggregate Unemployment May Be Masking Wage And Inflation Pressures by Anthony Wile of J.P. Morgan Funds

A historically large number of long-term unemployed, representing 36% of joblessness, have kept the unemployment rate elevated which could be distorting the traditional tradeoff between inflation and unemployment dynamics.

2014-02-20 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

We’re back, baby. (Well, at least, for a week.) Janet Yellen made her case to become the most revered Fed Chair (anyone even remember Maestro Greenspan?) by merely reiterating Dr. B’s prior remarks about the economy and the bond buying program. Investors felt the love this Valentine’s week as they shook off the past negativity and took the Dow to its best daily showing and back above the 16k level. Can Cupid (and Yellen) continue to work his (her) magic after Prez day and beyond?

2014-02-20 International Equity Commentary: January 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity markets have started the year on a difficult note, as concerns about the robustness of economic growth in the U.S., Japan and Europe have made investors more cautious. Though the U.S. economy expanded at a faster than expected pace during the last quarter of 2013, recent data reports from the labor market have not been as healthy.

2014-02-20 Stocks for 2014: Fairly Valued Dividend Growth Stocks with an Emphasis on Dividends - Part 4 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

I am a firm believer that common stock portfolios should be custom-designed to meet each unique individual’s goals, objectives and risk tolerances. With that said, I believe it logically follows that in order to create a successful portfolio, the individual investor must first conduct some serious introspection to be sure that they truly "know thyself." Therefore, I believe the first, and perhaps most critical step, towards designing a successful equity portfolio is to ask your-self, and honestly answer several important questions.

2014-02-20 Thanks Washington, But the Recovery Remains Soft by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While two events in Washington last week supported stocks and other risky assets, they overshadowed the release of some relatively disappointing economic numbers providing more evidence of still soft U.S. economic growth.

2014-02-20 Stocks for 2014: High Yield and Fairly Valued Dividend Stocks for High Current Income ? Part 5 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Retired investors seeking high income to live off of during retirement, face greater challenges today than almost ever before. The days of high yields available from bonds and other fixed income vehicles are long gone. Consequently, generating an adequate level of current income on retirement portfolios is difficult to say the least. This is especially tricky for those investors with a low tolerance for risk.

2014-02-20 The Fed: Yellen's Tapering Tightrope by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

In reducing quantitative easing, the Federal Reserve chairwoman faces a big challenge: preventing asset bubbles at home without pressuring developing economies.

2014-02-20 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary: January 2014 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices corrected in January as investors worried about slower growth in China as well as political and economic turbulence in some the frontier economies such as Argentina and the Ukraine. Markets were also unnerved by the unexpectedly large interest rate hike in Turkey, which failed to prop up the currency.

2014-02-20 Preparing for the Unexpected with Commodity Futures ETFs by Ryan Issakainen of First Trust Advisors

Three straight years of negative returns for broad commodity benchmark indices, such as the Dow Jones-UBS Commodity Total Return Index, have led some investment advisors (and their clients) to begin questioning the rationale for including commodity futures ETFs1 in their asset allocation models. Relatively tame inflation expectations seem to support these doubts, as commodities are often thought of as a hedge against inflation.

2014-02-20 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.2, unchanged from last week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place slipped to 2.5 from last week's 3.2 (a downward revision from 3.3).

2014-02-19 US Savings Rate Falling Again - Here Comes \"MyRA\" by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we weave together several different topics that are all connected in one way or another. We begin with the US savings rate which is trending lower once again. From 1975 to 2007, the savings rate fell to an all-time low of 2.4%. While it jumped up briefly after the 2008 financial crisis, it is now moving lower yet again.

2014-02-19 The U.S. an Oasis in a Global Sea of Problems by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

Despite the ongoing political and economic uncertainty in the emerging markets and a slow start for stocks in 2014, Portfolio Manager and Principal Charlie Dreifus believes the U.S. economy is in good shape going forward.

2014-02-19 Interest Rate Outlook - \"Old Normal\" by Jerry Paul, Zach Jonson of ICON Advisers, Inc.

Contrary to a popular belief that interest rates are destined to rise significantly, at ICON we believe we may be re-entering the "old normal" where the U.S. Treasury 10-year yield remains between 2%-4% for an extended period of time. As can be seen in the following chart of interest rates since 1871, with a few exceptions this is where interest rates traded prior to the mid-1960s. From this perspective, the late 1970s appear to be unusual and the decline of the last 32 years is simply a return to normal, where rates can remain for many years in a setting of slower growth and low inflation.

2014-02-18 Why Emerging Market Fears are Overblown by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Conditions in the emerging markets bear little resemblance to those in 1997 leading up to the Asian crisis, according to Simon Derrick, a leading market strategist with BNY Mellon. In this interview, he also explains why the euro is overvalued and picks the winners and losers in today’s currency wars.

2014-02-18 Equity Markets: How Much Energy Does the Bull Have Left? by Kurt Feuerman of AllianceBernstein

After another big year for stocks in 2013, many investors are questioning how much longer the bull market can run before it collapses from exhaustion. This doubt has intensified with the early 2014 selloff. However, based on what we see, it’s not time to worry about the market’s stamina yet.

2014-02-18 Topping Patterns and the Proper Cause for Optimism by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

We would dismiss classic topping patterns we observe here if the recent market peak did not feature the "full catastrophe" of textbook speculative features, particularly the same syndrome of extreme overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising yield conditions observed (prior to the past year) only at major market peaks in 2007, 2000, 1987, 1972, and 1929. Meanwhile, we remain encouraged. Those who follow a historically informed, value-conscious, and risk-managed investment discipline should be among the most optimistic investors in the financial markets.

2014-02-15 The Economic Singularity by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Today, let’s think about central banks and liquidity traps and see if we agree that central bankers are driving the car from the back seat based upon a fundamentally flawed theory of how the world works. That theory helped produce the wreck that was the Great Recession and will have its fingerprints all over the next one.

2014-02-14 Turkey, Doves, Hawks and Owls by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

The current market sentiment is something of an albatross around Asian economic and market performance. Whilst it is never safe to assume the currency speculators have gone away, the region’s economies have put in enough hard work over the previous decades to earn some goodwill.

2014-02-14 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.2, unchanged from last week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place slipped to 3.3 from last week’s 4.2. Last weekend, ECRI posted a new publicly available commentary on the company’s website: Failure to Launch. The brief text concludes with this remark: It is now quite clear that the economy is decelerating, not accelerating, with growth in ECRI’s Weekly Coincident Index ... falling rapidly.

2014-02-14 Arresting Disinflation Will Require Taking up the Slack by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Arresting disinflation will require taking up the slack. Estimates of the U.S. output gap remain substantial. The U.S. achieves budget peace but still faces long-term fiscal challenges.

2014-02-14 Many Reasons for Rates to Rise by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

There are a number of scenarios and events that could cause rates to rise in the next several years. Increasing economic growth in the United States would mean that the Federal Reserve no longer needs to keep market interest rates artificially low. Central banks around the world have been buying debt to spur economic activity, with mixed result at best. When there is no longer a need to purchase more debt, the massive, coordinated demand for that debt will fall. And when that happens... uh-oh.

2014-02-14 Weather Related? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

The recent slowdown in economic data appears to be largely weather related and we believe decent growth will reassert itself. Stocks have bounced after a weak start to the year, but the threat of a further pullback remains, although our longer-term optimism has not been dented. Likewise, we believe Europe offers some attractive investment opportunities but we’re in a wait-and-see mode with Japan. Finally, we don’t see EM turmoil becoming overly contagious, but we are watching that situation closely.

2014-02-14 These Gold Charts Will Make Your Heart Beat Faster by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So while gold may correct over the next several months as the metal enters its seasonally weak period of the year, this looks promising for gold investors.

2014-02-13 A Centennial to Celebrate - The Federal Reserve Looks Forward to Its Next 100 Years by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Fed’s centennial arrives at an interesting juncture. Never in its history has the American central bank been so deeply involved in economic management, and rarely has it attracted such controversy. The recent transition in Fed leadership marks the end of a significant era. In some ways, this makes it a perfect time to contemplate what the Fed was, what it has become and what it should be during its second century. The results of this review will be valuable to central banks the world over.

2014-02-13 Equity Markets: How Much Energy Does the Bull Have Left? by Kurt Feuerman of Alliance Bernstein

After another big year for stocks in 2013, many investors are questioning how much longer the bull market can run before it collapses from exhaustion. This doubt has intensified with the early 2014 selloff. However, based on what we see, it’s not time to worry about the market’s stamina yet.

2014-02-12 Grey Owl Capital?s Third Quarter Letter by of Grey Owl Capital Management

2013 was a banner year for the US stock market. Despite equities? meager fourteen-year record of accomplishment, investors, broadly speaking, are limited to short-term memory. Last year?s performance was enough to generate significant enthusiasm for stocks. We continue to believe, the current environment warrants a more balanced approach.

2014-02-12 Why Quantitative Easing Didn?t Work by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

IN THIS ISSUE: 1. Why Fed?s Quantitative Easing (QE) Didn?t Work 2. Velocity of Money Plunged During Financial Crisis 3. Should Bernanke & Company Have Done More? 4. QE Was a Huge, Dangerous Experiment That Failed 5. Fed Begins to ?Taper? QE Purchases in January 6. Conclusions ? What Happens Next?

2014-02-11 Equities Markets Start 2014 in Deep Freeze by Douglas Coté of ING Investement Management

By slowly normalizing policy, the Fed is passing the responsibility of pricing risk back to the markets, resulting in higher volatility. The health of the emerging markets is vital to global growth, as developing countries have doubled their contribution to global GDP over the past decade to nearly 40%. S&P 500 corporations derive half their revenue from overseas; support from global consumerism and manufacturing is on track to continue. Broad global diversification across equity and fixed income markets is the best way to protect against volatility.

2014-02-11 Obama Spins Subsidies Both Ways by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In our current age of spin and counter-spin, there is no contortion too great for a politician to attempt. On occasion, however, the threads of one story become entangled with another in a manner that should deeply embarrass, if the media were sharp enough to catch it. This happened last week in response to the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) bombshell report on how Obamacare incentives could reduce the size of the labor force by more than two million workers by 2017.

2014-02-11 Obama Spins Subsidies Both Ways by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In our current age of spin and counter-spin, there is no contortion too great for a politician to attempt. On occasion, however, the threads of one story become entangled with another in a manner that should deeply embarrass, if the media were sharp enough to catch it. This happened last week in response to the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) bombshell report on how Obamacare incentives could reduce the size of the labor force by more than two million workers by 2017.

2014-02-11 Leveraged Finance Outlook: Riding the Low Default Wave by Andrew R. Jessop, Elizabeth (Beth) MacLean of PIMCO

Following strong performance in 2013, we expect low (1%-3%) defaults in leveraged finance markets this year. Issuance should remain healthy, and continued slow but steady growth in the U.S. economy should offer further stability to these companies. However, careful credit selection and monitoring of sector trends remain imperative. Investors with low tolerance for volatility and more interest rate sensitivity may emphasize loans, while investors with greater risk tolerance and a more benign outlook for rates may look to high yield.

2014-02-11 Monthly Letter to Our Clients & Friends by Kendall J. Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Although the rest of America may need a manufacturing revival, mutual fund manufacturing is not in need of help, as the business has been growing continuously for three decades. Because of the sheer number of funds and the amount of investment dollars they control, there is a very high probability that we are buying new positions and selling existing positions to one or more mutual fund companies.

2014-02-10 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary - December 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices saw a modest correction for the second successive month in December, as investors remained cautious about the outlook for some of the emerging economies. Select countries such as Thailand in Asia and Turkey in Europe continue to face difficult political environments, with large demonstrations against the governments. Their currencies have reacted negatively to the latest developments, making investors fearful of a repeat of the volatile market movements seen during the third quarter of 2013.

2014-02-10 Double Trouble by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

On the basis of a broad range of valuation measures that are tightly (nearly 90%) correlated with actual subsequent S&P 500 total returns over the following decade, we estimate that stock prices are about double the level that would generate historically adequate long-term returns.

2014-02-10 Growth and Policy Uncertainty Cause Choppy Markets by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities closed with modest gains last week, as the S&P 500 overcame Monday?s decline, the largest one-day percentage loss since June 2013. The weaker-than-expected ISM manufacturing and vehicle sales data drive the sell-off on Monday, exacerbating the focus on slowing momentum for the U.S. recovery. The impact of adverse weather complicates the picture. Also, although January non-farm payroll missed expectations, there were more upbeat indications for the household survey.

2014-02-10 Volatility Should Persist, But Stick With Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iSharesBlog

Volatility rose last week and is now close to its long-term average. Economic data has softened, but we do not believe the Federal Reserve will change course. Investors may want to consider adding to equity positions during periods of weakness

2014-02-08 International Equity Commentary - December 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices saw marginal gains in December as investors weighed the improved global economic outlook against the reduction in monetary stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Economic trends have become more positive across most regions, helped by the improving business environment and consumer sentiment in the U.S. as well as in Europe. Japan continues to see stronger export gains as demand revives in its major markets and the cheaper yen remain supportive.

2014-02-07 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Long-term unemployment needs to be addressed more intensively. January’s jobs data was very much a mixed bag. Janet Yellen’s testimony will include thoughts on joblessness.

2014-02-07 What\'s the Game Changer for Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

What will break gold of its losing streak? Will inflation, which is a lagging indicator, be stronger than expected? In one of my most popular posts last year, I said that based on the jobs market, the limited housing recovery and regulations slowing down the flow of money, the Fed would have no choice but to start tapering and raising rates very gradually to keep stimulating the economy.

2014-02-07 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.2, down from last week’s downward revision from 133.7. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place slipped to 4.2 from last week’s 4.3.

2014-02-07 Over-Stimulated, Over-Priced by Neeraj Chaudhary of Euro Pacific Capital

At the end of 2013 Wall Street appeared to be convinced that the markets were enjoying the best of all possible worlds. In an interview with CNBC on Dec. 31 famed finance professor Jeremy Siegel stated that stocks would build on the great gains of 2013 with an additional 27% increase this year. So far 2014 hasn’t gone according to script. In contrast to the prevailing optimism I maintain a high degree of skepticism regarding the current rally in U.S. stocks. But opinions are cheap. To back up my gut feeling, here are six very diverse indicators that suggest U.S. stocks are overvalued.

2014-02-07 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review - 4Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

The club of emerging European economies expanded, as Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) moved Greece from developed to the status of an emerging economy. The majority of the countries covered in this review, including the new entrant, had something to look up to in the New Year.

2014-02-07 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

How do you follow up some 30%-ish annual index gains in 2013...with major losses in January? Sadly, that’s what investors experienced as the Dow plunged over 5% to start the month, the worst January since 2009. Those who say "as January goes, so goes the market" are not among the most popular these days. Earnings have been lackluster at best; emerging markets are in panic mode; Bernanke is moving out to pasture; investors still have quite a few profits they can take from last year. Then again, 11 months is plenty of time to "right the ship."

2014-02-07 Two Questions for Japan Inc. by Kara Yoon of Matthews Asia

During my last research trip in November, we visited mostly consumer-facing companies in Japan where we took the opportunity to pose two key questions to the management teams we met. The first was-"Are you planning to increase prices for products or services after Japan’s consumption tax hike (scheduled for April)?" And secondly: "Will you raise employee wages?"

2014-02-07 Global Inflation: A Mixed Picture by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

Many investors and global macro economists have been on vigil for a ramp up in global inflation spurred by immense central bank QE and other forms monetary stimulus. All of the money printing from around the globe has helped keep the financial system functioning, and it continues to help weak developed economies get back on firmer growth footing.

2014-02-07 2013 Year-End Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

We find ourselves with a more sanguine big-picture view, at least over the nearer term, than we have had in some time. U.S. and global economic fundamentals gradually improved over the past year across a number of dimensions, and seem poised for continued improvement or at least stability in 2014. However, as we look ahead, the longer-term risks related to excessive global debt, subpar growth, and unprecedented government policy that we have worried about since the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis still remain largely unresolved.

2014-02-07 American Bandstand by Ben Hunt of Salient Partners

Clark didn’t poll America to determine their taste in music. He told them their taste in music...not directly, but by creating common knowledge - ideas that a crowd believes that the crowd believes. It’s certainly the most potent force in the social world of markets, and every Central Banker today is playing the Common Knowledge Game just as hard as Dick Clark ever did.

2014-02-06 Divesting When Discomfited by Ben Inker of GMO

Ben Inker explains why, "for our asset allocation portfolios we generally try to trade slowly." He notes, "The slightly odd fact is that moving slowly on value-driven decisions has simply made more money historically than moving immediately would have."

2014-02-06 Year-End Odds and Ends by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO’s institutional clients, chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham offers "Year-End Odds and Ends": Fossil Fuels: Is Tesla a Tease or a Triumph?, Fracking and Yet More Technical Stuff on Fracking, Update on Metals, Fertilizers, and Food, Problems in Forecasting Short-term Prices for Resources, Another Look at U.S. GDP Growth, Investment Lessons Learned: Mistakes Made Over 47 Years

2014-02-06 How Did the Emerging Markets Get Into This Mess? by Andres Garcia-Amaya of J.P. Morgan Funds

A number of central banks around the world tightened monetary policy during the week of January 27, but the rationale for their policy decisions varied significantly. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve continued its "tapering" of quantitative easing (QE) to reflect the strong economic growth prospects, while Turkey, India and South Africa tightened policy in an attempt to prevent an exodus of foreign capital from their countries.

2014-02-06 Emerging Market Woes abd Fed Tapering Equals Stocks Plunge by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

January saw US stocks record their first losing month since last August. After reaching new record highs at the end of December, the Dow Jones shed almost 1,000 points in the last half of the month and the decline continues. Analysts attributed the sell-off in large part due to troubling news from several emerging nations, in particular to the so-called "Fragile Five" - Turkey, India, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa.

2014-02-06 Health Care Holds Promise by Team of Janus Capital Group

Last year was a strong year for health care investing, as the sector was a top performer in a number of indices. Even after such a strong run, we believe the sector will continue to provide a shot in the arm for equity portfolios.

2014-02-06 Beyond the Mall: Why Consumers Matter by Ted Baszler of Heartland Advisors

The bottom line is, more people are working now than were a few years ago, pumping income into the economy. At the same time that employment and real wages have been staging a moderate comeback, the housing market has continued to hold firm, and equity markets have posted impressive returns. Record-high levels of personal net worth have prompted more discretionary spending. Periods of greater spending also are associated with higher levels of equity ownership, which can push P/Es higher.

2014-02-05 The Fed\'s Forced Feeding Will End Badly by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

This financial market reminds me of when we were kids sitting at the dinner table and the one thing almost all of us heard back in the 1970s was "that plate better be clean by the time I get back or else." This left us with images of torture that would follow the "or else."

2014-02-05 This Just In: The Secular Bear Market May Be About to Resume. by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

In our 2012 book, Investing in the Second Lost Decade we laid out the case for the secular bear market in equities lasting at least through the end of the decade. Since then prices of most averages have moved to all-time highs. It’s time to throw in the towel on the secular bear market for stocks...right?

2014-02-05 New Maestro, Seasoned Band by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

The process by which the Fed carries out its duties is institutionalized, firmly rooted and unlikely to change - no matter who is at the helm. The core personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index will be one of Janet Yellen’s most important guiding lights for future Fed policy.

2014-02-05 Emerald Economic Commentary by Team of Emerald Allocation Strategies

As Yogi Berra once said, "You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there." As we look back on 2013 and look ahead to 2014,we want to share our thoughts on the road traveled and more importantly, the possible road ahead.

2014-02-05 The Importance of Taking a Long-Term Perspective by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Management

For asset allocation decisions, we find great value in maintaining a long-term outlook for major asset classes. Twice a year, in fact, we conduct an extensive update of our five-year return forecasts for several asset classes. The purpose of this exercise is two-fold. First, taking a longer term perspective helps us to set strategic asset allocations and design portfolios for diverse investment goals.

2014-02-04 The Albatross of MPT Thinking by Michael Edesess (Article)

The January/February issue of the Financial Analysts Journal includes an article titled "My Top 10 Peeves" by Clifford Asness, who was trained in modern portfolio theory (MPT) and its underlying assumptions. Many of Asness’ peeves are directed at people who depart from the MPT worldview. In discussing his peeves, I will offer counter-arguments and explain why I think the MPT perspective is flawed.

2014-02-04 China’s Problems are America’s Opportunity by Justin Kermond (Article)

Fear not Federal Reserve tapering, lackluster U.S. earnings, oncoming deflation or markets heading into bubble territory, says Francois Trahan. Our economic and market growth will be fueled by structural changes driven by rebalancing in China. Don’t be surprised to see a repeat of 2013’s U.S. equity market performance, according to Trahan, who offered a script for countering clients’ unfounded fears over what might go wrong.

2014-02-04 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Stephanie Kelton’s article, Code Red or Red Herring? Mauldin and Tepper’s Code Red Reviewed , and a reader responds to Justin Kermond’s article, Harvard’s Post-Crisis Endowment Strategy, both of which appeared last week.

2014-02-04 Investors Should Focus on Wages, Not Jobs by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

This Friday investors receive the first official labor market report of 2014. Following a highly disappointing jobs figure in December, many market participants hope to see a rebound - particularly one that will help justify the Fed’s decision last week to continue tapering its asset purchases.

2014-02-04 Challenging the Consensus by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Investors are overwhelmingly bearish on bonds going into 2014. In this month’s Absolute Return Letter we challenge that view and look at various reasons why the bond market may surprise most people and deliver a positive return this year.

2014-02-03 NY Fed Models Forecasting Excess Returns Through 2018 by John Bougearel of Structural Logic CTA

The NY Federal Reserve has an equity research department. Their research department determined in 2013 that "stocks are cheap" and that investors should enjoy "excess high returns" in an abnormally low or negative real interest rate environment for the next five years through 2018. Before reviewing potential mean reversions, implications from the Year of the Horse, & George Lindsay’s bearish Three Peaks and Domed House model, let’s attempt to quantify the NY Fed models. How high the Dow Jones might climb if it is to enjoy "excess high returns" through 2018.

2014-02-03 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor’s "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1824.35. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 1782.59. For the earnings, see the table below created from Standard & Poor’s latest earnings spreadsheet.

2014-02-01 Central Banker Throwdown by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The Federal Reserve is signaling that it is going to end quantitative easing at some point in the future; therefore, investors are trying to find the exits before the end actually comes.

2014-01-31 A Surprising Gift for Chinese New Year by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia

Beijing-based China Credit Trust Company, a firm that operates as a non-banking financial institution in China, announced this week it reached an agreement to restructure a risky high-yield product that had earlier ignited worries over the health of China’s trust industry. Just in time for the Lunar New Year, investors in the troubled trust may receive a big (metaphorical) red envelope-a monetary gift traditionally given during Chinese New Year or other special occasions-or at least avoid a financial hit.

2014-01-31 Thrift, Thrift, Burning Bright by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms of ING Investment Management

Does the title sound familiar? Think feral instead of frugal, and William Blake’s "Tyger, Tyger, burning bright" may start to flicker between the synapses of memory and an English lit class you once soldiered through. But even if you haven’t read "The Tyger", its theme is aptly captured in the opening line and its image of a big flaming kitty cat. Essentially, Blake saw reality in duality: To appreciate the ferocious feline in all its glory is to come face to face with the same force that created "The Lamb", another entry in the poet’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience.

2014-01-31 The Trouble with Emerging Markets by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The financial turmoil that hit emerging-market economies in the spring of last year, following the Federal Reserve’s "taper tantrum" over its quantitative-easing policy, has returned with a vengeance. But the immediate trigger for these pressures should not be confused with deeper causes: Many emerging markets are in real trouble.

2014-01-31 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.8, unchanged at one decimal place from last week’s downward revision from 133.9. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place rose to 4.3, up from last week’s 4.2.

2014-01-31 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

China’s shadow banking products are coming under the spotlight. Emerging markets: Be sure to differentiate. The fixed income sector’s surprising strength.

2014-01-31 The Super Bowl of Investing by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Here is our list of official National Football League penalties - as applied to investors. Don’t get penalized, think your way through today’s environment, or find a money management specialist who can.

2014-01-31 Value-Hunting in the US by Cindy Sweeting of Franklin Templeton

With key stock indices in the US closing the year near historical highs and many pundits predicting stronger growth rates both in the US and globally going into 2014, one would think bargains would be hard to find this year. January’s volatility, however, proved just how unpredictable markets can be. The recent market gyrations may be somewhat painful for many investors in the short-term, but the silver lining is that corrections can serve up buying opportunities, particularly for long-term, value-oriented investors.

2014-01-31 The New Watchword-Deflation? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Equity markets have been shaky to start the year but we don’t believe it’s time to abandon ship. The fundamentals in the United States continue to look appealing and the recent pullback has helped to correct some sentiment and valuation concerns. We are watching the fight against deflation carefully in Europe and Japan, and believe both countries may need to do more via monetary policy stimulus. Meanwhile, some emerging economies are dealing with inflation, but we don’t believe the recent problems will morph into a widespread crisis at this point.

2014-01-30 Quarterly Review and Outlook - Fourth Quarter 2013 by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

In The Theory of Interest, Irving Fisher, who Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman called America’s greatest economist, created the Fisher equation, which states the nominal bond yield is equal to the real yield plus expected inflation. It serves as the pillar of macroeconomics and as the foundational relationship of the bond market. It has been reconfirmed many times by scholarly examination and by the sheer force of historical experience. Examining periods of both low and high inflation offers insight into how each variable in the Fisher equation affects the outcome.

2014-01-30 FOMC Sticks With the Tapering Plan by Team of Northern Trust

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) at the conclusion of its meeting today announced a further $10 billion reduction in its monthly rate of asset purchases. The increment was similar in size and composition to the first tapering step taken in December.

2014-01-30 Breakthrough by Colleen Denzler of Janus Capital Group

The funny thing about crises is that we tend to feel as if they occur suddenly, on one day. For me, that day was when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection on September 15, 2008. I remember looking at my Bloomberg screen and thinking I was witnessing the end of the financial markets.

2014-01-30 High Yield in 2014: Where Can You Look for Upside in a \'Medium Yield\' Market? by Andrew Jessop, Hozef Arif of PIMCO

Default rates and credit losses in high yield markets remain below their long-term averages, and we believe default rates will remain low in 2014 and 2015 as well. Investors should consider positioning for better convexity via exposure to sectors with favorable industry dynamics and positive event risk from M&A or equity offerings, potential upside from price recovery in high quality bonds trading below par and exposure to select new supply from former investment grade companies.

2014-01-30 Getting Comfortable With Volatility by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen significant volatility in the markets, which has spooked some investors, but is also something we have become accustomed to. Markets generally (not only emerging markets) have become much more volatile during the last 20 years as a result of massive flows of money from not only institutional investors and long-only mutual funds but also hedge funds and high-frequency trading. We see such selloffs as potential opportunities to pick up bargains in select stocks if, in fact, the prices move low enough to draw our interest.

2014-01-30 The Path to Becoming an Emerging Market by Henry D'Auria, Morgan Harting of AllianceBernstein

Why have some equity markets in the developing world flourished more than others? It’s a pivotal question for investors hoping to stake an early claim to the potential emerging-market (EM) success stories of the next decade.

2014-01-29 2014 Oil Outlook: How Slick Is the Oil Slope by Greg Sharenow of PIMCO

While the supply outlook tilts the balances toward bearish in 2014, an improving global economy is a positive for oil demand and a support for prices. With roll yields positively contributing to returns, investors ultimately could be paid to hold a security that hedges both global event risk and any resulting shock to inflation. Growth in shale oil has been a powerful moderating force for prices by both filling an important gap in global supply and demand and by anchoring the back end of the futures curve.

2014-01-29 How the Pioneer of Hydraulic Fracturing changed the MLP Landscape by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

A banner year for MLPs and the future looks bright.

2014-01-29 All Things in Moderation, Including Housing by Ed Devlin of PIMCO

In our view, the cooling housing market and other domestic factors will keep Canadian growth at a modest 1.75%-2.25% in 2014, despite a boost from higher U.S. growth. While we expect a correction in Canada’s housing market to begin this year, the macroeconomic environment and the availability of mortgage credit suggest a housing crash is unlikely. In this environment, we think the Canadian dollar should remain attractive, 10-year bonds should offer the potential for gains, and provincial bonds will likely outperform federal government and corporate bonds.

2014-01-29 A Few Concerns by Scott Brown of Raymond James

We’ve begun 2014 with widespread expectations that economic growth will pick up. Growth last year was restrained by tighter fiscal policy. With that out of the way and the housing sector recovering, the pace of expansion is poised to improve. However, there are a number of concerns. Weak growth in real wages may limit consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of Gross Domestic Product. Long-term interest rates could rise too rapidly, choking off the recovery in the housing sector. A continued low trend in inflation, a major concern for some Fed officials, could weaken growth.

2014-01-29 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review - 4Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) anticipates weak growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region mainly due to heightened political instability. What’s more, after years of healthy performance, growth in the oil exporting nations is expected to lose pace due to lower international demand and local oil supply disruptions. Given that these countries are witnessing a population boom, the IMF emphasized the need for economic diversification by the oil exporters and job creation in private non-oil sectors.

2014-01-28 Emerging Market Issues Weigh on U.S. Equities by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished lower last week as the S&P 500 declined 2.6% and suffered the largest weekly pullback since June of 2012. U.S. stocks are down approximately 3.0% both year to date and from all-time highs. In 2014, lack of direction in the market has been a focus, and the waning influence of macroeconomic news caused a notable shift late last week.

2014-01-28 The TTIP and the TPP by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a trade and investment treaty being negotiated between the European Union (EU) and the U.S. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a similar pact between the U.S. and various Pacific Rim nations. We will examine overall details of each, focusing on how they’re different from traditional trade agreements. From there, we will present an analysis of the controversy surrounding the proposals, followed by a look at the geopolitical aims and likelihood that these treaties will be enacted. We conclude with potential market ramificatio

2014-01-28 Winter Quarterly Commentary by John Prichard of Knightsbridge Asset Management

John Kenneth Galbraith was a force in the fields of politics and economics. He wrote into his 90s, with many of his 48 books covering economic history, a subject we find to be the oft forgotten friend of investors. His work made it clear that economics is not a hard science which can be reduced to simple trustworthy mathematical equations. Galbraith constantly challenged the "conventional wisdom", and in fact pioneered the term. Galbraith came to dismiss the then, and still now, common notion that individuals and markets always act rationally...

2014-01-28 Demystifying Gold Prices by Nicholas Johnson of PIMCO

What is it about gold prices? Many people seem to believe they are impossible to predict, or even understand. At her Senate confirmation hearing in November, Janet Yellen said, "I don’t think anybody has a very good model of what makes gold prices go up or down." Ben Bernanke also said last year that "nobody really understands gold prices, and I don’t pretend to understand them either." While many factors influence the price of gold, PIMCO believes there is one that can explain the majority of changes in gold prices over the past several years: changes in real yields.

2014-01-27 Broadleaf\'s 2014 Investment Playbook by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover, Mike Czekaj of Broadleaf Partners

Most sell side firms publish their outlook for the economy and stock market at the end of December and in early January. As a buy side firm, we really aren’t under any expectation to share our outlook for the coming year and, as funny as it might sound, some of our clients don’t even care to know what we think, only that we handle what they hired us to do, which is to outperform the market indices over a full market cycle and help them attain their financial goals over time.

2014-01-27 Increasing Concerns and Systemic Instability by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The potential collapse of a now-complete log-periodic bubble is best considered something of a physics experiment, and it’s not what drives our investment stance. Still, the backdrop of steep overvaluation, extreme bullish sentiment, record margin debt, and international dislocations could hardly provide a more fitting context for a disruptive completion to the present market cycle.

2014-01-27 Rummaging for Yield - The Case of the Insurance Investor by Eugene Dimitriou of PIMCO

Since the height of the global financial crisis in 2008, insurance companies have faced three key challenges: First, insurance companies urgently needed to address new critical risk management issues as banking sector and peripheral sovereign credit risks significantly increased in Europe. Second, the prospects of longer-term low yields forced insurers to identify alternative sources of meaningful yield. And third, insurance companies needed to prepare for pan-European insurance regulation Solvency II.

2014-01-27 Commodities: Is the Bear Market Near Its End? by Scott Wolle of Invesco Blog

On the surface, 2014 looks to be a tough year for commodities, as multi-year projects increase the flow of supplies to market even as demand has turned tepid, especially in emerging markets. However, a deeper look at the history of this asset class suggests that the outlook for commodities might turn around sooner than many expect.

2014-01-25 Why the Recent Lift in Junior Miners Will Likely Continue by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Junior venture companies in Canada are finally seeing a significant lift. In early January, the S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index rose above the 200-day moving average for the first time in three years. The index is also very close to experiencing a golden cross, which is when the shorter-term 50-day moving average crosses above the 200-day moving average. Historically, traders see this cross as extremely bullish.

2014-01-25 Five Things To Ponder: Valuations, Triggers & Inequality by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

I was thinking about valuations, profits and what could cause a real correction in the markets. That is the premise behind today’s "Things To Ponder" for your weekend homework.

2014-01-25 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

So while the Fed was the first to implement nontraditional monetary strategies, the BoE may be the first to unwind them. And it may be the first to test the power of macroprudential policy. The results might make for an interesting export back across the Atlantic.

2014-01-24 Fundamentals Suggest Yen Could Strengthen in 2014 by Team of GaveKal Capital

We’ve noted on several occasions over the past few weeks the fact that trader positioning and sentiment towards the yen is pushing the most extreme negative levels in a decade.

2014-01-24 India\'s Rising Aspirations by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia

India’s newly formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had a spectacular debut in recent state elections. Its leader became the chief minister of the state of Delhi. The election results seemed to indicate a fundamental change-voters now perceive politicians not as "rulers," but as professionals with a limited mandate to serve. The AAP ran on an anti-corruption agenda, and Delhi’s new chief minister seems to "walk the walk." He uses public transport to commute to work, a refreshing change from the typical politician in India who is usually seen riding in a convoy of vehicles.

2014-01-24 The Policy View From Washington by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Lawmakers put the finishing touches on the budget bill, which will remove most of the fiscal policy uncertainty for the next two years. That’s helpful for the economy and the financial markets, although the debt ceiling remains a possible trouble spot. Federal Reserve officials seem intent on continuing the tapering of asset purchases, but economic and financial market developments will dictate the pace.

2014-01-24 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.9, down from last week’s 134.3. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place rose to 4.2, up from last week’s 3.5.

2014-01-23 Economic Growth is Likely to Improve in 2014 by Derek Hamilton of Ivy Investment Management Company

We believe a global economic upturn is likely in 2014, although the overall growth rate will remain sluggish. We think developed countries will show the largest improvement, which in turn will help support growth rates in emerging markets.

2014-01-23 Can Equities Continue Their Rise? Equity Investment Outlook: January 2014 by Matt Berler, John Osterweis of Osterweis Capital Management

2013 marked the fifth year of recovery following the near-death experience of the 2008 global financial system meltdown. From a low of 677 in 2009, the S&P 500 Index (S&P 500) finished 2013 at 1,848, delivering a stunning 203% total return from the low. Over the same period, the total return for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 188%. The tech-heavy and arguably more speculative NASDAQ logged a 249% total return. These very large equity returns reflect both a strong recovery in corporate profits and a dramatic clean-up of our financial system.

2014-01-23 Be Selective by Jim Goff, Adam Schor of Janus Capital Group

After broad rally, focus shifts to individual company growth prospects.

2014-01-23 A Problem with the Numbers - Unemployment and the Fed\'s Timetable by Anthony Wile of J.P. Morgan Funds

Given a potentially inaccurate assessment of labor force participation, the Federal Reserve may be missing the mark on their current economic projections, which increases the potential for policy error going forward. Assuming the natural rate of unemployment is at the low end of Fed projections, the Fed can lower forward guidance thresholds without spurring an acceleration in inflation.

2014-01-23 Ordem e Progresso by Michael Gomez of PIMCO

Amid stagnant growth and high inflation in 2013, Brazil’s equity market was one of the worst performers, the real was a chronic underperformer and the corporate sector struggled. Brazil needs to anchor economic policy around a stringent and credible primary surplus target rather than run the current mix of loose fiscal policy, subsidized public credit and ever tighter monetary policy. Valuations are attractive, but unless an effective policy mix is restored, the outlook for order in Brazil’s financial markets is less certain.

2014-01-22 In the Spirit of Martin Luther King: Reflections on Income Inequality by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Last night my wife and I were looking for something to stream on Netflix, and I remembered that The Butler was available on Red Box (which has a vending machine about a 90-second walk from our residence).

2014-01-22 Crosscurrents Buffet Markets by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equity performance was mixed last week, as the S&P 500 recovered from Monday’s sell-off that was the largest one-day decline since early November. Economic data was mostly in line or slightly better than expected, following the disappointing December unemployment report. Corporate earnings drove much of the price action. Bank earnings were fairly well received but did not always translate to good performance since the stocks ran up earlier. Negative guidance trends remain an overhang, particularly for retail.

2014-01-22 Commodities Remain a Source of Frustration by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The environment following the global financial crisis has been a challenging one for asset allocators, as long held relationships shifted and traditional idioms were turned on their head. As we detailed last week in "The Diversification Obituary," investors have seen little work in their portfolios other than US stocks, while supposed diversifiers have offered little more than muted beta and unusually high correlations.

2014-01-22 Market Share: The Next Secular Investment Theme by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

It is well known that corporate profit margins are at record highs. US margings, developed market margings, and even emerging market margins are generally either at or close to record highs. A myopic focus on profit margins may miss an important investment consideration. Whereas most investors remain fearful of margin compression, we prefer to search for an investment theme that could emerge if margins do indeed compress. Accordingly, our investment focus has shifted toward themes based on companies who might gain market share.

2014-01-22 What to Expect in 2014 (And Beyond) by Jack Rivkin of Altegris

Each year, I take Alfred Lord Tennyson’s advice and "ring out the old, ring in the new" by creating a list of expectations about the markets. My list involves events that the average investor thinks have only a one-in-three-chance of happening, but which I believe have more than a 50% chance of occurring. If this approach sounds familiar, it should. It’s modeled after Byron Wien’s annual list of "surprises." Like his, my expectations are designed to provoke thought and discussion.

2014-01-21 Albert Edwards and Dylan Grice: Bearish Forecasts from Two Top Strategists by Robert Huebscher (Article)

It’s been nearly 18 years since Albert Edwards forecast an "ice age" in which bonds would outperform equities. He’s been right until just recently, when cumulative returns on the two classes converged. But Edwards insists that his thesis is still accurate - deflation will be the force to propel bonds over stocks, he says. Dylan Grice, meanwhile, warns that the markets operate on an unstable equilibrium that could devolve into apocalyptic conditions.

2014-01-21 Superstition Ain\'t the Way by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer.

2014-01-21 Stocks 2014: Investing for Growth - The Power and Protection of High Compounding Earnings Growth by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

As I become more mature (translate: gotten older), my investment philosophy has slowly evolved into a more conservative posture. When I was a younger investor I felt I had time on my side, and therefore, was willing to take on greater risk as long as I believed that greater rewards could follow. In other words, if I made a mistake by investing in an aggressive and more risky growth stock that went badly, I felt I had adequate time to overcome or recover my losses. Consequently, as a younger investor I relished a good growth stock.

2014-01-21 Weighing the Week Ahead: More \"Experts\" Predicting a Market Top by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Most potential stock investors have been bruised by events over the last decade. They are receptive to a message of fear, and many pundits are happy to satisfy their urges. Calling for a major market turn can be very profitable for the pundit. This is true even if the prediction is very early and the pundit never signals when to shift back.

2014-01-21 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

With a few more days to digest the labor data, investors began the week on another sour note, but a sense of normalcy returned on some other better-than-expected releases. Still, the Fed’s stimulus remains atop the headlines as speculation runs amuck about how the tapering will play out. Earnings season pushes ahead and, thus far, the results are lackluster at best. Don’t forget, as January goes...

2014-01-21 Kansas by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO

In the coming year, traditional money market strategies, long viewed as safe havens, will be challenged by new regulations, near 0% returns and a lack of investable assets. Short-term bond strategies could provide the right balance between risk-taking and liquidity management, and offer the potential for positive returns. Active managers have a distinct advantage because they can manage interest rate volatility and potentially source assets by identifying underappreciated sectors.

2014-01-21 The Deflation Menace by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Dedicated readers of The Wall Street Journal have recently been offered many dire warnings about a clear and present danger that is stalking the global economy. They are not referring to a possible looming stock or real estate bubble (the paper sees few threats there). Nor are they talking about other usual suspects such as global warming, peak oil, the Arab Spring, sovereign defaults, the breakup of the euro, Miley Cyrus, a nuclear Iran, or Obamacare.

2014-01-21 Brother, Can You Spare a Bitcoin? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The electronic currency has attracted attention from speculators and financial media, but it’s unlikely to upend the existing monetary order.

2014-01-18 Dialing Down the Drama by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We remain optimistic on stocks for 2014, but there will likely be bumps in the road. Investor sentiment is elevated, complacency seems to be building, and the valuation story is less compelling. But waiting for a correction can be quite detrimental to portfolio performance, evidenced by last year. QE tapering will likely continue at a very modest pace and U.S. interest rates will likely drift higher throughout the year. We remain positive on Europe and our outlook toward China is improving, while we are in at wait-and-see sort of mode with Japan.

2014-01-18 Forecast 2014: \'Mark Twain!\' by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The surface of the market waters looks smooth, but the data above suggest caution as we proceed. Perhaps slowing the engine and taking more frequent soundings (or putting in closer stops!) might be in order. The cry should be "Mark twain!" Let’s steam ahead but take more frequent readings and know that a course correction may soon be necessary.

2014-01-17 Rebalancing the U.S. Economy by Marie Schofield of Columbia Management

It’s happening again-a fourth quarter bounce in economic activity that extends into the first quarter and supports the view that growth really, finally, has started to accelerate. Such bounces have disappointed so far, although it does appear to be more than just hope this time.

2014-01-17 Asia\'s Evolving Science and Tech Space by Michael Oh of Matthews Asia

The main growth drivers of Asia’s science and technology industries are changing to become more domestically driven and service-oriented. These changes are happening as rising disposable income enables more Asian consumers to embrace new technologies.

2014-01-17 TIPS And Inflation Reality by Team of GaveKal Capital

By decomposing a US Treasury bond, we can get a sense of the market’s expectations for real rates and inflation expectations. The inflation component is easy to flesh out by just subtracting the TIPS yield, for the same maturity, from the nominal bond interest rate. From there, we can compare the implied breakeven inflation rate embedded in long bonds to actual measures of inflation.

2014-01-17 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 134.5, up from last week’s 133.4 (an upward revision from 133.0). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place rose to 3.7, up from last week’s 2.5.

2014-01-17 The Profits Bubble by Chris Brightman of Research Affiliates

Profits are dangerously elevated by all reasonable measures. S&P 500 Index real earnings per share are far above their long-term historical trend. Industry profit margins are at or near all-time highs. Corporate profits, both as a percentage of GDP and relative to labor income, are at or near record levels. The dramatic rise in income inequality is a direct consequence of this spectacular reallocation of income to capital and away from labor.

2014-01-17 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Co.

Some of the things we’ve been talking/warning you about in recent years came to fruition in 2013. Specifically, medium- and long-term interest rates rose and commodity prices declined.

2014-01-17 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The U.S. budget deal reduces policy uncertainty. The fiscal state of the states is better, but challenges remain. Meeting the new cast at the Fed.

2014-01-17 Chutes and Bond Ladders by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

At most, a laddered bond approach should be a modest allocation within the total retirement strategy. In our opinion its value is in its emotional comfort to the investor as opposed to the merits of the strategy itself.

2014-01-17 What Does It Take to Be in the Top 1 Percent? Not As Much As You Think by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

You might be surprised to learn that the top 20 percent of income earners bring in a household income of just over $100,000. The top 10 percent of earners have a household income of more than $148,687. To be considered in the top 1 percent, household income is at least $521,411.

2014-01-16 A Flight to Quality by Ben Fischer of Allianz Global Investors

CIO NFJ Ben Fischer delivers his 2014 outlook, focusing on the Fed’s tapering of its bond-buying program and how high-quality, dividend-paying stocks should respond.

2014-01-16 Let the taper begin! Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

At the December meeting, the Federal Reserve (the Fed) decided to reduce its purchases of Treasury and mortgage securities (a.k.a. quantitative easing/QE) beginning in January 2014. This answered the question of when the taper would begin, and the markets reacted predictably. Two questions remain, however: How long until the Fed completely winds down QE; and when will short rates begin to reflect the improving economy? We feel it may be sooner on the former and could be quite some time on the latter.

2014-01-16 2014: Once more for \'84 by Team of Smead Capital Management

Since our thinking is always dominated by owning businesses which meet our eight investment criteria in a long-duration time frame, we continue to remain vigilant of the circumstances around us. To that end, we thought it would be helpful to review a similar historical situation and glean a feel for what was wise behavior back then and what might be wise behavior as we look forward to the year 2014.

2014-01-16 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

In late December just before Christmas, the Postal Regulatory Commission delivered an unwanted present in the form of a "temporary" three cent rate hike for first class mail effective January 26th. It seems that the Post Office decided it lost $2.8 billion as a result of the Great Recession and convinced the Commission that it needed to make this loss go away. Well, in reality, the Post Office asked for a permanent hike, but was only given the opportunity to make up the loss and then have the rate go back down. We shall see.

2014-01-16 A Disappointing Jobs Report: 3 Investing Takeaways by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Last Friday’s non-farm payroll report was a huge disappointment. Russ explains what this means for investors.

2014-01-16 EM Sovereign Debt 2014: Neither Phoenix nor Failure by Paul DeNoon of AllianceBernstein

Emerging-market (EM) sovereign bonds were burned badly in 2013. Will they rise from the ashes in 2014? We believe some will and some won’t. The watchword for 2014 will be selectivity.

2014-01-15 The Haves and the Have Nots by Scott Migliori of Allianz Global Investors

CIO Equity US Scott Migliori’s 2014 outlook calls for moderate growth, an accommodative Fed and a stock-picker’s market, favoring areas of the economy that are insensitive to growth.

2014-01-15 U.S. Inflation Outlook 2014: Signs of Life by Nicholas Johnson, Mihir Worah of PIMCO

We expect headline CPI to rise to around 2.0% year-over-year in 2014, with our base case oil forecast in the $105-$110 per-barrel range and expectations for food prices to be stable. PCE, in our view, will likely remain below the Fed’s 2% target, around 1.5%. Individuals will get some relief at the supermarket, but they will feel a pinch from landlords, who will likely raise rents.

2014-01-15 Fed Tapering -- Shades of 1937? by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

In the press conference immediately following the December 17-18, 2013 FOMC meeting, Fed Chairman Bernanke indicated that it was the FOMC’s current plan to have terminated Federal Reserve outright securities purchases by the end of 2014, commencing with a $10 billion reduction in securities purchases immediately after the December 2013 FOMC meeting and then continuing to taper its purchases by about $10 billion after each 2014 FOMC meeting. Of course, this tapering plan is subject to modification in either direction depending on forthcoming economic and financial market developments.

2014-01-15 Investment Insights from a Road Warrior by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As part of our investment process, we often take the explicit knowledge learned from our statistical models and overlay them with global travel.

2014-01-14 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Several readers respond to Wade Pfau’s article, How to Use Bond Ladders in Retirement Portfolios, which appeared last week. Readers also respond to two recent market commentaries.

2014-01-14 Fed Taking a More Holistic View of Data by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Recently released FOMC minutes and jobs numbers show why the Fed wants to add a qualitative dimension to its forward guidance, writes Kristina Hooper: The unemployment rate can fall significantly, but it may be for the wrong reasons.

2014-01-14 The Diversification Obituary by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

According to some major media outlets, 2013 was the year diversification died. With the S&P 500 racing to a more than 30% gain (the largest since the late ’90s), it seemed as though no other asset class truly mattered last year. While it is true domestic equities had a banner year, one-asset class portfolios will never be robust, and there is reason to believe 2013 is a prime example of why diversification is incredibly important.

2014-01-14 The Great Man or the Great Wave by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

One of the seminal debates among historians is how the process of history develops, characterized as the "great man versus the great wave" debate. In this report, we will begin by developing this debate with relation to America’s superpower role; specifically, we will examine whether the U.S. is struggling with the superpower role because of a lack of leadership (a great man position) or because the wave of history is aligned against the U.S. keeping that role. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2014-01-14 Merk 2014 Dollar, Currency & Gold Outlook by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Rarely has the future been so clear. Really?? A lot of money has been lost jumping on the bandwagon. Let’s do a common sense check on the greenback to gauge where risks might be lurking and where there might be profit opportunities for investors.

2014-01-13 Stocks Rise Modestly in First Full Week of Trading by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished mostly higher for the first full week of the year, with the S&P 500 gaining approximately 0.6%. There were no meaningful directional drivers behind the price action, which is a dynamic that has been prevalent so far in 2014.

2014-01-13 Equity Bubble? No. by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The US stock market performed very well during 2013. The S&P 500’s total return of nearly 33% far outpaced the returns of most asset classes. A growing contingent of market observers is fearful that the US equity market is in some sort of a bubble. We disagree completely with this notion. A strong market rally that many investors have missed is hardly sufficient grounds for a financial bubble.

2014-01-13 3 Reasons the Dollar Should Strengthen This Year by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ explains why the U.S. dollar is likely to strengthen in 2014, and what this means for various asset classes.

2014-01-10 5 Investor Tips for 2014 by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

While the winding down of QE signals better times ahead, investors need to be selective and focused in taking smart risks, says US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper.

2014-01-10 High Yield and Bank Loan Outlook- January 2014 by Team of Guggenheim Partners

Improving U.S. macroeconomic conditions should spur additional investor demand for high-yield bonds and bank loans, particularly with defaults exceptionally low. Still, investors should monitor trends pointing to an erosion of safety in leveraged credit.

2014-01-10 2014 Economic and Investment Outlook by Team of Ivy Investment Management Company

Although the December 2013 U.S. budget pact between House and Senate negotiators was a welcome development, partisan battles over government spending still are possible in 2014. The agreement ends a three-year budget fight and sets government spending through fall 2015, but it does not eliminate the need to raise the nation’s borrowing limit - the "debt ceiling."

2014-01-10 Macro Strategy Review by Jim Welsh of Forward Investing

Heavy emphasis on the fundamentals factors driving the U.S., European Union, China, and Emerging economies, and how the fundamentals are likely to impact markets.

2014-01-10 Hasenstab: Fed Tapering Was Inevitable by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) announced its decision to reduce its $85 billion monthly asset purchase program by $10 billion starting in January 2014. What might the eventual end of the Fed’s policy of aggressive money printing mean for fixed-income investors? Michael Hasenstab, Ph.D, executive vice president, chief investment officer, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, believes there’s no reason for investors to panic. He outlines why he thinks that’s the case, and where on the map he’s spotting fixed income opportunities.

2014-01-10 Yellen\'s Inheritance: Monetary Policy in Flux by Joseph Carson, Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

Evolving economic challenges are transforming central banking around the world. The new monetary-policy doctrine is likely to put greater emphasis on asset-price developments. But, without a true monetary anchor, central banks could still risk a repeat of the recent boom/bust cycle.

2014-01-10 Exploring Ceylon Tea Country by Jodi Morris of Matthews Asia

Riding by train through the Sri Lankan highlands recently, I found it difficult not to be mesmerized by the views of mountains blanketed in tea plantings and cool mist. My days spent exploring Sri Lanka’s mountainous interior were among my favorite as a first-time visitor to the country.

2014-01-10 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.0, up from last week’s 133.0. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place came in at 2.5, up from last week’s 1.9.

2014-01-10 Weekly Economic Commentary: December U.S. Employment Report by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

December U.S. employment report clouded by weather-related factors. A review of the two U.S. employment surveys. The ECB reaches a critical stage.

2014-01-10 Continuing a Winning Formula for 2014 by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We believe there’s a way that increases the odds of winning. It’s by combining a bottom-up approach with a top-down strategy: Find great, fast-growing and shareholder-focused companies and focus on the best stocks in the sectors experiencing positive momentum.

2014-01-09 AdvisorShares Active ETF Market Share Update by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

The active ETF market experienced a slight downtick during the shortened New Year’s week, with total net assets exceeding $14.7 billion. The Global Bond category, led by the PIMCO’s Total Return ETF and Global Advantage Inflation-Linked Bond Strategy, had the highest weekly decrease in net assets by about $62 million. Net assets in the Alternative category decreased by almost $28 million, which included the AdvisorShares Ranger Equity Bear ETF.

2014-01-09 Seesaw Rider by William Gross of PIMCO

There’s 50 ways to leave your lover and maybe more than that to lose your money or "break the buck," as some label it in the money markets. You can buy the Brooklyn Bridge, bet on the Cubs to win the World Series or have owned 30 year Treasury bonds in 2013, to name just a few. But bridges and baseball aside, what you’re probably interested in hearing from me is how to avoid breaking your investment buck in 2014.

2014-01-09 The Price Action of Stocks Trumps Fundamentals by Robert Mark of Castle Investment Management

Perhaps the best argument that one can make for stocks is that many hold doubts about the continuing bull market. The reasons for these doubts are understandable, as the economic recovery has been anemic and growth has slowed significantly - likely leading to lower profits in the future. As a result, corporations have aggressively cut costs, increased productivity and preserved cash - pushing profit margins to historically high levels.

2014-01-08 Ready For Lift-Off? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

While some had expected a quick recovery from the recession, that was never likely to be the case. Recessions that are caused by financial crises are different from the usual downturns - they are more severe, they last longer, and the recoveries take a long time. The economy has been in recovery mode for the last four and a half years, but finally appears to be poised for an acceleration in 2014.

2014-01-07 How to Use Bond Ladders in Retirement Portfolios by Wade Pfau (Article)

Should bonds be kept in mutual funds or purchased as individual securities and held to their maturity dates? The former option receives much far more attention, as managers compete in a performance-driven marketplace. But investing, especially for retirement, shouldn’t be driven by maximizing risk-adjusted returns. Advisors must focus on securing a client’s future spending needs. I will investigate the role of bond ladders in retirement and which ladder length is best for clients.

2014-01-07 More Jobs to Turn Up the Taper Dial - But Not Yet by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The job market is a focal point for the Fed and early signs point toward further progress in reducing unemployment. But don’t expect central bankers to speed up the tapering process until there’s more evidence of a turnaround, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-01-07 Dow 19,500, S&P 500 2,150 by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Last year was the best for equities since 1997. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 26.5%, the S&P 500 was up 29.6% and the Nasdaq was up 38.3%. Despite these outsized gains, and in spite of all the talk of a bubble, we still think stocks are cheap.

2014-01-07 The World of Thinking Machines by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

The New York Times recently published an article that discussed a new version of a computer chip that will be released later this year that is expected to automate tasks that currently require direct programming. In this report, we will open with an examination of the philosophy of learning. We will then discuss the potential dangers of such machines, including the ability to perform humanlike actions without a moral sense. We will also examine the potential economic and social side effects. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2014-01-07 A Healing Economy by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The quarter continued the theme of the year, with U.S. equities continuing their dramatic performance. For the quarter, the Dow was up 9.6%, the S&P 9.9%, and the NASDAQ 10.7%. The year’s returns substantially exceeded last year"s "expert predictions" and much of this year’s punditry with the Dow up 26.5%, S&P up 29.6%, and NASDAQ up 38.3%.

2014-01-07 Waiting for the Great Pumpkin by James Moore of PIMCO

Shortly before Thanksgiving, I had the privilege of being on an investor panel at Bank of America’s Debt Capital Markets and Derivatives Conference. On the panel before me was a trio of BofA’s chief strategists, among them Michael Hartnett, their chief investment strategist. Mr. Hartnett reminded the audience that he was the man who coined the phrase "The Great Rotation" and after much anticipation, at long last, it was here.

2014-01-07 Turn the Page: Outlook for Economy/Stocks in 2014 by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

In this comprehensive (read: long...sorry!) 2014 outlook report, we assess the likelihood a correction is in the offing given the strong gains since 2009.

2014-01-06 Confidence Abounds by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

It’s the very nature of a peak that it can’t be produced except by unusual optimism.

2014-01-06 Market Valuation Overview: Yet More Expensive by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a summary of the four market valuation indicators I update during the first days of the month.

2014-01-06 2014 Housing Predictions by Logan Mohtasham of AMC Lending Group

A tale of 2 halves with lingering questions characterizes what we can say was the story for housing for 2013. In the first half of the year, rates were low as the 10 year note was well under 2%. People were still refinancing, as home prices rocketed. Multiple bids were common, and pundits like Ivy Zelman cheered the improving market with praise like "Housing is in Nirvana".

2014-01-06 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will \"Good News\" be Good for Markets? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Suppose you knew -- right now, at the start of the week -- that the payroll employment report would show an extreme number. With 200K jobs expected, suppose it were to be 350K? Or 50K? If you had advance information from Mr. Beeks would you even know what to do?

2014-01-06 Too Big to Pop by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Most economic observers are predicting that 2014 will be the year in which the United States finally shrugs off the persistent malaise of the Great Recession. As we embark on this sunny new chapter, we may ask what wisdom the five-year trauma has delivered.

2014-01-06 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

To say that 2013 was an interesting year would be a bit of an understatement. We learned a long time ago not to make predictions about the stock market because no matter what is predicted, it is likely to be wrong. Even if we get lucky one year, we are not likely to even get close the following year. We do try to give guidance, however. Last year we suggested that, given the late run in the market in 2012 and its 15% return, investors should be happy with a return of 8 to 10% in 2013. Obviously, investors enjoyed much better returns.

2014-01-06 2013: A Review of the Past, the Present and the Future by Ron Surz of PPCA Inc

This commentary is divided into three sections. I begin with a review of current U.S. and foreign stock markets, examining the year 2013 and the past six years, including the crash of 2008. This perspective serves as a launch point into the future, specifically 2014 and the remainder of this decade. I conclude with a review of the past 88 years of U.S. stock and bond markets.

2014-01-04 Forecast 2014: The Human Transformation Revolution by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

It is that time of the year when we peer into our darkened crystal balls in hopes of seeing portents of the future in the shadowy mists. This year I see three distinct wisps of vapor coalescing in the coming years. Each deserves its own treatment, so this year the annual forecast issue will in fact be three separate weekly pieces.

2014-01-03 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.9, up from last week’s 131.9. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place came in at 1.8, unchanged from last week.

2014-01-03 A More Market-Friendly China by Henry Zhang of Matthews Asia

My last visit to Beijing happened to coincide with the Communist Party’s Third Plenum Meeting. General business sentiment was just as upbeat as it had been earlier last autumn. But through my discussions with different businesspeople, I came away with a distinct new optimism over the leadership’s more market-oriented stance on policies.

2014-01-03 Gold Stocks: What to Expect in the New Year by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After three years of pain, can gold stocks break their losing streak and see a gain in 2014? History says chances are good.

2014-01-03 Six Questions for 2014 - January 3, 2014 by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Our economic outlook for this year will be available next week. To provide a taste of what’s ahead, here are six of the key questions we’ll focus on during the coming months.

2014-01-03 2014 Outlook: The Emergence of a Global Expansion by Team of Loomis Sayles

After years of a global recovery characterized by fits and starts, we expect more synchronized global growth in 2014. Global GDP growth will accelerate modestly from 2.7% in 2013 to approximately 3.4% in 2014, primarily driven by larger advanced economies. In particular, we are optimistic that US growth will be sustainable. The fading economic drag from government policy and the ongoing housing recovery should help boost US GDP growth toward 3% as the year progresses. The UK is poised for a similar rate of expansion in 2014, and Europe will likely post positive growth in the coming year.

2014-01-02 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor’s "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1807.78. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 1848.36.

2013-12-31 The Ten Best Articles You Probably Missed by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Great articles don’t always get the readership they deserve. We’ve posted the 10 most-widely read articles for the past year. Below are another 10 that you might have missed, but I believe merit reading.

2013-12-31 A Look Ahead at 2014 by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Last week, Russ shared his annual look back at his 2013 economic and investment calls. Now, it’s time for his annual look forward.

2013-12-31 2014? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Year-end letters are difficult to write because there is always a tendency to discuss the year gone by or, worse, attempt to forecast the coming year. Typically, when the media asks where the S&P 500 (SPX/1841.40) will be at the end of the new year, I tell them you might as well flip a lucky penny.

2013-12-30 Weighing the Week Ahead: How Should Investors Judge the Prospects for 2014? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Sometimes the calendar of news and events makes it easy to predict what will grab our attention in the week ahead. In the last few weeks leading up to the Fed tapering announcement, I highlighted the following.

2013-12-30 NYSE Margin Debt Is Fractionally Off Its Real All-Time High by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The New York Stock Exchange publishes end-of-month data for margin debt on the NYXdata website, where we can also find historical data back to 1959. Let’s examine the numbers and study the relationship between margin debt and the market, using the S&P 500 as the surrogate for the latter.

2013-12-30 Plow Horse, Trotting by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

What a year 2013 has been. Remember how it started, with the media hyperventilating over the "fiscal cliff" deal and spending sequester? The vast majority of economists, pundits and politicians believe in Keynesian economics. So, it’s not surprising that higher tax rates and spending cuts sent them into an intellectual and theoretical funk.

2013-12-30 What Does US Tapering Mean for Asia? by Paul Chan of Invesco Blog

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) took its first step toward unwinding its unprecedented monetary stimulus. Beginning in January 2014, the Fed will reduce monthly asset purchases by $10 billion to $75 billion. The scale of the tapering was very much in line with market expectation. While timing may have surprised some investors, the market had already priced in the Fed’s imminent move.

2013-12-27 A Look Back at 2013 Calls by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

It’s time again for Russ K’s annual look back at his economic and investment calls. Find out what he got right - and what he got wrong.

2013-12-27 Gary Shilling: Review and Forecast by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

It’s that time of year again, when we begin to think of what the next one will bring. I will be doing my annual forecast issue next week, but my friend Gary Shilling has already done his and has graciously allowed me to use a shortened version of his letter as this week’s Thoughts from the Frontline. So without any further ado, let’s jump right to Gary’s look at where we are and where we’re going.

2013-12-27 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.9, up from last week’s 130.9. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, slipped to 1.9, down from 2.1 last week.

2013-12-27 2013: Looking Back at the Year of the Bull by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Will stocks continue to climb in 2014? Odds are "very good," finds BCA Research. According to historical data going back to 1870, there were 30 times when annual returns in domestic stocks climbed more than 25 percent. Of these, 23 experienced an additional increase, resulting in a mean of 12 percent, says BCA. Thinking back to January 2013, investors had a very different frame of mind. While we recently talked about the year’s biggest stories in U.S. energy and gold, today, we recap our popular commentaries focused on the domestic market.

2013-12-26 Does the CAPE Still Work? by William Hester of Hussman Funds

We feel no particular obligation defend the CAPE ratio. It has a strong long-term relationship to subsequent 10-year market returns. And it’s only one of numerous valuation indicators that we use in our work - many which are considerably more reliable.

2013-12-26 Economy Surprises On The Upside, But Is It Real? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

In today’s abbreviated holiday E-Letter, we’ll look at last Friday’s surprising report on 3Q GDP. In its third estimate of 3Q GDP, the Commerce Department reported that the economy surged by more than anyone expected. Given the surprisingly strong numbers, more than a few are questioning the report’s accuracy and wondering if it will be revised lower in January.

2013-12-26 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

I admit it, I do occasionally pick on Money Magazine and other consumer financial publications, but as I’ve written in the past, for the most part, Money does a great job of educating consumers. Its story on Lessons from the Crash "Lehman Brothers’ collapse in September 2008 sent stocks on a terrifying ride. A year-by-year look back reveals five key takeaways you need to heed today" is an excellent example. Here are Money’s "Lessons."

2013-12-24 The Price America Pays for Global Leadership by Bob Veres (Article)

America’s political debates inevitably default to finding ways to contain our federal deficits, and our investment debates focus on whether we’re facing a secular bear or bull market - and how to maneuver within that environment. I had never imagined that these two debates could be related until I heard a presentation by Bill O’Grady, of Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis, MO at the Insider’s Forum conference in Dallas.

2013-12-24 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

vestors thanked Bernanke this week for what they perceived as an early holiday present. While no one knew how they would react once the Fed began to taper its bond purchases, many surprised analysts by lifting stocks to one of the best showings of the year (and a new record on the Dow). And now that that uncertainty is out of the way, let the vacations begin.

2013-12-24 Fed Taper Brings Us Back to the Future by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

A return to normal economic conditions is now more palpable following the Fed’s decision to start unwinding QE and early signs of a revival in consumer spending, growth and jobs, writes Kristina Hooper.

2013-12-24 Bernanke\'s Santa Claus Cheer by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

What will Santa bring for Christmas...does he exist at all? Yes he does, his name is Bernanke and he has a stock market rally to share and good holiday cheer for all!

2013-12-23 Risk Assets Take Fed Taper Announcement in Stride by Roger Bayston of Franklin Templeton

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) delivered an early holiday surprise to some market participants, announcing at its December 18 policy meeting it would start slowing its asset purchase program known as quantitative easing in January. For some thoughts on what this may mean for the markets in the new year, we turned just after the announcement to Roger Bayston. He believes the markets should be able to take the Fed’s tapering in 2014 in stride, although investors should prepare for the proposition of higher Treasury yields.

2013-12-23 Welcome, Taper by Dianne Lob of AllianceBernstein

The Federal Open Market Committee’s statement that it will begin to taper its bond purchases in January is a good sign that the US economy continues to heal, in our view.

2013-12-23 The Diva is Already Singing by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The bell has already rung. The diva is already singing. The only question is precisely how long they hold the note.

2013-12-23 China\'s Consumer Stocks: Opportunities Despite Slower Growth by Richard Flax of PIMCO

A weaker macro environment and curbs on spending by government bureaucrats have hit a range of consumer businesses and, in some cases, forced a reassessment of expansion plans. While Chinese consumption may be challenged in the near term, we think the impact will be felt most in the retail sector where slowing demand is compounded by oversupply. We see opportunity in other sectors that benefit from secular demand growth and constrained supply or strong brands, notably casinos and luxury sectors.

2013-12-21 Start Me Up: Fed Announces a Much-Anticipated Taper by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Fed decided to begin tapering its QE-related bond purchases with a reduction of $10 billion; split evenly between Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. In a sign that tapering was already priced in, the stock market surged on the announcement; while bond yields remained quite tame. The Fed announced slightly sunnier economic forecasts, suggesting quantitative easing could wind down within a year.

2013-12-21 What Has QE Wrought? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Now that we have begun tapering, we will soon see lots of analysis about whether QE has been effective. What will the stock market do? The US economy seems to be moving in the right direction, but the Fed has forecast Nirvana (seriously) - do we dare hope they can finally get a forecast right? Or have they jinxed us?

2013-12-20 Let\'s Get Physical: Gold Bullion and Bitcoin by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), discusses in his latest insights piece the disparity in price direction between gold bullion and Bitcoin, in spite of the strikingly similar rationale for holding the two. He notes that the "Bitcoin-Gold incongruity is explained by the fact that financial engineers have not yet discovered a way to collateralize bitcoins for leveraged trades."

2013-12-20 The Challenges of Year-End Forecasting by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

Many investors piled on the equity bandwagon this year, pushing prices up to dizzying heights. With current yields for U.S. equities at record lows, is it time to get off the bandwagon?

2013-12-20 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for the Americas: Riding the Cross-Currents of Higher U.S. Growth and the Fed by Mohit Mittal, Lupin Rahman, Ed Devlin of PIMCO

In the U.S., lower fiscal drag and the possibility of higher consumer and corporate spending should drive growth higher in 2014. Supported by higher U.S. growth and stabilization in Europe and China, Latin America is set to grow 3%-4% on average, but with a large dispersion across countries. Canada should benefit from the U.S. recovery but will likely lag U.S. growth due to lower consumption and residential investment.

2013-12-20 A Surprising Way to Participate in Today\'s Tech Boom by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China has become one of the best consumption stories out there, and looking over the next few years, local technology companies are almost certain to benefit. So while many U.S. investors are getting excited about the growing number of initial public offerings in the tech sector, they would be remiss if they didn’t look beyond Silicon Valley.

2013-12-20 Looking Beyond the Initial Fed Taper by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Can the Fed be believed or trusted? Pioneer’s Sam Wardwell analyzes the tension between data dependency and forward guidance in Fed policy.

2013-12-20 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

As this will be our last weekly of the year, we thought we would offer some parting reflections on the year just past.

2013-12-19 Coal in the Fed\'s Stock-ing by Tony Crescenzi, Lupin Rahman, Ben Emons of PIMCO

Forward guidance has become an increasingly common practice among global central banks. Communicating a possible change in the policy rate could have a large effect on long-term interest rates. Capital has moved literally around the globe as a result of central bank activism in developed countries. Looking ahead, we expect 2014 to be a year of increased differentiation across emerging markets in terms of economic fundamentals, policy reactions and market outcomes.

2013-12-19 A Dovish-Bullish Taper by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

They finally did it. At Chairman Bernanke’s next to last meeting, the Federal Reserve announced a modest tapering of quantitative easing, reducing its monthly purchases of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities by $5 billion each ($10 billion total) to $75 billion starting in January. As a result, the size of the Fed’s balance sheet will continue to rise, but slightly more slowly than before.

2013-12-19 Market\'s Fed Frenzy Can Finally End by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The Fed surprised many investors by announcing it will taper in January, but made clear that interest rates will remain near the zero-bound as forward guidance becomes its primary policy tool.

2013-12-19 Is Your Inflation Protection Really Protecting You? by Thomas Luster, Stewart Taylor, Kevin Dachille of Eaton Vance

Many investors who own Treasury Inflation-Protection Securities (TIPS) and TIPS mutual funds don’t realize that they may be taking a significant amount of interest-rate risk in exchange for their inflation protection, which may result in losses when rates begin to rise rapidly. Shorter-maturity TIPS carry the same inflation adjustment as longer-term TIPS, but have less sensitivity to interest rates, which may be helpful in times of rising interest rates like what investors experienced in spring 2013.

2013-12-19 Georgia on My Mind by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

My team and I recently traveled to Georgia, a small country in the Caucasus Mountains straddling the border between Europe and Asia. Why are we interested in Georgia? One word: reform. Georgia, which can be considered a frontier market, is on the cusp of burgeoning change.

2013-12-18 Australia Inc. by Adam Bowe, Robert Mead of PIMCO

In 2013, real growth in business investment in Australia outside the mining sector slowed to almost zero, in part due to the high exchange rate. While some sectors of the economy such as housing appear to be improving, we continue to expect sub-trend growth in 2014 due to the subdued outlook for business investment. The RBA will most likely have to keep interest rates low for an extended period to ease the transition away from mining-assisted growth and encourage a weaker exchange rate.

2013-12-18 PIMCO\'s Cyclical Outlook for Asia: Growth Is Stabilizing but Not Stellar by Ramin Toloui, Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead of PIMCO

In China, near-term economic performance will be dominated by the dialing back and forth of credit conditions by policymakers, while long-term reform progresses incrementally. Japan’s GDP growth will slow in 2014 due to a consumption tax hike but will still be above the country’s potential growth as it is assisted by reflationary policies. The pace of Australia’s growth will slow due to weakness in manufacturing and mining, reflecting tempered growth in China.

2013-12-17 Gundlach - Don’t Plan on Tapering by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Investors face many concerns as the new year approaches, but a recurrence of May’s "taper tantrum" should not be high on their lists, according to DoubleLine’s Jeffrey Gundlach. With the majority of Fed governors staking a dovish position, "quantitative stimulus is likely to remain with us longer than people think," Gundlach said.

2013-12-17 Optimizing Asset Location: Is It Worth the Effort? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Asset location - the choice of whether to hold stocks and bonds in taxable or sheltered accounts - is receiving increased attention as advisors seek more ways to add value. New research has challenged long-held beliefs. I’ll examine that research and answer a question that should concern every advisor and client: Does the value provided by asset-location advice justify the fees for the work involved?

2013-12-17 Five Strategies for a Rising-Rate Environment Revisited by Kane Cotton, CFA and Jonathan Scheid, CFA (Article)

In June 2010, we recommended five strategies for a rising-rate environment, acknowledging that we had no idea when or how abruptly rates would rise. Indeed, rates fell since we wrote that article. But they are on the rise again. After reviewing how our original five strategies performed, we’ll now present our revised recommendations for investing as rates increase.

2013-12-17 Will 2014 Bring an End to Central Bank Intervention? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Nearing the final two weeks of the year, it is customary to look forward to the trends and events that will shape the coming year. A theme that may come to the fore in 2014 revolves around central bankers, specifically the diverging fates in various economies of the world.

2013-12-17 2013 A Pretty Good Year by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

This time last year we were bullish about equities and positive on the slow but steady strengthening of the economy. The market did not disappoint. The economy was almost heroic, you might say, with its performance enduring government sequestrations and higher taxes almost a 2% drag on GDP but comporting with our expectations of 2 - 2.5% growth. 2013 is ending with GDP and the markets coming fairly close to what we thought they’d achieve. Now the year is almost out, so let’s take stock of 2013 but look ahead to 2014.

2013-12-17 5 Takeaways from the Mini-Budget Deal by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The bi-partisan budget agreement inked last week has real implications for investors, including its impact on consumers, the stock market and the Fed, writes Kristina Hooper.

2013-12-17 The 2014 Geopolitical Outlook by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

As is our custom, we close out the current year with our outlook for the next one. This report is less a series of predictions as it is a list of potential geopolitical issues that we believe will dominate the international situation in the upcoming year. It is not designed to be exhaustive; instead, it focuses on the "big picture" conditions that we believe will affect policy and markets going forward. They are listed in order of importance.

2013-12-17 Rare Washington Compromise Plus Rising Consumer Debt Equals Modestly Higher 2014 GDP by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ explains the two reasons why the U.S. economic growth picture looks a little rosier in 2014.

2013-12-17 Taper Time? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

There are many arguments for and against an initial reduction in the Fed’s monthly rate of asset purchases, but the balance has shifted toward a December taper. It appears to be a very close call, but even if the Fed decides to delay again, we all know (or should know) that QE3 is going to wind down in 2014.

2013-12-17 Housing Market Index Is Up, Should Help Buoy CPI by Team of GaveKal Capital

The NAHB Housing Market Index increased to 58 to post the highest number since August, which is also the highest level of the recovery. The HMI correlates pretty well with house prices.

2013-12-16 The Coming Retreat in Corporate Earnings by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The problem is not simply that earnings are likely to retreat deeply over the next few years. Rather, the problem is that investors have embedded the assumption of permanently elevated profit margins into stock prices, leaving the market about 80-100% above levels that would provide investors with historically adequate long-term returns. An equivalent way to say this is that stocks are currently at levels that we estimate will provide roughly zero nominal total returns over the next 7-10 years, with historically adequate long-term returns thereafter.

2013-12-16 A Much Better Dilemma by Mike Amey of PIMCO

While the UK economy is likely to avoid reverting to growth levels of recent years, it must transition into a more durable recovery involving business investment, higher productivity and stronger real wages. However, headwinds for domestic demand look significant and the banking system appears to favour secured lending to consumers over businesses. We believe that much of the rise in bond yields is already behind us. With clearer value in shorter bonds, our preference lies in short and intermediate gilts.

2013-12-16 Absolute Return Letter: Squeaky Bum Time by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

QE has led to asset price inflation. That much we established in the November Absolute Return Letter. In this month’s letter we go one step further and look at whether we are now in bubble territory. Considering the strong bull-run we have experienced in 2012-13 it is perhaps surprising to learn that, in a historical context, it is not an outsized rally, nor are equity markets - with the possible exception of the United States - particularly expensive.

2013-12-16 2014 Investment Outlook: Economic Growth Should Broaden by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

For the first time in several years, we approach the new year without big clouds on the horizon. In the United States, accommodative monetary policy has healed many of the wounds from the 2008-2009 crisis.

2013-12-16 Settling In by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

An improving outlook for U.S. housing will be constructive for consumer spending, confidence and jobs. There are many ways to invest directly and indirectly in companies that should benefit from higher housing prices, a pickup in home repairs and remodeling, and residential investment spending. We continue to favor select investments in homebuilders, building materials, appliance manufacturers, lumber, home improvement, banks, title insurance, mortgage origination and servicing, and non-Agency mortgage-backed securities.

2013-12-15 Lessons Learned in 2013 by Seth Masters of Alliance Bernstein

In 2013, interest rates rose, bonds fell, equities soared, and US income-tax rates climbed higher. Before starting to place bets for 2014, investors would be wise to think about some important lessons from 2013.

2013-12-13 They Bravely Chickened Out by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Earlier this week Congress tried to show that it is capable of tackling our chronic and dangerous debt problems. Despite the great fanfare I believe they have accomplished almost nothing. Supporters say that the budget truce created by Republican Representative Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray will provide the economy with badly needed certainty.

2013-12-13 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

No one deserved a break more than investment guys/gals (except maybe politicos). Unfortunately, Thanksgiving holiday was too "short and sweet" for many and the economic week that followed was crazy. Number after number depicted an economy on solid ground with strong confirmation from the late-week labor releases. Investors took profits throughout much of the week as the final month of the year began, but the Bulls were back in force to conclude the week.

2013-12-13 Disruptive Innovations in Indian Politics by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia

The sweeping victories for India’s pro-business opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in recent state elections were largely expected. But more stunning, to say the least, were unexpectedly strong gains in Delhi by a nascent, novice and underfunded political party known as the Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man’s Party.

2013-12-13 Glance Back...Focus Forward by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

A great market year for stocks is about to be capped off...can the run continue into 2014?

2013-12-13 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Federal Reserve should find a way out of quantitative easing (QE) soon. And I think the Fed will take the first step in that direction at its December 17 - 18 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Here are the arguments for and against reducing quantitative easing that the discussions will feature.

2013-12-13 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.4, down from last week’s 132.7 (adjusted from 132.8). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, slipped to 2.8, down from 2.9 last week.

2013-12-13 One of the Most Notable Stories of the Year: Energy Renaissance in the U.S.A. by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Only a few years ago, we were contemplating the supply constraints facing the petroleum industry, as many major oil fields around the world were facing a decline in production. Now, with the disruptive technology in shale oil and gas, we may be looking forward to decades of drilling.

2013-12-12 The Fed, Inflation, and the Perfect Storm in Gold Miners by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

Neither hopes of job creation nor fears of inflation (based on the massive expansion of the monetary base since late 2008) have thus far materialized. Total credit creation (i.e. money supply) during most of the last five years either shrank or barely grew despite massive growth in the monetary base. Nominal GDP (growth plus inflation) grows in response to total expansion of credit (both from the Fed and the banking system), not just the monetary base.

2013-12-12 Stay the Course or Take an Unconstrained Approach to Bonds by Matthew Pasts of BTS Asset Management

BTS Asset Management contends that today’s bond market environment calls for an unconstrained approach to bonds with the ability to move between bond asset classes based on economic indicators and market opportunities. The potential discrepancy in results among bond asset classes may be more pronounced than we have seen in the past 30 years which creates opportunity for a more tactical approach. Now may be the time for an unconstrained approach to the bond market.

2013-12-12 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook: Synchronized Optimism by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

In the U.S., the abatement of fiscal policy tightening combined with steady improvements in labor market demand and higher asset valuations is likely to drive an increase in real growth. The eurozone should finally emerge from recession in 2014, and Japan is likely to continue to grow with the continued assistance of extraordinarily expansive policies. In China, external demand will likely improve, but domestic demand will likely slow somewhat.

2013-12-11 The Fed is Playing Hamlet to the Markets by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

To taper or not to taper-that is the question the Fed is asking itself. What’s moving the market is (it appears) the odds of Fed action. For the first half of last week, "good news was bad news" as stock and bond markets apparently interpreted better economic data as suggesting an earlier QE (Quantitative Easing) Taper. On Friday, the market apparently decided the jobs report was good enough to further reduce downside risks to the economy but not strong enough to spur the Fed to action.

2013-12-11 Fed: No More Excuses Not To Taper - Just Do It! by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

We had some terrific economic news late last week. The 3Q GDP report and the November unemployment report were so strong that some are wondering if the data are credible, and are likely to be revised lower next month. The government reported that 3Q Gross Domestic Product jumped from 2.8% as reported last month to a whopping 3.6% in its second estimate last Thursday, well above the consensus estimate of 3.1%.

2013-12-11 Muddling Through: The \'Realpolitik\' of the Eurozone Crisis by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

The long-term cost of Europe’s economic recovery is likely to challenge social tolerance and political will to achieve a fully integrated fiscal and political union. Although able to exploit the untapped potential of European treaties, the soon-to-be-elected 8th European Parliament looks more likely to continue to muddle through. We see low medium-term risk for government and corporate bonds with maturities of up to three years, but caution may be required for securities with longer maturities and lower down in the capital structure.

2013-12-10 How Much Can Clients Spend in Retirement? A Test of the Two Most Prominent Approaches by Wade Pfau (Article)

In my last article, I described research-based innovations for variable withdrawal strategies from retirement portfolios. In this article, I put Guyton’s and Blanchett’s strategies to the test. My results provide planners with a better understanding about the potential spending paths generated by these different approaches.

2013-12-10 A Framework for Understanding Bond Portfolio Performance by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

Investors are legitimately concerned that interest rates, after falling reliably for decades, are on their way up and that bond portfolio values are on their way down. Investors now seek interest-rate protection. I provide a framework for analyzing and, hopefully, predicting the returns on actively managed portfolios of bonds - a task different from analyzing the bond market itself.

2013-12-10 Fiscal Policy and Monetary Policy - Update by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Market participants expected the November Employment Report to be the deciding factor on whether the Federal Reserve would begin to slow its rate of asset purchases this month. However, officials aren’t going to react to any one piece of data. The best argument for tapering is that it has to start sometime. However, the key factors that delayed the tapering in September and October are still with us to some extent.

2013-12-10 Christmas by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Well it is official, Christmas has begun. For me it began with the private wine and dinner party at Morrell, arguably the finest wine store I have ever seen, and anyone that knows me knows I have seen a lot of wine stores! Morrell is located at 1 Rockefeller Center between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue overlooking the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. I had done a gig on Bloomberg radio at Morrell last Tuesday with my friends Carol Massar and Pimm Fox and got invited to the party the next evening to watch the lighting of the Christmas tree.

2013-12-10 Best Consumed Below Zero? by Bill O'Grady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we will turn our attention to Denmark to study its decision to undertake the below-zero rate, the specifics of the situation that prompted it and the effects of the negative rate on financial conditions and the broader economy. We will then briefly look at the possibility of a below-zero rate policy for the ECB and, most importantly, the geopolitical ramifications of the decision by the world’s second largest currency block to ease into unknown consequences of negative rates to stimulate the economy.

2013-12-10 Seven Reasons Why Industrial Commodity Prices are Headed Higher by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

Between December 2008 and April 2011 commodity prices, as reflected by the CRB Spot Raw Industrials, doubled. In the ensuing 2-years they have retraced 20% of that rally but are now showing signs of wanting to head higher. In the interest of fair disclosure our commodity model went bullish just under a year ago but prices remained range bound instead of experiencing their normal strength. So what’s so different now that makes us bullish on commodities? Here are seven reasons.

2013-12-09 The Truth Does Not Change According To Our Ability To Stomach It by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The stock market is presently at valuations where not only cyclical but secular bear markets have started. A secular bear period comprises a series of cyclical bull-bear periods where valuations gradually work their way lower at each successive cyclical trough. The past 13 years of paltry overall total returns for the S&P 500 have unfortunately corrected very little of the excess in 2000, largely thanks to yet another round of Fed-enabled speculation. We should have learned how these episodes end.

2013-12-09 Improving Economic Data Imply Further Global Recovery by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished last week in barely negative territory, ending the positive streak for the market. Economic data concerning the post-government shutdown climate has improved. Employment data beat estimates and increased by 203,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.0%, also surpassing expectations.

2013-12-09 Pessimists Get Desperate by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Payrolls keep growing. Economic data stays positive. The stock market makes new highs. It’s been consistent for nearly five years. And so has the pessimism. In fact, the pouting pundits of pessimism get more determined each month, trying to prove that things are really bad out there.

2013-12-09 Gauging Tapering Post November Jobs Report by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

With another month down in 2013, last week came time to dissect the latest report on employment. If the market reaction was indicative, the highly anticipated November labor report did not disappoint, sending stocks up more than 1% on Friday.

2013-12-07 Interview with Steve Forbes by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

For whatever reason, Steve Forbes seems to bring out the passion in me. When I think about what central bank policies are doing to savers and investors, how we are screwing around with the pension system, circumventing rational market expectations because of an untested economic theory held by a relatively small number of academics, I get a little exercised. And Steve gives me the freedom to do it.

2013-12-06 Like a Shakespearean Script by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Shakespearean plays follow a pattern. The underlying plots and storylines change from play to play, but the five-act construction is a common overlap. Market cycles tend to follow a similar pattern cycle after cycle. Like the different plots in various Shakespearean plays, the catalysts that begin and end each cycle, and the events during the cycle are always different. However, market cycles seem to follow a script and, so far, this cycle seems to be following the script almost perfectly.

2013-12-06 Gold: Currency or Commodity? by Anthony Wile of J.P. Morgan Funds

Despite gold traditionally serving as a safe haven asset, investors should be wary of fear-inflated investments given the potential for improving global growth.

2013-12-06 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The U.S. employment report puts taper onto the table. Don’t expect further rate cuts from the ECB or the Fed. Auto sales have been a bright spot amid sluggish consumer spending.

2013-12-06 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.8, up from last week’s 132.3. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, rose to 2.9, up from 2.6 last week.

2013-12-06 Did the Government Shutdown Help the Economy? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Take the government shutdown in October, when the House and Senate fought over the debt ceiling. Economic data wasn’t released, services were halted, national parks were closed, and "non-essential government workers were told to stay home. As a result, GDP was expected to collapse. Yet, data released this week reveal a different, stronger image of the U.S. economy. I think Shakespeare would deem the media’s fear mongering tactics as Much Ado About Nothing.

2013-12-06 Red Shoots? Amid the Holiday Cheer, is a Market Peak Brewing? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

I don’t see imminent signs of a rough market, but it does appear that some "red shoots" are not forming. FYI, a red shoot is a term I just made up. Whereas a "green shoot" is a piece of good news in an otherwise difficult economic environment, I define a red shoot as a piece of potentially bad news among a sea of green stock market profits.

2013-12-05 10 for \'14 by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Each December we publish a list of investment themes that we feel are critical for the coming year. We continue to believe the US stock market will continue its run through one of the largest bull markets of our careers. Our positive outlook extends to the following areas: US Equities, Japanese Equities, European small cap stocks, high yield municipals.

2013-12-05 No Silver Bullets in Investing by James Montier of GMO

In a new white paper today, James Montier of GMO’s asset allocation team reviews recent "innovation in our industry." He argues, "one of the myths perpetuated by our industry is that there are lots of ways to generate good long-run real returns, but we believe there is really only one: buying cheap assets."

2013-12-04 Why Investing in High Quality Companies is More Important Today than Ever by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

One of the first rules a new financial advisor learns is that success in the business has nothing to do with how well your clients do in creating or maintaining wealth. Success is measured by how much wealth the advisor creates for him or herself. The same rule extends beyond the local advisor to the great halls of institutional management.

2013-12-04 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - Q3 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

The second half of 2013 has posed significant challenges to growth in major Emerging Asia Pacific economies. Almost all emerging Asia Pacific economies showed signs of strain arising from stubborn inflation, higher interest rates, slower consumer spending and lukewarm exports.

2013-12-04 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

For the 7th year in a row, the US Postal Service lost money. After setting a record loss last year of $15.9 billion, it pared the losses to $5 billion in the current year. The USPS showed its first growth in revenue since 2008, rising 1.2% to $66 billion. In no surprise, the USPS asked Congress for help. Wonder how that is going to work out for them?

2013-12-03 Jeremy Siegel - The Market is 10% to 15% Undervalued by Robert Huebscher (Article)

According to Wharton’s Jeremy Siegel, ’the fair market value for the stocks today is 10% to 15% higher, and that might even be on the conservative side.’

2013-12-03 What Matters More When Investing: A Good Company or Good Price? by John Alberg and Michael Seckler (Article)

Which approach will serve you best in the uncertain periods ahead - investing in the best companies, or finding the lowest priced opportunities? How did value-oriented investment approaches, such as Joel Greenblatt’s "magic formula," perform when price-to-earnings multiples compressed in the past? A recent study we completed yields some perspective on those two questions.

2013-12-03 Looking Out on the Horizon for Equities by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished higher for an eighth consecutive week as the S&P 500 increased 0.1%, representing the longest positive streak since 2004. Inertia may have carried markets forward in a relatively quiet trading week without major headlines. Retail news appeared fairly positive in anticipation of a strong start to the Thanksgiving shopping weekend. Economic data was mixed.

2013-12-03 Turning Over Rocks by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

The S&P 500 is at a record high and we believe the markets generally are fully valued. Corporate revenue growth is anemic, profit margins are stretched, and the prospect of earnings rising meaningfully is not high. And, the outlook for the U.S. and global economy is still uncertain. Market psychology is at a level suggesting the market is overbought. Margin debt is at record levels and the current popularity of stocks by retail investors at market highs is in itself a red flag.

2013-12-03 Secular Bull or Secular Bear? by Leo Cesna of Relevant Investments

Applying statistical control limits to Dr. Shiller’s CAPE Index reveals where the S&P 500 is likely headed.

2013-12-03 Is the Fed Increasingly Monetizing Government Debt? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Fed Chair Bernanke vehemently denies Fed "monetizes the debt," but our research shows the Fed may be increasingly doing so. We explain why and what the implications may be for the dollar, gold and currencies.

2013-12-03 On the Wings of an Eagle by William Gross of PIMCO

I’ve always liked Jack Bogle, although I’ve never met him. He’s got heart, but as he’s probably joked a thousand times by now, it’s someone else’s; a 1996 transplant being the LOL explanation. He’s also got a lot of investment common sense, recognizing decades ago that investment managers in composite couldn’t outperform the market; in fact, their alpha would be negative after fees and transaction costs were factored in.

2013-12-03 From the Taj Mahal to Westminster Abbey: Notes from a Global Investor by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I recently returned from India, a nation where an incredible 600 million people are under the age of 25. That’s nearly double the entire population of the U.S.!

2013-12-03 High Quality and Time-Horizon Arbitrage by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management, we love to acknowledge financial journalists who really demonstrate an understanding of the underlying truths associated with high-quality and long-duration common stock investing.

2013-12-02 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor’s "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1783.54. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 1805.81. For the earnings, see the table created from Standard & Poor’s latest earnings spreadsheet.

2013-12-02 China\'s Great Leap by Equity Investment Team of Janus Capital Group

China’s government just announced it would take a big step back...and let its economy take a giant leap forward. We believe China’s proposed economic reforms will transform the economy and should allay investors’ main concerns about Chinese markets. In Janus’ latest Equity Monthly, our equity team offers its perspective on China’s Great Leap.

2013-11-29 Back to Housing Bubbles by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

What we are witnessing in many countries looks like a slow-motion replay of the last housing-market train wreck. And, like last time, the bigger the bubbles become, the nastier the collision with reality will be.

2013-11-29 ING Fixed Income Perspectives - November 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers and Matt Toms of ING Investement Management

Given rich valuations globally, we remain broadly neutral on interest rate risk with the exception of Japan.

2013-11-29 From the Taj Mahal to Westminster Abbey: Notes from a Global Investor by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I recently returned from India, a nation where an incredible 600 million people are under the age of 25. That’s nearly double the entire population of the U.S.

2013-11-28 The Race is On by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

There’s a race to the bottom going on, reflecting a widespread reduction in the level of prudence on the part of investors and capital providers. No one can prove at this point that those who participate will be punished, or that their long-run performance won’t exceed that of the naysayers. But that is the usual pattern.

2013-11-28 Five Reasons Inflation Is Still Missing by Chun Wang of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Apart from a couple of market-oriented drivers that could reverse course on a short-term basis, we are not seeing convincing evidence of an imminent pick-up in inflation. Let us be clear. There is most definitely inflation in the financial markets, but that does not seem to benefit the average person in the U.S. The liquidity injected by various central banks went mostly into the financial markets first and foremost; only a small fraction of it trickled down to the average person. That is why all this money printing has not been reflected in various inflation measures.

2013-11-27 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

This particular time of year is often a time of contemplation and reflection. As families and friends gather for the holidays, many pause to consider the year almost past, and perhaps the year to come. Whether it’s tax-lot accounting for securities bought and sold, or healthcare issues left unattended, or simply holding ourselves accountable for goals unmet, we tackle these issues as an annual right of passage each year.

2013-11-27 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

This has been another quiet week for stocks which closed at their highs for the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average even closed above 16,000 for the 1st time.

2013-11-27 Global Economic Overview - October 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Global economic trends continue to see gradual improvement, though the progress has become less steady. The developed economies remain the major drivers of global growth, but data from some of the regions have not met expectations.

2013-11-27 International Equity Commentary - October 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Equities Advance as Global Manufacturing and Services Activity Gains Momentum

2013-11-26 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Bob Veres’ article, Why Deficits Don’t Matter, which appeared on October 29, and a reader responds to Robert Huebscher’s article, Reflections on a Week in Cuba, which appeared on November 12.

2013-11-26 Elections in Chile by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On November 17, Chileans went to the polls to vote on a new president and parliament. In this report, we offer short biographies of the two Chilean presidential candidates, focusing mostly on Michelle Bachelet. From there, we will provide a short history of Chile, primarily to highlight the tensions between the forces of liberalization and reaction. An examination of the Allende-Pinochet period will detail the factors that have affected Chile’s political structure over the past five decades. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2013-11-26 While You Were Sleeping: Asian Developments Loom for Financial Markets by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Amid all the Fed talk dominating airwaves and headlines, a few key developments occurred overseas last week that could shape financial markets significantly in the quarters ahead.

2013-11-25 Recent Economic Trends Help Make Korea a Hidden Gem in Asia by Paul Chan and Simon Jeong of Invesco Blog

After more than two decades of financial setbacks, recent macroeconomic data is helping Korea overcome the negative economic stigma associated with its economy and equity markets.

2013-11-25 Solving the Income Puzzle by Christopher Remington, Michael Cirami, Kathleen Gaffney, Scott Page of Eaton Vance

Income needs may be as high as they’ve ever been, while the yield potential from many traditional investment classes has dwindled to generational lows. Investors who remain in high-priced, low-yielding core bond strategies could experience loss of principal (and mounting retirement shortfalls) if interest rates revert toward their mean. We advocate creating an integrated, multi-pronged income plan that may offer yield potential that meets investor needs, while managing key risks found in the typical core fixed-income allocation.

2013-11-25 An Open Letter to the FOMC: Recognizing the Valuation Bubble in Equities by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The Fed has done enough, and perhaps dangerously more than enough. The prospect of dismal investment returns in equities is an outcome that is largely baked-in-the-cake. The only question is how much worse the outcomes will be as a result of Fed policy that has few economic mechanisms other than to encourage speculative behavior.

2013-11-25 Ben\'s Rocket to Nowhere by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Herd mentality can be as frustrating as it is inexplicable. Once a crowd starts moving, momentum can be all that matters and clear signs and warnings are often totally ignored. Financial markets are currently following this pattern with respect to the unshakable belief that the Federal Reserve is ready, willing, and most importantly, able, to immediately execute a wind down of its quantitative easing program. How this notion became so deeply entrenched is a mystery, but the stampede it has sparked is getting more violent, and irrational, by the day.

2013-11-25 Sir Isaac Newton by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

In 1711 the Earl of Oxford formed the South Sea Company, which was approved as a joint-stock company via an act by the British government. The company was designed to improve the British government’s finances. The earl granted the merchants associated with the company the sole rights to trade in the South Seas (the east coast of Latin America). From the start the new company was expected to achieve huge profits given the believed inexhaustible gold and silver mines of the region.

2013-11-25 Unless the Fed Goes Cold Turkey on Us, Expect a Bountiful Economic Harvest for Thanksgiving 2014 by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

If your Thanksgiving family dinner conversation is anything like mine this Thursday, it will be dominated by a discussion of how the U.S. economy and its financial markets will be behaving after nearly a year of Dr. Janet Yellen at the helm of the Fed. Well, I am going to give my family an advance copy of what I plan to say so that we can just concentrate on willing a Packers victory over the Lions. As a preview, I am bullish about what things will look like by Turkey Day 2014 even if Chairwoman Yellen becomes a little hawkish. (Perhaps too cute with the animal references?)

2013-11-24 Game of Thrones - European Style by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The Eurozone crisis is not over, and it will not end quickly or soon. Even if it seems to unfold in slow motion - like the slow build-up in a Game of Thrones storyline to violent internecine clashes followed by more slow plot developments but never any resolution, the Eurozone debacle has never really gone away. The structural imbalances have still not been fixed; politicians and central bankers have still not agreed to solve major fiscal problems; the overall economy still disintegrates; unemployment is staggeringly high in some countries and still rising; and the people are growing restless.

2013-11-22 Guidance Counselors by Richard Clarida, Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

Forward guidance is an explicit communication by a central bank that provides information today about the timing for specific policy tools in the future. There are at least three types of forward guidance: calendar-based, outcome-based and optimal control. Since 2011 the Fed has deployed both calendar-based and outcome-based guidance. We expect the Yellen Fed to enhance the current outcome-based guidance to convey more information about the timing and pace of policy moves.

2013-11-22 What is the Current Market Reality? by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments

At this year’s Global Investment Forum, the discussion among Pioneer investment professionals was generally positive. Of course, everyone was conscious of the current market reality: that the major force behind recent positive, though benign, market trends is the unprecedented creation of liquidity and extremely loose stance of monetary policies around the world. Monetary policy alone cannot be the only conduit to a new economic model of income growth and job creation.

2013-11-22 Dividend Season Scorecard by Don Taylor of Franklin Templeton

As consumers gear up for the upcoming holiday shopping season, many investors in individual equities are eagerly anticipating another season that, instead of draining their wallets, might actually fatten them-dividend season. Don Taylor, portfolio manager of Franklin Rising Dividends Fund, is on the lookout for companies which not only have a track record of paying regular dividends, but increasing them. Here are some of Taylor’s thoughts on the early dividend season scorecard.

2013-11-22 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Retail Sales by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The underlying sales data were stronger than expected, and the disinflationary October headline CPI boosted the number higher. in light of the general pessimism over the government shutdown and congressional face-off on debt ceiling, the October numbers are indeed surprising.

2013-11-22 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The world needs to do more to stimulate spending. Moderate gains are seen for U.S. holiday sales. The Federal Reserve may change its policy mix.

2013-11-22 Understanding the Rise of China by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If the sweeping economic reforms planned by Chinese leaders during the Third Plenum can be our guide, it looks to be a promising decade for global investors. Details released this week confirmed President Xi Jinping’s concerted efforts to move China toward a market-based economy that mirrors the West.

2013-11-22 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.2, up from last week’s 131.0 (revised from 131.1). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, rose to 2.4, up from 2.2 last week.

2013-11-22 50 Years Later: JFK and the Misery of Rising Interest Rates by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

On the 50th anniversary of one of the most tragic events in U.S. history, I took a quick look back at investment market history around that time. As it turns out, the stock and bond markets had done quite well in recent years and by mid 1963, the 10-year Treasury was a bit under 4% (around the lowest rate in about a half-decade) and the stock market was near its all-time high. Whether it was a direct result of the calamity of Kennedy’s death or other factors, late 1963 was a turning point for the U.S. stock and bond markets.

2013-11-21 Time to Be Bullish on Europe by Raul Elizalde of Path Financial

For the last four years US stocks outperformed European equities (and much of the world outside the US) by a large margin. Investors may conclude that investing abroad, even in the name of diversification, is nothing but a waste. But this may be a mistake. The very wide gap between US and European stocks seems overdone. US stocks have climbed to unprecedented and precarious levels while Europe has improved on many fronts without much effect on equity prices. This could be the time to diversify away from US stocks, and Europe seems to be the appropriate choice.

2013-11-21 Looking Beyond Inventories by Team of Northern Trust

Inventories have the habit of offering surprises in reports of real gross domestic product (GDP). The third quarter GDP report was one such occurrence, with inventories making an unexpectedly hefty contribution. A reversal of this event is most likely to influence the headline GDP number in the final three months of the year.

2013-11-21 The Fed and the Economy: “Don't Shoot Until You See the Whites of Their Eyes” by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The Federal Reserve has started to highlight “forward guidance” as a way to keep interest rates lower for longer and get the exhausted hamster off the treadmill of quantitative easing. We still think tapering remains farther off than most investors expect.

2013-11-21 The Missing Ingredient of the Economic Recovery (Hint: It's Not Jobs) by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Despite an improving labor market, household spending isn’t picking up enough to fuel a faster U.S. recovery. This missing ingredient of the economic recovery is to blame, says Russ.

2013-11-21 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Up, up, and away. Stocks surged for the sixth straight week, the S&P 500’s longest such streak since February 2013, as institutional investors welcomed remarked from the future Fed Chair (?) and "mom and pops" finally decided to join in the fun (better late than never). Suddenly Dow 16k, Nasdaq 4k, and, heck, even S&P 2k are well within reach. What financial debacle?

2013-11-21 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review Q3 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies were back on their feet during the second quarter of 2013 as economic growth gained momentum, inflation fell mildly and exports climbed strongly. Most developed countries in the region such as Japan, Australia, and New Zealand reported a sharp positive swing in consumer and business confidence. Predominantly expansionary monetary and fiscal policies also helped keep the pace of economic recovery.

2013-11-20 The Disinflationary Developed World: 2 Investment Implications by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Inflation remains close to historic lows, not just in the United States but also in other large developed markets. Russ explains why this is the case and what it means for investors (hint: low-for-longer rates and another reason to consider underweighting Treasury-Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS)).

2013-11-20 Yellen: “Farther To Go” by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Janet Yellen gave a balanced assessment of how monetary policy will be conducted during her tenure as Fed chair. However, the financial markets perceived a “dovish” tilt. She stressed that conditions in the labor market are still far from normal and noted that inflation has been running below the Fed’s goal of 2% “and is expected to do so for some time.” However, Yellen noted that there were risks of removing support too late as well as too soon. QE3 can’t go on forever.

2013-11-19 Asset Class Allocation and Portfolios: Critique and Complication by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

In Part 1 of this essay, I explained that for asset class allocation to become an investment practice, it required a foundation of theory. And Modern Portfolio Theory was that foundation. But today, most financial journalists and investment advisors who proffer advice centered on asset class allocation are?if I may judge from their writings?oblivious of this. And why shouldn’t they be? Theory is abstract and difficult to apprehend.

2013-11-19 New Research on How Much Clients can Spend in Retirement by Wade Pfau (Article)

A major problem remains unsolved in the discipline of financial planning: How should clients adjust their spending patterns in response to changes in the value of their retirement portfolios? The original research on this topic was based on a fixed percentage of assets, adjusted for inflation. Numerous refinements to that model have been proposed, and I will look at how the updated models can help clients maintain their desired standard of living without depleting their assets.

2013-11-19 Research from Yale on Commodities by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Many would consider the practice of placing assets in a commodity fund to be speculation rather than investing. That perception was amplified by a recent Bloomberg article, which reported the dismal performance of many managed-futures funds and commodity-trading advisors (CTAs). Contrary to that image, Geert Rouwenhorst, a Yale University professor, claims he has found a way to construct a commodity-based fund that earns a significant premium over inflation.

2013-11-19 Where Will the Holiday Shopping Season Lead Us This Year? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The unofficial start to the holiday shopping season kicks off in a few short days. Economic uncertainty abounds, raising fears that consumers will pull back from spending, but some positive developments suggest consumers will be just fine.

2013-11-19 A Glimpse of a Yellen-Led Fed by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper highlights some key takeaways from incoming Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s testimony before the Senate last week, including when the Fed is likely to taper its bond-buying program.

2013-11-19 Confronting the Tax Drag by Tom Metzold, Jim Evans, Lew Piantedosi, Peter Crowley of Eaton Vance

The impact of the “tax drag” on investor portfolios can be significant over long time frames, potentially consuming a quarter or more of every dollar earned by the average investor. As federal tax rates have risen for many investors, so too has the risk of losing a larger portion of one’s returns to taxes highlighting the need for a tax-aware investment approach. Municipal and tax-advantaged bond strategies, tax-efficient equities and solutions for high-net-worth investors can all help improve investors’ after-tax portfolio performance.

2013-11-19 Breaking News! U.S. Equity Market Overvalued! by Ben Inker of GMO

In GMO’s quarterly letter to institutional clients today, co-head of asset allocation Ben Inker outlines the reasoning behind GMO implementing a new forecast methodology for the U.S. stock market. While the new methodology has slightly increased GMO’s seven-year forecast for U.S. equity returns, Ben notes, "The basic point for us remains the same -- the U.S. stock market is trading at levels that do not seem capable of supporting the type of returns that investors have gotten used to receiving from equities."

2013-11-19 Ignoble Prizes and Appointments by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

Chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham comments on this year’s Nobel Prize in economics and "the most laughable of all assumption-based theories, the Efficient Market Hypothesis"; candidates to succeed Chairman Bernanke at the Fed; the impact of commodity price rises and the housing bubble in the crash of 2008; and prospects for the U.S. equity market.

2013-11-19 Levitate: Dismiss Bubble Talk for Now by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

It’s premature to be calling this market a bubble. Rolling 10 year returns haven’t even reached a long-term mean. Valuation still well below prior bull market peaks.

2013-11-18 Under the Spotlight, Pensions and “Damn it Janet” by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

Recently, I spoke on a panel regarding the State of Illinois (our panel literally “Under the Spotlight”). Our panel touched on many topics affecting the State but, when all was said and done, it seemed that the panel uniformly recognized that Illinois needed to do something about their pension problem (we had an interesting discussion about one party rule and speculated as to why they can’t seem to get anything done on pension reform can you say re-election).

2013-11-18 The ECB Rate Cut - Too Little and Too Late by John Greenwood of Invesco Blog

The decision of the European Central Bank (ECB) last week to cut its main refinancing rate from 0.5% to 0.25% and the marginal lending facility from 1.00% to 0.75% is too little and too late -- and virtually irrelevant to financial markets. The decision came after published data showed the eurozone headline consumer price index slowing to 0.7% year-on-year in October. Of course the equity markets rallied temporarily in a knee-jerk reaction to the ECB’s move, but by the end of the day most of the gains were lost.

2013-11-18 Chumps, Champs, and Bamboo by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

At bull market peaks, it often seems that the market is simply headed higher with no end in sight, and “buy-and-hold” appears superior to every alternative. Meanwhile, the reputation of value-conscious investors and risk-managers goes from “champ” to “chump.” Then, the bamboo tree suddenly sprouts, and the entire lag is often replaced by outperformance in less than a year. Only after the fact does the reputation of risk-managed strategies surge from “chump” to “champ.”

2013-11-18 Willing a Fiscal Win by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms of ING Investment Management

Why can’t we just will our desired political outcomes the way the most fervent seemingly can impact ballgames? After watching Fenway Park packed to the rafters with Red Sox faithful exercising their sovereign and ethereal right to psychically encourage baseballs out of the yard and knowing that millions of others in Red Sox nation were doing the same in front of their televisions we’re left wondering if the fans of Team U.S.A. can apply a little of that classic Carlton Fisk mojo a few hundred miles down I-95.

2013-11-17 The Unintended Consequences of ZIRP by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Two recently released papers make an intellectual and theoretical case for an extended period of very low interest rates and, in combination with other papers from both inside and outside the Fed from heavyweight economists, make a strong case for beginning to taper sooner rather than later, but for accompanying that tapering with a commitment to an even more protracted period of ZIRP. We are going analyze these papers, as they are critical to understanding the future direction of Federal Reserve policy. Secondly, we’ll look at some of the unintended consequences of long-term ZIRP.

2013-11-16 Gliding to Year End? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Although we remain optimistic, the path to year-end may have some potholes. US stocks are among the more attractive investment options available, but there is the risk of a pullback in the near term should sentiment conditions continue to be elevated. There is also a risk of a melt-up in stocks given recent momentum. Europe is dealing with falling inflation and weak growth, although expectations are low, leaving investment opportunities somewhat attractive. Both Japan and China appear to be at a crossroads and we are watching political and monetary developments carefully.

2013-11-15 In the Wake of Disaster by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

As humanitarian organizations scrambled to send relief to the Philippines this week following the country’s battering by Typhoon Haiyan, foreign governments prepared to support the rebuilding and economists looked to assess the tragedy’s near-term impact.

2013-11-15 Has Washington Drama Taken Its Toll On MLPs? by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors

“They did it! They blew it up!” shouts Charlton Heston in the iconic ending scene of the film Planet of the Apes when he finds out he has been living on a post-nuclear war planet Earth. Americans are probably having some of the same feelings about our current world resulting from the ongoing political “nuclear war” raging in our nation’s capital.

2013-11-15 Dressed to the Nines with Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

While paper gold is getting the cold shoulder in the West, the Love Trade buyers in the East are wrapping their arms around all the physical gold they can get their hands on.

2013-11-15 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Federal Reserve’s policies may remain easier for longer than previously thought. What’s the best way to arrest falling labor force participation? Look for the Fed to adopt a lower unemployment target.

2013-11-14 In a Real (But Uneven) Recovery: Where to Remain Cautious by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Last week brought evidence that while the U.S. recovery is uneven, it’s happening. For investors, the big takeaway is to remain cautious on interest-rate sensitive assets. Russ explains.

2013-11-14 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Data keeps coming fast and furious and (for the most part) it has been favorable. Investors remain torn between being ecstatic about the solid recovery or worried about the implications for another Fed move. Stocks were mixed throughout the week with the Dow Jones staying in record territory. Is that worth a Tweet (now that it’s public)?

2013-11-14 The Secret of the Euro\'s Survival by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Despite fiscal strains and political controversy, the common currency still enjoys broad support among member nations. Here’s why.

2013-11-13 Why I Sell the Dollar: From Dollar Strength to Dollar Weakness by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

To those that say the U.S. has the cleanest of the dirty shirts, we would like to point out that it hasn’t helped the greenback, as evidenced by the euro outperforming the dollar both so far this year, as well as last year. Yes, we have a mess in the Eurozone that won’t be resolved anytime soon. But we also have a mess in the U.S., Japan, and many other places around the globe.

2013-11-13 When Flexibility Meets Opportunity in the European Commercial Real Estate Market by Laurent Luccioni of PIMCO

The pace of asset sales by European banks has been slower than many anticipated due to the fragile economic, political and regulatory environment across the continent. A complex CRE landscape and the pervasive effects of cognitive bias, capital rigidity and the unintended consequences of regulation mean mispricing can occur frequently. Unlocking value in this environment requires a flexible approach to investing across the capital structure and the resources to source, underwrite, structure, service and operate commercial real estate assets.

2013-11-13 Fed Research on Policy Rules by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

In a paper for last week’s IMF annual research conference, William English (head of the Federal Reserve Board’s Monetary Affairs division) discussed current monetary policy strategy, with a focus on threshold rules and forward guidance. The paper caused a stir in markets but we do not think it signals a fundamental change in Fed communication. Small changes to the so-called “Evans Rule” are possible, but the basic framework will probably remain in place even as QE tapering begins.

2013-11-13 Twenty Five by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover, Mike Czekaj of Broadleaf Partners

I am not a particularly good salesman. From the time I first meet a prospect to when they become a full-fledged client, it can often take two years even when they initiate the first meeting. Fortunately, growing the firm isn’t one of my primary roles, a responsibility that does fall to Bill Hoover, my business partner. The beauty of our relationship is that while Bill devotes his time to our firm’s “outside” efforts, I am able to spend almost all of my attention tending to the portfolios of those who have already hired us. (View a printable version of this Economic

2013-11-12 Beware of Financial Planning’s Misguided Rules-of-Thumb by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Lacking better insights, financial planners cling to rules of thumb, such as allocating a percentage of assets to fixed income based on a client’s age. More recently, those rules have been institutionalized through products like target-date funds, which maintain a fixed glide path for all investors. But new research has led to the development of software products that allow advisors to easily improve on the suboptimal outcomes to which clients were previously destined.

2013-11-12 The Bomb Shelter Portfolio: Maximum Income with the Least Risk by Geoff Considine (Article)

Conservative investors are faced with unappealing choices. They can reduce risk and accept low yields and high exposure to rising rates, or they can push the bounds of their risk tolerance to increase yield. My analysis shows a way out of this predicament: a “bomb shelter” portfolio of ETFs, which offers attractive yield with minimal volatility and exposure to rising rates.

2013-11-12 Markets Vacillate Between Stronger Economy and Fed Accommodation by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished mostly higher last week as the S&P 500 increased 0.6%, ending higher for the fifth straight week. The return of central bank action was a primary concern. The European Central Bank (ECB) surprised investors with a 0.25% rate cut, while the debate over the Federal Reserve’s impending tapering decision continued in earnest.

2013-11-12 Taper Talk by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Taperingplease bring it on. We wanted it yesterday, or last month, or even years ago. We never thought QE helped the economy and certainly don’t think keeping it around is a good idea. It’s created uncertainty at an unprecedented level.

2013-11-12 Currency Markets Show Signs of Reversal by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

A mixture of surprising economic data and changing central bank policy led to sharp moves in currency markets last week. This came after several gyrations in FX markets earlier this year. Looking forward, volatility is likely to remain, but many signs point towards a strengthening U.S. dollar.

2013-11-12 New Fed Papers Foreshadow a Dovish Fed Policy Under Yellen by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

New Fed Papers Foreshadow a Dovish Fed Policy Under Yellen Two new Fed papers presented at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) argue for prompt lobbying for continued aggressive monetary policy, but suggest prompt tapering of quantitative easing (QE) and more emphasis on forward guidance. The assumption is that these papers would not have been released if Janet Yellen intended to push policy in a different direction . . . and they reinforce the message of papers released at Jackson Hole this summer, suggesting that QE wasn’t acting as effective economic stimulus.

2013-11-12 Let's Party Like it's 1978 by Bill OGrady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

A twice yearly meeting of the Chinese government officials, formally known as the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, started on Saturday and will end tomorrow. Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping has indicated that this session could be as consequential as the plenary session in 1978 which introduced policies that set in motion the Chinese growth engine. We are going to take a closer look at the changes from the plenary session 35 years ago, the circumstances leading up to the session and how China changed following the meeting.

2013-11-12 Janet Yellen\'s Mission Impossible by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Most market watchers expect that Janet Yellen will grapple with two major tasks once she takes the helm at the Federal Reserve in 2014: deciding on the appropriate timing and intensity of the Fed’s quantitative easing taper strategy, and unwinding the Fed’s enormous $4 trillion balance sheet (without creating huge losses in the value of its portfolio). In reality both assignments are far more difficult than just about anyone understands or admits.

2013-11-12 Will 39% Hike in Minimum Wage Tank The Economy? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

President Obama called for a whopping 39% increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour last Thursday. There is already a bill working its way through in the Senate to do the same thing. If this legislation passes, the minimum wage will be increased 95 cents each year for the next three years starting this year, to bring it to $10.10 by 2015.

2013-11-11 A Textbook Pre-Crash Bubble by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Despite the unusually extended period of speculation as a result of faith in quantitative easing, I continue to believe that normal historical regularities will exert themselves with a vengeance over the completion of this market cycle. Importantly, the market has now re-established the most hostile overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndrome we identify.

2013-11-11 Surprise, Surprise, Surprise! by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The economic data were mostly stronger than anticipated last week. GDP growth exceeded expectations, although the details were a bit troublesome. With everyone anticipating some impact from the partial government shutdown, nonfarm payrolls accelerated in October. Moreover, revisions to August and September, painted a much stronger picture of job growth. What does this mean for the Fed and its decision to taper?

2013-11-10 What Would Yellen Do? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In advance of this week’s confirmation hearings for Federal Reserve Board Chairperson-nominee Janet Yellen, let’s pretend we are prepping our favorite Banking Committee senator for his or her few questions. What would you like to know? In this week’s letter I offer a few questions of my own.

2013-11-09 TIPS Post Modest Returns in Third Quarter by Steve Percoco of Lark Research, Inc.

After a very rough second quarter, TIPS posted modest returns in the 2013 third quarter. By our calculations, TIPS gained 0.97% in the quarter, better than the 0.19% gain on comparable maturity straight Treasury securities. After the sharp second quarter sell-off, bargain hunters found value in the intermediate maturities for both TIPS and straight Treasurys.

2013-11-08 U.S. Shale Oil: A Central Banker\'s Best Friend by Charles Wilson of Thornburg Investment Management

After nearly a decade of sustained high energy prices , U.S. oil and natural gas producers responded to the market’s call for supply with newly exploitable shale resources. The fresh supply helped reduce concerns about global spare production capacity and limited upward pressure on energy prices. Central bankers around the world were able to maintain highly accommodative monetary policies for prolonged periods as a result.

2013-11-08 Who Needs Gold Really? by Miguel Perez-Santalla, Adrian Ash of BullionVault

Four reasons to waste your time with the deeply historic, deeply human value ascribed to gold...

2013-11-08 Manager Q&A: Tocqueville Gold Fund by John Hathaway, Doug Groh of Tocqueville Asset Management

In a new Q&A, John Hathaway and Doug Groh, the co-portfolio managers of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), answer questions about the price of gold, the relationship between the price of the commodity and gold miner stock prices, and industry consolidation amongst gold miners.

2013-11-08 Bubbles Without Borders? by Vivek Tanneeru of Matthews Asia

If you are a wealthy person living in Asia, you might be tempted, with good economic reason, to look overseas to diversify your asset base. Overseas markets often offer good diversification as they are typically exposed to different economic cycles and also give exposure to different currencies. But while overseas stocks, bonds and other financial instruments all offer diversification, few asset classes seem to have the same allure as overseas propertythat is, overseas property in the right cities.

2013-11-08 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.0, down from last week’s 131.4 (revised from 131.5). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, rose to 1.8, up from 1.7 last week.

2013-11-08 Government Shutdown Doesn't Shut Down Markets in October by Karen Cavanaugh of ING Investment Management

The stage was set for an October selloff, but markets treated investors to another round of across-the-board gains. Headlines comparing today’s equity market with 1999 are way off; the current rally has been driven by solid corporate fundamentals, and the market remains compellingly valued. Global economic growth remains sluggish, and eventual Fed tapering is likely to introduce volatility into markets worldwide.

2013-11-08 Taking Stock in the Economy by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investments

Now is a good time to take stock in the current macro environment from a market perspective. Here’s what we think could happen at the end of this year and next year.

2013-11-08 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The ECB’s rate cut signals concerns about deflation. The U.S. job numbers provide an upside surprise. How reliable are the U.S. employment data?

2013-11-08 Janet Yellen\'s Mission Impossible by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Most market watchers expect that Janet Yellen will grapple with two major tasks once she takes the helm at the Federal Reserve in 2014: deciding on the appropriate timing and intensity of the Fed’s quantitative easing taper strategy, and unwinding the Fed’s enormous $4 trillion balance sheet (without creating huge losses in the value of its portfolio). In reality both assignments are far more difficult than just about anyone understands or admits.

2013-11-08 Should You Walk Away from a Fed that Prints Money? by Tad Rivelle of TCW Asset Management

Either the markets or the Fed itself will come to accept that financial repression is a “box canyon” whose only escape is by climbing out through higher rates and wider spreads on risk assets. Staying “risk on” requires the investor to underwrite the exacerbating risks inherent in an economy that is being given bad signals and is accumulating a menagerie of mispriced assets and bad loans. Yes, you should walk away from a Fed that prints money.

2013-11-08 Big Ideas in the Big Easy by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This is likely a contrarian view to the folks in the White House, but I think investors benefit from being contrarian and thinking differently. In preparation for my presentations in New Orleans as well as for the Metals & Minerals Investment Conference in San Francisco and the Mines and Money in London in a few weeks, I’ve been pulling together this kind of research that we can all put to use now.

2013-11-07 Gold: Hold It or Fold It? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

It’s starting to feel like we are part of a giant poker game against the US government, whose hand is the true condition of the American economy. The government has become so good at bluffing that most people feel compelled to watch how the biggest players in the game react to determine their own investment strategy.

2013-11-07 EM: The Growth Story That Isn't by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

We remain very concerned about emerging market stocks and bonds. The recent outperformance of EM stocks is again luring investors to once again touch the hot stove. Emerging markets seem to have some significant structural and cyclical issues about which investors seem unaware or seem to be ignoring.

2013-11-07 Global Forecast: Synchronized Growth - So Long as Governments Behave by Andrew Pease of Russell Investments

Russell Investments released its Q4 Strategists’ Outlook and Barometer report, a quarterly update to its Annual Global Outlook which helps inform the short to medium term asset allocations in Russell’s multi-asset strategies and portfolios.

2013-11-07 Absolute Return Letter: Euthanasia of the economy? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

QE has had two noticeable and positive effects. It has saved the world from a financial meltdown not once, but twice, and it has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on asset prices, so in that respect QE has been a success. However, there are growing signs that QE may be beginning to impair economic growth and it may even cause dis-inflation, precisely the opposite of what was widely expected. For these reasons we believe it is time to call it quits and begin to tackle the root problem a banking industry still suffocating from bad loans.

2013-11-07 Global Inflation: A Mixed Picture by Monty Guild, Anthony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Many investors and global macro economists have been on vigil for a ramp up in global inflation spurred by immense central bank QE and other forms monetary stimulus. All of the money printing from around the globe has helped keep the financial system functioning, and it continues to help weak developed economies get back on firmer growth footing. However, it has not translated to rapidly rising prices for goods and services that many expected.

2013-11-06 Why Worry About a Melt-Up? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The risk of a melt-up in stocks is garnering more attention; and is something we’ve been discussing recently, too. Sentiment does appear stretched in the near-term and warns of a possible pullback. But there are few, if any, bubble-like conditions present and fundamentals ex-sentiment appear healthy.

2013-11-06 Tighter Fiscal Policy Not Helping by Scott Brown of Raymond James

We are now more than five years into the economic expansion, but to many Americans, it still feels like a recession. Many of the headwinds that restrained the recovery early on, such as housing and state and local government, have turned to modest tailwinds, and monetary policy remains highly accommodative. The biggest restraint on growth this year has been fiscal policy. There is a near-term focus on a long-term budget deal, but an agreement seems rather unlikely. Sequester spending cuts set for mid-January should be a more important consideration for lawmakers.

2013-11-06 Permabull? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

A permabull is defined as somebody who is always upbeat about the future direction of the stock market and the economy. Recently I have been called a permabull by certain members of the media, which may be true since March of 2009, but certainly not true over the past 14 years.

2013-11-06 The Top 10 Investor Worries Right Now by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

In the first of a regular series in my Informed Investing blog, let’s count down the top 10 things that give investors the willies in today’s investment environment. These are situations known to even casual investors, but may or may not be communicated to them effectively by their financial advisors.

2013-11-05 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Several readers respond to Bob Veres’ article, Why Deficits Don’t Matter, which was published last week. A reader responds to Adam Apt’s article, Is Gold Overpriced?, which was published Oct. 15, and a reader responds to the commentary, Scrooge McDucks, by Bill Gross of PIMCO, which appeared Oct. 31.

2013-11-05 Ex-US Property Bubble Peaking? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

For several years now, a common storyline on China was the immense overcapacity in the country’s housing market. A mixture of easy credit policies and officials’ explicit economic growth plans based on capital investment yielded construction on a massive scale across the countryside. So-called ghost towns emerged as the pace of building and the migration of rural citizens into these cities fell out of sync.

2013-11-05 Even Economists Get Stuck Looking in the Rearview Mirror by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Will the US economy grow in an above-average way in the next ten to twenty years or do we need to resign ourselves to an era of anemic economic growth? Two pieces of information came out this week, adding to existing information on the subject and speak to this core debate in the US stock market. The first piece was called “Slowing to a Crawl” by Jonathan Laing from Barron’s.

2013-11-05 Fed in Holding Pattern, but for How Long? by Christopher Molumphy of Franklin Templeton

At its October 29-30 policy meeting, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) again put off the so-called “tapering” of its $85 billion-a-month asset purchase plan, now over a year old, until some future date. In an official statement released at the conclusion of the meeting, the Fed cited fiscal policy issues as restraining growth and said it will continue its quantitative easing program (known as “QE”) until the job market improves “substantially.”

2013-11-04 Sovereign Ambitions to Develop Infrastructure Benefit Emerging Asia's Utilities Sector by Raja Mukherji, Emily Au-Yeung of PIMCO

The scope for infrastructure development in emerging Asia is tremendous, and the utilities sector has potential to contribute to and benefit from that growth. In general, we have found that state-owned utilities benefit from a range of operational advantages, partly as a result of the government’s vested interest. PIMCO’s bottom-up research allows us to analyze evolving company- and sector-specific factors within the greater macroeconomic picture to identify the best investment ideas in Asia’s utilities sector.

2013-11-04 Leash the Dogma by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

It’s fascinating to hear central bankers talk about the economy, because in the span of a few seconds they can say so many things that simply aren’t supported by the evidence. For anyone planning to watch the confirmation hearings for the next Fed Chair, the evidence below is provided as something of a leash to restrain the attacking dogma.

2013-11-04 What Price for Growth? by Equity Investment Team of Janus Capital Group

Cloud computing and social media are bringing a level of disruption and innovation not seen in the technology sector since the dot-com era. The troubling aspect is that valuations for many of these companies seem just as stretched as Internet stocks were back then. We think investors may be paying too much for the growth inherent in these companies.

2013-11-04 More #PlowHorse in Q3 by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Despite the shutdown, the sequester, talk of tapering, and meteors in the night sky, the US economy just keeps plowing along. Reported later this week, we expect Q3 real GDP grew right on trend at a 1.9% rate another, #PlowHorse report.

2013-11-02 Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

The froth and foam on markets of all shapes and sizes all over the world. It is an exhilarating feeling, and the pundits who populate the media outlets are bubbling over with it. There is nothing like a rising market to help lift our mood. Unless of course, as Prof. Kindleberger famously cautioned, we are not participating in that rising market. Then we feel like losers. But what if the rising market is a bubble? Are we smart enough to ride and then step aside before it bursts? Research says we all think that we are, yet we rarely demonstrate the actual ability.

2013-11-01 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

ere is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor’s "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1720.03.

2013-11-01 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.5, up from last week’s 131.1. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, dropped to 1.7, down from 2.0 last week.

2013-11-01 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices saw a robust recovery in September as investor concerns about slower capital inflows to these markets faded after the U.S. Federal Reserve unexpectedly decided to delay the tapering of bond purchases.

2013-11-01 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The public needs to move beyond its bad feelings toward financial institutions. Should we modify the price stability mandate of central banks? The Fed offers no surprises.

2013-10-31 Global Economic Outlook by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The United States avoided a fiscal accident after Congress struck a deal to end the partial government shutdown and bought time to resolve differences over the federal budget. Assuming political discord will not result in another standoff, the U.S. economy is projected to show steady and stronger growth in 2014 compared with 2013.

2013-10-31 A Bit More Hawkish, All Things Considered by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Today’s statement from the Federal Reserve was almost a carbon copy of the last one in September. No changes to the pace of quantitative easing or interest rates, which is exactly as the consensus expected. The Fed made only minor changes to the text of the statement, making it slightly more hawkish in one spot and slightly more dovish in another.

2013-10-31 Fed Outlook for the Short and Longer Run by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

One of the ironies of Ben Bernanke’s tenure is that he set out with a goal to improve Fed communication while in office. Immediately after his first meeting as chairman in March 2006, Bernanke set up a subcommittee tasked with facilitating debate around communication issuesincluding inflation targeting, post-meeting statements and minutes and public speeches by individual Fed officials.

2013-10-31 The Age of Experimentation (Global Economic Outlook for Fourth Quarter 2013) by Robert Scherfke of Hartford Funds

Macroanalyst Robert Scherfke, PhD discusses the progress global economies have made since 2008 and the challenges officials face as they normalize fiscal policies.

2013-10-30 The Thermometer of the Stock Market by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

As long-duration owners of common stock, we believe it is the wealth created by the businesses which causes the owners to prosper. We have also been participants in the US stock market since 1980 and are very aware of big swings in enthusiasm for owning common stocks. So we thought it would be helpful to share our opinion on the current temperature of the market. To take the temperature of the market we need to examine the thermometer readings.

2013-10-30 Bernanke vs. Yellen: A Spooky Outlook? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Fed Chair nominee Janet Yellen will take over where her predecessor Ben Bernanke leaves off. Not just operationally, but also philosophically. To understand where the Fed and the U.S. dollar may be heading, we take a closer look at where Bernanke and Yellen are coming from.

2013-10-29 Why Deficits Don’t Matter by Bob Veres (Article)

Stephanie Kelton, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri/Kansas City, believes that the root of our deficit problems can be found in a fundamental misunderstanding ? shared by Democrats, Republicans and mainstream voters alike ? about the government’s balance sheet. She argues, plausibly, that the whole idea that we should control the deficit at all is costing our nation trillions of dollars in lost output. The result is lost income, savings, wealth and prosperity.

2013-10-29 Is This the New Normal'? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Markets Settle into a New “Normal” All sorts of economic data were released last week, but volatility has dropped: rightly or wrongly, market forecasts about the pace of quantitative easing (QE) and earnings growth in the U.S. appear to have coalesced around an outlook for “slow growth with ongoing QE”.

2013-10-29 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Nice to have a week free of politico rhetoric and distractions for a change (don’t get used to it). With little in the way of budget battles, investors focused on earnings and generally liked what they saw. Add in some positive economic news from China and a labor picture that should prompt the Fed to stay put (for now) and you have another record for the S&P.

2013-10-28 The Grand Superstition by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

One thing that separates humans from animals is the ability to evaluate whether there is really any actual mechanistic link between cause and effect. When we stop looking for those links, and believe that one thing causes another because “it just does” we give up the benefits of human intelligence and exchange them for the reflexive impulses of lemmings, sheep, and pigeons.

2013-10-28 Jobs, Jobs, Jobs by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Following an extended delay, investors were disappointed (sort of) to learn that the September payroll report was another dud. The headline figure was below expectations, but investors were largely comforted by knowing this likely extended QE3 further into the future.

2013-10-28 Healthcare Costs: Relief at Last? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Some observers believe medical cost increases have begun to abate amid the onset of the Affordable Care Act. The evidence isn’t there yet.

2013-10-26 Inflation Update by Team of North Peak Asset Management

Historically the larger the increase in monthly inflation, the worse mainstream stocks and nominal bonds perform.

2013-10-26 A Code Red World by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The heart of this week’s letter is the introduction of my just-released new book, Code Red. It is my own take (along with co-author Jonathan Tepper) on the problems that have grown out of an unrelenting assault on monetary norms by central banks around the world.

2013-10-25 The Deserted Island Portfolio by John West of Research Affiliates

What would a Deserted Island investment portfolio look like, managed without the distractions of cable news and short-term benchmark comparisons?

2013-10-25 Environmental Awareness in Asia by In-Bok Song of Matthews Asia

I traveled to China in September, quite possibly one of the best times of the year to visit in terms of weather. The air quality in both Beijing and Shanghai was actually pleasant and was very different from how it seemed during my previous visits as well as from the typical accounts one usually hears of the notorious smog in China’s major cities. It made me think about growing up during the industrialization of my home country, South Korea.

2013-10-25 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.1, up from last week’s 130.3 (revised from 130.4). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, dropped to 2.0, down from 2.7 (a downward revision from 2.8).

2013-10-25 Why Growth is Deep in the Heart of Texas by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

TIME Magazine’s cover this week features an engaging collage of the 50 states reassembled to fit within the boundaries of Texas. With a growing number of solid-paying jobs, affordable housing, and low taxes, “the Lone Star State is America’s Future,” declares economist and writer Tyler Cowen.

2013-10-25 Quarterly Review and Outlook by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

When an economy is excessively over-indebted and disinflationary factors have forced central banks to make overnight interest rates as close to zero as possible, central bank policy has repeatedly proved powerless to further move inflation or growth metrics. Four considerations suggest the Fed will continue to be unsuccessful in engineering stronger growth and higher inflation with their continuation of the current program of Large Scale Asset Purchases.

2013-10-24 Putting Tax-Deferred Accounts to Best Use by Kathleen Fisher, Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

The common wisdom about retirement planning is to fund tax-deferred vehicles such as 401(k) plans and IRAs to the maxand we agree. But how to put these accounts to best use is more complicated.

2013-10-23 The Right Investment Vehicle by Craig French of WBI Investments

Remember your first car? You probably had some good times in it passing your driver’s license exam, going to the prom, driving to your first job. You most likely have a different car now that you’re older one more suited to your current lifestyle and needs. I’ll bet your current car is a lot safer and more reliable than that first one. A car is a motor vehicle you use to reach your destination. Like a car, an investment portfolio is a vehicle you use to reach your clients investment goals.

2013-10-23 Lack of Earnings of U.S. companies Scarier Than Washington Grid-lock by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

I think U.S. investors believe whatever happens in Congress, there will always be a last minute deal, which is the main reason for the recent major stock market surge on nothing more than hope. The markets, of late, have not been trading on fundamentals; they have been trading on news. This is a dangerous phenomenon, when news is bad; there is no backstop to the market. It causes volatility to surge and institutional confidence to falter.

2013-10-23 Shifting Gears: The Fed Turns from Tapering to Tempering Expectations by Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson of Hartford Funds

Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Ben Bernanke surprised markets on September 18 by announcing a continuation of the Fed’s $85 billion-per-month bond purchases and more muted expectations for economic growth and inflation. With this proverbial monkey wrench thrown into the gears of financial markets, investors are now asking how the Fed’s new course changes the investment outlook.

2013-10-23 What a Yellen Fed Could Mean for Interest Rates by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

A major question among investors after Janet Yellen’s nomination for Fed Chair is whether she will be too soft on inflation. Part of Yellen’s dovish reputation stems from a debate among the FOMC in July 1996, in which she warned the committee about the risks of pushing inflation too low. With the passage of time, however, the views Yellen expressed at that meeting now come across as very sensible. Indeed, today they would be considered uncontroversial among most economists. In reality Yellen is closer to the Fed consensus on inflation than her reputation in markets would suggest.

2013-10-23 Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

The portfolio enjoyed another index-beating month with a gain of 0.9% versus 0.6%, so improving further the long term numbers. As noted in previous Bulletins, correlations between growth and equity market returns are low. Investors remain fixated otherwise, but some confusion is reasonable given that growth in earnings per share is also slowing. Yet strong equity markets can be justified by the Free Lunch Theory.

2013-10-23 Can Kicked Down the Road Once Again... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Donkeys 1, Elephants 0, Congress -535. The can was kicked down the road once again. We would all like to think that Congress will avoid another last minute battle in early 2014, but unfortunately we can’t put it past the current list of non-negotiators. The only thing that is certain in the future is that it will be many election cycles before a member of Congress makes it into the World Series of U.S. Presidential ballots.

2013-10-23 Cirque du Ben by Liam Molloy, Charlie Mas of Galway Investment Strategy

The Cirque du Ben will soon be leaving town for good. Some have cheered while others have watched in horror waiting for the disaster, but all were treated to a high wire act unlike any other Fed chairman has ever performed. Fed chairmen are often defined by the consequences of the previous performer. Bernanke had a couple of tough acts to follow in Volcker and Greenspan. Volcker had to guide an economy out of stagflation while Greenspan presided over 9/11, two recessions, and a full market crash in 1987. By the end of his his show, Greenspan had an oversized influence on policy.

2013-10-23 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review - 3Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

In its latest World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) further trimmed its forecast for global growth. The Washington-based lender said expansion will be driven more by developed economies as emerging markets grapple with slowing growth and a tighter global financial scenario as interest rates hint of trending higher in advanced economies such as the United States. However, a reading of economic tea leaves for the Euro-zone and economies such as Russia, Turkey, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic offers room for optimism.

2013-10-22 Revisiting the Debate Over the DFA Research by Scott MacKillop (Article)

DFA’s supporters have elevated that firm’s investment philosophy to the level of religious doctrine. The pitch and fervor expressed in the recent debate over its research suggest that Michael Edesess sinned mightily by questioning the faith. However, an examination of DFA’s approach to investing suggests a more measured reaction: The firm’s approach is sound, but it falls short of the magic that its disciples impart to it.

2013-10-22 The Boys Are Back in Town by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The boys are indeed back in town as Washington D.C. opened its doors for business as usual last week following a contentious debt ceiling debate and a 16-day shutdown of the government. This outcome had been anticipated in these letters for often-stated reasons, and just like when the ”fiscal cliff” was averted, I now expect the media to turn its focus to the next Armageddon.

2013-10-22 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

The gov is back in biz (so get back to work). Investors were pleased (for now).

2013-10-22 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review - 3Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Economic activity in the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) has been hindered by prolonged political unrest and civil strife. The region’s vulnerability has increased over the last two years due to mounting structural challenges. What’s more, widening fiscal deficits due to the economic slowdown and dwindling foreign currency reserves remain sources of concern, as noted by a World Bank report.

2013-10-21 A Last Minute Deal Averts Default - For Awhile by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

With the deadline for the United States to avoid defaulting on its debt fast approaching, Congress reached another late night compromise to reopen the government and raise the nation’s debt limit. The deal also called for yet another bipartisan committee to try to set a budget for future government spending. Before discussing what that committee is likely to do, let’s compare the predictions I’ve been making since early this year against the reality of what ultimately occurred.

2013-10-21 Did Monetary Policy Cause the Recovery? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Much of the present faith in monetary policy derives from the belief that it was the central factor in ending the banking crisis during what is often called the Great Recession. On careful analysis, however, the clearest and most immediate event that ended the banking crisis was not monetary policy, but the abandonment of mark-to-market accounting by the Financial Accounting Standards Board on March 16, 2009, in response to Congressional pressure by the House Committee on Financial Services on March 12, 2009.

2013-10-21 Europe Turning a Corner? by Brandon Odenath of J.P. Morgan Funds

Since late last year, investors have seen periods of strong outperformance by assets from the most impacted parts of Europe, leaving many observers wondering if Europe is turning a corner. Intervention by the ECB and the ability of those liquidity injections to stop the bleeding in the economy has helped. The reduction of austerity and drag coming from fiscal policy should be the key to faster economic growth.

2013-10-18 Connecting the DOTs: The Role of North America's Emerging Markets' in Achieving Energy Independence by John Devir of PIMCO

The midstream energy sector is likely to grow more quickly than the overall U.S. economy over the next several years, creating the potential for attractive investment opportunities. North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas, or the “DOTs” for short, stand to disproportionally benefit from strong growth in onshore U.S. oil and gas shale development. PIMCO’s approach is to identify and invest in the companies, including pipeline operating companies, favorably positioned to benefit from prolific oil production.

2013-10-18 Despite Uncertainty, the Market Still Looks Strong by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

Although it was an ugly battle, on Thursday morning October 17 President Obama signed a bill that reopened the government into January 2014 and raised the debt ceiling until early February of next year.

2013-10-18 Consumer Confidence Plunging Recession Ahead? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The stalemate in Washington continues, the government remains in partial shutdown and the debt ceiling looms on Thursday. A bipartisan deal to fund the government until January 15 and raise the debt limit until early February is working its way through the Senate and could be voted on later today or tomorrow. It is unlikely that the Senate bill will pass in the House, which is reportedly working on yet another bill (see link below) that is unlikely to pass in the Senate.

2013-10-18 Formosa: Back to Beautiful by Patricia Huang of Matthews Asia

When the Portuguese first landed on Taiwan, they called it Ilha Formosa or “Beautiful Island.” However, Taiwan’s route to success has been far more prosaicit rapidly industrialized by mass producing a wide range of consumer goods, including textiles and footwear, toys, bicycles, appliances and computer chips. It famously grew its economy via an export-driven model, making the “Made in Taiwan” label ubiquitous.

2013-10-18 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 130.4, down from last week’s 130.3 (revised from 130.4). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, dropped to 2.8, down from 3.6 (a downward revision from 3.9).

2013-10-18 Fall is in the Air by Christopher Singleton of Kanawha Capital Management

Autumn has arrived, and many creatures have been making dutiful preparations to survive the winter months. But not all are so inclined, particularly our political leaders. Indeed, along with crisper air temperatures and more vibrant colors, it would just not feel like fall without the annual Washington squabbles to fund the federal government and increase its borrowing authority.

2013-10-18 High Yield Bond Outlook: A Time for Unconstrained Management by Vilis Pasts, Matthew Pasts, Isaac Braley of BTS Asset Management

Using our unconstrained approach, BTS indicators signaled a move back into High Yield bonds near the end of September.BTS Asset Management views the High Yield bond sector as exhibiting solid fundamentals. Based on historical comparisons, High Yields have strong cash flow coverage for interest payments, due to conservative use of leverage. Post 2008, companies hired less people and have kept other fixed costs down.

2013-10-18 Trying To Beat The Market Is A Fool's Errand by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Proponents of indexing as the best investment strategy seemed to take great delight in reporting how the vast majority of professionally managed portfolios (mutual funds, separately managed accounts, hedge funds, ETFs, etc.) fail to outperform the S&P 500. Therefore, they argue, it is best not to even try. Investors should simply invest in index funds and forget about it.

2013-10-18 Trying to Stop a Bull Market Has Risks by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

U.S. stocks have been on a tear. The S&P 500 Index has climbed a surprising 20 percent so far this year, as a global synchronized recovery takes shape and funds flow back to equities. As I often say, investors take risks when they try to stop a bull run, and plenty of data suggest you might regret taking that action this year.

2013-10-18 Watch for the Signals on Policy Direction Out of Washington by Libby Cantrill of PIMCO

As expected, the deal that passed Congress on October 16 is another short-term, kick-the-can package. The big question is whether we will have to endure yet another saga next year, when Congress is once again forced to address the debt ceiling and fund the government. We are skeptical on the outlook for the bipartisan budget conference committee: The main obstacles to a grand bargain that have existed for the past two years continue today.

2013-10-18 Is Your Portfolio a Five-Tool Player? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

In baseball a “5-Tool Player” is one who has high-level abilities in these areas: hitting for power, hitting for average, running, fielding and throwing. 5-Tool Players are a special breed, and teams covet them. I have identified 5 tools a premier investment approach should have in order to be successful in our arena, the achievement of client goals and growth of advisory practices.

2013-10-18 In Other News by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

It will take some time to gauge the full impact of the government shutdown and data is likely to be somewhat skewed over the next couple of months. However, sitting on the sidelines isn\’t a great option and stocks still appear to us to be the best place to invest money for the longer term. International growth, although not robust, appears to be more supportive as we head into 2014 than it has since the financial crisis, and we favor developed over emerging markets for the time being.

2013-10-17 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Last quarter we wrote about the confusion that can be created by the Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) two official mandates: keeping inflation in check and ensuring full employment. We also pointed out that given the rather fragile economic backdrop, talk of letting the economy stand on its own two feet by reducing their bond buying might be premature. During the third quarter, it appeared most economists felt comfortable that the Fed would indeed begin “tapering” its purchase of Treasuries and mortgage securities after the September Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetin

2013-10-17 Yellen to the Rescue? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

While Democrats and Republicans fight with water pistols, the President may be readying a bazooka by nominating Janet Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke as Fed Chair. You may want to hold on to your wallet; let me explain.

2013-10-17 Investing in Retirement: Bonds Aren't Enough by Kathleen Fisher, Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

What should you invest in after the spigot of earned income is turned off? It’s a vexing question, especially since we expect lower stock and bond returns going forward.

2013-10-17 Some Encouraging News, but Further Uncertainties by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Financial market participants welcomed signs that leaders in Washington were at least willing to talk to each other. However, it remains unclear what sort of agreement will be reached. A temporary extension of the debt ceiling sidesteps a near-term financial catastrophe, but does not remove uncertainty completely.

2013-10-16 Pacific Basin Market Overview - September 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

North Asian markets ended higher during the quarter after comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke appeared to infer that the Fed’s asset purchase program would be extended for a while longer. On the other hand, India and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region underperformed along with weakening currencies and continued fund outflows. In China, Premier Li Keqiang’s statement that China would meet its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target this year, coupled with better-than-expected economic data, brought some relief to the equity markets.

2013-10-16 The Role of Gold in an Investment Portfolio by Miguel Perez-Santalla of BullionVault

As stock markets gyrate with each new economic crisis in the U.S. and abroad, advisors are scrambling to find ways to protect against a precipitous market slide. Can you assure your clients that their portfolios have effective insurance against a severe jolt to the capital markets?

2013-10-16 Economic Assessment Without Government Reports by Team of Northern Trust

The very near-term economic outlook is unclear and will remain so until the political impasse in Washington over the government shutdown and debt ceiling is settled. If differences are resolved in a day or two, the damage could be about 0.2 percentage points to fourth quarter real gross domestic product (GDP). A failure to raise the debt ceiling would more of a calamity, which we hope not to encounter.

2013-10-16 Equity Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

As we write this outlook, our political leaders once again have succeeded in holding the U.S. government budget, and by extension the financial markets and the broader economy, hostage to their respective political agendas. We believe it is important to avoid getting caught up in the drama on Capitol Hill and remain focused on the slow but continued healing taking place in the U.S. economy.

2013-10-16 Two More Reasons to Like Equities: Growth & Inflation by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ offers more evidence supporting his preference for equities over bonds: Historically equities have tended to outperform bonds on a monthly basis in a growth and inflation scenario like the one we’re in today.

2013-10-15 Is Gold Overpriced? by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

New research, based on an econometric model of gold prices, has attempted to answer the question, “Is gold overpriced?”

2013-10-15 Bond Market Review & Outlook by Thomas Fahey of Loomis Sayles

Flip-flopping Federal Reserve (Fed) policy defined the third quarter. Last quarter, the Fed threw the markets a curve ball by announcing possible tapering of its large-scale asset purchases beginning this year. That “taper talk” set off a mini-riot in global bond markets. Many emerging market (EM) countries, like Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa, were the biggest victims, as their bond yields rose and their currencies crashed.

2013-10-15 Equity Markets to Congress: “What, me worry?” by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

President Obama said he was willing to have discussions, though he said he wouldn’t engage in negotiations. (Comment: I guess it depends of what the meaning of "is" is.) So far, those discussions haven’t produced a deal, but at least they’ve started talking.

2013-10-14 Equity Market Review & Outlook by Richard Skaggs of Loomis Sayles

Equities generally performed well across the board in the third quarter. The S&P 500 Index’s solid 5.24% return built on strong gains from earlier in the year. The Index has returned more than 19% through September, surpassing expectations at the start of the year. Slow but steady economic growth in the US, support from the Federal Reserve (the Fed), and more recently, signs of potentially better growth in Europe and Asia have been important positive catalysts.

2013-10-14 Waiting for the Fed by Charles Lieberman (Article)

The Fed is waiting for evidence of stronger economic growth before it tapers monetary policy, which requires new data that won’t be available until the budget and political impasse is settled. Measured GDP, when it becomes available, will be weakened by the shutdown, but workers will be paid and underlying trends remain fairly positive. The negotiations may be protracted and highly distracting while underway, but equities should rally as soon as the budget issue is either resolved or reduced in severity, as hinted by last week’s sharp rally in reaction to progress in the talks.

2013-10-14 Short Horizon, Long Horizon by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

On all evidence, we’re far more inclined to view the position of stock prices as a temporary overextension of already extreme conditions than some durable change in the workings of the financial markets.

2013-10-14 Me and My Horse by Jim Goff of Janus Capital Group

This is not a story about getting back on the horse that throws you. It is about just staying on the horse. It is also a market story.

2013-10-12 Debt Ceiling Delusions by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The popular take on the current debt ceiling stand-off is that the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party has a delusional belief that it can hit the brakes on new debt creation without bringing on an economic catastrophe. While Republicans are indeed kidding themselves if they believe that their actions will not unleash deep economic turmoil, there are much deeper and more significant delusions on the other side of the aisle.

2013-10-12 These Could be the Most Lucrative Energy Plays by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Sometimes the most attractive energy assets aren’t found in the ground. Rather, at times like today, they are listed on the stock exchange.

2013-10-10 Frustrating the Most People by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

A venerable sage once said, "The markets do whatever they have to do to frustrate the most people." For the long-duration investor, this means that you need to look at what people are invested in to determine where the frustration will come from. Thanks to the Associated Press, we know what the masses have done with their investments in the last five years.

2013-10-10 The Fire Fueling Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold took quite a beating in September, bucking its seasonal average monthly return of 2.3 percent. The political battle between President Barack Obama and Congress, China’s Golden Week, and India’s gold import restrictions likely weighed on the metal.

2013-10-10 Economic and Market Overview: Third Quarter 2013 by Team of Envestnet

The economic environment in the third quarter was one of growth, albeit at a slower pace than most economists, and the Federal Reserve (“Fed”), believe can be self-‐sustaining. The slow but steady gains the economy made were enough to buoy the stock market, but likely only because the Fed has seen it necessary to maintain its aggressive monetary policy. While employment gains were anemic during the quarter, the unemployment rate actually declined to 7.3%, largely due to a contraction in the labor force.

2013-10-09 Little Visible Progress on the Budget Shutdown, but Some Inside Baseball In Play by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

President Obama canceled his planned visit to Asia and participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summitciting the inconvenience caused by the government shutdown (“the difficulty in moving forward with foreign travel in the face of a shutdown), sending John Kerry in his place, and reiterating his unwillingness to negotiate with Republicans.

2013-10-09 The Squeeze Play by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO

Reductions in Treasury bill and commercial paper issuance compounded by developments on the demand side mean the “squeeze play” is on for many short-term portfolios. Investors should consider the potential for substantive changes to liquidity conditions as banks contend with increases in capital requirements due to updated Basel III regulations. Active management of short-term investments is important: Don’t rely on static regulatory frameworks or traditional indexes to determine a portfolio’s unique liquidity needs.

2013-10-09 Taper Time - Mining, That Is by Adam Bowe, Robert Mead of PIMCO

Recent data suggest that mining investment is tapering, with the sector detracting from real growth in the first half of 2013. We see three possible growth scenarios: a handoff to the corporate sector; no handoff, with demand continuing to slow; or a handoff to the highly levered household sector, which would create long-term risks. Until we see meaningful signs of a growth handoff from the mining sector to a new balance sheet that has the capacity to expand, our base case calls for sub-trend growth and low interest rates, supporting bond prices over the cyclical horizon.

2013-10-09 Gold Strategy Investor Letter, Q3 2013 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

We believe the gold market is set up for a major advance, but recognize that the timing of a turn has been elusive and frustrating. The longer current Fed policies remain in force, the greater the potential disruption to financial markets when it changes, most likely due to events yet unforeseen. Still, conventional economic commentary remains confident of Fed competence to unwind its balance sheet. When this confidence dissipates, as we expect, investment demand for gold will resurface in the most forceful manner.

2013-10-08 Forecasting Bond Returns and Evaluating Bond Funds by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

While past performance is not a guarantee of future alpha, it sure is a hint ? the skills needed to generate alpha in a given market are likely to be as valuable in one period as in another. This principle is the basis of selecting active managers. How can we adapt it to bond funds, given the larger market forces at work?

2013-10-08 The Market May Be Signaling a Return to a More Typical Recovery by Whitney George of The Royce Funds

Despite the Fed’s indecision about whether or not to taper, we see evidence that business activity is normalizing and the global economy is getting healthier. Co-CIO, Managing Director, and Portfolio Manager Whitney George talks about how economically sensitive sectors have begun to benefit from rising rates in the small-cap rally, how recent news coming out of China has affected certain portfolio investments, where he is currently seeing long-term opportunities, and stocks in which he has high confidence.

2013-10-08 Detente with Iran? by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

On September 28th, President Obama reportedly called Iranian President Rouhani to confer over American and Iranian relations. In addition, Iran’s nuclear program was discussed. This was a historic eventthe first documented call between a U.S. president and his counterpart in Iran in 35 years. The last time such a conversation occurred was when the Shah was in power.

2013-10-08 Listen to the 10th Man by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

There’s no shortage of short-term risks in today’s market or conventional wisdom on how they will play out. But prepping for the unexpected could limit the number of surprises and better insulate investors’ portfolios, writes Kristina Hooper.

2013-10-08 Q3 Brings Plot Twists; Volatility to Continue in Q4 by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ reviews how the third quarter shaped up vs. his expectations, noting which calls he got right and which he got wrong, and he updates his outlook for this quarter.

2013-10-08 And That\'s The Qaurter That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

An obsession with Fed policy; troubles in Syria; new concerns in DCand yet the market kept rolling (for a while).

2013-10-08 Absolute Return Letter: Heads or tails? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

Demographics captivate me. There are around 7.1 billion of us occupying planet earth today, going to 10 billion by 2050. I often think about how good old mother earth will cope with the additional 3 billion people we are projected to produce between now and 2050. More people translate into increased pressure on already scarce resources, but that is only part of the story and a story well covered by now.

2013-10-07 Ted Williams, Ford F-150\'s, and Market Valuations by Robert Mark of Castle Investment Management

In late 2008 Lehman Brothers had just collapsed, AIG needed help from the US government and markets around the world were in a tailspin. Today, five short years later, we find it strange how the strength of the stock market defies a climate of declining earnings. With another quarter of corporate results behind us, equities continue to rally despite corporate earnings offering no material support, with many companies actually talking down their future growth prospects.

2013-10-04 Nowhere to Hide: Navigating Rising Rate Risk in High-Yield Markets by Gibson Smith, Colleen Denzler of Janus Capital Group

Over the past few years, investors have flocked to high-yield credit, many believing it a good way to mitigate their interest rate risk as well as capture additional yield. However, they may not realize the level of rate risk that has followed them. High-yield indices, negatively correlated to five-year Treasury bond yields over the past 15 years, have been positively correlated for the past year.

2013-10-04 After Detroit: Rigorous Research and Credit Selection Is the Key to Investing in Municipal Bonds by David Hammer, Sean McCarthy of PIMCO

Detroit recently declared bankruptcy, setting off the largest municipal Chapter 9 proceeding in history. There has been and will continue to be a lot of noise in the media, underscoring challenges but also presenting opportunity for experienced investors. PIMCO has long favored special revenue essential service bonds over GO bonds. Detroit Water and Sewer bonds are payable by a pledge of and statutory lien on net revenues of the water or sewer system, and as such benefit from provisions in the federal bankruptcy code ensuring that the pledge is not affected by the petition.

2013-10-04 The New Normalization of Fed Policy by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

The Fed is sending a message that the unwinding of its extraordinary accommodation will be done with great care and patience, and will take time - a long time. In delaying a taper, not only did the Fed show markets it has little tolerance for any tightening of financial conditions, it also strengthened its forward guidance considerably. The Fed’s decision to delay a taper will likely relieve some of the upward pressure on longer-term interest rates.

2013-10-04 New Experiment in Shanghai by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia

In an attempt to further liberalize China’s economy, central government officials have created an experimental new free trade zone, which officially opened for business this week. The zone combines four existing but smaller development areas within Shanghai that are already exempt from import and export tariffs.

2013-10-04 Washington's Prolonged Saga and the Market's Reaction by Josh Timmons and Libby Cantrill of PIMCO

The federal government shutdown represents yet another self-inflicted wound to already modest growth. While the market seems to be mostly sanguine about the government shutdown, a breach of the debt ceiling which we feel is highly unlikely would be incredibly negative for financial markets.

2013-10-04 The Fed and Its Big Thumb by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Co.

We’ve seen what happens when prices get ahead of the economy reality. The bubbles in the dot-com’s in 2000 and the housing market in 2007 were such effects. We fear that the apparent Fed desire to continue to manipulate interest rates may engender more bubbles.

2013-10-04 Introducing the Tortoise Economy by Sam Stewart of Wasatch Funds

All things considered, large U.S. companies that operate globally appear to be particularly attractive right now. Because many of these companies are generating significant portions of their sales outside the U.S., investors are effectively getting some international exposure with what I consider to be more-quantifiable risks.

2013-10-04 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.1, down from last week’s 132.9. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, remains unchanged at 4.8% (with last week’s number revised downward from 4.9).

2013-10-04 The Fire Fueling Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For patient, long-term investors looking for a great portfolio diversifier, a moderate weighting in gold and gold stocks may be just the answer. And, today, when looking across the gold mining industry, you’ll find plenty of companies that have paid attractive dividends, many higher than the 5-year government yield.

2013-10-03 Third Quarter Market Commentary: Let's Reminisce by Robert Stimpson of Oak Associates

US stocks have risen each quarter of 2013, outperforming most other asset classes and emerging markets along the way. In the third quarter, the S&P 500 Index rose 5.24% and pushed the year-to-date gain to 19.79%. All sectors within the S&P 500 have produced positive returns this year, although the pro-cyclical groups have outperformed the defensive ones.

2013-10-03 Survival of the Fittest? by William Gross of PIMCO

I hate crows and my wife Sue hates bugs, but like most married couples we have learned to live with our differences. Crows eat bugs though, and bugs eat bugs, and that scientific observation sets the context for the next few paragraphs of this month’s Investment Outlook.

2013-10-03 The Taper Fakeout by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

Anyone who bought the media buzz about a September reduction of QE - called the "taper" - was very surprised when the Federal Reserve announced that stimulus would continue unabated. According the the official narrative, inflation is under control and the labor market is steadily improving. Why wouldn’t a modest taper be announced?

2013-10-03 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for the Americas: A Slow-Moving Fed Benefits Economies on Both Continents by Mohit Mittal, Lupin Rahman, Ed Devlin of PIMCO

PIMCO expects the U.S. economy to grow 2.0%2.5% over the next year. However, a continued government shutdown would be a drag on growth. In Latin America, we see growth picking up to 3.0%3.5%, but the outlook varies by country. Mexico should fare well, but Brazil’s story is more mixed. In Canada, we believe the housing correction will be less severe than many are predicting, and we expect GDP to grow 1.5%2.0% over the cyclical horizon.

2013-10-01 The Eight Principles of Value Investing by Scott Clemons and Michael Kim (Article)

In any environment, but especially one characterized by uncertainty, eight principles of investing are critical. These bedrock beliefs help guide our thinking at the levels of asset allocation, security selection and identification of the third-party managers we engage to help manage our clients’ assets.

2013-10-01 The Most Predictable Economic Crisis? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

Forget about a government shutdown. The quibbling over concessions to keep the government funded distracts from what might be the most predictable economic crisis. We have problems that may affect everything from the value of the U.S. dollar to investors’ savings, but also to national security.

2013-10-01 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Click to viewHere is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor’s "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1687.17. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 1681.55. For the earnings, see the table below created from Standard & Poor’s latest earnings spreadsheet.

2013-09-30 Teenage Melodrama and the Market's Infatuation with QE by Michael Temple of Pioneer Investments

Like a teenager caught between the decision of going to college and leaving friends behind or living in the comfort of home and going nowhere, debt markets have been reeling between taper angst and infinite quantitative easing euphoria.

2013-09-30 The Global Sea Change Continues by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Most investors will readily admit the global credit bubble is deflating, yet continue to favor credit-based asset classes within their portfolios. Whereas many investors still believe that the emerging markets are a growth story, the data tell us that U.S. investors can find growth in their own backyard.

2013-09-30 Investing In Corporate Bonds: The Compelling Case For Active Management by Ed Devlin, Michael Kim of PIMCO

Passive investment returns in the Canadian corporate bond market have been unimpressive because of the way corporate bond indices are constructed and factors unique to the Canadian market. Unconstrained by these limitations, active managers with global reach may provide superior returns. The current environment presents an attractive opportunity for Canadian investors to implement a wide discretion, active approach to managing corporate bonds.

2013-09-30 Sitting Ducks by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Stocks are a claim on a very long-term stream of future cash flows that will be distributed to shareholders over time, and P/E ratios are simply a shorthand. P/E ratios are useful only to the extent that the earnings measure being used is reasonably representative and informative about the long-term stream of cash flows what might be called a “sufficient statistic.”

2013-09-30 Investing in a Fairly Valued World by Herb Abramson, RJ Steinhoff, Randall Abramson, Anthony Visano, Jeff Sayer of Trapeze Asset Management

For several years we have been arguing that global equity markets are undervalued and represent the best investment alternative given growing corporate profits (S&P 500 Index earnings have nearly doubled in the last five years), a favorable monetary backdrop and a recovering economy.

2013-09-30 Congress Holds Equities Hostage by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equity advances ended last week and the S&P 500 declined -1.0%.1 Markets appeared concerned about overbought conditions from a strong run up over the past three weeks and uneasy about Federal Reserve (Fed) monetary policy normalization as well as the credibility of its communication strategy. Other widespread reasons for the downturn included increased focus on the fiscal battles in Washington, D.C., heightened worries about a possible near-term government shutdown and the contentious debt ceiling debate.

2013-09-30 Fourth Quarter Outlook: A Turning Point? by Gene Goldman of Cetera Financial Group

It seems sometimes that the outlook for the global economy and the markets has been unchanged for years. Since the end of the recession, each year has commenced with forecasts that the United States economy would break out of its below-trend growth mode, only to see expectations dashed. Meanwhile, Europe has been mired in its own recession as it struggles with heavy post-crisis debt burdens. Growth has slowed in the emerging markets, ending the commodity boom of the first decade of this century.

2013-09-27 Party like it's 1999? Not with your investments by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

“Party over, oops out of time?” I wasn’t dreamin’ when I wrote this, but these financial markets in the U.S. are beginning to feel like 1999. Back in the 1980s musician Prince, in all his purple majesty, urged people to party like it was 1999. Strangely when that year came, people did just that, but a year later they got clobbered by a horrific hangover by way of their investment portfolios. Investors need to prepare yet again for those times because these parties weren’t meant to last.

2013-09-27 Bridging the Gap: Global Listed Infrastructure by Wilson Magee of Franklin Templeton

Simply spreading your investments across a smattering of asset classes with the idea that diversification should automatically produce a positive result is an approach that’s maybe a little too similar to a roll of the dice. For investors hunting for classes to diversify into, Wilson Magee, Director of Global Real Estate and Infrastructure Securities, Franklin Templeton Real Asset Advisors, and co-manager of Franklin Global Listed Infrastructure Fund, has one word: infrastructure.

2013-09-27 Celebrate with Tokyo by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

Many in Tokyo erupted with delight and excitement following the recent news of the city’s selection as host to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Following a failed bid in 2016, Tokyo edged out rivals Istanbul and Madrid on its way to becoming the first Asian city to host the Games for a second time.

2013-09-27 Calculating A Stock's Fair Value Based On Future Growth Expectations: Part 2A by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In part one of this two-part series I focused primarily on calculating the intrinsic value of a common stock based on an analysis and review of historical information and data. Although I strongly believe that there is much that investors can learn by studying the past, I even more strongly believe that since we can only invest in the future, that it is also implicit that we embrace a rational method of forecasting.

2013-09-27 The Weekly Speculator by Michael Shaoul, Ranita Ragunathan, Timothy Brackett, Brendan Moynihan of Marketfield Asset Management

We wrote last week on the eve of the FOMC meeting which resulted in the surprising decision not to reduce the current program of treasury and mortgage security purchases. What was to our eyes equally surprising was the volume and strident tone of the commentary that was issued following this release, ranging from the arrogant to the outraged as if anything really meaningful had changed.

2013-09-27 How to Profit from a Changing China by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We believe China’s rebalancing is positive for investors who selectively invest in its stocks. As Jim O’Neill puts it, “When a country is embarking on a significant compositional change to its economy, stock-pickers rather than index-trackers have the upper hand.”

2013-09-27 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.9, up from last week’s 132.3 (revised down from 132.4). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 4.9% from last week’s 4.5%.

2013-09-27 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Merkel’s win is unlikely to lead to any changes in the Eurozone. Extra lift from exports is not guaranteed. Robust growth is a challenge in India, Brazil and Indonesia.

2013-09-26 One Trick Pony: Whipping the GDP Donkey into a Stallion by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia

The difficulty since 2012 has been that if you are not significantly overweight US equities, then your returns are less than stellar. Employing a diversified, risk-averse investment strategy in 2013 has in hindsight been the wrong thing to do, given that every other asset class is negative year-to-date, while US stocks are up double digits. The combination of the Fed’s Zero Interest Rate Policy and the artificial bubble in Treasury bonds has forced conservative investors into riskier positions in order to find risk-adjusted returns.

2013-09-26 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for Europe: Near-Term Recovery, Long-Term Risks by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

While Europe has emerged out of recession, the relative tightness of monetary policy means the eurozone is still struggling to get back to potential pre-Lehman growth rates. The European Central Bank should be able to maintain stability over the cyclical horizon while policymakers continue to address outstanding issues as they look to build a less vulnerable monetary union. We are selective in our approach to regional credit and remain neutral on the euro, balancing our cyclical outlook with longer-term secular concerns on the eurozone outlook and valuations.

2013-09-25 Bernanke's Temporary Reprieve by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

There is no nice way to state this opinion: the end of Quantitative Easing and the ultimate allowance of the open market to set interest rates will create a grueling multi-decade bear market in US bond investments. Higher rates mean the re-pricing of existing bond instruments to lower prices and the principle risk of longer-dated maturities getting exposed. In 1983, I remember people losing approximately 15% of their market value in one year as Treasury interest rates rose from 11% to 14%, temporarily crushing owners of 25-year tax-free unit trusts.

2013-09-25 Surprise... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Clearly, the numbers didn’t meet the Fed’s preconditions for tapering. And while the jobless rate has fallen to 7.3% (from 8.1% when QE3, the current round of quantitative easing began), Bernanke had to acknowledge what’s been obvious to all. The decline in the jobless rate hasn’t occurred just because more folks are getting jobs; it’s because many are dropping out of the workforce, which means they’re not counted as unemployed by the government.

2013-09-25 Surprise! No Tapering and More Budget Progress than Meets the Eye by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

On Monday, Larry Summers exited the pool of candidates for the next Federal Reserve (Fed) chairman. (Only the timing was really a surprise.) On Wednesday, the Fed didn’t taper and de-emphasized several of the targets they’d set earlier. (Big surprise versus consensus - not central bank best practices). Municipal bond offerings by Puerto Rico, California, and Illinois were met with strong investor demand.

2013-09-25 Secular Trends in Asian Credit Markets Shape Long-Term Investment Themes by Robert Mead, Raja Mukherji of PIMCO

The next several years will likely see many Asian corporate issuers to come to the market for financing, whether to pursue long-term business plans or to employ traditional corporate finance and leverage strategies. Rigorous credit research, flexible resources, experienced local portfolio management and strong relationships with local stakeholders are all crucial to uncovering attractive opportunities while monitoring volatility in Asia’s credit markets.

2013-09-25 More Than a “Sugar High” by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

The recent decision by the Fed to delay any tapering may be a preview of what to expect by a “Yellen Fed”. As the Fed appeared to remove “virtually every yardstick or goal post” that they have provided recently, one thing is certain, “they seem determined to keep the accelerator nailed to the floor as they drive the economy at full speed.” According to Cornerstone Macro, based on the Fed’s move, it appears increasingly likely that “growth is more likely to reaccelerate.”

2013-09-24 William Bernstein ? “Stocks for the Long Run” by Michael Edesess (Article)

William Bernstein’s reading of history is that if you want to build a nest egg and protect against the “four horsemen” that threaten it over the long term, the best thing to do is invest in a globally diversified stock portfolio.

2013-09-24 ENERGY MLPs: A Suitable and Sustainable Asset Class by Sponsored Content from ClearBridge Investments (Article)

Key Takeaways: MLPs have provided income with little correlation to other asset classes and little sensitivity to interest rates, commodity prices or economic cycles. The market for MLP stocks has expanded greatly and offers liquidity which appeals to long-term institutional investors. The renaissance in U.S. energy production is driving sustainable growth in the infrastructure that MLPs own and operate

2013-09-24 Why Retirees Should Choose DIAs over SPIAs by Wade Pfau (Article)

Retirement portfolios can be constructed from a mix of asset classes, including stocks, bonds and annuities. In the past, I’ve shown that retirees achieve some of the best outcomes by allocating a portion of those assets to SPIAs. In this column, I extend my analysis to show that DIAs work even better than SPIAs, by providing more liquidity and better longevity protection at a lower cost.

2013-09-24 Michael Aronstein’s Warning to Fund Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Fixed-income investors may think rising interest rates are their biggest worry. But bond funds face a new risk, driven by their need for liquidity to service investors’ daily redemptions, according to Michael Aronstein.

2013-09-24 Why Bond Funds are Toxic for Your Portfolio by Raul Elizalde (Article)

Thirty years of rate declines have convinced many that bonds are safe. Indeed, a conservative portfolio has come to be synonymous with one that is heavy on bonds. But a rising interest-rate cycle is taking hold, and bond investors are now exposed to unfamiliar risks in their conservative portfolios. Bond funds will not provide the safety that investors seek. Holders of individual bonds will fare much better.

2013-09-24 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Hail the Almighty Fed. Despite a rather hectic week on the economic calendar, investors instead focused primarily on news from the Federal Reserve. They rejoiced the end of Summer’s campaign for Chair and further rejoiced another Fed meeting with far more words than action. The week ended with profit-taking and plenty of uncertainty heading into the homestretch of the year.

2013-09-24 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

The Federal Reserve kept its word last week: until they see an improvement in jobs growth and wages they simply won’t budge on their mission to keep interest rates low to stimulate borrowing and economic expansion. What this means to the markets, however, is more ambiguous.

2013-09-24 The U.S. Deficit Shrank, but Will It Come Back Bigger Than Ever? by Team of Knowledge@Wharton

The U.S. deficit has fallen to its lowest level since 2008. Experts weigh in on how this will affect upcoming budget negotiations.

2013-09-24 The Brazil Conundrum by Bill OGrady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

The last decade has been exceptionally good for emerging markets. Never before have so many countries grown so rapidly, and at the same time. The average growth rate from 2003 to 2012 was 13.1% for emerging markets, while the long-term average stands at 5.0%. This growth rate was partly due to mean reversion after sluggish growth periods in the 80s and 90s, when the average growth rate for the group stood at 3.5%.

2013-09-24 Has the Fed Lost Its Credibility? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Any economics student will tell you central banks must achieve three things to effectively implement monetary policy: (1) independence; (2) credibility; and (3) transparency.For most of the Fed’s history, the first two characteristics were arguably well attained.However, the group was never well known for clarity into its thinking.

2013-09-24 The U.S. Economy: Poised for Growth? by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

The Federal Reserve decided to delay the beginning of the end of quantitative easing (QE). The markets were very surprised by this as nearly all Fed watchers were expecting at least a small reduction in QE. In explaining its course of action, the Fed cited economic conditions that are currently too weak and/or fragile to begin removing QE. Ironically, the bond and stock markets rallied on this news.

2013-09-23 A Gross Failure of Communications by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Everyone was totally caught by surprise when the Fed announced it would maintain the $85 billion monthly rate of bond buying after Fed officials had carefully signaled for months that it would soon start tapering purchases. Moreover, the Fed’s justification was not compelling and the decision wrecked havoc with the Fed’s efforts to improve transparency. Investors are right to be confused. Still, bonds remain at risk, while stocks should continue to do well.

2013-09-23 Seeking Global Growth: Our Outlook for Credit by James Balfour of Loomis Sayles

Global business and credit cycles are nothing new to investors. The familiar sequence of recession, recovery, expansion and slowdown plays out over time, influencing interest rates, credit availability, business climate and capital markets. It’s a time-honored process, but in practice, no two business and credit cycle pairings are exactly alike. Business and credit cycles tend to be driven by specific but varying factors that accumulate until an economic “tipping point” is reached, after which the business and credit climates deteriorate.

2013-09-23 The Euro Tug-of-War by Thomas Kressin of PIMCO

Faced with lingering economic stagnation, record unemployment and continued political strife in the region, the common consensus for a depreciation of the euro seems only natural and very much required to counter the weak cyclical position of the eurozone. The rising current account surplus in combination with net long-term capital inflows point to a stronger euro that could stay with us for an extended period; such a development could potentially undermine the fragile social consensus to continue with the necessary structural and fiscal reforms.

2013-09-23 Enhanced Dividend for Income by Jim O'Shaugnessy of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

It is axiomatic in the financial planning canon that investors searching for a steady source of income should rely heavily on bonds. Stocks are for capital appreciation and bonds for income. The practice is so ingrained, that I have not heard of many investors who would make the case for using an equity portfolio to generate income. Bonds also appeal to advisors because of their inherent principal protection advantage. As a bond owner, you are a creditor, not an owner.

2013-09-23 Loose and Looser by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Larry Summers took his name out of the hat and won’t be considered for the top spot at the Federal Reserve. And while nothing is a slam dunk, it looks very much like current Vice Chair Janet Yellen is going to get the call from President Obama to step up and replace Bernanke.

2013-09-23 Aberdeen Global Investment Outlook: September 2013 by Mike Turner of Aberdeen Asset Management

The point of maximum policy accommodation may now be in sight: Markets volatile as investors forced to contemplate U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) exit strategy. Slowing growth in China is putting pressure on Asian and emerging markets to develop domestic led demand. This time really could be different for Japan - however reflating the economy was never going to be easy.

2013-09-21 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Global deleveraging has a long way to go. Fiscal drama and the economy. Funding for economic statistics needs to be enhanced

2013-09-21 Stock Buyback Announcements Slow to $2.3 Billion Daily in Third Quarter by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

Due to the acceleration in buyback volume in previous quarters, we are not reducing our $2.0 billion daily estimate of actual stock buybacks. Actual stock buybacks tend to track new stock buybacks closely with a lag. If the volume keeps falling in Q4 2013, however, we will likely reduce our estimate.

2013-09-21 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.4, to one decimal place unchanged from last week’s 132.4 (revised down from 132.3). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 4.5% from last week’s 4.3%.

2013-09-21 India's Need for Labor Reform by Siddharth Bhargava of Matthews Asia

India has long been recognized as a country of vast potential. With over 1.2 billion people, it boasts nearly one-fifth of the world’s working age population. However, the country’s laws hark back to a period when India’s political philosophy was still rooted in socialisma time when the government ran its own factories. Such laws have failed to keep pace with the economic liberalization program that began in 1991.

2013-09-21 How Did The Fed Catch Markets Off Guard? What Does it Mean for Investors? by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investments

We think this decision prolongs the positive market environment we have seen in both equities and fixed income. With the Fed seemingly a distance away from tapering and raising rates, this could bode well for the risk sectors, where we could see further tightening in credit spreads on both high yield and investment-grade corporate bonds.

2013-09-21 Fifty Shades of Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Unlike many commodities, there are many shades to gold, such as the Love Trade’s buying gold for loved ones and the Fear Trade’s purchasing gold as a store of value. An additional “shade” investors need to be aware of is how the Fed interprets the recovery of the U.S. economy.

2013-09-20 Will Europe's Improving Economy Push Interest Rates Higher by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased in the second quarter after six straight declines. Data expectations were on the optimistic side, but investors appeared to become more confident before the release, thanks to encouraging evidence from supposedly reliable forward-looking indicators.

2013-09-20 U.S. Commercial Real Estate: Will the Good Times Last? by Devin Chen of PIMCO

The CRE market has experienced a gradual recovery in asset pricing since the 2008 financial crisis. Despite the duration of the recovery, there continues to be dislocation in the CRE market that astute investors can capitalize on. We believe certain properties in non-major markets look attractive for acquisition, and have been acquiring residential land on an opportunistic basis.

2013-09-20 Q&A: Emerging Markets Powerhouses China and India by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Given their heft in the emerging markets world, China and India are among the countries I get asked most often about, particularly when they show market distress signals like economic slowing.This past week, the Templeton emerging markets team and I have been in China as part of a large research trip, doing further analysis on the market and key company prospects. I thought it would present a good opportunity to share a few of my answers to recent questions on both China and India.

2013-09-20 Growth and Rising Stars by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

While developed market growth in several regions is picking up cyclically from low levels, overall global economic growth should remain subdued over the next several years. We believe credit spread tightening and rating upgrades are most likely for specific companies in industries and areas with strong growth. We see these "rising star" companies in the U.S. and European auto sector, the gaming, energy and chemical industries and in sectors tied to the U.S. housing market.

2013-09-19 Intermodal Transportation: Finding Value in a Growing Segment of the Transportation Industry by Jason Downey of Diamond Hill Investments

As intrinsic value based investors, we view growth as a potential source of value for shareholders; however, we are careful not to overpay for it. Intermodal shipping is one of the fastest growing modes of domestic freight transportation, and also an area where we have found two companies trading below our estimates of their respective intrinsic values.

2013-09-19 The Taper That Wasn\'t by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The Fed’s failure today to announce some sort of tapering of its QE program, despite the consensus of an overwhelming percentage of economists who expected action, once again reveals the degree to which mainstream analysts have overestimated the strength of our current economy. The Fed understands, as the market seems not to, that the current "recovery" could not survive without continuation of massive monetary stimulus.

2013-09-19 When Doves Cry, \"Not Yet\" by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Fed surprised markets and the consensus by maintaining its full QE bond buying program; while both stocks and bonds soared on the news.

2013-09-18 White Noise by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Most recently, I have been in a cautious mode, believing we were involved in a short-term pullback that would carry the S&P 500 (SPX/1687.99) down about 10%. That strategy was working until the Syrian compromise wrecked the rhythm of the decline. Bear in mind, however, the anticipated decline was always couched within the context of a longer-term secular bull market.

2013-09-18 Bernanke Gets Another Chance to Communicate by Scott Brown of Raymond James

It seems clear that most Fed policymakers have not decided whether to begin reducing the pace of asset purchases. Officials will review a wide range of data and anecdotal information this week. It’s generally (but not universally) expected that this will lead the Federal Open Market Committee to begin tapering, but modestly, while signaling a wait-and-see attitude on further action. The Fed should continue to stress that short-term interest rates will remain low for some time. The economy is still far from being fully recovered, but we’re well on our way.

2013-09-18 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Depending upon where you reside, or on which side of the issues you fall, it was a good week last week. We averted a military strike on Syria by the U.S., at least temporarily; we had reasonable adjustments to economic growth statistics; and most made some money in their portfolios. While cyclical dynamics are relatively benign, the broader secular outlook continues to build a solid foundation for recovery.

2013-09-18 Larry Summers Helps Clarify the Future Path of Fed Policy by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Last Monday, at a London press conference, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry responded to a reporter’s question about what might avoid a military move against Syria by ad-libbing that Assad could give up his chemical weapons. As you probably know, Russia promptly endorsed the idea and Assad promptly agreed. The long-term implications of this development are unknowable; what matters now is that the risk of a U.S strike declined sharply last Monday. Over the most recent weekend, the U.S. and Russia have apparently agreed on key details, further reducing the probability of an attack.

2013-09-18 Is the Commodity Supercycle Dead? by Nicholas Johnson, Greg Sharenow of PIMCO

While commodity price appreciation won’t likely mirror the supercycle, this shouldn’t necessarily imply a negative view on commodity returns going forward. We believe commodity prices are at reasonable levels from a long-term valuation perspective. In addition, the roll yield from investing in commodities is the highest it’s been since 2005. The outlook for commodity returns today seems broadly consistent with historical returns, and commodities remain an important tool for hedging inflation risk.

2013-09-17 Charles de Vaulx: “We Have Never Been as Cautiously Positioned” by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Charles de Vaulx is the chief investment officer and a portfolio manager at International Value Advisers. In this interview, he discusses his outlook for the market and the economy, and why his fund has never been as cautiously positioned as it is today.

2013-09-17 Gundlach ? Where to Expect the Next Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Unless there is a crisis, don’t expect a major decline in interest rates, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. And if such a crisis occurs, Gundlach warned, it will most likely take place in this emerging market.

2013-09-17 Investing for Real People by Sponsored content by Oppenheimer Funds (Article)

Investor goals are the same, but solutions have changed. Today, aiming to meet basic needs requires new solutions. Laser focus on investor goals will help uncover appropriate investment opportunities. Expanding the opportunity set beyond the usual suspects will be critical to long-term success.

2013-09-17 Consumers Face An Economy at a Crossroads by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

As the Federal Reserve prepares to debate the merits of tapering its asset purchase program this week, a key area of the economy that will be closely analyzed by Bernanke and Co. is the health of the American consumer. There are tenuous signs that consumers are spending more, but attitudes towards the economic recovery are hardly encouraging. Consumers will find it difficult to stay the key cog of economic growth in the U.S., but at the very least, their participation in the recovery is imperative, and leaves much to be desired.

2013-09-16 Russia is Tough to Love, Easier to Hate, Hard for Investors to Ignore. Here\'s Why by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Russian President Vladimir Putin created a stir recently when he shared his thoughts with Americans in an op-ed printed in The New York Times. According to The Times, very few pieces written by heads of state have been published by the paper and very few received the attention Putin attracted.

2013-09-16 Syria: Foreign Policy Turmoil is a Distraction for Investors by Charles Lieberman (Article)

The equity and bond markets have been buffeted by the turn of events in Syria, although incoming economic data is vastly more important than political developments. Syria remains a mess on many levels. But it is essentially irrelevant in affecting labor scarcity, inflation or possible changes in monetary policy. Many politicians and analysts consider the pace of growth unsatisfactory, but the moderate growth rate has been sufficient to bring down the unemployment rate, while corporate profits have increased.

2013-09-16 Baby Steps by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Our view is that the Federal Reserve will taper its program of quantitative easing this week, in the range of a $10-15 billion reduction in the pace of monthly debt purchases. The Fed really has no “communication problem” about this the economic impact of further quantitative easing has had diminishing returns, and the economic drag from fiscal reductions has thus far been smaller than the Fed feared when it justified QEternity on the basis of those concerns last year.

2013-09-16 Opportunities in Uncertainty by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Uncertainty and volatility are elevated, which we believe provides opportunities for investors.

2013-09-13 Pacific Basin Market Overview August 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Asian equity markets ended lower in August, chiefly due to concerns about currency weakness in India and Indonesia, while improved macroeconomic data from China contributed to this market’s outperformance. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan fell by 1.3% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 0.71% lower during the month. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)

2013-09-13 What's Happening to Bonds and Why? by Mohamed El-Erian of PIMCO

To say that bonds are under pressure would be an understatement. Over the last few months, sentiment about fixed income has flipped dramatically: from a favored investment destination that is deemed to benefit from exceptional support from central banks, to an asset class experiencing large outflows, negative returns and reduced standing as an anchor of a well-diversified asset allocation.

2013-09-13 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.3, an increase from last week’s 131.5. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 4.1% from last week’s 3.9%.... At this point the company is still featuring a commentary posted at the end of July, Becoming Japan, which highlights the decline in GDP growth for Japan and seven other major economies, including the US.

2013-09-13 Open for Business Down Under by Kenneth Lowe of Matthews Asia

Swiftly after fighting off what most observers deemed to be a fairly weak incumbent Labor opposition in the recent Australian election, the leader of the Conservative coalition and the country’s newly crowned Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, firmly declared Australia to be “once more open for business."

2013-09-12 The Best Time to Own Cash: No Return is Better than a Negative Return by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest essay, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, writes about "the best time for an investor to own cash," which somewhat counter-intuitively, he believes is when that cash pays nothing.

2013-09-12 Rates Update: Rationale for the Continuing Sell-off and Distinctions between 1994 & 2003 by Brian Smith of TCW Asset Management

The bond market continues to struggle to find support, with 10-year Treasury yields touching 3%, a sell-off of roughly 140 bps in the last 4 months! While reduced dealer risk capacity and impaired investor loss tolerances are two underlying factors contributing to recent rates volatility, this violent move to higher yields has been primarily led by expectations that the Fed will begin to taper asset purchases in their upcoming meeting on September 18th.

2013-09-12 Brave New World by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms of ING Investment Management

If the monotony of high school lulled you into a catatonic state the semester you were supposed to read Brave New World, here’s the CliffsNotes summary of what you missed. Aldous Huxley imagined a futuristic utopia in which the government promotes economic and emotional stability through the plentiful use of a soporific opiate called “soma”. Soma allows the mind to take a holiday from worldly problems via a gram, or two or three. Imagine the chaos into which this fictional world would descend were the government to abandon its role as pharmacist to the masses.

2013-09-11 Absolute Return Letter: A Case of Broken BRICS? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

EM currencies, stocks and bonds have struggled since the Fed signalled its intent to change course in late May. This has seemingly triggered an exodus of speculative capital from emerging markets but, as is always the case, there is more to the story than that. EM countries (ex. China) no longer run a current account surplus with the rest of the world, and this hurts global liquidity. It is not yet a re-run of the 1997-98 Asian crisis, but it has the potential to become one with all sorts of consequences for bond yields in developed markets, currency wars, etc.

2013-09-10 A New Tool to Calculate Long-Term Care Needs by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Health-care crises can destroy retirement plans, yet advisors and clients often avoid discussing long-term care (LTC) insurance. Part of the reason ? aside from a natural reluctance to contemplate such tragedies ? is the lack of data needed to evaluate the LTC risk. That data deficiency can now be overcome, thanks to a pioneering product that provides customized projections for clients.

2013-09-10 The Party's Over. Why Own Commodities? by Jon Ruff, Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Commodity prices soared during the first decade of this century. But now the party’s over: new sources of supply are coming on line just as demand from China is slowing, leading to expectations of price declines. So should investors shun commodity-related investments?

2013-09-10 QE Tapering: Why Whether' or When' Doesn't Really Matter by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

We didn’t go to war last week what will happen is highly uncertain but the perceived probability of an imminent U.S. attack on Syria seemed to drop as the week proceeded.

2013-09-10 Raising the Bar on Target Date Due Diligence by Manning & Napier/Strategic Insight of Manning & Napier

Deeming whether target date fund investments are appropriate for a specific participant population is an arduous and imperfect task, made more complicated by a lack of full transparency. Fiduciaries should question whether the underlying securities of target date funds are appropriate to meet the retirement saving needs of plan participants. However, the question itself raises concern about what it would take to examine the funds in such detail.

2013-09-10 Check or Checkmate... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

The White House’s goal is to persuade Congress to authorize a limited military strike against Syria to punish it for a deadly chemical weapons attack. But after a frenetic week of wall-to-wall intelligence briefings, dozens of phone calls, and hours of hearings with senior members of Mr. Obama’s war council, more and more lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, are lining up to vote against the president.

2013-09-10 Taper Vs. No Taper - Let\'s Meet Somewhere In The Middle by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

Volatility in the US equity and bond markets has risen since Ben Bernanke and the rest of the Federal Reserve Board mentioned the possibility of tapering its bond purchase program - in other words, a potential end to the "free ride" the Fed has been giving investors. However, economic data is still weak and a reduction in economic stimulus by the Fed may harm the US economy.

2013-09-09 Get Ready for “Taper Lite”: 3 Signs the Labor Market Isn't Picking Up by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While the overall US economy is healing, the labor market’s recovery continues to be frustratingly slow. Friday’s payroll report suggests investors should prepare for a less aggressive Fed, a more muted backup in interest rates and a bond market that can go up as well as down.

2013-09-09 The Lesson of the Coming Decade by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Even if the S&P 500 Index goes nowhere over the coming decade - as historically reliable measures of valuation suggest - it will probably go nowhere in an interesting and volatile way, providing better value and opportunities that are well-supported by historical evidence. The challenge will be to maintain discipline even when frustration begs investors to abandon it.

2013-09-09 Moving On - Five Years After Lehman by John Petrides (Article)

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the Lehman Brothers failure and the start of worst financial crisis in American history since the Great Depression, and yet to some investors, it seems like only yesterday. Investors still hold onto that period of volatility as if it will happen again tomorrow, paralyzing and confusing their investment decisions. Consequently, many investors have watched from the sidelines as the stock market has recovered solidly year after year.

2013-09-09 Reasons for Optimism in a Sloppy Third Quarter by Ron Sloan of Invesco Blog

Investors are anticipating the day that we transition from a market dominated by monetary stimulus to an earnings-driven market. The problem is that earnings aren’t cooperating yet. In my view, we’ve still got a sloppy third and maybe fourth quarter to get through, but I think 2014 will likely be a much better earnings market.

2013-09-09 Market Technicals Signal Trouble Ahead by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Bear market enthusiasts have so far been disappointed in September after the sudden market rally last week. With equities up more than 1% on the month, many bears pointed to the historically poor performance of equity markets during this month as a reason to remain cautious. Bear enthusiasts need not fear, as markets appear to be converging toward an inflection point right around the Fed meeting in the middle of the month.

2013-09-07 Unrealistic Expectations by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Two well-respected analysts of pension funds have produced reports this summer suggesting that pensions are now underfunded by more than $4 trillion and possibly more than $5 trillion. I would like to tell you that the underfunding is all the bad news, but when you probe deeper into the problems facing pension funds, it just gets worse.

2013-09-06 Four Interest Rate Scenarios We Could Face by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

I’ve written a lot lately on the subject of “duration” and its potential impact on investor portfolios, now that the initial goals of the Federal Reserve’s “Great Monetary Experiment” appear largely accomplished and tapering of its monthly purchase of Treasuries to keep rates low is on the table. The era of lowering interest rates and rising bond prices looks finally at an end, with no place for rates to go but up. It’s vital, then, that investors think about the impact that rising bond yields could have on their portfolios. Here are a few scenarios w

2013-09-06 India - A World of Contrasts by William Hackett of Matthews Asia

Recently, I had the opportunity to join one of our Matthews Asia portfolio managers during a research trip to India, and was reminded of both the importance of such on-the-ground visits as well as the rigor required to conduct them.

2013-09-06 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Last year ECRI switched focus to their version of the Big Four Economic Indicators that I routinely track. But when those failed last summer to "roll over" collectively (as ECRI claimed was happening), the company published a new set of indicators to support their recession call in a commentary entitled The U.S. Business Cycle in the Context of the Yo-Yo Years (PDF format). Subsequently the company took a new approach to its recession call in a publicly available commentary on the ECRI website: What Wealth Effect?.

2013-09-06 Will Gold Follow Its Seasonal Pattern This Year? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

There are factors beyond Syria this week driving gold. That’s the Love Trade. This group gives gold as gifts for loved ones during important holidays and festivals. This is the time of the year that we are in the midst of right now. Historically, September has been gold’s best month of the year. Looking at more than four decades of monthly returns, the precious metal has seen its biggest increase this month, averaging 2.3 percent.

2013-09-05 India and Indonesia by Team of Matthews Asia

Comments from the Federal Reserve to begin reducing its stimulus operations have weighed heavily on markets across Asia in recent weeks. Growing investor concerns have largely centered on those economies that have been running current account deficits and that are likely to be further impacted by lower growth forecasts and reduced capital inflows. More short term, speculative flows from investors into fast-growing Asian economies have also fallen as expectations for higher interest rates in the U.S. have risen.

2013-09-05 Seventh Inning Stretch by William Gross of PIMCO

They say that reality is whatever you wish it to be and I suppose that could be true. Just wish it, as Jiminy Cricket used to say, and it will come true. Reality’s relativity came to mind the other day as I was opening a box of Cracker Jacks for an afternoon snack. That’s right I said Cracker Jacks! I can’t count the number of people who have told me during the seventh inning stretch at a baseball game to make sure I sing Cracker Jack (without the S) because that’s what the song says. I care not. No one ever says buy me some “potato chip” or some “pea

2013-09-04 The Bond Bear is Waking Up by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

We’ve been bond bears for quite some time, and we still are. The good news is that the violent part of the bear market has passed. We expect a slower, but still painful and consistent, move higher in interest rates during the quarters ahead. The 30-year bull market in bonds is over.

2013-09-04 Off to the Races by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

Summer is traditionally a slow season for precious metals, but this summer started with a rout. In the last week of June, gold and silver hit 2-year lows of $1,192 and $18.61 respectively. Fortunately, after staggering along the lows, the precious metals are off to the races once more - with gold rallying more than 18% and silver 31%. This remarkable performance continues even in the face of the Fed’s sustained tapering threats.

2013-09-04 4 Signposts To Watch for an Emerging Markets Turnaround by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

When will we see a significant and prolonged reversal in emerging markets (EM) stock performance? Russ says to watch for four signposts that could signify the EM underperformance tide is turning.

2013-09-03 The Impact of Severe Drawdowns on Safe Withdrawal Rates by Lloyd Nirenberg, Ph.D. (Article)

A Google search for “safe withdrawal rates” produces 30 million results, but none answers a question that is critical to advisors and investors: How would a sudden market downturn ? a “return shock” ? impair a retiree’s forecast withdrawals?

2013-09-03 How a Menu of Services Generates Revenue by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

Very few advisors do as good a job as possible articulating their value proposition and the ways they can be of service to their clients. If clients purchase products or services from competitors, it may be because they are unaware of the full range of your offerings.

2013-09-03 Our Views as We Head into Autumn by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Economic growth prospects for the U.S. are slowly improving, implying that the unemployment rate will continue to work its way lower and corporate profits will keep rising. We expect the Fed to start tapering of its bond buying program in September. Interest rates should revert to more normal, higher levels, but stocks should also work their way higher. Nonetheless, investors will be focused on events surrounding Syria, at least over the near term.

2013-09-03 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

For those in college during the 60s the time of “sex, drugs, and rock ’n roll” it’s hard to believe that marijuana has become legal. It is currently legal in some form in about 20 states and more are considering it, at least for medical purposes. Even Florida has strong proponents for the medical use of marijuana. There are always people who are trying to take advantage of the situation and this is no exception.

2013-09-03 So Step Right Up, Pick Your Favorites... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

So with the backing of The White House, the State Department, the Senate & The Economist, the United States is going to launch Tomahawks on Syrian targets. The President did say that he will let Congress vote on a strike, but both he, Secretary Kerry and Senator Reid let it be known that they will be lighting fuses soon. So as a refresher as to who is supporting whom in Syria, the chart below will both assist and thoroughly confuse you...

2013-09-03 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Click to viewHere is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor’s "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1670.09. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 1632.97. For the earnings, see the table below created from Standard & Poor’s latest earnings spreadsheet.

2013-09-03 Momentum in Europe by Janus Equity Investment Team of Janus Capital Group

We think now is a good time to be investing in Europe. European equity valuations are at the lowest level in more than 40 years, by some measures, and we are seeing green shoots in the region’s downtrodden economy. Meanwhile, European companies in several industries have right-sized their cost structures or refocused their businesses, setting them up to be more competitive on a global scale.

2013-09-03 As Uncertainty Abounds in September, Sideways Consolidation Continues by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Global equities struggled last week, with the S&P 500 declining -1.39%.1 Volatility rose from geopolitical uncertainty over the military strike in Syria.2 Oil prices spiked with concerns about escalation and tension but retreated due to dampened international support and expectations that a military campaign would be short-lived. The U.S. Treasury announced its borrowing capacity will be exhausted by mid-October, exposing contentious fiscal battles. Reports mentioned former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers may be leading the succession race for Fed Chairman.

2013-09-03 Forward Guidance Who Are You Going to Believe, the Fed or Your Lying Eyes? by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

Recently, a commentary published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, “How Stimulatory Are Large-Scale Asset Purchases?”, came to my attention.

2013-08-31 How Do I Hate Thee? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

I will list a number of reasons why I hate this market and then suggest a few reasons why that should get you excited. We will look at some charts, and I’ll briefly comment on them. No deep dives this week, just a survey of the general landscape.

2013-08-30 The Unfriendly Skies by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

As if the federal government were not already doing enough to kill the U.S. airline industry with restrictive workplace rules, over-regulation, and a monetary policy that supports higher fuel prices, earlier this month anti-trust authorities at the Justice Department blocked the merger between American Airlines and US Air.

2013-08-30 Ramen for Everyone by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

Matthews Asia’s investment team members regularly travel across Asia to conduct research. Between meeting with management teams, touring factories and catching flights from one destination to the next, we do, on occasion, need to eat. Sometimes it’s room service at midnight while typing up meeting notes, other times we may try some local food. For me, as a ramen lover, the growing number of ramen restaurants across Asia has been a real treat. Apparently, I’m not alone in that thought.

2013-08-30 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.3, an increase from last week’s 131.0 (revised from 131.1). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) declined to 4.2% from last week’s 4.5%.

2013-08-30 An American Energy Revolution by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In Texas these days, there’s a feeling of absolute and unwavering confidence in the concept of an American energy revolution. From the depths of reserves to the richness of the energy, an incredible transformation is taking place.

2013-08-29 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Last week, total AUM in all active ETFs increased by over $69 million. As in previous weeks, assets in “Short Term Bond” active ETFs increased, this time by almost $64.6 million. AUM in the “Foreign Bond” category fell by nearly $58 million both because of falling values for ETFs in the category and because redemption units in certain ETFs. The “Global Bond” category had another bad week, ending over $18.3 million below where it began.

2013-08-29 Monthly Investment Commentary by Litman Gregory Research Team of Litman Gregory

U.S. stocks resumed their positive streak in July (after a slightly negative June). Large-cap stocks rose in three out of the four weeks and were up 5% for the month. Smaller companies generally outperformed their larger-cap counterparts. After Federal Reserve comments regarding the timing of its stimulus withdrawal upset markets in May and June (particularly the bond market), investors seemed to take comfort in the Fed’s more recent comments. Among other points, Chairman Bernanke reiterated that a decision to taper bond purchases is different from raising the federal funds rate

2013-08-29 Have Emerging Markets Gotten Oversold? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

At Templeton, we’ve repeatedly championed our value-driven philosophy by frequently buying at times others are most pessimistic. This is not easy to do, even for seasoned market veterans. During the past few months, emerging markets have been subject to such pessimism. These periods of short-term volatility are certainly not new to us, and don’t change our long-term conviction of the potential emerging markets hold.

2013-08-29 Earnings: Just Good Enough by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Corporate profits aren’t exactly setting the world on fire, but the rate of growth should be sufficient to support further equity market gains.

2013-08-28 On Tapering, All Signs Point to “Maybe” by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Investors looking to the July 30-31 Fed policy meeting minutes for clear clues on future moves were left disappointed. Nearly all senior Fed officials expect that a reduction in the pace of asset sales is likely to be warranted by the end of the year. However, they appear evenly divided on whether that will be sooner (September) or later (December). The economic data remained mixed, suggesting that the decision will be a close call.

2013-08-28 Forrest Gump Stock Market by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

After watching "Forrest Gump" for about the thirtieth time recently, I realized that the US economy and US stock market share a great deal in common with Forrest. In this missive, we will be reminded of the journey of a true American folk hero and of the journey back from the abyss the US economy and stock market have made since early in 2009.

2013-08-28 A New Leg In The Commodity Decline? by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

For more than two years we’ve discussed the supply-side risks to commodity producers stemming from capacity built during the manic “Third Act” of last decade’s Three Act Play in commodities. Commodity-oriented equities have indeed underperformed since 2011 (chart 1), but to date, most pundits have laid blame squarely on the demand side (i.e., the sharp deceleration in Chinese economic growth). We don’t have a strong opinion on the short-term direction of the Chinese economy, but the capacity overhang looks like a multi-year story to us, independent of China’

2013-08-28 ING Fixed Income Perspectives August 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

While it’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, some pictures are just not that complicated. Take the current U.S. yield curve, for example, our interpretation of which can be boiled down to just a handful of syllables: “zero interest rate policy” and “taper”.

2013-08-28 US Interest Rates Will Continue to Rise by Martin Feldstein of Project Syndicate

The interest rate on ten-year US Treasury bonds has risen almost a full percentage point in the last six months, to 2.72%, implying a loss of nearly 10% in the price of the bond. And the recent rise in long-term rates is just the beginning of an increase that will punish investors who are seeking extra yield in long-term bonds.

2013-08-27 The Price Clients Pay for Worst-Case Forecasts by Bob Veres (Article)

Clients and the world at large give inordinate attention to downside scenarios, and nobody is calling our attention to the much larger upside of our business and investment landscape. The human brain amplifies this effect, because it is hardwired to notice threats much more than opportunities. I recently spoke with Dennis Stearns ? an advisor who happens to be an expert in scenario planning ? about the role planners need to play to counteract media-driven negativity.

2013-08-27 Do Income-Oriented Portfolios Reduce Safe Withdrawal Rates? by Geoff Considine (Article)

Among studies of safe withdrawal rates (SWRs) researchers have followed a common path: constructing portfolios with the goal of optimizing total return. This strategy achieves the highest SWR, but retirees often prefer a more income-oriented portfolio. I will illustrate the tradeoff investors make ? in terms of a lower SWR ? as they increase allocations to income-producing securities. But increasing income also brings a key benefit: lower estimation risk.

2013-08-27 Will Rate Rise Derail Housing Recovery? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

As the Federal Reserve grapples with when and how to unwind quantitative easing, interest rates climbed more than a point since the end of 2012. This caused mortgage rates to increase to their highest levels in two years last week, with the average conforming 30-year loan jumping to 4.58% from 4.40% the week prior. Rising financing costs is presenting a headwind for one of the biggest bright spots in the US economy over the past 12 months.

2013-08-27 Emerging Markets Feel the Ripples of Fed Tapering by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Many Emerging Market currencies (notably those of India, Brazil and Indonesia) have been weak since the beginning of May. The declines accelerated sharply in recent weeks, leading to something approaching panic in several markets last week.

2013-08-27 Policy Uncertainty on the Rise by Libby Cantrill, Josh Thimons of PIMCO

Congress seems to be digging in and ramping up the rhetoric in advance of a possible government shutdown, a debt ceiling increase and a probable selection of a new Fed chair. We think it is likely policymakers will agree to a short-term deal to fund the government and avert a shutdown, and also cobble together a resolution on the debt ceiling, although neither is likely until the last minute. The Fed chair debate will likely continue to sway markets over the next few months, leading to greater uncertainty and greater market volatility.

2013-08-26 Inflation Update by Team of North Peak Asset Management

As can be seen in the schematic above, most portfolios are effectively a bet on a low inflation environment due to their heavy reliance on mainstream equities and fixed income securities. In order to protect a portfolio from the damage that inflation can inflict, asset classes that are sensitive to increases in inflation need to be incorporated into the asset mix. These include Inflation Linked Bonds (TIPS), Precious Metals, Global Natural Resource equities and Commodities.

2013-08-26 Summers For Fed Chair by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

In the next month or two, President Obama will pick someone to succeed Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve. At this point, we think the odds-on favorite is Larry Summers.

2013-08-26 Equities Relatively Flat as Crosscurrents Remain by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished mostly higher last week, and the S&P 500 advanced 0.50%.1 The Dow Jones Industrial Average was the only the only major U.S. index to falter last week.1 Market sentiment was dominated by the notion that the market had become too bearish in the wake of the prior week’s sell-off in equities and credit. Continued improvement in global recovery sentiment seemed to provide a notable tailwind. The Fed dominated headlines markets appear obsessed with policy normalization and succession issues.

2013-08-25 France: On the Edge of the Periphery by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Charles de Gaulle said that "France cannot be France without greatness." The current path that France is on will not take it to renewed greatness but rather to insolvency and turmoil. Is France destined to be grouped with its Mediterranean peripheral cousins, or to be seen as part of the solid North Atlantic core? The world is far better off with a great France, but France can achieve greatness only by its own actions.

2013-08-24 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.1, a decline from last week’s 131.2. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) declined to 4.5 from last week’s 4.7%.

2013-08-24 Revisiting the USD Bull Market by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments

The USD bull market has begun with signs that the USD is transitioning to a cyclical currency. Monetary policy divergences in G4, slowing in USD diversification and a dramatic turnaround in the twin deficits, provide a strong fundamental underpinning to a USD rally going forward.

2013-08-23 What Does an Improving Economy Mean for Stocks and Bonds? by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

With the economy improving, inflation tame, and a Federal Reserve meeting approaching in September, Portfolio Manager and Principal Charlie Dreifus believes that small-caps remain an attractive option within the equities market.

2013-08-23 Switcheroo by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

What is priced into the bond market in terms of its outlook for the Federal Reserve? Does the increase in interest rates sufficiently reflect the market’s perceived policy shifts?

2013-08-23 5 China Charts That Look Bullish for Commodities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Over the past few months, investors have seen better economic data coming out of Europe. Consumer confidence in the continent has been rising, manufacturing data is improving and the fiscal situation is on the mend. Now, China appears to be strengthening as well, which could signal better times ahead. Below are five charts that look bullish for China and commodities. While not meant to be comprehensive, they do point to areas where investors might want to pay close attention.

2013-08-23 Embrace Bottom Up by Herbert and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

With all the conflicting macro news, some good, some not, and with the S&P 500 and the Dow at new highs while many sectors languish, it is preferable to focus on the little picture not the big one. The big one may currently be more unpredictable than the small one, being bottom up investment in undervalued securities. Those may currently be less popular, but we value investors are naturally driven to buy investments low, that are neglected and unpopular, with the view of selling them high when their popularity is enhanced. Buy low and sell high. Not buy high and sell higher as is now in vogue.

2013-08-23 Buckle Up by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Caution is warranted near-term. For investors that have a solid strategy of dollar-cost averaging into the market, we don’t recommend deviating from that path. However, for investors who are more tactical, better entry points are likely yet to come. Longer-term, we remain bullish on US equities and prefer developed international markets over emerging markets.

2013-08-23 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

India: Broken promise or temporary hiccup? Bond markets appear unmoved by central bank guidance. Rising mortgage rates are taking some of the steam out of housing.

2013-08-22 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Last week, total AUM in all active ETFs fell by over $60.5 million. AUM in the “Global Bond” category fell by nearly $89 million both because of falling values for ETFs in the category and redemptions in certain ETFs. The “Foreign Bond” category had another bad week, ending almost $36 million below where it began. As in previous weeks, assets in “Short Term Bond” active ETFs increased, this time by almost $36.5 million.

2013-08-22 Bernanke's Taper Tinkering by Tad Rivelle of TCW Asset Management

For at least the past five years, the Fed has cast an exceedingly long shadow over the capital markets. For this reason, understanding Fed policy has been central towards proper guidance and direction of investor capital allocations. Since Chairman Bernanke’s trial ballooning surrounding a potential “taper” of the Fed’s QE policy, longer maturity Treasury interest rates have soared over 100 basis points.

2013-08-21 The Danger of Duration: The Damage Potential of Rising Rates by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

The Federal Reserve’s initial goals from “The Great Monetary Experiment” are accomplished. Investors could now face the threat of rising bond yields.

2013-08-21 Asia Brief: On Economic Evolution in Cambodia by Edmund Harriss, James Weir of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

Cambodia’s recent national Assembly elections offer hope that the country may be able to achieve a peaceful political transition in the coming years. The country’s political turmoil has held it back behind its neighbors, but tourism and gar- ment assembly are driving an acceleration in economic output growth. However, Cambodia is at risk from inflation through imported petroleum, and its youthful population will want to see improving GDP per capita feeding through into higher living standards, rather than a higher hydrocarbon bill.

2013-08-20 Target-Date Funds: Why Higher Equity Allocations Work by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Following the 2008 financial crisis, target-date funds (TDFs) were criticized for exposing investors nearing retirement to excessive equity allocations. Were those criticisms justified? How well do TDFs stack up against the venerable strategy of matching one’s bond allocation to one’s age? My research has yielded surprising answers to those questions and to the proper role of single-premium immediate annuities (SPIAs) alongside TDFs.

2013-08-20 Change is Coming by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The summer months brought a period of calm to global markets and economies. Nearing the move to autumn, it is time to look ahead and see what resides on the horizon. Investors could be due for a renewed bout of volatility based on any number of events set to happen before year-end.

2013-08-20 Tapering Uncertainty Means Volatile But Range-Bound 10-Year Rate by Chun Wang of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

The U.S. 10-year yield was pretty much trapped within a 25 bps range between 250 and 275 in July (Chart 1), but intra-day volatility has picked up noticeably. In the last three months, there were 21 days of greater than 5 bps daily moves and 7 days of greater than 10 bps daily moves on the U.S. 10-year yield, the most in the last one and a half years.

2013-08-20 The Speed of Fed Rate Hikes by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

For the last several months, talk of tapering has dominated the Fed debate. Although there remains some uncertainty around the detailssuch as how large the initial step might bemost observers now expect the Federal Reserve to begin slowing the pace of quantitative easing (QE) at the September 17-18 meeting. Attention is now turning to another major issue on next month’s agenda: the publication of Fed officials’ forecasts for the funds rate in 2016. The Fed rolls forward the Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) by one year each September.

2013-08-20 A Lot Of Action In What Was Expected To Be A Quiet Week by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Most of the U.S. economic data released last week was rather ho-hum, consistent with continuing slow growth, but markets weren’t boring. Maybe markets are thin because it’s August, but the U.S. Treasury market had one of its worst weeks in a long time, and the selling spilled over into the U.S. stock market.

2013-08-20 The GDP Distractor by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Albert Einstein, a man who knew a thing or two about celestial mechanics, supposedly once called compound interest "the most powerful force in the universe." While the remark was likely meant to be funny (astrophysicists can be hilarious), it sheds light on the often overlooked fact that small changes, over time, can yield enormous results. Over eons, small creeks can carve large canyons through solid rock. The same phenomenon may be at work in our economy.

2013-08-20 August Monthly Investment Bulletins by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

For the first seven months of the year the portfolio rose by 25.2% vs. 19.3% for the index. During the month, the 6.4% gain was 150 basis points ahead. Three trends continued: the gradual increase in fund flows into equity markets relative to other asset classes, slightly improving economic data across most developed countries, and a mild deterioration in many developing nations.

2013-08-20 Epic Climb Up and to the Right... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Interest rates continue to make an epic climb up and to the right...

2013-08-19 A Bear Market Is Here: In Bonds! by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

While it certainly hasn’t made the headlines that it should have, the bond market has been kicked in the teeth. After bottoming at 1.61% on May 1, the yield on the 10-year Treasury Note hit 2.84% on Friday, its highest level in two years the worst bear market move in bonds since the end of the 2008-09 financial panic.

2013-08-19 Equity Fatigue Continues with Headwinds from Bond Sell-off by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished lower for the second straight week as the S&P 500 declined 2.04%, narrowly escaping its worst week of the year. A specific catalyst behind the pullback was not identified by us or market analysts.

2013-08-19 A Warning Regarding Broken Speculative Peaks by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

We presently observe what might best be called a “broken speculative peak” a strenuously overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising yield syndrome followed by a breakdown in market internals.

2013-08-19 The Tick-Tock on Tapering by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The Fed’s September 18 decision on whether to begin reducing the pace of asset purchases will depend on the economic data (the job market figures, in particular), but there’s a growing consensus that we’re likely to see a modest initial step, as a compromise between Fed officials who want to end the program sooner and those that want to see it continued. There are other things for policymakers to consider. One is the possibility of an adverse reaction in the financial markets. Another concern is the low underlying trend in inflation.

2013-08-17 Signs of the Top by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The investment media seems obsessed with the question of whether the Fed will taper. The real question should be not about "tapering" but about credibility. What happens when fundamentals become the narrative as opposed to what the central bank is doing? What happens if the Federal Reserve throws a liquidity party and nobody comes? Today we look at some of the fundamentals. The market is in fact overvalued, but that doesn’t mean it can’t become more overvalued. Is this August 1987 or August 1999?

2013-08-16 Using Equities to Hedge Inflation? Tread With Care by Bob Greer, Raji Manasseh of PIMCO

Historically, broad equity returns have not intrinsically provided a good hedge against inflation. Three key attributes may help companies withstand inflationary environments - pricing power, supply side advantages and a willingness and ability to sustain dividend hikes at a rate faster than inflation. To realize equities’ long-term potential as a key source of portfolio returns, investors should consider enlisting active managers who select stocks with a view on inflation and its effect on specific companies.

2013-08-16 The Case for Global Dividends: Valuations and the Impact of Rising Rates by Ehren Stanhope of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

The S&P 500 Index has risen over 150 percent since March 9, 2009 in what could arguably be deemed the most hated equity rally of all time. The MSCI All Country World Index, one of the broadest global indices, has risen “just” 110 percent since its March 2009 nadir. Evidence indicates that United States (U.S.) investors have not participated in this rallya truly sad state of affairs. It is worthy of noting that over the last several years a number of well known market pundits have viscerally rejected the equity rally due to macroeconomic concerns.

2013-08-16 Purgatory Is Heaven by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

Since June, the Fed has stressed three messages: Tapering is not tightening, the federal funds rate will not move in tandem with a slowdown in asset purchases, and any change in Fed policy will rely on data, rather than a date. If Ben Bernanke leaves the Fed when his term expires, whoever is chosen to replace him will be bound by rules and the strength of the institution. The outlook for interest rates depends more on the Fed’s overall approach to the policy rate, and PIMCO believes the Fed will not increase that rate until 2016.

2013-08-16 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The speculation about Fed leadership has gone too far. Eurozone growth should be placed in perspective. The velocity of money may turn around soon.

2013-08-16 What Happens When You Tell Indians to Stop Buying Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

With the government in India raising its import tax for gold to 10 percent this week, I firmly believe Indians will continue indulging in gold, even if they have to smuggle it in.

2013-08-16 Attention Investors: Don't Fear Rising Rates; Fear Perpetually Low Rates by J.J. Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

This month’s Insight will take a look at the performance of bonds during two previous inflationary periods, the 1940s and the 1970s, and illustrate two very different total return experiences. Through these examples, we will show that bond investors-- and by extension, any investor with a traditional balanced portfolio, should not fear rising rates as much as they should fear perpetually low rates.

2013-08-16 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.2, a decline from last week’s 131.5 (a downward revision from 131.8). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) declined to 4.7 from last week’s 4.9%.

2013-08-15 Correlation and Portfolio Construction by Dean Curnutt of Macro Risk Advisors

We review recent periods of financial market stress, which bring about elevated levels of asset volatility and during which investors are vulnerable to incurring substantial loss of capital. We illustrate that risk is determined both by the volatility of individual investments in a portfolio and the degree to which they are correlated. Often overlooked, correlation is a critical factor. Because assets become more correlated at the same time they become more volatile, we argue that the benefits of diversification often are difficult to achieve when they are most needed.

2013-08-14 How to Invest in Emerging Markets 3.0 by Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein

It’s been 25 years since the emerging-market equities index was created, and much has changed. Today, we believe that emerging markets are on the cusp of a third phase that might compel investors to shift away from benchmarks and focus on absolute risk.

2013-08-14 Pause: Breather Needed Short-Term, But Longer-Term Still Looks Good by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Sentiment has gotten a little frothy ahead of a typically-seasonally weak period, but valuation remains attractiveoh, and don’t fret low volume.

2013-08-14 Macro View...In Microwave Time (Part 1 of 2) by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

In today’s sound-bite, tweet-driven world, one can’t help but do all they can to keep it simple, keep it brief and resist the temptation many of us Baby Boomers have to fall prey to “paralysis by analysis.” With that spirit in mind, here is a quick, pointed update on the 13 key points for investors I laid out in an article in RIABiz.com on January 14 of this year. These were and are the most significant data and forces for investors to track today, to pursue long-term growth and sidestep major losses.

2013-08-14 What Role for Emerging Markets After the Sell-Off? by Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

While history suggests that the sell-off in emerging market bonds could ultimately offer attractive buying opportunities, it is important to anchor investment decisions firmly within a forward-looking economic and market outlook. Continuing vulnerabilities in global growth suggest there is fundamental value in EM bond yields at present valuations, as interest rate hikes priced into EM yield curves are unlikely to materialize in an environment of tentative growth.

2013-08-13 Envisioning the Planning Firm of the Future by Bob Veres (Article)

Virtually all advisors operate with a value proposition built on bettering their clients’ financial future through management of their assets. But trends in the workforce and capital markets will force advisors to rethink those assumptions and, if Richie Lee is right, the planning firm of the future will adapt a four-factor service model that places much greater emphasis on helping clients maximize their human capital.

2013-08-13 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Wade Pfau’s article, Unlocking the Two Mysteries behind SPIAs, which appeared last week, and readers respond to the commentary, What’s Wrong With Indexes?, by Brian Evans of AdvisorShares, which was published on July 29.

2013-08-13 So Now What? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

What did we learn last week? The Fed may not be in any hurry to begin reducing the rate of asset purchases. The economic data suggest a mixed picture.

2013-08-13 Dog Days! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The phrase “Dog Days” refers to the sultry days of summer. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Dog Days of summer are most commonly experienced in the months of July and August, which typically experience the warmest summer temperatures of the year. In the Southern Hemispheres, they tend to occur in January and February, in the midst of the austral summer. “Dog Days” is also defined as “stagnation,” so I think “Dog Days” is the proper moniker for last week’s market action as all the markets stagnated!

2013-08-13 China Struggles to Fight the Trend by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Prior to the global financial crisis, decoupling’ was the word du jour. In the years since the crisis began, however, decoupling has vanished from the everyday lexicon. In recent weeks, the financial media noticed a new form of decoupling, one that shows improving growth prospects in the developed world but slower growth in developing economies. Rightly or otherwise, much of that slowdown is pinned on China and recent data continues to suggest a slower pace of growth than investors became accustomed to in prior decades.

2013-08-13 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - Q2 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Asia’s emerging nations, the darling of the world economy since the 2000s, uncharacteristically slowed in the first quarter of 2013. After a decade of robust growth, many of Asia’s fast-growing economies are coming to terms with structural changes. Asian currencies, which had appreciated quite a bit over the past few years thanks to ultra-loose monetary policy in the developed world, came tumbling down at the first talk of a slowdown in the supply of cheap money.

2013-08-13 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review Q2 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Many developed economies in the Asia Pacific region rebounded during the second quarter of 2013 to post a healthy set of growth and inflation numbers. Turning on the monetary spigots during the past one year provided a major fillip to many developed Asian economies. Countries that fumbled in the wake of natural disasters in the recent past, showed marked improvement. Even those countries that were said to be suffering from structural deficiencies, too, responded well to the monetary medicine administered by their various central banks.

2013-08-13 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stock prices declined modestly last week. A shrinking trade deficit caused 2nd quarter GDP estimates to increase (over 2% now annualized), thus renewing fears that the Federal Reserve would commence “tapering” at their September meeting.

2013-08-12 Fight Over the Fed: Why So Ugly? by Michelle Shwarzman of Invesco Blog

When President Barack Obama let it slip in a June interview that Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Ben Bernanke had “already stayed a lot longer than he wanted or he was supposed to,” the quest for the next Fed chair was underway. But few anticipated it would devolve into a fairly brutal brawl - by economist standards - between two extremely competent and capable PhD candidates: Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who also served as Harvard’s president and chief White House economic advisor.

2013-08-12 Extreme Brevity of the Financial Memory by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The period of generally rich valuations since the late-1990’s (associated with overall market returns hardly better than Treasury bill returns since then) has created a tolerance for valuations that, in fact, have led to awful declines, and have required fresh recoveries to elevated valuations simply to provide meager peak-to-peak returns.

2013-08-12 The Key Economic and Market Forces Guiding Equity Markets by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

This week we want to address important themes that underline our continued cautious optimism for a slowly improving global economy and signs of revenue and earnings growth momentum.

2013-08-12 Lower Your Expectations for Future Return by Cory Fulton of Mesirow Financial Wealth Management

While equities are not priced particularly well and the current environment does not bode well for future long-term expected real returns, they are currently a better choice for investors relative to the alternative. Right now, any meaningful shifts in one direction or the other could be setting the investor up for additional disappointment. At this stage in the game, equities look to offer better prospects in the long-term. However, the time is not right to abandon your long-term investment plan in the face of the positive market headlines and lofty predictions emanating from Wall Street.

2013-08-10 We Can't Take the Chance by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

What would it have been like to be a central banker in the midst of the crisis in 2008-09? You’d know that you won’t have the luxury of going back and making better decisions five years later. Instead, you have to act on the torrent of information that’s coming at you, and none of it is good. Major banks are literally collapsing, the interbank market is nonexistent and there is panic in the air. Perhaps you feel that panic in the pit of your stomach. This week we’ll perform a little thought experiment to see if we can extrapolate what is likely to happen in when the nex

2013-08-09 Futures Markets Signal Gold Ready to Erupt by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

With gold recouping some losses in its most recent trading sessions, many are asking whether or not the bottom has finally formed for the yellow metal. Most of these gains have been simply chalked up to short-covering and dovish remarks by Bernanke during the recent Federal Open Market Committee meetings; however, there are some key indicators for gold which are overshadowed by the media hubbub. Two of them in particular are important to understand, because they reveal a renewed investment demand for physical gold over paper gold or fiat currencies.

2013-08-09 Charts for the Beach by Richards Bernstein of Richards Bernstein Advisors

Our basic positions are now famous (or infamous). We continue to favor US assets and to shield our portfolios from the on-going and broad problems in the emerging markets. In the spirit of August, we forego significant text this month to present a series of charts that outline a few of the opportunities and risks we see in the global markets.

2013-08-09 A Generational Selling Opportunity for the U.S. Long Bond by Jim O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

Because investors tend to extrapolate what their general experience in markets has been recently well into the future, it’s easy to see why investors are having a long-term love affair with bonds. Yet the data in this paper suggests that a crisis in long bonds is coming and, given this information, individual and institutional investors alike should reconsider the bond portion of their portfolios.

2013-08-09 The Half Full Economy by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The marginal economic strength that was described in the most recent GDP release from Washington has caused many to double down on their belief that the Fed will begin tapering QE sometime later this year. While I believe that is a fantasy given our economy’s extreme dependence on QE, market observers should have learned long ago that the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) initial GDP estimates can’t be trusted. A perusal of their subsequent GDP revisions in the last five years reveals a clear trend: They are almost twice as likely to revise initial estimates down rather than up.

2013-08-09 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The global productivity "bust" is largely cyclical. The Bank of England tries forward guidance. Will low labor force participation keep the Fed from tapering?

2013-08-09 A Surprising Way to Play a Europe Rally by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After a lengthy period of stagnant growth and lackluster results, the gradual crescendo of improving economic data that’s been coming out of Europe lately certainly commands attention.

2013-08-09 Real-Time Tax Data Indicates U.S. Economy Rapidly Losing Steam by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

The U.S. economy real growth is slowing even more now than in July as signs indicate an even weaker economy than we think. Read this investor insight by TrimTabs Asset Management to learn what tax withholdings and recent fund flows may be foretelling.

2013-08-09 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.8, essentially unchanged from last week’s 131.7 (a downward revision from 131.8). At the end of July the company posted a new commentary, Becoming Japan, which highlights the decline in GDP growth for Japan and seven other major economies, including the US. Also this week ECRI’s Lakshman Achuthan defended his company’s recession call on Bloomberg TV.

2013-08-08 Bond Wars by William Gross of PIMCO

Adaptation is tantamount to survival in the physical world. So argued Darwin, at least, and I am not one to argue with most science and its interpretation of natural laws. Adaptation has been critical as well for the survival of countries during wartime, incidents of which I am drawn to like a bear to honey, especially when they concern WWI. Stick with me for a few paragraphs on this the following is not likely to be boring and almost certainly should be instructive.

2013-08-08 What is Risk? by Chris Engelman of Cedar Hill Associates

There are no rewards from investing without some measure of risk. Risk management, a process for recognizing, assessing and prioritizing a variety of risks, is an essential part of managing a portfolio successfully. Cedar Hill takes a holistic approach to risk management by identifying each client’s objectives, preferences and constraints, then creating specific asset allocation and implementation strategies to minimize the effects of negative events.

2013-08-08 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

To begin, let us state that we are tired of writing about macroeconomic issues. We suspect you are tired of reading about them. We would like nothing more than to send out a quarterly letter full of updates on the companies we own and the rationale for individual buy and sell decisions. Nevertheless, we must address the market action following Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s May 22nd testimony before Congress, where he merely floated the idea of “tapering” the Fed’s quantitative easing efforts.

2013-08-08 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Overall the total AUM in all active ETFs declined by $2.5 million last week, an insignificant amount for the $14 billion space. The biggest change of the week was the “Short Term Bond” category overtaking the “Global Bond” to become the largest category in active ETF space.

2013-08-08 Investment Advice Technology and How to Lose Money in the Coming Years by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Adventures are good for my soul. They create wonderful memories, both of where I have been and all the effort it took to get there. All of us have memories, both good and not so good. I am a bit worried about the near term future.

2013-08-08 Looking Farther Down the Road by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover, Mike Czekaj of Broadleaf Partners

The stock market has continued to do very well over the summer months, reaching new, all-time highs and proving to even the most stubborn of skeptics that Great Recessions can become Great Recoveries for those with the appropriate time horizon. While our industry spends a great deal of time and effort focused on relative performance results compared to appropriate benchmarks, the greatest value any financial advisor or money manager can provide is usually addressed far less often; simply keeping you in the game.

2013-08-08 Coming Soon: September Volatility by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Since spiking earlier this summer, market volatility is now back to spring lows. Investors, however, shouldn’t expect this calm to continue come September. Russ has four reasons why.

2013-08-08 The Role of Confidence by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

The so-called wealth effect plays an important and well recognized part in the functioning of an economy. When assets appreciate in value, the owners translate their increased wealth into increased spending. While at first glance this is unsurprising, it should be noted that this is true even if the appreciation is unrealized, and thus the increased wealth exists solely on paper. The relationship can be stated as follows: the richer people feel, the more they spend. Changes in confidence have an impact on behavior similar to the wealth effect. That’s what this memo is about.

2013-08-07 Adapt or Die... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Bond king Bill Grosss $261.7 billion Total Return Fund at Pacific Investment Management Co. suffered a $7.5 billion net outflow last month, according to data from fund tracker Morningstar Inc. on Friday. It is the third straight monthly outflow for the Fund, on the heels of nearly $10 billion in redemptions in June. Clients have yanked $15.6 billion from Gross’s Fund in 2013 through July. Jeffrey Gundlach’s $37.9 billion DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund suffered $580 million net outflow in July, according to Morningstar.

2013-08-07 Japan The Land of the Rising Stock Market by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

We have been ardent bulls on the Japanese stock market since last Fall. Our thesis has been a simple one: For the first time in the history of our data, Japan began running consecutive monthly current account deficits.

2013-08-07 Weekly Market Commentary by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

As I write this the S&P 500 futures are indicating a down open setting us up for possibly three down days in a row. If you watch the financial media someone will undoubtedly talk about how the sky is falling.

2013-08-07 Who has the Edge in Race to Head the Fed? by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

One of the most common mistakes policy analysts make is what I like to call normative bias’allowing personal opinions to affect perceived odds of certain outcomes. Saying “The Fed is unlikely to introduce quantitative easing because it would lead to high inflation” is an example of normative bias. Fed officials do not think quantitative easing (QE) leads to high inflation, and whether you think it does has no bearing on the probability. Personal perceptions are irrelevant for policy analysisthe only things that matter are the perceptions of the decision maker.

2013-08-06 Low Quality Jobs Recovery Continues in July by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

In a busy week of economic data, investors ended the week on a mixed note.The government jobs report revealed a labor market experiencing steady if not unspectacular growth, as nonfarm payrolls came in below consensus estimates while the unemployment rate surprised to the upside.

2013-08-06 Unlocking the Two Mysteries behind SPIAs by Wade Pfau (Article)

Two mysteries confound planners who purchase single-premium immediate annuities (SPIAs) for their clients: Why does the present value of a SPIA often exceed its cost, and why do equity allocations appear to increase when a SPIA is purchased? Unlocking those mysteries requires advisors to use a different framework ? based on the household balance sheet ? for the withdrawal phase of retirement.

2013-08-06 Is China the New France? by Marianne Brunet (Article)

Imagine a country that grows its economy by greatly devaluing against the reserve currency to develop a strong export sector. As the country becomes a major world power, it accumulates massive amounts of the reserve currency, and fears grow that its actions could destabilize global markets. If you think that description sounds like China today, you’re right. But it also describes France in the 1920s. Lessons from that era are instructive for those seeking to forecast China’s long-term position in the world.

2013-08-06 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

After a week like this, everyone needs a vacation. Big Oil led the earnings trail and the results were not pretty. Europe and China both expressed nice signs for their previously weaker manufacturing sectors. At home, the labor results were mixed, manufacturing looked solid, the consumer remained active, and Michael delayed the vote yet again.

2013-08-06 We Shale Rise by Janus Equity Investment team of Janus Capital Group

The U.S. oil and gas boom largely underpinned the country’s economic recovery, but this is only the beginning. Don’t underestimate what cheap oil and natural gas means for the U.S. economy, or how long this advantage could last.

2013-08-06 Equities Grind Higher as the Economy Continues to Muddle Through by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities advanced last week, with the S&P 500 increasing 1.10%.1 For the month of July, the S&P gained 5.09%, and equities have increased 21.33% year to date. Second quarter earnings season is nearly complete, and there has not been a material change in estimated earnings for the balance of the year or 2014. Revenues were slightly ahead of expectations, and earnings per share were approximately 3% higher than expected, annualizing at about $110 per S&P 500 share.

2013-08-06 China's Slowdown by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past three decades, China has seen its economy grow significantly.

2013-08-05 Can It Get Any Better Than This? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

What in the world is going on?! As I write this letter from the Maine woods, the S&P 500 has just cleared 1,700 for the first time. The German DAX continues to set all-time highs above 8,400. The United Kingdom’s FTSE 100 is quickly approaching its 1999 record high of 6,930, and its mid-cap cousin, the FTSE 250, just broke through to its all-time level above 15,000. And last but not least, Japan’s Nikkei 225 is extending its gains once more, toward 14,500.

2013-08-05 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

July U.S. employment report a bit disappointing. Part-time employment gains are not uniform across nations. Affordable Care Act and small business employment.

2013-08-05 Two Charts Illustrate How to “Follow the Money” by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Too often investors get caught up in their political allegiance or parties, focus on the negative and lose confidence in stocks. As a result, they can miss great bull markets. I believe when it comes to finding investment opportunities, it’s not about the political party, it’s about the policies, both monetary and fiscal.

2013-08-05 Weak Job Growth? RX: Buy Stocks by Charles Lieberman (Article)

At dinner with friends on Saturday evening, I was asked if I’m still bullish. Another investment guy is now cautious, bordering on bearish. A discussion ensued. The case for being bearish remains weak and unconvincing, hardly even believable in my judgment. Much of the case seems to be driven by the notion that stocks have rallied a lot, so surely they must decline.

2013-08-05 The Minsky Bubble by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In his classic treatise on speculation, Manias, Panics and Crashes (originally published in 1978), the late Charles Kindleberger laid out a pattern of events that has periodically occurred in financial markets throughout history. Drawing on the work of economist Hyman Minsky, the conditions he described are likely far more relevant at the present moment than investors may recognize.

2013-08-02 Fed Shows Its Dovish Side by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Federal Reserve made several small changes to the text of its statement, which, combined, suggest a slightly more dovish posture at this meeting than at the last one in June.

2013-08-02 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor’s "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1668.68. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 1685.73. For the earnings, see the table below created from Standard & Poor’s latest earnings spreadsheet.

2013-08-02 The Federal Reserve in a Time for Doves by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

The battle is on to replace current US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and two of the leading candidates, Lawrence Summers and Janet Yellen, display a dovish bias regarding inflation. In normal times, that would be a handicap; under current conditions, it is an advantage.

2013-08-02 The Fed's Outlook and Leadership in Flux by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

Many observers blamed a lack of clarity from the Federal Reserve (the Fed) for the sharp increase in interest rates after the initial signals about tapering. As a result, in recent weeks Fed officials have tried to calm nerves by stressing that the decision to slow the pace of quantitative easing (QE)now expected to begin after the September FOMC meetingdoes not signal anything about the outlook for the funds rate or their broader policy goals. Unfortunately for the Fed, the policy outlook looks increasingly fluid again.

2013-08-02 Rising Rates? Keep the TIPS, Leave the Duration by Greg Wilensky of AllianceBernstein

Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) have been popular in recent years with investors worried about inflation, and returns have been strong. But TIPS have benefited from a long bull market for bonds and high interest-rate sensitivity. This could be a problem aheadunless investors do something about it.

2013-08-02 3 Reasons Silver Is Not the Same As Gold by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Many investors who remain cautious on gold wonder whether they should get their precious metal exposure through silver instead. In response, Russ explains why the two metals aren’t interchangeable.

2013-08-01 Weekly Market Commentary by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

The trend in stocks is still up but the rally is still showing signs of being "tired". That should change this week as we have a lot of data coming out about jobs and inflation, the two things that the Fed cares most about and the two things that will impact Fed policy going forward. I would expect large moves one way or the other depending on how the market thinks the Fed will react to the data.

2013-08-01 Alternatives for Today's and Tomorrow's Market Challenges by Jennifer Bridwell, Sabrina Callin of PIMCO

Investors should consider alternative investment strategies, which could enhance diversification and the potential for alpha, or risk-adjusted returns, because returns from traditional asset classes in coming years may be lower and more volatile than those realized historically.

2013-08-01 Is It Time for the Fed to Wind Down the Economic Stimulus? by Team of Knowledge@Wharton

Is it time for the Federal Reserve to start tapering down the "quantitative easing" bond-buying program that has helped stimulate the U.S. economy since the financial crisis of 2008? Views are mixed. Several experts, say yes, it’s time. Others worry it could be too soon.

2013-08-01 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Last week total AUM in all Active ETFs fell by almost $20 million. This was almost entirely due to redemptions in “Foreign Bond” Active ETFs. The “Short Term Bond” category continues to gain assets and increased by $38 million just last week. Total AUM in this category could possibly surpass the “Global Bond” category in the coming months in trends continue.

2013-08-01 Fed in Watch-and-Wait Mode by Team of Northern Trust

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) today held unchanged its current asset purchase program of $85 billion per month. The Federal Reserve avoided providing new nuances to existing forward guidance and re-issued the June policy statement with minor modifications to reflect recent economic developments.

2013-08-01 The Fed's Balance Sheet by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The value of the Fed’s portfolio has fallen by about $192 billion as a result of the rise in interest rates over the past quarter. Further losses from rising interest rates could compromise the Fed’s ability to engage in monetary tightening should market conditions warrant such action.

2013-07-31 Calm Has Replaced Fear in the Bond Market by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

Calm largely returned to the bond market in July following a bout of turbulence in June. Volatility declined across the broad spectrum of fixed income assets, with interest rates and credit spreads falling from their highs, in some cases dramatically. Flows have also turned positive in many market segments, particularly for high yield and bank loan securities.

2013-07-31 An Important Week on the Economic Front by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The markets have placed too much emphasis on the Fed tapering. Whether policymakers decide to slow the rate of asset purchases in September or December shouldn’t matter all that much. The Fed’s decision will be data-dependent. Note that it’s not the figures themselves that matter. Rather, it’s what the data imply for the overall economic outlook.

2013-07-31 Still High Time for High Yield? by Team of Rainier Funds

Given recent strong performance and yields hovering at historic lows, a current topic of debate has been whether the high yield bond market has become an asset bubble and how much of a risk is the potential end to the Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy to high yield investors. While we at Rainier acknowledge there are current risks in the fixed income market, we believe these concerns are not unique to high yield bonds.

2013-07-30 The Power of Diversification and Safe Withdrawal Rates by Geoff Considine (Article)

When Bill Bengen published his seminal research in 1994, a 4% safe withdrawal rate (SWR) was clearly attainable with a variety of asset allocations. But bond yields are lower now than they were then, and equity returns for the next 20 years are unlikely to exceed those of the prior two decades. Indeed, a new paper by three highly respected researchers showed that SWRs for stock-bond portfolios are well below 4%. But as I will demonstrate, a 4% SWR is still possible with a more diversified portfolio ? and without subjecting clients to additional risk.

2013-07-30 FPA Crescent: Steve Romick\'s Quarterly Commentary by Steven Romick of FPA Funds

FPA Crescent Fund has released its quarterly commentary examining the state of the fund and its investments as well as an outlook on the greater economy. Portfolio manager Steve Romick feels that the economic “recovery has been disappointing and largely engineered by central bank policy” and worries “that low interest rates and novel and theoretical Fed policy could lead to unintended consequences.”

2013-07-30 Who Let the Ferrari Out of the Garage? by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

With just three trading days left in the month, July is in the running for the title of least volatile month of the year, with the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index averaging moves of just 0.39% this month through Thursday’s close. That is lower than the 0.41% and 0.42% averages of January and March, respectively, when stocks were grinding slowly, but steadily higher.

2013-07-30 Royal Babies and Economic Growth by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

On a recent business trip to Europe, we noticedanecdotallya lack of hope in the economic future of Europe. There is a good reason for the lack of hope. Hope, we believe, comes in the form of new life. When all of the austerity being practiced in developed nations around the world is pretty much done, something else needs to happen for economic growth to take hold. At Smead Capital Management, we believe developed economies need rebirth and the birth last week of a son to the Royal family is a watershed event.

2013-07-30 Leuthold\'s Chun Wang on 10-year Rates by Chun Wang of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

So now the question is how high can it go? Just like every other market, bond yields tend to overshoot, and we think 3% is the upper bound in the short-term. However, we believe it will settle back closer to 250 bps by the end of the year.

2013-07-30 ING Fixed Income Perspectives July 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

We are constructive on interest rate risks in many developed and emerging economies as global central banks reinforce accommodative monetary policy. We favor the U.S. dollar versus the Japanese yen, the Euro and other developed market currencies. Credit spreads should narrow from current levels as the markets gain confidence and the Treasury market stabilizes. preads offer more than adequate compensation for likely credit losses and a further rise in interest rates. Spreads have been pressured to pre-QE3 levels and mortgages look attractive at these higher levels as prepayment speeds slow.

2013-07-29 Will a New Fed Chairman Derail the Stock Market Rally? by Kipley Lytel of Montecito Capital Management

Over the past two years, investor exuberance has poured over $150 billion into equity funds. The perception of market risk has been sharply lowered over the past years by the central bank’s supportive activities in the capital markets and the high octane fuel of near zero interest rates. Meanwhile, Bernanke’s buyback of treasury and mortgage back securities is at a pace of moving the Fed’s balance sheet to over $4 trillion.

2013-07-29 Driftingbut for How Long? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Equities have drifted higher during a decent earnings season with few surprises, while yields have calmed and volatility has plunged. Typical lackluster summer action may prevail for the next month, but action is likely to heat up as the weather begins to cool.

2013-07-29 Baked in the Cake by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Once the risk premium is beaten out of stocks, there is no way out, and nothing that can be done about it. Poor subsequent returns, market losses, and the associated destruction of financial security (at least for the bag-holders) are already baked in the cake. This should have been the lesson gleaned from the period since 2000, but because it remains unlearned, it will also become the lesson of the coming decade.

2013-07-29 Global Economic Outlook by Team of Northern Trust

Growth is expected to improve in the United States and the United Kingdom while disappointing in Europe.

2013-07-26 The View From Here by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Despite the advance of college savings accounts, many families are ill-prepared to pay for school.

2013-07-26 Economic Value Approach to ROIC May Unearth Hidden Value by Team of Jacob Funds

Equity mutual fund managers employ a wide variety of investing approaches in an attempt to outperform the market, but very few stand out from the crowd. The approaches that do work over the long term tend to be very distinctive, focusing consistently on a specific methodology that is executed regardless of the market environment.

2013-07-26 Attention 3-D Shoppers by John West of Research Affiliates

Why do retail shoppers love a sale while capital markets flee from falling prices? Investors should consider starting to fill their shopping carts while inflation hedges are cheap....

2013-07-26 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary June 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices declined appreciably on heightened investor concerns over an early withdrawal of the monetary stimulus measures in the developed world. The most recent policy statement issued by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which was more optimistic about the growth prospects for the U.S. economy, and comments by Fed officials seemed to suggest that the central bank is preparing to wind down its bond purchase program.

2013-07-26 China Property: A Tough \"Bubble\" to Pop by Henry Zhang of Matthews Asia

Irecently came across an old newspaper article from February 1989 that described Beijing’s residential property "bubble," with average selling prices then of about US$430 to US$510 per square meter. The article went on to say that, given that the average college-educated worker typically saved less than approximately US$13 per month, at those prices, it would take a century or so to be able to buy a two-bedroom apartment. The writer concluded that a housing bubble was underway.

2013-07-26 Is Europe Ready to Take Off? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After the U.S.’s huge run, is it possible the country will be handing off the baton across the Atlantic for the next leg of the relay race? Here are a few areas of strength that could send European stocks higher.

2013-07-26 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Income inequality is rising, but it’s not clear what to do about it. Brazil’s struggles come at a delicate time. Detroit’s road to bankruptcy does not set a path for others to follow.

2013-07-26 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.3, up slightly from last week’s 130.2. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) remains unchanged at 4.5%.

2013-07-25 Summer Quarterly Commentary by John Prichard of Knightsbridge Asset Management

Recently the Fed indicated it may begin returning control over market pricing and interest rates to Adam Smith’s invisible hand... and borderline chaos erupted. The episode began mid-day May 22nd as Congress questioned Fed Chairman Bernanke and suddenly the cat was out of the bag and a paradigm shift ensued. Bond funds suffered some of their largest weekly redemptions on record. Rates spiked and markets swooned around the world through late June as investors assumed the worst.

2013-07-25 Perspective by Jim McDonald of Northern Trust

Investors have faced a torrent of central bank actions and communications during the last month, and markets continue to differentiate among economies and companies a welcome maturation from the markets’ prior regime of “risk on/risk off.” We believe the Federal Reserve has moved from an easing bias to one of tightening but at an elongated pace that will remain data dependent. Joining in this parsimony are some key emerging-market central banks, including the People’s Bank of China, which is working to control credit risk in the Chinese economy.

2013-07-25 The Damage Potential of Rising Rates by Michael Temple of Pioneer Investments

The initial goals of the Federal Reserve’s “Great Monetary Experiment” to keep rates low, create negative real yields, spur consumption and cushion the budgetary consequences of fiscal stimulus have largely been accomplished. Investors could now face the threat of rising bond yields. Various bull and bear scenarios might ensue. What are they and what could trigger them? What are the risks to portfolios?

2013-07-25 Retirement: The Vacation of a Lifetime by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

Most of us plan for our vacations with giddy anticipation. We pore over glossy travel magazines and surf web sites for the perfect place to pursue our passions, or to just put our feet up and relax. And, if we’re responsible, we save our pennies, sometimes years in advance, to make our dream a reality. But when it comes to the ultimate “vacation” retirement many people are far less prepared. You probably have a good idea of how to finance a week’s vacation, but do you have a viable plan for a vacation that can last decades?

2013-07-25 No Bargains in the Consumer Discretionary Aisle by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ has long advocated that investors remain cautious on consumer discretionary stocks. After last week’s weak economic data, he updates the case for this call.

2013-07-24 Stocks and Bonds Both Again Rally as Bernanke Soothes by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s congressional testimony got more headlines, but Detroit’s long-anticipated formal filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy was by far the more important development. Billions of dollars of losses will be imposed on general obligation bondholders and/or retired employees.

2013-07-24 Quarterly Review and Outlook by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

The secular low in bond yields has yet to be recorded. This assessment for a continuing pattern of lower yields in the quarters ahead is clearly a minority view, as the recent selling of all types of bond products attest. The rise in long term yields over the last several months was accelerated by the recent Federal Reserve announcement that it would be “tapering” its purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities. This has convinced many bond market participants that the low in long rates is in the past.

2013-07-24 Bursting of the Bond Bubble by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

Our April newsletter focused on the extreme overvaluation in the bond market. I argued that money market funds (or cash) were likely to outperform bonds and bond funds over the next decade. In May I applied the same logic to US stock prices and the inherent fallacy in the prevailing TINA (“there is no alternative” to stocks) hypothesis. Although stocks are likely to outperform bonds over the next decade, both asset classes remain seriously overvalued. In a world of overvalued assets, zero return looks much better than large potential losses even when that means foregoing transitory

2013-07-24 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

This past week, total assets in the active ETF space increased by over $60 million. The top 3 categories (“Global Bond”, “Short Term Bond” and “Foreign Bond”) all saw increases in AUM. The “Alternative Income” category fell in AUM, after weeks of only going up.

2013-07-24 Blather, Rinse, Repeat by Scott Brown of Raymond James

As expected, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke repeated recent themes in his monetary policy testimony to Congress. However, he appeared to make a clearer distinction between the Fed’s two current policies, emphasizing that short-term interest rates will remain low for a long time. Even though there wasn’t anything new in Bernanke’s testimony, the markets took it as “dovish.” Importantly, the Fed isn’t the only central bank placing an emphasis on forward guidance.

2013-07-23 Taper Protection: Where to Go when Rates Rise by Casey Frazier, CFA (Article)

I have fielded a number of questions from advisors about the effects of rising interest rates on real estate values. The negative effect of rising rates is predictable for fixed incomes, but real estate returns vary and are dependent on a number of factors. I will start with a historical analysis that demonstrates the strength of real estate returns during periods of rising rates. Then I’ll outline the factors that drive changes in real estate values in a rising-interest-rate environment.

2013-07-23 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review Q2 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Trimming its forecast for global growth, the International Monetary Fund’s mid-year assessment of the world economy highlighted the slowdown in emerging economies such as Russia and recessionary conditions in the Euro-zone. Still, the recent surge in factory production and rise in new orders brought a whiff of optimism to emerging European markets such as Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, which have been reeling under a prolonged downturn due to weak demand from the Euro-zone.

2013-07-23 Emerging Markets: Undervalued or Value Trap? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

In the first quarter, we explored the divergence of emerging market equities from the US. We noted that a combination of factors likely drove the 12% performance differential, including investor risk appetites, inflationary pressures in developing markets, and reduced commodity price expectations.

2013-07-23 Time to Kick the “Ick” Factor for Energy and Materials by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

Basic materials have been the “biggest loser” of an asset class for 2012 as well as thus far in 2013. Everything tangible, from gold and copper to coal and steel, has acquired an “ick” factor that makes the asset class nearly uninvestable. Shares of companies in these categories are trading at values not seen since 2009 market lows. We are beginning to see some very important developments that might make the group more palatable. In fact, we believe that metals, mining and energy could again become Wall Street darlings.

2013-07-23 Dear Bernanke - You Can\'t Have Your Cake And Eat It Too by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

The U.S. stock market continues its euphoric rise into record territory despite continuing weakness in economic data. Recent comments from Federal Reserve Board Chair, Ben Bernanke, indicating that the Fed does not have a predetermined plan to stop its stimulus plan has investors increasing their allocations to equities.

2013-07-23 Risk Communicates Signals that Something Important is at Stake by Robert Mark of Castle Investment Management

The equity markets hit new all-time highs again this past quarter. However, we believe this rally is largely due to Ben Bernanke’s policy of Quantitative Easing (QE) which presently equates to the purchase of $85 billion in U.S. government debt every month. Through the Federal Reserve’s policies our government has effectively printed trillions of dollars since the financial crisis began, arguably inflating a host of asset prices including the stock market.

2013-07-22 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review Q2 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Moderate growth is anticipated in Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) region as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) notes that economic expansion in the oil exporting countries has slowed down due to subdued global oil demand. While oil importing countries are expected to make a slight recovery, nations in transition are facing complex socio-political issues, which could further delay their recovery.

2013-07-22 Don\'t Follow the Yellow Brick Road by David Lieberman (Article)

Gold has been in a broad sell off, falling from a high of about $1,900 an ounce to about $1,250 an ounce within a year. However, gold remains incredibly difficult to properly value, and is something that we suggest that clients avoid. Here’s why.

2013-07-22 More Plow Horse in Q2 by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Forecasting economic growth for the second quarter of the year is always precarious. The reason is that the initial report on the second quarter is when the government goes back and makes revisions to GDP for the past several years. This time around, it’s particularly iffy because the government for the very first time is going to start accounting in GDP for the value of R&D spending by companies.

2013-07-22 What the *&%! Just Happened? by Ben Inker of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO’s institutional clients, head of asset allocation Ben Inker highlights the period from May 22 to June 24 characterized by "the universality of the declines" across asset classes.

2013-07-22 The Purgatory of Low Returns by James Montier of GMO

This might just be the cruelest time to be an asset allocator. Normally we find ourselves in situations in which at least something is cheap; for instance when large swathes of risk assets have been expensive, safe haven assets have generally been cheap, or at least reasonable (and vice versa). This was typified by the opportunity set we witnessed in 2007.

2013-07-22 If the Fed Wants to Lower Bond Yields, Perhaps It Should Switch to QT by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

Whenever I forget to mute CNBC or Bloomberg TV, I invariably hear some wag explaining to us that the goal of the Fed’s policy of quantitative easing (QE) is to lower bond yields in order to stimulate borrowing by the nonbank public and thus, increase aggregate spending. If, in fact, the Fed’s paramount goal is to lower bond yields, then I suggest that it might want to consider quantitative tightening (QT). Why?

2013-07-20 Any Bonds Today? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Given the acknowledged limitations of the CPI, we nevertheless use it in myriad ways. It governs cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security beneficiaries, government employees, and many labor union members. CPI is baked into the general cake, even though we know it is an imperfect fit in almost every situation.

2013-07-19 Fixed Income Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

The question we keep asking is “Will the real Fed mandate, please stand up?” The Federal Reserve (the Fed) traditionally is charged with keeping inflation in check, but it also has a second mandate to ensure full employment. This dual mandate can occasionally create general confusion as to what is the best policy at a given time and which policy goal the Fed is trying to achieve. Today, we are at a juncture where the Fed’s mandates may not clearly align with stated future monetary actions.

2013-07-19 Did Bernanke's Dovish Comments Please the Markets? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

The key phrase: “About half of these participants indicated that it likely would be appropriate to end asset purchases late this year. Many other participants indicated that it likely would be appropriate to continue purchases into 2014.” Bonds rallied, suggesting that the sell-off of the past few weeks had exhausted itself or overshot (at least for now).

2013-07-19 Brazilians Demonstrate Their Right to be Heard by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Brazilians have demonstrated their right to be heard. The unprecedented chain of events that started with complaints about inflation (bus and subway tariffs) has led to mass protests over corruption, lack of public services, and taxes. As a result of the tension and uncertainty in the past few weeks, some investors have lost confidence in Brazil’s market. After talking with our analysts on the ground there I wanted to share some perspective on the situation.

2013-07-19 Is Inflation Really Gone Forever? by Jon Ruff of AllianceBernstein

Recent movements in asset prices suggest that markets have forsaken any possibility of an inflation outbreak in the next decade. We believe that view is far too sanguine.

2013-07-19 Egypt: Stating the Obvious by Michelle Shwarzman of Invesco Blog

Although the outcome may have been viewed as a surprise by many, the ongoing economic malaise that partially fueled the revolt against and eventual ouster of Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi, was not.

2013-07-19 Challenging a Long-Held Assumption about Commodities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It is widely accepted that China spurred higher commodity prices in the past decade. And if the country was the force behind the boom, then the assumption is that China’s lower, but still healthy growth will be a drag on commodity prices. But recent research challenges this assumption.

2013-07-19 Fixed Income Fed Insight: It's All About Employment by Christopher Molumphy of Franklin Templeton Investments

We can try to guess what the Fed is thinking, but ultimately the Fed is driven by inflation and the labor markets. With inflation seemingly under control, it’s really the labor markets that dominate. So if you want to know what the Fed’s going to be doing, look at the labor markets how many jobs we create each month and, most importantly, the unemployment rate.

2013-07-19 Opportunity in Europe by Team of Neuberger Berman

A striking feature of this year’s global stock market rally is that international markets have significantly trailed U.S. stocks. Nevertheless, Neuberger Berman’s Asset Allocation Committee (AAC) recently made the contrarian call of upgrading its view for international developed markets, particularly Europe. In this Strategic Spotlight, we provide an update on the European economy and lay out some reasons for optimism despite the dour growth outlook.

2013-07-19 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.2, up slightly from last week’s 130.1 (revised from 130.2). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 4.5% from 4.3% last week (revised from 4.6%).

2013-07-18 Second Quarter 2013 Financial Market Commentary by Andrew Zimmerman of DT Investment Partners

To taper, or not to taper, that is the question that investors are currently grappling with.

2013-07-18 The Death of Disasterism by Steven Vincent of BullBear Trading

From late 2012 I have been gradually layering and developing the thesis that a secular bull market started in November of 2012 (with a possible revised start date of June 2012), ending the sideways secular bear market that started in 2000. Here are the basic components of that thesis through the last report.

2013-07-18 An Inconvenient Truth: Bonds Have Vicious Bear Markets Too by Steve Rumsey of Optimus Advisory Group

Over the years, most of us have grown accustomed to the tried and true method of permanently holding bond funds within client accounts. These investment vehicles have come through for us time and time again, providing a cushion to those nasty stock market drops that happen every several years. After all, if we could get high single-digit returns from an asset class that never dropped more than high single-digits, why not buy and hold? As a local mortgage company’s commercial says, "It’s the biggest no-brainer in the history of mankind."

2013-07-18 Closed-end Fund Review by Jeff Margolin of First Trust Advisors

Following a quarter in which the average closed-end fund was up 4.31%, the universe of 595 funds was lower by 5.60% on a share price total return basis during the second quarter (both figures from Morningstar). For many funds, most of the weakness occurred during the month of June (when the average fund was lower by 6.09% on a share price total return basis, according to Morningstar).

2013-07-18 What's Next for the U.S. Dollar? by Nic Pifer of Columbia Management

Global government bonds have performed poorly so far this year. Year to date through July 13, the Barclays Global Treasury Index, which covers 30 investment grade domestic government bond markets, is down 5.5% in unhedged U.S. dollar terms. The same index hedged back to U.S. dollars is down 0.6% year to date. This difference in returns highlights a key point.

2013-07-17 Hopelessly Devoted To You by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

A journalist from Fortune magazine once asked Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, for the best business advice he’d ever been given. Grove provided a simple quote from a former professor at City College of New York: “When everybody knows that something is so, it means that nobody knows nothin’.”

2013-07-17 Canadian Secular View: Into Darkness? by Ed Devlin of PIMCO

Many investors are buying Canadian federal government bonds, shorting Canadian bank stocks and selling Canadian dollars in anticipation of a prolonged downturn. While significant risks are clearly facing the Canadian economy, our baseline forecast does not justify positioning our portfolios for a prolonged Canadian downturn.

2013-07-17 Bubbles Forever by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

In 2006, the largest global real-estate bubble in history imploded, and the collapse of a major worldwide stock-market bubble a year later triggered the global financial crisis. Although one might think that we have been living in a "post-bubble" world since then, talk of new bubbles keeps reappearing.

2013-07-16 Hedge Funds Can Advertise...But Should They? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

In April 2012, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was signed into law. The legislation eased a number of regulatory burdens on small businesses and private industry in a bid to boost job growth. The bill made additional headlines for lifting an 80-year ban on solicitation for private placements, the restriction that prevented hedge funds from advertising their wares to the general public.

2013-07-16 Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy July by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

For the first half of the year, the 17.7% gain by the portfolio was 390 basis points better than the index; during June, market panic over potential changes in Fed policy resulted in a 3.0% fall in the index, with the portfolio down by a similar amount. US bond funds suffered a record $58 billion outflow during the month, 2%of their assets.

2013-07-16 AdvisorShares Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

The market increased again last week and both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached record highs by the end of the week. The Nasdaq Composite Index also rose significantly, hitting a 12 year high.

2013-07-16 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

The big news during the past two weeks has to be the employment numbers that came out about 10 days ago. Most economists were looking for about 165,000 jobs being added to the workforce, but the June number came in at 195,000 jobs. This was higher than even the highest estimates.

2013-07-15 Beneath the Noise, a Resilient Demand Trend and Clear Fed Plan by Alan Levenson of T. Rowe Price

Available data point to real GDP growth of less than 1% in the second quarter, yet we are looking through the dip: core demand data have been firmer (watch June retail sales on Monday), and a Q2 inventory correction will likely be followed by current quarter re-stocking. The sharp upward adjustment in mortgage rates will not derail the housing recovery. The FOMC has provided substantial clarity, in our view, regarding the monetary policy path that it intends to follow if the economy evolves in line with its expectations.

2013-07-15 Mid-Year Outlook: Waiting to Move Beyond a Muddle-Through Economy by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

By focusing on current economic conditions while giving due importance to the uncertainty created by Fed actions we offer thoughts for consideration in evaluating “risk-on” investments.

2013-07-15 The Egyptian C#@P by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

From June into early July, the government of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was under pressure from widespread civil unrest. On July 3rd, the military, after warning the president that he had 48 hours to make changes or face an ouster, made good on their promise. The title of our report is “tongue in cheek” as the Obama administration and other officials are going to Orwellian lengths to say this isn’t a coup.

2013-07-15 Last Call to Take Advantage of Ultralow Rates for GRATs? by Tara Thompson Popernik, Stephen Schilling of AllianceBernstein

US investors interested in establishing a “zeroed-out” Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) would benefit from completing their transactions before rising interest rates diminish its potential valuepreferably before the end of July.

2013-07-15 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

After weeks of naysaying and fear-mongering about the Fed, investors finally embraced news from Bernanke and friends and equities moved back into record-setting territory. While most accept the fact that the Fed has entered the “beginning-of-the-end” of its bond-buying stimuli, the minutes from the latest policy meeting and a few “comforting” comments from Dr. B. himself helped calm the masses that the program would not end “yesterday.”

2013-07-12 The Fed's Circular Mess by Adam Thurgood of HighTower Advisors

Market volatility is back. The Fed put the end of QE in play, and as a result, big moves in risk assets have become the norm. The market’s reaction over the past several weeks has brought a disturbing question to the surfacehow is the Fed really going to get out of the mess it has put itself in?

2013-07-12 Rising Rates: Time to Position, Not Panic by Douglas Peebles of AllianceBernstein

It finally happened. After endless discussion about the potential for rates to rise, they finally didin a big way. During May and June, the 10-year US Treasury yield soared by nearly one percent, and markets reeled. Instead of panicking, investors should make sure their portfolios are positioned effectively.

2013-07-12 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

ECRI posts its proprietary indicators on a one-week delayed basis to the general public, but last year the company switched its focus to a version of the Big Four Economic Indicators I’ve been tracking for the past year. In recent months, however, those indicators have slipped below the fold, replaced by the mixed bag of whatever Indicator du Jour might look recessionary, as in the "Yo-Yo Years" commentary.

2013-07-12 Making Sense of the Bond Market by Phelps McIlvaine of Saturna Capital

The great challenge for investors and advisers today is to forecast where interest rates and bond prices will be once the influence of radical central bank intervention dissipates. Measures of inflation expectations are declining, and deflation remains the dominant influence on interest rates. In assessing whether to trim bond allocations, it is important to revisit the reasons for selecting a particular asset allocation before modifying or abandoning it.

2013-07-12 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The view of Spain’s economy from the ground is no prettier than it is from distance. Not all forward guidance is created equal. China’s suspension of key economic data raises, not quells, concern.

2013-07-12 Commodities 2013 Halftime Report: A Time to Mine for Opportunity? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It was a challenging first half of the year for most commodities, with only two resources we track on our Periodic Table of Commodities Returns rising in value. Natural gas and oil rose 6.5 percent and 5 percent, respectively, while silver lost a third of its value and gold lost a quarter of its price from the beginning of the year.

2013-07-12 Global Markets at Mid-Year by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Most investors based in the U.S. are walking around thinking “the market has gone way up this year.” They are rightif they are talking about certain indexes within a big wide world of markets, including stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities. But the disparity (i.e. lack of correlation) among markets has been striking. I think that the best way to convey this to you is to simply show you how a small group of market indexes have done for the year-to-date yesterday along with brief commentary, in bullet point form.

2013-07-12 Calming Downand Changing Focus by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Markets are calming and investors seem to be focusing on fundamentals againa nice change from recent history. The bar is relatively low for earnings season but focus will be on the commentary surrounding releases. We believe more sideways movement in both US equities and Treasury yields could prevail over the next couple of months, with summer months muting action; but remain optimistic about stocks longer-term. Likewise, Japan could tread water until new elections are held, but we believe the eurozone provides opportunities that should be looked into at the expense of investments in China.

2013-07-11 The Capital Flight from Safety: It is Not About Tapering it is About Growth by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

Since Ben Bernanke’s comments seemed to unleash the bond vigilantes on June 19, we have seen a reversal in money flows that have used the U.S. Treasury market and the gold market as a “flight to safety trade.”

2013-07-11 TIPS Get Hammered in the 2013 Second Quarter by Stephen Percoco of Lark Research, Inc.

The beginning of the return to normalized interest rates took a big toll on straight Treasury securities in the 2013 second quarter, but TIPS got hit even harder. For the quarter, the average TIPS security lost 6.6%, worse than the average loss of 3.0% on comparable maturity Treasurys and by far the worst losses seen in the TIPS market since the 2008 financial crisis.

2013-07-11 Pacific Basin Market Overview June 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Equity markets in Asia ended generally lower in the second quarter of 2013 due to concerns over the U.S. Federal Reserve’s apparent shift towards a more balanced monetary policy stance following Chairman Bernanke’s statements suggesting a “tapering” of its asset purchase program.

2013-07-11 The Taper by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

If SNL’s Emily Litella worked on Wall Street, she’d probably be asking “What’s all this hubbub about the Fed’s tapir? After all, it’s a fine animal that never hurt anyone on Wall Street.” It would then be pointed out to her that the word was “taper” and not “tapir”. She would politely end her commentary with her famous “Never mind.”

2013-07-11 Prepare for the 1-2 Punch of Declining Earnings and Multiple Contraction by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

The market today is counting on continued earnings growth driven in large part by ongoing quantitative easing without inflationary consequences. In a recent strategy letter, we show that the market’s expectation for future earnings growth is overly optimistic based on the fact that earnings are currently more than 40% above the long-term trend and mean-reversion and history suggests that real earnings are likely to decline over the next 5 years.

2013-07-10 Rising Rate: Challenge and Opportunity by Gibson Smith, Lindsay Bernum of Janus Capital Group

While the prospect of rising interest rates generally strikes fear into the hearts of fixed income investors, it’s important to remember that periods of rising rates are normal and can create opportunities for active bond managers. Since 1970 there have been 21 periods in which interest rates rose significantly. While each has had its own unique characteristics, over the past 20 years equities have rallied during these periods, which has tended to support corporate credit markets.

2013-07-10 What is Happening to Gold? by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), examines in his latest Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter the dramatic developments in the gold market over the last six months. The letter goes on to discuss the impact the Fed continues to have, and suggests that today’s valuations represent a “compelling entry point.”

2013-07-09 The Five Best New Investment Ideas: New Age Paradigms for the Post-MPT World by Bob Veres (Article)

Over the past four years, I’ve been collecting the most tangible, concrete post-Modern Portfolio Theory insights offered by professional investors.

2013-07-09 Retirement Portfolios: Fears over Rising Rates are Overblown by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

The second quarter saw increases in interest rates, losses in every category of bonds and investors abandoning fixed-income markets. The distress has been particularly acute among retirement investors who considered bond funds to be safe. But are fears of bond losses overblown? I will make the case that the rise in interest rates is actually good for retirement portfolios. To see this, one has to look beyond the quarterly statement losses and focus on overall retirement outcomes.

2013-07-09 ENERGY MLPs: A Suitable and Sustainable Asset Class by Sponsored Content from ClearBridge Investments (Article)

Greater capitalization. More liquidity. The energy MLP market has grown steadily, with good reason: our constant demand for energy. While oil prices go up and down, volume has stayed consistent. Production is increasing. And the infrastructure is needed to support it. Add some risk, and you’ve got an investment which could fit in a diversified portfolio.

2013-07-09 Assessing Healthcare Expenses in Retirement by Dan McGrath, Paul Seidel and Josh Jackson, CAS, ALMI (Article)

In the wake of the Affordable Care Act and its accompanying deluge of regulation, advisors are helping baby boomers prepare for retirement in more ways than ever before. But our industry continues to overlook a significant threat to clients’ continued comfortable lifestyles: out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

2013-07-09 U.S. Stocks Continue to Dominate ? What’s Next? by Ron Surz (Article)

U.S. stocks earned 2.5% in the second quarter, bringing the year-to-date return up to a lofty 14%. By contrast, the EAFE index lost 1% in the quarter, bringing its year-to-date return down to 4%. In fact, as shown in the following graph, no other asset class comes even close to the return on U.S. stocks so far this year.

2013-07-09 The Germans Deserve Credit for Extending Credit by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Germany’s government agreed to (indirectly, via guarantees) provide Spain’s government-run ICO development banks with the funding to make up to 800 million of low-interest loans to small and medium-sized businesses.

2013-07-09 High Yield Munis: Risky Business by Ryan Davis, Jingwei Lei of Fortigent

We shine a spotlight on the obscure market of high yield municipals this week. In the current fixed income selloff, the market has been among the worst performing with a drawdown of 6.1%. Investors could not get enough of the sector in 2012 as they chased yield; the Barclays high yield muni index returned over 18%. Investor sentiment has turned sharply, however, on this asset class. Funds experienced significant outflows over the last couple of months, which is especially troubling for a small and retail dominated market. Why did this onetime darling asset turn into a pariah so abruptly?

2013-07-09 The Fed\'s Bind: Tapering, Timetables and Turmoil by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

There are striking parallels between the dramatic recent sell-off in U.S. Treasuries and the Great Bond Crash of 1994. But the summer of volatility now facing financial markets is no doomsday scenario. Instead, it puts the U.S. Federal Reserve in a bind. Higher interest rates will reduce housing affordability, which is especially troublesome since housing is the primary locomotive of U.S. economic growth.

2013-07-09 Record Selling of Bond Funds: $79.8 Billion Pulled from Bond Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds by TrimTabs Asset Management of AdvisorShares

The biggest liquidity story is unfolding in the bond market, not the stock market. Investors are pulling record sums out of bond funds. Read this investor insight by TrimTabs Asset Management to learn more about the central bank’s influence on the markets as well as supply and demand activity with the stock market.

2013-07-09 Whitney George on 2Q13: Stocks Continue to Look More Appealing Than Fixed Income by Whitney George of The Royce Funds

In addition to detailing what sectors currently look attractive to him from a valuation standpoint, Co-CIO, Managing Director, and Portfolio Manager Whitney George discusses three stocks that exemplify his approach, the current case for active small-cap management, why stocks look more attractive than fixed income, and his opinions on the market’s decline in late June.

2013-07-09 Is Now a Good Time to Buy Gold? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

No, says Russ. While Russ still believes that gold should be a part of a diversified portfolio, he explains why he advocates trimming holdings of the precious metal.

2013-07-08 Widening the Search for Income: Beyond Traditional Bonds by Team of Forward Management

Multisector bond market strategies may provide an opportunity to capitalize on differences in relative value. A more refined and global approach may generate yield with dividend-paying stocks. Emerging market (EM) corporate bonds feature attractive fundamentals and have increased in popularity as an asset class.

2013-07-08 What Really Matters by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke has made quite clear that the Fed’s decision to reduce its bond buying program is data dependent, so many people now wonder if some recent weaker data, such as the downwardly revised Q1 GDP, may signal that the Fed is likely to continue buying bonds at the $85 billion monthly pace for a while longer. To paraphrase George Orwell, some data is more equal than other data. Monthly employment data top the list, although monthly inflation reports, if they were to show any meaningful rise in inflation, would immediately trump the jobs report.

2013-07-08 Absolute Return Letter: Much Ado about Nothing by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

A 300 bps rise in bond yields across the term structure would, according to their calculations, do substantial damage to financial institutions’ balance sheets. Holders of U.S. Treasuries alone would lose in excess of $1 trillion on such a move in rates, equal to 8% of U.S. GDP. Other countries would fare even worse. Losses on JGBs would equal 35% of the Japanese GDP, effectively wiping out its banking industry in the process. Holders of U.K. bonds wouldn’t do much better, losing the equivalent of 25% of U.K. GDP.

2013-07-08 Deflationary Boom? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Taken together, the financial markets have priced a wide range of assets on the assumption that the U.S. is on the verge of a deflationary boom. Most likely, part of this scenario is wrong.

2013-07-05 Record Selling of Bond Funds: $79.8 Billion Pulled from Bond Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

The biggest liquidity story is unfolding in the bond market, not the stock market. Investors are pulling record sums out of bond funds. Read this investor insight by TrimTabs Asset Management to learn more about the central bank’s influence on the markets as well as supply and demand activity with the stock market.

2013-07-05 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The odds of a September tapering have increased but are conditional on labor market conditions continuing to evolve at least as favorably as viewed at the present time. The important caveat is that the Fed’s forward guidance has stressed the importance of improvements in the “outlook” of the labor market and inflation to consider tapering, which implies that economic data between now and the September FOMC meeting will play an important role in the timing of tapering of asset purchases.

2013-07-05 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 130.4, down slightly from last week’s 130.6. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) fell to 5.3% from 5.8% last week.

2013-07-05 The Asian Giant Stampeding into Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In this environment, gold should remain attractive. However, as the West flees the precious metal, another set of gold buyers has come forward with the aim to preserve wealth. Take a look at the chart below which shows total gold production compared to the gold deliveries on the COMEX and the Shanghai Gold Exchange.

2013-07-03 Long Train Running: Why Stocks Are Rebounding by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Why the June swoon occurred and why it might already be over. Fed’s move toward policy normalization may have a lot to do with pricking perceived asset bubbles; not a more hawkish economic stance. Sentiment has improved notably; but technical conditions may need a bit more repair.

2013-07-03 Failure to Communicate, Part 2 by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The financial markets have begun to reassess Fed Chairman Bernanke’s monetary policy comments. Several Fed officials spoke last week, each echoing Bernanke’s key messages: 1) policy will remain data-dependent, 2) tapering is not tightening, and 3) a rise in the federal funds target rate is a long time off. With an emphasis on data-dependence, the economic figures should get more scrutiny from the markets. Still, there’s a sense that hope plays a major role the Fed’s economic outlook.

2013-07-02 Gundlach’s One-Word Explanation for June’s Decline by Robert Huebscher (Article)

According to Doubleline’s Jeffrey Gundlach, a single word explains the declines global capital markets experienced in June.

2013-07-02 Recent Volatility ? Noise, not Signal by Keith C. Goddard, CFA (Article)

This spasm of volatility is a normal side effect when market participants adjust their positions to a new expectation for the future of monetary policy. Even though the policy adjustment being discussed at the Fed is minor ? i.e., a gradual tapering of quantitative easing (QE) ? the timing of the change was sooner than many investors expected, so trading volume jumped.

2013-07-02 Second Quarter Market Commentary by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates

The market posted another positive quarter, with the S&P 500 returning almost 3%. In recent years, Q2 has witnessed a “growth problem,” in which softening economic data prompted investors to sell stocks. But this year that did not happen, as the data actually improved. While new job creation is less than some would like to see, there has been a clear acceleration over the past six months.

2013-07-02 Do Dividend-Paying Stocks Have Staying Power? by Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson of Hartford Funds

The role of dividend-paying stocks in a diversified portfolio and the environment in which they are likely to outperform the broader equity market are often topics of debate among investors. I believe there are a number of reasons why a strategic allocation to dividend-paying stocks makes sense.

2013-07-02 Preparing for the Second Half of 2013 by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

It’s halftime halfway through the year. That means Russ is looking back at what he got right and wrong in the first half of the year, and updating his expectations for the remainder of 2013.

2013-07-01 \"This Country is Different\" by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Cyprus is a very small country, some 800,000 people. Among the leadership, everyone knows everyone. There is much to admire, as we will see. But Cyprus has had a gut-wrenching crisis, proportionately more dire than any in other European countries recently; and precedents are being established here for how future problems will be dealt with in the Eurozone and elsewhere.

2013-07-01 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor’s "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1618.77. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 1606.28. For the earnings, see the table below created from Standard & Poor’s latest earnings spreadsheet.

2013-07-01 The Golden Cycle by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The New York Times had the definitive take on the vicious sell off in gold. To summarize one of their articles: Two years ago gold bugs ran wild as the price of gold rose nearly six times. But since cresting two years ago it has steadily declined, almost by half, putting the gold bugs in flight. The most recent advisory from a leading Wall Street firm suggests that the price will continue to drift downward, and may ultimately settle 40% below current levels.

2013-07-01 All of the Above by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market internals remain broken here. That may change, and it might even change soon. Until it does, we would be inclined to tread carefully, because this may be the highest level investors will see on the S&P 500 for quite some time. Choosing between potential catalysts - credit strains in China, the risk of disappointing earnings, or economic weakness, the incoming data is consistent with one conclusion: all of the above.

2013-07-01 Watching Nominal GDP by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

One of the most important foundations of modern macroeconomics is something called the “equation of exchange.” It dates all the way back to John Stuart Mill but, in the past couple of generations, was popularized by free-market icon Milton Friedman.

2013-07-01 On the Radar: An Energy Boost for Stocks? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

This is the third in a series on longer-term market influences. Each has considered what developments could help or hurt the equity rally after some 1824 months, when, in all likelihood, stocks will fully realize their still attractive existing valuations and feel the last effects of the ongoing flood of liquidity provided by the Federal Reserve. The first number in this series took up monetary policy and the second fiscal reform. This last discussion looks at the prospect of energy abundance, due to fracking, among other sources.

2013-06-28 Labor Force Myth Sends the Wrong Signal on U.S. Growth Prospects by Brandon Odenath of J.P. Morgan Funds

We’ve seen the pundits on TV and read their op edsthe drop in the labor force participation rate is proof that unemployment is falling because many of the unemployed have simply given up the search for work. The inference of course, suggests that the economy is in much worse shape than falling unemployment rates would indicate.

2013-06-28 Inflation Lags Monetary Expansion: Prepare to be Swindled by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

In May 1977, the consumer price index (CPI), which measures a basket of consumer goods in the U.S. economy, had risen 6.7% from the year before. The indexes had doubled over the previous 15 years, and by 1977 investors were fully aware that the rate of change was increasingi.e. the inflation rate was spiraling higher. By then, this inflationary awareness had worked its way into every corner of the financial markets, as commodities, gold and interest rates rose, and the stock market remained in a deep funk.

2013-06-28 Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

For the first five months of the year the global portfolio enjoyed a net gain of 21.0%, 350 basis points better than the index, edging ahead further in May. Recent smoke signals from the Federal Reserve Bank implying - subject to a wide range of get-out clauses that less money might be put into the system, have caused market hysterics. Bond investors have rightly been stampeding out, ending a 32-year old bull market. Its longevity had caused dangerous complacency and overexposure, especially to illiquid and expensive emerging market debt through open-ended vehicles.

2013-06-28 Stay the Course As Mixed Signals Move Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We maintain that gold is in extremely oversold territory and mathematically due for a reversal toward the mean. Yet when gold prices plummet, fear takes over and some investors forget the fundamental reasons to own gold: Gold is a portfolio diversifier and a store of value. It is a finite resource with increasing global demand.

2013-06-28 Riding Out Recent Volatility by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

Major central bank policy turns are naturally going to cause some market dislocations. Hasenstab says it’s pretty clear the Fed couldn’t continue printing money forever, and while some investors are panicking about what the end of the Fed’s easy money policy will mean, Fed tapering doesn’t equate to Fed tightening.

2013-06-28 The New, Old Normal by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We believe the recent volatility will be relatively short lived and provides an opportunity for investors who need to adjust their portfolios to do sowith long-term goals in mind. The risks associated with fixed income have been illustrated over the past couple of weeks and rising yields have caused equity volatility and a pullback. But we remain optimistic about US equities as well as developed international markets; particularly relative to emerging markets.

2013-06-27 How Bonds Will Suffer Before the Fed Raises Rates by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

The Federal Reserve’s years-long zero-interest rate policy has flattened Treasury yields to where rising interest rates and inflation are almost assured manifestations. Investors may have to face the threat of rising bond yields. Damage to high quality, long-duration debt instruments would likely happen far in advance of a rise in interest rates with periods of significant volatility. What are the risks to portfolios? The first in a series of three papers that examines this questions is now available.

2013-06-27 Commodities: Still Worried About Supply by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Gold’s 2013 fall has been the lone development in the two-year commodities decline that seems to have captured much attention. The CRB Raw Industrialsa spot index of 13 commodities exhibiting a much tighter linkage to the global economy than goldpeaked in mid-April 2011, coinciding with the bull market relative strength highs in the both S&P 500 Energy and Materials sectors and the “absolute” price highs in the MSCI stock market indexes of commodity exporters Brazil, Canada and Russia.

2013-06-27 The Tipping Point by Bill Gross of PIMCO

I’ve spun a few yarns in recent years about my days as a naval officer; not, thank goodness, tales told by dead men, but certainly echoes from the depths of Davy Jones’ Locker. A few years ago I wrote about the time that our ship (on my watch) was almost cut in half by an auto-piloted tanker at midnight, but never have I divulged the day that the USS Diachenko came within one degree of heeling over during a typhoon in the South China Sea. “Engage emergency ballast,” the Captain roared at yours truly the one and only chief engineer.

2013-06-27 Monetary Exit Strategy: Removing The Doubt by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

In the press conference following last weeks FOMC meeting, Federal Reserve (the Fed) Chairman Bernanke said that the committee was “puzzled” by the sharp rise in bond yields over the last two months, and that the increase “seems larger than can be explained by a changing view of monetary policy.” We would argue, in contrast, that the recent increase in bond yields has been almost entirely about a changing view of monetary policy.

2013-06-27 Currency Wars: A Case for the U.S. Dollar by Gibson Smith, Chris Diaz of Janus Capital Group

In recent years, the U.S. dollar has tended to lose value when the global economy improves, as investors are more willing to take risks. We believe that pattern has changed and that the U.S. dollar will outperform the Japanese yen, the euro and the British pound over the medium term, even if the global economy continues to improve. In our view, current conditions justify a material deviation in currency exposure compared with certain global fixed income benchmarks, such as the Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index.

2013-06-27 What We've Got Here is (a) Failure to Communicate by Scott Brown of Raymond James

In his press briefing following the June 19 FOMC meeting, Fed Chairman Bernanke outlined how the evolution of the economic outlook will drive policy decisions in the months ahead. The key messages are that monetary policy will remain data-dependent, that tapering is not tightening, and that higher short-term interest rates are still a long way off.

2013-06-27 Welcome Back, Mr. Bond by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“We’ve been expecting you Mr. Bond.” The phrase is itself a variant and joins the phrase “Play it again Sam” as a phrase attributed to a film or TV series. I have used said quip over the past few years, having been wrong-footedly expecting a backup in interest rates. While I did finally target the yield low of last July, the ensuing rate rise has been far slower than I would have thought, that is until the past few weeks.

2013-06-27 AdvisorShares Weekly Market Review by Team of AdvisorShares

Once again, US stock indexes declined last week based on investors’ fears of rising interest rates. While markets were rising at the beginning of the week, on Wednesday, Federal Open Market Committee Chairman Ben Bernanke said that if the economy continued on its current growth path, the Fed would scale back on asset purchases by the end of the year and attempt to end the extraordinary measures by the middle of 2014.

2013-06-27 ING Fixed Income Perspectives June 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Fears of Fed tapering are overblown; we expect global funding conditions to remain easy. We continue to favor the U.S. dollar and are bearish on the euro and the yen; we are cautious on EM local currencies, as volatility is likely to persist.Spreads are appealing at current levels, with higher-quality industrials offering the most attractive risk/reward.

2013-06-27 Turmoil Shouldn't Derail Turkey by Carlos von Hardenberg of Franklin Templeton Investments

In 2012, Turkey’s stock market rose more than 50%, posting one of the strongest performances of any global equity market last year. However, recent news of protests sweeping the nation has started scaring off some investors, at least in the short term. We consider turmoil to often be a natural part of change and development, and these short-term political disturbances likely won’t be the last. I’ve invited my colleague Carlos von Hardenberg, Managing Director, Turkey, based in Istanbul, to share some local insight.

2013-06-27 Is There Life After BRICs for Emerging Market Investors? by Sammy Suzuki of AllianceBernstein

For more than a decade, Brazil, Russia, India and China have dominated the landscape in emerging markets. But as the BRICs-driven commodities boom wanes, investors may need to rethink their approach.

2013-06-26 Perspective by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

When you look down the road of life, the items closest in time loom largest and seem most significant. But over a lifetime we learn that while items far away may appear small, they can actually be larger, and much more important.

2013-06-26 The QE Lemon Has Been Squeezed Dry by Tad Rivelle of TCW Asset Management

We’ve just witnessed the dress rehearsal for the end of the Fed’s Quantitative Easing (QE). Markets that had learned to stop worrying and love the financial repression have been given reasons to fear the interest rate cycle. For five years we have lived with a central bank that has used, or abused, a zero rate policy and QE to effectuate the Great Risk-On trade to cure the ills of the Great Recession.

2013-06-26 The Fed\'s Dirty Little Secret: QE Does Not Work by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today I hope to dispel the myth that the Fed’s massive quantitative easing (QE) policy has driven long-term interest rates lower. I will argue that the opposite is true and demonstrate that the yield on the 10-year Treasury note has actually risen during QE-1, QE-2 and QE-3. This flies in the face of most market commentators.

2013-06-26 June 2013 Float Shrink Review by TrimTabs Asset Management of AdvisorShares

Sharing some commentary from our friends at TrimTabs, which summarizes a few changes in the investment landscape that may give you an indication of what to expect following May’s “sell in May and go away” trading adage. TrimTabs research focuses on fund flows and float shrink. They believe the market is heavily influenced by what people and institutions are doing with their dollars. You can read more about the research behind float shrink at AdvisorShares.com.

2013-06-26 Sock Puppet Kabuki; Nikkei Today Parallels Dot-Com Bust by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The Japanese stereotype of excessive courtesy is being confirmed by the actions of prime minster Shinzo Abe who is giving the world a free and timely lesson on the dangers of overly accommodative monetary policy. Whether or not we benefit from the tutorial (Japan will surely not) depends on our ability to understand what is currently happening there.

2013-06-26 Trampled By the Crowd? Logic Briefly Abandoned Creates Opportunity by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

The past two week slide in asset prices has caused a resurgence of doomsday pundits warning of impending calamity. The negative interpretation of Fed Chairman Bernanke’s comments regarding the U.S.economy’s future upgraded prospects is simply not logical. A careful review of what Bernanke said at his press conference was entirely consistent with what the Fed has said and done in the past.

2013-06-25 The Great Debate on Inequality: Stiglitz versus Krugman by Michael Edesess (Article)

Economics Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz is the chief alarmist warning that income and wealth inequality in the U.S. is a very serious threat to the economy. So it comes as a surprise that his fellow Nobelist Paul Krugman ? Stiglitz’s intellectual comrade-in-arms ? disagrees with him. Their disagreement goes to the heart of today’s economic problem.

2013-06-25 Strategies for the Retirement Red Zone by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

The retirement red zone is the critical years immediately before and after retirement, when financial plans are highly vulnerable to adverse market movements. In many previous articles, I have examined strategies to reduce risk after retirement, but here I will focus on the decade before retirement. I’ll compare strategies that rely on traditional stock-bond portfolios with those using various types of annuity products.

2013-06-25 The Price Your Clients Pay for Using Safe Withdrawal Rates by David B. Loeper (Article)

Safe-withdrawal rates (SWRs) are perhaps the most extensively studied topic in financial planning literature. But applying a single SWR-driven methodology to all clients neglects their unique and individual needs. A better approach is for advisors to assist clients in defining their ideal and acceptable goals and the relative priorities among them. Then they can demonstrate through Monte Carlo simulation the likelihood of the recommended plan becoming over- or under-funded relative to those goals.

2013-06-25 Back to Normal by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Market behavior especially since Fed Chair Ben Bernanke mentioned QE tapering has been relatively dramatic. Not unprecedented, but dramatic. By contrast, the reaction of the punditry has been way over the top.

2013-06-25 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

All markets came under pressure last week (and this morning) over the dual concerns of a slowing global economy coupled with the Federal Reserve’s suggestion that things are improving and thus “tapering” might start by the end of the year.

2013-06-25 Is Fixed Income the New Equity? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

After several decades of positive returns, fixed income investors are being treated to a rude awakening in the last six weeks. Recent comments from Federal Reserve officials suggest a sooner than anticipated exit from quantitative easing, raising the prospect of higher interest rates. Throughout the universe of fixed income assets, investors are questioning the future return potential, leading many to wonder, what now?

2013-06-25 How Not to Invest in Dividend Stocks: Seven Mistakes Investors Commonly Make by David Ruff of Forward Management

While investors may assume that dividend investing is relatively straightforward, they commonly make mistakes that may undercut the potential income and total return of their investments.

2013-06-25 Stay the Course by Douglas Hodge of PIMCO

It is that time of the year again. As school schedules give way to summer vacations, many families will be packing up the SUV to head to one of this nation’s amazing national parks. Years ago, my young family traveled to Yellowstone National Park, home of Yogi Bear and Old Faithful. The requisite float trip down the Snake River was arranged and a good time was had by all a bit of spray but nothing too jarring. Only days later, I returned to the Snake River and had the ride of a lifetime.

2013-06-25 Reframing Expectations by Aaron Reynolds of Baird Advisors

Even facing headwinds, bonds still serve important roles in a portfolio, including diversification and downside protection potential. As the heavy burden of total return falls on interest income, investors are being pulled toward higher-yield, higher-risk bond types. Investors can still benefit from the segmented bond market and the various strategies that are available. Expectations need to be reframed given the current environment of low yields and potential interest rate increases.

2013-06-25 Rates, Dividends and The Laws of Gravity by Don Taylor of Franklin Templeton Investments

The laws of gravity may dictate that what goes up must come down, but interest rates seem to have their own converse course of action what goes down eventually will go up. Although it seems like interest rates can stay stuck in low gear for years, (decades even, in the case of Japan) eventually they will creep higher, and talk is heating up about the timing and magnitude of such creep in the US. As the portfolio manager of Franklin Rising Dividends Fund, Don Taylor was quick to comment that higher interest rates don’t mean all dividend-paying stocks are doomed.

2013-06-25 Despite More Downside Risk, Stick with Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Despite stocks’ recent declines and the rocky road ahead, Russ explains why he still prefers equities over bonds.

2013-06-24 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

What is the Fed actually saying? The economy is recovering; the labor market is improving; short-term interest rates should remain low until at least 2015; the bond buying program will continue in its current form; any “winding down” (tapering) of purchases will be contingent on steady growth; the policymakers would be prepared to ramp up buying if conditions warrant. What have many investors been hearing/thinking?

2013-06-24 Market Internals Suggest a Shift to Risk-Aversion by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Our primary attention here is on market internals. If they improve, I expect that we’ll adopt at least a moderately constructive view. Presently, however, my impression is that investors have shifted from risk-seeking to risk-aversion. This shift is not because of a hawkish Fed, but in spite of a dovish one - something more appears to be going on. It’s tempting to wait until a stronger and more specific “catalyst” emerges, but the financial markets have demonstrated repeatedly over time that market losses come first, and the catalyst becomes evident afterward.

2013-06-24 A Timetable for Ending QE by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

In a press conference following this week’s FOMC meeting, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke provided markets with a clearer understanding on how the Fed expects to phase out its current quantitative easing (QE) program. This timetable is justified both by economic progress and by the significant future costs which a too-large Fed balance sheet is likely to entail. Moreover, the timetable, while never previously explicitly outlined, should not have been a surprise to most market observers. Nevertheless, Mr. Bernanke’s words have been met by a sharp selloff across a wide range of financial a

2013-06-24 The Fed Unintentionally Lays an Egg by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities declined last week as the S&P 500 ended down 2.09%.1 The S&P suffered the first back-to-back one-day declines of more than 1% since last November. Global equities and bonds were also hit hard, with large sell-offs in emerging market assets, commodities and commodity currencies. Concerns about the fallout from dampened Fed policy accommodation are driving the weakness.

2013-06-21 AdvisorShares Weekly Market Review by Team of AdvisorShares

The major indexes finished lower after experienced another volatile week. While no major statements came out of the Federal Reserve, speculation about what the Fed chairman might after say its next meeting ends on June 19 drove a lot of market price movements early in the week.

2013-06-21 Asia Brief: China's Energy Demand by Edmund Harriss, James Weir of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

China has the world’s largest unconventional gas reserves, but these so far remain untapped despite its growing demand for energy. China is now trying to follow the example of the US, and the government has set aggressive targets for unconventional gas production. As the demand for transportation fuels grow over the next decade, this gas could be a major contributor to meeting that need.

2013-06-21 Outlook for the Global Bond Market by Nic Pifer of Columbia Management

The global economy continues to expand, but seems stuck on a moderate, below-trend trajectory. Lately, the story seems to be more about a growth rotation across regions than a clear-cut acceleration or deceleration at the global level. Looking to 2014, however, we still expect the global economy to accelerate to a more trend-like pace.

2013-06-21 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Ultimately my opinion remains unchanged: The ECRI’s credibility depends on major downward revisions to the key economic indicators -- especially the July annual revisions to GDP -- that will be sufficient to validate their early recession call. Of course, the July revisions will be quite controversial this year, with some major accounting changes and revisions in annual GDP back to 1929. So if we don’t get the downward revisions to support ECRI, they can always question the accounting changes in the revision process.

2013-06-21 Tapering the Taper Talk by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

As usual the Federal Reserve media reaction machine has fallen for a poorly executed head fake. It has been fooled by this move many times in the past and for its efforts it has tackled nothing but air. Yet right on cue, it took the bait once more. Somehow the takeaway from Wednesday’s release of the June Fed statement and the Bernanke press conference is that the Central bank is likely to begin scaling back, or "tapering," it’s $85 billion per month quantitative easing program sometime later this year, and that the program may be completely wound down by the middle of next year.

2013-06-21 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

Today, the relative health of banks around the world goes a long way toward explaining differences in economic fortunes. As policy-makers seek ways to improve growth, addressing structural issues in their financial systems may be more effective than monetary or fiscal stimulus.

2013-06-21 End of Quantitative Easing Tapers Asian Returns? Part I by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

Historically Asian markets have done well in periods of a weaker U.S. dollar and faster growth, so lowering peoples’ growth expectations and causing them to bid up the U.S. dollar is about the worst combination for Asian equities historically. And I do not think that Asia’s relation to global markets has changed significantly enough to nullify this past relationship. However, there are reasons to think that the effects on Asia’s equity prices may be a little more muted this time.

2013-06-21 End of Quantitative Easing Tapers Asian Returns? Part II by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

While yields have come off their historical lows in the U.S. and Asia, there is substantially more room for rates to continue to rise. In terms of credit spreads, we have seen investment grade and high yield spreads widen. We believe that spreads will have some room to widen given a repricing of risk across the globe.

2013-06-21 What\'s an Investor to do in Markets like These? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

What should an investor do after a day like yesterday? Stay calm and invest on, as I believe there is opportunity in picking up what the bears left behind. Here are a few ideas to ponder.

2013-06-20 Fed Slightly More Optimistic by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Federal Reserve made only slight changes to the text of its statement, but those it did make signal slightly more optimism. It said labor market conditions show “further improvement,” rather than “some improvement” and sees “diminished” downside risks for the broader economy.

2013-06-20 Why Wellness Matters: The Real Cost to Employers of Unhealthy Employee Behaviors by Team of Manning & Napier

It is no secret that health care costs have ranked among the top concerns of employers for much of the last decade. There is good reason for this concern, as health care costs have outpaced inflation for years, and employers often bear the brunt of these costs for their employees and dependents. Employers looking for ways to stem the tide of runaway health plan expenses should investigate wellness programs designed to impact the source of the costs unhealthy behaviors.

2013-06-20 Searching for Super Small-Cap Companies Through the Macro Noise by Chris Clark of The Royce Funds

While market pundits tell us to worry about everything from currency concerns and environmental challenges to the ongoing threat of nuclear assault and resource depletion, these ominous obstacles and the endless possibilities of their potential fallout have a tendency to draw attention away from what we believe really matters: the companies that have the ability to survive, adapt, and grow stronger in the wake of uncertainty.

2013-06-19 Floating-Rate Notes: A New Frontier in Treasury Investing by Paul Reisz, David Linton, Mark Romano of PIMCO

For investors, Treasury floating-rate notes (FRNs) will likely offer a hedge against rising rates and a yield pickup over a T-bill. For the Treasury, FRNs could help reduce the risk that an auction could fail to attract customer interest, and also help diversify its investor base. PIMCO will evaluate the merits of these securities based on our macroeconomic top-down view and valuation-focused bottom-up analysis.

2013-06-19 Emerging Markets: Reasons for Optimism by Team of Janus Capital Group

Emerging market equities are lagging developed markets this year. However, the underperformance creates an opportunity in our view, and does little to change our long-term outlook for emerging markets, where we believe some of the strongest growth opportunities lie.

2013-06-19 Efficient Pension Investing by Jared Gross of PIMCO

Adapting the Sharpe ratio to pension portfolios can help plan sponsors choose among a multitude of investment options designed to achieve the same goal. In our experience, the most significant efficiency gains have come from shifting from intermediate bonds to long-term bonds and introducing lower-volatility substitutes to equities.

2013-06-19 Changes in our Asset Allocation by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

We believe that valuations in publicly traded securities are stretched, and, although we have seen a move higher in interest rates and stocks have sold off from their high levels, investors are faced with choices that offer generally lower expected returns based on historic measures of return. Today, with the S&P 500 hitting 1650 and the yield on the 10 year US Treasury Note moving abruptly from 1.70% to 2.15%, there are generally two schools of thought on the minds of investors.

2013-06-19 Pride: In the Name of the US Manufacturing/Energy Renaissance by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Manufacturing/energy renaissance in the United States is a long-term theme; not a short-term trade but it’s underway. The list of companies "reshoring" to the United States are powerful and growing. Can the United States become a global exporting powerhouse?

2013-06-19 Dialing Down by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The financial markets have gyrated in recent weeks on fears that Federal Reserve policymakers will taper the rate of asset purchases. The rise in long-term interest rates and increased market volatility are hard to justify based on the discussion of possible changes in the Fed asset purchase program alone. No change in monetary policy is expected at this week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

2013-06-18 GMO’s Montier on Why to Hold Cash by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Central bank policies have distorted markets to such a degree that investors are devoid of any buy-and-hold asset classes, according to James Montier. But according to Richard Bernstein, the flood of liquidity unleashed through quantitative easing (QE) now offers investors compelling opportunities.

2013-06-18 Help Clients Fill the Income Void by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)

Affluent investors all over the world just aren’t getting what they want from their income investments, according to Legg Mason’s recently released Global Income Survey. Yet there is good news: most say they want to become more knowledgeable about income investing, and they’re eager for financial professionals to point out fresh opportunities.

2013-06-18 What Advisors Need to Know about Health-Care Planning by Dinesh Sharma (Article)

Guiding clients through the maze of the health-care choices retirees face is a way advisors can provide meaningful value. Here’s an overview of the Medicare and Medicaid programs to help advisors understand the key economic considerations that will impact their clients.

2013-06-18 Promise to Be Irresponsible by Jeremie Banet, Mihir Worah of PIMCO

We believe the recent rise in real rates and fall in inflation expectations could jeopardize the U.S. economic recovery. We also believe these are a direct result of uncertainty about the Federal Reserve’s ultimate goal. Low real yields accompanied by sufficient nominal growth are the necessary prescription for a still ailing economy.

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.

2013-06-18 Newsletter June 2013 by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

Do you remember hiding under the sheets listening to radio when your parents thought you were asleep? If so, I have an unbelievable collection of all the old-time radio shows we listened to when we were kids, if you have about six months’ spare time. Find your favorite, click on it, and it lists literally hundreds of episodes you can re-live.

2013-06-18 Unconstrained Bond Funds Fail to Deliver by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

There have been an incessant number of articles in the past year addressing a “Great Rotation” by investors the seismic shift in asset allocation predicted to result from a transition to a rising rate environment. Individual investors “spoiled” by a 30-year secular decline in interest rates, it is thought, will run to new alternatives in the face of this structural headwind for a significant chunk of their portfolios.

2013-06-18 Taking Seniority: Looking to Bank Loans in Uncertain Markets by Elizabeth (Beth) MacLean of PIMCO

Bank loans are senior secured loans to non-investment-grade corporations. They are floating rate instruments, secured by the collateral of that company and senior in the capital structure. Bank loans can be a more defensive way for investors to move into the high yield space, due to the collateral and their senior position. While we have seen yield spreads tightening among loans, on a relative basis we do think loan valuations still look attractive. PIMCO’s investment process helps us seek these attractive opportunities while managing risk.

2013-06-18 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stock prices came under pressure last week over the strength of the Japanese Yen versus the dollar which led to a large decline in stock prices there as well as the misplaced fears domestically that the Federal Reserve Board will pull forward its timetable for “tapering” its quantitative easing policy.

2013-06-18 Fed Zombification by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

The enthusiasm of our culture for Zombies is estimated to contribute a tidy $5 billion dollar a year to GDP, and that doesn’t even include the too-big-to-die zombie banks. In my opinion, the acute interest in zombies and horror (and escapism in general) says something about our country’s mental health.

2013-06-17 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

When Ben Bernanke talksactually he doesn’t even have to talk to move the markets. For the past few weeks, investors have speculated about the next Fed moves and the possibility of a “tapering” of the $85 billion a month bond purchase program, perhaps as early as next week. Markets have been jittery (to put it mildly) as global stocks have fallen (thanks Japan) and international bond rates have been on the rise. Investors began over-analyzing each economic release, each comment by a Fed official, each forecast by a regulatory body or related agency.

2013-06-17 The Price of Distortion by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Corporate profits have benefited in recent years from enormous fiscal distortions that have bloated margins 70% above their historical norms. Stock prices have benefited in recent years from enormous monetary distortions that have suppressed interest rates and encouraged investors to “reach for yield.” Combining those effects, investors have been encouraged to chase stocks, placing elevated price/earnings multiples on already elevated earnings. Investors who value stocks on the basis of these distortions are likely to discover in hindsight that they have paid a very dear price.

2013-06-17 Keynesian Model Blew It Again by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

If there’s one economic conclusion we can make from recent data, it’s that the Keynesian model has failed - again.

2013-06-17 Sloppy Markets Continue by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Last week the S&P 500 declined 0.97%,1 while many global equity averages fell for the fourth week in a row. Early in the week, discussion of tapering by the Federal Reserve was a big headwind, as discomfort over a slower pace of policy accommodation rippled through global markets. Thursday’s rally was driven by thoughts that tapering fears may be overdone. Markets were also helped by better employment and consumption data.

2013-06-17 On the Radar: Bernanke\'s Balancing Act by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

A recent analysis in this space made the case for equities. Pointing to the continued flood of liquidity from the Federal Reserve and still-attractive stock valuations, I argued that the rally would continue, despite the subpar economic recovery and continued policy muddles in Washington and Europe. In this column, I will take up one of those fundamental, longer-term considerations: Fed policy. The columns that follow will discuss two other major issues: fiscal policy and energy.

2013-06-15 Economists Are (Still) Clueless by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The economic forecasts of mainstream economists are quite positive, if not enirely optimistic, reflecting the current data. Should we not take heart from that? Alas, no. This week we look at some of our recent musings on that topic, triggered by a letter from a very serious economist who took umbrage when I wrote disparagingly about economists and forecasting a couple months ago.

2013-06-14 The Sustainability of Managed Futures Returns by Robert Keck of 6800 Capital

Many investors have begun to question the efficacy of an investment in managed futures given the most recent two years of negative performance for the industry as a whole at a time when U.S. equity prices have been achieving multi‐year highs. The concern is not so much the magnitude of the losses incurred by the managed futures industry during this period; in many cases they are relatively small in comparison to the size of the drawdowns experienced by many other asset classes such as equities, real estate, fixed income, etc., during peak periods of market stress.

2013-06-14 Which Way for Bonds? Mapping a Path Forward by Bill Gross of PIMCO

In 1980, the Federal Reserve, led by Paul Volcker, tightened the quantitative noose to tame double-digit inflation, fueling an unprecedented tailwind for bond prices. Thirty years later we find ourselves at the other extreme, as central banks print money in the trillions of dollars to stimulate economic growth, and inflation is abnormally low. While we are not likely to see a repeat of that type of bull market any time soon, we also do not believe we are at the beginning of a bear market for bonds.

2013-06-14 A Sweet Find on an African Adventure by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The heart of Africa has been beating strong in recent years due to elevated commodity prices and resilient domestic demand, despite the global economic slowdown. Among the sub-Saharan African countries, Sierra Leone was the fastest growing country last year, according to the World Bank. Its economy experienced growth that is as rare today as Fancy Red diamonds. GDP increased a whopping 18 percent.

2013-06-14 ECRI Recession Watch: New Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.3, up slightly from last week’s 131.0 (revised from 130.9). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 6.6% from 6.4% last week (revised from 6.3%).... Two weeks ago the company took a new approach to its recession call in its most recent publicly available commentary on the ECRI website: What Wealth Effect? More...

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.

2013-06-14 Changing Picture by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We could be in the beginning stages of an adjustment toward a more "normal" monetary policy environment, with attendant volatility. This once again illustrates the importance of diversification and focusing on long-term goals when investing. We continue to believe the US equity markets are an attractive place for assets and recommend buying on pullbacks to the extent that you need to add to equity exposure. Additionally, continue to exercise caution around fixed income allocations and focus more on the developed markets vs. EM.

2013-06-13 The Instability of Stability by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Hyman Minsky’s scholarship holds valuable lessons for the current dynamic in the economy. The Fed, via QE, continues to induce speculative buying in the Treasury market, which is having the effect of destabilizing a number of asset classes.

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 Thinking About Thinking? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I think a lot about thinking in an attempt to improve my ability to make good decisions. I also work hard to avoid linear thinking, which tends to extend present conditions “linearly” into the future. Such thinking caused investors to ignore the Dow Theory “sell signal” of September 1999 with portfolio consequences that are now legend. That same thinking occurred in November of 2007, concurrent with another Dow Theory “sell signal,” with similar portfolio consternations. Ladies and gentlemen, economic changes, and for that matter stock market changes, tend t

2013-06-11 Gundlach ? Don’t Sell Your Bonds by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Don’t sell your bonds just yet, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. Global economic growth is slowing, he said, and the U.S. will be competing for a larger slice of a shrinking worldwide pie. A weaker economy dims the prospects for higher interest rates. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield ? currently 2.08% ? will be 1.70% by the end of the year, according to Gundlach, providing profits for holders of long-term bonds.

2013-06-11 Bursting the Bond Bubble Babble by Andy Martin (Article)

Interest rates will eventually go up. The 50-basis-point spike in May on the 10-year Treasury bond may have been the beginning. But despite industry and media assertions, history shows that there is nothing to fear from rising rates.

2013-06-11 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The last few weeks have seen volatility emerge as concerns about the Fed’s policy of quantitative easing and the timing of changing it have taken center stage.

2013-06-11 May Flowers Bring Best Equity Market Since 1997 as Bonds Wilt by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

The S&P 500 has opened 2013 with its best year-through-May return since 1997. U.S. Treasury prices, in contrast, plunged last month on talks of Fed “tapering”. Don’t expect the reflation in bond yields to continue in the near term, as the Fed continues to struggle in its current war against deflation. Fundamental business activity not quantitative easing is the wellspring of sustained economic growth, creating lasting sales and profits. For investors, the two biggest self-defeating fears continue to be 1) the fear of buying equities and 2) the fear of buying bonds.

2013-06-11 Crushing the Middle Class by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Like a carefully memorized religious incantation, politicians and central bankers continually stress how their stimulus policies are designed to promote the interests and prosperity of the middle class. Cynical observers may note that this brave political stance may have something to do with gaining the support of the vast majority of voters who identify themselves as "middle class." However, the cumulative effect of their economic programs has achieved the opposite.

2013-06-11 And Like Clockwork... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

And like clockwork, stocks bounced both from their very short term oversold point and off the 50 day moving average on Wednesday...

2013-06-11 How Asia's Growth Transitions and Policy Experiments Are Shaping the Global Outlook by Ramin Toloui, Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead of PIMCO

Our view is that Chinese GDP growth will downshift, averaging 6%-7.5% for the next five years as net exports and investment are reaching their limits. In Asia, Japan is perhaps the economy closest to the “T-junction” described in PIMCO’s global secular outlook: The destination of Japan’s journey looks increasingly uncertain, with multiple potential outcomes that could stabilize or destabilize the global economy and markets.

2013-06-10 Worry de Jour by Charles Lieberman (Article)

The current obsession is over when the Fed will begin to withdraw some of its quantitative easing policy and how this will affect markets. This is adding some volatility back into the markets, even though this change in policy has been expected for a long time. Since Fed policy is likely to change only gradually and will do little to tip the valuation balance between stocks and bonds for quite some time, we see little reason to temper our fundamentally bullish stance towards stocks and bearish view of bonds.

2013-06-10 2009 vs. 2013 by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the most strongly held beliefs of investors here is the notion that it is inappropriate to “Fight the Fed” reflecting the view that Federal Reserve easing is sufficient to keep stocks not only elevated, but rising. What’s baffling about this is that the last two 50% market declines both the 2001-2002 plunge and the 2008-2009 plunge occurred in environments of aggressive, persistent Federal Reserve easing.

2013-06-10 DC Solutions: Adding Global Bonds to Target-Date Funds by Alison Martier, Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Within US defined contribution (DC) target-date funds (TDFs), whether we’re considering customized TDFs for larger plans or packaged solutions for smaller plans, our research shows that having a bond allocation that is not US-centric can lead to better outcomes and enhance the effectiveness of the glide path.

2013-06-08 Banzai! Banzai! Banzai! by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In practice it may be harder for Japan to grow and generate inflation than it might be for other major nations. Today we’ll focus on Japanese demographics. While the letter is full of graphs and charts, it does not paint a pretty picture. The forces of deflation will not go gently into that good night.

2013-06-07 Liquidity Markets Likely to Evolve Under Proposed Money Market Reforms by Jerome Schneider of PIMCO

We view the SEC’s proposed regulations on money market funds as a pivot point for cash and liquidity management. If the first proposal is adopted, prime institutional money market funds would convert to a floating net asset value share price. That conversion would likely cause some volatility in pricing. As we do not expect yields to increase in the near-to-medium term, in our view the risk-reward tradeoff would not be as attractive for investors.

2013-06-07 Filling in the 2Q13 Picture and Looking Ahead by Scott Brown of Raymond James

We’re now two-thirds of the way through 2Q13. However, the second quarter economic picture is still sketchy. We have some data for April, which is subject to revision. Figures for May will begin arriving this week. Despite the cloudy near-term economic picture, the financial markets are looking ahead to better growth in the second half of the year.

2013-06-07 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The change at the top of the Bank of England comes at a delicate time. The May U.S. employment report will not sway the Fed either way. Eurozone and China PMI reports - interpret with caution.

2013-06-07 As Economy Heats Up, Will Commodities? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Don’t wait for the Fed to officially raise rates, as research shows that investors get the most benefit from materials and energy stocks by getting in now

2013-06-06 But We Want Goldilocks-Like Growth by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

While the equity markets would enjoy a bit of the great rotation out of the 20+ year outperformance in bonds and into equities, the move in May has been too much, too quick for even equity investors to stomach. So while the Long Treasury ETF (TLT) fell -6.8% in May, the size of the move even scared investors in REITs (IYR), Junk Bonds (JNK/HYG), and Utilities (XLU).

2013-06-06 The REAL Great Rotation by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The phrase "Great Rotation" has come to mean a sizeable shift in asset allocation from bonds to stocks. We, too, believe that stocks are likely to secularly outperform bonds, but we don’t think that is the "great rotation" about which investors should be concerned.

2013-06-06 The Risk of Government Policies and the Rationing of Retirement by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

In late April, a group of leading economists and investment practitioners assembled in La Jolla, California, for Research Affiliates’ 2013 Advisory Panel. Our theme this year touched on two topics that have been front-and-center in recent public debates: the risk of government intervention and the potential rationing of retirement.

2013-06-06 A Longer Time Horizon Can Be an Advantage for Value Investors by Mark Cooper of PIMCO

We believe that given challenging prospects for attractive investment returns, the value premium could become even more important in the years ahead. Even in an uncertain environment like we are currently experiencing, we believe the merit in owning equities for the long term is unchanged: We want to participate as an owner in a growing, profitable business.

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.

2013-06-06 Inflation Is Still the Lesser Evil by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

The world’s major central banks continue to express concern about inflationary spillover from their recession-fighting efforts. That is a mistake: given the political, social, and economic risks of continued slow growth, policymakers should encourage a sustained burst of moderate inflation.

2013-06-06 June Economic Update by Justin Anderson of Cambridge Advisors

Stocks sold off on the last day of the month but still managed to finish higher in May with the large-cap S&P 500 index up 2.2% and the small-cap Russell 2000 up 4.0%. International stocks finished the month lower with the MSCI EAFE index down -2.9%. Bond prices came under significant pressure as yields rose after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke hinted that Quantitative Easing may be tapered off sooner than the market expected. The 10-Year US Treasury Yield rose sharply to end the month at 2.16%.

2013-06-06 Omissions of the Omen: \"Hindenburg Omen\" and the Selloff Last Week by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Rising US Treasury bond yields and Fed "taper talk" not to mention a "Hindenburg Omen" sighting hit stocks last week. A look inside the Omen should calm fears of impending doom. The market is likely not out of the woods, but we don’t expect an overly sinister correction.

2013-06-05 Certainty, Rates and the Year Ahead by Peritus Asset Management of AdvisorShares

The government tells us not to worry, as the Federal Reserve comes to rescue with QE-Forever. Certainty with fiscal policy doesn’t seem to change the demand equation and cheapened money doesn’t do anything if demand isn’t present. Treasury rates remain at 0% for the foreseeable future making yield hard to find. Read this position paper by Peritus Asset Management scrutinizing how all this has come to pass and what indicators are foretelling the near future effects on the high yield asset class.

2013-06-05 Will Green Shoots Flourish in U.S. and Latin America? by Josh Thimons, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

The US economy is much further along the road to repair relative to its developed market peers, but it is still dealing with an unsustainable fiscal situation. Latin America is closely coupled to the rest of the world. What happens in the U.S., China and Europe over the secular horizon is especially critical. Our secular investment outlook calls for a more defensive posture toward risk. In U.S. fixed income, this suggests positioning for alpha rather than capital appreciation.

2013-06-04 Woody Brock’s Challenge to Krugman and the Keynesians by Bob Veres (Article)

A polarizing choice confronts policymakers. Either they side with Paul Krugman and the Keynesians, and advocate for aggressive fiscal measures to stimulate America’s economic growth rate, or they align themselves with the so-called austerians, who argue that budget cutbacks are necessary to eliminate deficits. A third option is rarely discussed. Its most outspoken proponent, Horace “Woody” Brock, says that America should continue to borrow, but spend wisely ? and develop new policy instruments that would eliminate asset bubbles and stimulate economic activity.

2013-06-04 Vincent Reinhart on Debt and Growth in the U.S. and Japan by Robert Huebscher (Article)

High debt levels translate to slower growth, according to Vincent Reinhart. That conclusion will be disheartening to those who jumped on the errors several University of Massachusetts scholars found last month in Carmen Reinhart (Vincent’s wife) and Ken Rogoff’s research. But Vincent Reinhart is the author, along with his wife and Rogoff, of a study published in 2012 that documented the degree to which high debt-to-GDP levels correlate with slower economic growth in developed countries.

2013-06-04 The Role of Cash in Multi-Asset Portfolios by Ashish Tiwari, Andrew Spottiswoode of PIMCO

Determining the optimal allocation to cash is as challenging as ever in today’s unusually uncertain markets. When allocating to cash, investors should consider a multi-dimensional framework to assess the liquidity of the underlying cash instruments. In our view, the most attractive risk-adjusted opportunities for cash investors lie just outside the traditional money market space.

2013-06-04 The Threat to the Central-Bank Brand by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

For the last 30 years, Western central banks have used their "brand" to help maintain low and stable inflation: by signaling their intention to contain price pressures, they would alter expectations and behavior. But, as corporate executives know, brand management is a tricky affair, particularly when popular sentiment overshoots.

2013-06-04 Caught Between Slow Growth and the End of Easy Money by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Two contradictory investor concerns are to blame for a recent pickup in market volatility. Russ explains which of the concerns is premature and what that means for investors.

2013-06-04 Equities Hit Pause by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Stocks and other risk assets struggled last week, with the S&P 500 declining 1.11%.1 Equities finished lower on Friday, the final trading session of May. The decline trimmed May’s gains and sealed the second consecutive weekly decline for U.S. equities. The S&P increased 2.34% for the month and has gained 4.31% this quarter and 15.37% for the year.1

2013-06-04 The Beginning of the End (for Bonds) by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Attention has been focused on the stock market, because of its relentless surge to new highs, but the decline in bond prices is also worthy of note. Bond prices declined more in May than in any prior single month in nine years. Moreover, bond prices are likely to continue getting clobbered as interest rates revert to normal, even as individual investors have more exposure to bonds than ever before. The decline experienced so far is just the beginning. Investors who fled to bonds seeking safe investments are bound to be severely disappointed.

2013-06-03 Defense and Selective Offense by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

Given the market’s newfound risk appetite for credit and less attractive valuations, we are taking advantage of global credit market liquidity in an effort to reduce our overall risk posture. In our selective offense approach, we continue to favor U.S. housing and housing-related areas, in addition to select investments in the energy, pipeline, specialty finance, gaming, hospitals, and airline and auto industries, given the more positive fundamental outlook for these sectors.

2013-06-03 US Balance Sheet Repair: More Difficult This Time by John Greenwood of Invesco

In most developed economies, the post-war years since 1945 saw sustained business cycle expansions alternating with shorter recessions. At the end of each expansion, authorities dealt with inflation by raising interest rates and slowing credit growth. When inflation subsided, interest rates were lowered again.

2013-06-03 Treasury Bonds Are No Longer the Conservative Investor's Friend by Jeff Middleswart of Ranger International

For more than three decades, conservative investors have been able to count on Treasury bonds to deliver a consistent income stream, while providing a safe repository for principal. Further, Treasuries have anchored portfolios over their long bull run by limiting the damage when stocks declined.

2013-06-03 Is Volatility Dead? Hardly. by Paresh Upadhyaya, Michael Temple of Pioneer Investments

Certain pundits suggest we have entered a new volatility regime that volatility has been tamed by the massive amount of liquidity injected into worldwide capital markets by very accommodative central banks. We take a different view. While volatility has been declining across many asset classes, it is creeping into several that may have escaped some investors’ attention.

2013-06-03 A Taste of What Tapering Might Mean by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

A week on from the sparks of the FOMC minutes and we can see how the market handles the subtler parts of Fed communication. Not well. Most of the dove camp talked about adjusting purchases up or down depending on economic conditions (all very reasonable and consistent) but stressed there was really nothing in the data for change. The hawk that counts, Bullard of the St. Louis Fed, even called for continued QE given low inflation. So the “employment is too low, continue” and "inflation is too low, continue” camps agree.

2013-06-03 Getting Better Returns from Dividend Stocks - Look for Growth by Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup

While some investors have begun to return to US Equity (funds) there is still a large amount of money on the sidelines. End of year 2012 data shows investors have trillions in money markets and savings accounts. While there is no guarantee all that money will make its way back into the market the matriculation has begun.

2013-06-01 After the Gold Rush by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The run-up in gold prices in recent years from $800 per ounce in early 2009 to above $1,900 in the fall of 2011 had all the features of a bubble. And now, like all asset-price surges that are divorced from the fundamentals of supply and demand, the gold bubble is deflating.

2013-06-01 Central Bankers Gone Wild by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

For the last two weeks we have focused on the problems facing Japan, and such is the importance of Japan to the world economy that this week we will once again turn to the Land of the Rising Sun. I will try to summarize the situation facing the Japanese. This is critical to understand, because they are determined to share their problems with the world, and we will have no choice but to deal with them. Japan is going to affect your economy and your investments, no matter where you live; Japan is that important.

2013-05-31 Into the Woods by Tony Crescenzi, Tadashi Kakuchi, Ben Emons of PIMCO

Excess liquidity, falling net issuance and higher correlations among assets complicate the eventual exit that the Federal Reserve and other central banks must make from their extraordinary policies. The Bank of Japan’s ideology has completely changed to “tackling deflation” from “tolerating deflation.” The key focus in the coming months will be how private sectors react. Investors who depend chiefly upon central bank activism may put themselves at risk. They may need to hedge volatility by ensuring their investments are built more on solid fundamentals and reasona

2013-05-31 In an Era of Uncertainty and Lower Returns, It\'s Time for Alternatives by Sabrina Callin, John Cavalieri of PIMCO

The initial economic and capital market conditions of the 1980s set the stage for a multi-decade bull market for stocks and bonds. Times have changed, however, and traditional investment portfolios are unlikely to deliver returns as healthy as those enjoyed for much of the last 30 years. It’s time to think alternatively about asset allocation and index construction, sources of alpha and beta, and risk and return objectives to increase the probability of success in what we believe is a new era for investors and financial markets.

2013-05-31 Japan: Gauging the Stimulus Response by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The Japanese patient seems to be responding well to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attentions. Equities have rallied strongly. The yen, as the government desires, has retreated from export-crushing highs. The economy has shown signs of a genuine cyclical pickup. The good news has buoyed spirits in Japan. It will likely continue for a while longer, too. But the picture for the country is not yet all joy, because Abe’s policies fail to address the country’s significant, longer-term, fundamental problems.

2013-05-31 The American Consumer is Not Okay by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

The spin-doctors are hard at work arguing that falling unemployment, rising home values, and record stock prices mean that the American consumer the major drag on the economy in the post-crisis period is finally back. The facts say otherwise.

2013-05-31 The Week in Fiscal and Monetary Policy by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The financial markets were more than a bit confused by the minutes of the April 30 May 1 Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Some Fed officials wanted to begin tapering the rate of asset purchases as early as June. However, that wasn’t a majority opinion. Fed Chairman Bernanke’s testimony to the Joint Economic Committee of Congress was balanced, but strongly suggested that monetary policy is unlikely to be tightened anytime soon. In his testimony, Bernanke also lectured congress on fiscal policy, which has been completely wrong-footed this year.

2013-05-31 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Is central bank communication clarifying or confusing? The European Central Bank should focus its efforts on small business lending. A look beneath the surface of housing proves revealing.

2013-05-31 What\'s the Answer to Unprecedented Policies and Ultralow Rates? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So what’s the answer to unprecedented central bank policies that have been driving stocks higher and ultralow rates? I believe investors need to stick to a strategy that includes dividend-paying stocks that offer the opportunity for both income and growth.

2013-05-30 And That\\\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

All good things must come to an end (hopefully just temporarily). After a nice month-long weekly winning streak, stocks gave back some ground as investors over-analyzed Fed comments and worried about future monetary policy. (The stimulus will end at some pointthat’s not necessarily a bad thing.) Japan took the over-analysis the hardest as its market suffered a serious setback, though the rally for the year had been significant and some watchers expected a pullback at some point (just not all in one day).

2013-05-30 UK Secular Outlook - Morphing into the Carney Era by Mike Amey of PIMCO

The UK remains in a “stable disequilibrium”, one that needs to either transform into growing economy with narrowing income differentials or risk a more aggressive policy response. Financial repression, protection of real purchasing power, tail risks of accelerated currency weakness and price sensitivity will likely dominate UK markets over the secular horizon. Investors may consider progressively reducing exposure to assets susceptible to tail risks. Higher quality short-dated income-generating, inflation-hedging and non-sterling assets remain attractive.

2013-05-30 Understanding Gold Market Dynamics by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

To an extent that reveals a thorough misunderstanding of the market forces, the financial media has failed to consider the different motivations and beliefs that drive the different types of investors who are active in the gold market. By treating the gold market as if it were comprised of just one type of investor, analysts have drawn false conclusions about the recent volatility.

2013-05-30 Are We There Yet? by Vitaliy Katsenelson of Investment Management Associates

I started writing my first book, Active Value Investing: Making Money in Range-Bound Markets, in 2005; finished it in 2007; and published the second, an abridged version of the first (The Little Book of Sideways Markets), in 2010. In both books I made the case that there is a very high probability that we are in the midst of a secular sideways market a market that goes up and down, with a lot of cyclical volatility, but ends up going nowhere for a long time.

2013-05-30 Global DC Plans: Similar Destinations, Distinctly Different Paths by Stacy Schaus, William G. S. Allport, Justin Blesy of PIMCO

DC plans in in the U.S., Australia and the U.K. may benefit from better aligning asset allocation defaults to workers’ needed outcome: purchasing power in retirement. Focusing on needed outcomes would suggest a higher allocation to real assets, earlier de-risking and consideration of tail risk hedging.

2013-05-30 Reflation in the Balance by Richard Clarida of PIMCO

Four of the world’s major central banks are now “all in” when it comes to ballooning their balance sheets in correlated, if not coordinated, efforts to achieve escape velocity in their economies. In accounting for the impact of quantitative easing on two key balance sheets, we are able to interpret, monitor and calibrate the programs currently in place. This in turn can help us prepare portfolios if or when sentiments and inflation expectations shift.

2013-05-30 Morning in a New Europe by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The pace of policy reforms is accelerating and economic recovery appears to be on the horizon for the European Union.

2013-05-29 Investors Shun Stocks But Cling To Bonds - Why? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

he Halberts are out of town celebrating our son’s graduation from college on the sunny beaches of southern Florida. In place of my usual writing, I have chosen to reprint an excellent article from The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Zweig on investor behavior. The WSJ writer keys in on a new investor survey from Blackwater, Inc., one of the largest money management firms in the world (almost $4 trillion in customer assets). Blackwater surveyed investors that have at least $50,000 in investable assets. The findings are almost sure to surprise you.

2013-05-29 April 2013 Market Commentary by Andrew Clinton of Clinton Investment Management

Interest rates rose modestly during the first quarter as ten year Treasury yields increased by approximately 0.10% or 10 basis points. Seasonal tax-time municipal bond liquidations, together with a heavier primary calendar, weighed heavily on the market causing municipal bond yields to underperform on a relative basis. In our recent market opinion we thoroughly discussed our view that the relative cheapening of municipal bonds presented investors with and attractive entry point as we expect technical conditions to improve as we move into the summer months.

2013-05-29 Filling the Hole We Have Dug by Adam Bowe, Robert Mead of PIMCO

Mining investment contributed more than 60% of the growth in Australia’s GDP in 2012. The expected decline in mining investment will likely leave a significant economic hole in the short term that needs to be filled. PIMCO expects easier monetary policy will be needed to support other sources of domestic growth, such as non-mining business investment, household consumption and housing construction.

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 Europe's Crossroads: The End of the Muddle Through? by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

The eurozone may be nearing a critical junction, owing to its weak growth, weak institutions, debt dynamics and domestic and cross-border political challenges. The German government may take a more active leadership role after its national election, but it is more likely it will continue with piecemeal measures. Considering the current low yield environment and ample central bank liquidity, it is important to focus on absolute yield levels and returns, and consider global alternatives such as emerging market securities and currency exposure.

2013-05-28 Rock, Paper, Scissors by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

There’s a sort of rock-paper-scissors relationship to financial indicators. Trend following factors typically trump valuations alone, while overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndromes trump trend-following and monetary considerations. Monetary factors tend to be most effective as confirmation of other measures, particularly of trend-following factors, but only in the absence of overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndromes.

2013-05-28 You Now Have All of Our Attention by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Mr. Bernanke’s opening statement was just what the market wanted to hear... "Premature tightening of monetary policy could lead interest rates to rise temporarily but would also carry a substantial risk of slowing or ending this economic recovery and causing inflation to fall further".

2013-05-28 Taking Stock by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. and global equities were under pressure last week, with all major U.S. indices lower for only the fourth time this year. With discussion of the Fed tapering its stimulus, market uncertainty gained momentum. The S&P 500 was down 1.0% for the week.1 We consider the market pullback technical in nature since the mention of a Fed quantitative easing exit likely created a natural point to take profits after the recent rally.

2013-05-25 The Mother of All Painted-In Corners by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Japan has painted itself into the mother all corners. There will be no clean or easy exit. There is going to be massive economic pain as they the Japanese try and find a way out of their problems, and sadly, the pain will not be confined to Japan. This will be the true test of the theories of neo-Keynesianism writ large. Japan is going to print and monetize and spend more than almost any observer can currently imagine. You like what Paul Krugman prescribes? You think he makes sense? You (we all!) are going to be participants in a real-world experiment on how that works out.

2013-05-24 Focus on What You Know and Can Control: Be Aware of Unexpected Risks in Bonds by Warren Pierson of Baird Advisors

While corporate bonds have seen improvement in credit fundamentals, similar improvement has not taken place for municipal bonds. Ongoing challenges in municipal credit could have a meaningful negative effect on municipal bonds. Many callable bonds with longer maturities face significant extension risk with an upward movement in interest rates. Durations currently pegged to shorter call dates could extend as issuers are less likely to call in bonds prior to maturity as interest rates rise. As callable bonds get re-priced to longer maturity dates, the resulting price declines could be profound.

2013-05-24 Recession Watch: ECRIs Weekly Leading Indicator Up Slightly by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

TheWeekly Leading Index(WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 130.6, up slightly from last weeks 130.1 (a downward revision from 130.2). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) dropped to 6.8% from 7.0% last week.

2013-05-24 4 Ideas for Today's Low Inflation Environment by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

There’s certainly no shortage of things to worry about right now related to the US economy. But one thing we’re not too worried about right now: Inflation. Not only is inflation low, but the latest numbers show it’s actually falling. And as I write in my commentary this week, inflation is unlikely to become a problem in the United States for at least another 12 to 18 months. Why? There are a number of headwinds keeping US prices low in the near term.

2013-05-24 The Biggest Loser Wins by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific

While the world’s economies jockey one another for the lead in the currency devaluation derby, it’s worth considering the value of the prize they are seeking. They believe a weak currency opens the door to trade dominance, by allowing manufacturers to undercut foreign rivals, and to economic growth, by fighting deflation. On the other side of the coin, they believe a strong currency is an economic albatross that leads to stagnation. But the demonstrable effects of currency strength and weakness reveal the emptiness of their theory.

2013-05-24 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The two Asian giants have a challenging year ahead. The Fed will be challenged to keep the bond market under control.

2013-05-24 The Love Trade for Gold is Still On! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The more important demand for gold, in my opinion, comes from the enduring Love Trade, as countries like China and India buy the precious metal out of love and tradition.

2013-05-24 Bifurcation Blues by Herbert and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

Bifurcation. A very technical sounding word. It merely means “a division into two parts”, which is what we are witnessing in many areas related to investment, both macro and micro. And it is exhibiting to value investors those areas to avoid and the most attractive to embrace. And giving rise to a wide range of disparate opinions among economic and investment professionals as to what outcomes are likely. Needless to say, we have our own strong views.

2013-05-24 Remarkable Resilience by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We saw how the prospect of a sooner pullback in purchases in bonds by the Fed rattled the market both in the US and globally, but the picture, to us, has not changed to any great degree. A very gradual pullback, not even going to zero, in quantitative easing due to an improved economic situation doesn’t spell disaster to us. We continue to urge investors to pay attention to both sides of the risk equation when making decisions and to keep the longer-term perspective in mind. Short-term swings are inevitable, but should not be the basis for sound decision making.

2013-05-23 The Labor Force Participation Puzzle by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

Slow growth and mediocre job creation have been common themes used to describe the U.S. economy in recent years, as both the labor market and broader economy failed to produce the snap-back rebound many expected following the deep recession seen in 2008 & 2009. Despite that lackluster growth, the unemployment rate has now fallen to 7.5% after peaking at 10% in October of 2009, a much faster decline than expected, given average employment growth of less than 125,000 per month.

2013-05-23 QE from 35,000 Feet by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Quantitative easing has benefited from global macro events and appears likely to continue for the rest of the year. Markets, though, will continue to anticipate how the current policies will eventually be unwound.

2013-05-23 Chart of the Week: S&P 500 versus Expected CPI by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

In the post-crash environment, US equities have shown a remarkable 70% correlation with TIPS breakeven spreads. This compares with a 0% correlation in the four years preceding March 2009.

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?

2013-05-23 ING Fixed Income Perspectives May 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

How do you like them apples? By pointing out some Excel blunders in the data of Harvard economists Reinhart and Rogoff, a UMass-Amherst grad student appears to have gotten their number and in the process discredited their seminal work touting the merits of austerity. Though Good Will Hunting fans may be amused to see a couple of Harvardians get their comeuppance, you don’t need the titular character’s wicked smarts to deduce that harsh government spending cuts may not be the best way to pick up your economy.

2013-05-22 Waiting for the Great Rotation: Why Interest Rates Could Stay Low Even Longer by Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson of Hartford Funds

The number-one question I get from investors is, “When will rates go up?” While this concern has been top of mind for the last few years, investors’ anxiety and sense of risk has intensified amid the threat of the “Great Rotation”the anticipated en masse reallocation out of bonds into equities. But so far, rates have yet to rise, leaving many people to wonder where we stand now and what may happen next. To answer these questions, I’d like to make three points.

2013-05-22 Asia Brief: China's Car Fleet The Largest in the World? by Edmund Harriss, James Weir of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

Car sales in China have grown rapidly since 2009 and it is on course to outstrip the US in terms of the size of its car fleet by the end of this decade. This presents a major challenge to the Chinese government, which must balance its people’s happiness and political stability with economic development in an environment which has already been compromised. The momentum of demand for new passenger vehicles is likely to make air quality worse and Beijing has introduced emissions and efficiency standards to address the problem.

2013-05-22 How to Turn the ECB Straggler into a Central Bank Pacemaker by Myles Bradshaw of PIMCO

In our opinion, the ECB will be most effective if it can design a programme that helps banks deleverage more quickly to stimulate growth in the real economy. To have a meaningful impact on Europe’s broken transmission mechanism, any ECB programme needs to not only lower the cost of credit, but also be regionally tailored or big enough to be effective. Long-term investors should remain focused on the quality of issuers’ balance sheets rather than simply taking more risk because of lower prospective returns.

2013-05-22 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Four times a charm. Despite lackluster earnings and economic data that raises some concerns, investors continue to play the game of “how high can we go” and stocks climbed for the fourth straight week With 15k (Dow) and 1600 (S&P) well in the rearview mirror, investors seem to have their targets set on bigger and better things. Some bullish comments by a hedge manager; a solid consumer sentiment reading; a reason for the Fed to hold off on tapering its bond buying stimulusand it’s off to the races for equities (again).

2013-05-22 Where is inflation headed? What will it mean for investors? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Slow economic growth and long-term headwinds should keep inflation contained. Low inflation should help support equity markets and high yield bonds, but may be a negative for gold prices. The inflation environment should also help prevent interest rates from rising too fast.

2013-05-22 Is Japan's Economic Rebound For Real? by Daisuke Nomoto of Columbia Management

The two phrases “Abenomics” and the “BOJ’s Shock and Awe Monetary Easing” are all over the headlines about Japan. Prime Minister Abe unveiled his economic policy late last year calling for a 3% annual nominal gross domestic product (GDP) growth target and an aggressive monetary easing by the BOJ (The Bank of Japan) to achieve 2% inflation. The BOJ unleashed the world’s most intense burst of monetary stimulus last month promising to double the monetary base to 270 trillion yen ($2.7 trillion) by the end of 2014 to defeat deflation.

2013-05-22 Making Investment Grade Is Only the Beginning for Turkey by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It’s been a few months since I was in Istanbul and wrote about Turkey’s exciting cultural and economic transformation, and the country is still making headlines. The Emerging Europe Fund’s (EUROX) portfolio manager, Tim Steinle, has been very bullish on Turkey for multiple reasons, including its young growing demographic, its fiscal and monetary policies geared toward growth, and its entrepreneurial mindset and pro-business policies, to name just a few.

2013-05-21 Do Annuities Reduce Bequest Values? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

The widely held view that annuities reduce bequest values is too narrow. Adjustments can be made in retirement portfolios to reduce retirement risk without sacrificing the value of one’s bequest. Here’s how retirees can purchase annuities, adjust allocations in remaining assets and achieve improved retirement outcomes.

2013-05-21 (Yawn)...As Equities Advance Another 2% by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities advanced again last week, with the S&P 500 increasing 2.1%. Global stocks are reaching new highs in this cycle and the U.S. market is at an all-time high. Bonds were hurt in the move, dragging credit down, while commodities fell slightly on weaker manufacturing data. The unrelenting equity rally and an environment without positive news about earnings and the economy is making many investors uncomfortable.

2013-05-21 Why the Lack of Inflation Is a Problem by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Given the outsized role central banks are playing in today’s financial markets, inflation watching has taken on increased significance.It is widely assumed that continued easy money policies are only possible as long as price increases remain under control.At the same time, for a global economy trying to escape an extended period of weak growth and burdensome debt loads, low inflation is a double-edged sword.

2013-05-21 Capitalism and Democracy by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In the Italian elections, the party that showed the strongest results was the Five Star Movement, led by the comedian Beppe Grillo. Despite this strong showing, the party failed to form a government and refused to participate in any coalitions. This decision not to participate in the political process has been exhibited by other protest groups, such as Occupy Wall Street, the Israeli Tent Movement, and the Spanish “Indignant” movement.

2013-05-21 As Energy Demand Outpaces Supply, Asia Looks Overseas to Refuel by Raja Mukherji, Taosha Wang of PIMCO

Many Asian countries are encountering growing energy shortages due to declining indigenous resources and domestic consumption growth. Oil companies in Asia frequently engage in overseas acquisitions. In many cases, these transactions help enlarge reserve base, access technological know-hows and enhance corporate profitability. Strong sovereign support is a key investment thesis in the Asian oil and gas sector. Through our bottom-up analysis, we are finding numerous investment opportunities.

2013-05-21 Putting Cash to Work: 3 Ways to Enter the Market Today by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

With global equities up more than 25% since their bottom last June, many investors are wondering: “Is it too late to move cash from the sidelines to stocks?” No, says Russ, and he offers three ideas for where find value today.

2013-05-21 Don't Set Much Store in the Equity Risk Premium by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

An old measure but a useful one. It should give us some indication of the market after the 23% gain in the S&P since November. The measure is simple enough: the forward price earnings yield less the yield on the GT30. This makes sense because the duration of equities is around 16.5, which is close to the GT30 of 19. By the way, other sources, notably the New York Fed use different approaches, for example Cyclically Adjusted Price Earnings and a shorter duration risk-free rate. But it’s the vectors that matter not the scale.

2013-05-20 Reinvigorating Egypt's Economy by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

While blaming the revolution is not a persuasive explanation for Egypt’s current economic woes, its appeal to many Egyptians is understandable. Over the last few months, their economic situation has gone from bad to worse.

2013-05-20 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

When the President put forth his proposed budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year which begins October 1st, he went out of his way to offer an olive branch to the Republicans on entitlement programs - especially Social Security and Medicare. The President proposed changing the cost of living adjustments in such a way that, over time, there would be significant savings to the government, but of course, take the money away from the recipients.

2013-05-20 Not in Kansas Anymore by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Knowing where you are doesn’t mean that you’re leaving, but you should still know where you are.

2013-05-20 Bernanke's JEC Testimony by Scott Brown of Raymond James

On Wednesday, May 22, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify on “The Economic Outlook.” The next monetary policy meeting is four weeks away, but Bernanke is likely to provide a preview of what will be discussed at that time specifically, on the issue of when to begin reducing the rate of asset purchases. The short answer may be “it depends.”

2013-05-20 Alpha, Beta! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I had a somewhat lengthy conversation with Rich Bernstein last Friday. I have been on TV with Rich over the years, but have never really had a one-on-one talk with him. Recall that Richard Bernstein was the Chief U.S. Strategist at Merrill Lynch for years before becoming the eponymous captain of Richard Bernstein Advisors (RBA). I was speaking with Rich because I have developed an interest in a few of the funds he manages for various entities. Rich began by stating he is extremely bullish, believing we are in one of the biggest “bull markets” ever.

2013-05-20 Still Bullish by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Like Rip Van Winkle, imagine you went to sleep on October 9, 2007 and didn’t wake up until yesterday. On 10/9/2007, equities were at record highs: 14,165 for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and 1,565 for the S&P 500.

2013-05-18 All Japan, All the Time by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week we again focus on Japan. Their stock market has been on a tear, and their economy grew 3.5% last quarter. Is Abenomics really the answer to all their problems? Is it just a matter of turning the monetary dial a little higher and voila, there is growth? Why doesn’t everyone try that? And what would happen if they did?

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.

2013-05-17 Recession Watch: ECRI\'s Weekly Leading Indicator Declines by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Essentially ECRI is sticking to its call that a recession began in mid-2012, although the company calls it a "mild" recession, which is quite a shift from their original stance 19 months ago: "...if you think this is a bad economy, you haven’t seen anything yet."

2013-05-17 Weekly Market Highlights by Matthew Rubin of Neuberger Berman

Bank of England leaves monetary policy unchanged. S&P 500 and DJIA post gains of 1.3% and 1.1%, respectively. U.S. inflation and housing data and euro area GDP headline this week’s economic releases.

2013-05-17 Finding Opportunity Far and Near by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Would it surprise you to learn that a vast majority of equity valuation models state that stocks should head much higher over the next five years?

2013-05-16 Investors Living in Emerging Markets are a Bullish Bunch! by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Part of my job involves putting myself out on a limb at times, and I have taken the risk of being subject to contrary (sometimes enthusiastically so) viewpoints. I’ve even been accused of being too optimistic about emerging markets, perhaps partly because my views often represent a stark contrast to dramatic news headlines. So when I took a look at the findings of Franklin Templeton Investments’ 2013 Global Investor Sentiment Survey (GISS),1 I was pleased to discover my longstanding optimism about emerging markets seems to be spreading among investors.

2013-05-16 Everybody Wants Some: Central Banks and Bond Funds Step up Buying of Stocks by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The stock market has broken out of its "triple top" formation, which started in 2000, yet remains reasonably valued. Supply within the stock market has been dwindling thanks to near-record company buybacks. Demand for stocks is coming from some seemingly unlikely sources: global central banks and bond mutual funds.

2013-05-16 Where Are the Bears? Evidence vs. Anecdotes in Assessing Market Sentiment Over a Full Market Cycle by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

Imagine the stock market as a national park with just three kinds of animals: bulls, bears, and pigs. The saying “bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered” conveys the idea that one can be bullish or bearish and be successful depending on the market environment, whereas greedy pigs are almost always set up for catastrophe.

2013-05-15 And That\\\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Fiscal Cliff. Sequester. Different names for similar budgetary issues that both basically resulted in games of Congressional “kick the can.” Now in a stroke of luck for non-compromising politicos, the budget deficit is shrinking as higher payroll taxes and paybacks from previously bailed out entities (thanks Fan) have enhanced government revenues since the beginning of the year.

2013-05-15 Speaking of a Great Week... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

I left the office each day thinking that I just saw another walk off game winning home run by the S&P500. The bears were given their chance in April with the weak economic data and slightly less than exciting earnings, but they just couldn’t break it. In return, the employment data was a bit better, the global central banks came out swinging (ECB, Australia, and South Korea), then the markets broke the Yen, Bonds, and Gold, and the Bulls absolutely skinned the Bears.

2013-05-15 Is Japan\'s Sun Rising Again? by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

Japan’s stock market continues to rise while its currency heads in the other direction. Its new leaders, now enjoying high approval ratings, are battling deflation and trying to jump-start its economy with a new determination. This month Kenichi Amaki takes a look at what, if anything, is different this time.

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 Is Kyle Bass Wrong About Japan? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

It’s standard practice for short sellers to kick dirt on their targets, and Kyle Bass is doing just that by asserting that Japan’s economy is on the verge of a financial crisis. In a talk on May 3, he said that Japan’s demise is imminent. So far, though, Bass has been wrong ? and he has his detractors, who are far less certain of Japan’s destiny.

2013-05-14 David Rosenberg ? My Love Affair with Bonds is Over by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The chorus of rate-spike-fearing inflationists has a new member. David Rosenberg, a stalwart advocate of fixed-income investing for the last quarter century, publicly declared on May 3 that his “love affair with the bond market has come to an end.” Prepare for a redux of 1970s stagflation, he said, and he advised investors how to construct portfolios to prepare for that scenario.

2013-05-14 Nouriel Roubini: Four Reasons Investors Should be Worried by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Despite a modest recovery from the nadir of the financial crisis, the global economy still faces tail risks, according to Nouriel Roubini. Roubini’s forecast is not as gloomy as the one that earned the moniker “Doctor Doom,” when he correctly predicted the housing market collapse and the ensuing global recession. But, in a talk May 1, he identified today’s biggest danger points in Europe, the U.S., China and geopolitics which he said threaten to destabilize the global economy.

2013-05-14 Nassim Taleb on the Anti-Fragile Portfolio and the Benefits of Taking Risks by Ben Huebscher (Article)

As we recover from the most recent financial crisis, how we can we learn from the mistakes to best prepare for the future? Nassim Taleb tackled this very question in his latest book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, which built off his previous works and applies the lessons learned to today’s biggest challenges. Taleb examined how small doses of volatility can help systems handle larger disruptors in the future.

2013-05-14 Guide to Working with Monetary Napalm by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

Napalm is a highly incendiary form of jellied fuel. It was used extensively in the Vietnam War to quickly ignite massive fires over large areas of land. In the world of financial incendiaries, the Fed’s overwhelming monetary stimulus has ignited asset prices in the United States with the force and effectiveness of napalm. Is the fire short lived? Are the gains in asset prices temporary or can they be believed? Are the housing and stock markets on fire just because of the Fed’s quantitative easing (QE) or could there be a much more fundamental reason?

2013-05-14 Changing Face of High Yield by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

High yield has been on a tear. A series of fortunate events have made this one of the best asset classes in recent years. It has outperformed the S&P[1] nine out of the last thirteen years. In those that it lagged, underperformance averaged 1.9%. Outperformance averaged 9.7%. From 1985 to 2012, high yield had five down years averaging (-8.8%). The S&P had five down years averaging (-16.6%). Over the entire period, high yield underperformed the S&P by around 180bp but with about half the risk and a 0.58 correlation.

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.

2013-05-14 New Normal ... Morphing by Mohamed El-Erian of PIMCO

The New Normal has morphed to include consequential elements of a "stable disequilibrium." In the midst of notable multi-speed dynamics, the global economy as a whole is muddling along a road that will give way over the next three to five years to one of two stark alternatives: either sustainable global growth, institutional and political renewal in the West and safe deleveraging; or growth shortfalls that cause financial instability, fuel greater social tensions, accentuate political dysfunctions and complicate debt traps.

2013-05-13 Skills, Education, and Employment by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

It is graduation time, and this morning finds me swimming in a sea of fresh young faces as a young friend graduates, along with a thousand classmates. But to what? I concluded my final formal education efforts in late 1974, in the midst of a stagflationary recession, so it was not the best of times to be looking for work. It turned out that I had a far different future ahead of me than I envisioned then. But I would trade places with any of those kids who graduated today, as my vision of the next 40 years is actually very optimistic.

2013-05-13 Whither Interest Rates and \"Safe\" Investments? by Charles Lieberman (Article)

It was an interesting week for comments from notables regarding the future direction for interest rates. Bill Gross suggested yields had bottomed recently. Warren Buffett "pitied" bond investors, (but not so much he was unwilling to supply them with more bonds issued by Berkshire.) High yield bond yields declined below 5% and risk spreads continued to erode. The "Great Rotation" from bonds into stocks has not really even begun yet. Still, it only seems like a matter of time before interest rates begin to rise, severely hurting investors looking for safety.

2013-05-13 Closing Arguments: Nothing Further, Your Honor by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Nothing further, your honor. I am resting my case.

2013-05-13 Tenuous Times? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

US stocks continue to make new highs, yet commodities have struggled and Treasury yields remain low, albeit up from recent near-record lows. Although not the standard playbook, we remain optimistic but acknowledge an equity pullback can occur at any time. Manufacturing data has been soft, the employment picture is mixed, and housing continues to improve. The European Central Bank (ECB) has joined the easing arty, illustrating the continued disappointments coming out of the eurozone.

2013-05-13 The Cash Conundrum by Ric Dillon of Diamond Hill Investments

In an effort to keep interest rates low, the Federal Reserve, along with other global central banks, is flooding the financial markets with liquidity. This additional liquidity is pushing prices for most financial and real assets higher. At some point, the Fed’s policy of easing will end and in some ways will be reversed. Purchases of government-backed securities may end this year (QE3); however, the Fed has signaled that the near zero interest rate policy for Fed Funds is likely to continue into 2015.

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.

2013-05-13 Uncomfortable With the Debate of Our Times by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

A relatively weak first quarter earnings season is winding down, while major stock market indices are reaching all-time highs. This doesn’t quite add up, does it? Overall, corporate profits advanced at an anemic 2.5% in the first quarter, well below the long-term average of 7%. Worse over, revenues were actually flat in the first quarter, below expectations in most cases. On top of that, most companies that have reported earnings have also lowered estimates for the remainder of the year.

2013-05-10 A Tale of Two Markets: Equity Bulls and Bond Bears by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Surging equity markets absent an accompanying rate rally is a red flag, as Treasury yields remain well below “normal”. While investors’ renewed enthusiasm for equities is warranted, they must be careful to avoid the “folly of gaming diversification”. Corporate earnings have impressed, though revenue has struggled due in part to a moribund Europe. Divergent markets mean investors should stay broadly diversified in equities and real bonds not near-cash and ever alert to the fundamentals.

2013-05-10 2013 US Financial Markets: Part 2 - The TINA Hypothesis by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

Contrary to the “Bernanke Illusion” (money market funds are a zero return investment), history indicates that money market funds are likely to provide investors with returns approximating inflation over the next decade. As I pointed out in our last letter, the markets are pricing in inflation levels significantly higher than the prospective total returns of 10 year TBonds. The small additional return achieved by corporate bonds or US stocks (at current prices) is unlikely to compensate a buy and hold investor with sufficient gains to justify the interim risks.

2013-05-10 Recession Watch: ECRI\'s Weekly Leading Indicator Continues to Show Improvement by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Essentially ECRI is sticking to its call that a recession began in mid-2012, although the company calls it a "mild" recession, which is quite a shift from their original stance 19 months ago: "...if you think this is a bad economy, you haven’t seen anything yet."

2013-05-10 Symptoms Don\'t Lie by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

A good doctor will not simply make a diagnosis based on measurements. The symptoms and complaints expressed by the patient are at least as important in making a determination as the data provided by diagnostic tools. When the data says one thing and the symptoms continuously say another, it makes sense to question the reliability of the instruments. This would be particularly true if the instruments are furnished by a party with a stake in a favorable diagnosis, say an insurance company on the hook for treatment costs. The same holds true for the U.S. economy.

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.

2013-05-08 Deflation Is OverPlease Come Out by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

A blooper reel of 20th century history would likely include a feature on Japanese soldier Hiro Onoda. Posted to a small island in the Philippines during the waning days of World War II, when Onoda’s mission proved unsuccessful he was ultimately forced to flee into the woods, where he survived on a steady diet of coconuts and bananasfor almost 30 years after the end of the war.

2013-05-08 Are Investors Breathing a Sigh of Relief? by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Last week U.S. equities delivered another gain as the S&P 500 increased by 2.0%.1 On Friday, the U.S. jobs report offered relief from fears of an accelerating weakness caused by prior softness during this time in each of the last three years. However, the full set of economic data for the week supports our view of a slower second quarter in a post-sequestration environment.

2013-05-08 US Economy Should be \"Good Enough\" for Stocks by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

The April employment report confirms that the US is on a slow-but-positive course of economic growth. This environment should be conducive to further gains in equity prices. Europe, in contrast, continues to struggle and investors should approach that region with caution.

2013-05-08 Screaming “Bear Market Rally\" by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

In the summer of 2009, I was a regular guest on CNBC shows like “Larry Kudlow”. We believe we were invited to participate in those panel discussions because we were the token “bull” in the conversation and I am obnoxious enough to state my piece against significant mental and verbal opposition. The US stock market had bottomed in March of 2009 and rallied explosively into the late spring and early summer. What reminded me of this is the news coverage and expert reaction to the recent collapse in commodity prices, especially gold and corn.

2013-05-08 Absolute Return Letter: In the Long Run We Are All in Trouble by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

In the long run we are all dead, said Keynes. Maybe so, but we could be in trouble long before then. Investors appear preoccupied with central bank policy. We argue that investors are quite right in keeping their eye on the ball but, to us, it looks as if they are focusing on the wrong ball. The real worries for the long term are demographics and negative real interest rates and the effect these factors may have on equity returns.

2013-05-07 How to Construct a Low-Cost Conservative Portfolio by Geoff Considine (Article)

One of the greatest challenges for investors today is constructing low-risk portfolios that provide the best returns using low-cost funds or ETFs. Doing so requires advisors to define risk as the potential for retirees to fail to achieve their financial goals, instead of as volatility, as it is traditionally measured. I will show how to construct a low-cost portfolio that minimizes this definition of risk while generating a reasonable real return.

2013-05-07 Mutual Fund Companies Need to Prepare for a Changing Environment Fund Industry Turbulence Ahead by Paul Franchi (Article)

The mutual fund industry grew explosively from the 1980s on a rare tonic of a low-inflation credit expansion powered indirectly by international trade flows. That run reached a peak in 2008 when the application of quantitative easing (QE) served to prevent industry collapse with a softer form of transition, which continues today but must end when inflation returns.

2013-05-07 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

The trend is your friend (and the current trend is a “friend with benefits” for investors). After a record-setting first quarter for stocks, analysts were skeptical that the “party” would continue. And yet, the Dow Jones enjoyed a fifth straight month of gains in April, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq one-upped the Blue Chips with six month winning streaks.

2013-05-07 Central Banks Steal the Spotlight Once Again by Chris Maxey, Brian Payne of Fortigent

Central banks around the world continue to provide increased stimulus to their respective economies. Increased conviction over pro-stimulus policies comes in light of recent flaws found in the Reinhart, Rogoff January 2010 paper, which suggested that government debt of more than 90% of GDP is detrimental to economic growth. The latest week brought another round of news in the world of central banking, although it seems the number of options left on the table is running short. What central bankers hope for now is that economies will finally enter recovery mode.

2013-05-07 Why Did Gold Prices Fall So Sharply? by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments

April’s sharp decline in gold got people’s attention. Plunging from $1,561 to $1,347/oz on April 12 and 15, it was a staggering decline of 13.7% the biggest 2-day drop since 1983. Is anything significant going on behind the scenes? We believe this price action is not a new phenomenon for gold, but a continuation of a much bigger trend that has been in place since the third quarter of 2011.

2013-05-07 Global Bonds: A Flexible Solution for an Uncertain Market by Olivia Albrecht, Michael Story of PIMCO

The recent rallies in both safe-haven and risk assets have left many investors in a quandary. We believe alpha, or above-market return, will have to play a greater role for investors seeking to meet return targets. In our view, the current environment affords many opportunities for generating alpha.

2013-05-07 Investing for Income and Capital Appreciation by Giorgio Caputo, Rob Hordon, Ed Meigs, Sean Slein of First Eagle Investment Management

A Q&A with First Eagle Investment Management’s senior members and their market views and strategic insights.

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 ?”

2013-05-06 Aligning Market Exposure With the Expected Return/Risk Profile by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Some risks and market conditions are more rewarding than others. My objectives for this week’s comment are very specific. First, to demonstrate using a very simple model that investment returns do indeed vary systematically with market conditions. Second, to demonstrate that overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions have historically dominated trend-following measures when they have emerged. Third, to demonstrate the impact of accepting investment exposure in proportion to the return/risk profile that is associated with a given set of market conditions.

2013-05-06 Dispelling Dollar Doubts by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Will the U.S. dollar, almighty no longer, be supplanted as the world’s reserve currency? Not anytime soon.

2013-05-06 All's Well That Ends Well by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The economic data reports were decidedly mixed last week. However, the April Employment Report exceeded expectations, which provided a good excuse for share prices to move higher. Bonds were whipsawed, encouraged by the view that the Fed was less likely to taper its asset purchases, but then hit hard by the better-than-expected payroll figures.

2013-05-06 The Narrative Changes Yet Again by Charles Lieberman (Article)

The April employment report suggests that the economy continues to expand at a moderate pace, as had been the common view prior to the March employment report. While sequestration and the hike in the payroll tax at the beginning of the year may have taken a bite out of growth, hindsight indicates the economy entered 2013 with enough momentum to overcome these new forms of fiscal drag. Growth should strengthen over the coming months, as lower oil prices and time overcome the negative influences.

2013-05-06 Sell in May But Stick Around by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

A bit odd, perhaps, to worry about deflation as the S&P hits all time highs. But the whiff of deflation is in the air. The YOY PCE core (the one the Fed likes) came in at 1.1% which is the lowest it has ever been.

2013-05-06 The Economy: Why Interest Rates Shouldn't Rise Anytime Soon by Ron Sloan of Invesco

Real is irrelevant. The US Federal Reserve (the Fed) is unconcerned about real GDP the inflation-adjusted measurement of US economic growth. Rather, without inflation in our economy, the Fed is focused on raising nominal GDP. And that priority means that interest rates should stay low for the foreseeable future.

2013-05-04 Don't Sell in May: Here are Reasons to Extend Your Stay by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

During the first week of May every year, the maxim, “Sell in May and Go Away,” gets taken out, dusted off and powered up as a reason to sell stocks. The rhyme is more than just a catchy urban legend: June, July, August and September have historically been the weakest months of the year for the S&P 500 Index.

2013-05-03 The Japanese Experiment by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Weeks into Japan’s paradigm shift in economic policy, optimism that the country may end a quarter-century of economic stagnation is balanced by fears that the authorities’ new approach may make things worse. And, while debate naturally focuses on Japan’s internal maneuvers, the tipping point may lie abroad.

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 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor’s "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1,570.70. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 1,597.57. For the earnings, see the table below created from Standard & Poor’s latest earnings spreadsheet.

2013-05-02 Gold Recovers Amidst Uncertainty by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The selloff in gold that captured the world’s attention in mid-April has revealed some truths about how the market trades and the sentiments of many of the investors who have piled into the trade over the past few years. While the correction does highlight a higher degree of uncertainty than many of the most ardent gold advocates had anticipated, it does not represent the historic "end of an era" reversal that the many in the media have so gleefully suggested. In many ways, the market has shown a resiliency that its detractors do not understand.

2013-05-02 Fed Doesn\'t Budge by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

It would be hard to find a policy statement from the Federal Reserve with as few changes as the one issued today. The Fed made no changes to monetary policy and only minor changes to the language of its statement. Even the lone dissent, from Kansas City Fed Bank President Esther George, was a carbon copy from the last statement in March.

2013-05-02 Disconnect: Why Stocks and Economy Often Move in Opposite Directions by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The stock market hit all-time highs during the first quarter, yet the economy again underperformed expectations. Is the disconnect an aberration or the norm?

2013-05-02 In Treasuries, the Risks Outweigh the Rewards by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

The 1Q GDP report was mixed, but the lack of income growth remains troubling. Oil prices are likely to remain range-bound, but that should be good enough to help energy stocks. While yields could decline further in the near-term, Treasuries look quite unappealing.

2013-05-01 While the Bears Fight... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

While corporate earnings outlooks and released economic data remained soft, the world moved to declare Austerity a failure and quickly assumed that the ECB could ease further at this week’s meetings. The recent collapse in commodity prices and slowdown in China does put a high card in their hand. With these new thoughts, European equities and bonds both surged on the week...

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 The \"Real\" Unemployment Rate Doesn\'t Look Too Good by Steve Rumsey of Optimus Advisory Group

The "real" unemployment rate is hardly mentioned in the media. With the headline unemployment rate standing at 7.6% (single-digit unemployment rates always seem somewhat tolerable) after tagging 10% in 2009, is it any wonder that the employment picture seems to be decent?

2013-05-01 There Will Be Haircuts by Bill Gross of PIMCO

It has been the objective of the Fed over the past few years to make even more innovative forms of money by supporting stock and bond prices at cost on an ever ascending scale, thereby assuring holders via a “Bernanke put” that they might just as well own stocks as the cash in their purses. Gosh, a decade or so ago a house almost became a money substitute. MEW or mortgage equity withdrawal could be liquefied instantaneously based on a “never go down” housing market. You could equitize your home and go sailing off into the sunset on a new 28-foot skiff on any day but S

2013-05-01 Likely Rate Cut from the European Central Bank Will Be No Magic Wand by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

Disappointing April data suggest that the ECB is set to cut the refinancing rate at Thursday’s Council meeting. This is likely to have limited economic impact but could encourage expectations of more creative policy action later, helping to take some upward pressure off the euro.

2013-04-30 The Most Underappreciated Threat to the Advisory Business by Bob Veres (Article)

Financial advisors have often heard the warning that their investment management services are going to become commoditized ? so often, in fact, that you can forgive them for ceasing to pay attention. But if you don’t believe that an online algorithm can replace the sophisticated advice offered by a flesh-and-blood advisor, then check out the Wealthfront USA website.

2013-04-30 The Best Solution for Protecting Retirement Portfolios: Put and Call Options versus GLWBs by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Retirees cannot be exposed to severe ? or even modest ? market losses. They need to protect their savings in a cost-effective manner. I will compare the projected outcomes for two types of strategies: options, which can reduce volatility, and products that guarantee lifetime income, such as variable annuities with guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefits.

2013-04-30 Is the U.S. Housing Recovery Built to Last? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The sector’s comeback will continue, but the pace will likely moderate. Here’s why.

2013-04-30 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A number of readers responded to Robert Huebscher’s article, The New Challenges to Reinhart and Rogoff, which appeared last week.

2013-04-30 Stockman to America: Sinners, Repent! by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

In a massive volume that melds economic history and social criticism, the former Reagan administration budget director David Stockman has documented countless ways in which America went astray over the last century. Most notably, he decried the corruption of free-market capitalism by those seeking effortless profits at the public’s expense. This is the source of his book’s title, The Great Deformation.

2013-04-30 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

With the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, a lot of people felt that things were set as it related to estate taxes. Apparently everyone believed that except the President, who has proposed several changes to estate tax law in his fiscal 2014 budget.

2013-04-30 Beyond Gold: 4 Reasons to Think Energy by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While the sell-off in gold has dominated headlines lately, another commodity oil has also experienced price declines in recent months. But despite crude’s drop, Russ is still a fan of energy stocks for four reasons.

2013-04-29 New Highs Bring New Worries by Richard Golod of Invesco

The sustainability of the rallies in US and Japanese equities this year so far is looking uncertain amid slowing year-over-year earnings growth and mixed global economic signals. European and emerging market shares have traded lower year to date and seem likely to continue lagging in the near term. However, on balance, I remain optimistic about global equities, seeking yield opportunities and investments with an actively managed, more selective approach.

2013-04-29 The Trapdoors at the Fed's Exit by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

It may be too soon to say that many risky assets have reached bubble levels, and that leverage and risk-taking in financial markets is becoming excessive. But the reality is that credit and asset/equity bubbles are likely to form in the next two years, owing to loose US monetary policy.

2013-04-29 Employment Trending the Right Way and the DC Two-Step by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

Spring is in the air and it has nothing to do with the lovely weather we are experiencing here on the east coast. Congress both houses have done something for the American public. FAA, sequester, flight delays we can fix that! While I would usually take a cynical swipe at Congress (something like, “did they act because they, too, were impacted by their own stubbornness”), I’ll let well enough alone and simply pass on a heartfelt thanks. Perhaps this is the start of something.

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.

2013-04-29 Economic Slowdown Has Not Weakened Share Prices by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities rebounded last week as the S&P 500 increased by nearly 1.8%,1 despite continued weak economic data. We believe recent data is not yet weak enough to change forecasts. The relative stability of data and forecasts - supported by stimulative monetary policies, an improving U.S. housing market and fading political polarization in the U.S. and Europe - sends a message of reasonably low volatility and manageable downside risks.

2013-04-29 Cruel Top Line Growth by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

The current earnings season is a very mixed bag. Start with the economic background where nominal growth decelerated in 2012 from around 4.4% to 3.6%. The first quarter may be marginally higher but some of that is from a low base effect. It’s very difficult for companies to raise prices, increase share or volumes when demand is simply deficient. Sure, balance sheets are in much better shape, as evidenced by robust bond issuance, but many companies are in excess savings mode. Here are undistributed corporate profits as a percent of GDP.

2013-04-29 When Rich Valuations Meet Poor Economic Data by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Given the full set of market conditions that we observe, including the persistent overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndrome that has developed in recent months, our concerns about stocks are not dependent on the direction of the economy over the coming quarters. An economic downturn would simply add immediacy to those concerns.

2013-04-26 The Return of the Asian Tigers: Guinness Atkinson Asset Management Asia Brief by Edmund Harriss, James Weir of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

Often overlooked by international investors, South East Asia encompasses some of the world’s best performing equity markets in recent years, putting the more established emerging markets in the shade. This performance is backed by good economic results and the favourable demographics of some of these countries, with youthful populations ready to improve productivity and increase consumption. One catalyst for future growth is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) free trade area, which will bring down trade barriers between the South East Asian nations.

2013-04-26 An Update on the Global Business Cycle by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Understanding where we are in the an important aspect of investing, as the behavior of asset classes may vary throughout that cycle. Recent data indicate that the U.S. remains in its fourth year of expansion, but payroll and retail numbers have disappointed. Outside the U.S., Europe continues to be mired in recession while China’s growth rebound recently has appeared to sputter. In this edition of Strategic Spotlight, we review what these developments mean for the global business cycle and how to position portfolios accordingly.

2013-04-26 The Sustainability of U.S. Interest Rates Rising by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments

Investors are growing concerned, with good reason, we think, that yields have bottomed for the 10-year Treasury and will surge as the economy gains strength. Prices, which move inversely to yields, would fall, and the question is whether rising rates in 2013 could trigger a bond bear market along the lines of the Great Bond Bear Market of 1994. We don’t think so.

2013-04-26 Recession Watch: ECRI\'s Weekly Leading Indicator Rises Again by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Essentially ECRI is sticking to its call that a recession began in mid-2012, although the company now calls it a "mild" recession, which is quite a shift from their original stance 18 months ago: "...if you think this is a bad economy, you haven’t seen anything yet."

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.

2013-04-26 No Escape by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Global economic growth has weakened, while the US economy hasn’t reached "escape velocity." US stocks have held up relatively well. With few other attractive alternatives, domestic equities appear to be the best house in a rough neighborhood. With the Fed committed to easing, housing improving, and valuations reasonable, the trend should continue. Risks remain and diversification and some hedging strategies are recommended.

2013-04-26 Why The Fed's Balance Sheet Matters Neosho Capital Takes On Alan Blinder by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

We anticipate the Fed will begin slowing, but not eliminating, its QE purchases later this year, barring another severe downturn in the intervening period. As such, we expect macro-economic factors such as currency, interest rates, growth, and inflation to continue to be a significant influence on stock market returns and that the long-term benefits of active portfolio management and individual company performance will continue to be masked by these macro influences.

2013-04-26 A Playbook for Investors: How to Shoot, Score, Win by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So, in the competitive spirit of the NBA playoff season, I’ve gathered a series of plays that investors can use to shoot, score and win during this year’s market. I’m happy to say they include all the elements of an exciting game, including a comeback kid, an upset and an underdog.

2013-04-26 Financial Repression: Why It Matters by Shane Sheperd of Research Affiliates

Financial repression refers to a set of governmental policies that keep real interest rates low or negative, with the unstated intention of generating cheap funding for government spending. The ramifications of these policies will be measured in decades, not years.

2013-04-26 Like Baseball in the Snow by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover, Mike Czekaj of Broadleaf Partners

As has occurred in each of the last three years, the economy should continue to plug along, not as we might like it to be, but as we can reasonably expect. Growth scare or not, we suspect that the end of 2013 will show that continued progress lies ahead, but perhaps not exactly in the same pattern as it has thus far.

2013-04-26 Changing the Conversation by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

It has been estimated that if the government used the same methodology to measure inflation that it used during the 1980’s, we would be currently dealing with official inflation that would be many times higher than today’s official 1.5% rate. But now the government appears ready to distort the figures even further.

2013-04-25 Questioning Quantitative Easing by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Speculation over the reduction or expansion of quantitative easing largely amounts to market noise.

2013-04-25 Like Air Out of An Untied Balloon... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Earnings hit the market like a ton of bricks this week. It wasn’t that the reported numbers were a disaster, but that the new data points did not change the trajectory of the current buying and selling patterns. Investors rewarded the defensive earners (bought more Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, and Microsoft) and sold their shares in more cyclical stocks (Industrials, Semis, and Oil Services). Financial stocks survived the week, but few owners went home Friday feeling better about their bank names than at the start of the week.

2013-04-25 Q1 2013 Market Commentary by John Prichard of Knightsbridge Asset Management

The country now in the news is tiny Cyprus, which received a bailout for its banks from the European Union (EU), but only after agreeing to steep losses for those banks’ large depositors. Hitting up bank deposits represents a new dimension to the European debt crisis and illustrates how in a crisis, leaders can and often will resort to whatever means are necessary. When the Cypriots first requested a bailout from the EU and were told their depositors had to suffer, they balked and said that was unacceptable...

2013-04-25 Living in Lake Wobegon by Jim Goff of Janus Capital Group

Are we normal? For many quarters, I have counseled investors that we are going through extreme market conditions and that patience was the best strategy. As the panic fades in the rear-view mirror and the road ahead looks less bumpy, I stand by the advice. But I don’t need to repeat it.

2013-04-24 The 5% Problem: Double Jeopardy for Traditional Bond Investors by Nathan Rowader of Forward Management

Investors have suffered with low yields, but profited from rising bond values during the 30-year bull market for bonds. We believe the bond market is moving into a bearish phase, putting the value of existing bond holdings at risk. A variety of income-producing options are available for those who want to diversify bond portfolios and seek better yields. Historical analysis shows that a diversified portfolio would have outperformed traditional bonds during the last bear bond market and in periods of rising interest rates.

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 Europe's Sovereign Debt Problem: A Call for a Clear Destination by Andrew Bosomworth, John Henning Fock of PIMCO

Without political commitment to a common fiscal destination, the long-term instability and market distortions within Europe’s capital markets are likely to intensify. To preserve the euro, the eurozone must develop federal fiscal policies that tackle significant economic, cultural and societal differences and define a credible roadmap to achieving structural reforms, a banking union, political union and fiscal union. Historical precedents in Europe may help guide the way.

2013-04-24 Market Observations, Deflation Fears by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

Last week, the S&P 500 took a quick dive down toward the 50-day moving average as investors became worried about continued poor economic data. While some investors are quick to point to the Boston Marathon attack as the reason for the decline, there was in fact a large decline in the market before the tragedy in Boston occurred.

2013-04-24 What's Behind China's Economic Slowdown? by Weili Huang of Columbia Management

China’s economy grew by 7.7% year over year (yoy) in the first quarter of 2013, against the market expectation of 8.0% yoy and a prior quarter’s 7.9% yoy. Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 1.6% quarter on quarter (qoq), with an annualized growth rate of 6.6%, a step down from the 2.0% qoq and 8.2% annualized growth seen in 4Q 2012.

2013-04-23 Venerated Voices? Q1 2013 by Advisor Perspectives (Article)

Advisor Perspectives, a leading publisher serving financial advisors and the financial advisory community, has published its Venerated Voices awards for articles published in Q1 2013.

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.

2013-04-23 Harsh Words on Gold by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

As a graduate trainee in a London accepting house in the fall of 1981, I was given the tour and history of my new, 130 year old bank. It was one of the banks that set the daily gold price and had large bullion deposits somewhere under its location at 114 Old Broad Street. But the tour stopped at the vault door. No one went further (probably someone did but it was beyond my pay grade) and further discussion discouraged. Such was the mystery of gold.

2013-04-23 Enhancing Credit Returns in 2013 by Andreas Berndt, Ryan Blute of PIMCO

While credit achieved exceptional returns in 2012, achieving such returns in 2013 will be challenging in light of less upside potential and limited spread compression. Challenged by continued loose central bank monetary policies, alpha generation plays an increasingly significant role in seeking attractive total returns within credit portfolios. Encouraging investors to provide managers with a variety of innovative approaches and flexibility may enhance the return potential of a European corporate bond portfolio without materially changing overall credit or interest rate risks.

2013-04-23 Ugly Week All Around Bombings, Explosions and Selloffs by John Buckingham of AFAM

It was a miserable week, what with the Boston bombings, lockdown and shootout, the horrific fertilizer plant explosion in Texas and the ricin-laden letters sent to elected officials providing vivid reminders that we still live in a dangerous world. True, the week ended about as well as it could as Friday night’s incredible drama in Watertown brought some closure in Boston and the come-from-behind victory for the Red Sox on Saturday was right out of Hollywooda three-run go-ahead home run after Neil Diamond leads Fenway Park in a rendition of Sweet Caroline!

2013-04-23 The Next Steps For the Euro: What Is Needed to Ensure Its Survival? by Keith Wade of Schroders Investment Management

The near term outlook for the Eurozone remains bleak, with the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts showing 2013 as another year of falling output for the region. Better growth is desperately needed and there is a case for more cyclical support through easier monetary policy, but there are also structural obstacles to stronger growth. Unless these are addressed, any pick-up in growth will ultimately flounder. In this Talking Point I look beyond the near term cyclical challenges and consider what the Eurozone needs to do to ensure its long term viability.

2013-04-22 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

The end to another tax season; a hectic week on the earnings calendar; a number of key domestic economic releases; and ongoing developments on the global economic frontand yet, much of the country (and world for that matter) was focused on the events in Boston and the aftermath of the bombing that led to a massive manhunt and a shootout with police. Early in the week, the celebrated Boston Marathon came to an abrupt halt as terror again reigned throughout the country and nearby residents were sent into lockdown mode.

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.

2013-04-22 The Endgame is Forced Liquidation by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Rule o’ Thumb: When the cover of a major financial magazine features a cartoon of a bull leaping through the air on a pogo stick, it’s probably about time to cash in the chips.

2013-04-22 Gold Strategy Update by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

Gold bullion prices have been subjected to a cleverly orchestrated bear raid in our opinion. Selling of paper Comex contracts on Friday, April 12th , and Monday, April 15th, totaled 1 million contracts, exceeding global annual gold production by 12%. The attack succeeded when the technical support in the low $1500’s/oz. easily gave way and led to waves of forced selling. The volume is without precedent and has all the characteristics of a panic liquidation driven by naked short selling.

2013-04-22 Guess What? Growth is Back! by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

The first quarter has come and gone and lots of data have been released. Still, there are pieces of data missing and these missing data points make forecasting GDP treacherous.

2013-04-22 Commodity Declines and Weak Data Startle Investors by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities declined last week as the S&P 500 fell by more than 2.0%, which came on the heels of a new all-time high the prior week. Led by gold, commodities experienced volatility and declined over the past two weeks. Other detractors included disappointing first quarter Chinese economic numbers and somewhat softer U.S. releases.

2013-04-20 Austerity is a Consequence, not a Punishment by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Austerity is a consequence, not a punishment. A country loses access to cheap borrowed money as a consequence of running up too much debt and losing the confidence of lenders that the debt can be repaid. Lenders don’t sit around in clubs and discuss how to “punish” a country by requiring austerity; they simply decide not to lend. Austerity is a result of a country’s trying to entice lenders into believing that the country will change and make an effort to restore confidence.

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 Quarterly Review and Outlook by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

“The Federal Reserve is printing money”. No statement could be less truthful. The Federal Reserve is not, and has not been, “printing money” as defined as an acceleration in M2 or money supply. A review of post-war economic history would lead to a logical assumption that the money supply would respond upward to this massive infusion of reserves into the banking system. The reality is just the opposite. Printing money? No.

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 F.I.R.S.T.: Bond Market Outlook by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Amid heightened political uncertainty in Europe and subdued global growth expectations, global investors owe Hiroki Kuroda a big domo arigato for his pledge to inject about $1.4 trillion into the moribund Japanese economy by the end of 2014. The newly appointed BOJ governor’s unprecedented plan to buy Japanese government bonds,

2013-04-19 The Pharaoh's Dream by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

As yields on assets decline, central banks’ ultra-loose monetary policies are effectively forcing investors further out the concentric circles into lower quality, more illiquid sectors in search of positive yielding assets after deducting inflation. In order to achieve 6%-7% returns in the future, investors may be required to take on more risk. Allocating part of a portfolio away from “middle circle” asset classes into assets with higher return potential as well as assets offering liquidity is the right strategy in our opinion.

2013-04-19 Fed to End QE, Obama's Tax & Spend Budget by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today I tackle several topics, each of which could take up an entire E-Letter. But these topics are very important, and I want to address them today. The first is the minutes from the March 19-20 Fed Open Market Committee meeting that were released last Wednesday. Those minutes definitively confirm that the Fed is ready to chart an end to quantitative easing.

2013-04-19 India\'s Gas Sector Dilemma by Siddharth Bhargava of Matthews Asia

In India, the fertilizer sector has long depended on gas as a key input. Over the last decade, several power plants that run on gas have been set up as well. Demand has grown 10% each year since 2002 while supplies, largely managed by state-owned enterprises (SOEs), have failed to keep pace. Inefficient capital allocation, lack of incentives and populist policies aimed at maintaining low prices have led the country to import 25% of its gas needs. This has further exacerbated India’s current account deficit, which now stands at 6.7% of GDP.

2013-04-19 Recession Watch: ECRI\'s Weekly Leading Indicator Rises by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Essentially ECRI is sticking to its call that a recession began in mid-2012, although the company now calls it a "mild" recession, which is quite a shift from their original stance 18 months ago: "...if you think this is a bad economy, you haven’t seen anything yet."

2013-04-19 Japan Steps into the Void by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In the years following the global financial crisis, economists and investors have gotten very comfortable with very high, and seemingly persistent, government debt. The nonchalance may be underpinned by the assumption that globally significant countries that can print their own currencies can’t get trapped in a sovereign debt crisis. However, it now appears that Japan is preparing to put this confidence to the ultimate stress test.

2013-04-19 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The world’s public debt is much larger than it may appear. The lines have been drawn in the U.S. budget debate. Rates of disability are affecting labor force participation.

2013-04-19 Are Gold Stocks Oversold? by Steve Land of Franklin Templeton

Gold bugs have been bugging out over a sharp decline in the price of gold, which hit a two-year low in April. Many gold-related stocks felt the sting. We think gold-related stocks could be oversold, and that there are still compelling reasons to own them.

2013-04-19 Gold Buyers Get Physical As Coin and Jewelry Sales Surge by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Even with the gold price dropping, why are gold coins selling at a premium? It’s Economics 101: The coin supply is limited and the demand is high. This buying trend isn’t only occurring in the U.S. In Bangkok, Thailand, for example, crowds of buyers were filling stores, eagerly waiting in multiple lines to purchase gold jewelry and coins.

2013-04-18 The Lure of Hedge Funds by John West of Research Affiliates

Investors often buy what they think is exciting, sophisticated, and complex with the embedded assumption that all of these attributes will lead to greater returns. We see this today where we witness the continued explosive growth of hedge funds. But, a careful examination of the data reveals that these fancy lures fail to hook as much in excess, after-fee returns as more time tested strategies.

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.

2013-04-18 Reversing Quantitative Easing by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The Fed is likely to lag the markets, as they do in most cycles. The markets will probably anticipate the Fed reversing QE. The Fed will surprise few investors. The Fed should reverse QE in a yield curve-neutral way, in our view. Steepening the curve risks perversely stimulating the economy by making carry trades and loan spreads more profitable. This cycle will probably end as do most cycles. The Fed will be behind the curve, play catch-up, tighten too much, invert the curve, and cause a recession. That end result, however, is probably quite far in the future.

2013-04-18 The Road to Omaha: Own High Quality Businesses by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We are spending the five weeks leading up to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting focusing on investment keys which are important to both Warren Buffett and Smead Capital Management. This week our focus is on owning “high quality” businesses.

2013-04-18 Inflation and Interest Rates by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The Federal Reserve began its first asset purchase program in the fall of 2008, during the depth of the financial panic. Some observers feared that the Fed’s actions would fuel higher inflation. However, the Fed is now well along in its third asset purchase program and inflation (as measured by the PCE Price Index) has remained low. In fact, Fed officials expect that inflation will trend at or below the 2% target for the next couple of years. That hasn’t stopped the inflation worrywarts from predicting that inflation is still “just around the corner.”

2013-04-17 Hyperactive Monetary Policy: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by Lupin Rahman, Mohit Mittal, Josh Thimons of PIMCO

Hyperactive monetary policy (HMP) is in full force as fiscal policy retreats. The benefits of HMP outweigh the costs for now. Despite cyclical growth, we will likely not achieve escape velocity and eventually the costs will likely overtake the benefits.

2013-04-17 Gold Is Crashing...And the Storm Begins by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

The storm in the US stock market that I have been talking about for the past few weeks may have finally arrived. After weeks of poor economic data, we are starting to see the first crack in the current euphoria in the markets.

2013-04-17 In the Category of Sign Spinners by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

If you thought the plunge in Gold prices was tough on those long the precious metal, wait until you see the upcoming hit to the April Non-Farm Payrolls in the category of Sign Spinners...

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 Present and Emerging Risks to the Gold Trade by Amit Bhartia, Matt Seto of GMO

The notion of gold as a hedge against systemic risks is flawed. We believe that the concept of gold’s role as an insurance policy needs to be narrowed significantly.

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 All That Glitters Is Not Gold by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

This quote from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is apropos given the nosedive in the gold markets today. In our 2013 Best Ideas piece we labeled gold a neutral as gold had not had a significant correction since 2008. Our research indicated a significant slowing of bullion purchases by gold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in 2012 versus 2011. We looked for a correction and now need to contemplate whether we are in the end of the commodity bull market or merely a pause that refreshes.

2013-04-16 Gold in the Crosshairs by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In the opening years of the last decade, most mainstream investors sat on the sidelines while "tin hat" goldbugs rode the bull market from below $300 to just over $1,000 per ounce. But following the 2008 financial crisis, when gold held up better than stocks during the decline and made new record highs long before the Dow Jones fully recovered, Wall Street finally sat up and took notice.

2013-04-16 Tax Day as Polarizing as Ever by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Tax season is once again upon the American population, and this year, just as in years past, people are less than enthusiastic. It is estimated that the average taxpayer contributed slightly more than $11,000 dollars to federal taxes in 2012 and those figures are on the rise. As might be expected in the current backdrop, however, not everyone shares the same opinion on taxes.

2013-04-16 The Asian Economic Crisis and the IMF by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In May 1997, a speculative run against the Thai baht became the first clear signal that a problem was developing in Asia. Over the next three years, Asia and other emerging markets, including Russia and Brazil, were rocked by a historic financial crisis. These nations recovered strongly in the following eight years and generally made it through the 2007-09 global financial crisis in relatively good shape. However, the impact of the Asian economic crisis remains a major factor in the behavior of these emerging nations.

2013-04-16 2013 US Financial Markets by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

In the fall of 2012 the S&P 500 came close to our forecast high (S&P- 1500) Last year we suggested that not only was the S&P likely to reach 1500, but also speculated that renewed bullish sentiment could take us back to the old highs of 1565. When the S&P touched 1563 a couple weeks ago, I started getting client calls complimenting my prescient forecast.

2013-04-15 Valuation Based Equity Market Forecasts - Q1 2013 Update by Doug Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick, Rodrigo Gordillo of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

Click to viewWe endorse the decisive evidence that markets and economies are complex, dynamic systems which are not reducible to normal cause-effect analysis. However, we are willing to acknowledge the likelihood that the future is likely to rhyme with the past. Thus, we believe there is substantial value in applying simple statistical models to discover average estimates of what the future may hold over meaningful investment horizons (10+ years), while acknowledging the wide range of possibilities that exist around these averages.

2013-04-15 The Counter-Inflation Playbook Part 1 by Jeffrey Jones of Cornice Capital

One of the most important lessons I learned during my days at UCLA came from my freshman philosophy professor. He told us that should you find yourself engaged in a debate, the surest way to defeat your opponent is to attack his base principles. If those base principles aren’t fundamentally sound, any case built on top of it, no matter how convincing, is at risk of crumbling all at once.

2013-04-15 2013 First Quarter TIPS Performance by Stephen Percoco of Lark Research, Inc.

TIPS returns turned negative in the 2013 first quarter. The average loss was 0.31%, according to our estimates. By comparison, the return on comparable maturity straight Treasurys was flat.

2013-04-15 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

There may still be people rushing to the Post Office this afternoon or evening to get tax returns in the mailbox. Of course, many others will file for an extension. The first extension is for six months and is automatic. However, when you file your extension, you have to send in the money you think you will owe and file form 4868. If you don’t file an extension, there is a 5% per month late filing fee. An underpayment could also be charged interest, and if the amount is significantly under what is owed there could be penalties as well.

2013-04-15 Keynes And Retail Sales by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

No, just because retail sales fell 0.4% in March does not mean Keynes was right. Sequestration did not cause the decline. Nor did the end of the temporary 2% payroll tax cut, back in January, cause it either.

2013-04-15 The (Up) Beat Goes On, Part II by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

We wrote Part I of this theme on February 11 during the first quarter rally, when the S&P 500 closed the week at 1518. This past week the S&P ended at 1589, after increasing 2.3%. Global stock prices continue to push to new highs and thus provide support for a pro-equity bias. One nuance is that the composition of the equity rally has been abnormally defensive.

2013-04-15 Increasingly Immediate Impulses to Buy the Dip (or, How to Blow a Bubble) by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

A tendency toward increasingly immediate attempts by investors to buy every dip in the market reflects a broadening consensus among investors that there is no direction other than up, and that any correction, however, small, is a buying opportunity. As investors clamor to buy ever smaller dips at increasing frequency, the slope of the market’s advance becomes diagonal or parabolic. This is one of the warning signs of a bubble.

2013-04-12 ECRI\'s Weekly Leading Indicator Shows a Small Improvement by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is now at 130.1, up from 129.1 last week (revised from 129.2). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) remains unchanged at 6.2%.

2013-04-12 Asia\'s E-Commerce Evolution by Michael Oh of Matthews Asia

Korea and Japan have been trailblazers in terms of making the virtual marketplace platform, through which merchants and manufacturers of all sizes can sell goods to consumers, an e-commerce model in Asia. Unlike in the U.S. and Europe, where many retailers sell directly to customers from their own websites and handle the details of commerce themselves, most Asian e-commerce takes place on “megasites” or virtual markets.

2013-04-12 The Great Secret by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

When I was a young boy, I remember my father coming home looking very ashen from a visit with a dear friend dying in the hospital. His name was Dell Zink and he was one of my father’s closest friends. Mr. Z, as we kids affectionately called him, was a very religious man; a man who was regarded by his friends as intelligent and philosophical.

2013-04-12 The Bank of Japan Pulls All the Stops by Raymund Uy of Invesco

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) surprised the markets by announcing a particularly aggressive round of quantitative easing (QE) designed to rid the Japanese economy of its persistent deflation. The new policy was unexpected not only in the size of the asset purchases announced, but also in the types of securities to be purchased and their maturity.

2013-04-12 How a Landslide Shifts Copper Supply by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The U.S. mining industry was dealt a devastating blow as Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Canyon Mine experienced a pit wall failure causing a massive landslide with rocks and dirt covering the bottom of the mine pit. It’s a miracle no one was hurt due to the vigilance of its owner, Rio Tinto. The landslide is just one example of how quickly and unexpectedly the supply and demand factors facing the red metal can shift, which underscores the need for nimble active management.

2013-04-12 Everyone Wants More Financial Stability, But at What Cost? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

For all the good intentions, there is no guarantee that the rush to re-regulate will be successful. The next crisis may look nothing like the one just past, and the political will to take tough preventative steps during good times cannot be taken for granted.

2013-04-12 Assume a Perfect World by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Waiting for our forecasts to be wrong before we adopt a yet another “solution” based on a temporary fix of yet another forecast that turned out to be wrong is no way to run a railroad, unless you want your train running off a cliff. I applaud the recent attempts in DC to come to a solution on the deficits and budget, but where are the leaders who want to get real with those forecasts?

2013-04-12 Soft Patch - Part Four? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks continue to trade at all-time highs, but concerns are rising over a possible pullback and downturn in economic growth. A consolidation of gains is likely, but trying to trade around a pullback can be quite difficult. A potential tapering of Fed asset purchases continues to be discussed, but the Fed also appears nervous over the potential for a spring downturn. Cooler heads appear to be gaining traction in Washington and at least some marginal progress is being made. Economic improvement is gaining traction in Japan, raising hopes of sustainable change, while Europe continues to suffer.

2013-04-11 The Ripple Effect of Abenomics by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Monetary policy in Japan will continue to drive investors in that country to overseas markets, which will affect global asset prices and bond yields.

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.

2013-04-11 Global Investing in 2013: Policy Dominance, Active Management and a New Paradigm in Currencies by Scott Mather of PIMCO

We expect that the impact of ongoing global policy experimentalism on real economic growth and financial markets will likely vary substantially from country to country, creating both risks and opportunities. With flexible, active global strategies investors can potentially benefit from a broader opportunity set and the ability to go off benchmark in an effort to both avoid risks and tap opportunities.

2013-04-11 Telling (Taper) Time by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

Investors need be alert for signs of progress in the many employment indicators the Fed is watching, and listen closely to what the Fed is saying to know when bond buying will be tapered. The failure to achieve “escape velocity” is why the Fed is using its printing press to purchase $85 billion of securities monthly. These purchases will continue, the Fed says “until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially.” The Fed has made progress toward achieving escape velocity but the progress must be sustained for the Fed to throttle back on its stimulus.

2013-04-10 Economic Slowdown Halts Equity Rally by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The latest softness in economic indicators probably means that more consolidation in the equity markets is required before we can advance beyond the recent all-time highs. During March, nearly all of the activity for the S&P 500 was within 1% of 1550. Equities may move lower due to deteriorating technical conditions and the possibility of weak first quarter earnings reports.

2013-04-10 Surprising Surge!! by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup

Momentum from 2012’s surprisingly strong performance continued into the first quarter of 2013 with stocks rising sharply. Our portfolios did well but lagged behind our benchmarks in the quarter. Taking a little longer view, over the trailing 12 and 36 months we mostly matched the double-digit gains of our benchmarks, which we are very pleased with since we usually underperform during strong market advances. So far this year small- & mid-capitalization, value, and domestic stocks were the market leaders, while international, growth, commodity stocks and Apple were laggards.

2013-04-10 Don't Pay Too Much for That Bordeaux - Or That Bond by Jeff Helsing of PIMCO

The financial market’s reliance on ratings agencies and benchmarks, along with regulations, can cause distortions in the value of some securities. These price distortions can create potential opportunities for some investors. Investors should consider aligning capital allocation with outcome-oriented objectives that aren’t influenced by credit ratings or benchmarks.

2013-04-09 John Hussman ? Why Prospective Returns Are Low by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Monetary and fiscal policies have driven our economy into an unstable equilibrium, pushing investors into higher-yielding securities, according to John Hussman. But those higher yields are illusory, he said, because corporate profit margins are too high to be sustainable.

2013-04-09 First Quarter Market Commentary by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates

After a strong 2012, the market continued its ascent in the first quarter, shrugging off macro issues like the Sequester and the Cyprus “bail-in.” The S&P 500 rose roughly another 10%, reaching a new all-time high. Normally when stocks are moving higher at a fast rate, it is the economically sensitive sectors that lead and the defensive ones that lag. But the first quarter saw the reverse, as the top three performing sectors were the three traditional defensive ones: healthcare, consumer staples and utilities.

2013-04-09 Labor Markets Stumble in March by Ryan Davis, Chris Maxey of Fortigent

In an unexpected development, labor markets fell flat during March. Following several months of healthy job growth, the economy was only able to muster 88,000 new jobs in March, well below economists’ expectations for nearly 200,000 jobs.

2013-04-09 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for Asia: How Leadership Changes Are Shaping Asia's Outlook by Q&A with Ramin Toloui, Tomoya Masanao and Robert Mead of PIMCO

For Asia, “slow but not slowing” global growth will likely keep external demand neutral, and policy developments will therefore help shape the economic outlook. In Japan, we see a significant boost to aggregate demand coming from the concerted monetary and fiscal expansion of the new Abe government. In China, concerns about inflation, housing market excesses, and long-term financial stability are prompting policy restraint that should keep growth below 8% this year.

2013-04-09 Morning in Japan by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

There were two very important central bank meetings last week, one from the Bank of Japan the other the ECB. Bank of Japan press conferences have been soporific affairs for years with a few QE programs not leading to much and no changes to inflation targets. Deflation, a declining workforce and falling aggregate demand have been pretty much the unbroken story for the best part of two decades.

2013-04-09 Twins by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Any thoughts that the stock market was going to extend its rally were also shortened last week by a truly horrendous jobs report. In an economy that needs 250,000 new jobs each month just to replace retirees, we only had slightly more than 80,000 in March. The economists’ expectations were bunched around 200,000, so the disappointment in the air was palpable when the market opened and swiftly sank 150 points on the Dow Industrials.

2013-04-08 The Theology of Inflation by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We begin this week with a simple pop quiz. Is inflation good or bad? Answer quickly. I’m sorry your answer is wrong. Or rather, we can’t know if your answer is right or wrong because we are not sure what is meant by the question. We may think we know and we may be right but we can’t be sure, because the word inflation has different meanings for different people in different places and different times. In fact, even the same people in the same place and time can’t agree on a precise definition.

2013-04-08 “Country Roads, Take Me Home,To The Place I Belong ” by David Lieberman (Article)

Recently, I was listening to a Pod Cast from This American Life about the increasing disability rolls in the United States. The story itself was excellent and I would highly recommend it, but the implications of the numbers are equally remarkable. In the past 20 years, the number of people on disability in the United States has soared, even recently when the unemployment rate has declined materially. Rather than focus on the policy decisions, causes of this phenomena, or even whether they are logical, good, or bad, I’m going to focus purely on the unemployment and economic ramifications

2013-04-05 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for the U.S.: Back From the Brink by Josh Thimons of PIMCO

We expect the largest contributors to U.S. growth this year will be housing and related industries, increases in capital expenditures (albeit from very depressed levels), certain manufacturing sectors, such as the auto industry, and the energy sector. We see roughly 1.7 percentage points of drag on GDP coming out of Washington far less than the four to five percentage points of potential drag had there been no fiscal cliff resolution. We believe the Fed will continue with hyperactive monetary policy, which we now call “QE Infinity,” that does not have an explicit end date or progr

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 Ask Russ: All About Emerging Markets by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ answers more client and reader questions this time about emerging market equities and debt.

2013-04-05 ECRI\'s Recession Indicators Decline from the Previous Week by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Today ECRI has added a new headline on the website, Employment Growth Hits New Low, based on data from today’s jobs report. Essentially ECRI is sticking to its call that a recession began in mid-2012, although the company now calls it a "mild" recession, which is quite a shift from their original stance 18 months ago: "...if you think this is a bad economy, you haven’t seen anything yet."

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?

2013-04-05 Every Gold Coin Has Two Sides by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Just as every coin has two sides, every data point that doesn’t meet expectations usually has an upside somewhere. For instance, although the gold price has fallen with the strengthening U.S. dollar, the yellow metal is appreciating in Japanese yen. So when negative news about the economy came out this week, along with the U.S. Labor Department reporting that the country added only 88,000 jobs in March, investors found reasons to be encouraged.

2013-04-05 Eye of the Beholder: Dissecting the Variety of Price-Earnings Ratios by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

There are many ways to value the stock market. Here, a look at several popular metrics, along with my view on the attractiveness of stocks.

2013-04-04 Short-Duration High-Yield Bonds: An Attractive Solution for a Low-Yield, Rising-Rate Environment by Eric Scholl, Tom Saake of Allianz Global Investors

With Treasury yields at historically low yields, investors need to look elsewhere for the income they need. Eric Scholl and Tom Saake, portfolio managers at Allianz Global Investors, discuss why high-quality short-duration high-yield bonds may be a good solution for today’s low yield environment and can provide protection against rising rates in the future.

2013-04-04 Absolute Return Letter: The Need for Wholesale Change by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

The seeds of the next crisis have probably already been sown as a consequence of the lax monetary policy currently being pursued. Frustrated with the lack of direction from political leaders, most recently witnessed in the handling of the crisis in Cyprus which was a complete farce, central bankers from around the world are likely to demand change, but politicians will have to be pushed into a corner before they will respond to any such pressure. Hence nothing decisive will happen before the next major crisis erupts.

2013-04-04 The Long Mystery of Low Interest Rates by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

As policymakers and investors continue to fret over the risks posed by today’s ultra-low global interest rates, academic economists continue to debate the underlying causes. While everyone accepts that a global savings glut is at the root of the problem, no one has provided a convincing explanation of what, exactly, is driving it.

2013-04-03 Hello 2nd Quarter and Hello Baseball by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Hello 2nd Quarter and Hello Baseball. It’s ’Go’ time for both players and stat geeks... It was a very good First Quarter for U.S. Equities. As you can see from the Year to Date charts below, risky sectors did well, but so did many lower risk sectors like Health Care, Consumer Staples, Utilities and MLPs. The Q1 goal as an asset allocator was to be fully invested, but not in Gold, Long Bonds, Emerging Markets and Apple.

2013-04-03 Minor Crisis...Not Too Many Hurt by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Cyprus proved, over the last two weeks, that markets often overlook the small stuff. Very few commentators we follow saw any of it coming and the theories that sprang up in the interim (Cyprus as vassal state to Russia, return to the Cypriot pound, imminent EU break up, twin euros in circulation, utter disaster for the economy, German intransigence and Schrecklichkeit) were absurd.

2013-04-03 Surprise! 2013 Rally Pales in Comparison to 2012 “Stealth” Rally by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Despite the hoopla over first quarter market performance, it paled in comparison to the first three months of 2012. Driven in part by an extremely accommodative Fed, the U.S. economy is gaining traction, but Europe continues to flounder. After their first negative print in three years during the third quarter, S&P 500 companies returned to positive earnings growth in the fourth. A broad, globally diversified portfolio is the best way to balance the desire for wealth accumulation with an appreciation of volatility.

2013-04-03 A Man in the Mirror by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Am I a great investor? No, not yet. To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway’s “Jake” in The Sun Also Rises, “wouldn’t it be pretty to think so?” But the thinking so and the reality are often miles apart. When looking in the mirror, the average human sees a six-plus or a seven reflection on a scale of one to ten. The big nose or weak chin is masked by brighter eyes or near picture perfect teeth. And when the public is consulted, the vocal compliments as opposed to the near silent/ whispered critiques are taken as a supermajority vote for good looks.

2013-04-02 Bernanke’s Motives Behind Quantitative Easing by Paul Franchi (Article)

We are at a turning point: away from one global monetary standard, to a yet-to-be-determined new form.

2013-04-02 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Click to viewHere is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor’s "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1,550.83. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 1,569.19. For the earnings, see the table below created from Standard & Poor’s latest earnings spreadsheet.

2013-04-02 Is the Vix Still an Adequate Measure of Risk? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The 30-day implied volatility index for the S&P 500 calculated by the Chicago Board of Options Exchange (CBOE), known as VIX, has long been used as an indicator of market sentiment. Commonly referred to as the “fear index,” the VIX often portends periods of stress in equity markets, as options traders price in higher volatility in the future. The shape of the VIX futures curve, in particular, has historically been used as an indicator of future volatility levels.

2013-04-02 Flying High on Borrowed Wings by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

After selling off an astounding 56% between October of 2007 and March 2009, the S&P 500 has staged a rally for the ages, surging 120% and recovering all of its lost ground too. This stunning turnaround certainly qualifies as one of the more memorable, and unusual, stock market rallies in history. The problem is that the rally has been underwritten by the Federal Reserve’s unconventional monetary policies But for some reason, this belief has not weakened the celebration.

2013-04-02 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

As we began 2013 America was looking ahead to President Obama’s second term, the passage of a tax bill that raised government revenue significantly, discovering that fourth quarter growth was virtually flat, corporate earnings that had only a few mild surprises to the upside and several to the downside, and finally, an increase in Social Security taxes of 2%. Then the sequester kicked in in early March, a band aid was used to patch the government together until the end of September, and we saw the nervousness the European markets, highlighted by Cyprus.

2013-04-02 Cypriots In The Streets by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

The news of the month comes from the large Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where Keynesian economic planning left the economy facing complete bankruptcy. The result was an unprecedented step forward in the financial collapse of the West: direct forfeiture of bank deposits. Despite official protestations to the contrary, this fallout will spread to a bank near you.

2013-04-02 New Market Records, Quarterly Review, And What\'s Next by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

Last week, after gyrating for the past month, the S&P 500 was finally able to close in record territory. However, investors may not be feeling the joy in their pocketbooks just yet; when inflation is factored in, it becomes clear that the US stock market is still in the extended cyclical bear cycle which started in 2000.

2013-04-01 U.S. Stock Market: Too Good to Be True? by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Funds

There is nothing worse than buying at the top of the market. Think back to the last two economic cycles. If you bought the US stock market or real estate in late 2007, you are way under on those purchases and that is after sweating it out for the last 5 years. Even with the 2009-2012 rebound, we have not seen real estate values or the Dow Index back to even. You have to ask yourself, how can this be?

2013-04-01 Currency and Emerging Markets: What Can We Expect? by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments

Currency markets are making headlines again after taking a low profile amid the crises and the turmoil in financial markets of the last five years or so. I asked Greg Saichin, Head of High Yield and Emerging Markets Fixed Income Portfolio Management here at Pioneer, to provide his views about what is going on, and what he sees as the drivers of investment flows into emerging markets.

2013-04-01 We Should Already Have Learned How This Will End by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The bear market losses that complete each market cycle have different catalysts. Some feature recession, some feature inflation, some feature credit events, but nearly all feature a spike in risk premiums from levels that have become both low and complacent. That’s the underlying risk that overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising-yield conditions have reliably identified over time.

2013-04-01 Plan Sponsors and Participants Need HELP by Jon Vogler of Invesco

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP Committee) held a hearing titled “Pension Savings: Are Workers Saving Enough for Retirement?” on Jan. 31, 2013. Witnesses shared successful initiatives and highlighted areas that need improvement to help workers achieve a financially secure retirement.

2013-04-01 The Arithmetic on Consumer Spending by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The 3rd estimate of 4Q12 GDP growth showed a downward revision to consumer spending growth. Less momentum heading into 1Q13, right? Guess again. Revisions to the monthly data actually showed better growth heading into the new year. Moreover, figures for January and February suggest a much stronger rate of growth in spending (and hence GDP) than was anticipated just a short time ago.

2013-03-29 ECRI Recession Indicator: Unchanged from Last Week by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) to one decimal place is unchanged from last week. It is now at 129.7, the same as last week’s downward revision from 129.8. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) has risen fractionally to 6.6%, up from last week’s 6.3%. Those of us who regularly follow ECRI’s publicly available data and commentaries understand that there is no logical connection between ECRI’s proprietary indicators and their "pronounced, pervasive and persistent" recession call of September 2011.

2013-03-29 Learnings From the Cyprus Saga by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

There are important differences between the situation in Cyprus and the challenges other southern European nations face that should limit the transfer of financial trauma. The hope remains that the ECB’s promise to do whatever it takes to solve the sovereign debt crisis will ultimately settle markets. But access to certain types of ECB support requires reaching agreement on restructuring with the same European officials who have handled the situation in Cyprus so maladroitly.

2013-03-29 Market Resilience by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

After a stellar first quarter performance from US stock markets, which showed impressive resilience to continued headwinds, a pullback is certainly possible but we don’t suggest investors who need to add to allocations wait. In a relative world, the US stock market continues to look like an attractive place to invest, although there may also be opportunities in Japan and Europe as well. The upcoming earnings season could tell the story for the market over the next couple of months, but we continue to advocate a long-term point of view and maintaining a diversified portfolio.

2013-03-28 On the Fed, the Keystone Pipeline & the War On Jobs by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) met as scheduled last Tuesday and Wednesday to review monetary policy and its massive “quantitative easing” effort. The official policy statement released at the end of the meeting on Wednesday was little changed from those in previous months.

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.

2013-03-28 Today's Good News Isn't Bad for US Stocks by Daniel Loewy of AllianceBernstein

Believe it or not, recent US housing market gains, the slight reduction in jobless rates and other signs of a revival in US economic growth are making some investors bearish about US stocks. We think their fears are misplaced.

2013-03-28 What Will Drive the Market? by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

The sequester adds to the economic headwinds caused by ending the payroll tax holiday and the boost in tax rates. However, even with the sequester, total federal government outlays will rise this fiscal year. Finally, after more than a month of daily increases for a gallon of unleaded gasoline, prices are now declining. This has been of concern as rising oil and gasoline prices were yet another headwind facing the U.S. economy. (Oil prices have also declined.)

2013-03-28 What Maslow and Rand Would Tell Investors Today by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

While gold’s performance in the short term has been counterintuitive, I plan to stick to my own advice. I simply feel safer with a small weighting in gold as insurance.

2013-03-28 Whatever It Takes in Japan? It Takes an 'Audacious' Monetary Policy! by Richard Clarida and Tomoya Masanao of PIMCO

The BOJ will have to make some key monetary policy decisions soon, given Kuroda’s sincere but ambitious desire to achieve 2% inflation within two years. The BOJ has lagged far behind other major central banks in the deployment of its balance sheet since the onset of the financial crisis. Expect Japan’s monetary policy to be more aggressive and experimental as it shifts toward reflating the economy. For global investors, this may mean a modest economic growth contribution from Japan, at least over a cyclical horizon, as well as additional central bank liquidity pouring into global m

2013-03-27 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Even after a global market surge that virtually “wiped away” the four year bear market, equities still seem to be the best game in town. Corporate and individual investors are flocking back to a haven they had abandoned in favor of bonds when, in an era long ago, yields and credit rating offered them a secure place to park money.

2013-03-27 What Happened to That Export-Led Recovery? by Mike Amey of PIMCO

With nearly 50% of the UK’s total exports going to Europe, an economic area constantly flirting with its own recession, it is no surprise to see that UK trade performance has been challenged.As the US continues to re-heal, and trade becomes more geographically diversified, we should see exports start to grow once more, albeit off a modest base. The easing in sterling is undoubtedly welcome and will improve prospects for exports, but it is unlikely to be a “game changer”.

2013-03-27 Why Not a Quantitative Target for Quantitative Easing? by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

When I should have been practicing my bass guitar in preparation for my band class Thursday evening, I, instead, watched the first few minutes of Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke’s post-FOMC press conference. A number of press inquiries were related to adding specificity to the FOMC’s criteria for modifying its current $85 billion per-month purchases of securities. In the short time that I watched the press conference, Chairman Bernanke did not seem to satisfy the press on this issue.

2013-03-26 A Cry for Help from Income Investors by Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)

Confronted with the stark realities of income investing now, affluent investors all over the world are rethinking their approach, notes Legg Mason’s just-released Global Income Survey. Yet the Survey also found income investors hungry for more knowledge and ideas -- creating opportunities for savvy financial advisors.

2013-03-26 Currencies in a Race to Debase by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Since the start of the year, investors have seen rapid shifts of sentiment in currency markets. The debasement that for so long was assumed to be a purely Western phenomenon is beginning to impact countries globally, driving changes in expected returns and growth prospects.

2013-03-26 The Stimulus Trap by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

For years we have been warned by Keynesian economists to fear the so-called "liquidity trap," an economic cul-de-sac that can suck down an economy like a tar pit swallowing a mastodon. They argue that economies grow because banks lend and consumers spend. But a "liquidity trap," they argue, convinces consumers not to consume and businesses not to borrow. The resulting combination of slack demand and falling prices creates a pernicious cycle that cannot be overcome by the ordinary forces that create growth, like savings or investment.

2013-03-26 Throw the Book at Him by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

On February 2, Ground Hog Day, Punxsutawney Phil failed to see his shadow forecasting, and as legend has it an early spring. Yet on the first day of spring, I looked out my back window at a lake still more than half frozen with my view partially obscured by a wicked little snow flurry. So much for forecasts!

2013-03-25 The Hook by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

At the 2000 peak, Richard Russell observed "Every bull and bear market needs a hook.’ The hook in a bear market is whatever the bear serves to keep investors and traders thinking that everything is going to be all right. There is always a hook."

2013-03-25 Fed Outlook: Cautiously Optimistic or Just Hopeful? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The Federal Open Market Committee’s latest policy meeting generated few surprises. The FOMC maintained its forward guidance on the federal funds rate target, which is still not expected to start rising until 2015, and did not alter its asset purchases plans ($40 billion per month in agency mortgage-backed securities and $45 billion in longer-term Treasuries). However, in his press briefing, Bernanke indicated that the pace of asset purchases could be varied as progress is made toward the Fed’s goals or if the assessment of the benefits and potential costs of the program were to cha

2013-03-25 Cyprus Reminds Us of Threats and Improving Global Economy by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equity averages sagged slightly last week. Strength later in the week made up for earlier weakness as the equity rally paused for the Cyprus crisis. We (and the consensus) perceive Cyprus as mainly a local problem and believe it supports our view to remain cautious with Eurozone weightings.

2013-03-22 Cyprus Lifts the Curtain by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

This week financial analysts, economists, politicians, and bank depositors from around the world were outraged that European leaders, more specifically the Germans, currently calling many of the shots in Brussels and Frankfurt, could be so politically reckless, economically ignorant, and emotionally callous as to violate the sanctity of bank deposits in order to fund a bailout of Cyprus.

2013-03-22 Insights on India: Land of Paradoxes by Chetan Sehgal of Franklin Templeton Investments

Technology has made it easy for our emerging markets team to stay in contact from nearly every corner of the globe, but electronic communications can’t replace human interaction through a face-to-face exchange of ideas. Twice a year, our 50+ analysts gather together in a single location to share opinions on companies, discuss global events, and conduct a peer review and evaluation. I’ve invited my colleague, Chetan Sehgal, to pen his thoughts on India and why we chose it as the location for our most recent gathering.

2013-03-22 ECRI’s "Recession" Indicators: Unchanged from Last Week by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The only new ECRI-related news since last Friday’s update is a CBS Moneywatch commentary, Can the stock market rise while the economy stalls? ECRI liked the commentary well enough to reprint it on the company’s website. It basically reiterates Achuthan’s point in the "Yo-Yo Years" essay that it’s possible for the market to rise during a recession, citing three such instances (of the 15 recessions) since the Roaring Twenties.

2013-03-22 In Gold We Trust by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Poorly thought out government policies hurt the formation of capital and destroy people’s trust in paper money. Leaders may have good intentions, but some of their actions show disrespect for private property and individualism. This only reemphasizes gold as an important asset class.

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.

2013-03-21 Fed Still Inching Toward Optimism by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Federal Reserve made no changes to monetary policy today and only some small changes to the language of its statement. Once again, the Fed’s comments were slightly more optimistic about the economy than they were after the prior meeting.

2013-03-20 Is The Government Lying To Us About Inflation? Yes! by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped an unexpected 0.7% in February. This was above pre-report estimates and was the highest monthly reading since 2009. We should be very concerned, right? Let’s take a closer look.

2013-03-20 Spending Patterns Paint Half Truth by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On March 13th, the Commerce Department announced a 1.1 percent increase in food and services retail sales, doubling a prior Dow Jones survey of economists that forecast an increase of just 0.6 percent. This new data has led to a fresh wave of enthusiastic commentaries that the US economy is set for a strong recovery. Less examined were the underlying factors that supported the increase.

2013-03-20 Investors Need to Pivot by William Benz of PIMCO

Fixed income investors need to think differently in the current environment. Investors may want to consider pivoting to strategies that are less focused on traditional benchmarks and more oriented to generating income and providing greater flexibility to hedge against rising rates, widening credit spreads or higher inflation.

2013-03-19 Understanding the Role of SPIAs in a Retirement Portfolio by David B. Loeper (Article)

Wade Pfau’s recent article, Breaking Free from the Safe Withdrawal Paradigm, was well researched. Its goal was to accurately calculate the benefits of using SPIAs based on certain assumptions. I fear, however, that many readers may have not fully grasped the impact of a few key assumptions that drive his results.

2013-03-19 Paul Matlack from Delaware Investments on the Direction of the Bond Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Paul Matlack is senior vice president, senior portfolio manager and fixed income strategist for Delaware Investments. His firm oversees $145 billion in fixed-income strategies, and in this interview Matlack discusses his outlook for the economy and the bond market, and how advisors should be positioning client portfolios.

2013-03-19 Rising Political Risk and Ongoing Economic Weakness Challenge a Difficult Journey to Recovery by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

Looking ahead, it will continue to be a very bumpy journey as we anticipate economic contraction in the eurozone by -0.75% to -1.25% over the next year, hampered by growing political risk and fiscal tightening. Although we expect the pace of contraction in the eurozone to diminish over 2013, the duration of the recession is likely to be longer than consensus forecasts.

2013-03-19 The Outlook for Equities by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management

It doesn’t take much to get me started on a memo. In this case one sentence was enough, in an article from the February 4 online edition of Pensions & Investments, as described by FierceFinance on February 28: “The long-term equity risk premium is typically between 4.5% and 5%.”

2013-03-19 Why Are Emerging Markets Struggling in 2013? by Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Despite one of the sharpest rallies in US equities in recent memory, emerging market equities have been left curiously behind in 2013. Through last Friday, the market segment was down 1.0%, compared to an S&P 500 index that was up 10.0%. This seems to violate the regime that investors have gotten used to over the past 10 years, whereby the emerging markets equity index served as a high beta proxy for the US equity market.

2013-03-19 Adios Hugo by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On the afternoon of March 5, the vice president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, announced that President Hugo Chavez, who had led the country since 1999, had died. His death did not come as a great surprise. He had been suffering from cancer for nearly two years. Last year, declaring himself “cured,” he ran for president and won a third term handily. However, by December, he needed additional treatment in Cuba. As he prepared for what proved to be the final round of therapy, he appointed Maduro as the leader of Venezuela in his absence.

2013-03-19 How Strong? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The recent economic reports have been mixed. The stock market seems to have embraced the strength and ignored the weakness. The bond market typically approaches the information in a more balanced way. How might the differences between the two markets be resolved?

2013-03-19 Gambler’s Fallacy by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

“My luck has gotta change” is a famous lament that has buried many a player on the crap tables. But as shown in the aforementioned “coin toss” quote, “The outcomes in different tosses are statistically independent and the probability of any outcome is still 50%.” While that’s true in gambling, it is not so true in the stock market. The fact is, there are certain historic precedents in the stock market that can tilt the odds of success decidedly in your favor.

2013-03-18 And That’s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Move over Dow Jones, here comes the S&P. What few thought possible a year ago is coming to fruition as the major indexes continue to push toward record territory. The S&P 500 is close (but no cigar) to besting its personal high set in late 2007, before this whole banking mess emerged and sent equities into a tailspin. Confident investors seemed to be overlooking the numerous concerns (budget/sequester, payroll taxes, Europe, China) so they can participate in the record run.

2013-03-18 M&A and Dividends Likely Drivers of the Market by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

The sequester adds to the economic headwinds caused by ending the payroll tax holiday and the boost in tax rates. However, even with the sequester, total federal government outlays will rise this fiscal year. Finally, after more than a month of daily increases for a gallon of unleaded gasoline, prices are now declining. This has been of concern as rising oil and gasoline prices were yet another headwind facing the U.S. economy. (Oil prices have also declined.)

2013-03-18 Finding the Sweet Spot by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

Where is the investment “sweet spot” in today’s global financial markets? The uneven global growth outlook means there are opportunities and risks for both credit and equity investors.

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.

2013-03-18 Investment, Speculation, Valuation, and Tinker Bell by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The most important questions investors should be asking are these: what do they know that can be demonstrated to be true; and what do they believe that can be demonstrated to be untrue. It is best to make these distinctions deliberately, lest the financial markets clarify these distinctions for investors later, against investors’ will, and at great cost.

2013-03-18 Don’t Forget About Emerging Market Equities by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While emerging market stocks are underperforming US stocks, Russ explains why longer-term investors may want to give EM markets another look.

2013-03-18 Currencies: A 1970s Flashback? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Four decades ago, a currency war and significant Fed easing were followed by a bout of high inflation. Now investors are worried that history could repeat itself.

2013-03-18 UK Budget: No Fiscal Consolidation, but Looser Money Ahead by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

We expect little change in UK fiscal policy in Wednesday’s budget. Instead the Chancellor George Osborne may try to nudge the Bank of England towards more aggressive monetary easing, putting further pressure on the pound.

2013-03-18 5 Reasons to Still Like (but not Love) Stocks by David Kelly of JP Morgan Funds

While investors have been justifiably worried that the combination of the big tax hikes of January and the Sequester in March could lead to an economic slump, so far the numbers are reassuring.

2013-03-15 What’s Next, Mr. Finance Minister? by Sudarshan Murthy of Matthews Asia

Every February, India’s federal government releases its annual budget to outline revenues and spending plans. In the years following India’s independence in 1947, when government-owned enterprises dominated the economy, the budget was of utmost importance to market watchers. With the country’s economic liberalization in the early 1990s, the significance of this annual budget process diminished somewhat. However it is still meaningful, and this year’s budget exceeded US$300 billion in expenditures.

2013-03-15 Reducing the Risk from Adding Stock Exposure by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Adding other sources of diversification could significantly reduce the risk from increasing stock exposure, our research suggests.

2013-03-15 Washington May Be Ready to Take a Break From the Brink by Josh Thimons, Libby Cantrill of PIMCO

With Washington’s dysfunction not in the forefront, the economy could be more unencumbered to grow, with markets trending in a similar direction. The Fed’s proactive policies should continue to favor overweight positions in the five-year through 10-year part of the Treasury yield curve and support interest-rate-sensitive sectors of the economy most notably housing. In the longer term, however, we would advise investors to be cautious: Without meaningful long-term structural deficit reform, real growth will inevitably lag in the U.S.

2013-03-15 ECRI’s Recession Call: Proprietary Indicators Still Not Cooperating by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose in today’s update. It is now at 129.9 versus the previous week’s 129.5 (revised upward from 129.3). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) has eased, now at 6.3, down from last week’s 6.4 (an upward revision from 6.2).

2013-03-15 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Despite exceptionally easy monetary policy, inflation risk remains low. Record stock market levels are boosting consumer spending. U.S. capital spending is poised to be a bright spot this year.

2013-03-15 China\’s Next Stop by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Would it surprise you to discover that China is planning to add 800 miles to its subway system over the next two years? That’s the distance equivalent to building a network from Dallas to Chicago in less time than the U.S. Congress can resolve a budget!

2013-03-15 Finally!! Now What? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Surprise! We don’t know what’s going to happen in stocks over the next few weeks. But we are seeing an environment that we believe can foster further gains in the US as economic data remains generally positive, the Fed maintains its accommodative stance, and small progress is being made in the fiscal realm. Investors concerned about a pullback may want to hedge their portfolios, but maintain adequate exposure to equities.

2013-03-14 DC Plan Sponsors: Now's the Time to Get More From Bonds by Stacy Schaus of PIMCO

Long on equities and light on bonds, today’s DC plan lineups may expose participants to extreme market risks. Plan sponsors could potentially improve retirement outcomes by trimming choices for stocks and considering additional options for bonds. The inclusion of active fixed income strategies with global exposure or additional income opportunities could help participants reach their retirement goals.

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 Argentina on Sale by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

(From Cafayate, Argentina) There are some who worry whether the path that Argentina has taken to monetary ruin on multiple occasions (and that it seems intent on taking again) is one that the US may also find itself on. That worry has crossed my mind a few times, I must confess. Today we will look at Argentina more in depth. From a monetary perspective, it deserves attention. And once again there will be opportunity.

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.

2013-03-13 Dow--Then and Now by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is making record highs, knocking the 2007 peak off its pedestal, but investors aren’t celebrating.

2013-03-13 Yield Opportunity in a Low Yield Environment by Troy Johnson of Westcore Funds Denver Investments

The Fed’s aggressive monetary policy teamed with its inability to jump-start the anemic economic growth pattern has challenged investors’ quest for yield entering 2013. We offer investors the following for consideration as they seek yield in this environment.

2013-03-12 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Two readers respond to Joe Tomlinson's article, Can Advisors Add Value Through Fund Selection?, which appeared on February 26, and a reader responds to Wade Pfau's article, Breaking Free from the Safe Withdrawal Rate Paradigm: Extending the Efficient Frontier for Retirement Income, which appeared last week.

2013-03-12 Finally, a Jobs Report Worth Reading by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Surprisingly, the February employment report showed a labor market growing at a reasonably healthy rate. Concerns that the sequester would spill into the broader economy have yet to materialize and if recent trends hold, the economy may finally be approaching a point of robust and sustainable job growth.

2013-03-12 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks rose each day last week as the notion of a ho-hum global economy was reassuring to those who fear either a recession or a surge in economic activity.

2013-03-12 We Made It. Now What? by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

What looks like a fairly settled policy in Europe is fast becoming a very dangerous situation, according to Christian Thwaites in his latest "Thought of the Week" -- "We Made It. Now What?" -- adding that the outlook for the world's second largest economic bloc is pretty week.

2013-03-12 The Retirement Income Problem by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

The most vital and pervasive issue investors will face in the next decade is how to wring out enough income from the savings they have amassed to maintain or enhance their lifestyle. To do so, they will need to be far more flexible in their investment approach. They also must adapt to an environment for "high quality bonds" (Treasuries, Municipals and Corporates) that does not at all resemble that which they are accustomed to.

2013-03-12 The 2030 Increasing Inequality Scenario by Bill O'Grady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

Last month we started looking at the 2030 alternative world development scenarios as laid out by the National Intelligence Council (NIC). The NIC forecasts the likely paths that are either currently underway or are forecast to occur in the future. In its most recent report, the NIC projects four possible global political and economic states based on expected trends. Last time, we presented the most likely best case scenario. This week, we will explore the third scenario, under which the world gets wealthier as a whole, but inequalities increase.

2013-03-11 The Job Market: Not As Strong As It Looks by Scott Brown of Raymond James

With headwinds fading, the U.S. economic recovery appeared poised to pick up more substantially in 2013. Unfortunately, fiscal policy is going in the wrong direction.

2013-03-11 Forecasting Bond Returns in the New Normal by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

PIMCO has a detailed framework for deriving a forecast for secular bond returns based on our most current expectations of policy rates and the inflation-adjusted (or real) bond risk premium. We start by defining the expected secular real policy rate as the expected average rate of the fed funds rate after adjusting for inflation over the next 10 years.

2013-03-08 ECRI "Recession" Update: Lakshman Achuthan Stands his Ground by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The big news this week is the ECRI's Chief Operating Officer and spokesman, Lakshman Achuthan, returned to the media circuit with interviews yesterday on Bloomberg, CNBC and Yahoo's Daily Ticker. In addition, ECRI has published a new commentary available to the general public.

2013-03-08 Spasmodic Stupidity: The Wile E. Coyote Congress by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

I predict the Ides of March will find us in a continued sequestration, and Congress will use the time between now and the debt ceiling deadline on March 27th to debate the merits of true tax reform as opposed to governing by crisis. In the end, though, the reform conversation will revert to governance by crisis, with another stop-gap measure to avoid government shutdown during Holy Week and Easter, which will tide us over to the elections of 2014. Do you expect any different?

2013-03-08 How to Keep Calm and Invest On by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The market noise of today will not be going away. However, investors can gain confidence in the following wisdom of the crowd. As famous investor Benjamin Graham said, "The individual investor should act consistently as an investor and not as a speculator. Keep calm and invest on.

2013-03-07 Gentlemen, Start Your Presses by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

In his Congressional testimony last week in Washington, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke took time to downplay the significance of the few dissenting voices on the Fed's Open Market Committee (FOMC). Those statements, combined with an even more dovish statement by Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen earlier this week, clearly reaffirm the Fed's indefinite commitment to $85 billion of monthly quantitative easing.

2013-03-07 Guanxi, Mianzi, and Business: The Impact of Culture on Corporate Governance in China by David Smith of Aberdeen Asset Management

There are two key cultural and sociological issues of particular importance when evaluating Chinese companies: guanxi (relationships and networks) and mianzi (face). When analyzing the potential of a Chinese company, it's important to understand how guanzi and mianzi affect transactions, board composition and deliberations, and shareholder engagement, among other issues.

2013-03-07 80's Bull Redux by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

We have thought for some time that the current bull market might be one of the strongest of our careers, and could potentially rival the 1980s bull market. Although this current cycles construction is quite different from the 1980s bull market, there are many aspects of this market that are curiously similar.

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 How Much Risk Does Adding Stocks Pose? by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Investors have good reasons for their recent net increase in stock fund purchasesand good reasons to remain anxious, in our view. While market volatility has returned to normal, memories of the wild market swings of the past five years loom large. Here's what we think about the risk of increasing stock exposure now.

2013-03-07 After the Dow Record Close: What Comes Next? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

After Tuesday's record setting Dow Industrials close, are US stocks still cheap? Can the market move higher? Russ answers these questions and more.

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.

2013-03-06 Combining the Best of Passive and Active Investing by Patrick O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

Should investors pay higher fees to active managers in an attempt to beat the market? Or should they instead buy cheap passive index funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) thereby surrendering to the compelling long-term evidence that successful money managers are few and far between and very difficult to identify. It is an important and ongoing debate because the choice between the passive or active approach to investing can have a huge impact on long-term results.

2013-03-06 Liquidity Tiering for Higher Yields in the Tax-Free Market by Duane McAllister, John Bortizke of BMO Global Asset Management

In today's low-yield environment, investors need a fresh approach to managing their portfolios for higher income. Liquidity tiering provides a framework that can help you achieve both principal stability and yields sufficient to meet your goals.

2013-03-06 An Infinite Amount of Money by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The three major blocs of the developed world are careening toward a debt-fueled denouement that will play out over years rather than in a single moment. And contrary to some opinion, there is no certain ending. There are multiple paths still available to Europe and especially the US, though admittedly none of them are bright and carefree.

2013-03-05 Breaking Free from the Safe Withdrawal Rate Paradigm: Extending the Efficient Frontier for Retiremen by Wade Pfau (Article)

The traditional safe withdrawal rate approach that relies on a portfolio of only stocks and bonds produces among the worst possible outcomes for meeting spending needs and preserving financial assets for other uses. My research demonstrates there is a better approach.

2013-03-05 What Economists can Learn from Downton Abbey by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Economists warn that the U.S. economy could be heading toward one of two catastrophes: the two-decade long stagnation that has befallen Japan, or the hyperinflation that struck Zimbabwe and the Weimar Republic. Such cautionary tales alert policymakers to the failed efforts of their predecessors. But the most relevant comparison is rarely cited ? to Great Britain in the 1920s, as depicted in the highly popular PBS series Downton Abbey.

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.

2013-03-05 Weave a Circle Round Us Thrice by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

There was plenty of news to threaten the recent market rallies but, as of writing, we're within a whisper of all time highs in US stocks and managing to have a very orderly consolidation in bonds. This is surprising because the political process has once again taken careful aim and shot itself in the foot. The sequester has become the dumb answer to difficult questions and will initiate, mostly indiscriminate, across-the-board cuts.

2013-03-05 Is Now the Time to Diversify? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The use of global diversification in constructing client portfolios has come under fire in recent years due to the underperformance of many risk assets. Traditionalists who stuck to their familiar S&P 500 and BarCap Aggregate Bond index blends generally outperformed their diversified peers in 2011 and 2012, as historic risk premiums failed to materialize and various alternative investment strategies faced headwinds.

2013-03-05 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor's "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1,512.31. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 1,514.68. For the earnings, see the table below created from Standard & Poor's latest earnings spreadsheet.

2013-03-05 Reflections on Sequester by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past several weeks, the notion of sequester, a plan of across the board spending cuts, has been dominating the news. The sequester was a program designed to never go into effect. In the dark days of 2011, when the debt ceiling debate threatened to cause the U.S. to default on its debt, the administration and the House GOP made a deal. In return for a higher debt ceiling, one high enough to ensure that it would not be hit before the 2012 presidential elections, a commission was tasked to make significant cuts to fiscal spending.

2013-03-05 Absolute Return Letter: Expect the Unexpected by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

With real interest rates being negative in many countries we expect low returns on both equities and bonds going forward. Many investors have responded to that by allocating more and more of their assets to passive strategies such as ETFs. We believe it is the wrong approach for this type of environment.

2013-03-05 Currencies: The Winds of War by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

In this conflict, the collateral damage could include asset bubbles and accelerating inflation.

2013-03-05 No Rest for the Wicked by Scott Brown of Raymond James

With headwinds fading, the U.S. economic recovery appeared poised to pick up more substantially in 2013. Unfortunately, fiscal policy is going in the wrong direction.

2013-03-04 Living in the Past: Investors Finally Putting Away the Rear-View Mirror? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

With a very strong January in the books for stocks, and hefty inflows into stock mutual funds, are we finally seeing the investor class become believers?

2013-03-04 Is Congress About to Cause a Major Economic Slowdown? by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

The fiscal cliff, sequestration, higher taxes, and a pending budget debate may be too much for overly optimistic investors to handle. Volatility has started to rise and the market is looking weaker:

2013-03-04 Out On A Limb - An Investor's Guide to X-treme Monetary and Fiscal Conditions by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Massive policy responses, directed toward ineffective ends, are scarcely better than no policy response at all. A look at the current monetary and fiscal policy environment, as well as more effective policy initiatives, and why they make sense.

2013-03-04 Forecasting Bond Returns in the New Normal by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

PIMCO has a detailed framework for deriving a forecast for secular bond returns based on our most current expectations of policy rates and the inflation-adjusted (or real) bond risk premium. We start by defining the expected secular real policy rate as the expected average rate of the fed funds rate after adjusting for inflation over the next 10 years.

2013-03-01 What Are The FOMC Minutes Telling Us? by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

The release of the minutes of the January Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve (Fed) caused a tremor in the bedrock of investor euphoria last week. The minutes confirmed that the cost/benefit analysis of quantitative easing (QE) is at center of policy debate right now. However, the minutes did not provide a definitive signal that the program may be cut short. In particular, it is not clear where Chairman Bernanke and Vice Chair Yellen stand. I believe the level of debate slightly raises the odds that QE will end this year.

2013-03-01 The Walk of Life: Stepping Away From Dire Straits and Toward Active Short-Term Mgmt Strategies by Jerome Schneider, Andrew Spottiswoode of PIMCO

Money market investors may find the benefits of recent regulatory and industry reforms bittersweet at best, as they are still tolerating borderline zero percent yields in a persistent low rate environment. Without creative strategies for liquidity management, many investors are finding themselves in the "dire straits" of actual negative real returns on their cash allocations even with modest current levels of inflation.

2013-03-01 Wait for Your Pitch in Today's Market by John West of Research Affiliates

Great hitting in baseball depends in part on waiting for the right pitch. In today's market, most asset classescoming off their impressive 2012 recordare "high and outside" the valuations necessary for future big league returns. Patience is the name of the game today.

2013-03-01 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

With the battle over sequestration going on in Washington, the President has made it clear he wants to raise more revenue. Just what does he have in mind? First, he would like to limit itemized deductions beginning at the 28% tax bracket. This means that taxpayers in the top three brackets would lose some of the benefit of their itemized deductions. Of course, these deductions have a phase out, so the effect may not be as great as is perceived.

2013-03-01 The Fed's Tightening Pipe Dream by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

Testifying before the US Senate this past Tuesday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke made an extraordinary claim about its bloated balance sheet: "We could exit without ever selling by letting it run off." What Bernanke means here is that the Fed could simply hold its Treasuries and agency bonds until they mature, at which point the government would then be forced to pay the Fed back the principal amount. Through this process, the Fed's unprecedented and inflationary position will be gradually and placidly unwound.

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 Is It Time to Get Back into Stocksor Too Late? by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

After five years of fleeing stocks for the perceived safety of bonds, US mutual fund investors became net buyers of stock funds in January. While some see the return of the retail investor as a negative indicator for stocks, we say, "Better late than never."

2013-03-01 ECRI "Recession" Update: Proprietary Indicators Slip Again by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

ECRI adamantly denied that the sharp decline of their indicators in 2010 marked the beginning of a recession. But in 2011, when their proprietary indicators were at levels higher than 2010, they made their recession call with stunning confidence bordering on arrogance.

2013-03-01 Global Volatility by Josh Thimons of PIMCO

The Fed's new communication strategy may, in fact, be a more sensible policy prescription than calendar rate guidance. We expect increased market volatility, particularly around economic data releases. Investors with an understanding of the Fed's now increasingly transparent reaction function will find opportunities to profit in the volatility markets. According to our model of the Feds reaction function, presently every .25 of a percent unexpected change in the unemployment rate is likely to lead to roughly an 11 basis point change in the five-year Treasury yield.

2013-03-01 Critical Juncture? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Headwinds have reemerged and investor concern is heightened yet again. We still believe stocks can run further, but a pullback is more likely in the near-term. The sequestration is now in affect but that doesn't necessarily mean it's here to stay and more budget fights loom, particularly in advance of the potential government shutdown on March 27. Meanwhile, some members of the Fed are in favor of scaling back its quantitative easing (QE) program, rattling markets a bit.

2013-03-01 Greetings from Istanbul! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As I travel around Turkey, I am reminded how vital good government policies are to the health of a nation. Following a decade of fiscally responsible actions, Turkey is the picture of a growing prosperity. Perhaps Americas elected officials could take a tip from this vibrant country overseas.

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 The Difficult Transition to Democracy by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

The Arab Spring has turned into something of a disappointment. In Tunisia, the recent assassination of Shokri Belaid, a secularist opposition leader, has increased tensions. S&P recently downgraded the countrys sovereign risk due to rising political turmoil. In Egypt, protests have returned, this time against the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Yemen remains in chaos. Syria is essentially in a civil war. Unrest continues in Bahrain but the minority Sunni leadership remains entrenched, mostly due to military support from Saudi Arabia.

2013-02-27 Potential Threats to Equity Rally by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Equity markets started a third consecutive year in rather impressive fashion, gaining more than 6% to date. With so much optimism in the investment community, it is always worth keeping an eye open for risks possibly overlooked. By now, it is apparent that investors are increasing their exposure towards equities with arms wide open. Data from the Investment Company Institute (ICI) estimates $39 billion flowed into equity mutual funds this year through February 13. Following outflows of $153 billion in 2012, the sudden reversal has been impressive.

2013-02-27 "Abenomics" & the Weakening YenToo Far, Too Fast by Chun Wang of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Japan's new Prime Minster Shinzo Abe made more of an impact on the market than anyone else last month. In what the market has dubbed "Abenomics," Abe not only launched a new fiscal stimulus, but also pushed the Bank of Japan to raise its inflation target from 1% to 2% AND agree to a new open-ended QE program. The reluctance on the BoJ's part is clearly visible because the new open-ended QE will not start until 2014 and there is no commitment to asset purchases after 2014. Shortly afterwards, the BoJ governor said he would step down, a clear sign of disagreement.

2013-02-27 Rational Temperance by Bill Gross of PIMCO

While the market was indeed moving in the direction of "dot-com" fever three to four years later, the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the time was a relatively anorexic 6,000, and the trailing P/E ratio was only 12x. For a central bank that was then more concerned about economic growth and inflation as opposed to stock prices, risk spreads, and artificially suppressed interest rates, the Chairman's query made global headlines, became a book title for Professor Robert Shiller and a strategic beacon for portfolio managers thereafter.

2013-02-27 The Healthcare Blues by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

It has been some time since we peeked into my worry closet. A few questions this weekend prompted me to think about things I am paying attention to but have not written about, and one thing that I am not worried about at all, despite the apparent media hysteria.

2013-02-27 ING Fixed Income Perspectives February 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Despite its diminutive size, February has been a whirlwind. Eat and drink too much on Fat Tuesday, be reminded of our corporeal nature on Ash Wednesday, receive a sappy Hallmark card on Thursday, and cap it all off with a memorial for a bunch of ex-presidents on Monday. Unfortunately, the next several weeks don't appear to offer any relief from this calendar whiplash.

2013-02-27 The Great Migration by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

We are value investors dedicated to creating portfolios for clients, whether growth (equities), income or a balanced blend of both, of undervalued securities with meaningful upside potential and a margin of safety to guard against permanent loss. For us, the bottom-up factors are the most compelling, but we are also mindful that we need to take account of the top-down macro factors. We know how the Crash of ꞌ08 and the accompanying recession created havoc for investors, including us, no matter how undervalued stocks were.

2013-02-27 Love, Money or Disappointment: What Will Asian Credit Investors Find in Their Red Envelopes? by Robert Mead, Raja Mukherji of PIMCO

Our cyclical economic outlook for Asia in 2013 is unusually dependent on breakthroughs in structural policies. Although we continue to favor select opportunities in key sectors, in general Asian credit spreads are trading historically tight. Bottom-up research is critical, along with careful top-down views on shifting economic conditions, and investors need adequate compensation for taking credit risk. Some sectors and companies can grow significantly faster than their respective economies.

2013-02-27 Singapore A Wise Owl Among Currency Snakes by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

As China enters the "Year of the Snake," Singapore stands as a beacon of sound currency in a world gone mad. China's renminbi remains pegged to the US dollar, while even steadfast Switzerland has followed the US, UK, EU, and Japan into an impoverishing strategy of currency debasement. Singapore, alone, has been able to sustain genuine economic growth in the context of a strong national currency.

2013-02-26 Howard Marks? Warnings and How to Protect your Portfolio by Geoff Considine (Article)

Howard Marks, founder and chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, wrote in a recent memo that the biggest danger to investors is their willingness to buy risky assets that are likely to provide low returns. Market conditions may not fully reflect current risk; option prices, for example, are very low. Some firms ? notably PIMCO ? recommend investors buy put options to protect their portfolios. I propose an alternative strategy that will be resilient to the potential shocks of increased volatility and higher interest rates, without incurring the cost of options.

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.

2013-02-26 Looking For A Reason To Sell-Off by Christian W. Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Markets were looking for a reason to correct. Risk assets had outpaced themselves since mid November and in the first seven weeks the S&P[1] had outperformed the US Treasury 10-year note by 12% and the 30-year bond by 15%. The markets will lumber through the sequester and face the next test on the debt ceiling and first quarter results. Below the surface, the outlook is mildly optimistic. Why the qualifier? Because everything, in Europe, US and Japan, must be set in the context of the asset deflation and deleveraging going on and that will go on for some years.

2013-02-26 Sudden Discomfort by Scott J. Brown of Raymond James

Minutes of the January 29-30 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee showed a growing discomfort with the Feds Large-Scale Asset Purchase program (QE3). Thats not all that surprising. Even those who strongly favor the program arent exactly happy with it. However, thats a far cry from wanting to end the program anytime soon. We should learn more this week as Fed Chairman Bernanke delivers his semiannual monetary policy testimony (Tuesday and Wednesday).

2013-02-26 2013, Losing the Bid by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Many times in my 32-year career people ask me to comment on whether an established trend for a popular investment will stay intact. My answer is always the same. We don't know when the hot streak will end for the popular investment and we don't feel comfortable with popular securities. In our view, there is a dramatic difference in what you do with popular investments based on whether they areto use terms borrowed from Warren Buffett currency assets, unproductive assets, or productive assets. It has to do with the ability to sell and the liquidity you have when the popularity disappears.

2013-02-25 Fed Will Make Excuses About Inflation by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Inflation is tame. For now. The CPI was flat in January and is up only 1.6% from a year ago. The PPI rose a small 0.2% in January and is up just 1.4% from a year ago. And even though energy prices spiked in February, the year ago comparisons are likely to stay tame. The consensus expects the February CPI to rise 0.6% - the largest in 44 months. Nonetheless, it would still show just 1.9% inflation in the past year, which is still below the Federal Reserves target of 2%. This wont last. With the Fed loose; we expect consumer prices to rise toward 3% during 2013.

2013-02-25 We Expect High-Yield Defaults to Remain Low by Jeff Skoglund of AllianceBernstein

High-yield bond defaults are historically low today, even for troubled companies. Despite the worries we hear in some corners about looming high-yield defaults, we think default rates will stay low for at least the next few years. In the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown, US companies did the responsible thing and got leaner, reducing head count and overhead costs aggressively. When the recovery gained traction, they held the line on expensesand profit margins are at historic highs today.

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.

2013-02-22 Uncovering 'Diamonds in the Rough' in Today's Credit Markets by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

There are still good opportunities for yield and total return in the credit markets, but there has been a shift in where and how investors can find them. A "diamond in the rough" is a credit that is under-covered, or not actively followed or researched by many investors. At PIMCO, we identify these opportunities through our top-down and bottom-up investment process. We've identified a number of sectors that appear poised for above-average growth.

2013-02-22 Frontier Markets: Today's Models of Fiscal Prudence by Paul Herber of Forward Management

Say you are evaluating the markets of two countries in a search for investment growth opportunities. One country's sovereign debt is 120% of its gross domestic product (GDP), while the other has outstanding sovereign debt that represents only 11% of its GDP. Saddled with sovereign debt, the first country faces painful fiscal austerity measures, inflationary ones, or bothany of which will no doubt stifle economic growth.

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 UK Equities Reach Inflation Tipping Point by Jon Ruff, Patrick Rudden of AllianceBernstein

As UK inflation surges ahead, equity investors should be concerned. With yields on inflation-linked bonds at extreme lows, we think real assets offer a better way to combat the risk of rising prices.

2013-02-22 ECRI "Recession" Update: Proprietary Indicators Slip Again by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

ECRI adamantly denied that the sharp decline of their indicators in 2010 marked the beginning of a recession. But in 2011, when their proprietary indicators were at levels higher than 2010, they made their recession call with stunning confidence bordering on arrogance...

2013-02-22 State of the Union and Retirement by Jon Vogler of Invesco

Retirement programs drew a few mentions in President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Feb. 12, including these two about Medicare reform...

2013-02-22 January 2013 Market Commentary by Andrew Clinton of Clinton Investment Management

The municipal bond market continues to perform well in the face of significant political, financial and economic uncertainty, once again, demonstrating the importance of consistent, competitive tax-free cash flow. Municipal bonds proved to be one of the best performing asset classes during 2012.

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 The 4 New Defensive Strategies by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Waiting for a market correction? Wondering how to potentially protect your gains? Forget merely opting for traditional defensive sectors. Instead, consider Russ' four suggestions.

2013-02-22 A Test of Strength for Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week, we saw the gold bears growling louder and gaining strength, as the worlds largest gold-backed ETF, the SPDR Gold Trust, experienced its largest one-day outflows since August 2011. The Fear Trade fled the sector following the Federal Reserves meeting that revealed a growing dissension among some of its members over the central banks bond-buying program.

2013-02-21 Fed Must Tune in to Changing US Economy by Joseph Carson of AllianceBernstein

With each passing month, more questions are being asked about the sluggish US economic recovery. Why has growth been subdued since the recession ended in mid-2009? What's changed in the economy? How long can loose monetary policies persist before promoting more inflation or creating a new bubble?

2013-02-21 Gold Miners- Back in the Abyss- An Update by JJ Abodeely of Value Restoration Project

Back on May 18th, 2012 I wrote a piece titled Jumping Into The Abyss: A Bull Case for Gold Mining Stocks. The miners had declined 40% from their August 2011 highs and for a variety of fundamental reasons like valuation and the relationship between mining costs and the price of gold and technical reasons, like sentiment, I felt the case to buy was compelling. The stocks subsequently rallied more than 30% over the following 4-5 months.

2013-02-21 Collateral Damage in the Currency Wars by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Global competitive devaluation will continue to cause asset prices to rise in the near-term, but the broader implication of the policies will be increased volatility.

2013-02-20 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Tick Tick Tick. The President has plans for improving life in America. Tick Tick Tick. Republicans want to fix the middle class (and restricting taxes on the upper class may help). Tick Tick Tick. Earnings reports look good, but forecasts for the current quarter have been lowered. Tick Tick Tick. Weekly jobless claims keep falling, but major corporations are announcing layoffs. Tick Tick Tick. Sales figures show growth, but Wal-Mart and others are worried. Tick Tick Tick.

2013-02-20 Trying And Failing To Make The Math Work For Long-Term Bonds by Doug Ramsey, Eric Weigel of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

For the past 31 1/2 years, owners of 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds have earned "real" total returns of 6.7%on par with the long-term real return to equities. Long before government bonds matched real stock returns, they suffered a 55-year period that offered investors a real return of zero. The short-term implications of higher U.S. Treasury rates on asset allocation decisions.

2013-02-20 Event Driven Investors Receive Their Wish by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

For several years, investors have wondered why M&A activity has been so benign.Corporate management teams cited uncertainty about the economic outlook as a primary reason for the depressed activity.With the latest round of tax increases and revenue cuts determined, companies finally appear willing to free their animal spirits and embark on the path of acquisition.

2013-02-20 Stock Market Lingers At A Precarious Place by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has flirted with its all-time high of 14,198 twice in February as the Dow managed to rise above the 14,000 mark but then fell back. The S&P 500 Index is not quite as close to its all-time high, but it is within striking distance. There is widespread optimism that both indexes can break-out to new record highs, which would likely spark a new buying surge.

2013-02-20 Sequestration Will Slow Real GDP Growth But Not Because of Demand-‐Side Effects by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

In my February 5, 2013 commentary "2013 Economic Outlook Bright Sunshine for the U.S., Some Cloud Abroad," I argued that changes in federal fiscal policy have no material impact on total spending on the economy, but rather affect the distribution or composition of a given amount of total spending. The crux of my argument was that other private spending would "crowd in/out" changes in demand emanating from changes in tax and/or government spending policies. In this commentary, I will amend that argument.

2013-02-20 Whatever It Takes by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Was it only a few years ago I visited the Emerald Isle of Ireland? The collapse of its largest banks foreshadowed the demise of many other European banks that had borrowed money from British, German, and other European banks to lend against homes and property. The Irish government had to guarantee deposits and bond holders in order to prevent a bank run. I think I am correct when I state that the Central Bank of Ireland was the first central bank to avail itself of large-scale use of the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) provision of the European Central Bank.

2013-02-19 Alan Greenspan on the Market and the Global Economy by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

During his six-decade-long career in financial services, Alan Greenspan was a central figure in seminal events that drove investment markets, from the savings-and-loan crisis to the dot-com bubble to the housing crisis. Now, nearing 87, he rarely speaks in public. But he did so last week, offering his forecasts for the U.S. and European economies.

2013-02-19 Kyle Bass on Inflation and How to Protect Against It by Mark Quam (Article)

Kyle Bass, the founder of Hayman Capital, foresaw the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage bond market in 2008 and the foreign sovereign debt crisis in Greece. Bass' latest warning is about looming Inflation ? and he advises how to protect against it.

2013-02-19 Asset Class Allocation and Portfolios by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

Asset class allocation has been so thoroughly absorbed into the culture of investing that today, most investment guidance is built around it, and you may even have heard that it is the foundation of an investment plan. And like nearly all respectable investment ideas, it is misunderstood and abused. One misconception is that asset class allocation and portfolio management are the same thing. I'll explain why they aren't later, but let's start by considering another misconception.

2013-02-19 Expanding the Toolkit for Monitoring Your Equity Managers by Markus Aakko, Andrew Pyne of PIMCO

Investors may want to consider active share when assessing whether and how their active equity managers add value beyond a passive benchmark. The methods for monitoring investment managers are well established. But given the importance of getting portfolio allocation right in a low-growth, low-return world, it's worth examining new ways to assess risk and value added. While tracking error has been held as a key measure for active risk, it may include elements that reflect market conditions rather than managers' actual decisions on risk.

2013-02-19 A Technical Look At The Current Market by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

The S&P 500 Index has been rising consistently this year, leading many to wonder if this is the start of a new long-term bull market. Volatility has been low and market commentary from the financial media continues to be positive. Everything looks great right? Unfortunately, when we dig deeper into the underlying components of the market, we are actually in a high risk environment that may potentially harm investors who are too bullish.

2013-02-19 The Pound Gets Pounded by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

As the global currency war intensifies, the majority of attention has been paid to the 17% fall of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar over the past few months. The implosion has given cover to the sad performance of another once mighty currency: the British pound sterling. But in many ways the travails of the pound is far more instructive to those pondering the fate of the U.S. currency.

2013-02-19 The Siren's Song of the Unfinished Half-Cycle by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

If there is one fatal siren's song of investing, it is the belief that an unfinished half of the market cycle will remain unfinished.

2013-02-19 All is Not Well Down Under by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Though Russ continues to like Australian equities for the longer term, he explains why he may downgrade his near-term view of the Australian market soon.

2013-02-19 Too Great Expectations by Richard Golod of Invesco

Global investors entered the year with newfound enthusiasm. Across the board, global equities traded higher in January, and retail money flows into global equities were the best in 17 years. Media reports about a "Great Rotation" from fixed income into equities are raising expectations about the possibility of a new secular bull market. However, I believe a little perspective is in order.

2013-02-19 On Competitive Devaluations by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Aggressive monetary policy moves in recent years have been accompanied by a growing fear of a currency war. In a currency war, or competitive devaluation, countries attempt to weaken their currencies to boost exports, but each devaluation leads to counter devaluations. That's not what's going on now. However, whether a country is purposely devaluing its currency or is merely pursuing accommodative monetary policy is irrelevant, the consequences are the same. The recent meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bankers highlights the lack of coherent policies to boost growth.

2013-02-16 Seeing the Forest by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Equity markets continue to be resilient and investor confidence is elevated in various sentiment indices, suggesting a near-term pullback is possible. But there are longer-term trends developing that give us hope that the US economy's expansion and market's rally are sustainable. Federal spending cuts via the "sequestration" appear sure to happen, but there will continue to be debates about the nature and size of the cuts. Similarly, questions are increasing as to the potential unwinding of current Fed policy with regard to timing and rapidity.

2013-02-16 When It Comes to Gold, Stick to the Facts by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

During short-term gold corrections, its much more important to focus on the facts, including the fact that gold is increasingly viewed as a currency. Rather than buying real estate, lumber or diamonds, central banks around the world are buying gold. According to the World Gold Council (WGC), over 2012, central bank demand totaled 534 tons, a level we have not seen in nearly 50 years.

2013-02-16 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The recent energy dividend is not likely to last. Crafting a single monetary policy for Europe is challenging.

2013-02-15 ECRI "Recession" Update: Propietary Indicators Take a Pause by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) slipped fractionally in today's update. It is now at 129.6 versus the previous week's 130.2.The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) also eased, now at 8.3, down from last week's 8.9. WLIg has been in expansion territory since August 10th of last year, but is is fractionally off its interim high set last week.

2013-02-15 All is Not Well Down Under by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Though Russ continues to like Australian equities for the longer term, he explains why he may downgrade his near-term view of the Australian market soon.

2013-02-15 In Defense of Commodity Futures by Seth Masters, Jon Ruff of AllianceBernstein

Several prominent pension funds have slashed their commodity futures investments for delivering poor returns with higher volatility than usual, while failing to diversify equity exposures as expected, The Wall Street Journal recently reported. If inflation rises, they may regret it.

2013-02-15 Hyperinflations, Hysteria, and False Memories by James Montier of GMO

In the past, Ive admitted to macroeconomics being one of my dark, guilty pleasures. To some value investors this seems like heresy, as Marty Whitman1 once wrote, Graham and Dodd view macro factors...as crucial to the analysis of a corporate security. Value investors, however, believe that macro factors are irrelevant. I am clearly a Graham and Doddite on this measure (and most others as well).

2013-02-14 Is Inflation Around the Next Corner? Then What? by Pete Sorrentino of Huntington Funds

As the Federal Reserve Board reiterates its intention to keep interest rates near zero into 2015, it appears that the markets and many investors are growing complacent about inflation. Ever since the Financial Crisis of 2007-08, "headline inflation," as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), has stayed low so far. Although it has threatened to break out at times, economic weakness has restrained the price growth that underlies inflation.

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 How Not to Run a Pension by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

For all the focus on the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare, there is another unfunded crisis brewing, and this one is in your own back yard. It's coming to you even if you live outside of the US; it just might take a little longer to get there. I wrote ten years ago that state and local pension funds might be underfunded by as much as $2 trillion. It turns out that I was being overly optimistic. New government research suggests that the figure might be as high as $3 trillion. But what if you take into account that retirees are living longer?

2013-02-14 When Politics Trump Economics by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The U.S. economic expansion continues, but increasing attention to political risks, and currency wars, in particular, indicate a period of heightened volatility could be ahead.

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 Quarterly Commentary by Robert Sanborn of Sanborn Kilcollin Partners

In the macro sense, 2012 was the ultimate "kick the can"/"keep the lid on" year. The US elections validated the status quo, as prediction markets such as Intrade indicated they would throughout the entire year. In Europe, the most important event of the year was ECB head Mario Draghi's July statement that the ECB would do "whatever it takes" to keep the Euro-zone together, and the second half of the year was relatively quiet on that front.

2013-02-14 Understanding Derivative Overlays, in All Their Forms by Markus Aakko, Rene Martel of PIMCO

Passively managed overlays are typically based on a simple formula, while active approaches involve more complex algorithms or decision-making. Overlay examples include portable alpha, LDI, currency, completion, rebalancing, and tactical asset allocation overlays -- as well as tail-risk hedging and hedge fund replication. Potential benefits include the ability to effectively manage cash, reduce costs and risk exposure, simplify manager transitions and express tactical views.

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 The Economy: Worst Five Years Since the Depression by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

While the many facts and figures below are disappointing, even depressing, Americans need to know the truth about the real state of our economy and our union. Consider what follows as a rebuttal to President Obama's speech tonight. Feel free to forward this to as many people as you wish.

2013-02-12 The Milton Friedman Centenary: One Hundred Years of Surprisingly Little Solitude by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

Milton Friedman was once a lonely voice for capitalism in a collectivist era, and seemed doomed to a hundred years of solitude. Instead, he arguably became the preeminent public intellectual of the hundred years that followed his 1912 birth.

2013-02-12 Currency Wars? What Currency Wars? by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

There's much talk of currency wars right now. We think they're way overblown. The source of the problem lies with Japan, which has made explicit a strategy to lower the yen, increase domestic demand and increase inflation. It needs to do all three. The twenty year old balance sheet recession and deflation in Japan has been a costly error in targeting inflation and not much else.

2013-02-12 Fixed-Income Insights: When High Yield Loses Some Height by Zane Brown of Lord Abbett

If one sought an indication of how monetary policy and historically low interest rates can influence investor behavior, the high-yield bond market could provide some perspective. In 2012, investors' ongoing demand for income was reflected by the high-yield market's 15.6% return, the $32 billion that flowed into the asset class, andas several headlines pronouncedthe market's record-low yields of less than 6%.

2013-02-11 Distracting Dividends by John Petrides (Article)

With interest rates at historic lows, bonds have become a difficult place to find income (although paradoxically, in 2012, asset flows into bond mutual funds have outpaced that of stock mutual funds yet again), so investors have looked to other assets for yield, most notably high dividend paying stocks. Stocks continue to be attractively valued relative to fixed income and cash. In addition, high dividend paying stocks offer investors the ability to grow the income to help offset inflation, whereas in bonds, the income is fixed.

2013-02-11 Solving the Profitability Puzzle by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

Companies around the world enjoyed especially high profit margins in late 2012. But can this trend be maintained or is profitability poised for a collapse that might threaten stocks this year?

2013-02-11 Shall We Dance? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

My impression is that the worst investment outcomes have typically followed appeals to the idea that "this time is different," and "you've got to dance as long as the music is playing."

2013-02-11 When to Worry About Inflation by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Though the Fed continues to flood the US economy with money, Russ explains why inflation isn't likely to be a problem until 2014 and what investors can do in the meantime to prepare.

2013-02-11 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

With folks in the Northeast finally returning to normalcy following Superstorm Sandy's impact in October, a "potentially historic" blizzard threatened the region with predicted disruptions to businesses, schools, travel, etc. Though New England is expected to catch the brunt of the damage, forecasters are calling for up to 20 inches of snow in New York City. For now, NYSE Euronext does not anticipate anything but "business as usual" at the NY Stock Exchange as contingency plans are well in place.

2013-02-08 The Year in Review: 2012 by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Politicians crave the spotlight, but it is unfortunate that investors watch the show. 2012, like 2011, was another year in which Washington theatrics scared investors. As a result, investors largely missed out on above average equity returns. Corporate profits and valuations, and not Washington, continue to be the primary drivers of equity returns. We think there are several important points to consider when reviewing 2012 performance, and when structuring portfolios for 2013.

2013-02-08 World War C: Neosho Capital On The Currency War by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

This summer, Brad Pitt will star in a new film called "World War Z", an action-horror film about a post-zombie apocalypse Earth, hence the "Z" in the title. Zombie films are not our cup of tea at Neosho (we thought the genre was dead), so it is debatable whether we will see this film, but one thing is clear to us, we are perched on the precipice of "World War C", where "C" stands for "currency".

2013-02-08 Unconventional Policies and Capital Flows by Ben Emons of PIMCO

Although quantitative easing has grabbed the headlines, a number of central banks around the world have enacted other extraordinary measures in attempts to manage their economies. The Swiss National Bank (SNB), for example, adopted an exchange rate peg versus the euro while increasing its foreign exchange reserves to almost 80% of Swiss GDP.

2013-02-08 ECRI "Recession" Update: Leading Index Growth Sets Another Interim High by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

First a flashback for those of us who have followed ECRI's media appearances: we know that the company adamantly denied that the sharp decline of their indicators in 2010 marked the beginning of a recession. But in 2011, when their proprietary indicators were at levels higher than 2010, they made their recession call with stunning confidence bordering on arrogance...

2013-02-08 Investing In a World of Make Believe by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

In recent years, a high degree of economic, financial, and political uncertainty has resulted in acute volatility in stocks, real estate, commodities and precious metals. I believe that another aggravating factor has been the increasing skepticism through which the investing public views government statistics and statements.

2013-02-08 Overcoming 3 Bad Investing Behaviors by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Do you avoid the stock market? Shun diversification? Trade inefficiently? Russ and guest blogger Nelli Oster an investment strategist on Russ' team examine three common bad behaviors among investors and provide tips for potentially mitigating their impact.

2013-02-08 Messing with the Bull by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

With the announcement this week of its massive $5 billion lawsuit against ratings agency Standard & Poor's, the Federal Government took a bold step to squelch any remaining independence of thought or action in the financial services industry. Given the circumstances and timing of the suit, can there be any doubt that S&P is paying the price for the August 2011 removal of its AAA rating on U.S. Treasury debt?

2013-02-08 A Different Playbook by Equity Investment Team of Janus Capital Group

Asia's handset market is developing quite differently than in Europe or the U.S., creating an entirely different playing field for Apple and other handset makers. Major brands are being challenged by the rise of cheap, but very capable generic smartphones. If major brands cannot innovate above and beyond the new offerings of these emerging cheap smartphones, they will not be able to command the high prices, and corresponding high profit margins, that have underpinned their success.

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?

2013-02-08 Out With the Dragon In With the Snake by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Over 2013, we expect the Chinese government to continue its accommodative efforts, which should reinforce the equity rally. In addition, the new pyramid of power is focused on growth, as it seeks to improve and reform policies that will provide its residents with opportunities and social security, increase incomes and raise standards of living, which should encourage domestic consumption. Growth is set to be considerable over the next several years.

2013-02-07 Commodities: Correlating Trends with Opportunities by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Commodity price inflation is both a social and an economic issue. In emerging markets in particular, food and energy costs take a deeper slice out of consumers' income, which can lead to the type of unrest that causes governments to topple. In addition to the potential impact of extreme weather on food supplies, central banks around the world are printing a flood of money, which could lead to inflated prices for other goods and services.

2013-02-07 Investing In a World of Make Believe by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

In recent years, a high degree of economic, financial, and political uncertainty has resulted in acute volatility in stocks, real estate, commodities and precious metals. I believe that another aggravating factor has been the increasing skepticism through which the investing public views government statistics and statements.

2013-02-07 From QE to Queasy: Fiscal Policy and the Risk of Inflation by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

Quantitative easing does not directly cause inflation. Rather, by enabling the government to issue low-cost debt, it fosters undisciplined spending, says Jason Hsu, CIO of Research Affiliates, LLC in this commentary. This spending, in turn, generates inflation, transferring wealth from future taxpayers to the current generation. Hsu argues that Americans are more likely to follow the European model of insufficient saving than to imitate the Japanese practices of private sector belt-tightening, high savings rates, and international lending.

2013-02-07 Investing in a Low-Growth World by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

This quarter I will review any new data that has come out on the topic of likely lower GDP growth. Then I will consider any investment implications that might come with lower GDP growth: counter intuitively, we find that investment returns are likely to be more or less unchanged a little lower only if lower growth brings with it less instability, hence less risk. Finally I will take a look at the reaction to last quarter's letter, specifically about my outlook for lower GDP growth.

2013-02-07 We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us by Ben Inker of GMO

If modern portfolio management has a single defining urge, it is almost certainly diversification. We look for diversifying assets, strategies, and managers. A thoughtful investor can argue against almost any asset class stocks, bonds, hedge funds, private equity, commodities, you name it but arguing against diversification is like arguing against indoor plumbing. I dont want to sound like I'm calling for a return to chamber pots and outhouses, so I'm not actually going to argue against diversification.

2013-02-06 Focus on Fixed Income by Steve Van Order of Calvert Investment Management

Last week Administration officials, including the President, clearly ruled out using extraordinary legal measures to avoid defaulting on Treasurys financial obligations in the absence of a debt ceiling hike by Congress. The two legal measures most discussed, going back to the summer 2011, were invoking the 14th Amendment and minting a trillion dollar platinum coin. The coin idea was dismissed as Fed officials commented that the central bank would not honor the coin as a deposit, and the amendment idea has been shelved a number of times.

2013-02-06 GDP Report Tanks - Is A Recession Looming? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

We will cover a lot of ground today. We begin with a new report from Goldman Sachs which argues that the US economy will remain the strongest in the world for many more years. The report rebuts claims that America is a nation in decline. Quite the contrary, say Goldman analysts who claim that there is a growing"awarenessof the key economic, institutional, human capital and geopolitical advantages the U.S. enjoys over other economies."

2013-02-06 What Happens When the Fed Loses Money by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

The Federal Reserve's exit from ultra-easy monetary policy still looks very far offby most accounts, rate hikes will not begin for more than two years and asset sales for even longer. However, the exit strategy could matter for markets well before that point. Fed officials have said that they will consider the costs and risks associated with quantitative easing (QE) when deciding how long to continue their purchases, and one factor they will be looking at will be whether the program could "complicate the Committee's efforts to eventually withdraw monetary policy accommodation."

2013-02-06 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Earnings have come in pretty well, but the news on the economy remains dreary despite the cheerleaders in the financial media.

2013-02-05 Why Cash Kills by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Many investors remain in cash, earning nothing, out of fear that the rally in the stock market may be unsustainable or that such issues as the fiscal impasse or Europe's fiscal problems may yet start another meltdown. But while they remain focused on potential adverse developments, they suffer from the near zero interest rate they are earning on cash. Even in today's low inflation environment, such investors are experiencing a persistent erosion in the purchasing power of their capital, which will impair their ability to grow their portfolios in the future.

2013-02-05 Dividend Growth Continues to Impress by Mike Boyle of Advisors Asset Management

The S&P 500 posted a very solid price appreciation of 5.14% (total return of 5.18%) for the month of January which marks its best January since logging a total return of 6.25% in January 1997 (16 years). However, it does pale in comparison to the best January of the last 50 years which saw the S&P 500 return 13.47% in January 1987. Perhaps equally noteworthy, but clearly not garnering as many headlines, is the continued impressive growth of dividends.

2013-02-05 The 2030 Outlook by Bill O'Grady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

Over the next several weeks we will look into the more distant future, to the year 2030. We will explore the long-term strategic alternative world development scenarios as laid out by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) and present our views regarding the developments. The NIC forecasts the likely paths that are either currently underway or are forecast to occur in the future. The NIC projects four possible global political and economic states based on these expected trends.

2013-02-05 2012 Equity Market Market Year in Review by Natalie Trunow of Calvert Investment Management

Equities started the year strong as global inflation remained tame, and aggressive, accommodative monetary policy by central banks around the globe helped equity markets rally hard off their lows posted in the fall of 2011. Continuously improving U.S. economic data, strong corporate earnings, and policy steps toward mitigation of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe also provided support for the equity markets worldwide.

2013-02-05 Fourth Quarter 2012 Equity Market Review by Natalie Trunow of Calvert Investment Management

With the excitement of the QE3 announcement wearing off in the fourth quarter, market participants refocused on the less-than-stellar earnings season in the U.S. and uncertainties surrounding the U.S. presidential election and impending fiscal cliff, while the negative impact of Hurricane Sandy further dampened investor sentiment. Despite a double-dip recession in the eurozone, there was some progress on the European policy front and China's economy continued to show signs of stabilizing, which helped international stocks outperform their U.S. counterparts.

2013-02-05 Currency War or Something Altogether Different? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

"Who is afraid of currency wars?" asks Gavyn Davies in the FT. I have known Gavyn for 25 years and have to confess that he is way out of my league intellectually. He is one of the smartest people I have ever met and, thankfully, also one of the humblest. He rarely gets things wrong so, when I occasionally disagree with him, it always makes me slightly uneasy.

2013-02-05 Ditto by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital Management

Anyone who reads my memos of the last 23 years will see I return often to a few topics. This is due to the frequency with which themes tend to recur in the investment world. Humans often fail to learn. They forget the lessons of history, repeat patterns of behavior and make the same mistakes. As a result, certain themes arise over and over. Mark Twain had it right: "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." The details of the events may vary greatly from occurrence to occurrence, but the themes giving rise to the events tend not to change.

2013-02-04 A Gross Underestimate by Jonathan Coleman, Soonyong Park of Janus Capital Group

As we enter 2013, we felt it would be an appropriate time to revisit one of last years most controversial predictions of future equity performance. We acknowledge that equities in general may not continue to deliver the same real rate of return they have over the last century; however, we believe the glum outlook for the asset class forecasted by Bill Gross last year misses the mark. Our estimates of future equity returnsbased on three different approachesall point to a meaningfully higher forecast than Gross' pessimistic prediction.

2013-02-04 2013 Annual Forecast by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

It's that time again. January will be over by the time you read this which means we are out of holiday excuses or "just ramping up for the new year" reasons for not getting back to work. Having said that, I'd like to offer my excuse for the Annual Forecast getting to you in February instead of the first week of the year. Hand over my heart, we started early this go-round.

2013-02-04 Shifting Sentiment? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Is investor sentiment shifting in favor of equities, which could help to continue the recent rally?

2013-02-04 What's the Best Asset Allocation When the Business Cycle Moves to Stage IV? by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

History shows that the business cycle, which has been with us since recorded economic history began, experiences a set series of chronological sequences. The calendar year progresses through seasons, one of which is literally ideally suited for making hay. The business cycle also has seasons or phases, where certain sectors of the economy fall in and out of favor. For investors, the key lies in the fact that the cyclical turning points of bonds, stocks and commodities are all part of the business cycle progression.

2013-02-04 The Bernanke Shock by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

The financial world was shocked this month by a demand from Germany's Bundesbank to repatriate a large portion of its gold reserves held abroad. By 2020, Germany wants 50% of its total gold reserves back in Frankfurt - including 300 tons from the Federal Reserve. The Bundesbank's announcement comes just three months after the Fed refused to submit to an audit of its holdings on Germany's behalf. One cannot help but wonder if the refusal triggered the demand.

2013-02-04 Some Seasonal Blips by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

We had a week of big numbers last week of which GDP, Personal Income, Durable Goods, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence, payrolls and the FOMC were the ones that had our attention. We went to print a little earlier this week, so missed the NFPs. But this is what came at us. First GDP. There's a spin to be told but here are the raw numbers with the center column the one that caught markets wrong-footed.

2013-02-04 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor's "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1,480.40. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 1,498.11.

2013-02-04 A Reluctant Bear's Guide to the Universe by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In recent years, I've gained the reputation of a "perma-bear." The reality is that I'm quite a reluctant bear, in that I would greatly prefer market conditions and prospective returns to be different from what they are. There's no question that conditions and evidence will change, unless the stock market is to be bound for the next decade in what would ultimately be a low-single-digit horserace with near-zero interest rates. For my part, I think the likely shocks are larger, and the potential opportunities will be greater than investors seem to contemplate here.

2013-02-01 Feasting in a Time of Famine: The South African Consumer by Maria (Masha) Gordon, Richard Flax of PIMCO

South Africa's consumer sector has been on a strong run for the past several years, but there are signs the consumer is now coming under pressure. For all the challenges that have faced the South African economy, most listed consumer companies have enjoyed a great run since 2008. However, a combination of factors strong growth in retail sales and credit along with the rise in consumer debt levels and weak employment growth suggest the South African consumer sector may have pulled consumption forward in a way that could prove ultimately unsustainable.

2013-02-01 The Lost Decade...Found? by Jeffrey Bronchick of Cove Street Capital

While much of the fundamental picture has played out as we expected over the past 18-24 months, the financial markets appear to be concerned solely with the existence or non-existence of macro headlines and events. There seems to be a disconnect between market movements and fundamentals which means doing real work based on intellectual honesty and logic puts you at a disadvantage. Chasing momentum and profiting from central bank market manipulation appear to be the current winning strategies.

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 ECRI "Recession" Update: Leading Index Growth Hits Another Interim High by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

ECRI posts its proprietary indicators on one-week delayed basis to the general public, but ECRI's Lakshman Achuthan has switched focus to his company's version of the Big Four Economic Indicators I've been tracking for the past several months. See, for example, this November 29thBloomberg video that ECRI continues to feature on their website. Achuthan pinpoints July as the business cycle peak, thus putting us in at the beginning of the eighth month of a recession.

2013-02-01 2013 Economic & Capital Market Outlook by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

It took our country 229 years to accumulate $8 trillion in federal debt. It only took the next eight years to double it to $16 trillion. History shows that when a country accumulates debt at this rapid pace, economic growth languishes. Not surprisingly, Congress is pursuing policies that attempt to inflate the economy. Five years after the Financial Crisis, we really havent fixed much. Instead, we've issued more debt in order to pay our bills and sustain a quality of life society cannot afford long term.

2013-02-01 The Biggest Loser by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

For the past few generations Switzerland has enjoyed some of the strongest economic fundamentals in the world. The country boasts a high savings rate, low taxes, strong exports, low debt-to-GDP, balanced government budgets, and prior to a few years ago one of the most responsible monetary policies in the world. These attributes made the Swiss franc one of the world's "safe haven" currencies. But in today's global economy, no good deed goes unpunished.

2013-02-01 Dow To 14,000 and Beyond? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So will the Dow go beyond 14,000? Although you cant predict how hot the weather will be this summer, the clouds appear to be parting to reveal the sun today. Make sure your asset allocation positions your portfolio to shine.

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

2013-02-01 A Gross Underestimate by Jonathan Coleman and Soonyong Park of Janus Capital Group

The glum outlook for the asset class forecasted by Bill Gross last year misses the mark. Our estimates of future equity returnsbased on three different approachesall point to a meaningfully higher forecast than Gross pessimistic prediction.

2013-02-01 Look at the Bears! Look at the Bears! by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms and Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Yes, the grumbling of bond bears is reverberating in Treasury yields, but that sound isnt the death knell of a grizzly; at this point, the closest ursine analogue is Boo-Boo Bear.

2013-01-31 Credit Supernova! by Bill Gross of PIMCO

They say that time is money. What they don't say is that money may be running out of time. There may be a natural evolution to our fractionally reserved credit system which characterizes modern global finance. Much like the universe, which began with a big bang nearly 14 billion years ago, but is expanding so rapidly that scientists predict it will all end in a "big freeze" trillions of years from now, our current monetary system seems to require perpetual expansion to maintain its existence.

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 A Look Back at My 2012 Calls by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

It's time again for Russ K's annual look back at the investment calls he made in 2012. Find out what he got right and the couple of things he got wrong.

2013-01-31 Signs of a Solid 2013 for Stocks by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Yield spreads versus bonds indicate that stock valuations have considerable upside.

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.

2013-01-30 An Apple's First Worm by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover, Mike Czekaj of Broadleaf Partners

Writing about Apple is painful. Not because I have lost money in recent months or have no insight to provide, but because the media will likely report on it ad nausea for the next few days. It is perhaps human nature that the news which is most readily produced is also the news that is most easily consumed. If you want to be read, it's best to write words that people will read. While this makes for great entertainment and advertising, it hasn't typically been the best way to get new investment ideas.

2013-01-30 U.S. Debt Crisis End-Game Looms in 3-5 Years by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last week, one of the most respected research groups in the world predicted that the US likely has only 3-5 years before the wheels fall off and the world is thrust into a major financial crisis, possibly even a depression. We'll talk about all of these things as we go along today. But before we go there, let's take a brief look at the economy before tomorrow's advance (first) estimate of 4Q GDP.

2013-01-30 Expanding Horizons: The Most Difficult Environment for Generating Income in 140 Years by Ehren Stanhope, Travis Fairchild of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

In the most difficult environment for generating income in 140 years, we survey the landscape of income-generating options, review lessons from the previous bond Bear Market, and demonstrate why we believe global, dividend-paying equities deserve a prominent role in investor portfolios.

2013-01-29 Predicting Asset Class Returns: Recommendations for Financial Planners by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Developing reasonable estimates for stock and bond returns requires more than just historical data or the assumptions provided in financial software packages. Inappropriate assumptions can doom retirees to outliving their savings or forgoing a life style they could otherwise afford. There are better ways to forecast, and in this article I'll suggest a few of them.

2013-01-29 Are Planners Worth the Fees they Charge? by Wade Pfau (Article)

Could financial advisors who offer comprehensive services be doing a better job? Two recent studies shed a positive light on the potential of the financial planning profession to do right by their clients.

2013-01-29 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

The trend is your friend...so hopefully it will continue for a little (lot) longer. With the uncertainty of the fiscal cliff on the backburner (for now), investors seem to like what they are seeing from earnings season and in the economy. They continued to take stocks higher as the S&P 500 settled above 1500 for the first time in five years and is currently riding a eight session winning streak.

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.

2013-01-29 The Term Premium: Past and Present by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

Of the many possible explanations for the historically low level of government bond yields, near-zero central bank policy rates should be at the top of the list. However, government bond yields also appear low for reasons beyond central bank policy rates. In particular, todays low rate environment also reflects a depressed "term premium," or the compensation investors receive for taking duration risk.

2013-01-29 Investment Basics by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

I've always been curious about how famous people would have done had they pursued completely different careers. Some of our former presidents make excellent examples. For instance, Abe Lincoln towered over his contemporaries. I wonder how he would have fared as a basketball player had the game existed during his life. Our heaviest president, William Howard Taft weighed well over 300 pounds. Had football risen to prominence a few decades earlier, could gridiron greatness have been part of his resume?

2013-01-29 What Budget Problems? by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

"Vickers falls on fear of peace." There's an apocryphal story of how on the day after D-Day, the stock of Vickers, a large defense contractor, abruptly fell. I can't find the source but it was a good story going around the City some, ahem, 30 years ago. Last week there was not a lot of price action in bonds until Friday when economic upticks replaced budgets as the main driver. We saw a one point correction in treasuries. The market is right to push budget concerns into the background for now.

2013-01-29 In Japan We Trust by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

In fewer than 60 days, one country has made a splash larger than all the others. No, we are not referring to the US, where Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term. Nor are we referring to China's recent transition of power. Instead, the country we reference is Japan. After decades of malaise, Japanese officials moved to embrace policies previously only accepted by Western officials.

2013-01-28 Capitulation Everywhere by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The bears are gone, extinct, vanished. Among the ones remaining, many are people whom even I would consider to be either permabears or nut-cases. And yet, the historical evidence for major defensiveness has rarely been stronger.

2013-01-28 Economic Insights: Signs of a Solid 2013 for Stocks by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Yield spreads versus bonds indicate that stock valuations have considerable upside. Earlier in this recovery, when earnings were growing very strongly, consensus concerns about equities cited the danger of an earnings slowdown. Those expressing this concern pointed out, that such a slowdown would occur inevitably as the recovery matured, especially with economic growth proceeding at such a subpar rate. What seems to have escaped notice is that the slowdown already occurred in 2012 and that the stock market offered good returns despite it.

2013-01-28 Is the Fed Doing the Right Thing? by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates Funds

After a strong 2012, the stock market is off to a good start in 2013, rising more than 5% so far in January and currently riding an eight-day winning streak (the longest since 2004). Encouraging economic data has a lot to do with this. Unemployment claims are at a 5-year low, home sales and prices are up, and consumer credit and retail sales are growing. Research firm ISI says that the current level of unemployment claims is consistent with 4% real GDP growth for the first quarter, which would be an acceleration from the sluggish growth of recent years.

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 Pension Liabilities Time to Get Real by Christian Stracke of PIMCO

Creeping pension liabilities are an increasing concern for credit investors. Companies should provide more granular information on both sides of their pension balance sheets, as well as use more realistic assumptions. A few companies have improved