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

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2014-04-18 Financial Television: Five Things You Need to Know by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Whether you are new to the retirement investing mindset, you go back to the days of Rukeyser and Kangas, or are somewhere in between, here is my list of things you will often see when watching financial TV ... and how to separate the reality from the hype and sales pitch.

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 What to Make of the Rebound in Emerging Market Equities by Dara White of Columbia Management

A month ago, much of the news from the emerging markets (EM) was negative. We saw headlines highlighting the liquidity headwinds created by U.S. QE tapering, Russia’s aggressive opportunism in the Ukraine, and China’s imminent hard landing.

2014-04-17 Two Major Players Graduate from MSCI FM 100 – Is it Still Worth Tuning into? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Major changes are coming to the MSCI Frontier Markets 100 Index. Russ K explains the significance and why it reinforces his view that investors should have an allocation to the frontier.

2014-04-17 Tick, Tock, Tax Time by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In 2014, Americans will pay $3 trillion in federal taxes and $1.5 trillion in state taxes. Believe it or not, according to the Tax Foundation, that means more of your income is being spent on taxes than on food, clothing and housing combined!

2014-04-17 Hasenstab in Ukraine, on Ukraine by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

Ukraine is a country both rich with potential and strategically well positioned. While recent events have been very difficult for many, the people of Ukraine have shown their strength. It’s also been heartening to see the proactive support from the international community. Michael Hasenstab, chief investment officer, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group®, shares his view on the long-term potential of this unique country after a recent visit to Kiev.

2014-04-17 Fixed Income Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Given that the Fed is likely to complete its asset purchases this year and may raise rates in early 2015, we still feel that Treasuries and investment grade bonds are unattractive. Although yields in the high yield universe are low by historical standards, they still give us a decent cushion against rising rates, especially at the shorter end of the maturity spectrum. Maintaining a shorter duration exposure in high yield and some convertible bonds, as well as a cash reserve, continues to make sense.

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.

2014-04-16 Gold Strategy Investor Letter, Q1 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 has bottomed and is attempting to gain footing following the grueling two-plus year correction that started in August of 2011." Giving credence to gold's utility as an equity hedge, he notes that "the positive returns generated by equity markets over the past two years have represented a substantial barrier for capital to reenter precious metals.

2014-04-16 Every Portfolio Has Faith by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management, we believe that everyone who invests has faith in someone or something. We also believe that who and what you put your faith into is greatly influenced by the time period involved. As we look out into the rest of 2014 and beyond, we would like to consider the kind of faith required by the largest pools of investment dollars in the US. This includes looking at who they are trusting, what they are trusting in, and what time frames they are operating under.

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 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks fell last week upset by the growth sectors of biotechnology and social media stocks. Energy issues and related infrastructure were largely unaffected. It is clear that hedge funds and others have become forced sellers as their macro bets on being long growth areas, but being short the bond market have blown up in their faces. Until this settles down the overall market is likely to continue its correction.

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 Credit Availability Underpins Recovery in Commercial Real Estate Prices, But Also Poses Risks to CMB by Bryan Tsu of PIMCO

Credit availability, low interest rates, limited new construction and improving economic conditions have contributed to the recovery in commercial real estate (CRE) prices. We expect a strong 2014 in the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market, which has been a primary source of CRE credit expansion. Increasingly aggressive loan underwriting is a concern. CMBS investors need to speak with their wallets and push back on either valuations or underwriting standards if recent trends continue.

2014-04-15 Weekly Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

US Treasury yields registered their largest weekly drop since early February, driven by dovish minutes from the March Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting and equity market weakness. With the technology stocks at the epicenter of the equity storm, major indices fell nearly 3% last week. As Q1 earning season begins in earnest this week, equity performance is very much expected to remain in the headlines. Reaching yields last seen in early March, five year notes were the best performer across the Treasury curve, falling 12 basis points on the week to yield 1.58%.

2014-04-15 Complacency Makes Volatility Markets a Dangerous Place by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

With a dissipation of economic stress in Europe, and a general strengthening of economic conditions in the U.S., equity market volatility has plunged to new lows. Some would argue that market intervention by central banks is acting as an unnatural dampener to market volatility, raising the question as to whether a gradual removal of those policies will cause volatility to resurface. So far, the answer is up for debate, but current positioning suggests many investors are becoming complacent and will be caught off sides if such a scenario emerges.

2014-04-15 What\'s Next for Emerging Markets? by Nathan Rowader of Forward Management

Emerging markets (EM) have been an enduring growth story, but their recent stretch of underperformance and fears of a global economic slowdown are chilling investors’ enthusiasm. Pulled between opportunity and risk avoidance, many investors have been left uncertain as to what they should do next.

2014-04-15 Running Backwards to Catch Up by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Did you ever try to run backwards? I find walking backwards difficult enough. Running in reverse can send you tumbling.

2014-04-12 Risk Tolerance: Defining a Misunderstood Term by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

First, let’s be clear: "Risk" is the possibility that you will need money but don’t have it, either because your portfolio’s value plunged, because your investments don’t have near-term liquidity, or both. What freaks investors out in the here-and-now, is VOLATILITY. Yet many traditional approaches to building a portfolio don’t really take this into account, other than a token survey question or two when the client is first starting to invest.

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.

2014-04-11 Bubble Bursting? Only for Biotech & Internet Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The recent sluggish performance of U.S. stocks is leading some market watchers to question whether we’re witnessing the bursting of an equity bubble. Russ explains that while U.S. equities overall are not in a bubble, valuations have started to become an issue, particularly for certain segments of the market.

2014-04-11 Equities Appear Attractive in Years Leading Up to Fed Tightening by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said her expectation for the first increase in the Federal Funds Rate would come approximately six months following the end of the asset purchase program.

2014-04-11 Can You Have Your Cake and Eat It Too? by David Braun, David Holdreith of PIMCO

Many insurers would like to optimize both total return and book yield income, which may be seen as competing and divergent goals. In fact many insurers fall somewhere on the spectrum between these goals or shift their objective based on business and market conditions. While it has long been an accepted practice to track manager performance with regard to total return, tracking book income has been more elusive: PIMCO has an innovative and unique solution to help manager’s track alpha generated by active managers.

2014-04-11 Tax Management - Optimized for Investors by Scott Bartone of O'Shaughnessey Asset management

Academic studies of portfolio management often neglect real world considerations. Turnover is often used to gauge tax management capabilities, but used in isolation turnover can be misleading. Tax lot accounting is integral to maximizing after-tax returns. Tax management must be an integral part of a manager’s buy/sell discipline, and should be applied throughout the year. OSAM’s after-tax results in 2013 are indicative of an effective, integrated tax management process.

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.

2014-04-10 Looking at Current Long-Term Growth Plays by Chip Skinner of The Royce Funds

Portfolio Manager and Principal Chip Skinner talks about the market's more volatile behavior in the first quarter, potential growth areas that he finds interesting, ideas in which he has high confidence, and one stock that has recently done well for him.

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 Building Shareholder Value through M&A: Valeant Pharmaceuticals by Brian Fontanella of Diamond Hill Investments

There has been a notable increase in merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the specialty pharmaceutical industry over the past year. This has been driven by several factors including the relatively low cost of debt and the magnitude of cost savings that can be realized. But recently, tax savings have been an additional driver of deal activity.

2014-04-10 "I Will Gladly Pay You Tuesday for a Hamburger Today" by Robert Mark of Castle Investment Management

In October of 2013, Robert Shiller won the Nobel Prize in economics for his research on spotting market bubbles. Shiller, an economist and professor at Yale University who accurately predicted the housing bubble, is a pioneer of behavioral finance, or the understanding of how psychology causes us to act irrationally with our money.

2014-04-10 Shale Reserves Are No Shell Game by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

Since the times of Ancient Greece, “The Shell Game” has been a confidence trick used to convince bystanders into believing they have a legitimate shot at guessing correctly and doubling their bet. We are currently in one of the more transformational periods of energy consumption, distribution and discovery seen in some time. The technology of extracting once undiscovered pools of energy is reverberating throughout economies and potentially causing tectonic shifting of political structures.

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 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The Fed gave a push to stocks early in the week, but news about Washington DC investigating the so-called High Frequency Traders drove down the momentum stocks which were still suffering from the previous week’s hangover.

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 How High-Frequency Trading Benefits Most Investors by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

A controversial new book came out in late March that lambastes so-called “high-frequency trading” on the major stock exchanges and claims that such computerized trading robs retail investors of good executions and profits on their stock orders. The book, “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,” was written by former bond salesman turned author, Michael Lewis, who appeared on CBS’ 60 Minutes on March 30. Since then, his book has stirred up quite the controversy among stock market 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 Take an Active Approach to Selecting Your Active Manager by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

For some time, we have written about the challenges active equity managers face from a market with unusually high cross-correlations. We have also stated our belief that the correlation pendulum would swing back to more normal levels (at least) as the aftershocks of the 2008 financial crisis abated, with a corresponding benefit to active managers. That swing is well under way and a growing number of commentators have begun to echo our observation.

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.

2014-04-09 Dare to be Great II by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

In September 2006, I wrote a memo entitled Dare to Be Great, with suggestions on how institutional investors might approach the goal of achieving superior investment results. I’ve had some additional thoughts on the matter since then, meaning it’s time to return to it. Since fewer people were reading my memos in those days, I’m going to start off repeating a bit of its content and go on from there.

2014-04-08 Labor Markets Looking for a Spring Blossom by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

With an unusually harsh winter finally ending, economists were excited to see if labor markets would rebound in March. By many accounts, they were left wanting for more, but the underlying theme in the March report was consistent, steady job growth.

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.

2014-04-08 Predatory Trading — Just How Big an Issue is High-Speed Trading? by Matt Waldner of Columbia Management

High-frequency trading (HFT) is a topic institutional investors and traders have been battling for years. A new book titled Flash Boys by author Michael Lewis of Moneyball fame, investigations out of U.S. regulators and a 60 Minutes spot on a recently developed exchange, IEX, brought this topic from Wall Street to Main Street. In this article, we’ll take a walk around the issue, educate our investors, and hopefully, quell any concerns.

2014-04-08 Our Five Year Forecast Beginning February 20, 2014 by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Late last month I took on the role of judge, not in a court of law, but in a university competition, the CFA Institute Research Challenge Southern Classic. My task was to choose one of fourteen teams from South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama universities to go on to represent their region in the Americas Regional bracket of the CFA Institute Research Challenge. The challenge gives university students from around the globe an opportunity to gain real-world experience as they assume the role of a research analyst

2014-04-08 Is This an Andy Hardy Kind of Market? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

With Mickey Rooney’s death over the weekend (at age 93, after accumulating show business credits spanning 10 decades), I got to thinking about the Andy Hardy movie series that propelled Mickey at the ripe old age of 16 into stardom. In the 50’s the TV screen was awash with black and white classics of the 30’s and 40’s. Like the Great Depression generation, many of the baby boomers binged on Andy Hardy movies long before Walking Dead, Breaking Bad or House of Cards.

2014-04-07 Examining Companies Through the Lens of ESG by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

No matter where we invest, there’s always some sort of risk. This includes not only geopolitical or macroeconomic factors in a given country, but also issues that are unique to a specific sector or individual security. As bottom-up stock pickers, my team and I must assess the potential risks and returns related to each and every company we invest in. One area that warrants closer examination is environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities, which can play a big role in our stock selection and valuation process.

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.

2014-04-04 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 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 A New Machine: Is a Capital Spending Cycle Imminent? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Activist investors have helped highlight companies’ bias toward stock buybacks/dividends vs. longer-term capital investments. Preconditions for a pickup in capital spending appear to be lining up. The technology and industrial sectors are likely the biggest beneficiaries.

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 Chuck Royce on 1Q14: Despite Minor Pullback, Market Still Shows Strength by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds

Despite the market's subdued first-quarter performance, annualized total returns for the major indexes remained in double-digit territory for the one-, three-, and five-year periods ended March 31, 2014. President, Director of Investments, and Portfolio Manager Chuck Royce offers his thoughts on the market's behavior during the first quarter and why he thinks investors can expect a major correction within the next twelve months.

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 Q2 fixed income outlook — Hitting for the cycle by Gene Tannuzzo of Columbia Management

By the middle of this year, the economic expansion in the U.S. will officially turn five years old. By comparison, the average of all business cycle expansions tracked by the National Bureau of Economic Research dating back to the mid-1800s is about three and half years. But like many five year olds, this cycle hardly seems mature. In particular, we have taken notice of three key elements of the business cycle that have distinct implications for bond investing today.

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 Gain International Exposure with Small-Caps by David Nadel of The Royce Funds

Portfolio Manager and Director of International Research David Nadel discusses our attraction to international small-caps, how our investment approach translates into the international small-cap universe, how we try to avoid value traps, the effect monetary policy has had on our approach and performance, and more.

2014-04-02 Consumer Confidence Up, But Concerns Remain by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Conference Board reported last week that its Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 82.3 in March (up from 78.3), the highest reading since January 2008, just as the recession was beginning. But the two underlying components of the Index provided two different perspectives, as we will discuss today.

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…

2014-04-02 A Fixer-Upper? by Team of GaveKal Capital

As noted yesterday, March was not an exceptionally positive month for European equities.

2014-04-02 4 Areas Revved Up for a Resources Boom by Brian Hicks 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.

2014-04-01 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 A Look at First Quarter Market Performance by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

As the first quarter draws to a close, equity markets appear poised to finish in positive territory despite a somewhat tumultuous news environment. As noted by Bloomberg, save for a sharply negative Monday period, the S&P 500 will close out a fifth consecutive quarter in positive territory for the first time since 2007.

2014-04-01 Equities Sag as Macro Backdrop Quiets Down by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Last week U.S. equities struggled for direction as the S&P 500 declined 0.4%. Small cap stocks were hit harder, and macro and geopolitical issues seemed to be on the back burner. Overall, emerging markets rallied, value and contrarian plays outperformed and Japanese stocks bounced.

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 Investing is Hard by David Wismer of Flexible Plan Investments

Or better put, successful investing is hard. So says author, speaker, and CIO Robert Seawright of Madison Avenue Securities in a recent series of “Investment Belief” columns on his award-winning blog, Above the Market.

2014-04-01 Why Key Long-Term Trends Matter to Stock Pickers by Virginie Maisonneuve of PIMCO

The combination of demographic changes, climate change and the ongoing shift in emerging markets over the next 30 years will have long-term consequences for supply and demand factors and business sustainability for many companies. The impact of these long-term trends must not be underestimated. It is crucial for equity investors to not only be attuned to them, but also to understand how companies are adapting to the shifts in the global corporate operating environment. ?

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.

2014-03-29 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Using energy as a pawn may work to Russia’s disadvantage in the long run. China’s 2014 economic outlook is hazy. Lessons from the 2014 stress test.

2014-03-29 When Inequality Isn\'t by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We’ve discovered so far that income inequality is a fact; however, income mobility has remained roughly the same over the last 40 years. That is, a person’s chances of rising from a lower stratum of wealth distribution to a higher stratum is approximately the same as it was in 1975.

2014-03-28 Johnson Controls: Back To Consistency? by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Johnson Controls (JCI) traces its roots back to an interesting bit of history. One hundred and thirty-one years ago, Warren Johnson was a professor in Whitewater, Wisconsin. It was here that he invented and installed the first electric tele-thermoscope – known today as the thermostat – in his classrooms. The invention served a dual purpose: it kept his students more comfortable and put an end to the hourly interruptions from the janitor checking the rooms’ temperature. Of course we can’t confirm this, but it would be our guess that Professor Warren was a regular student favorite.

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 “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 Why International Now? by David Garff of AdvisorShares

One of the ongoing challenges that advisors face is determining what percentage of their clients assets should be allocated to international equities. The magnitude of this decision is often amplified when the United States has years of persistent out/under performance. US clients will inherently gauge the success of their portfolio based on the S&P 500, or similar index. The challenge for advisors is explaining why a more diversified exposure to global equities is meaningful in the long-run, despite recent years of outlandish performance.

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 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.

2014-03-27 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 Hangman: The ETF Revolution by Cole Smead of Smead Capital Management

Financial innovation in the investment business is, in our opinion, sometimes just smoke and mirrors. The recent movie The Incredible Burt Wonderstone illuminates what this smoke and mirror façade can produce.

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 Unleashing Africa’s Potential by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

Many investors who have never traveled in Africa probably have preconceived ideas about it, perhaps as a land of safaris and political strife, rich in coveted natural resources that have failed to bring widespread wealth and development to the continent. Many also might not realize how diverse the landscape, the economies and the people are on the continent, which boasts more than 1,000 languages spoken in more than 50 countries and climates ranging from hot deserts and tropical rainforests to frozen glaciers.

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 Int'l Mega Banks Still Ticking Time Bombs by Steve Rumsey of Optimus Advisory Group

During the past five years, following the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression, the financial media has been talking about the deleveraging process happening worldwide. We've all heard the stories of how banks to consumers to corporations have deleveraged and continue to do so. It's as if all the global financial bailouts were all orchestrated just to buy us enough time so that we could get our financial houses in order. Then, miraculously, after someone blows the "all clear" alarm we can all go back to living our normal lives once again.

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?”

2014-03-24 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 Michael Cirami on Ukraine: It May Just Be Spring Training for Putin’s Hardball Tactics by Michael Cirami of Eaton Vance

Earlier this month, Michael Cirami, co-director of Eaton Vance’s Global Income Group, offered his views on the immediate crisis surrounding the seizure of Crimea by Russian and pro-Russian troops, having been in Kiev just two weeks prior. In this Viewpoint, he adds some perspective to how events have unfolded since and how they may going forward in the wake of that event.

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 Is the Fed Supporting the Equity Markets? by Tom Riegert of Hatteras Funds

The Federal Reserve’s unprecedented increase in reserves purchased through its quantitative easing programs has paralleled the performance of the equity markets to a startling degree. Has the Fed’s program been supporting the equity markets? We examine the strong correlation between the Fed’s balance sheet and the performance of the S&P 500 since end-2008, and ponder the effects the Fed’s long-awaited tapering will have on market volatility. Investors facing the uncertainty ahead could well find alternative investments a welcome addition to their portfolio.

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 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 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 Emerging Markets: Four Reasons for Caution, Not Abstinence by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

In the space of three years, emerging markets have gone from a key strategic asset class to persona non grata. But while Russ shares investors’ concerns on the near-term outlook for EM assets, he doesn’t agree that EM stocks should be completely shunned.

2014-03-21 Climbing a Wall of Worry? by Norm Boersma of Franklin Templeton

One of the main questions our clients have been asking us lately revolves around worries of how strong equity markets have been over the last five years. During that period, we’ve seen markets bottoming out in February – March 2009 and basically recovering since then.2 Given the performance of the market since the trough, it’s not surprising that people are a bit concerned right now, and the market has been quite volatile in early 2014.

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.

2014-03-21 A Second Leg to Our Economic Outlook by Will Nasgovitz of Heartland Advisors

In our heavily consumer?driven economy, it can be easy to overlook the importance of corporate capital spending. We’ve seen a number of data points suggesting such expenditures are due for an uptick.

2014-03-20 Exploration & Production: An Evolving Business Model by Suken Patel of Diamond Hill Investments

The successful development of shale crude oil and gas has led to one of the most rapid and unexpected increases in production in the history of the energy sector. This remarkable turn of events is in complete contrast to the previous popular belief that the country was running out of both resources.

2014-03-20 The Song Remains the Same by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The noisy journey from winter to spring in the United States may mask the underlying strength in the U.S. economy. The risk-on environment should remain intact, despite international tensions.

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 Pockets of Opportunity in Europe, Emerging Markets by Lisa Myers of Franklin Templeton

Maintaining the right mix or balance of assets in a portfolio to achieve a desired goal can be a challenge, particularly when the markets are constantly shifting. As portfolio manager for Templeton Global Balanced Fund, Lisa Myers, executive vice president, Templeton Global Equity Group, regularly faces that task.

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?

2014-03-18 Emerging Markets: Fertile Ground for Country Picking by Michael Cirami, Eric Stein, John Baur, Matthew Murphy Jr., Bradford Godfrey of Eaton Vance

Given the variations among individual emerging countries in today’s environment, country-by-country differentiation is likely to remain key to successful emerging-market investing. We believe investors may benefit from emerging-market strategies that: 1. have the flexibility to invest both long and short. 2. invest beyond traditional emerging-market benchmarks. 3. access frontier markets outside those benchmarks.

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 What's So Great About Private Equity? by Robert Kleinschmidt of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Robert Kleinschmidt, CEO and CIO of Tocqueville Asset Management, looks at how private equity has gained cachet among investors over the last few decades. He discusses the tendency of the investing public to view it as a "new" asset class, but notes many of its limitations can be seen as reasons the public equity markets were created.

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 Market Update by Team of Castleton Partners

With military tensions rising over the Ukraine saga and geopolitical posturing dominating the headlines, Treasury rates rallied across the yield curve last week, with 10 year yields falling 13 basis points to 2.66%. Though Cold War-era rhetoric remains high, there are indications that the threat of military action is becoming less likely. As such, we suspect markets will become more comfortable with the situation and expect it to become less of a focus. Nonetheless, we concede that headline risk remains and the primary influence on the Treasury market this week may well be external.

2014-03-18 Where's the Plane? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

In another example of life duplicating the media, it seems like most people here and abroad have been consumed by watching a real life episode of Lost for the last week. The question of what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has quickly soared to the opening spot on all of the network news shows, much as Lost and its Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 climbed quickly to the top of the ratings. At CNN it appears that the network of late can report on nothing else!

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 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks were buffeted last week on the outcome in Ukraine (well founded), growing concern that the world does not know what happened to that missing Malaysian airliner, and of course, the ever-present worries about the global economy - especially in light of renewed concern over China, both its economy and its banking system.

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.

2014-03-18 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

On average, how much taxable income must you have to pay six figures of income taxes? In order to pay exactly $100,000 in federal income taxes, your 2013 taxable income must equal $376,047 on a married filing jointly basis. Twenty years ago, it took $312,363 to pay that much in taxes. In 2011, the top 10% of US taxpayers paid 68.3% of all federal income tax while in 1980 the top 10% paid 49.3%. It is estimated that for the tax year 2013 the government will receive approximately $3 trillion. (Sources: Tax Foundation; White House; Internal Revenue Service)

2014-03-18 Understanding The "Millennial Generation" by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

As the father of two adult children who were born in the early 1990s, I have a particularly keen interest in the “Millennial Generation” – those 80 million or so people born in the US between 1980 and 2002, the largest generation ever – and who will be running the country before too long.

2014-03-17 Restoring the "Virtuous Cycle" of Economic Growth by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The so-called “dual mandate” of the Federal Reserve does not ask the Fed to manage short-run or even cyclical fluctuations in the economy. Instead – whether one believes that the goals of that mandate are achievable or not – it asks the Fed to “maintain long run growth of the monetary and credit aggregates commensurate with the economy's long run potential to increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices and moderate long-term interest rates.”

2014-03-17 Frontier Markets Find Footing by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Frontier markets remain in focus for the Templeton Emerging Markets Group in 2014, and my team and I have spent the early part of the year exploring potential investment opportunities in a number of them.

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 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.

2014-03-15 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

Harold Evensky's quarterly letter to his readers.

2014-03-14 A Matter of Odds: Not Everything That’s Supposed to Work, Works All the Time by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, explores the worth of quantitative analysis versus fundamental, and examines forecasts, consensus, and valuation as three ways of looking at the market for investment.

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 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.

2014-03-13 Emerging Markets: Will Ukraine fallout become contagious? by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Jeff Hussey, global CIO, outlines Russell Investments’ views on the conflict in Ukraine and how it might impact the markets.

2014-03-13 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook: A Steady Passage in 2014? by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

PIMCO's baseline expectation is for 2.5% to 3% real growth in the U.S., thanks to trends toward growth and spending in the consumer, corporate and public sectors. In the eurozone, our baseline expectation of 1% to 1.5% real growth calls for a broad-based cyclical improvement in domestic demand amid steady external demand. We anticipate Japan will be the only major developed economy experiencing a slowdown this year, down to 0.5% to 1%, and we expect China's growth will continue slowing as well, with growth in the range of 6.5% to 7.5%.

2014-03-13 The New Face of Failure by Liam Molloy, Charlie Mas of Galway Investment Strategy

A strong year in the domestic stock market - like we saw in 2013 - can create overconfidence in investors, which, in turn, leads them to make a number of predictable errors in judgment.

2014-03-13 Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Five years into the U.S. bull market this remains a “risk on” environment, but with monetary tightening on the horizon now is a time to become more cautious and start thinking about what comes next.

2014-03-13 Beware of Earnings Gimmicks by Jason Wang of Columbia Management

Since the global financial crisis, economic recovery worldwide has been slow. Over the last three years, annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the U.S. was limited to 2.1%, significantly below its long-term average of 3.3%. In this low growth environment, for a majority of companies, churning out high earnings-per-share (EPS) growth rates, either through top-line growth or margin expansion, has become increasingly more difficult.

2014-03-12 Housing: An Oft Forgotten Pivot Point by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

Today we got the newly released data on the state of the economy in the form of the Fed Flow of Funds. We have often cited it as a way of corroborating certain trends and potential reversal of trends when warranted.

2014-03-12 The Importance of Beta Management by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Morningstar recently released “Mind the Gap-2014” which demonstrated that investors are generally very poor beta managers. The Morningstar data showed that investors’ performance lagged that of their funds by about 250 basis points per year for the past ten years because of poor beta management, i.e., investors tend to be very poor allocators of capital.

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.

2014-03-11 10 Tax-Management Strategies to Consider in a Rising Tax Environment by of Eaton Vance

When it comes to investing, we believe the most important thing is determining not what you make, but what you keep. The goal of tax management in an investment program is to maximize after-tax returns. We believe this strategy is even more critical, with investors now waking up to the fact that tax rates have risen considerably.

2014-03-11 How Can You Find an Expert Whose Decisions You Can Trust? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Recently a family member visited the doctor to determine if she needed her gall bladder removed. Since she’d been having some pain, we assumed the answer would be “yes.” But, of course, we wanted an expert opinion, so we went to a surgeon that has done more than 6,000 removals.

2014-03-11 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.

2014-03-11 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Markets waited all week for the jobs report for February. After its release the data continued to be mixed at best.

2014-03-11 Michael Cirami on the Ukraine Crisis by Michael Cirami of Eaton Vance

Investors tend to ignore events that do not demand immediate attention. Unfortunately, this approach is no longer an option following the recent events taking place in Ukraine. Michael Cirami, co-director of Eaton Vance’s Global Income Group, was in Kiev the week before President Yanukovych was ousted. In the following interview, he shares his views on the crisis in this emerging market and its implications for investors.

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 Tech Bubble 2.0? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook in late February put an exclamation point on several high profile takeovers in the technology space in recent months. Sizeable deals such as Google’s $3 billion acquisition of Nest and Facebook’s $3 billion offer for SnapChat have fueled the idea that an indiscriminate buying spree in the technology space a la 1999 could set up financial markets for another valuation bubble.

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 Ukraine at Crossroads by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

In February, the winter Olympic Games brought athletes from around the world together in Russia, but in Ukraine, Russia's neighbor to the southwest, the story has been one of division. Violent clashes between pro-EU (European Union) protesters and government forces in the past few months have focused the eyes of the world on the former-Soviet state after (now former) President Yanukovych had refused to sign an Association Pact forging closer ties to the EU and decided instead to accept funding from Russia.

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 Exchange-Traded Fun! by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

This week, we take a lighthearted look at Exchange-Traded Funds. ETFs are mutual funds that trade on a stock exchange. ETFs are rapidly taking a bite out of the business long dominated by traditional "open end" mutual funds - the investment in a basket of securities with a common characteristic, such as industry, company size, geographic region, etc.

2014-03-07 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The fight over Ukraine is an unwelcome source of uncertainty; Hiring in the U.S. improves in February; American businesses have lots of cash to invest.

2014-03-06 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

February ended up being a strong month for stocks despite the growing perception of a slow economic start to the year 2014.

2014-03-06 Watch and Wait by David Wismer of Flexible Plan Investments

Vladimir Putin’s and Russia’s military action in the Crimea, formally a part of the Ukraine, made it hard to focus on much else Monday. Aside from the obvious and important humanitarian concerns, the military threat carries immense global risk and potentially significant economic consequences.

2014-03-06 The Briefest Flight to Safety by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Tensions in Ukraine and tapering speculation seem unlikely to derail rising U.S. equity markets and the positive outlook for U.S. credit.

2014-03-06 Evolution of SRI Leads Investors to a Sustainable Future by Chat Reynders of AdvisorShares

It’s no secret that positive screening as an investment strategy is becoming increasingly popular as advisors seek ways to identify substantive investment opportunities. The practice focuses investors on the elements of a company that can make a positive impact both on the bottom line and on society, pointing to socially progressive companies that generate returns.

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.

2014-03-05 The US Economy - Back To The Slow Lane Again by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Late last year, President Obama predicted that 2014 would see “breakout growth” in the US economy. His optimism was not completely unwarranted since the economy grew by a healthy 4.1% (annual rate) in the 3Q of last year, driven largely by an unexpected surge in inventory rebuilding. Then in late January, the Commerce Department reported that the economy grew by a better than expected 3.2% in the 4Q.

2014-03-05 Asset Allocation: The Conundrum of 2014 by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Management

In 2013, both the S&P 500 Index and the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds finished the year at their highest levels of the calendar year. So ended a year when equity markets dominated the return landscape, while bonds and numerous other assets struggled. The environment apparently changed, though, with the turning of the calendar to 2014. In the New Year, bonds have performed quite well, with yields on 10-year Treasuries, as an example, falling from 3.03% to 2.67% so far this year. Stocks meanwhile, have been volatile, yet stand close to unchanged on a year to date basis.

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 Active or Passive? Multi-asset Investing Can Turn Both Valves by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Investors, whether institutional or individual, face a common challenge: how to get the return they need, at an appropriate risk level, and at a fee they can afford.

2014-03-04 Our Thoughts on Warren Buffett's Thoughts by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

The Berkshire Hathaway 2013 Annual Shareholder Letter came out on Saturday the 1st of March, 2014. Mr. Buffett was in rare form and we'd like to share some of his key thoughts which speak directly to what we do at Smead Capital Management.

2014-03-04 Market Update by of Castleton Partners

With the Ukrainian situation very much in focus, Treasury rates moved mostly lower last week. The yield curve exhibited a flattening bias, as longer dated maturities registered the biggest declines. For the week, 10 year treasury yields closed at 2.65%, a drop of eight basis points from the prior week, while two year yields were unchanged at 0.32%. As Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was revised lower to 2.5% from 3.2%, we also learned last week that the economy expanded at a slower pace in the fourth quarter of 2013 than previously estimated, giving the expansion less momentum heading into 2014.

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 A Century of Policy Mistakes by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

A century ago Argentina ranked as one of the wealthiest countries in world. Today it is a shadow of its former self. A long string of policy errors explain the long slide from riches to rags. Europe, like Argentina 100 years ago, is facing enormous challenges - as well as potential pitfalls - and the management of those challenges will define the welfare path for many years to come. Unfortunately, the early signs are not good. Our political leaders, afraid to face public condemnation, have so far chosen to ignore them.

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.

2014-03-04 Time for Nat Gas Stocks to Come in From the Cold? by Bradford Evans of Heartland Advisors

The prices of natural gas stocks haven’t risen in concert with this winter’s higher commodity prices. Here’s a look at why that might change.

2014-03-03 Ukraine: Geopolitical Risk Rising For Global Markets by Francesc Balcells of PIMCO

Following Russia’s military intervention in Crimea, the situation in Ukraine remains extremely fluid. The outcome will determine to a large extent the systemic nature of the crisis and its impact on global markets, not just Europe. Russia stands to lose the most if this conflict should escalate into a full-fledged military confrontation, given the country’s financial, economic and reputational stakes.

2014-03-03 Casting a Wide Asset Net in a Volatile Sea by Ed Perks of Franklin Templeton

It’s fair to say that investors will likely never be fully comfortable with market volatility. But actively managing the inevitable bumps that accompany equity investments, even in bull markets, can help make the ride a little less harrowing, according to Ed Perks, executive vice president and director of Portfolio Management, Franklin Equity Group®. He explains how understanding the fundamental dynamics behind market selloffs is key to uncovering potential opportunities in the face of a rough market ride.

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.

2014-03-03 Bond Aid: Positive Outlook for High Yield in 2014 by Darren Hughes, Scott Roberts of Invesco Blog

While most fixed income asset classes tied to interest rates saw negative returns during 2013, high yield bonds returned more than 8%, according to the JP Morgan Domestic High Yield Index. While we anticipate slightly lower returns in 2014, it looks to be a positive year for high yield markets.

2014-03-01 Wallets Wide Shut by Mohamed El Erian of Project Syndicate

With profitability at or near record levels, cash holdings by the corporate sector in Europe and the US have reached an all-time high - and are earning very little at today’s near-zero interest rates. But, for at least six reasons, firms are not investing in capacity and creating the jobs that these economies need.

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 Looking Beyond Politics in Thailand by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Throughout its history, Thailand has been subject to periods of political instability that have at times given cause for concern among investors. In the past few months, investor sentiment has reflected the political uncertainty, putting Thailand in the news.

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 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.

2014-02-27 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.

2014-02-27 Gut Check: The Outlook on Fixed Income by Colin Lundgren of Columbia Management

With nearly two months of the year behind us, we thought now would be a good time to see how the fixed-income market is faring in 2014 and assess our outlook. We asked our investment team five questions to help capture our view on the market today.

2014-02-27 Corporate Credit Charting its Own Course by Eric Takaha of Franklin Templeton

At the start of the year, equity investors were fretting about possible emerging-market contagion, while bond investors were fretting about fallout from US Federal Reserve tapering. Meanwhile, the corporate credit market seemed to be charting its own course. Eric Takaha, director of the Corporate & High Yield Group and senior vice president, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group®, takes a look at the corporate credit/high-yield market and explains why he currently sees supportive fundamentals.

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 Market Perspective by CCR Wealth Management Investment Committee of CCR Wealth Management

It cost $0.32 to mail a letter, unemployment was 4.9%, O.J. Simpson was found liable in a civil suit, Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule, Timothy McVeigh was sentenced to Death, Green Bay defeated the Patriots in the Super Bowl, Titanic came crashing into movie theatres, and Dolly, the first genetically engineered lamb was unveiled to the public; the year was 1997.

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 U.S. Housing: Investors Reach for Higher-Hanging Fruit by Joshua Anderson, Emmanuel Sharef, Grover Burthey of PIMCO

PIMCO expects house prices to transition to steady secular growth, with nominal price increases of 5%–10% cumulatively over two years. An environment of reduced volatility and steady gradual growth may result in tightening risk premia and spreads as the market begins to price in this new dynamic. Over the coming years, we will focus on whether the underbuilding of single-family homes is ultimately resolved through housing starts, rental growth or continued price appreciation.

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 Alternative Energy Brief by Edward Guinness of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

This month we provide our Outlook for the Alternative Energy sector in 2014.

2014-02-25 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

A quiet four days for stocks last week. Between the holiday, school vacations and winter weather; there just were not many catalysts for the stock marker.

2014-02-24 Corporate Credit Charting its Own Course by Eric Takaha of Franklin Templeton

At the start of the year, equity investors were fretting about possible emerging-market contagion, while bond investors were fretting about fallout from US Federal Reserve tapering. Meanwhile, the corporate credit market seemed to be charting its own course. Eric Takaha, director of the Corporate & High Yield Group and senior vice president, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group®, takes a look at the corporate credit/high-yield market and explains why he currently sees supportive fundamentals.

2014-02-24 Confusing Crosscurrents Result in Trendless Market by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished mixed after the shortened holiday week.1 The broad market narrative did not change, as additional disappointing economic data was largely attributed to the impact of adverse weather. Comfort that the recovery may be gaining traction was evidenced through Fed discussions and the January FOMC minutes, with consensus expectations for tapering to continue at a measured pace. Some renewed concerns about a growth slowdown in China surfaced but had little impact.

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.

2014-02-20 The Next Phase of Housing\'s Recovery: Which Five Investments Should You Own Today? by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

PIMCO has significant top-down and bottom-up expertise dedicated to understanding the U.S. housing market cycle. In 2006, we warned U.S. housing prices were significantly overvalued, which led to our defensive positioning heading into the recession. In 2011, we turned bullish on real estate and added investments such as non-agency mortgage-backed securities, banks and homebuilders that we felt would benefit from an eventual recovery in housing prices.

2014-02-20 Bond Investors Need Not Feel Powerless by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Jeff Hussey, global CIO, explains the strategies investors should be pursuing when considering fixed income investments in their portfolios and how additional yield cushion while opening a door to additional security selection returns from active management.

2014-02-20 Value Creation through Share Repurchases: Juniper Networks by Rick Snowdon of Diamond Hill Investments

An activist investor, Elliott Management, recently acquired a 6% stake in Juniper Networks, Inc. (JNPR), one of our holdings, and published a presentation proposing that management take certain actions including the initiation of an accelerated share repurchase program. Management teams, investors, and market observers talk a lot about creating value through share repurchases; the JNPR situation provides a good opportunity to discuss the extent to which, and the mechanism by which, this is the case.

2014-02-20 The State of International Small-Cap by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

While some argue that domestic small-cap leadership in 2013 was a result of its heavy exposure to companies that tend to generate most of their income domestically, others contest that this greater focus on the U.S. may mean missing out on the benefits of faster-growing foreign economies. We, on the other hand, choose to focus our attentions on individual companies, particularly those in more cyclical areas of the market that are more closely tied to the global economy.

2014-02-20 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks soared last week as economic reports showed the global economy was weaker than originally estimated in the last quarter of 2013 and has lost further momentum in 2014. This has acted to support bond prices and lower interest rates. Thus, stocks as an asset class continue to do well.

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 Nothing Burns Like the Cold by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The U.S. economy has stalled amid a winter freeze but the Federal Reserve is unlikely to act because warmer weather should bring a rebound, leading to higher U.S. stock prices and tighter credit spreads.

2014-02-20 February Flash Update by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

It's too early to mean much, but so far out 2014 forecast is falling nicely into place. The market highs on Dec 31st have held, bonds are outperforming stocks, gold is outperforming both stocks and bonds, while gold mining shares are soaring! The anticipated volatility in emerging markets and Japan as well as the wild card of the Chinese economy continue to unfold, while bad weather has postponed the evidence of strong 2014 US 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 WhatsApp With That? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Two pieces of business news announced this week provide a convenient frame through which to view our dysfunctional and distorted economy. The first (which has attracted tremendous attention), is Facebook's blockbuster $19 billion acquisition of instant messaging provider WhatsApp. The second (which few have noticed) is the horrific earnings report issued by Texas-based retail chain Conn's. While these two developments don't seem to have much in common, together they shed some very unflattering light on where we stand economically.

2014-02-19 Checking in on Earnings by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Earnings season is nearing its finale, and the latest results show plenty of reason to be bullish, but the longer-term trend remains an outstanding question for markets.

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 Help Your Clients Make a Bigger Impact With Their Investments in 2014 by Jorge Newbery of American Homeowner Preservation

Investing with the hope of gaining a good return is a given. But today’s investors are looking for returns that go beyond dollars and cents. Between 2010 and 2012, sustainable and responsible investing (SRI) grew more than 22 percent, reaching $3.74 trillion in total managed assets. To put that number into perspective, think of it this way: more than one dollar of every nine dollars under professional management in the United States is invested according to SRI strategies.

2014-02-19 Investors at the Car Wash? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

It’s been a rough winter, but here in Detroit (and I suspect in your town, too, if it’s been hit by the near constant winter storms this year) you can be assured of one thing – when the snow stops and the clouds part and sunshine floods the sparkling, newly fallen snow in the fields, while the streets, in contrast, get grayer, then black as soot as the traffic returns – then, I will bet you, the lines will grow long at your neighborhood carwash.

2014-02-18 Puerto Rico\'s Double-Downgrade by Michael Taylor of Columbia Management

On February 4, Standard & Poor’s lowered its long-term credit rating on the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s (PR) general obligation (GO) debt making it the first rating agency to downgrade the Commonwealth to below investment-grade levels. Just three days later, Moody’s cut its GO rating by two notches to ’Ba2’; ratings that are capped by or linked to the Commonwealth’s GO rating were also downgraded two notches, with the exception of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) Revenue Bonds.

2014-02-18 From Micro-Caps to Mid-Caps, a Comprehensive Approach to Smaller Companies by Team of The Royce Funds

As the small-cap asset class has grown in size, those companies just beyond the periphery of small-cap have become somewhat orphaned.

2014-02-18 A Time for Optimism in Europe? by Philippe Brugere-Trelat of Franklin Templeton

Volatile markets and an uneven recovery may appear to justify a cautious outlook for investing in Europe right now, while in the US the specter of higher interest rates might also be signaling a challenging market environment ahead. Philippe Brugere-Trelat believes the investment case for European equities favors a more optimistic outlook and despite a bumpy start to the year for equities globally, he still sees the market as rife with potential opportunities for selective investors, particularly undervalued segments of the market. One place where he thinks caution is likely warranted? Japan.

2014-02-18 Stocks for 2014: Growth and Income For Total Return - Part 3 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

When investing in common stocks, there is no one strategy that fits all investors. Some investors are focused on investing for income, some for capital appreciation and others for various combinations of both. Additionally, there is the issue of risk tolerance. Some investors are willing and capable of assuming greater risk if they believe it will lead to greater returns, while others are more risk adverse. These are just but a few of the many variations that apply to the individual investor’s own unique goals and characteristics.

2014-02-18 After a Rocky 2013, What\'s in Store for Asia This Year? by Brent Bates of Invesco Blog

Overall, 2013 wasn’t the best year for Asian markets, however there are several trends emerging that we believe will be good for the region this year.

2014-02-18 Global Growth Expectations Push Stocks Forward Despite Weather by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished sharply higher last week with the S&P 500 increasing 2.3% and all major U.S. averages up more than 2%.1 The rapid market recovery from the January pullback is a bigger surprise than the pullback that preceded it.

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 What Harvard Can Teach Us About Portfolio Management by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

The takeaway for advisors is the need to make sure clients truly understand their time horizons and that their portfolios are being navigated toward their time horizon versus responding to short term events like a Green Mountain Coffee (NASDAQ:GMCR) popping 30% on a deal with Coca Cola (NYSE:KO) or a stretch of poor returns for emerging markets.

2014-02-14 PepsiCo Dividend: Refreshing The Investor World by Team of Fast Graphs

PepsiCo is presently trading in line with its historical valuations and might be offering a reasonable - albeit not necessarily screaming - opportunity moving forward. However, as always, we recommend that the reader conduct his or her own thorough due diligence.

2014-02-13 Bad News is Good News Again by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Extremely cold weather in the United States, a sell-off in equities and in emerging markets, and large swings in fund flows combined for a volatile start to the year. But none of this will derail the ongoing U.S. economic expansion, and investors should take advantage of this temporary weakness.

2014-02-13 Admit it: You were wondering, why hold bonds? by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Jeff Hussey, global CIO, highlights the importance of holding fixed income investments within portfolios, even at a time when we are seeing exceptionally low and likely rising interest rates.

2014-02-13 A Time for Optimism in Europe? by Philippe Brugere-Trelat of Franklin Templeton

Volatile markets and an uneven recovery may appear to justify a cautious outlook for investing in Europe right now, while in the US the specter of higher interest rates might also be signaling a challenging market environment ahead. The investment case for European equities favors a more optimistic outlook and despite a bumpy start to the year for equities globally, he still sees the market as rife with potential opportunities for selective investors, particularly undervalued segments of the market. One place where caution is likely warranted? Japan.

2014-02-12 Was the labor report positive, or negative, anyone? by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis  of Fortigent

Stocks were modestly positive last week following three straight weeks of negative performance. Markets crawled back following an ugly Monday in which the S&P 500 suffered its worst loss in more than seven months. For the week, the S&P rose 0.9% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.7%.

2014-02-12 Harvard’s Endowment: Wise or Foolish? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Warren Buffett says, "What the wise man does in the beginning, the fool does in the end." In a Barron's feature over the weekend, writer Andrew Bary dug into the portfolio of Harvard's Endowment through an interview with their CIO, Jane Mendillo. After all, who could possibly be wiser than what many would argue is the most respected undergraduate and graduate university in the world? Using a combination of Bary’s article and our perspective, this missive will seek to determine whether the Harvard Endowment is wise or foolish.

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 Coasting? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

This year in the stock market I feel that most investors (and commentators) are focusing on walking the daily, hourly and, perhaps, even second to second ups and downs of the major market indexes. They’re measuring their progress each day, like using the foot-long ruler to measure a coastline. As with most things in life, with the stock market it is often better to get a broader perspective – see the forest not just the trees. When you do that, it’s apparent that last week was a probable turning point, or at least a notable one.

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.

2014-02-11 Focus on Income: The Illiquidity Premium: Opportunities for Investing in Credit Today by Jack Rivkin of Altegris

At a time when many investors are seeking income for their portfolios, traditional sources of fixed income - principally government bonds and high-grade corporate bonds - look less than compelling. Yields are low and there is an increasing risk that interest rates will rise, which would cause the value of existing bonds to fall.

2014-02-10 What Would a Stronger Dollar Mean for Global Markets? by Borge Endresen, Brent Bates of Invesco

As the world watches the progress of the US Federal Reserve’s tapering program, and anticipates the strengthening of the US dollar, We’re often asked how this affects our view of international markets and risk. The short answer is that it doesn’t. We’re long-term, bottom-up stock pickers , so we;re primarily concerned with currency impacts on a company-by-company basis. However, there are some broad trends that are worth noting.

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 Two Reasons for Value to Outperform in 2014 by Will Nasgovitz of Heartland Advisors

We’ve seen the longest period of growth outperformance since 1932, but the two catalysts could cause value to return to favor. First, tapering by the Fed should allow interest rates to normalize and thereby benefit the Financials sector. Second, there’s potential for a correction in the Consumer Discretionary sector, which appears overvalued: The group’s P/E is above the historical average and performance has tracked upward despite flat earnings revisions.

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

2014-02-10 What Would a Stronger Dollar Mean for Global Markets? by Borge Endresen, Brent Bates of Invesco

As the world watches the progress of the US Federal Reserve’s (Fed’s) tapering program, and anticipates the strengthening of the US dollar, we’re often asked how this affects our view of the international market and risk. The short answer is that it doesn’t. We’re long-term, bottom-up stock pickers, so we’re primarily concerned with currency impacts on a company-by-company basis. However, there are some broad trends that are worth noting.

2014-02-09 A Most Dangerous Era by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week we were confronted with a rather troubling appendix in the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the Affordable Care Act, which suggests that the act will have a rather profound impact on employment patterns.

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 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 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 Investment Principles and Habits: Contrarian Value Investing in a Liquidity-Driven Environment by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, looks at how recent market performance, having been both driven down by and buoyed by liquidity, should cause asset managers to re-examine their investment principles. Though he cautions that the possibility exists that the recent market drivers might be an aberration, "stubborn aberrations are worth paying attention to."

2014-02-07 Dark Gold: Shedding Light on a Mysterious Market by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

Gold is the simplest of financial assets - you either own it or you don’t. Yet, at the same time, gold is also among the most private of assets. Once an individual locks his or her safe, that gold effectively disappears from the market at large. Unlike bank deposits or stocks, there is no way to tally the total amount of gold held by individual investors.

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 EM Misery and US Large-Cap Euphoria by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

Many investors are wondering why emerging stock market misery currently equates to weakness in the US stock market as represented by the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 indexes (large-cap). Long time followers of our writing at Smead Capital Management are aware that we have been making the argument this would happen since 2010 and we are happy to review our thesis.

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.

2014-02-06 An Opportunity to Buy by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

We will likely look back on the current turbulence in financial markets as a healthy correction, and an encouraging sign that policymakers are allowing markets to self-correct in a way not seen since before 2008.

2014-02-06 Stagnation by Design by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

The difficulties that many rich countries now face are not the result of the inexorable laws of economics, to which people simply must adjust, as they would to a natural disaster. On the contrary, the decline in most households’ income over the past three decades, particularly in the US, is the result of flawed policies.

2014-02-05 Emerging Market Turmoil Creates January Decline by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished lower last week, as the S&P 500 ended January with the first monthly loss since August 2013 and the largest monthly decline since May 2012. A global retreat from risk has been sparked by unrest around the world, sell-offs in emerging markets led by a 20% decline in the Argentine peso, weaker than expected economic reports from China, U.S. economic growth concerns in light of frigid temperatures and anxiety over Fed tapering.

2014-02-05 2014 Market Outlook by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

Some Bumps along the Road of Global Recovery

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.

2014-02-05 Most \'Medieval\' by William Gross of PIMCO

Unlike today, when most believe that animals were put on this Earth for humanity’s pleasure or utility, most people in the Middle Ages believed that God granted free will to Adam, Eve and all of His creatures. Animals were responsible in some strange way for their own actions and therefore should be held accountable for them.

2014-02-04 Volatility Prompts a More Cautious View Toward Emerging Markets by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

The market selloff continued last week, and emerging markets stocks are looking more uncertain in the short term. With U.S. wages under pressure, consumer-related stocks remain an unattractive option. The Federal Reserve’s tapering program is starting to remove a pillar of support for stocks.

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 It Looks Messy Even From a Distance... by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I’m traveling outside the country but I am never far from the latest financial market update. I saw today’s market move and with the sluggish start to the New Year in stocks, I thought I’d drop you all a line with my thoughts.

2014-02-03 10 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back! Comments on January Stock Market by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

US stocks as measured by the S&P 500 delivered a phenomenal 32.4% return in 2013. That was the 6th best year for US stocks since 1940. In January, US stocks fell 3.5%. We don’t watch business news anymore, but judging from an increased volume of phone calls from clients, we presume that CNBC, Fox Business, CNN and MSNBC have categorized this modest decline as "an apocalypse." Our "dashboard" shows return numbers for US and International stock markets, commodities, currencies and bond yields. A lot of red YTD 2014, but all green at the end of 2013.

2014-02-03 A Secular Bull Market? by Juliet Ellis of Invesco Blog

Five years from now, I believe we will look back and see that 2014 was part of the early stages of a multi-year secular bull market for US equities, characterized by rising stock prices with only short, intervening market corrections.

2014-02-03 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.

2014-01-31 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 Not All Emerging Markets Are Created Equal by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

Emerging markets (EM) is a term given to a universe of countries that is extremely diverse across a wide number of variables including geography, levels of industrialization and political systems. Despite this diversity, emerging markets are often discussed as if they are a homogenous block, particularly in the context of broad asset allocation decision making. We think that’s a mistake. Instead, we see opportunity from applying a more bottom-up approach to country, industry and security selection amidst growing dispersion in outcomes across the emerging world.

2014-01-31 Buy What You Know? Not So Fast by Russ Koesterich of iSharesBlog

Buy what you know. It’s an old admonition, and on the surface a sensible one. Focusing your investments on those companies that you’re most familiar with should help mitigate the risk of a bad investment choice. Unfortunately, like a lot of conventional wisdom, it’s wrong. Concentrating your portfolio to local investments, while comforting, is a mistake for two reasons.

2014-01-31 High Yield: The Perfect Storm That Wasn\'t by Gershon Distenfeld of Alliance Bernstein

Investors should not focus on how rising rates may affect high yield. Instead, they should take a more thoughtful approach. This means they should not expect double-digit returns, nor should they reach for yield by buying triple-C bonds. At this point in the credit cycle, when concerns begin to develop disproportionally in lower-rated credits, investors are not getting compensated for taking this type of risk. Instead, investors should accept that single-digit returns are a realistic expectation in 2014. And in a relatively low-rate environment, we don’t think that’s a bad thing.

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 A Healthy Correction in Emerging Markets by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

It has been a hard start to the year, especially for emerging markets, but the latest dislocation is a healthy part of the cycle and the risk-on trade remains intact.

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 Watching the Polar Bear by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

With temperatures hovering around zero and wind chills in the negative teens, I can’t think of any better label for Friday’s stock market sell off than a "polar bear". Here in Michigan at the Detroit Zoo, one of the nation’s finest, we have a rather unique polar bear exhibit. Visitors to the zoo can actually walk through tunnels interspersed throughout the polar bear environment created in the exhibit. At one point you are underneath the big furry creatures as they swim about. It is a beautiful sight.

2014-01-29 Do China Insider Transactions Lie? by William Smead of Smead Capital Management

In our business, we like to say that insider transactions never lie. For this reason, one of our eight criteria for selecting common stocks is strong insider ownership, preferably with recent purchases. Additionally, as contrarians, we want to make our original purchases in a business at a time when most investors are scared to buy for one reason or another. When we see officers, directors and substantial existing shareholders of a business buying at prices which are temporarily depressed, we raise our confidence in the long-term future of a business.

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 How to Retire at 30! by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

MarketWatch had a very thought provoking post about a couple in Colorado who retired when they turned 30 (they are 39 now). In 2011 they took their story to the blogosphere with the very popular blog Mr. Money Moustache.

2014-01-29 Fed Responsible for EM Crisis? by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

From the bully pulpits in Sao Paulo to the blogosphere in cyberspace, the Fed is blamed for the turmoil in Emerging Markets (EM). That’s a bit like blaming McDonald’s for obesity. Blaming others won’t fix the problems in EM economies, it won’t fix investors’ portfolios and it is an unlikely way to lose weight. Investors and policy makers need to wake up and realize that they are in charge of their own destiny. Let us explain.

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 Financial Resolutions for a New Year by Gary Stroik of WBI Investments

It’s the start of a new year; the traditional time for self-examination, reflection, and a new list of resolutions intended to help us work on those aspects of our lives we feel could use some improvement.

2014-01-28 Expect Higher Volatility to Persist by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Last week’s selloff can be attributed to EM turmoil, stretched valuations and mediocre earnings. Volatility is likely to move higher to levels closer to long-term averages. We suggest investors adopt overweight positions in European and Japanese stocks.

2014-01-28 An Active Management Turning Point? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Active managers faced a difficult road in recent years, leading to many questions about the efficacy of active versus passive investment management. There are signs that the tide is once again changing in favor of active managers and the road ahead could offer happier times.

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.

2014-01-28 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

My caution last week unfolded into a market sell off related to both disappointing earnings and concern over emerging markets affecting the foreign exchange markets.

2014-01-27 Hasenstab: Standing One\'s Ground by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

When the masses are against you, it’s hard to stand your ground. Going against the crowd is familiar turf for Michael Hasenstab, who manages Templeton Global Bond Fund and co-manages Templeton Global Balanced Fund, and certainly knows the virtue of patience. He has staunchly defended his investment theses over the years, tuning out the naysayers and market noise time and again.

2014-01-27 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

When you think of the top 1 percent of all income earners in American households, how much do you think this group rakes in? Millions? Tens of millions? What about the top 10 percent or even top 20 percent?

2014-01-27 Attractiveness of Municipal Bonds Should Not Be Overlooked in 2014 by Municipal Insight Committee of Eaton Vance

After a challenging year for the municipal bond (muni) market in 2013, we believe the underlying strength of munis has improved, making the asset class an attractive proposition heading into 2014. In our view, challenges and headwinds will continue in 2014; however, more palatable yields and the relative attractiveness of munis versus other taxable alternatives may help investors limit the volatility and downside witnessed over the past year.

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.

2014-01-25 A Grim Intermediate Outlook for High-Quality Bond Returns by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Rates have been steadily falling since the 1980s. A simple "reversion to the mean" in which rates rise toward their long-term average (the average 10 year U.S. Treasury rate since 1926 according to data sourced from the St. Louis Federal Reserve’s website) would mean that rates would rise to about 5%. That’s almost a 2% increase from where we are right now. We suspect that would be more than enough to spur a dramatic change in investors’ attitudes toward bond investing, and to increase interest in viable alternative strategies for retirement income.

2014-01-25 At Davos, Inequality and Africa in Focus by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The focus at Davos has shifted to two new topics: growing income inequality as a risk to economic growth and social stability and the emergence of Africa as an economic force. Neither of these is a big surprise as neither is new. But the fact that these are the primary focus this year tells us that these topics will likely become more prominent in 2014.

2014-01-25 Wealth Services at Banks Come Under Central Bank\'s Scanner by Rajat Dhar of Cogent Advisory

RBI, the central bank of India, made critical observations of way in which wealth services were being practised at banks. Also, the clear note was made with respect to the rising cases of misselling at banks. This market commentary covers the draft guidelines issued by RBi and tries to uncover the reason for the same and the way forward for the clients. This has been the first time ever that separate guidelines have come for banks and independent financial advisors or advisory firms in India; and this article covers the wealth services being offered by banks in India.

2014-01-24 How the Safe Havens Stack Up by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

For investors who are worried about a correction, Russ provides a look at which traditional safe-haven assets tend to perform best during times of uncertainty.

2014-01-24 Stocks for 2014: Growth and Income For Total Return Part 3 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

When investing in common stocks, there is no one strategy that fits all investors. Some investors are focused on investing for income, some for capital appreciation and others for various combinations of both. Additionally, there is the issue of risk tolerance. Some investors are willing and capable of assuming greater risk if they believe it will lead to greater returns, while others are more risk adverse. These are just but a few of the many variations that apply to the individual investor’s own unique goals and characteristics.

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.

2014-01-23 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The year 2014 is off to an uncertain start. Earnings reports are not doing that well (see Best Buy, Citigroup & all retailers etc.), and bond prices have rallied so far in 2014 despite the fears of tapering which were expressed as last year ended.

2014-01-23 What\'s Your 2014 Market View? by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

U.S. monetary policy seems likely to continue occupying center stage as people fret about interest rates. Last year was a somewhat instructive year for monetary policy theory in that it seemed to show that policies can be effective even when interest rates have no further room to be lowered. Can the nominal GDP in the U.S. grow at faster rates in 2014, and what would that mean for Asia? This month Matthews Asia’s Chief Investment Officer, Robert Horrocks, offers his insights into how reforms planned for China could be a key factor to change and what could lie ahead for the region overall

2014-01-23 Tacking Through the Banking Headwinds by John Loesch of Diamond Hill Investments

Pick up nearly any financial publication these days and it is bound to have one, if not several, stories about the headwinds facing the banking industry.

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 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 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.

2014-01-22 The Virtualization of Everything by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, looks at the motivations of participants in capital markets, and how with the advent of synthetic investments and complicated derivatives products, he is concerned that "the stock market has lost its close link to the "real" economy and has become more of a gigantic casino."

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 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 Digging for Natural Resource Opportunities in 2014 by Frederick Fromm, Stephen Land, Matthew Adams of Franklin Templeton

The natural resources sector has been through a period of transition in the past year, one which has pushed many companies toward cost reduction and greater capital discipline amid an environment of rather sluggish global economic growth. Franklin Equity Group Analysts Fred Fromm, Stephen Land and Matthew Adams think an improving economic outlook could set the stage for potentially stronger commodity demand going forward, and see healthy potential demand growth for energy in particular. They share their outlook for the natural resources sector in 2014, and where they are finding opportunities.

2014-01-21 Emerging Markets 2014 Outlook: Shaping the Next Decade by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

As we embark upon a new year, the Templeton Emerging Markets Group believes 2014 could be an important year for many emerging markets, possibly establishing trends that could play out through much of the remainder of the decade. In particular, Chinese government reform initiatives announced in late 2013 could have far-reaching significance. And, major elections in a number of countries in 2014 could bring dramatic (or not-so-dramatic) changes. Here are a few themes and countries we’ve got our eye on in the new year.

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.

2014-01-17 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 Digging for Natural Resource Opportunities in 2014 by Frederick Fromm, Stephen Land, Matthew Adams of Franklin Templeton

The natural resources sector has been through a period of transition in the past year, one which has pushed many companies toward cost reduction and greater capital discipline amid an environment of rather sluggish global economic growth. Franklin Equity Group Analysts Fred Fromm, Stephen Land and Matthew Adams think an improving economic outlook could set the stage for potentially stronger commodity demand going forward, and see healthy potential demand growth for energy in particular. They share their outlook for the natural resources sector in 2014, and where they are finding opportunities.

2014-01-17 Getting Lucky by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

Sometimes these memos are inspired by a single event or just one thing I read. This one - like my first memo 24 years ago - grew out of the juxtaposition of two observations. I’ll introduce one here and the other later on. Contrary to my wife Nancy’s observation that my memos are "all the same," the subject here is one I’ve rarely touched on.

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 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 Reversal of Fortune - Competitive Advantages Redefining Industrial Investment in the U.S. by Niall O'Malley of Blue Point Investment Management

As an investment manager, I seek investments with sustainable growth. I have the freedom to look anywhere in the world. Quietly, the U.S. has developed a competitive advantage in energy costs that is rewriting the history books. For the first time in generations an abundant energy supply has the potential to improve the air we breathe while creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs. It is creating opportunities where just five years ago energy intensive industrial production was being shuttered in the U.S.

2014-01-16 Keep Optimistic and Carry On by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

This is likely to be another good year for risk-on investing, as an improving economic outlook supports stocks and bonds in an environment marked by less volatility than 2013.

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 Home (Finance) Repairs by Eric Schaefer of American Independence Financial Services

Five years after the 2008 financial panic, there are still no concrete plans for what to do with the twin mortgage finance giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The only consensus among Congress, the Obama administration, regulators and the banking industry is that no one knows what to do. No clear compelling vision for the federal government’s role in residential mortgage finance has yet to be offered by a party to the debate.

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 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last year ended very well for us! The New Year has started slowly both because of the weather and because of the middle of the week timing of the holidays. Last Friday’s employment report for December was the 1st real piece of economic data which the financial markets could sink their teeth into, and the results have most people (not us) confused.

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 Stocks for 2014: Something for Everyone: Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

My biggest pet peeve regarding common stock investing is how so many people have a tendency to over-generalize this asset class. Commonly held beliefs such as investing in stocks is risky, or that the stock market is overvalued, or that the fed is driving stock prices, etc., are just a few examples illustrating my point. In truth, common stocks are as individually different as people are individually different. When dealing with human beings, most reasonable thinking people would reject prejudicial statements. Personally, I believe we should have the same attitude about common stocks.

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.

2014-01-14 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 Income Market Insight by Payson Swaffield of Eaton Vance

In 2013, the markets got their first taste of what I referred to in my last report as the post-post-crisis era. It was a year in which talk of "tapering" dominated the financial headlines - a reference to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s plans to scale back its purchases of long-term bonds, as a first step toward reducing its accommodative monetary policy.

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.

2014-01-14 Are Stocks On Thin Ice? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I love the weather! Just as it is a reliable conversation starter (everyone has an opinion on it), it provides seemingly unlimited analogies to the financial markets for me to write about. That’s because while many attempt to forecast both, the weather and the markets are moved by an endless stream of random events.

2014-01-14 The Financial Fire Next Time by Robert Shiller of Project Syndicate

Just as most people are more interested in stories about fires than they are in the chemistry of fire retardants, they are more interested in stories about financial crashes than they are in the measures needed to prevent them. That is not exactly a recipe for a happy ending.

2014-01-13 Weighing the Week Ahead: Can Earnings Growth Propel Stocks Higher? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

If you could know one thing about stocks in the coming year, it would be what to expect from corporate earnings. The Q4 2013 reports will provide a preview, with attention starting this week.

2014-01-13 Chuck Royce on 4Q13: Abnormally High Returns Reinforce Our Absolute Bias by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds

In a market that’s behaved far from normally, we are sticking with what we believe works best for our shareholders-finding quality small-caps at what we think are attractively inexpensive valuations that have the ability to generate strong long-term returns. President, Director of Investments, and Portfolio Manager Chuck Royce offers his thoughts on last year’s small-cap performance and the prospects for high-quality small-caps.

2014-01-13 Tocqueville Gold Strategy Investor Letter Year End 2013 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), remarks in his latest quarterly letter that "Despite the painful decline in gold and gold shares that persisted throughout the entire year, we believe that the fundamental case for both remains strong." Hathaway writes that "the bullion market has been pressured all year by an artificial supply of paper gold with little or no connection to the underlying physical.

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.

2014-01-10 Automation and Lean Manufacturing: Boost Profits, Squeeze Employment by Tyler Howard of Saturna Capital

Despite industrial production reaching all-time highs in August of this year, employment in the manufacturing sector remains substantially below levels witnessed before the 2008-2009 recession. When looking at longer term employment trends in manufacturing, it becomes clear that companies increasingly boost production without adding incremental labor. Profit margins, while not yet recovered to pre-recession peaks, endure at historically high levels. Several long-term changes in the manufacturing economy contribute to this divergence: outsourcing, automation, and lean manufacturing.

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 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 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 A Preview of the Sungarden Study by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Next week, my team and I will release Sungarden’s first major whitepaper. It assesses the retirement income problem, reviews existing solutions and presents a framework for how investors and financial advisors can pursue a solution with confidence.

2014-01-09 The U.S. Begins an (Un)employment Experiment by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Extended unemployment benefits stopped for 1.3 million people at year-end. This doesn’t change their employment status...they just stop getting unemployment compensation. Extended benefits (of up to 99 weeks) was part of the recession-fighting fiscal stimulus package. A question was: did this create a dis-incentive to find a job (aka "funemployment").

2014-01-09 A Great Time for Investors by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Last January, the global economy faced myriad headwinds, choppiness lay ahead, and we expected plenty of volatility. Nevertheless, I said then that risk assets were the best choice for investors. Now, the headwinds of 2013 have largely dissipated, and the outlook is benign for risk assets for the first three to six months of 2014, if not longer.

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 David (Active Management) vs. Goliath (Passive Indexes) by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Malcolm Gladwell is a fantastic writer and his new book, David and Goliath, got us thinking about his current thesis: David as a poster child for underdogs is a mistake. Gladwell contends that David had significant advantages over Goliath. In true Gladwellian form, he incorporates a myriad of disciplines to defend his thesis. And in true Smeadwellian fashion, we would like to add stock picking to the list of disciplines that strengthen Gladwell’s argument.

2014-01-08 Consumer Confidence Jumped in December, But Why? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we’ll look at several economic reports, including a big jump in consumer confidence last month. That seems a little odd given that over 63% of Americans still believe the country is headed in the wrong direction as I reported last week.

2014-01-08 AdvisorShares Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

In this new year, the magnitude of 2013 comes full circle. The S&P 500 and the Dow finished the year with 29.6% and 26.5% gains, respectively. For the Dow, that was the biggest annual gain since 1995, and the fifth consecutive positive year. Most impressive in the developed markets was Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average, which surged 57%.

2014-01-08 When the QE Tide Recedes, Focus on What is Revealed by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

While there is fierce debate on the ultimate effectiveness of monetary stimulus surging from the central banks, one cannot dispute the boost that it has given to asset prices. While we may be seeing some "green shoots" of overall growth pick-up in the developed world, the post-crisis recovery in asset values has not been primarily driven by economic or earnings growth. Instead, we have been in a high correlation environment where the rising tide lifted most diversified investor boats as repressed "risk-free" rates pushed money out into riskier asset classes.

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 Is 2014 the Year That Alternatives Matter Again? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, investors piled into alternative investments en masse to help insulate their portfolios from another dramatic market decline. For those who had not yet bought into the idea of improving portfolio risk-adjusted returns, the 50% drawdown in the S&P 500 provided all the convincing needed.

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 Emerging Markets 2014 Outlook: Shaping the Next Decade by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

As we embark upon a new year, the Templeton Emerging Markets Group believes 2014 could be an important year for many emerging markets, possibly establishing trends that could play out through much of the remainder of the decade. In particular, Chinese government reform initiatives announced in late 2013 could have far-reaching significance. And, major elections in a number of countries in 2014 could bring dramatic (or not-so-dramatic) changes. Here are a few themes and countries we’ve got our eye on in the new year.

2014-01-07 The Big Transition: A Letter to an Entrepreneur Friend by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, presents a letter he has written to friend, a senior executive at a successful public company in the internet sphere. The friend has realized that 90% of his personal worth is tied up in his company. He is considering diversifying. Mr. Sicart’s letter posits that for his entrepreneur friend, the decision to diversify is not "primarily an investment question" but rather "a patrimonial question, which must be considered in a much longer time frame."

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 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 Reflections on 2013: What\'s Important, What\'s Not, and What\'s Ahead by Mike Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

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 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.

2014-01-04 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 Municipal Bonds: Back to Basics in 2014 by Rafael Costas, Sheila Amoroso of Franklin Templeton

Municipal bonds faced some ups and downs in 2013, falling victim to Fed taper speculation and negative press that dogged Detroit and Puerto Rico and understandably scared off some investors. Sheila Amoroso and Rafael Costas, co-directors of our Municipal Bond Department, note that while there are still some issues to work through and even despite the sometimes-shocking headlines, not all news in the world of munis is bad news. They say investors need to get back to the basics and re-examine the reasons for investing in municipal bonds.

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 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.

2014-01-02 The Enduring Nature of Saving Mr. Banks by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Warren Buffett has admitted that selling Disney in 1966 was the biggest mistake of his entire career.

2014-01-02 2013 in Review: Best of the \"Silver Bullet\" Awards by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Regular readers of my "Weighing the Week Ahead" series know that I occasionally give the Silver Bullet Award. This recognizes writers who take it upon themselves to debunk dangerously misleading financial analysis. Their often thankless work reminds me of the Lone Ranger, whose adventures often upheld the notion that "...that all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever."

2013-12-31 Why Resolutions Are Easy to Make...and Hard to Keep by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

It’s that time of year again when resolutions are supposed to be made. Typically this is a January 1st task as we face a new year and everything starts over again.

2013-12-31 Tech Bubble Circa 1999, or Something Different? by J.P. Scandalios of Franklin Templeton

Technology sector stocks have been investor favorites in 2013, pushing the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index to its highest level since 1999 and drawing comparisons to the "dot com" bubble which burst soon thereafter. Will we see a redux of the tech bust in 2014? John P. Scandalios doesn’t think so. Investor fever for anything "dot com" in the late 1990s was built more on promise than actual results.

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 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 Global Equity Outlook: Clouded by Uncertainty by Norman Boersma of Franklin Templeton

Global equity investors generally had reason to cheer in 2013, and seemed more willing to embrace risk as the year progressed. Will the bullish mood persist in 2014? Norm Boersma, Chief Investment Officer, Templeton Global Equity Group, says that while it’s clear global investors have been allocating more dollars toward equities in recent days (particularly US equities), there are still a number of unknowns that make it hard to be overly exuberant.

2013-12-27 The Risk Tolerance Paradox....And What You Can Do About It by Ken Mungan, Matt Kaufman of Milliman Financial Risk Management

The risk tolerance level many investors expect to achieve over the long-term rarely equals the same tolerance investors actually experience over shorter periods. This paper provides a brief introduction to this paradox, explores the main reason we think it exists, and introduces a risk management strategy that seeks to solve the problem.

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.

2013-12-26 A Strong Finish for 2013 by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

For our weekly subscribers, we wanted to take an opportunity to look back on the year. We began 2013 with an outlook for the prospect of improvement for the global economy and risk assets. We thought global policymaker’s unprecedented attempts to reflate global growth would show some signs of bearing fruit, especially in the United States and China. In our forecast, equity markets would continue to be choppy in light of the fiscal cliff issues, but an inevitable political compromise would reduce the economic drag.

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 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 How Much Should We Pay to Emit Carbon? by Michael Edesess (Article)

Many consider emissions of greenhouse gases to be what economists call a ’negative externality,’ meaning that they are likely to impose a cost on society through climate change and ocean acidification. The cost of that externality should, in principle, be borne by the emitters, who should pay a price to emit. But what should that price be?

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!

2013-12-24 A Surprising Way to Participate in Today\'s Tech Boom by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If I asked you to name the biggest online shopping day of the year, what would you guess?

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.

2013-12-21 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 Staying Power by Kapish Bhutani of Diamond Hill Investments

In addition to reducing the risk of a permanent loss of capital, the staying power of a company allows for capital to compound over long periods of time. While the defensive and less cyclical nature of many consumer staples companies indicates an ability to survive, most are able to invest only a portion of earnings at historical rates of return.

2013-12-20 Five Resolutions for 2014 by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

Entering 2014, the global investment environment is as challenging as ever. After a super 2013 in returns, U.S. equities can no longer be considered inexpensive and yet still look attractive relative to the prospective returns on savings accounts and long-term bonds. Long-term bond yields are higher than a year ago but could still rise further as the Federal Reserve begins to reduce quantitative easing.

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 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.

2013-12-19 The Great Experiment by Miguel Perez-Santalla of BullionVault

After 100 years of the US central bank, does it deserve another try...?

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 Introducing Our Annual Global Outlook for 2014 by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Jeff Hussey, global CIO, introduces Russell Investments’ 2014 Annual Global Outlook and explains why it will be important for investors to focus on risk premiums and precise exposures in 2014.

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.

2013-12-19 One of the Most Notable Stories of the Year: Energy Renaissance in the U.S.A. by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As we come to the end of 2013, it’s a good time to reflect on some of the biggest resources stories of the year. One that immediately comes to mind is the U.S. energy resurgence and its tremendous effect on oil and gas.

2013-12-18 Fed May Have An Unexpected Surprise In Mind by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

My readers know that the global financial world is waiting with bated breath for tomorrow’s Fed decision on whether to start to "taper" QE purchases now or wait until next year. The Fed’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) is holding its last policy meeting of the year today and tomorrow, and Chairman Bernanke will hold a press conference afterward.

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.

2013-12-18 Three Investments that Could Return to Favor in 2014 by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Management

When investors lose confidence in an asset class, especially one that had been popular enough to attract outsized allocations, subsequent rebalancing generally leads to prolonged periods of underperformance. Technology stocks after 1999, for example, underperformed the S&P 500 in eight of the next 10 years and by a cumulative total of more than 40 percentage points. Today, many believe that interest rate sensitive bonds might have just begun a similar era of waning investor confidence, portfolio reallocation and underperformance.

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 How a Simple Sandwich Got a Top Prospect’s Attention by Dan Richards (Article)

Many advisors generously support charities and good causes in their communities and around the world. Here’s how to communicate that support to clients.

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 The Monster That Is Europe by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week, Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom in the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen of the Front National (FN) of France held a press conference in The Hague to announce that they will be cooperating in the elections for the European Parliament next spring and hope to form a new eurosceptic bloc.

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 Gaining Perspective by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

This weekend we were honored to have Steve Finn, the owner of our largest custodian, Trust Company of America, and his lovely wife, Kelly, join us for our annual Holiday Party (see more about the party in the "What’s Happening" section). On Sunday, at a post-party brunch, Kelly (who studied art at the International Academy of Art in Nice, France, and at the Brera Art Academy in Milan, Italy and has many years of patient craftsmanship with oil paint and easel) was telling us about how she goes about creating her exquisite paintings.

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 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 The Impact of the Great Recession and Federal Reserve Accommodation on Households by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

The latest release of macro data came out today from the Fed Flow of Funds report generated by the Federal Reserve. We monitor this with great anticipation so as to measure possible direction changes or momentum of a current direction. There are a myriad of data points, however, a few select charts should continue to raise confidence in the direction of the economy and, at worst, a liquidity-driven backstop to maintain consumption at minimum agreeable levels.

2013-12-13 The Year of the Horse: 3 Reasons Chinese Stocks Could Gallop Ahead in 2014 by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While Chinese stocks have massively underperformed their U.S. and developed market counterparts year to date, Russ explains the three reasons why he’s still bullish on China.

2013-12-13 Small (Cap) but Mighty by Michael McCarthy of Franklin Templeton

Despite a number of economic and political headwinds in 2013, US stocks have powered ahead, and not just the large-cap names that equity investors tend to gravitate toward during times of uncertainty. Small-cap stocks have also been looking pretty mighty overall this year. Michael McCarthy, portfolio manager for Franklin Small Cap Growth Fund, believes there are still reasons to be bullish in 2014, although careful stock selection could be even more important after 2013’s small-cap run.

2013-12-13 Where Have All the Savings Gone? by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments

The last six years have witnessed the most severe financial crisis since the end of World War II, with household earning capacity and saving ability experiencing significant changes due to the downturn in the real economies. This challenging economic situation definitely affected household saving behavior, although the impact has been different in various countries - for some, the impact on household earning capacity was more intense than others.

2013-12-13 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The past two weeks were pretty quiet as the Thanksgiving holiday combined with conflicting economic data produced a stalemate on Wall Street.

2013-12-13 Stanley Black & Decker: Powering Its Way Toward Fair Value by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) is a machine tools company built on namesakes of - you guessed it - three individuals with the last names: Stanley, Black and Decker. Frederick Stanley started a hardware manufacturing company in 1843. Duncan Black and Alonzo Decker started a similar shop in 1910, becoming known for the world’s first patent for a portable power tool. In 2010 the two companies merged to form what is today Stanley Black & Decker.

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 Float Research Bubble Watchers Should Set Their Sights on Corporate Bond Market by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

Insatiable Appetite for Corporate Debt Despite Poor Performance. Corporate Bond ETFs Issue Staggering $21.6 Billion (27.5% of Assets) Year-to-Date.

2013-12-13 Viewpoints from AAM - Navigating the New High Landscape by Mike Boyle of Advisors Asset Management

December, historically the best month to own equities, has begun with a whimper with the S&P 500 closing at a loss each of the first four days of the month. If you include the last trading day of November, that makes five days in a row of red-filled screens for a total loss of 1.23% for the S&P 500. In the grand scheme of things that is a pretty small loss but it already has pundits dismissing the chances of a "Santa Claus Rally" and others saying the recent new market high of 1807.23 for the S&P 500 reached on November 27 might be its last.

2013-12-13 A New Blueprint for China\'s Development by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

China’s government set out its plans for the rest of the decade in a document called "The Decision on Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening Reforms." Known as "The Decision," it emerged from the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee, which took place in early November. The document set out a series of planned reforms that assigned a more central role to markets as President Xi Jinping’s administration seeks to maintain China’s enviable record of long-term growth.

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?

2013-12-12 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 All News is Good News by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Financial markets have been discounting the end of tapering for months, and whether it happens in December or March is less important than the reality that the U.S. economy is recovering amid a global synchronous expansion.

2013-12-12 The Wisdom of Looking Like An Idiot Today by Adam Taggart of PeakProsperity.com

Here’s a recently-released report on the stark choice that bubble markets force investors to make: to look like an idiot now, or look like one later. Those that have sought to position themselves prudently and defensively since 2008 currently look foolish as liquidity-inflated stocks and real estate prices have passed them by over the past 2 years-- while ’safe havens’ like precious metals have suffered mightily. But it’s critical to remember that the nefarious nature of a bubble is to suck in as many participants as possible before bursting and causing maximum damage.

2013-12-12 Looking Back 40 Years, What Can We Learn About This Current Corporate Debt Market? by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

I recently wrote a blog post detailing the potential opportunity in municipals as it has historically rebounded after a negative total return. Accordingly, I have been asked if this pattern was representative in the investment grade corporate arena.

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 What Will 2014 Bring for The Equity Markets? by Marco Pirondini of Pioneer Investments

As the year draws to a close, investors are searching for clues as to what may be in store for the economy and markets in 2014. What have we learned from the markets in the month of November? Honestly, not very much. The scenario has not changed much in the last 30 days.

2013-12-11 AdvisorShares Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

In our last commentary, we noted the slow holiday week that did not provide us with much economic fodder. This week, the unemployment rate dropped to 7% and payrolls jumped more than expected. Third quarter GDP rose more than expected, and hit its highest mark since Q1 2012. Although the status of the U.S. budget remains up in the air, many expect Janet Yellen to maintain Chairman Bernanke’s accommodative policies. With the hectic holiday schedules nearing, it is difficult to predict what we will see this month.

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 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.

2013-12-11 Municipal Bond Outlook - Institutional Fixed-Income Sector Report by Team of Guggenheim Partners

Volatility induced by headline events has created attractive price dislocations in the municipal bond market, which may now present the best buying opportunity for investors since late 2010.

2013-12-10 2 Unconventional Options in a Low Rate Environment by Sponsored Content from OppenheimerFunds (Article)

This paper discusses how: Global interest rates could remain low for a long time, says Krishna Memani, CIO, Fixed Income; GDP growth and interest rates tend to track each other over time, and the expectation is for slow growth; Compelling opportunities for fixed income investors willing to look beyond Treasuries.

2013-12-10 The Myth of the Most Efficient Market by Patrick O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

Perception of the U.S. large cap value market is that it’s the most efficient in the world, and therefore the hardest category for managers to outperform the benchmark. As a result, index funds and ETFs have been gaining dramatic market share. Our latest whitepaper debunks conventional thinking with empirically-proven factors that have significantly outperformed in the U.S. large cap space.

2013-12-10 Is Good News Really Good Again? by David Wismer of Flexible Plan Investments

It would be hard to attribute that statement to any one media source or Wall Street analyst, since the sentiment was rampant on Friday after the release of the better-than-expected Nonfarm Payrolls Report. The seasonally adjusted gain of 203,000 jobs in November versus an expectation of around 185,000, and the resultant dip in the unemployment rate to 7.0%, generated a Friday market rally few observers anticipated.

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 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 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 Going Against the Grain, Again by Cindy Sweeting of Franklin Templeton

Going against the grain is never easy, particularly when it comes to investing. But if you don’t take the risk of moving out of the crowd and taking a different path, you can’t really stand out. Templeton has focused on bottom-up value investing, which often puts it at odds with the broader market consensus. We go back in history to describe how the strategy has persevered through different market cycles, and why the Templeton team has been going against the grain by investing in Europe at a time when other investors had lost faith.

2013-12-05 A Synchronous Expansion by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Major developed economies are all contributing to global economic growth, and this improving fundamental picture, coupled with ongoing monetary accommodation, bode well for risk assets.

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.

2013-12-04 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 ACA: The Importance of Being Transparent by Harlan Sonderling of Columbia Management

President James A. Garfield survived an assassin’s bullet in 1881, only to die several months later of complications from the infection that developed from his doctors’ probing his healing wound with their unclean hands and instruments, contrary to the developing understanding of the need for sanitary medical treatment. In effect, the President was a victim of his doctors’ inattention to or ignorance of medical best practices. As well, one can’t help inferring that the President’s doctors were among the best paid in the nation, regardless of their disastrous outco

2013-12-04 Patience in Asia by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Investing in a multitude of markets and companies as we do within the Templeton Emerging Markets Group means that at any given point in time it may appear to some that they are underperforming or outperforming any particular benchmark index or market. Such is the nature of global financial markets. Of course, we’d like all of our investments to go straight up, but at the same time continually like to find new bargains for investors.

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 Active Share. Toward a Stock Picker’s Market? by Sponsored Content from ClearBridge Investments (Article)

Explore five groups of mutual funds-from stock pickers to moderately active to the closet indexers. Which categories produced the best risk-adjusted return 1990-2009? The more different the portfolio from its benchmarks, the greater the range of possible outcomes. Consider a tool like active share.

2013-12-03 How to Keep Prospects from Stealing Your Ideas by Dan Richards (Article)

After multiple meetings with prospective clients during which you provided recommendations on their situation, at some point every advisor has walked away feeling that someone took their advice and implemented it on their own. How do you prevent this from happening?

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 Fixed Income Markets Slog Forward by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The past five years have seen a dramatic influx of investor capital into corporate credit markets. As investors jumped into the market, there is growing concern that credit markets are nearing stretched valuations. Those concerns are likely premature, particularly with central bank intervention in place.

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 U.S. Economy Slowly Gaining Traction - What\'s Ahead for Year-End? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

As we enter the final month of 2013, my themes of the last several weeks continue - the capital markets, in general, remain quiet and U.S. economic data, while mixed, shows signs of steady improvement. This week, I’ll start by looking forward to some news we’ll be watching as the year closes out...

2013-12-02 The Elephant in the Room by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Investors will do themselves terrible harm if they ignore the objective warnings of history based on our subjective experience in this unfinished half-cycle. That subjective experience is far more closely related to my 2009 stress-testing decision than many investors recognize.

2013-12-02 Investing in China? What You Should Know About Gaining Access to the Markets by Ted Samulowitz, Graham Day of Invesco Blog

Investors with exposure to China and those interested in gaining a foot into the country received some good news last month when it was announced that China’s GDP grew by 7.8% in the third quarter. The news was a sigh of relief for investors as China’s economy appears to have avoided the hard landing economists and investors had feared.

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.

2013-11-30 Arsonists Running the Fire Brigade by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In the old days, central banks raised or lowered interest rates if they wanted to tighten or loosen monetary policy. In a Code Red world everything is more difficult. Policies like ZIRP, QE, LSAPs, and currency wars are immensely more complicated. Knowing how much money to print and when to undo Code Red policies will require wisdom and foresight. Putting such policies into practice is easy, almost like squeezing toothpaste. But unwinding them will be like putting the toothpaste back in the tube.

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.

2013-11-28 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 Passing the Wall of Worry by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

As this bull market climbs its "wall of worry," we can see its underlying strength. Valuation concerns and the risk of a major correction appear overblown, as we should see a continued rebound in economic fundamentals over the coming months.

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 The Future in Focus: Our Demographic Destiny by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

In the first of a series on population trends that will shape the U.S. economy, Milton Ezrati looks at the policy challenges posed by an aging America.

2013-11-26 How to Develop a Fee Schedule by Teresa Riccobuono (Article)

Too many advisors share a reluctance to charge what they are worth. That fear is both a philosophical and a business issue. To overcome it, here are several factors to consider when designing your fee schedule.

2013-11-26 Wal-Mart: Fairly Valued Retail Powerhouse by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This Bentonville, AR based mega-retailer perennially ranks amongst the top of the Fortune 500 list and likely needs no introduction. In lieu of a business summary, we thought it might be interesting to highlight some prominent statistics. For instance, every week more than 245 million customers visit Wal-Mart’s (WMT) 11,000 stores under 69 banners in 27 different countries. Last year alone the company had sales of about $466 billion while employing 2.2 million associates.

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 Equities Extend Gains for the Seventh Consecutive Week by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished higher again last week as the S&P 500 increased 0.4%. The Fed continued to dominate headlines, with heightened emphasis on the distinction between tapering and tightening. Bubble speculation continued to receive attention in the press, while many articles refuted such concerns. The financial sector performed well, led by banks.

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 Why It\'s (a Little) Too Quiet on the Market Front by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Stock market volatility remains unusually low. While this is partially justified by loose credit conditions and strong market momentum, the drop in volatility looks exaggerated and suggests investors are becoming too complacent.

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 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 Shifting Global Fortunes by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Most investors, particularly those who live in developed markets, probably aren’t aware of the influence emerging markets have on the global economy. I’m not just talking about China or just about governments. More and more large corporations are headquartered in emerging markets, a trend that I expect to continue. In addition, more of those companies that are located in emerging markets are also joining the ranks of the top companies in the world. In fact, some might be surprised to hear that some of the world’s largest initial public offerings (IPOs) have been in emerging m

2013-11-22 Float Research: Demand Indicators Point to Jolly Holiday Season for U.S. Equity Investors by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

Demand Indicators Point to Jolly Holiday Season for U.S. Equity Investors. ETF Flows Turn More Encouraging for Short Term.

2013-11-21 When the Stimulus Stops, Cash Flow Matters by U.S. Equity Management team of Mesirow Financial

Several rounds of massive stimulus by the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates well below where they would otherwise be, buoying both stock and bond markets. As stock prices have reached new peaks, many professional investors consider current valuations to be stretched. When the stimulus finally stops, a new era of rising interest rates will likely take hold. And experienced investors know that rising interest rates and high valuations and can be a dangerous combination. Read more.

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 An Update on the Affordable Care Act by Harlan Sonderling of Columbia Management

Regardless of one’s political views, recall that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in early 2010 was a draft House bill approved in late 2009 as a basis for reconciliation with an expected Senate bill. The law was amended only slightly in 2010, and its regulatory and operating deficiencies have become apparent with the troubled launch last month of the federal and state health insurance exchanges, a topic we will address next week.

2013-11-21 Are Bank-Loan Investors Getting What They Bargained For? by Ashish Shah, Ivan Rudolph-Shabinsky of AllianceBernstein

Investors who chose high-yield bank loans over high-yield bonds earlier this year, expecting to be insulated against rising rates, might be surprised to find that bonds might have worked out better.

2013-11-20 Entrepreneurship in Asia by Jerry Shih of Matthews Asia

Using Silicon Valley as a yardstick to measure the success of Asia’s entrepreneurs is an interesting exercise. But it offers little insight into the development of more creative processes in Asia. Many policymakers in the region have declared innovation to be a national, strategic prioritycreating policies aimed at spurring growth to increase R&D expenditure, attract knowledge-intensive foreign direct investment and building more skilled labor pools. This month, Jerry Shih, CFA, takes a look at what changes are occurring around Asia to build more robust start-up ecosystems.

2013-11-20 Yellen's Testimony Not Surprising: Fed Has More Work to Do by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Janet Yellen’s Senate testimony in last week’s confirmation hearings was very dovish and offered no real surprises. She did not signal or hint at any change in Fed policy (it was a confirmation hearing), but suggested that the best way to achieve an exit from unconventional policy is to deliver a stronger recovery . . . and the Fed has "more work to do" to support that recovery. The risk that she will not be confirmed is considered negligible.

2013-11-20 Valuing Quality by Bhavik Kothari of Diamond Hill Investments

As industry specialists, our analysts make key assumptions when we value a company, which are based on our in-depth research of a company’s future prospects. One of the most important assumptions we make is the multiple applied to future earnings to derive the terminal value of a company at the end of our explicit forecast period. The terminal multiple is a critical assumption because it typically accounts for a significant portion of our overall value and it captures a host of assumptions about the quality of the firm such as return on capital and future growth prospects.

2013-11-20 Follow the Leaders: Gold Opinions from New Orleans by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Bring together some of the brightest, most engaging minds in investing and politics inside the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel along with hundreds of investors eager for market knowledge and insight, and you get the 39th Annual New Orleans Investment Conference.

2013-11-20 No Madness and No Crowds by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

Charles Mackay’s book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, chronicles some of history’s greatest financial manias, including the South Sea bubble and the Dutch tulip mania, among many others. As the stock market continues to make new highs, discussion of a market bubble has been capturing many of the recent headlines. For those that suggest this is the case, they may need to refresh themselves with Mackay’s book, which highlights the “mania” phase a phase that we have yet to encounter.

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 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 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Robert Huebscher’s article, Reflections on a Week in Cuba, which appeared last week, and a reader responds, to Bob Veres’ article, Why Deficits Don’t Matter, which appeared on October 29.

2013-11-19 Howard Marks: Equities are Under-owned and Un-loved by Robert Huebscher (Article)

According to Oaktree’s Howard Marks, U.S. equities are ’under-owned and un-loved, and I like to buy assets like that.’

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 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 October 2013 Market Commentary by Andrew Clinton of Clinton Investment Management

The Fed’s decision in September to maintain it’s policy of asset purchases, better known as Quantitative Easing (QE), caught the broader market by surprise. Fed “tapering” of QE was broadly expected to begin in September. The Fed’s decision to delay the reduction of QE pushed back the date upon which anticipated tapering would begin. This resulted in a meaningful rally in Treasury bond prices in September. To the surprise of many media pundits calling for ever higher interest rates, US Treasury yields ended October at 2.55%, virtually unc

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 Two Investments to Consider when You're Coming off the Sidelines by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

For investors on the sidelines of the equity market, Russ offers his take on which market segments to consider now and which to remain cautious of.

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.

2013-11-18 The Muddle-Through Economy and Grind-Higher Equity Market Continue by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished higher last week as the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at record highs, marking the sixth straight week of advances.1 Several macroeconomic themes are important as third quarter earnings season comes to an end. Fed Chairman nominee Janet Yellen spoke before the Senate in support of current monetary policy and suggested a similar path under her leadership. Economic data was mixed for the week, and any economic weakness continues to be perceived as supporting a delay in tapering. In turn, this can be seen as positive for equities.

2013-11-18 Are You Managing Volatility or Is It Managing You? by Timothy Atwill, Richard Bernstein, Eric Stein, Bradford Godfrey, Chris Sunderland of Eaton Vance

Market volatility has caused investors to make emotional decisions, resulting in performance that may have hindered their ability to reach investment goals. Eaton Vance believes that sound investment strategy should provide investors with tools for managing volatility, so the market’s inevitable fluctuations may work on their behalf. We discuss four approaches to managing volatility: reducing, navigating, harnessing and monetizing.

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 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 Taper or Not, Stocks and Bonds Could Gain by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Both bond and equity markets are well-positioned, regardless of whether the U.S. Federal Reserve tapers its asset purchase program.

2013-11-15 “Great Rotation?” How About “Selective Rotation?” by Eric Takaha of Franklin Templeton

A few months ago there was a lot of buzz about a so-called “Great Rotation,” used to describe an investor exodus from fixed income and into equities, conjuring up images of a massive herd of wildebeest on the African plain racing for greener pastures. Oftentimes, when investors react to the market with a herd mentality, they can wind up losing sight of where they are going, and why. Eric Takaha, senior vice president and portfolio manager for Franklin Strategic Income Fund, says what he’s seen is more of a “selective rotation.”

2013-11-15 Passive Management ≠ Passive Investing by Ashwin Alankar, Michael DePalma, Guoan Du of AllianceBernstein

Passive investments are often misunderstood. Instead of providing static positioning as implied by the label, they can be very capricious because of market and sector turbulence. To tame a passive asset, we think investors need to exert more active control over the dynamics of volatility.

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.

2013-11-15 DC Plan Design for the Bumpy Road Ahead by Mohamed El Erian of PIMCO

In late October, PIMCO’s CEO and Co-CIO Mohamed A. El-Erian presented the keynote speech at Pensions & Investments’ West Coast Defined Contribution Conference. He also spoke with P&I about top-of-mind concerns for retirement plan providers and sponsors. The Q&A below is based on that conversation.

2013-11-14 No Man is an Island by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

When your territory spans hundreds of countries on just about every continent and time zone, the importance of teamwork cannot be underestimated. I am extremely fortunate to have the support of a tremendous team of currently 90 professionals in the Templeton Emerging Markets Group, including 52 analysts and portfolio managers, spanning 26 countries and speaking 24 languages. I couldn’t do what I do without them! For the past 25 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Tom Wu, whose research responsibilities include companies in Hong Kong and the Philippines, as well as the bank

2013-11-14 Taming the New Medicare Surtax by Daniel Notto of AllianceBernstein

The wealthy will likely see higher 2013 income taxes. One of the newest additions to the tax bill is the 3.8% Medicare surtax. By planning ahead, you may be able to reduce the tax biteor possibly avoid being bitten altogether.

2013-11-14 This May Sting Just a Bit: Global Diversification by Jeff Hussey of Russell Investments

Russell Investments’ global chief investment officer argues that times when global diversification falls out of favor might provide opportunities for investors.

2013-11-14 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

There were several news surprises to trade around last week, but when the music ended stocks were mixed as the charts above illustrate. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained nearly 1 percent while the NASDAQ Composite was virtually flat.

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 Accenture: Continuing To Deliver A Growth Story by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Accenture (ACN) is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company with approximately 275,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. As of the end of fiscal year 2013, the company had revenues just shy of $29 billion and a market capitalization that was roughly double that amount. Additionally, Accenture provides services to a wide spectrum of industries ranging from Automotive and Aerospace to Energy and Travel. Effectively, Accenture wants to deliver a high performance solution to whatever problem you have on hand.

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 Markets On Cruise Control And Why There Will Be No Dectaper by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

We are now post shutdown, post debt ceiling and post election, and equity markets are now on cruise control.

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

2013-11-13 GameStop and Our Long-Term, Contrarian Investment Approach by Jay Kaplan of The Royce Funds

Because our contrarian approach emphasizes a long-term time horizon, we tend to invest in companies that we believe have the financial wherewithal to withstand out of favor periods. GameStop used trying times to build conviction and expand its core business rather than abandoning its discipline to meet outside expectations.

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 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 Dream to Outperform the Market by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

If you dream about investment market outcomes which are already popular in the marketplace, your dreams can turn into nightmares. The Everly Brothers 1958 hit song, “All I have to do is Dream” tells us a great deal about the long-term posture of investors in late 2013 and how dreams can turn to nightmares. On the other hand, if you dream about an outcome which most experts aren’t expecting, the rewards can be explosive.

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 Tech in the Time of Twitter: From Growth to Value Play by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Despite the hype surrounding Twitter’s IPO, technology is a very different industry today than it was fifteen years ago. While a few high profile companies are making headlines, the sector is no longer a growth story. Nevertheless, tech still looks attractive as a value play.

2013-11-11 Health Care: Rx for Growth and Defense by Ted Samulowitz of Invesco Blog

The Capital Asset Pricing Model, used to price risky securities, suggests growth and defensive investments are mutually exclusive because the more an asset can return, the higher its risk must be. But growth itself can provide defensive benefits when a secular growth story occurs regardless of the business cycle.

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.

2013-11-08 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 Penske Automotive Group: Fast Cars, Fast Growth by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

If we told you about a company that saw earnings per share drop by nearly half from $1.49 a share to $0.86 during the recession, what would you think? Before you answer, it’s important to also point out that the company suspended its dividend from late 2008 until early 2011 as well. At first blush this might seem like a worst case scenario. Usually we go about our research time looking for the best companies that have held up even in the worst of times this type of company does not fit the bill. Yet what is not readily obvious is the fact this would have been the best time to buy.

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 Asset Allocation: Pie in the Face? by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

The typical approach to spreading one’s assets in order to diversify and conquer, is to have the client complete a risk tolerance questionnaire. That survey is important not only to establish guidelines for how the assets will be managed, but also because some form of it is required by securities regulators to make sure advisors know who their clients are. The magical conclusion usually includes a color pie chart, representing a variety of asset classes that are assumed to be a path toward asset growth and preservation of capital.

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 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.

2013-11-07 Float Research: Investors Pour $54.2 Billion into All Equity MFs and ETFs in October by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

ETF flows suggest stocks will have a tough time moving much higher. Inflows into leveraged short ETFs stopped in the past week, which is a cautionary sign from a contrarian perspective. Even more worrisome, investors are pouring money into equities. All equity mutual funds and ETFs received $54.2 billion in October, the third-largest inflow on record.

2013-11-07 Selective Value = Price plus Quality by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

A paper on backtesting results using many of the metrics that Neosho Capital utilizes when screening for equities.

2013-11-07 Party Like it's 1999 by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

There remains significant upside for risk assets, but in this liquidity-driven market there is also an increasing risk of a “melt-up” such as the one that preceded the bursting of the tech bubble in early 2000.

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 Upgrading Non-U.S. Equities by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Management

Two performance trends have stood out across world markets during 2013. The first is the strong outperformance by equities over bonds. The second is the strong returns of the U.S. stock market relative to other stock markets around the world. The Table breaks down year to date performance for the S&P 500, Eurostoxx 50, FTSE 100, Topix and MSCI Emerging Market indices. Notice that as of the end of July, equity returns in the Unites States were handily outpacing all other regions except Japan.

2013-11-07 Welcome to the Two-Speed Economy by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ explains why the U.S. economy is starting to look like a two-speed economy and what this means for investors.

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 Putting Macro Trends in Context: What do They Mean to a Bottom-Up Investor? by Will Nasgovitz of Heartland Advisors

For some time now, we’ve had a generally positive economic outlook. The occasional setback is assured, but on the whole we believe that the U.S. economy is still in the early stages of a multi-year recovery.

2013-11-06 Thank The Fed For Big Stock Market Gains by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

My guess is that just about everyone reading my E-Letters would agree that the Fed’s massive “quantitative easing” (QE) program has had a bullish effect on the stock markets over the last few years. Several new reports conclude that the Fed’s unprecedented QE bond buying program is responsible for ALL of the stock market advance since the bottom in early 2009.

2013-11-06 Welcome to the Two-Speed Economy by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ explains why the U.S. economy is starting to look like a two-speed economy and what this means for investors.

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 The Key Issues in Today’s Muni Bond Market by Hildy Richelson and Stan Richelson (Article)

Investing in high quality municipal bonds paying a predictable cash flow and returning your principal at the end of the investment is a well-trodden system for lifetime economic success. In this article we discuss some key issues in purchasing municipal bonds to help you make wise choices for your investing system.

2013-11-05 Three Trends That Will Change the Game for Advisors by Steve Lockshin (Article)

This article is excerpted from Steve Lockshin’s new book, Get Wise to Your Advisor. This book makes an impassioned argument as to why clients should choose independent advisors who adhere to a fiduciary standard.

2013-11-05 Three Articles to Help Clients to Happy Retirements by Dan Richards (Article)

For many clients in their 50s and early 60s, the challenges to achieving happy and secure retirements have never been greater. Three recent articles will help you when talking to clients about retirement.

2013-11-05 How to Help Clients Who Hate the Holidays by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I deal with a number of clients who are very wealthy but are miserable around the holidays. Some are older and don’t have family members who see them, others are miserly and don’t feel they should use their money for gifts for people they don’t like. The conversation actually comes up with many of them every year, and I want to be prepared this year. Any ideas or tips?

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 Skepticism Still Abounds by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities were mixed last week as the markets were broadly unchanged. The October FOMC statement was a bit more hawkish than expected, causing concern that the recent delay in tapering may have been too aggressive. Other worries appear to be tail risks surrounding a possible Fed liquidity trap and accompanying asset bubbles. Economic data were mixed as markets struggle with the trade-offs between recovery and policy normalization.

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 Stormy Weather by David Wismer of Flexible Plan Investments

Young and old alike celebrated Halloween last week, albeit in soggy fashion in much of the nation.

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 Don't Miss This Golden Cross in Resources by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

While investors have been focusing on the strengthening U.S. market, we’ve also kept our eyes on other improving indicators happening in resources, Europe, and emerging markets. These places may not be as widely popular, but we believe investors can benefit greatly from taking a view that’s different from the ones observed by the majority.

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 Mortgage REITs: Last Chance to Exit? by Keith Jurow of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

An online advertisement raises the following question often asked by your clients: Can you find me more income? In a nutshell, that is the dilemma facing high net worth investors.

2013-11-04 How I Explain Amazon's Stock Performance by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Amazon (AMZN) is a stock that seems to defy conventional wisdom about how a stock is, or should be, valued. Fundamental investors, like yours truly, recognize and respect the importance of the earnings and price relationship. Moreover, I will be so bold as to emphatically state that in the long run profitability (earnings) will be the primary determinant of a businesses’ fair value, any business. However, my bold statement is predicated on the longer run. In the short run it is often a truth that all bets are off.

2013-11-04 The Great Stall of China by Steve Cao, Mark Jason of Invesco Blog

While China is without question the growth driver and the outperformer among Asian emerging markets, it’s clear the country is transitioning toward slower growth because of demographic factors and domestic rebalancing. In our view, China is entering a multiyear period of slower growth, but we consider its future growth robust and sustainable when compared with overall global gross domestic product (GDP) growth -- albeit below the annualized pace of more than 10% China experienced from 2001 to 2010.

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 4 Reasons Japan Could Continue to be the Land of the Rising Stock Market by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Japan has been the land of rising stocks this year -- Japanese equities are up nearly 40% year-to-date. Russ explains why he believes the market offers more upside potential and a near-term opportunity for tactical investors able to hedge the currency exposure.

2013-11-01 What the End of a Greek Tragedy Means for Investors by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After six long years, Greece’s economy is finally expected to grow in 2014. GDP expectations of 0.6 percent next year is a remarkable improvement compared to a loss of 4 percent this year. In addition to rising GDP, here are a few other significant changes from Greece lately:

2013-11-01 When Small is Big by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

There’s a popular saying in the US, “good things come in small packages,” which is generally a statement about gifts of jewelry. My team and I find this saying can apply to the investment world, too, as we often find companies that are small in size, but which may have big long-term potential.

2013-10-31 Third Quarter Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital

Despite the recent shenanigans in Washington concerning funding the government and raising the debt ceiling, as well as the constant news coverage of the quantitative easing “taper” that the Federal Reserve may or may not begin, we are going to spare (at least for this quarter) both you and us another long discussion of these very real issues.

2013-10-31 Fund Flows Shift Dramatically This Year as Investors Embrace Risk by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

The Federal Reserve has been trying for almost five years to coax savers and investors into stocks by printing money to inflate the prices of assets in general and U.S. stocks in particular. The Fed finally seems to be succeeding. We are witnessing the biggest shift in fund flows since the crash of 2008.

2013-10-31 A Rebound in Global Equities by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

With the U.S. economic expansion entering its fifth year and the global economic picture improving, it appears equities in Europe and Asia can still rise.

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 S&P 500 Has Not Been Particularly Difficult to Beat by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

I know this statement is in direct conflict with the teachings of modern finance. Modern finance provides us with multiple studies that, if taken at face value, offer a pretty convincing case that the ability to earn better than average returns is a fool’s game. Yet, our human nature cannot accept being average.

2013-10-30 US Economy Mired in a Sea of Contradictions by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Consumer confidence has plunged over the last month, due in large part to the government shutdown and fear that the US might default on its debt because of the ineptitude of our leaders in Washington. Normally, when consumer confidence plunges, we would expect a significant slowdown in consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of GDP.

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.

2013-10-30 Fed Tapering Could Be Off The Table Until 2014 by Michael Materasso of Franklin Templeton

Sometimes, hindsight is insight. The mystery of why the Federal Reserve didn’t start pulling back or “tapering” its prolonged quantitative easing program at its September policy meeting seems more clear now that we’ve experienced the fallout from the fraying of US fiscal policy soon thereafter, including a 16-day government shutdown in October. Given that the Congressional agreement reached in October only funds the government through January 15 and extends the debt ceiling through February 7, more political grandstandingand economic consequencescould lie ahead.

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 How One Advisor Boosted His Team’s Performance by Dan Richards (Article)

Every advisor wants his or her support staff to operate to its full potential. A conversation last week with a senior manager at a leading bank provided insight into what advisors can learn from financial institutions on using variable compensation to drive performance.

2013-10-29 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to Michael Edesess and Kwok Tsui’s article, How Many Monkeys Does it Take to Find a Successful Strategy?, which appeared last week.

2013-10-29 We Must Avoid Seeing the New Arctic through an Old World Lens by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

It would be easy to think those with a thirst for exploration were born too late - to assume that humanity has already reached every corner of the earth there is to discover. But one region - the Arctic - still contains uncharted mysteries.

2013-10-29 Only RED That You Have Seen in October... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

The markets felt a bit different this week. While equities finished with another weekly gain, it was lead to new highs by a new and interesting cast of characters: the Dow Industrials, Dividend Stocks (like Utilities & Industrials), Germany, the United Kingdom, Gold & Silver, and Long Maturity Treasuries. While everyone under invested in risk is hoping for a pullback, the rest who are equal or overweight seem to be looking to buy on any pullback.

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 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

With most of the political wrangling and debate nearly over, one hopes, we are left to deal with the residue of their cacophony. Politically, I’m not astute enough to try and unravel the truths and un-truths spoken during the government budget debate and shutdown. But as an economic scientist, the numbers reveal an extraordinary landscape of congruent trendlines, missed opportunities, and plausible strategies for safely navigating the next 3 months.

2013-10-29 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

A very quiet week for stocks as earnings season kicked into high gear at last.

2013-10-29 Equities Reach All-Time HighsYet Again! by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities marked another all-time high last week as the S&P 500 increased 0.9%. (1) Global equities reached new cycle highs for the second week in a row. Many investors have concerns that the gains will not last since the world economy remains lackluster and the liquidity driving the current rally will eventually stop.

2013-10-28 Low-Volatility Strategies Challenge Conventional Ideas of Risk and Return by Joseph Becker of Invesco Blog

If asked to sum up in a single word their investing experience over the last 15 years, many investors would likely say, “volatile.”

2013-10-28 For Maximum Total Return Go for Growth by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Not all investors are the same. Therefore, not all investors share the same goals and objectives. Consequently, there are numerous strategies and investing methods available to choose from. Moreover, it also goes without saying that the investment strategy that’s right for me may not be right for you. For that reason, it’s imperative that each individual looks for the strategy that is right for their own individual goals, objectives, risk tolerances and status. By status, I’m referring to how many years you have left before retirement.

2013-10-28 Why Growth is Deep in the Heart of Texas by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A recent TIME Magazine cover 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.

2013-10-26 Portfolio Turnover: What Industry “Experts'' Are Missing by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Drawing conclusions about tax efficiency of a money manager or other investment vehicle based solely on trading turnover is shortsighted and can cause you to bypass some very good potential investments and investment strategies. Keep that in mind as year-end portfolio tax planning rolls around.

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 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 Risk-On Returns by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Ultra loose U.S. monetary policy continues pushing asset values higher at home and abroad. Seasonal factors should also provide a tailwind and lift asset prices across nearly every investment class.

2013-10-24 The Pillars of Commodities Investing by Miguel Perez-Santalla of BullionVault

As an advisor your job is to know the most secure places to invest one’s money. This difficult task only becomes more difficult when confronted with demands for an alternative investment.

2013-10-24 Africa's “Glass With Attitude” by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Africa has been an area of interest to our team, for many reasons. One might say Africa’s biggest asset is its youthful population. With a median age of under 20 in many countries today, that means a very high portion of Africa’s population is dependent on the adult workforce. Tomorrow, however, it means that the workforce will be massive, and the ratio of dependents to workers (the dependency ratio) could be among the lowest in the world. This huge and youthful population is a key rationale for our interest there.

2013-10-24 Going Defensive? 3 Things to Consider First by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

With the threat of a default merely pushed out a few months, many investors continue to allocate to so-called “defensive” investments. However, because going defensive is not a free lunch, Russ says it’s important for investors to consider three aspects of their potential defensive postures.

2013-10-23 At 40 I\'m Half Dead by Liam Molloy, Bethany Carlson of Galway Investment Strategy

So goes comedian Louis CK’s bit about hitting middle age. “Not old enough for anyone to care that you’re old. Not young enough for anyone to be proud of you or impressed.” And as we head into the backstretch of this economic cycle, that same cynicism and resignation seems to be settling right in. The glory days of riding the upward slope when almost everything was screamingly cheap in 2009 are behind us.

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 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 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 Positioning for Municipal Market Volatility by Joseph Deane, David Hammer, Sean McCarthy of PIMCO

We do not anticipate a significant increase in the frequency of municipal defaults, but there are pockets of credit stress in U.S. municipalities and territories, particularly those with unfunded pension obligations and unsustainable budget imbalances. Large concentrations of exposure to Puerto Rico within subsets of the municipal market will likely lead to an increase in spread volatility across other municipal sectors in the coming quarters.

2013-10-23 I Thought The Safety Was On by Liam Molloy, Bethany Carlson, Charlie Mas of Galway Investment Strategy

For the past thirty years investors could allocate a portion of their portfolio to investment grade bonds and regard that money as “safe”. Wealth preservation was easy buy a ladder of Treasuries or triple-A rated corporates and go back to bed. That perceived safety was a direct result of a continuing, if not steady, decline in interest rates.

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 Venerated Voices™ by Various (Article)

Advisor Perspectives, a leading publisher serving financial advisors and the financial advisory community, has announced its Venerated Voices™ awards for articles published in Q3 2013.

2013-10-22 Washington Strikes a No-Surprise Deal - Now What? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Congress called a time-out in the budget/debt fight last week, striking a deal to avoid default and fund the U.S. government through January 15, 2014 and raise the debt limit through February 7, 2014. While the parties agreed to budget talks, they did not commit to reaching an agreement (technically, Paul Ryan and Patty Murray, the House and Senate budget committee chairs will begin a process of fiscal negotiations, due to wrap up by mid-December).

2013-10-22 A Green Light for Gold? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

It is rare that investors are given a road map. It is rarer still that the vast majority of those who get it are unable to understand the clear signs and directions it contains. When this happens the few who can actually read the map find themselves in an enviable position. Such is currently the case with gold and gold-related investments.

2013-10-22 Fixing Economy As Easy As 1-2-3 by Axel Merk of Merk Investments

With the economy stuck in first gear, a couple of common sense steps that wouldn’t cost taxpayers an arm and a leg could help the economy shift into a higher gear.

2013-10-22 Could US Issues Lead Investors to Emerging Markets? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The US government had been shuttered for more than two weeks, and investors around the world, including those in emerging markets, have been watching the impasse and beginning to plan in the event of a default of US government debt. Late Wednesday, the US Congress agreed to a short-term extension of the debt ceiling until February and set the stage for the government to reopen. However, a definitive, long-term solution to the nation’s debt issues was still not reached and we could see a repeat of the political dysfunction.

2013-10-22 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

Last month, a Wells Fargo/Gallup survey of non-retired investors showed just how lingering the hangover is from the financial crisis five years ago. Much like the Great Depression financially scared their great grandparents and grandparents, the Great Recession is impacting investors’ expectations about the future.

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 Fourth Quarter Investment Outlook by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The macro theme of the fourth quarter and early 2014 is monetary reflation and global growth resynchronization. The Fed’s surprising decision to postpone tapering its QE program will likely encourage further risk-taking. In the meantime, we observe increasing signs of a synchronized improvement among the four important economies - the United States, Europe, Japan and China.

2013-10-18 Headwinds Give Way to Bullishness by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

With the partial government shutdown and Washington gridlock behind us for now, interest rates should continue declining and conditions are pointing to a period of renewed strength across asset classes.

2013-10-18 Just Like Yesterday by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest essay, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, with help from Chetan Parikh, of India’s Capital Ideas Online, provides excerpts from and commentary on a 1971 speech by iconic investor David L. Babson. He begins by noting: "It is eerie how timely this speech, delivered 42 years ago, remains today."

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 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 Debt Limit Extended, Fed Policy in the Wings - What to Expect from the Markets by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments

Last night Congress reached an agreement to raise the debt limit and end the 16-day shutdown. After all the acrimony and tense negotiations, the deal passed by a comfortable margin with 81-18 vote in the Senate and 285-144 in the House.

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 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 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 Scare Tactics by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I thought that we still had two and a half weeks until Halloween. You’d never know it from the frightening tales from Washington, D.C. Just as the government shutdown was to have been a near world-ending event, the impending debt ceiling should be named Armageddon II.

2013-10-17 Global Brand Companies: Well Positioned to Deploy Incremental Capital at High Rates of Return by Jenny Hubbard of Diamond Hill Investments

Achieving an optimal balance between growth and return on invested capital is critically important to value creation. Many discretionary product companies attain this equilibrium for a short period of time, but fickle and geographically divergent consumer preferences make it challenging to sustain over the long-term.

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 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

Last month, a Wells Fargo/Gallup survey of non-retired investors showed just how lingering the hangover is from the financial crisis five years ago. Much like the Great Depression financially scared their great grandparents and grandparents, the Great Recession is impacting investors’ expectations about the future. 41% indicated they were concerned about another global crisis during their retirement years, and 28% were convinced they would have a lower standard of living during retirement.

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 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Since the end of September, total AUM in all active ETFs increased by almost $443 million. Assets in the two largest categories “Short Term Bond” and “Global Bond” fell by $61 million and $12.77 respectively. The “Foreign Bond” category also fell, by $19.38 million. The largest gain was in “Currency” active ETFs, which added an impressive $499.5 million in value due to flows into one fund.

2013-10-16 Being Contrarian Could Lead to 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.

2013-10-15 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 A Better Way to Measure Risk Tolerance by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

In building financial plans, asset-allocation recommendations must recognize the client’s ability to absorb risk. To aid in this assessment, advisors often use risk-tolerance questionnaires, but these tools have shortcomings. The evolving field of brain science can help to design better questionnaires.

2013-10-15 A Q3 client letter: Mike Tyson on Sticking to Your Plan by Dan Richards (Article)

Each quarter I post a template for a client letter, as a starting point for advisors who want to send clients an overview of the three months that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead.

2013-10-15 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to Robert Huebscher’s article, The Futility of the Endowment Model, which appeared last week.

2013-10-15 US Default: How Bad Would It Be? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has publicly declared October 17 this Thursday as the date when the US government would no longer be able to pay its bills, should Congress not reach a budget resolution.A once unthinkable outcome is becoming all too close to reality due to brinksmanship in Washington.For the second time in two years, investors have had to contemplate just how such a situation would shake out for financial markets.

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 House Republicans Determined to Burn Country to the Ground (In Order to Save It!) by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

Whenever our financial markets commentary strays into the realm of politics, we’re guaranteed to offend at least half of our clients and readers. So let us state up front that our job is NOT to choose sides but to evaluate how politics will affect the US economy and by extension corporate earnings, which are the bedrock of stock market performance. By that measure, the current tactics of House Republicans to shutdown the “non-essential” parts of the federal government and block raising the debt ceiling is an unmitigated disaster. Businesses crave predictability and reliabi

2013-10-14 Can Markets Remain Resilient in Light of Political Dysfunction? by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equities were mixed again last week, and the markets remain focused on the budget impasse in Washington, D.C., after the second week of the partial government shutdown. The S&P 500 closed the week in positive territory, increasing 0.8%.1 It is hard to ignore headlines and market volatility, but the real issues for markets are the debt ceiling debate and third quarter corporate earnings announcements.

2013-10-12 Sometimes They Ring a Bell by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Three items have come across my screen in the past month that, taken together, truly do signal a major turning point in how energy is discovered, transported, and transformed. And while we’ll start with a story that most of us are somewhat aware of, there is an even larger transformation happening that I think argues against the negative research that has come out in the last few years about the reduced potential for growth in the world economy.

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 Can You Hear Me Now? by Marie Schofield of Columbia Management

Under normal circumstances, I provide insight and analysis on the monthly jobs report at the beginning of each month. This month Washington politics has interrupted my routine with the partial government shutdown postponing several important data releases this week and pessimistically next week as well. Not only that but several agencies have completely shut down their websites denying access to already released data and historical databases, which is completely unnecessary.

2013-10-10 What Is Due Diligence? Here's How I Do It by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The lexicon of the financial world is full of phrases and jargon that are often tossed about without considering that there may be those who are not exactly familiar with the true meaning of the terms. It recently came to my attention that due diligence may be one of those idioms. In my own writings, I routinely recommend that readers conduct their own due diligence and/or comprehensive research. However, I recently had a reader ask me exactly what due diligence was and how to do it?

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 Equity ETF Flows Send Bullish Signals by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

U.S. Equity ETFs gave up $4.3 billion in the week ended October 1, reversing a $3.4 billion inflow in the previous week. This week’s outflows signal low demand for stocks, a bullish short-term indicator from a contrarian perspective.

2013-10-09 The U.S. Can\'t Default On Its Debt. Right? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Treasury Secretary has warned that his agency will exhaust the “extraordinary measures” it has used to fund the government on October 17. On the Sunday talk shows, he warned of “catastrophic consequences” if Congress doesn’t raise the statutory debt ceiling by then. So, over the next nine days, you’ll be hearing ominous forecasts of what will happen if the US defaults on its nearly $17 trillion national debt, or even some of it. Sound familiar?

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.

2013-10-09 Getting Serious About Investing Responsibly by Luke Spajic, Josh Olazabal of PIMCO

To date, much of ESG-related investing has focused on negative screening, but we believe there is a better approach. This approach rests on three pillars: identifying and analyzing key ESG issues facing a given investment sector, engaging with the issuers of securities, and supporting the development of markets for ESG investments.

2013-10-08 The Futility of the Endowment Model by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In the past two decades, the so-called endowment model has been adopted by hundreds of endowments, foundations and advisors – particularly those serving ultra-high-net-worth clients. By aggressively allocating to illiquid alternative asset classes, those investors hoped to duplicate the results of Yale and other top-tier institutions. New research exposes the futility of those efforts.

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 When Your Succession Plan Is Derailed by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

I hired a young guy in three years ago with the expectation I would give him ownership and have him eventually take over the business. I want to wind down and have been giving him a large percentage of my clients to manage. Lately he has been talking about moving back to where his wife’s parents live. He said he isn’t sure if this business is right for him. How do I get him to make a decision?

2013-10-08 What Happens if the Government Shuts Down and Nobody Notices? by Michael Temple of Pioneer Investments

Yes, this is a facetiously philosophical title (what is the sound of one hand clapping?) that pokes fun at the current situation in Washington. And we’re well aware that if Republicans and Democrats can’t reach a compromise in a couple of weeks to deal with the debt ceiling “time-bomb”, none of us will be joking around.

2013-10-08 Government Shutdown Masks Pending Debt Ceiling and Third Quarter Earnings by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equities were mixed last week as the markets were focused on the budget impasse in Washington, D.C., that forced the federal government into a partial shutdown. As with the 17 prior shutdowns, we do not anticipate a lasting impact on the economy or markets. While the shutdown makes headlines, the issues that will likely have the most impact are the debt ceiling debate and third quarter corporate earnings announcements, which could mean a bumpy ride for investors.

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 The Death of Fixed Income? Not so Fast . . . by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments

Recent market movements have reminded investors that the fixed income market is facing a secular change, after a 30-year-long bull market driven by a continuous decline in interest rates. I believe the announcements of the death of fixed income as an asset class are greatly exaggerated, and in order to face the new reality, fixed income investors and asset allocators need to adopt a significant change of approach.

2013-10-08 Maybe Mark Twain Said It Best... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

President Barack Obama and his top economic officials appear to be pushing for some market unrest to exert pressure on the GOP to throw in the towel. Asked in his CNBC interview Wednesday whether Wall Street is right to remain calm over the standoff, Mr. Obama replied: “No.”

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 Auto Focus: Voluntary Plans Morphing to Mandatory? by Jon Vogler of Invesco

The American private retirement system has historically been voluntary. Employers first decide whether they’re going to sponsor a plan and then select the plan’s features. But over the last several years, focus has intensified on two criticisms of the voluntary system.

2013-10-07 What Should Investors Know about the U.S. Government Shutdown? by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investments

Yesterday was the start of a new fiscal year for the U.S. federal government, but failure to agree on a spending plan in time for that deadline left federal coffers short. As a result, a partial government shutdown took effect. It’s important to emphasize that this was a partial government shutdown. Many services remain operational, such as our active military, Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security and airline travel.

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.

2013-10-05 The Road to a New Medical Order by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

I will aim to dwell simply on the economic ramifications of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, as it exists today. We are changing the plumbing on 17.9% of the US GDP in profound ways. Many, if not most, of the changes are absolutely necessary.

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 Are Investors Paying More Attention to Quality Small-Caps? by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

Although it covers only a brief time period, recent research by Furey Research Partners showed that since the beginning of May 2013 through September 30 the lowest leveraged companies outperformed the highest leveraged companies within the Russell 2000to us a long-anticipated reversal and an encouraging signal that suggests investors have not abandoned quality despite an environment of easy money and near-zero interest rates.

2013-10-04 The Economy, the Fed, and Politics by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

It was a good quarter to invest in equities, and despite a down second quarter, overall a good year as well. The Dow was up 1.5%, the S&P 4.7% and the NASDAQ 10.8%. Year-to-date returns were very positive with the Dow up 15.5%, S&P up 17.9%, and NASDAQ up 24.9%. International equities were also positive for the quarter and year with the MSCI ACWI ex US up 9.4% and up 7.5% year-to-date. While emerging market equity indices were up 5% for the quarter they remained negative -6.4% for the year.

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 How Markets May Deal with D.C. Dysfunction by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

A brief government shutdown would likely have only a modest impact on markets and the economy, and may even create buying opportunities in risk assets. A longer-term stalemate could be a far different story.

2013-10-04 Is the Pump Primed for Emerging Markets Investors? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

The vulnerabilitiesor rather, perceived vulnerabilitiesof emerging markets have been the focus of heightened discussions over the past few months. Concerns about the health of emerging markets came on the heels of political upheavals in Egypt, economic deceleration in China and protest demonstrations in Brazil and Turkey this summer.

2013-10-04 What Is The Correct Discount Rate To Use? Part 2B by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

One of the most widely-accepted and utilized methods of valuing a business in today’s world of modern finance is discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis. Obviously, in order to calculate valuation, practitioners must rely on mathematical formulas. However, the challenge with utilizing mathematical formulas to determine the net present value (NPV) of a future stream of income is in determining the proper inputs. Consequently, the accuracy of our result is subject to the principle “garbage in garbage out.”

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 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.

2013-10-03 Buying the Shutdown by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Volatility from the government shutdown and other political developments in Washington D.C. will likely continue to rise. Despite this, the reduction in output from this will be short-term, and investors still have several attractive options for deploying capital across asset classes in the United States and globally.

2013-10-03 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Last week, total AUM in all active ETFs fell by almost $40.9 million. Assets in the two largest categories “Short Term Bond” and “Global Bond” fell by $7.74 million and $10.156 respectively. In addition, the “Foreign Bond” category decreased by $36.33 million, while AUM in “Currency” active ETFs fell by almost $5.2 million.

2013-10-03 More Heat Than Light by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

Following their surprising decision to maintain the current pace of quantitative easing (QE), Fed officials provided more detailed reasoning last week in public remarks and interviews with media outlets. Unfortunately, the latest comments added more heat than light to the QE debate in our view. Much like Chairman Bernanke’s post-meeting press conference, officials expressed contradictory views on several major policy questions.

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 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.

2013-10-02 The Math is Pretty Straightforward... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Congress and the White House must be pretty fired up that D&D2 started filming last week. The new movie might be the only thing more stupid than our elected leaders failing to negotiate and reach a deal. Most everyone either wants to spend our tax dollars like drunken professional athletes or hold our economy and financial markets hostage via a government shutdown and failure to raise the debt ceiling.

2013-10-02 Chuck Royce on 3Q13: Quality Small-Caps Can Continue to Bear Fruit by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds

Co-CIO, President, and Portfolio Manager Chuck Royce discusses his outlook on the current state of the small-cap market, his continued confidence in quality despite the Fed’s announcement in September to prolong its ongoing stimulus efforts, and the current case for active small-cap management.

2013-10-02 The Death Knell of Global Synchronized Trade by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

At Smead Capital Management, we believe the interest on September 18th in emerging markets, oil and gold are the last gasps of a dying trend. Our discipline demands that you must avoid popular investments and completely avoid investments attached to a perceived “new era.” We argue that the international investment markets reaction to Bernanke’s reprieve on September 18th is proof of a vision we have of the future.

2013-10-02 Handing Down Your Legacy - A Special Gift For Readers by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

No one likes to talk about death. Many people put off planning for this contingency because it’s just not pleasant to think about. Additionally, most young people think that death is a long way off, so they have plenty of time to plan for it. But as we all know, accidents happen and no one knows exactly when their time will come.

2013-10-02 Weak Credit Growth Main Reason for Lackluster Economic Recovery by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

The U.S. economy is a credit-based economy. Economic expansion is fueled mostly by borrowing and consuming rather than saving and investing. A continuous expansion of credit is needed for the economy to grow. The main reason the economic recovery has been so lackluster is that credit growth has remained weak despite the Federal Reserve’s continuing liquidity injections.

2013-10-02 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Financial markets have now become a function of how investors are guessing the drama in Washington DC will play out.

2013-10-02 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

Effective October 1st, the health exchanges are open for business and enrollment can occur over the next 90 days. It will be interesting to see just how many people feel compelled to sign up under the individual mandate. While the premiums are not inexpensive for most of the eligible people, many will receive tax credits to help offset the cost. Nonetheless, others will find it a significant burden to the budget, and there is great debate over just how this will affect the economy long-term.

2013-10-01 The Key Succession Issues for an Advisory Practice by Bob Veres (Article)

Succession planning has moved to the top of the practice management priority list for tens of thousands of advisory firms. As the average age of founder/advisors creeps ever closer to traditional retirement age, the profession is asking itself a lot of hard questions about how to keep these businesses alive – and take care of clients – after the founder retires.

2013-10-01 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Raul Elizalde’s article, Why Bond Funds are Toxic for Your Portfolio, which appeared last week. In addition, a reader responds to Michael Edesess’ article, William Bernstein – “Stocks for the Long Run,” which appeared last week.

2013-10-01 Corporate Bond ETFs Attract Steady Inflows Amid Bond Market Sell-Off by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

Corporate bonds remained popular with investors amid the bond sell-off in recent months, while Foreign and Municipal bond funds experienced the steadiest and heaviest redemptions.

2013-10-01 Breaking Bad? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

For most of the summer, the speculation was out there. How would it end? (BTW DVR users no spoiler alert necessary for this article.) Which main characters, if any, would survive? TV chat boards were filled with nervousness and lots of guesses.

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.

2013-09-30 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 October Plus Shutdowns And The Debt Ceiling Equals More Volatility by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

Upcoming Congressional debates on the U.S. budget and debt ceiling may cause an increase in volatility in global markets over the next few weeks.

2013-09-30 Long/Short Equity in Rising Rate Environments by Kurt Voldeng of AdvisorShares

The party in fixed income has been a good one. Spanning approximately 30 years and touching four different decades dating back to the Volker Era in the early 1980’s, it has been a fairly smooth ride with few, short lived, painful periods. It now appears that possibly, and the market pundits are still debating, that the party may be over. Most agree that if not over yet, the end is near.

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 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 Government Shutdown Could Lead to a Buying Opportunity by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

As we approach yet another self-induced “the sky is falling and the other guy is to blame” environment, recall that this situation is not uncommon. We have had 17 of these budget debt ceiling deadlines and yet we have unbelievably (said with extreme rolling of the eyes) been able to overcome our elected officials’ calls for the end of the world. The most recent time when the U.S. government shutdown was in November 1995 concluding in January 1996,when arguably the animosity and polarization was as pronounced as it is today.

2013-09-27 Achievement Awards Announced at the 2013 Insider’s Forum Conference and Leadership Forum by Bob Veres (Article)

The first annual Insider’s Forum conference attracted more than its share of industry leaders. But two of its more prominent attendees received special recognition for their contributions to the financial planning/investment advisory profession.

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 Inflow into Equity Funds in September Fourth-Highest Ever by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

Although the S&P 500 sits just below a record closing high, we think the path of least resistance for stock prices is higher. The Federal Reserve seems as determined as ever to inflate asset bubbles by funneling $85 billion per month in newly printed money to the primary dealers, and our demand indicators continue to turn more favorable for the intermediate term.

2013-09-27 Global Destinations for Yield by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

While U.S. stocks are increasingly due for a consolidation, the outlook for global equities is improving. Now appears to be a good time for investors to increase allocations toward Asia and Europe.

2013-09-27 Like a Five-Year Game of Duck, Duck, Goose' by Will Nasgovitz of Heartland Advisors

As summer is trailing off here in Milwaukee, WI, my wife and I have been revisiting some classic children’s games with our young son and daughter. Most recently, the biggest hit has been “Duck, Duck, Goose.” And, it’s a real treat to watch the extreme anticipation in their faces as they wait for the goose to be called and the running to begin.

2013-09-27 How to Strengthen Your Portfolio Core by David Fabian of Fabian Capital Management

In strength training and investing, your core is everything. It’s the foundation or base from which you build upon to reach new levels of success. Without a solid core, you are doomed to underachieve because you don’t have the right balance needed to attain your goals. By starting from the ground up using concrete core holdings, you can add additional tactical positions from which to enhance your returns. That way you will have a well-rounded portfolio strategy that is easy to understand.

2013-09-27 Give Me Tapering... Just Not Yet by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

Last week Federal Reserve (the Fed) officials surprised investors by choosing not to begin slowing the pace of quantitative easing (QE) despite months of setup in their public comments. Instead, the latest iteration of the Fed’s bond buying strategy will continue at $85 billion per month. At this point our best guess is that the decision was a path of least resistance among a divided committee: there seemed to be a number of officials who were concerned about downside risks to growth from fiscal policy uncertainty and higher interest rates.

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 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 You Never Know by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Surprises come at any moment in the investing world, reinforcing the need to have both a long-term view and a balanced/diversified portfolio. We believe signs are pointing to better US and European growth, a near-term rebound in China, and some possible positive momentum building in Japan. But near-term fiscal policy risks abound. Investors that need to add to equity positions should use pullbacks to do so.

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.

2013-09-25 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 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Last week, total AUM in all active ETFs increased by almost $80.2 million. Assets in the two largest categories “Short Term Bond” and “Global Bond” fell by $20.65 million and $38.585 respectively. As the dollar weakened on the Federal Reserve’s decision to delay tapering, the “Foreign Bond” category increased by $65.725 million and “Currency” active ETFs added $7.43 in value. Just like the previous week, the second largest increase in AUM came in the “High Yield” ETF category, which this time rose by over $44.35 million, main

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 How To Calculate The Intrinsic Value Of Your Common Stocks: Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Every investor in common stocks is faced with the challenge of knowing when to buy, sell or hold. Additionally, this challenge will be approached differently by the true investor than it would by a speculator. But since I know very little about speculation (trading or market timing), this article will be focused on assisting true investors desirous of a sound and reliable method that they can trust and implement when attempting to make these important buy, sell or hold investing decisions.

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 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 The Elements of a Successful Succession Plan by Mary Ann Buchanan (Article)

While the idea of “yielding to maturity” and dying in your boots feels right, you need to think about contingency and succession planning for the continuity of care for your clients, family and staff. It’s a challenge that hangs over you like Damocles’ sword.

2013-09-24 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Financial markets have found out the answer to important questions in the last week. While there have alternatively been both positive and negative reactions, the net result is lower interest rates and higher stock prices.

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%.

2013-09-23 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 Fed Inaction Lengthens Reflationary Economy by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities advanced last week as the S&P 500 increased 1.32%.1 The Federal Reserve (Fed) delivered a big surprise by leaving intact the current $85 billion monthly purchase program. The Committee appears nervous about the resiliency of the economy. Chairman Bernanke pointed to three factors for postponing tapering: 1) the need for more labor market data to be confident in the outlook, 2) a desire to assess the degree to which tighter financial conditions, particularly mortgage rates, are affecting the real economy and 3) an interest in gaining clarity on “upcoming fiscal debates.̶

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 Rich City, Poor City by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week we will conclude our look at pension plans for the nonce with a 30,000-foot overview of the states and then take a deeper dive into one city: mine. This will give you at least one version of how to do your own homework about your own hometown. But fair warning, depending on your locale, you may need medical help or significant quantities of an adult beverage after you finish your research.

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 This Will Not End Well by Robert Mark of Castle Investment Management

How do you justify higher equity valuations if profit margins are more likely to contract than expand and revenue growth is stalling? Why naturally you discount those future cash flows by a lower cost of capital! But to my eye, the Federal Reserve appears to be slowly losing control of the bond market interest rates are separating from the raw pressure of central bank interventions. We know why this will end badly, we just don’t know when.

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 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 Rising Interest Rates Must End Soon by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond has risen by more than 84 percent from May to early September, one of the most violent and rapid increases on record. This spike has caused severe convulsions in the bond market, leading many investors to wonder how long the torment can last.

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 The Fed's About-Face by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The Federal Reserve’s decision not to taper quantitative easing telegraphed a mixed signal to markets about policy guidance while tempering forward economic growth expectations. Dramatically lower interest rates can be expected.

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 Companies Can Do More to Unlock Shareholder Value by Kurt Feuerman of AllianceBernstein

As the global recession and financial crisis move further back in the rearview mirror, companies have been more proactive about using their balance sheets in ways that enhance shareholder value. But we think they can do a lot more.

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 Time to Taper? by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

The Fed debate this year has largely revolved around a single question: When will the FOMC begin to slow the pace of quantitative easing (QE)? At the start of the year, most analysts thought that the committee would continue its bond buying program at full speed all year, and only taper its purchases in early 2014. However, we began to hear hints from Fed officials as earlier as January that they may stop short of consensus expectations.

2013-09-19 A Fine Balance in the Global Profits Cycle by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

In the U.S., we expect growth to accelerate over the cyclical horizon, but to disappoint elevated consensus expectations. In Europe, we also expect growth to accelerate, but just barely, and also below consensus. In Japan, we expect growth to remain heavily reliant on aggressive fiscal and monetary policies. And in emerging markets, we expect a stabilization in growth assisted by central banks regaining control of currency and financial market conditions. The outlook for global corporate profits is a key measure of success in determining the handoff to self-sustaining growth going forward.

2013-09-18 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks rallied last week as military options in Syria no longer look likely given the disapproval of the American people and Congress. Additionally, this embarrassing agreement reached with Russia is an admission that the USA will not intervene.

2013-09-18 Smart Beta and the Pendulum of Mispricing by Vitali Kalesnik of Research Affiliates

The Research Affiliates approach to equity investment management is based upon the insight that stock prices are “noisy” and “mean-reverting.”

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.

2013-09-18 Dow Changes as a Contrary Indicator by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

The folks who select the companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) came out with their latest changes on Monday, September 9, 2013. They removed Bank of America (BAC), Hewlett Packard (HPQ) and Alcoa (AA) from the DJIA. Added to the index were Visa (V), Nike (NKE) and Goldman Sachs (GS). At Smead Capital Management, we are always looking for important psychological clues to human behavior as it pertains to the popularity of common stocks.

2013-09-18 You have crossed into The Twilight Zone... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

In this month’s episode of The Twilight Zone, Congressional Democrats and U.S. public opinion will organize to thwart a White House attack on Syria and their #1 choice for the next Fed Chairman. To conclude the show, Vladimir Putin will be the front runner for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize and the Financial Markets will soar. You have just crossed over into The Twilight Zone!

2013-09-18 Stock Funds' 5-Year Track Records Set to Double by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Many investors focus on the previous five years annualized return when analyzing which mutual funds to buy. We also pay a good deal of attention to the 5-year performance number when analyzing mutual fund and ETF returns at Halbert Wealth Management. And currently the 5-year average returns for most equity mutual funds are not all that attractive.

2013-09-18 Newsletter September 2013 by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

SAY IT ISN’T SO... Investment News headline “Ex-J.P. Morgan broker: Firm pushed house funds.” The story went on to report: “Claims reps didn’t get commission on trades of outside funds. A former J.P. Morgan broker has filed an arbitration claim alleging that the bank’s securities unit encouraged sales of proprietary funds by withholding commissions from brokers on trades of outside funds.

2013-09-18 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Last week, total AUM in all active ETFs increased by over $68.76 million. Assets in “Short Term Bond” active ETFs increased by nearly $140 million. The second largest increase in AUM came in the “High Yield” ETF category, which rose by about $20.366 million, largely due to creation units. “US Equity” active ETFs also saw a significant increase in AUM of over $8.68 million. The biggest decreases in AUM came in the “Global Bond” and “Foreign Bond” categories, which fell by $58.85 million and $44.3 million respectively.

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 High Yield Market Overview August 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Constrained Index, was down 0.62% for the month of August. Political uncertainties continue to weigh on investor sentiment, including a potential military response to Syria and the U.S. approaching the debt ceiling limit in mid-October. Uncertainty about Fed policy and who will be the next Chairman are also in the background.

2013-09-17 “Risk-On” Resumes as Uncertainty Subsides by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equity markets rallied last week with the hope of a diplomatic solution to the crisis between Syria and the United States. The S&P 500 advanced 2.03% for the week.1 Broadly, the S&P 500 is in a churning phase after witnessing an all-time high of 1709 on August 2 and then stalling.1 We believe the market has been on hold while waiting for lower oil prices, progress on Syria, further global growth and successful Federal Reserve tapering.

2013-09-16 U.S. Equity ETF Flows Send Bullish Signals Despite Recent Inflows by Minyi Chen, TrimTabs of AdvisorShares

Minyi Chen, CFA, Chief Operating Officer of TrimTabs Investment Research and Portfolio Manager of AdvisorShares TrimTabs Float Shrink ETF (NYSE Arca: TTFS) shares recent fund flow trends.

2013-09-16 The Next Big Challenge to Investors: Rising Rates by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

Many investors were conditioned to accept that the economy would be in the rehabilitation ward for the foreseeable future, rates would remain low, and monetary stimulus would continue unabated. It was an increasingly dangerous mindset. Now that’s changing with the slow but steady recovery of the economy and the Federal Reserve’s announcement in August that it may begin “tapering” its billions in monthly bond purchases designed to keep rates low and boost asset prices.

2013-09-16 Europe's Fragile Recovery by Tucker Scott of Franklin Templeton Investments

Investors have tentatively begun to buy into the European recovery story, but remain fearful of the region’s fragility. A few bits of upbeat economic data recently have provided grounds for optimism, and the European Central Bank’s continued commitment to holding the Eurozone together has boosted confidence. Tucker Scott, portfolio manager forTempleton Foreign Fund, still sees a few economic roadblocks in Europe but also plenty of progress. He shares where he’s finding signs of strength and investment opportunities.

2013-09-16 Investing in Puerto Rico: What Investors Should Know by Stephanie Larosiliere of Invesco Blog

In recent quarters, investors have been on high alert about Puerto Rico’s ailing financial situation. The concern was sparked by the US territory’s ongoing recession, which has been characterized by high unemployment, $70 billion of total debt and a consecutive streak of annual budget deficits. Compounding investors’ fears were Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing and June’s massive sell-off in the municipal bond market, which may have caused some weakness in Puerto Rico’s debt.

2013-09-16 Investment Reality as Told Through the Most Interesting Man in Baseball by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

You probably haven’t heard of Greg Dobbs. If you have, you are either a big Major League baseball fan, a casual fan of the Miami Marlins baseball team, or you know Greg Dobbs personally. He is a solid Major League player, but will not be mentioned alongside Ruth, Mays and Ripken. He is a great team player, a great media interview and was briefly featured on a national TV program last year as “the most interesting man in baseball,” a moniker given to him by one of his teammates.

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.

2013-09-14 Nothing But Bad Choices by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Crises in government funding don’t simply arrive on the doorstep unannounced. Their progress toward the eventual Bang! moment is there for all the world to see. The root cause is almost always the same: debt. And whether that debt is actually borrowed or is merely promised to the populace, when the market becomes worried that the ability of the government to fund its promises is suspect, then the end is near. Last week we began a series on what I think is an impending crisis in the unfunded pension liabilities of state and local governments in the United States.

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 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Last week, total AUM in all active ETFs increased by around $38.2 million.As in previous weeks, assets in “Short Term Bond” active ETFs increased, this time by almost $61.7 million, while AUM in the “Global Bond” category fell by about $39 million.The “Global Bond” category had another bad week, ending over $18.3 million below where it began.The “Alternative Income” category increased again but by less than in previous weeks; AUM increased by nearly $4.26 million. The “Alternative” active ETF category’s AUM rose by approximately

2013-09-13 Invest In Stocks With A Margin of Safety To Reduce Risk And Enhance Returns by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Of all of the many sound investing principles that legendary teacher and investor Ben Graham put forward, he believed that his concept of “margin of safety” was the most important of all. This investment lesson was so deeply ingrained into the mind of Ben Graham’s most famous student, Warren Buffett, that he created his two most important rules of sound investing. Rule number one: Never lose money. Rule number two: Never forget rule number one. Clearly, both of these renowned sages understood the importance of minimizing risk, especially when investing in equities.

2013-09-13 The View from Here - September 13, 2013: Five Years After by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

How much have we recovered from the global financial crisis?

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 Approaching a Turning Point by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Higher interest rates continue to negatively affect the real economy, increasing the susceptibility of risk assets to downside risk.

2013-09-12 Unemployment, Participation and the Fed by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

Despite a mediocre August jobs report, we still expect the Federal Reserve to announce a slowing of the pace of bond purchases when it meets next week. One reason for this view is that Fed officials care more about the level of the unemployment rate than the pace of job creation. We often write that monetary policy is about “gaps” not growth: the Fed is trying to reduce spare capacity in the economy, not bring about a rapid expansion per se.

2013-09-12 2 Unresolved Issues Challenging the Case for European Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ explains the two key unresolved issues that are keeping his view of European stocks somewhat cautious, and he gives the next signposts to watch to gauge whether any near-term resolutions are likely.

2013-09-11 Underwriters Lose No Time Pumping Out New Shares after Labor Day by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

The monthly flows of Mutual Fund and ETF volatility continued as a roller coaster trend was apparent in the last three months. Read this investor insight by Minyi Chen, CFA, Chief Operating Officer of TrimTabs Investment Research and Portfolio Manager of AdvisorShares TrimTabs Float Shrink ETF (NYSE Arca: TTFS) to learn about the variable trend flows.

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 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Several readers responded to Michael Edesess’ article, Did Steve Jobs Really Build That?, which appeared last week. A reader responded to Stephen Roach’s commentary, The Global QE Exit Crisis, which appeared on August 26.

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 Investor Anxiety + Uncertainty = More Volatility Ahead by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

As Russ expected, both equity and bond market volatility have risen in recent weeks. Russ explains why this rocky road is likely to continue, and he provides two ideas for potentially insulating portfolios amid volatility.

2013-09-10 The Suit? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Bernie Cornfeld, of IOS Fund fame, coined the phrase, “Do you really want to be rich?” At the time I was working as a stock broker, and writing investment strategy for E.F.Hutton, having penned in December 1974 that, “I recommend a gradual return to significant common stock accumulation” (I still have that report). I also learned that you have to evaluate the risks, because sometimes when you go after the “big bucks” you lose. Then you end up with small change!

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 Municipal Bond Market: Tune out the Noise by Jonathan Chirunga of Pioneer Investments

Since Ben Bernanke’s misinterpreted comments on tapering, Detroit’s bankruptcy filing and the even more recent, well-publicized concerns regarding Puerto Rico, the municipal bond market has struggled mightily. Year-to-date as of September 5, the Barclay’s Municipal Investment-Grade Index is down 5.3%, and the Barclay’s Municipal High Yield Index is down 8.3%.

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 Equities Advance Despite Concerns Over Weak Employment and Growth by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities moved higher last week, with the S&P 500 advancing 1.40%.1 In the face of another disappointing employment report, positive recovery expectations provided tailwinds. Key manufacturing and service sector data surprised to the upside, and improved corporate confidence was highlighted by merger and acquisition activity. Developments outside the U.S. supported recovery and reform, and emerging market fears lessened. A potential U.S. military strike on Syria was an overhang as President Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval raised concerns about other looming battles.

2013-09-09 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks finished higher last week, but August was a down month as worries about monetary policy including who will lead the Federal Reserve next year, along with the confusion surrounding the Obama administration’s Syria decisions have put a damper on things for now.

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 The Emerging Markets Debt Evolution by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments

My colleagues Mauro Ratto, Head of Emerging Markets, and Yerlan Syzdykov, Head of Emerging Markets Bond & High Yield, offered these thoughts on emerging markets.

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 Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

The major US stock indexes fell once again last week, capping off the worst monthly performance of the S&P 500 in over a year. However, the index is only 4.69% below its all-time intraday high reached on August 2nd. While fear that the Fed would vote to start ending extraordinary stimulus measures at the next meeting late in September was the main reason cited for the decline, thin trading volume in August and especially the week before Labor day may have made led to increased volatility and price declines.

2013-09-06 The Growth Mirage by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Despite disappointing economic data, there continues to be widespread expectations of a period of stronger economic growth just ahead. This growth mirage draws thirsty investors and increases the likelihood that interest rates will continue rising over the near-term.

2013-09-06 Float Research: Fund Flows Swing Wildly for Third Consecutive Month by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

The monthly flows of Mutual Fund and ETF volatility continued as a roller coaster trend was apparent in the last three months. Read this investor insight by Minyi Chen, CFA, Chief Operating Officer of TrimTabs Investment Research and Portfolio Manager of AdvisorShares TrimTabs Float Shrink ETF (NYSE Arca: TTFS) to learn about the variable trend flows.

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 The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

“Good” economic news in developed markets has been overshadowed lately by the “bad” (burgeoning Asian currency crisis) and the “ugly” (Syria). Unwinding central bank support from the markets will be arduous; it is already contributing to destabilization of certain emerging market currencies. News out of Washington this autumn tapering, Fed leadership and the debt ceiling has the potential to add volatility and uncertainty. The U.S. equity market has been the place to be this year, but diversification remains key.

2013-09-05 Where to Draw the Line by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Just before leaving on my recent road trip, I picked up a new pair of glasses. It was the first new pair in about three years. As many of you are probably aware, I wear (strong) prescription glasses, but you may not realize that the glasses are bifocals.

2013-09-05 Exponential Business Success by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

At a major conference in November of 2012, the futurist, Peter Diamandis, shared the concept behind his book, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think. Diamandis, a graduate of MIT and Harvard Medical School, has been a thought leader in everything from space travel (International Space University and X Prize Foundation) to the Internet. His concept is simple. He believes that participants in the US economy and US stock market are drastically underestimating the exponential success which comes from the unlimited impact of the Internet and technology.

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

2013-09-05 Dividends Matter by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Many people think of emerging market stocks as pure growth plays, and may not realize that there is a separate potential benefitdividendsthat can also be available to investors in these markets. A prolonged period of easy monetary policies in many developed nations (particularly the US) has left income-seeking investors searching for alternatives to traditional fixed income, including dividend-paying stocks. Many investors may not realize dividends aren’t just a developed-market phenomenon.

2013-09-04 Fixed Income - Where to Now? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Since the end of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), investors moved aggressively into fixed income asset classes. They were quickly rewarded in the years following the crisis with a combination of falling interest rates and tighter credit spreads, which led to positive absolute returns. The easy money in fixed income is gone, however, and now is the time for careful asset class selection.

2013-09-04 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

In August the US Stock Market had its worst month since May 2012 and there are a bunch of interesting issues going into September, including Syria, Problems in Emerging Markets,and Fed tapering.

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 Did Steve Jobs Really Build That? by Michael Edesess (Article)

The conventional wisdom is that only the private sector can marshal the entrepreneurial energy to create innovation and growth, while government can do little more than shift around the wealth that the private sector creates. But is that really true?

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 How to Find Value in Real Estate With “Risk On, Risk Off” Off Again by Walter Stabell, III of Invesco Blog

Recent trends, including falling stock correlations, have been strong indicators that the global economy is normalizing and the practice of “risk on, risk off” investing, in which investors enter and exit perceived riskier investments based on how they feel about the economy, is now off again after becoming a phenomenon in the post-financial crisis years.

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 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.

2013-08-31 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 Beware the Dangerous Stretch for Yield by Ashish Shah of AllianceBernstein

The US Federal Reserve talked in early summer about tapering its quantitative easing plan and raising interest ratesin part to stop investors from chasing yield into the arms of riskier loans. In the high-yield market, however, the conversation had exactly the opposite effect.

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 Look for these European Stocks to Exert a Lot of Horsepower by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article, “Emerging Europe is a Haven in Selloff,” highlighting the region’s recent success in “rising above the storm” that other developing markets have not been able to avoid. Dark clouds have been swirling around emerging markets, with the MSCI Emerging Markets Index falling about 12 percent on a year-to-date basis.

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 More Evidence of Pressure on Housing by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The slowdown in housing due to higher mortgage rates is becoming more evident in the data for that market. This comes during a time when the Fed is making a crucial decision about tapering quantitative easing, which is causing market uncertainty to rise further.

2013-08-29 Don't Lose Your Balance by Jeffrey Knight of Columbia Management

Last year in a white paper called “Engineering a better retirement portfolio”1, we demonstrated the long term benefits of investing with a balanced risk profile. Exhibit 1 shows the trailing Sharpe ratios reported in that paper for the S&P 500, a “traditional balanced” domestic 60/40 portfolio, and a “risk balanced” strategy invested to equalize the risk contribution from stocks, bonds and commodities. The message from that chart is clear: Better balance leads to more efficient portfolio performance over time.

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.

2013-08-27 Why Bad Decisions Happen to Good People: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance by Scott Clemons (Article)

Cognitive biases frequently cause even skilled investors to make irrational decisions. Thankfully, irrationality is fairly predictable. Here are four behavioral biases that investors face and techniques for recognizing and overcoming them.

2013-08-27 How Real is the Recovery in Commercial Real Estate? by Joel Beam, Ian Goltra of Forward Management

How Real Is the Recovery in Commercial Real Estate? A conversation with Joel Beam and Ian Goltra of Forward’s Real Estate Portfolio Management Team.

2013-08-27 Surviving a Road Trip by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

The earnings and economic news never seem to quit. And every position, and each action be it buy, sell or hold has commentators and gurus voicing an opinion on every side of the subject. For many investors, it is impossible to sort out the right direction to be heading in, let alone whether you should be on the entrance or the exit ramp for the investments making up your portfolio.

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.

2013-08-27 Choose Your Door Wisely.. by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

If I was being forced to choose a side for year end 2013 performance, I would have to agree with Mr. Plant. While September is historically a difficult month for the markets, we also know that the Q4 tends to reward the equity markets.

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 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 Hong Kong: A Gateway to Chinese Companies by Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds

While many investors and businesses in Hong Kong are struggling with China’s slowed-growth policy, increased rates on commercial rentals, and government intervention to cool the residential property market, we at Royce are looking for opportunities in Hong Kong-listed companiesour primary entrance to gain access to Chinese companieswhose valuations are reflective of the macro challenges facing their economy.

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 Why We Still Like China by Philippe Brugere-Trelat, Andrew Sleeman of Franklin Templeton Investments

When China, the world’s second-largest economy and an engine of global growth, sneezes many other markets catch colds. A spike in the country’s short-term lending rate in June gave some investors the sniffles at least temporarily, while others have turned bearish on China amid concerns growth rates this year could be under the weather. However, many investors may be overlooking some powerful macro-economic long-term shifts taking place in the economy that could ultimately improve China’s bill of health.

2013-08-23 Float Research: Is Fed Starting to Lose Control of Bond Market? by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

Bond yields hit two-year highs as investors pull an additional $19.7 billion from bond funds in August. Read this investor insight by Minyi Chen, CFA, Chief Operating Officer of TrimTabs Investment Research and Portfolio Manager of AdvisorShares TrimTabs Float Shrink ETF (NYSE Arca: TTFS) to learn what concerns may arise in the coming months if this trend continues.

2013-08-23 Utilities - Today's Best Bond Alternative by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

To refer to any stock or equity as an alternative to bonds or fixed income is sure to stir up the ire and consternation of many professional and individual investors alike who deem themselves prudent. Frankly, under normal circumstances I would tend to agree.

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 Float Research: Fund Outflows Surge Amid Bond Market Anxieties by Minyi Chen of AdvisorShares

Stock and bond funds have given up a net $32.4 billion in August thanks to strong outflows from ETFs and mutual finds alike. Read this investor insight by Minyi Chen, CFA, Chief Operating Officer of TrimTabs Investment Research and Portfolio Manager of AdvisorShares TrimTabs Float Shrink ETF (NYSE Arca: TTFS) to learn about the recent fund flow trends.

2013-08-23 The Next Big Challenge to Investors: Duration by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

Many investors have been conditioned to accept that the economy will be in the rehabilitation ward for the foreseeable future, rates will remain low, and monetary stimulus unending. We believe this is an increasingly dangerous mindset and the next great risk for bond investors is coming into view: the return of higher interest rates. We look at the “refuge” subsectors those areas of the fixed income market that investors may believe provide “safe haven” from the gathering storm.

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 Summer Whale Watching by David Wismer of Flexible Plan Investments

One of our family’s most memorable and pleasant vacations took place years ago when we visited Cape Cod, Massachusetts for the first time. I thought of this trip in pondering some of the market news this week, where Wall Street was practicing its very own version of “whale watching.”

2013-08-22 Excess Cash in the Technology Sector: A Source of Underappreciated Value by Nate Palmer of Diamond Hill Investments

As analysts,we are constantly searching for opportunities to purchases hares of a business at a meaningful discount to our estimate of intrinsic value, or short shares of a business at a meaningful premium to our estimate of intrinsic value. While this premium or discount is often a function of our estimate of the value of the business’s future earnings power, it can also be the result of the current market price not properly reflecting the value of assets on a company’s balance sheet.

2013-08-22 Determined to Taper by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The release of the July Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes today and the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium starting tomorrow are likely to dominate near-term activity in financial markets. Despite mixed economic data, it appears increasingly likely that some form of tapering will be announced at the FOMC’s September meeting.

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.

2013-08-21 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

This was a tough week for the markets as the long expected and healthy correction finally surfaced. Times like these can be a little nerve wracking is there are always now shortage of people to go on CNBC and claim that the sky is falling.

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 Five Ways to Get Families to Talk About Finances by Dan Richards (Article)

Every financial advisor sees clients’ lack of communication with family members as a problem. Here are five ways one group of successful advisors is addressing this gap.

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 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 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 What Triggers Would Make Japanese Equities Attractive? by Mark Jason of Invesco Blog

Through the second quarter of 2013, Japan remained Invesco International Growth Fund’s largest underweight versus the Custom International Growth Index because our EQV (earnings, quality and valuation) discipline criteria drive us toward high-quality companies at reasonable valuations, and those are scarce in Japan. Why? Because Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s success is being priced in, and overcoming two decades lost to stagnation is difficult.

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 Pacific Basin Market Overview July 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Asian markets ended higher in July after comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke appeared to infer that the Fed’s asset purchase program would be extended for a while longer. In China, Premier Li Keqiang stated that China would meet its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target this year, which brought some cheer to the markets. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 1.5% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.0% higher during the quarter.

2013-08-16 Preparing for Rising Interest Rates: Bond Ladder vs. Bond Fund Ladder by BMO Tax-Free Fixed Income Team of BMO Funds

The last few years have seen interest rates hold steady or drift lower, causing investors to be concerned about how their fixed income portfolios will be affected when rates eventually rise. The question is, how can investors protect themselves from rising rates while still earning income while they wait?

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 Fixed Income Investing In a Reality Star World by Kirk Moore of Columbia Management

Reality stars are famous for being famous. We should not begrudge them for recognizing an opportunity, seizing the momentum and exploiting it successfully. However, an approach that emphasizes form over substance can neither be consistent or highly repeatable.

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 The Telecommunications Services Sector Untethered and Poised to Grow by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Suffice it to say that the Telecommunications Services sector of today is not your grandfather’s Telecommunications Services sector. The explosion, and rapidly becoming ubiquitous implementation, of wireless technologies have been disruptive and game changing. As a result, the very nature of the established stalwarts within this industry have gone through an extraordinary metamorphosis.

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.

2013-08-15 High Yield Market Overview July 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, was up 1.88% for the month of July. High yield recovered some of the sell-off experienced in May and June as Treasury yields stabilized and mutual fund and ETF (exchange traded fund) flows turned positive. The market’s rally occurred as rate fears subsided, which resulted in retail flows returning to the asset class.

2013-08-15 China and the Outlook for Financial Crises by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

China’s elevated and rising debt levels appear to be one of the largest risks to the global economy today. Although it is difficult to gauge when the risks in that country could manifest as a crisis, investors should act with the knowledge that the margin of safety in the global investment environment continues to decrease.

2013-08-15 Once-a-Generation European Opportunity? by Cindy Sweeting of Franklin Templeton Investments

Sir John’s contrarian conviction was so strong, that in 1939 when WWII had investors fleeing the markets, he bought every stock on the New York Stock Exchange trading under a dollar. Cindy Sweeting, Director of Portfolio Management at Templeton Global Equity Group, espouses Sir John’s contrarian approach, although as a more selective bottom-up stock-picker today. As the markets have bumped along recently she has also echoed his money-where-your-mouth-is action, avoiding the same trend plays everyone else is making by the doing the far more difficult work of going against the grain.

2013-08-15 To Manage Rising Rates, Consider Benching Your Benchmark by Douglas Peebles, Michael Mon of AllianceBernstein

As we enter a period of rising rates, many bond investors are growing more aware of the risks of benchmark-oriented bond portfolios. It may be time to sit the benchmark down and consider more flexible, unconstrained approaches to fixed income.

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 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Overall the total AUM in all active ETFs declined by $1.2 million last week, an insignificant amount for the $14.4 billion space. “Short Term Bond” increased by almost $29.3 million, while “Global Bond” fell by around $15.8 million. “Foreign Bond” had another bad week, ending almost $34 million lower than where it began, as did the “Currency” category which declined by more than $8.7 million.

2013-08-14 Why GDP Deserves Less Attention by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

Before joining Columbia Management I worked for several years as an economist at a few of the large broker-dealers in New York. One of my primary functions was to maintain an ongoing estimate of growth in the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP)a so-called GDP “bean count.” Most investors use GDP as their primary summary measure of overall economic performance, so they are keenly interested in how incoming data are likely to impact the estimates. Our running tally of GDP growth for the current quarter was one of the most sought after pieces of research we produced.

2013-08-13 Why Clients Don’t Give You Credit for Your Hard Work – And What to do About it by Dan Richards (Article)

Advisors work incredibly hard, but clients take that effort for granted. How can advisors get credit for all they do for clients?

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 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.

2013-08-13 The Gordon Dilemma by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we will discuss Professor Gordon’s thesis, examine the geopolitical impact if he is correct and offer some criticisms of his thesis. We will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2013-08-13 Dog Days of Summer Are Upon Us by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Hopefully you are reading this from the beach, because there is so little news happening in the markets that those of us in the office are about to start making news up to justify stock price movements. But while news and volumes are at August lows, here are some thoughts that might ring a bell to help you to either make some money or to set down your smartphone and get back to the water.

2013-08-13 China's Government Can't Stop the Bust by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

On a recent trip to Europe we participated in a forum in Milan of five stock picking organizations. Two were from Brazil, one was from Malaysia and one was picking stocks inside China via the Shanghai Stock Exchange. We believe what they said was an enticement to investors for the purpose of getting them excited about stocks in their country. To us, this reveals a great deal about where prices in emerging stock markets and commodities are headed over the next five to seven years.

2013-08-13 The Benefit of the Doubt by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

When I was practicing law (full time for twenty years of my working life), I always had to be aware of the requirements for proof. By “the preponderance of the evidence” in a civil case, and “beyond a reasonable doubt” in a criminal matter were the standards.

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 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 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 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 Myanmar Rising by Team of Matthews Asia

After three decades under this military junta, Myanmar has thrown open its doors to change. Areas such as agriculture, mining, manufacturing and tourism all appear to be bursting with potential.

2013-08-09 The Calm Before the Storm? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Record highs in US equities have resulted thus far in only modestly elevated investor sentiment and it appears retail investors are returning to the market, which could fuel further gains. However, volatility is likely to increase with political and Fed issues on the horizon. Europe remains attractive, along with Japan, but we are watching the potential consumption tax increase closely, while China’s valuations are improved but concerns remain.

2013-08-08 Market Melt-Up Catches Defensive Investors by Surprise by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Extraordinary returns in the fourth year of a bull market remind us that long-term defensiveness can’t be rationalized. July saw remarkable returns across global equity and fixed income markets, with the exception of U.S. Treasuries. Investors would be well served to ignore media drama and fear mongering and simply follow the fundamentals. Five years spent worrying about Armageddon is too long, but there’s still time to get back to a normal allocation.

2013-08-08 Absolute Strategies Fund Portfolio Commentary by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisers

In our last quarter commentary we posed a simple question: "Why does the economy need so much stimulus and quantitative easing for so little growth?" Over the last two years or so, we feel that we have identified and explained the structural issues and risks very clearly. But in the second quarter, the equity and credit markets may have done a better job offering investors a true glimpse of the realities facing global markets.

2013-08-08 Not an Entry Point for U.S. Stocks by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

My long-term view of U.S. equities remains bullish, but a number of indicators, as well as near-term macro challenges, point to a pause in the run-up of that asset class.

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 Is The Financial Crisis Over For Financial Stocks? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The cause of the financial crisis of 2007 -2008, also known as the Great Recession of 2008, is attributed to many different theories. However, one of the most common theories is an easy money regulatory environment that led to an abundance of subprime loans, which in turn inflated real estate prices to bubble levels. Additionally, many blame the Financial sector, predominantly the money center banks, for exploiting the lax lending requirements with reckless and greedy behavior.

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 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 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Every investor is unique. Similarly, every investment opportunity is unique. Despite our desires to see otherwise, each situation must be measured on a paradigm of possibilities rather than being pigeon-holed into a structured definition.

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.

2013-08-06 Will Soft Q2 GDP and Jobs Data Influence Fed Tapering? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

As I said mid week, the “fiscal cliff” tax increases were squeezing consumers’ disposable income and spending growth was coming at the cost of a lower savings rate. Suspending the “social security tax” was expected to stimulate the economy, so it’s only logical that it would work in reverse, too.

2013-08-06 The ABCs of ABS: Identifying Opportunities in Asset-Backed Securities by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

In the search for yield, ABS offers an opportunity to generate higher returns through rigorous analysis, unaccompanied by additional credit or interest-rate risk.

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 Far More Money Pulled out of Bonds Flows into Cash Than into Equities by Minyi Chen, TrimTabs of AdvisorShares

Investors Pull Record $87.8 Billion out of Bond Funds in June and July, Breaking String of 21 Consecutive Monthly Inflows. Far More Money Pulled out of Bonds Flows into Cash Than into Equities.

2013-08-02 Detroit Broke City by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

It should come as no surprise that the lessons that should be learned from the bankruptcy of Detroit, a city that once stood as the shining example of America’s industrial might, are being ignored by the American political establishment and its allies in the docile press corps. While the death spiral of the Motor City may be extreme in relation to conditions throughout the country, it is a difference of degree rather than design.

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 A Biotech and Pharmaceutical RX by Evan McCulloch of Franklin Templeton Investments

When you visit your doctor or reach into your medicine cabinet for something to cure your ills, you probably don’t think much about the amount of science and innovation packed into that little pill. Evan McCulloch, portfolio manager of Franklin Biotechnology Discovery Fund, has his eye on products in the healthcare, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors that have the potential to change the world of medicine. He says new product cycles and therapies have made it a particularly exciting time for the sector, and potentially for investors.

2013-08-02 The Shariah Appeal by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

For some, the only guiding rule they have for investing is to grow their assets. For others, the rules are more complicated. Specifically in the Muslim world, demand has been growing for investments compliant with Islamic law (Sharia or Shariah) which adhere to a set of religious beliefs and principles. Considering the global Muslim population is expected to grow to 2.2 billion by 2030, representing more than a third of the world’s total population1, I expect rising demand for Shariah-compliant investment vehicles to continue.

2013-08-02 Three Reasons Why Money Market Yields Are So Low by Craig Bloodworth of Invesco Blog

I’m often asked why money market yields are so low today - even lower than they were a few months ago. My response generally begins with overnight repurchase agreements, or repo, which impact the price of term securities in the money market space.

2013-08-01 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Throughout the 1980’s, we heard talk from the investment community to “go global”, invest worldwide, perhaps driven by true globalization of corporate exchange and balance sheets, and perhaps also by the need by firms to create “new” products for their consumers to devour. Mutual funds, brokerages, and private equity companies alike saturated the media with product offerings from every corner of the globe and every possible market sector, including telecom, basic materials, energy and industrial development.

2013-08-01 Lack of US Economic Growth May Slow Fed Tapering by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management

While we are encouraged that the U.S. economy has been growing, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, for 15 consecutive quarters starting in the third quarter of 2009, we are concerned that the growth rate has been below that of previous economic recoveries and the economy appears to be stalling and struggling to get back above a 2% growth rate thus far in 2013.

2013-08-01 Why Tinkering Too Much with Your Portfolio Won\'t Pay Off by Team of Knowledge@Wharton

When it comes to your investment portfolio, how much attention is too much -- and what constitutes too little? In a recent paper, Wharton finance professor Andrew B. Abel and two colleagues found that even when transaction costs are small, it makes more sense to act according to a schedule with surprisingly long intervals. Too much fussing, in other words, is counterproductive -- even if it’s cheap.

2013-08-01 July 2013 Market Commentary by Andrew Clinton of Clinton Investment Management

Fixed income investors have enjoyed a steady move higher in bond prices over the past five years. Given the consistency with which bond values have increased, it is understandable if bond investors were surprised by the just over 0.60%, or 60 basis point rise in ten year Treasury yields and corresponding movement down in bond prices during the second quarter.

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 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 New GDP Revisions to Boost US Economy by 3% by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

At the end of April, I pointed out that the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced it would be making some significant revisions to the way it calculates Gross Domestic Product on July 31. It will revise economic growth for all years going back to 1929. This change is somewhat controversial in that it is expected to add up to 3% to total GDP in one fell swoop tomorrow morning. That’s about $1,500 worth of extra goods and services for every person in the US!

2013-07-31 The Context of Price by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

While the stock market has enjoyed a recent rally, some investors are experiencing some “weakness in the knees” as they continue to ascend the climb. These new all-time highs in the market compound the problem for some investors as they suffer from the recency effect, or the not-too-distant memory of significant market losses.

2013-07-31 Investors Pull $17.5 Billion from Bond Mutual Funds in July by Minyi Chen, TrimTabs of AdvisorShares

Investors keeping socking money into U.S. Equities while outflows from bond mutual funds continue. Read this investor insight by TrimTabs Asset Management to learn more about the recent fund flows and what other activity may be foretelling.

2013-07-30 Revisiting “The Cost of Socially Responsible Investing” by Paul A. Ruud (Article)

Endowments have been warned that socially responsible investing incurs a financial cost, based on research by two prominent academicians. But that research – which has been presented and debated in this publication – is based on a tenuous model that is highly sensitive to its assumptions. Change those assumptions reasonably, as I did in my research, and the cost of SRI becomes trivial.

2013-07-30 Result of Japan's Upper House Election by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and New Komeito coalition have secured an upper house majority by winning 76 seats in the July 21st House of Councilors election to reach the total of 135 seats together with the seats that were not contested this time (out of a total 242 seats). This has ended the state of a “divided National Diet,” allowing more stable management by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cabinet and the ruling coalition parties.

2013-07-30 Conflicting Crosscurrents Move Equities Sideways by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished last week narrowly mixed, with the S&P 500 falling -0.02%.1 While the second quarter earnings per share growth continues to move higher, revenue growth remains below trend. The economic calendar is focused on this week’s release of the July employment report. Global macro headlines generated more uncertainty than direction for the markets.

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 Pennies from Heaven, Irrationality, and “Dys-information” by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

If QE4 holds to course, ending, not just tapering, sometime in mid-2014, the U.S. will have spent 4+ years out of the past 6 living on monetary stimulus, all the while continuing to pile up ever more claims against future prosperity.

2013-07-30 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stock averages were nearly unchanged last week as earnings reports are being reported mostly in line albeit with the usual concerns about the pace of economic activity. This is reflected once again by a lack of revenue growth for many industries.

2013-07-30 Only a Few Light Showers, So Far by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Last week’s summer storm warning for the stock market has so far yielded just a few summer showers. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 tumbled, but with stronger-than-expected earnings reports across much of the tech sector, the NASDAQ Index moved higher last week.

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 And That\\\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

So now Prez Obama is sharing his two cents about the economy. After weeks of endless babble from the Fed Chief and his partners in crime about the economy and the longevity of the bond buying program, O is now making job creation his number one priority. Is anyone listening to his urgent messages (certainly no one in DC)? Investors (at least those not on vacation) were less than impressed with the less than impressive earnings of the week, though markets held their own.

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 What's Wrong With Indexes? by Brian Evans, Madrona of AdvisorShares

It has been more than 35 years since the first broad market index funds debuted. At the time, they were a cutting edge strategy for core equity allocation. Today, index funds are a major part of 401(k) and other retirement plans, particularly ones tracking the Standard & Poor’s 500. But they have deep flaws.

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 Investors Now a Concern by John Burns of John Burns Real Estate Consulting

During the downturn and early stages of recovery, we were huge proponents of investors taking advantage of overcorrected home prices to make great investments while also helping the housing market recover. Mission accomplished.

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 Funds Get All-Time Record $36.8 Billion in July by Minyi Chen, TrimTabs of AdvisorShares

As Wall Street rejoiced at the succession of record highs with the S&P 500 on Monday, our demand indicators continue to turn less favorable. Traders who are still aggressively long should definitely consider paring their long positions.

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 For A Healthier Portfolio - Look Here by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The Health Care sector is comprised of many diverse companies, as can be seen from the list of subsectors provided below. Historically the Health Care sector has been comprised of a significant number of companies with above-average growth rates of earnings. Consequently, a majority of the companies comprising the Health Care sector could be thought of as growth stocks over dividend growth stocks.

2013-07-26 Municipal Bonds: Equipped to Weather Rising Rates by Guy Davidson of AllianceBernstein

Muni bonds suffered a rout recently when anxiety over the Fed’s taper of bond buying roiled fixed-income markets, leaving many investors wondering where to turn. As it turns out, munis have historically been effective shock absorbers. We believe that, given the right positioning, munis can help weather rising rates.

2013-07-26 Wedding Bells in Romania by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

I was invited to attend the wedding of one of our Romanian staff in June, and I jumped at the opportunity to celebrate with the happy couple, visit a different part of Romania, and talk to locals about life there. The celebration represented a microcosm of the juxtaposition of old and new in Romania, and this is similar for investors there as progress continues toward market reform.

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.

2013-07-25 A Midyear Update: Getting Back to “Normal” by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Though markets were whipsawed by the announcement, the Fed’s plan to step aside and allow normalization is a good thing. Today, the primary risk for investors to hedge is economic growth and the strong equity returns it tends to produce not financial Armageddon. While risks in Europe and China persist, U.S. fundamentals look relatively strong. Two consecutive quarters of S&P 500 earnings growth prompts a forecast update.

2013-07-25 A One-Pillar Economy by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Despite blockbuster new home sales, higher interest rates have put downward pressure on housing activity. This is highly worrisome given the importance of housing to the health of the U.S. economy.

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?

2013-07-24 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 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 Earnings Acceleration Likely Needed for Next Upturn in Stocks by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished mostly higher last week. For a fourth straight week, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrials were up (returning 0.73% and 0.57% respectively for the week), while the NASDAQ underperformed at -0.34%. It was a busy start for second quarter earnings. More than 70% of the 100 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings have beaten consensus earnings per share expectations by approximately 3% in aggregate.

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.

2013-07-23 The Price You Pay for Poor Management by Bob Veres (Article)

If you have 100 client meetings a year and could net an additional $65,000 to $70,000 out of them, how much effort would you be willing to put into achieving that?

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 More Summer Storms? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

don’t know about your part of the country but I think this summer has been the wettest in some time around Detroit. We have had soooo much rain. Our Great Lakes began the year well below their long-term average depth. After months of rain, all of the Great Lakes are now above their levels from last year, and nearby Lake Ontario has gained ten inches in height in just the last month. Ontario is 11″ higher than one year ago and 5″ ABOVE the century average. Yet its previous below average condition had existed for years and had been worsening quite a change!

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 You Thought It Was Hot Outside... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

You thought it was hot outside? Wait until you see the weekly cash inflows into U.S. Equities... Funds that hold only U.S. stocks gained $15.58 billion in new cash, the most since June 2008. ETFs that hold domestic equities attracted $12.45 billion of those gains.

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.

2013-07-22 U.S. Equity Fund Inflow in July Seventh-Highest Monthly Inflow by Minyi Chen, TrimTabs of AdvisorShares

Investors are piling into U.S. Stocks with July only a little half over. Read this investor insight by TrimTabs Asset Management to learn more about the recent uptick in U.S. Equities and other detailed supply and demand activity with the stock market at the start of Q3.

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.

2013-07-19 How to Catch an Investment Wave\'? Get in the Water! by Joe Kringdon of Pioneer Investments

At the beginning of the summer, I always start singing (or humming) some Beach Boys song as my own personal soundtrack to this glorious and seemingly carefree season. The song “Catch a Wave” has particular significance not because I’m a surfer, but because one of my investing mentors once used surfing as analogy for me.

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 China's Slowing Growth Who's In the Driver's Seat? by Anastasia Amoroso of J.P. Morgan Funds

After three decades of double-digit GDP growth, China has recently been expanding at a rate much closer to its five-year plan’s established target of 7%. As the pace of growth has changed, so has its composition and trajectory. The focus is shifting away from growth at all costs to a preference for quality over quantity that increases the wellbeing of an average Chinese consumer. The government is intent on rebalancing the economy away from commodity intensive infrastructure spending and towards supporting the middle class by increasing urbanization, private consumption and affordable ho

2013-07-19 European Equities: Beyond the Headlines by Philippe Brugere-Trelat of Franklin Templeton Investments

It’s fairly easy for investors to find reasons to shun European equities. While struggles in some Eurozone “periphery” countries continue to make eye-catching headlines, the broader story of Europe is far less fatalistic, according to Mutual Series Executive Vice President Philippe Brugere-Trelat, who manages the Mutual European Fund, Mutual Global Discovery Fund and Mutual International Fund. When it comes to Europe, he says one shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, so to speak.

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 7 Things Investors Should Know Now by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Can stocks move higher? What are the best opportunities now in stocks and fixed income? Russ answers these questions and others in an update to his mid-year outlook.

2013-07-19 Are Blue-Chip Consumer Staples Worth Today's Premium Valuations? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The Consumer Staples sector consists of companies that provide essential products. In other words, Consumer Staples are products that people cannot or are unwilling to do without. As a result of the essential nature of Consumer Staples, there are several attributes that distinguish this sector from most others. First of all, the essential nature of the products that Consumer Staples’ companies produce, are for the most part, non-cyclical. Second, Consumer Staples tend to be very insensitive to economic cycles.

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 Risk Tolerance: Defining a Misunderstood Term by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

First, let’s be clear: “Risk” is the possibility that you will need money but don’t have it, either because your portfolio’s value plunged, because your investments don’t have near-term liquidity, or both. What freaks investors out in the here-and-now is VOLATILITY. Yet many traditional approaches to building a portfolio don’t really account for this, other than a token survey question or two when the client is first starting to invest.

2013-07-18 Submissions from Advisor Shares by AdvisorShares Team of AdvisorShares

Two submissions from the AdvisorShares team this week: Money Flowing into Savings Deposits and Money Market Funds by TrimTabs Asset Management and AdvisorShares Active ETF Market Share Update.

2013-07-18 A U.S. Stock Market Rally to Sell by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The longer-term outlook for the U.S. stock market remains favorable, but moves in the NYSE advance/decline line suggest caution in the weeks and months ahead.

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 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 China's Curbs on Bank Lending: Implications for the World Economy? by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments

Banks are by far the top-weighted sector group in China, so there’s little chance for the broad market to buck the trend. Indeed the problem is sector-specific at first glance. Policy makers want to curb excess bank lending in an effort to make the industry better managed and more selective.

2013-07-17 The Bernanke Guessing Game by David Wismer of Flexible Plan Investments

There can be little doubt that US equity markets have become more dependent than ever, at least in the short-term, on the every utterance of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his fellow FOMC members.

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 Fed's Gobbledygook - What Do They Really Mean? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Recent communications from the Fed and comments by Chairman Bernanke cast a great deal of uncertainty on the equity and bond markets in late June. Specifically, Bernanke’s remarks in his press conference on June 19 where he discussed ending its program of quantitative easing prompted a huge global selloff in the stock and bond markets.

2013-07-16 Nassim Nicholas Taleb: To Prevail in an Uncertain World, Get Convex by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

Investment professionals know the value of a convex bond – it gains more from falling rates than it loses from rising ones. According to Nassim Nicholas Taleb, people and institutions can and should position themselves to be convex. Indeed, they should be antifragile – ready to gain from disorder or uncertainty.

2013-07-16 Venerated Voices™ Awards for the Second Quarter of 2013 by Advisor Perspectives (Article)

We announce our Venerated Voices awards for commentaries published in Q2 2013. Rankings were issued in three categories: The Top 25 Venerated Voices by Firm, The Top 25 Venerated Voices by Author and The Top 10 Venerated Voices by Commentary.

2013-07-16 Letters to the Editor by Advisor Perspectives (Article)

A reader responds to the ongoing exchange of letters regarding socially responsible investing, and a reader responds to Joe Tomlinson’s article, Retirement Portfolios: Fears over Rising Rates are Overblown, which appeared last week.

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 High Yield Market Overview June 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 2.64% for the month of June. Yields moved sharply higher during the month as the high yield market experienced record retail outflows, quickly adjusting expectations around the Treasury market, and increased equity price volatility. Volatility spiked after a more hawkish message emanated from the Fed after the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on June 19th.

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 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks got a boost last week from Fed Chairman Bernanke who decided (as predicted here) he needed to reset market expectations about the economy and Fed policy.

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 A Pivotal Point in the Markets by Meggan Walsh of Invesco Blog

Because the market is a forward-discounting mechanism, it’s not unusual for it to have led the economic recovery over the last four years. Today, I believe the market has already discounted a decent economy over the intermediate term and is approximately fairly valued. But that’s not the whole story.

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.

2013-07-13 The Bang! Moment Shock by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week we resume our musings about Cyprus, to see what that tiny island can teach us about our own personal need to engage in ongoing critical analysis of our lives and investment portfolios. Cyprus is not Greece or France or Spain or Japan or the US or (pick a country). I get that. No two situations are the same, but there may be a rhyme or two here that is instructive.

2013-07-12 Weekly Market Review-Highlights of the Prior week by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Stocks moved higher but volume was notably low over the holiday shortened trading week. This week for a change, positive economic data, not speculation about the Federal Reserve’s tapering of Quantitative Easing drove the market in the US.

2013-07-12 Welcome Back Greece to the High-Potential World of Emerging Markets by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

In June, major international equity index provider MSCI confirmed Greece’s sojourn among the ranks of “developed markets” would end later this year as it will become the first-ever country to lose its “developed market” status in the MSCI universe. Interestingly, Greece was classified as emerging when I started with the Templeton Emerging Markets Group in 1987, and while the recent news might conjure up images of a significant turn for the worse for the country’s economic fortunes, MSCI’s explanation for Greece’s reclassification was actually mor

2013-07-12 Bond Yields Gone Wild? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

With the Federal Reserve’s intention to taper its easing, yields have risen quickly, causing municipal bonds to experience their worst decline since September 2008. In the second quarter, the Barclays Capital Municipal Bond Index lost nearly 3 percent, with the long end of the yield curve receiving the biggest blow, as bonds maturing in 20 years fell more than 4 percent.

2013-07-12 Even My 92- Year-Old Mom Questioned Me! by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

When I told Mom that I was buying gold bullion this week (7/8), she asked, “Are you sure you want to do that?”

2013-07-12 Hasenstab: Emerging Out of the Consensus Trade by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Just when is a potential long-term reward worth the short-term risk? Investors are often most focused on the short-term pain of a particular event (hard to blame them), losing sight of possible outcomes farther out into the future. That could partially explain what’s going on in the emerging markets right now, at least according to Michael Hasenstab, co-director of the International Bond Department, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group.

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 Turmoil and Transition in China by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Tensions in Asia are rising, as China attempts to move toward a more market driven economy. This, combined with the ongoing ultra loose monetary conditions in Japan, has elevated the threat of a financial crisis in the region between now and the end of 2013.

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.

2013-07-10 A Five Question Portfolio Check Up by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

If the stock or bond market has another panic attack and drops 25% to 50% in the next 1, 2 or 3 years, would this decline make you unable to pay off your mortgage, pay for college, or whatever else you planned on doing? If the stock or bond market has another panic attack and drops 25% to 50% in the next 1, 2 or 3 years, would this decline cause you to: panic, sell everything you own, or worse, jump off a bridge? Do you know what you own? How important is the result of your portfolio entrusted to us in light of your entire financial well being?

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 Employer Mandate: A Pharma Bump in the Road by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

As long-duration value investors, we at Smead Capital Management have been very attracted to the conservative accounting, shareholder friendly dividends/buybacks and bright pipeline futures of major pharmaceutical/biotech companies like Merck (MRK), Pfizer (PFE) and Amgen (AMGN). Lately, there has been weakness in these shares and we’d like to review our best theory for recent fears and price weakness, while reviewing the merit of these high quality shares.

2013-07-10 Are You Financially Literate? Take the Test! by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

For over a decade, numerous studies have found that most Americans are lacking in their basic knowledge regarding finance and investments. I first reported on this back in 2003 and have done so every few years since then. Unfortunately, things have not gotten better over the years, despite the fact that we went through a major financial crisis in 2008-2009.

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.”

2013-07-10 Remember Earnings? by Tom West of Columbia Management

With the ebbing of the quantitative easing taper debate, can we go back to our regularly scheduled programming of earnings driving the stocks? If so, where do we stand? There are certainly some areas where we think estimates are a little high and some where they are too low. But in order to get a better picture of earnings expectations and what is priced in, we need to look at both the earnings and the PE (price-to-earnings) ratio the market has placed on those earnings.

2013-07-10 Beware Of The Valuations On The Best Consumer Discretionary Dividend Growth Stocks by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The Consumer Discretionary sector consists of businesses that sell nonessential, and therefore, discretionary goods and services. Companies in this sector include retailers, media companies, consumer services companies, consumer durables and apparel companies, automobiles and components companies. Since so much of what this sector offers is discretionary items, companies in the sector tend to do best when the economy is strongest. Unfortunately, as we will soon see, so do the prices of their stocks tend to perform best when the market is performing best.

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 A Mid-Year Letter to Clients: A Positive Outlook on America by Dan Richards (Article)

Each quarter I’ve posted templates to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the three months that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead. This quarter’s letter focuses on why the U.S. is expected to be the leader among global economies.

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 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 So the Bulls Returned... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

So the Bulls returned to Equities on a holiday shortened week with plenty of news and data to outrun. The Egyptians threw out their President and the Portuguese gave a thumbs down to their government. But dovish comments out of Draghi/ECB, strong data out of Japan, and a 3rd strong month of Non-Farm Payroll growth pushed the Russell 2000 to all-time highs as the rest of the market jumped into its slipstream.

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.

2013-07-08 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 Emerging Markets Debt Remains Fundamentally Strong by Claudia Calich, Jack Deino of Invesco Blog

June’s massive bond sell-off, prompted by fears that the Federal Reserve would wind down its bond-buying program, has had a negative trickle-down effect on emerging market debt-dedicated assets, which were hit hard as part of the record $14.45 billion in outflows seen in the overall bond market for the week ending June 12.

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 Why Oil Has Proven Resilient by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Crude oil has proven more resilient and less volatile this year (depending on which benchmark you use, it is either up or down in the single digits) than most other commodities. There are three main factors behind this.

2013-07-03 The Fed's Prisoner Dilemma: Interest Rates Too Low for Too Long by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

The Prisoner Dilemma is based on the example of two prisoners who are told that if one testifies against the other, the one who testified will go free, but if both testify against the other, both will be jailed a conundrum about courses of action that don’t result in the ideal outcome. We believe the Federal Reserve (Fed) will try to manage expectations so that the Treasury yield curve does not adjust too violently.

2013-07-03 Getting Back to “Normal” by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Though markets were whipsawed by the announcement, the Fed’s plan to step aside and allow normalization is a good thing. The primary risk to hedge is now economic growth and the strong equity returns it tends to produce not financial Armageddon. While risks in Europe and China persist, U.S. fundamentals look relatively strong. It’s not too late for investors to move away from defensive positioning and back toward a standard allocation.

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 A Roadmap for Rates by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Uncertainty over the Federal Reserve’s timeline for tapering quantitative easing has resulted in increased volatility in fixed income markets. While the coming months could see the 10-year Treasury yield climb as high as 3.5 percent, the resulting economic slowdown will keep rates subdued in the medium-term.

2013-07-03 AdvisorShares Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Markets went higher last week after central bankers around the world reassured investors that they would not kill the economic recovery with higher interest rates. More volatile small and mid-cap stock indices performed even better than the S&P 500.

2013-07-03 Does China's Central Bank Matter More than The Fed? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

I’m pleased to share with you the economic and market brief that I prepare for Pioneer’s investment professionals each week. It’s intended to be short but informative, and I hope you find it useful.

2013-07-03 Global PMI: Possible Opportunity for Mining Stocks by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For the month of June, JP Morgan Global Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) showed a reading of 50.6 for global aggregate manufacturing around the world. A reading of this scale indicates no real change in the market, though the one-month reading brings potentially positive news for some investors.

2013-07-03 “Taper Tantrum” Grips Muni Market by Rafael Costas of Franklin Templeton Investments

The markets have been in fits since mid-May, when Federal Ben Bernanke planted the seed that the central bank’s prolonged asset buying program would start winding down. Many investors were gripped with irrational panic, a so-called “taper tantrum” that roiled equity and fixed income markets. Rafael Costas, senior vice president and co-director of our municipal bond department, believes the early summer swoon sweeping the muni markets is unfounded and should be temporary, but the core reason for investing in the sector remains solid: long-term tax-free income potential.

2013-07-02 Avoiding the Interest Rate Freight Train with Individual Bonds by Stephen J. Huxley, Jeremy Fletcher and Brent Burns (Article)

For bond funds, rising rates mean that total return has to fight losses on the underlying portfolio. As a fund’s net asset value (NAV) declines, coupon interest may not be enough to overcome the price loss. Making the same fixed-income allocation to high-quality individual bonds instead and holding them to maturity is a superior strategy when rates rise.

2013-07-02 The Practical Application of Behavioral Finance by Mitchell D. Eichen and John M. Longo (Article)

From the Dot-Com bubble onward, traditional investment models have repeatedly disappointed those who relied on them. When compared to mathematically based models, behavioral finance provides a superior foundation. Here is an alternative investment paradigm, grounded in behavioral finance, that is practical and effective over time periods that are relevant for a significant portion of investors.

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 Investors Dump Emerging Markets Stocks by TrimTabs Asset Management of AdvisorShares

Investors sold off bond mutual funds and ETFs at a record pace in June, while equity sell-offs were much more limited, with almost all of the selling occurring in the emerging market space. Surprisingly, despite a decline in price, US and developed equity ETFs had inflows in June. And investors in leveraged ETFs turned aggressively bullish last week, despite the recent sell-off. Read this investor insight by TrimTabs Asset Management to learn why these signs should be unsettling for contrarians.

2013-07-02 Stay the Course as Mixed Signals Move Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Traders stampeded out of gold, emerging markets and bonds this month, setting record monthly outflows in June. Ever since the Federal Reserve hinted in May that signs of a stronger economy could allow for a slowdown of stimulus, markets have protested the news.

2013-07-02 Finding Value In The Materials Sector Is A Material Thing by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This is the third in a series of articles designed to find value in today’s stock market environment. However, it is the second of 10 articles covering the 10 major general sectors. In my first article, I laid the foundation that represents the two primary underlying ideas supporting the need to publish such a treatise. First and foremost, that it is not a stock market; rather it is a market of stocks. Second, that regardless of the level of the general market, there will always be overvalued, undervalued and fairly valued individual stocks to be found.

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 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 All-Time Record Outflows from Bonds by TrimTabs Asset Management of AdvisorShares

Outflows of bonds aren’t just catching attention, they are setting new highs not seen since 2008. In contrast, stock buybacks are practically unchanged from the previous quarter. Read this investor insight by TrimTabs Asset Management to review timely fund flow activity that has taken place in the marketplace.

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 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 China's Near-Term Macro Outlook by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The key message from the recent Shibor volatility is that the Chinese government is now willing to tolerate slower near-term growth while carrying out reform to rebalance the economy for long term sustainable growth. The diminishing demographic dividend as a result of the aging population and One-Child Policy will result in slower potential growth for the economy.

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 The Global Insider Country Focus: Turkey by Accuvest Global Advisors of AdvisorShares

As the antigovernment protests in Turkey continue, what’s next economically for a country that relies heavily on foreign investors and tourism, especially with summer approaching, the traditional tourist high season? Accuvest Global Advisors, a firm founded on the principle of thinking globally and investing globally, has prepared the following focused country review on Turkey, which analyzes current risks with Turkey and potential next steps in the crisis.

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 Policy-Induced Volatility Continues by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The recent bond market collapse is reminiscent of the Great Crash of 1994. Further pressure on the economy due to rising interest rates could cause the Fed to revisit its timetable for QE.

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 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 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.

2013-06-26 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 When I Suggested it May Be Time To Go Fishing... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

When I suggested that it may be time to go fishing, I didn’t think that everyone would sell their bonds, notes, and bills to buy a new boat...

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 2 Ways to Play the US Energy Boom by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ offers two ideas one perhaps obvious and one perhaps not for investors looking to potentially benefit from the US energy renaissance.

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 Three Simple Ways to Ensure Clients Retain Key Messages by Dan Richards (Article)

Today’s article outlines why client communication gets derailed – and three success stories from advisors who changed just one thing and saw their message stick with clients as a result.

2013-06-25 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Adam Apt responds in the latest exchange of letters on the topic of socially responsible investing. A reader responds to Geoff Considine’s article, A Better Alternative to Cap-Weighted Bond Indices, which appeared June 11. A reader responds to Wade Pfau’s article, Retirement Income Designations – Which Should You Choose?, which appeared last week.

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 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 Canadian National Railway Co: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article will reveal the business prospects of Canadian National Railway Co (CNI) through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool.Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort.Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.

2013-06-25 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.

2013-06-24 The Case for Rotating into (Select) Cyclical Sectors by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Although defensive sectors are back to outperforming cyclical sectors amid June’s market volatility, Russ still believes there’s a strong case for preferring cyclicals or at least select cyclicals

2013-06-24 Despite Interest Rate Concerns, Muni Volatility May Offer an Entry Point by Jack Tierney of Invesco Blog

As we approach the midway point of 2013, the capital markets have many concerns: the potential end of quantitative easing (QE3), the slow rate of economic growth, the stubbornly high unemployment rate and the sorry state of affairs in both federal and state government finances. I won’t speculate on the eventual outcome of these issues, especially where politics is concerned. But I do think it’s valuable to look past the market’s fear and search for areas where smart investors can take clear-eyed action and benefit in uncertain conditions.

2013-06-24 How Does the Fed's Recent Action Compare to EM Central Banks? by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments

In an interview on Bloomberg Radio with Tom Keene and Ken Prewitt, I shared my thoughts on the Fed’s recent announcement that it would continue its QE efforts for the time being. If you missed the segment, I’ve summarized that conversation here for you.

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 The Fear Factor in US Equities by Grant Bowers of Franklin Templeton Investments

Fear is a powerful motivator. Whether it’s a saber-toothed tiger or investment risks, it’s hard to stay calm when confronted with a perceived threat. Fear of a 2008 2009 downturn repeat, even in spite of strong performance in the US equity market in the first half of the year, has kept many investors sidelined. Grant Bowers believes fear itself could be the biggest issue holding back many investors right now, noting that in his view, short-term volatility aside, the recent US market rally is based on supportive fundamentals which he thinks should have staying power.

2013-06-21 Finding Great Value In The Energy Sector by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This will be the second in a series of articles designed to find value in today’s stock market environment. However, it will be the first of 10 articles covering the 10 major general sectors. In my first article, I laid the foundation that represents the two primary underlying ideas supporting the need to publish such a treatise. First and foremost, that it is not a stock market; rather it is a market of stocks. Second, that regardless of the level of the general market, there will always be overvalued, undervalued and fairly valued individual stocks to be found.

2013-06-21 Austerity is a Four-Letter French Word by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The France that I see as I look out from the bullet train today is far different from the France I see when I survey the economic data. Going from Marseilles to Paris, the countryside is magnificent. The farms are laid out as if by a landscape artist this is not the hurly-burly no-nonsense look of the Texas landscape. The mountains and forests that we glide through are glorious. It is a weekend of special music all over France, and last night in Marseilles the stages were alive and the crowds out in force.

2013-06-21 Un-Addiction by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

It appears that the Un-Addiction process has begun. This marks a significant shift for the world of investments. Volatility is on the rise. Interest rates are rising / normalizing. In such a fragile economy, it seems prudent to consider that the risks of economic recession are somewhat higher, even if they are still not the base case. As always, please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or questions.

2013-06-20 The Best Time to Invest by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

I frequently speak at investment conferences around the world, and get questions ranging from my outlook for a particular market to highly sophisticated investment concepts. One seemingly simple question asked by a young lady years ago at a conference in Canada which I attended with the founder of Templeton Investments, the late Sir John Templeton, was particularly timeless. She asked: “I’ve just inherited some money from my grandfather. When is the best time for me to invest it?”

2013-06-20 Municipals: A Glimpse of What's to Come? by Guy Davidson of AllianceBernstein

Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke reiterated today that a healthier economy would prompt the Fed to end its unprecedented bond-buying program, which has kept yields artificially low. Speculation on this question over the last several weeks has caused a sharp bond sell-off and rising yields. But we don’t see this as the start of a rout for most municipal bonds.

2013-06-20 Active ETF Market Share Update by Team of AdvisorShares

Total AUM in all active ETFs fell from $14.552 billion to $14.416 billion over the course of the week. Just like the previous week, ETFs with longer term fixed income investments are facing redemptions, while “Short-Term Bond” ETFs are rapidly expanding their asset base. AUM for active ETFs in the “Global Bond” category fell below the $5 billion dollar level.

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 Every Major Asset Class In The World Is Overpriced by TrimTabs Asset Management of AdvisorShares

We wanted to share a part of a report that TrimTabs sent out over last weekend that received some attention on CNBC on June 10, 2013. Please let us know if you would like to receive a full copy of the report. TrimTabs research focuses on fund flows and float shrink. As you know, 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.

2013-06-19 The Art of Low Turnover by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We have argued vociferously that active managers have given up their preferred position in the investing marketplace to passive indexes because of high turnover. A recent Wall Street Journal article referenced 78% turnover as being the average among large-cap US equity funds. Studies have shown that as much as 144 basis points each year in return is chewed up by trading costs. Explaining turnover and its impact is one thing, but it is more important to ask a question. How do you practice low turnover while seeking maximal long-term performance?

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 The Trouble with Tapering by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Rising interest rates are beginning to put pressure on the recovery in the housing market, which will affect economic output. This reduces the likelihood that the Fed will taper QE in 2013, and could even lead it to signal a possible expansion or extension of the current policies.

2013-06-19 3 Reasons to Consider Spanish Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While Europe is not out of the woods yet, Russ is less concerned about the Spanish market.

2013-06-18 Retirement Income Designations – Which Should You Choose? by Wade Pfau (Article)

With more than 50 certification programs based on the withdrawal phase of the planning lifecycle, advisors are faced with a paralyzing choice about which designation provides the most valuable curriculum. Here’s some guidance on choosing the right program for advisors.

2013-06-18 Cash, Profits and Misplaced Priorities by Steven Grey (Article)

It’s a not-so-veiled threat that is all too familiar to most investment fund managers: “We’re not paying you to be in cash.” But why is it that so many investors fear cash more than losses?

2013-06-18 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)

Adam Kanzer responds to several letters to the editor that appeared last week. Those letters were in response to his article, Exposing False Claims about Socially Responsible Investing, which appeared June 4. Kanzer’s article was in response to Adam Apt’s article, Measuring the Cost of Socially Responsible Investing, which appeared May 21.

2013-06-18 American Eagle Outfitters Inc: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article will reveal the business prospects of American Eagle Outfitters Inc through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.

2013-06-18 High Yield Market Overview May 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch High Yield Master II Constrained Index (the “Index”), was down 0.53% for the month of May, as fears of eventual Fed tapering dominated investor sentiment and put upward pressure on Treasury yields. The end result was the most substantial setback in a year for the high yield market. Despite the fears of rising rates, mildly improving economic conditions, healthy corporate earnings/balance sheets, and reduced tail risks and stagnant global growth/low inflation continue to benefit the high yield market.

2013-06-18 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 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 Predictions by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Last Tuesday night was a special night. I was having some out of state friends that I had not seen for over a year meet my wife and me for dinner. I picked out an outstanding restaurant with a wide deck perched on the tip of one of Michigan’s gorgeous fresh water lakes. I got the last table available for the 6:30 p.m. seating.

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 Recent Volatility in the Foreign Exchange Market and the Strengthening Yen by Team of Nomura Asset Management

There are two issues underlying the increased currency market volatility; depreciation of the Yen may have resulted in worldwide competitive devaluation and concern about early tapering of quantitative easing (QE) in the U.S. appears to have triggered currency depreciation for countries that are running current account deficits.

2013-06-17 Submerging Markets: What the Emerging Market Selloff is Telling Us by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Investing at its most basic level is about one thing: the return you seek on your investment and the risk you take to get that return. I often emphasize that the biggest “risk” to investors is volatility, because it’s the occasional shakiness of markets or market segments that causes investors (whether they manage their money or have someone else do it for them) to react emotionally instead of logically. That plays out every day in markets around the world.

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.

2013-06-14 Searching For Value And Finding It In Today's Market - Sector By Sector by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

“I think the market is overvalued now,” is a common refrain that I’m hearing from most of the individual investors I have recently been coming in contact with. Consequently, many of these same investors are also currently eschewing investing in common stocks because of that fear. Although I do not agree that the market is currently overvalued, I believe I understand why so many people think it is. Individual investors currently believe the market is overvalued because of two common fallacies that at first blush appear to be logical.

2013-06-14 AdvisorShares Active ETF Market Share Update by Team of AdvisorShares

So far this month, money has flown into short-term bond active ETFs and funds in the alternative income category. There has also been a shift out of funds investing in longer-term bonds and emerging market debt, probably in response to rising interest rates and a strengthening US dollar. There was also a big increase in the smallest category of sustainable active ETFs, which is comprised of funds investing in companies that make efforts to improve their impact on the environment.

2013-06-14 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 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

Six years ago, in 2007, the trustees of Social Security projected that Social Security would run out of money, i.e., have a negative balance, in the year 2041. At the end of last month the trustees updated this projection and indicated that the trust fund backing the payment of Social Security would be zero by 2033. A zero trust fund does not mean the payment of Social Security benefits would also go to zero, but would drop to 77% of their originally promised levels through 2087. Is any of this getting Congress’s attention? (Source: Social Security Trustees)

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 Global Small Cap Investing: Unconstrained Opportunities by Blake Pontius of William Blair

Equity asset allocations have become more global in recent years as investors have sought to reduce the long standing home country bias in their portfolios. Further propelling this trend has been the growing aversion to traditional asset class structures and indeed, conventional asset class definitions, in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 global fi nancial crisis. Against this backdrop, global equity strategies have continued to garner asset fl ows in Europe and have slowly begun to gain traction in the U.S. after years of tepid demand.

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 Pacific Basin Market Overview May 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

After a positive start, many Pacific Basin Markets ended the month lower amid concerns that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will soon begin to gradually scale back its quantitative easing measures by reducing the pace of central bank asset purchases. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan decreased by 4.8% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 4.3% lower in May. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)

2013-06-13 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

2013-06-12 Curtiss-Wright Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Curtiss-Wright Corp (CW) is an innovative engineering company that provides highly engineered, critical function products, systems and services in the areas of flow control, motion control and surface treatment technologies to the defense, energy and commercial/industrial markets. The legacy company of Glenn Curtiss and the Wright brothers, Curtiss-Wright has a long tradition of design and manufacturing innovation and prides itself on long-standing customer relationships.

2013-06-12 What the NHL Playoffs Can Teach Investors by Jeff Knight of Columbia Management

The National Hockey League playoffs are marvelous to watch. The league’s best teams play their best hockey with every game more meaningful than those played during the regular season. Playoff games feel much more strategic, and one key aspect of playoff strategy is the importance of playing with the lead. In fact, of the 53 playoff games this season that went to the third period with one team ahead, 43 of those, or 81%, finished in favor of the team that was winning after two periods*. NHL playoff teams know how to protect a lead once they have it.

2013-06-12 Silver Lining: Fed's “Tapering” Signals Stronger Economy by Eric Takaha of Franklin Templeton Investments

The Federal Reserve’s warning that it planned to scale back purchases of Treasuries sparked a storm on Wall Street, bringing instability to what had been a pleasant May in the US markets. Almost lost in the noise, however, is a silver lining: the Fed thinks the economy may be healthy enough to fly on its own.

2013-06-12 5 Reasons Not to Flee Non-US Dividend Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

“As bond yields rise, is it time to flee dividend stocks?” Russ explains why the answer is, no, at least when it comes to international dividend payers.

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 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A number of readers responded to Adam Kanzer’s article, Exposing False Claims about Socially Responsible Investing, which appeared last week. Kanzer’s article was in response to Adam Apt’s article, Measuring the Cost of Socially Responsible Investing, which appeared the week before. Several readers responded to other articles as well.

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 Risk Parity - New Thinking or New Packaging? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Ever since Harry Markowitz brought forth the notion of mean-variance optimization in 1952, academics and practitioners alike have sought ways to build more robust asset allocation methodologies. Recently, the most talked about approach in the institutional world is risk parity, which seeks to focus on risk as its primary input. Risk parity is intuitively appealing, but suffers many pitfalls that investors need to consider.

2013-06-11 Managing the Odds: Overcoming Exit Strategy Biases with Tail Risk Hedging by Vineer Bhansali of PIMCO

Rather than making an exclusive choice we believe that rebalancing, options purchase and diversification should all be considered on the same footing. Is it better to dynamically de-risk if markets begin to fall to lock in gains, or is it better to purchase explicit tail hedges? Our tendency, as humans, to be time-inconsistent, with behavior changing as the situation changes, makes dynamic rebalancing prone to behavioral biases. At pricing levels of low option premia the purchase of options to prevent time-inconsistent behavior seems like a judicious decision.

2013-06-11 I Spy by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

It’s hard to tell which to be most worried about the Chinese spying on us through their computer hacking or the government spying on us through all our data providers! To paraphrase Jay Leno’s remark the other night, “Voters said they wanted a government that listened to them now they’ve got one!”

2013-06-11 6 Investing Implications of Friday's Jobs Report by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While the jobs report on Friday merely confirmed that the recovery continues to chug along slowly, it does have six implications for investors.

2013-06-10 Emerging Market Opportunities by Patrick OShaughnessy, Ashvin Viswanathan of OShaughnessy Asset Management

Emerging market equities present both unique opportunities and also unique risks. Unlike more mature economies, emerging markets’ economies have the potential for impressive growth rates. But emerging markets also have the potential for damaging socio-economic and political instability. Equity returns in these countries are often impressive, but to earn these returns investors must deal with considerably higher volatility than in the developed equity markets.

2013-06-10 Dad\'s Rules: Timeless Wisdom From a Fallen Investment Hero by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Once I publish a blog post, I immediately start thinking of a topic for the next one. At this time last week, I decided to focus today’s blog on the concept of “trading turnover” that is, how long you hold something you bought, until you sell it. It seems that with the stock market on a four-year tear and the bond market threatening to fall apart at any moment, it is a great time for investors to prioritize the most basic investment rule: buy low / sell high.

2013-06-10 Emerging Markets Mid-Year Pulse Check by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Global economic growth hasn’t been terribly inspiring so far in the first half of the year, but many investors have nevertheless been inspired to pour more assets into the equity markets, some of which have surged to record highs. As we hit the mid-year point, now seems like a good time to take a pulse check of emerging markets and assess our prognosis.

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 Affordable Care Act Roll-Out: Are “Train Wreck” Fears Justified? by Harlan Sonderling of Columbia Management

Expect to see a large U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) advertising and public relations program this summer ahead of the October 1 federal and state health insurance exchanges open enrollment, one of the key features of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Administration, Congress and the nation have much riding on successful implementation of the law and the participation of newly-insured individuals.

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 Own These World's Leading Brands And Never Fear A Recession Again by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

If you were to take the essence of most people’s beliefs and understanding about investing in common stocks, or the stock market for that matter, and turn it into a movie, I believe it would have to be labeled under the category science fiction. In other words, in my experience, most of what people believe about common stocks or the stock market is predicated more on opinion than on fact. But even more importantly, it is predicated on opinions that are driven by strong emotional responses.

2013-06-07 3 Reasons Not to Turn Away from Emerging Markets by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Is it time to abandon underperforming emerging markets in favor of bets closer to home? Clearly “no,” says Russ and he explains why.

2013-06-06 The Fed's Dilemma by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Market volatility is rising as the Fed continues with its asset purchase program. The economy also appears increasingly vulnerable to a rise in interest rates, which would have an adverse effect on housing in particular.

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 The Wisdom of Crowds by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

Are markets efficient? This is a debate that has been on-going for decades. In one corner you have the proponents of the Efficient Markets Hypothesis. In their world alpha does not exist, or at the very least it is not sustainable. In the other corner you have the supporters of behavioural finance who see investors as being mostly irrational and suffering from all sorts of behavioural biases which create alpha opportunities galore. Out of this long lasting stand-off a new paradigm is emerging called the Adaptive Markets Hypothesis which aims to reconcile the two.

2013-06-06 More Than a Feeling by Team of AdvisorShares

Tangible signs of fundamental weakness are appearing everywhere, yet financial market participants are simply choosing to ignore these signs. There remains a significant disconnect between the real economy and financial markets. Read this paper by Peritus Asset Management to learn how to navigate the weak fundamental picture in what they believe to be the beginning of a 15-20 year positive technical backdrop, which will put yield generating assets, such as high yield bonds, in the sweet spot.

2013-06-05 Weekly Market Commentary by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

Yesterday ended the streak of up Tuesdays in the market while last week saw an acceleration in the the "crush anything that pays any sort of yield" theme. Treasuries, high yield bonds, preferred shares, Utilities, REITs, etc. all got killed. At this point this just seems like the weird type of dislocation that happens sometimes in markets where money just doesn’t want to go anywhere except under a mattress.

2013-06-05 Broader Use of Bail-Ins Could Spur a Revival of Asset-Backed Securities in Europe by Felix Blomenkamp of PIMCO

We believe ABS issuance will likely increase in Europe as eurozone developments and possible future bail-ins potentially result in higher risk premiums and funding costs for European banks. Although regulators are playing catch-up, capital markets are making room for a more credit-intensive product, helping to lead the way for a resurgence in ABS. Due to concerns over the security of bank deposits, investors may look to the ABS sector, which offers collateralized bonds that are free of bail-in risk.

2013-06-05 Driving with the Doors Off, Part II by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover, Mike Czekaj of Broadleaf Partners

About ten months ago, I wrote about my new bulldozer-yellow Jeep Wrangler, comparing the sensation of Driving with the Doors Off to investing in the New Normal, or as I like to call it, a “slow growth for as far as the eyes can see” environment. While the pavement had always been a mere twelve inches beneath my feet, Driving with The Doors Off made the experience far more real, far more alive, and far more aware of the risks that had always been there. In the New Normal it feels like we are always and everywhere just one small pothole away from the next economic disaster.

2013-06-04 Exposing False Claims about Socially Responsible Investing A Response to Adler and Kritzman by Adam M. Kanzer (Article)

When the Domini 400 Social Index was launched in 1990, the common wisdom said that if you limited your investable universe by anything other than financial factors, you would limit your returns. The performance of the index has proven that assumption to be false. Nevertheless, the assumption lives on.

2013-06-04 Bob Pozen’s Secrets for Managing Clients, Time and Productivity by Jeff Briskin (Article)

Too many employees define their professional worth by the number of hours they work rather than by the impact of their efforts. In a culture where people believe they have to do everything perfectly to succeed, they often spend too much time on details, rather than focusing on broader issues, according to Bob Pozen.

2013-06-04 An Advisor’s Perspective on Prophets and Profits by Gary Moore (Article)

More than 30 years on Wall Street have proven to me that many advisors could do more business – and do more good for our clients, profession and the world – if we considered the moral views of investors, whether we agree with those views or not.

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 Wounded Heart by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Joseph Schumpeter, the originator of the phrase “creative destruction,” authored a less well-known corollary at some point in the 1930s. “Profit,” he wrote, “is temporary by nature: It will vanish in the subsequent process of competition and adaptation.” And so it has, certainly at the micro level for which his remark was obviously intended. Once proud, seemingly indestructible capitalistic giants have seen their profits fall short of “everlasting” and exhibited a far more ephemeral character.

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 Does Sector Shift Spell A Continued Rally? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Unlike most robust equity rallies, however, 2013 performance was initially led by traditionally defensive sectors, such as health care, utilities, and consumer staples. Through the first quarter, those three sectors posted an average return of 14.5%, while traditional cyclicals averaged just 9%. While some speculated this trend was due to investors’ reach for yield amid a frothy fixed income environment, the magnitude of this sector leadership (in an up move) was certainly unusual.

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.

2013-06-03 Qualcomm Inc: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article will reveal the business prospects of Qualcomm Inc through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.

2013-06-01 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 This Is What Real Bubbles Look Like by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

With the stock market currently doing so well, numerous articles are popping up playing the bubble card. Personally, I don’t believe we are anywhere near bubble levels for equities, at least in the general sense. I do think there are certain stocks that are currently overvalued, but very few that I would describe as dangerously so. To me, the true definition of a bubble is when prices have become so ludicrously high, that the dangers of a catastrophic loss large enough to be considered almost permanent become imminent or at least quite obvious.

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 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 Taking a Bite of Values by Peter Langerman of Franklin Templeton Investments

In the midst of a spring stock market surge sweeping some spots on the global mapnotably the USsome investors have been left scratching their heads, wondering just what it is that the equity market is celebrating. True, the US economy has been improving in some areas, but is it enough to justify the hooplaand keep the market from back-sliding at the first hint of trouble? And, are there any values to be had in this environment? Peter Langerman believes much of today’s US market euphoria is actually rational because it’s based on improving fundamentals, and yes, there are values to

2013-05-31 The Great Reflation by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

This week economists, investors and politicians were treated to some of the "best" home price data since the frothy days of 2006 when home loans were given out like cotton candy and condo flipping was a national pastime. The Case-Shiller 20 City Composite Home price index was up a startling 10.9% for the 12 month period ending in March. Prices in all 20 cities were up, with some (Las Vegas, Phoenix, and San Francisco) notching gains of more than 20%. Meanwhile the National Association of Realtors announced that April pending home sales volume reached the highest level in nearly three years.

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 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 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 Perfect by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Normally, May is a perfect time to visit New York City. The snow is gone, spring is in the air, Broadway readies for its Tony celebration, and people just seem friendlier. While there were plenty of friendly vibes from the populace when I visited on company business last week, and it is a super season on Broadway (“Motown” and “Kinky Boots” look to lead the list of new musicals they were terrific), the weather was abysmal cold and very rainy. They even had snow in parts of New York as the weekend began.

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 Ball Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Ball Corp (BLL) is a supplier of high quality packaging for beverage, food and household products customers, and of aerospace and other technologies and services, primarily for the U.S. government.

2013-05-29 Is This the End of the World As We Know It? by Massimo Tosato of Schroders Investment Management

After five turbulent years of decline and unrelenting economic doom there are signs that change could be afoot.

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 Is the Fed in the Home Stretch? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Global equity markets stammered through a choppy environment last week following increased fears that certain central banks were considering the possibility of pulling stimulus sooner than anticipated. Markets have long been dependent on central banks, but the notion that policymakers could head for the exits leaves investors unsure how to react.

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 Six Reasons You’re Charging the Wrong Fees by Bob Veres (Article)

My research has explored the spectrum of advisory fees in considerable detail, and has allowed advisors to compare their fee structures with professional norms, evolving trends and the input of advisors around the country. Here are the six biggest oddities I discovered – each of which is a clear sign that advisors are not charging as much as they should.

2013-05-28 Solving the Public Pension Plan Funding Crisis by John T. Hausladen (Article)

Current proposals to address public pension underfunding will not provide any significant relief because of the continued assumption of investment and longevity risk by plan sponsors. I propose a combination of liability-driven investing and a risk-transfer mechanism to gradually eliminate plan liabilities.

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 Forward-Looking Broad-Market Investing by Team of AdvisorShares

The following is a research study that provides compelling data on a more efficient way to invest in broad markets. Many people have called the equity market of the last 10 years the “lost decade” due to its lack of net change. Madrona Funds research shows that it would have been possible to have profited by over 200% over the last decade by using their forward looking methodology, which is based on future expected earnings, not past performance.

2013-05-28 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.

2013-05-24 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 Sri Lanka\'s Victory by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

Sri Lanka has begun to reap the fruits of peace. By diverting resources that were previously spent on its military toward things like infrastructure, tourism and education, its economy has experienced solid growth. As our small car sat in traffic on the main road leading to the Colombo airport, my driver told me about the newly planned highway scheduled to open later this year. The Colombo-Katunayake Expressway, he said, would reduce my 1.5-hour trip to about 20 minutes. More importantly, I thought, we wouldn’t be driven off the road by rickshaws referred to locally as “tuk-tuks.&#

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 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 Investing in Gold: Does It Stack Up? by Team of Knowledge@Wharton

Gold has a timeless allure -- especially if you worry about stock market volatility, inflation, a decay of ordinary currency or the collapse of civilization. Yet not everyone agrees that gold offers the safe haven its promoters describe. How reliable can demand be for a commodity that very few people actually need? What is the proper role for gold in an investment portfolio? Why has its price been falling?

2013-05-22 The Tao of Investing by Liam Molloy, Bethany Carlson of Galway Investment Strategy

“Risk-averse” is often used as a description of a rational investor. However, “aversion” is not a logical desire to minimize. Aversion is fear and disgust. When we “avert our eyes”, we look away. The term risk-aversion, in fact, gets right to the heart of the behavioral side of finance. We are afraid of losing money and perhaps even more powerfully, we are afraid of the embarrassment that comes from being a loser.

2013-05-22 If You Didn\'t Buy That Powerball Ticket... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

So onward and upward. What signals should Bulls be on the lookout for? Change in breadth (Up v. Down Volumes, Advancers v. Decliners), Signs of distribution (Sharp down days accompanied by large % increases in trading volumes), Change in leadership away from RISKON sectors (don’t want SmallCaps, Financials, Industrials, Transports or Housing to lag)...

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 When Will the U.S. Economy Stop Slowing Down and Start Speeding Up? by Marco Pirondini of Pioneer Investments

As earnings data from companies comes trickling in, it all but confirms a slowdown in the second quarter.

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 Malaysia's Post-Election Investment Outlook by Scott Klimo of Saturna Capital

Earlier this year we identified ASEAN as the most attractive region within the emerging markets universe. That prediction has proved accurate. Market indices (USD returns) year-to-date through April in the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia are 23%, 22%, and 16%, respectively. Singapore (which we do not consider an emerging market) gained 6%, while Malaysia rose only 3.9%. So what’s the outlook for Malaysia?

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 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Once again stock prices moved higher last week despite mostly poor economic data and a background in Washington DC of multiple scandals. The latter begging the question as to whether substantive policy actions are now off the table for the year.

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.

2013-05-22 China's IPO Drought: Will it Lift? by Eddie Chow of Franklin Templeton Investments

Following a flood of initial public offerings (IPOs) that lasted several years, China’s local A-share market has been in an IPO drought since late last year. There is some speculation China’s regulatory body, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), may allow some IPOs to trickle back into the market this year, but we don’t yet know exactly when or at what volume. I’ve invited my colleague Eddie Chow to share his perspective on why IPO issuance has been halted in China’s local market, and where we see potential opportunities in the current environment.

2013-05-21 Measuring the Cost of Socially Responsible Investing by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

Quite apart from its motivations, the consequences of socially responsible investing have intrigued analysts. The actual results, as distinct from the desired results, cannot be taken for granted. Mark Kritzman has written about the subject, but his research was little noticed until recently, when SRI achieved renewed prominence in the form of popular demands that institutional portfolios divest themselves of investments in fossil-fuel companies. Kritzman’s point, and the conclusion of his analysis, is that SRI, properly understood, incurs a cost to the portfolio.

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 Developed Europe: Regional Economic Review 1Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

After withdrawing into the background in late 2012, the Euro-zone sovereign debt crisis resurfaced in the first quarter with the Italian elections and Cyprus’ banking crisis. In late February, Italy’s national elections resulted in a fractured mandate, and Italians voted out the incumbent, the main architect of the country’s austerity and reforms agenda.

2013-05-21 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 High Yield Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Constrained Index, was up 1.86% for the month of April, as the high yield market continued to benefit from stable U.S. economic growth and steady asset reflation driven by the Federal Reserve and global central banks.

2013-05-21 Are Equity Investors Pushing the Gas Pedal Too Hard? by Norman Boersma of Franklin Templeton Investments

Whatever previous reticence investors may have had about equities last year seems to have evaporated and, with remarkable speed, turned into fear over having missed the equity rally. Some major market averages have accelerated at a pace some say is reckless, so as we head toward the mid-point of the year, Norm Boersma, CFA, chief investment officer of Templeton Global Equity Group, takes a look at reasons investors might continue to push the gas pedalor tap the brakes.

2013-05-21 DC Plan Sponsors Should Look Further than Their Own Backyard by Alison Martier, Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

US defined contribution (DC) plan sponsors large and small are seeking ways to help plan participants achieve better outcomes. Over the last 30 years, compelling evidence has accumulated that suggests currency-hedged global bonds may be an important part of the solution.

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 General Electric Looks Like It's Becoming The Shareholder-Friendly Company It Once Was by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

General Electric (GE) was once revered as one of the bluest of all blue-chip companies in the world. During its glory days, GE was respected as an industrial conglomerate that manufactured some of the world’s best jet engines, locomotives, appliances and even the highly regarded General Electric light bulb. However, as best I can determine, the roots of General Electric’s ultimate demise were established in 1930 when the company, responding to the great depression, formed GE Finance in order to help their customers finance GE appliances over time.

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 Global Real Estate Is Hot Again, but Where Are the Best Opportunities? by Joe Rodriguez of Invesco

In this low interest rate environment, yield-hungry investors have been moving out of bonds, and many are opting for real estate investment opportunities. Combine that with a structural undersupply of institutional quality real estate in many key cities across the globe, and an attractive case for investment starts to emerge. Here’s where we see the most attractive and promising opportunities by region this year.

2013-05-20 Abenomics for Europe by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The devaluation of the Japanese yen may lead EU policymakers to implement measures that will help the economic situation in the single currency zone.

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.

2013-05-18 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 Making the Most of Equity Allocations by Andrew Pyne, Sabrina Callin of PIMCO

We believe slowing global growth and deleveraging are likely to result in lower long-term returns for equities. Traditional approaches to building equity portfolios may not be enough for investors to meet their return goals. We have found three complementary ways investors can enhance equity return potential: fundamental indexes, index-plus strategies and high active share stock selection approaches.

2013-05-17 Stress Points: What High Frequency Data Tell us About Hidden Tail Risks by Vineer Bhansali, Qingxi Wang of PIMCO

Whereas rare events that occur over lower frequency, longer horizons are much harder to find (and hence much harder to derive statistics from), intraday events create a larger, more accessible data set that can be used to supplement data on tail events. Analyzing the reactions of different markets to intraday tail events can provide valuable information for investors looking for effective tail risk hedges for their portfolios.

2013-05-17 A Matter of Perspective by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

A Hong Kong investor once told me that he considered Asia’s capital markets to be like breaking waves; their rhythms often violent, but ultimately, they make a steady progression up the shore. It has often been noted that many Asia investors play these short-term rhythms. But ultimately the tide does come in and there is room for the long-term investor.

2013-05-17 Opportunistic Investing: Making the Most of Your Cash in Today's Market by Chris Engelman of Cedar Hill Associates

With the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index rising more than 20% since last June, some people are reluctant to invest now, fearful that stocks are poised to tumble again. By focusing on their long-term investment objectives rather than short-term market fluctuations, however, investors can plan for a sound financial future. Here, Cedar Hill Managing Director Chris Engelman offers strategies for building a portfolio that helps to limit market risks and increases the likelihood of achieving your long-term goals.

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 The Truth about April's Budget Surplus by Marie Schofield of Columbia Management

The Truth about April’s Budget Surplus Columbia Management By Marie Schofield May 16, 2013 Washington finally had some good news to report, specifically on the budget deficit. The Treasury reported a $113 billion surplus, the biggest in five years. April is a critical month for the budget because of tax filing and payment deadlines. While some attribute the surplus to reduced outlays on sequestration, it was mainly due to growing revenues courtesy of a build in individual and corporate tax receipts.

2013-05-16 Saving for College: A Family Affair by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

The language of personal finance isn’t especially racy, but “debt” certainly has taken on the negative tone of other “four-letter words.” Even so, with college costs on the rise and many parents feeling especially pinched in this challenging economic environment, student loans rather than college savings have become the solution for many.

2013-05-16 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 Hold Your Houses: The Housing Recovery May Take Longer Than You Think To Reach Consumers by Joshua Anderson, Emmanuel S. Sharef, Grover Burthey of PIMCO

New residential construction needs to double from 2012 levels to meet long-run stable demand, and the pace of that increase is critical. Consumer credit growth is hindered by strict lending standards, continued deleveraging and limits to mortgage equity withdrawal. As a result, the balance of mortgage debt is unlikely to meaningfully increase in the next 12-18 months, delaying a return of the virtuous consumer cycle.

2013-05-16 The Dow Hits All-Time Highs, But The Truth Is It Remains Cheaply Valued by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The Dow Jones industrial average sits above 15,000, an all-time high. But don’t be fooled, this doesn’t mean that stocks are expensive. I understand that it seems logical to assume that

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.

2013-05-15 Things My Mother Told Me and Some She Didn't by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Today the phrases I’m most likely to hear are very different. A couple of them are well worth heeding. They’re all well known on Wall Street but they never passed over my mother’s lips.

2013-05-15 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Even in the face of this year’s remarkably vibrant stock market, there remains some ugly undercurrents of how the bounty doesn’t touch everyone. In particular, I find it extremely disquieting, as an investor and as a citizen, that people might be going to bed hungry.

2013-05-15 Dissecting the Rally: What Sectors Look Attractive? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

The current rally has been fueled by investors looking for relatively "safe" areas of the market. As such, the classic defensive sectors, such as utilities, consumer staples and healthcare, have been outperforming. This trend may be changing, indicating that sectors such as energy and technology are growing more attractive.

2013-05-15 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks moved higher again last week as the data continues to reflect an economy that continues to trudge along to the consternation of many.

2013-05-15 Yen Weakness: Buffett\'s \"Shot Heard Round the World\'\" by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We returned recently from the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholder Conference. The most exciting and profound comment to us was what Warren Buffett said about the unprecedented actions the last three years by the Federal Reserve Board. Buffett was asked about the risks of the Federal Reserve’s current plan to buy Treasuries to keep interest rates very low.

2013-05-15 How to Take Advantage of the Great (Sector) Rotation by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The real Great Rotation may just be a shift to cyclical sectors from defensive ones rather than a move to bonds from stocks. Russ explains and offers 3 ways to play this rotation.

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.)

2013-05-15 The Great Capitulation by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

If you were to browse the virtual bookshelves of Amazon, some of the latest titles do not seem overly optimistic about the future. In Niall Ferguson’s The Great Degeneration, he examines why civil society is in complete “free fall”. Another recent “pick me up” entitled The Great Deformation, by former Reagan budget director David Stockman, discusses the negative impacts of Washington’s political dysfunction to our democracy.

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 Mohamed El-Erian: The Three-Speed Global Economy by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The global economy is operating at three distinct speeds, according to Mohamed El-Erian, and investors need to understand the implications of the divergent paths that key countries are following. Japan and most European countries are going backward, he said, and could continue in that direction for decades. The U.S. is “healing,” but not quickly enough to get to “escape velocity.” Certain emerging markets, meanwhile, are adapting technology and innovation and are growing rapidly.

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 Housing Finally Breaks Free by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Housing, which for so many years represented everything bad about the credit crisis, is finally beginning to have its day back in the sun. Trends in housing markets around the country are improving, to the benefit of the overall economy. It appears that trend is set to continue.

2013-05-14 Cyclical and Emerging Market Strength May Be Pointing to Better Growth by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Last week U.S. equities advanced as the S&P 500 increased by 1.3%. We have been amazed bythe market’s ability to continue to rally in an environment in which sales growth has been anemic and earnings gains have been largely based on companies’ abilities to manage margins and utilize financial engineering.

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 Who is Henry Singleton? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The year was 1974 and Teledyne (TDY/$77.56/Outperform), on a split-adjusted basis, was trading at about $0.05 per share. By 1986 it was changing hands around $75 per share. Unfortunately, back in 1974 I didn’t have enough money to buy more than 10 shares, having lived through the devastating bear market of 1973 1974 where the D-J Industrial Average (INDU/15118.49) lost 47% of its value.

2013-05-14 Inflation Update by Team of North Peak Asset Management

Basing investment decisions on inaccurate measurements of the inflation rate can result in investors unknowingly positioning their portfolios to lose purchasing power over time. This mis-measurement could be especially dangerous when yields are low. For example, evaluating a nominal 3% investment opportunity using an inaccurate 2% inflation rate indicates a marginally attractive 1% real return opportunity. However, if inflation is actually running at 5%, this becomes a deeply unattractive negative 2% real return investment.

2013-05-13 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.

2013-05-11 Three Reasons to Buy Gold Equities Today by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A strong stomach and a tremendous amount of patience are required for gold stock investors these days, as miners have been exhibiting their typical volatility pattern. That’s why I often say to anticipate before you participate, because gold stocks are historically twice as volatile as U.S. stocks. As of March 31, 2013, using 10-year data, the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index (HUI) had a rolling one-year standard deviation of nearly 35 percent. The S&P 500’s was just under 15 percent.

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 The Importance of Being Different by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest essay, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, writes about how superior investment managers outperform their market benchmarks -- by taking advantage of volatility, among other things -- as well as how to properly evaluate investment performance.

2013-05-10 DICK's Sporting Goods Inc: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article will reveal the business prospects of DICK’s Sporting Goods Inc through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.

2013-05-10 3 Reasons to Explore the Frontier by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Though frontier markets have outperformed developed and emerging markets so far this year, it’s not too late to explore the frontier. Russ offers three reasons to consider having a small strategic allocation to “pre-emerging” world equities.

2013-05-09 China's Building, but Will They Come? Ghost Cities by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Some of you may have heard or read about the current state of the real estate market in China, often covered in a sensationalistic way, with talk of “ghost cities” and “bubbles” ready to burst and so forth. These types of reports can cause quite a jolt in the market, which is what we saw happen, probably not coincidentally, after a popular US television newsmagazine aired a somewhat negative report in March. But as I’ve said many times before, there’s often more to a story; important parts can end up on the cutting room floor.

2013-05-09 Equity Market Distortions Create Big Payback Potential by Joseph Paul, Kevin Simms of AllianceBernstein

Even after this year’s equities rally, market imbalances created by the financial crisis in 2008 have not disappeared. When these distortions unwind, we expect deep value stocks to rapidly recover.

2013-05-09 BlackRock Inc: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article will reveal the business prospects of BlackRock Inc through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.

2013-05-09 Make Way for the MIPS by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Emerging markets still provide excellent opportunities for outperformance in equities, with Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore being among the best positioned for the decade ahead.

2013-05-09 The Effect of Negative Interest Rates in Europe by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

In his press conference last week, European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi signaled that policymakers may be more open to a cut in the central bank’s deposit rate. Although Mr. Draghi acknowledged this move could have negative side effects, he added “we will be able to deal with the negative consequences we will look at this with an open mind.” Several major central banks considered negative deposit facility rates during and after the financial crisis, but so far, all have determined that the idea did not pass the cost/benefit test.

2013-05-08 Are Recent Market Highs Merely Rhymes, or Something More? by Joe Kringdon of Pioneer Investments

As someone smarter than me once observed, history never repeats itself, but it does rhyme. Oftentimes those rhymes, like my family’s dinner bills, are simply head fakes’ curious coincidences with no residual meaning. Other times, however, they do carry meaningful implications. Consider, for example, what’s going on in the markets right now.

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 Monthly Letter to Our Clients and Friends by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

It has been years since we have seen new highs on the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500. Although the wait can be traumatizing, it’s nice to get proof that market prices ultimately recognize growth of business value.

2013-05-08 Is Your Investing One Dimensional? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

At the National Association of Active Investment Managers (NAAIM) Uncommon Knowledge Conference in Denver last week, a reporter from Financial Planning magazine asked us, “What is active investing’?” Many confuse the phrase with the simple act of running a mutual fund populated with stock picks within the strict guidelines of a prospectus, as opposed to running an index fund, where the manager simply buys and holds the shares making up a particular stock or bond index.

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 Niall Ferguson: Four Reasons Why the U.S. is Failing by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Niall Ferguson is the champion of anti-Keynesian economists. Last week, he explained why America’s pursuit of Keynesian policies is leading to disastrous consequences.

2013-05-07 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Financial markets got the news they wanted last week as Europe cut interest rates, while here at home the Federal Reserve hinted they might do even more when it comes to money printing. To top it off, Friday’s employment report showed improvement from March although the details caused most to discount the excitement.

2013-05-07 Deere & Co: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article will reveal the business prospects of Deere & Co through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.

2013-05-07 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 Attractive Dividends? Earnings Growth? A Way to Get Both by Team of Lord Abbett

International equities provide broader opportunities for combining appealing divided yields and earnings growth.

2013-05-06 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.

2013-05-04 The QE Sandpile by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Sell in May and go away? What about "risk off?" And ever more QE? Today’s letter is a quick note and a reprise of a popular letter from yesteryear (with a bit of new slant), as I am at my conference in Carlsbad.

2013-05-03 Oracle Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

A quick glance at the historical earnings and price correlated FAST Graphs on Oracle Corp shows a picture of undervaluation based upon the historical earnings growth rate of 18.5% and a current P/E of 13.7. Analysts are forecasting the earnings growth to continue at about 10%, and when you look at the forecasting graph below, the stock appears undervalued (it’s inside of the value corridor of the five orange lines - based on future growth).

2013-05-03 Asia\'s Resource Riches vs. Reform by Sharat Shroff of Matthews Asia

In recent years, the rate of acquisitions of local Asian firms by multinational companies has generally increased, particularly in China. This has happened across many industries such as industrials, medical devices and consumer staples. In many cases, if the multinational firms are not acquiring an entire company outright, they are taking a controlling stake, rather than a minority stake as a passive shareholder.

2013-05-02 Nu Skin Enterprises: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article will reveal the business prospects of Nu Skin Enterprises through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.

2013-05-02 Europe at a Minimum Speed by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Market forces are correcting the growth dichotomy between the European Union’s core and periphery, thus improving the outlook for the region.

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 A Case for Owning Commodities When No One Else Is by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Sometimes following where money is being invested is a solid course of action to gain alpha; other times, a better opportunity lies in going the opposite direction, i.e., thinking contrarian.

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 The Road to Omaha: Volatility or Wealth Creation by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

This is the last installment in our five part series called “The Road to Omaha”. In this series of missives we have looked at the keys to the investing success of Warren Buffett leading up to the 2012 annual meeting.

2013-05-01 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

Major emerging Asia Pacific economies, which picked up growth momentum during the latter half of 2012, struggled to carry forward the economic pace during the initial months of 2013. China, India, and Indonesia, some of the most populous countries in the region and in the world, faced significant headwinds to growth as key engines of the economy investment, consumption, and exports came under strain.

2013-05-01 May 2013 Commentary by Team of Sadoff Investment Management

The slow growing economy will cause the Federal Reserve to stay the course with continued stimulus via low interest rates and Quantitative Easing (QE) for some time. This environment continues to be bullish for stocks.

2013-05-01 US Economy to Get a Hollywood Makeover by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

You may have heard that the government is going to make some major changes in how our Gross Domestic Product is calculated later this year. Your first thought might be that this is no big deal. However, I will argue today that it is a very big deal, the biggest in a decade, and you need to know why. So I hope you read what follows with more than a passing interest.

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 Looking at Leverage Outside the Box by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

Yield-seeking investors have been boxed in by the near-zero US rate environment, and it seems like there are few ways out. But for those willing to set aside preconceived ideas about the word “leverage,” the lesser-known leveraged loans category may be an alternative to consider in the credit space. Mark Boyadjian, senior vice president and director of our Franklin Floating Rate Debt Group, spoke to us recently about what these often-misunderstood vehicles are and what yield-seeking investors need to know before they take the plunge.

2013-04-30 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 Implementing Behavioral Portfolio Management by C. Thomas Howard, PhD (Article)

Behavioral portfolio management is based on the notion that if the advisor can redirect his or her emotions and mitigate the impact of client emotions, it is possible to build superior portfolios by harnessing market emotions. This article describes how this can be done and presents evidence of the superiority of focusing on investor behavior when constructing and managing portfolios.

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 The U.S. Economy A Gain in GDP? by Marie Schofield of Columbia Management

The advance estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis last Friday showed that the U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.5% in the first quarter, below expectations of an increase of 3.0%. Despite the decent first quarter advance, year-over-year gains in nominal and real GDP are largely unchanged from the prior quarter at 3.4% and 1.8%, respectively. While growth rates at this slow pace in these measures have typically heralded recessions, they appear stable but also underscore a critical problemthe failure to generate escape velocity.

2013-04-30 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks rebounded from the previous week. Earnings were not bad, and investors now appear to be focusing on this week’s Federal Reserve and European Central Bank meetings.

2013-04-30 Is May Really the Time to Go Away? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

As investors near the witching hour of May, the oft-asked question once again comes to the foreground is it best to sell in May and walk away? This year could prove the exception to recent history, but a number of trends are beginning to take shape inside the market’s inner workings.

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.

2013-04-30 Beware of the New Systemic Risk by Ashwin Alankar, Michael DePalma of AllianceBernstein

It felt like there was nowhere to hide from the market declines last Monday, April 15, when stocks, bonds and commodities fell in unison across the world, well before the Boston bombings that day. We believe that this failure of diversification was instigated by increasingly powerful multi-asset funds, many of which use leverage, which may have become a new source of systemic risk for investors.

2013-04-29 High Yield in a Rising Rate Environment by Team of AdvisorShares

We have all witnessed a major move in Treasury rates over the last couple months, causing concern for many that we may be in the early stages of a rising interest rate environment. The traditional thought is that as interest rates rise, bond prices fall. But looking at history, the high yield market has defied this widely held notion. This paper from Peritus Asset Management examines the main reasons why high yield bonds have historically performed well during times of rising interest rates.

2013-04-29 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

After facing subdued economic conditions for the most part of 2012, developed Asia Pacific economies started 2013 on a cautious note. While most countries opined that downside risk to GDP growth declined substantially, challenges to growth arose from a recessionary scenario in key developed economies, especially from the European Union.

2013-04-29 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.

2013-04-26 Coach Inc: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

A quick glance at the historical earnings and price correlated FAST Graphs on Coach Inc shows a picture of undervaluation based upon the historical earnings growth rate of 27.3% and a current P/E of 13.7.Analysts are forecasting the earnings growth to continue at about 13.5%, and when you look at the forecasting graph below, the stock appearsundervalued (it’s inside of the value corridor of the five orange lines - based on future growth).

2013-04-26 The 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 The Race of Our Lives by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

Our global economy, reckless in its use of all resources and natural systems, shows many of the indicators of potential failure that brought down so many civilizations before ours. By sheer luck, though, ours has two features that might just save our bacon: declining fertility rates and progress in alternative energy. Our survival might well depend on doing everything we can to encourage their progress. Vested interests, though, defend the status quo effectively and the majority much prefers optimistic propaganda to uncomfortable truth and wishful thinking rather than tough action.

2013-04-26 Many Of My Dividend Growth Stocks Have Become Overvalued, What Do I Do Now? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

To me, there’s almost nothing better than finding a great company that I truly want to own at a fair valuation, or better yet, undervalued. In the long run, it has been my experience that this usually leads to outsized future returns, especially if you buy stocks when they are undervalued at the time. But there is quite often a side effect that can prove very disconcerting. Once an undervalued stock starts moving to the upside, momentum will often carry it above what prudent fair valuation would dictate.

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 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 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 CASSHing-Out by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ explains why he’s no longer advocating the concept of investing in certain smaller developed countries known as the CASSH countries.

2013-04-25 Murkier Prospects for Merkel by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

An anxious German electorate may make it harder for the chancellor to continue her pro-cooperation approach to Europe’s fiscal crisis.

2013-04-25 Value Investing and the Philosopher's Stone by Kevin Simms, Joseph Paul of AllianceBernstein

When J.K. Rowling finished her first manuscript of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1995, she submitted it to 12 publishers, who all rejected the book. In time, those publishers would regret missing the chance to back an unknown author who would later take the world by storm. Like the publishers who passed over Harry Potter, we believe that many investors today risk missing a historic opportunity to invest against the grain in attractively valued stocks across the globe.

2013-04-25 Safe Harbor Is Safe for Secure Lifetime Income Default Investments by Daniel Notto of AllianceBernstein

The new frontier in US defined contribution (DC) plans involves qualified default investment alternatives (QDIAs) with a secure lifetime income component. Will such vehicles retain their safe-harbor protections? Yes.

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 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 The New Challenges to Reinhart and Rogoff by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Advocates for debt reduction and austerity have had no more authoritative sources than Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff. But last week, these two professors had to defend claims that errors in their research – ranging from a typo in a spreadsheet to the failure to include data from New Zealand – invalidated their much-acclaimed findings.

2013-04-23 Looking Back at Peak Oil: The Coming Crisis in Energy Supplies by Richard E Vodra, JD, CFP® (Article)

Peak Oil – the maximum sustainable rate of global oil production – happened in 2012. That’s one of the main conclusions of a new report, Fossil and Nuclear Fuels – The Supply Outlook, released in March 2013 by the Energy Watch Group. This event will have profound long-term implications for how advisors should manage clients’ portfolios, and how clients should plan their future expenses.

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 Enforcing an Office Dress Code by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Is it too much to ask of my staff members to be dressed well when clients come into our office? I may be old school but the disregard for professionalism is annoying to me.

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 Q1 Earnings Leave Much To Be Desired by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Following the strongest first quarter in 15 years, it is not surprising to see equity markets faltering in April. Last week’s decline of 2.1%, however, may reflect deeper concerns about corporate fundamentals amid a mixed earnings season.

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 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 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 Fast Emerging Asia by Taizo Ishida of Matthews Asia

Over the past 20 years, Asia has come a long way to evolve into an asset class in itself. China and India have famously led the way as symbols of emerging nations. But when I think about seeking growth in Asia, I am particularly drawn to the region’s smaller equity markets as attractive hunting grounds for investment opportunities. Asia continues to change at a rapid pace, and this change is not restricted to China’s ever-changing landscape, but to many other areas that may see fewer media headlines.

2013-04-19 Archer Daniels Midland Co: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

For more than a century, the people of Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) have transformed crops into products that serve vital needs. Today, 30,000 ADM employees around the globe convert oilseeds, corn, wheat and cocoa into products for food, animal feed, industrial and energy uses. This article will reveal the business prospects of Archer Daniels Midland Co through the lens of F.A.S.T. Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool.

2013-04-19 Global Economic Overview - March 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Global economic trends turned softer during the month of March as indicators from Europe showed further declines and U.S. consumer sentiment moderated on labor market uncertainties, government spending cuts, and tax increases. Continuing weakness in European demand has somewhat dulled the export outlook for emerging economies, while government policies to prevent excessive asset price inflation have led to concerns about domestic consumption growth in these countries.

2013-04-19 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks moved up nicely last week despite poor economic data and a huge decline in precious metals and other commodities.

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 CSX Corp Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

A quick glance at the historical earnings and price correlated FAST Graphs on CSX Corp shows a picture of undervaluation based upon the historical earnings growth rate of 21.2% and a current P/E of 13.5. Analysts are forecasting the earnings growth to continue at about 12.5%, and when you look at the forecasting graph below, the stock appears undervalued (it’s inside of the value corridor of the five orange lines - based on future growth).

2013-04-19 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 Fannie and Freddie Face the Future by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The mortgage finance giants are the subject of a new policy initiativewith significant implications for the U.S. housing market.

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 U.S. GDP: After Some First-Quarter Flurry, a Slowdown? by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investments

We had a little flush of activity in the first quarter, which we believe will lead to much better GDP potentially well over 3% than people anticipated in the beginning of the year. We look at this activity as a little bit of a catch-up, for a couple of reasons.

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 Is the Fed Eyeing an Earlier End to QE? by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

Until September of last year, the Federal Reserve structured each of its bond buying programs in the same way: it announced a fixed amount of purchases and a specific target end date. This changed with the latest quantitative easing (QE) program launched last year. This time, instead of stating a specific dollar amount of purchases, Fed officials left the program open-ended: QE would continue as long as needed to ensure a stronger recovery in the labor market.

2013-04-17 Signs of a Correction by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Although the long-term economic picture remains sanguine, a number of global risks and economic results point to a temporary period of consolidation in equity markets.

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 High Yield Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Constrained Index, was up 1.03% for the month of March, as the high yield market continued to benefit from stable U.S. economic growth and steady asset reflation driven by the Fed and global central banks.

2013-04-16 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 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.

2013-04-16 All That Glitters by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Gold prices officially fell into bear market territory on Friday. With a 4% decline that day, the current drop in the price of gold from its August 22, 2011 top crossed the negative 20% mark. Today as I write this, the precious metal is down another 10% plus.

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 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.

2013-04-12 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 Truth About The Impact Of Dividend Reinvesting by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

What follows will be several examples of different kinds of dividend paying stocks offered in order to provide deeper insight into several commonly held notions. With each example, I will focus on how much return comes from dividends and how much comes from capital appreciation. I will also illustrate the precise benefits and effects of dividend reinvestment as it applies to different types of dividend paying stocks.

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 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?

2013-04-11 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 Stockton is Bankrupt: Now What? by James Dearborn of Columbia Management

Although we have no exposure to Stockton, California debt, we thought it would be useful to comment on the city’s financial plight in the wake of the recent bankruptcy court ruling allowing the city to file a “plan of adjustment” or the equivalent of Chapter 11 reorganization. We, and other municipal bond participants, will be watching this process closely to see how the court treats various creditors.

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 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks were slightly lower last week as the troubles in Europe, Asia (Japan & North Korea) dovetailed with a really lousy employment report here at home on Friday.

2013-04-10 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Supportive U.S. economic data drove most markets higher during the first quarter of 2013. China underperformed the region amid concerns that the economic recovery may not be as robust as previously expected, while the National People’s Congress in March failed to provide any incentives to the equity market given the absence of pro-growth policies. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 5.5% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.0% higher during the quarter.

2013-04-10 Time to Flee Equities for Bonds...and Japan? by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

Last week’s string of bad economic data may finally be the tipping point we have been waiting for. For the past few weeks, I have become more and more bearish on the US economy and stock market. Payroll tax hikes, sequestration, and slowing global growth mixed with a euphoria for a rising stock market have pushed the markets into a high risk environment.

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.

2013-04-10 The Clock is Ticking for Passive Management by Team of The Royce Funds

It may feel like only yesterday, but it has been four years since the equity market bottomed in March 2009. Much has changed since that timegovernment debt and the Fed’s balance sheet have exploded, bond yields have declined, and quantitative easing has become the norm.

2013-04-10 Investing for Income? “Safe” Bets Can be Surprisingly Risky. by Joe Kringdon of Pioneer Investments

The recent, seemingly terminal decline in interest rates has been difficult on many investors who have been planning their income needs for the future. Interestingly enough, a wise presenter at a meeting I attended in January* addressed this very point with a wow’ factor of quite a different nature.

2013-04-09 Four Steps to Becoming the Primary Advisor for Top Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

Recently, an advisor who had successfully persuaded an investor with many millions of dollars to open an account asked me how to turn this foothold into a larger share of this client’s assets.

2013-04-09 MLPs: Winning Streak Broken, Growth Story Intact by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason ClearBridge
by Chris Eades, Portfolio Manager (Article)

After an off year clouded by investors’ concerns about future tax policy, ClearBridge’s outlook for MLPs is again brightening. Oil and natural gas production are both ahead of estimates and the resulting infrastructure build-out is continuing.

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 Bond Market Review & Outlook by Thomas Fahey of Loomis Sayles

The first quarter of 2013 turned out pretty much as expected: a low volatility environment with the level of bond yields and credit spreads relatively stable. At some point, we have to be happy with earning a yield on our fixed income investments. The last several years have been a major bond bull market, particularly 2012, but with yields at low levels, there is not much room left for bond price appreciation and we should be comfortable with earning our yield and carry.

2013-04-09 The Return of the Ottomans by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past two weeks, Turkey has taken two significant actions. First, while President Obama was visiting the region, Israeli PM Netanyahu offered Turkey an apology for the 2010 commando raid on the MV Mavi Mamara, a Turkish ship that was delivering aid to the Gaza Strip. The vessel was trying to run an Israeli blockade, which was put in place to prevent the region from receiving arms shipments. In the raid, nine people on the Turkish ship died, including eight Turks and one American. Ten Israeli commandos were wounded.

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 A Continuing Case for Dividends by Richard Skaggs of Loomis Sayles

The investment case for dividend-paying stocks is as strong as ever. Many dividend-paying stocks continue to boast yields comparable to or higher than US Treasurys, and the case for dividend growth in the years ahead remains favorable. Dividends have a long history as a significant component of total return, and investors will likely continue to press for rising payouts since corporate balance sheets are flush with cash. What should investors consider as they survey the universe of dividend-paying companies?

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

2013-04-08 Repealing Tax Exemption and Illinois Settlement Guest Commentaries by Gregg Bienstock, Ron Bernardi of Lumesis

This week we are pleased to present two guest commentaries both from Ron Bernardi, President and CEO of Bernardi Securities, Inc. The first is an excellent white paper entitled “Repealing Tax Exemption Impact on Small and Medium Sized Communities” and highlights the impact of a repeal of tax exemption. The second covers three topics, Ron’s home turf, Illinois, a bit about Stockton and a bit on the Ways and Means hearing regarding tax-exemption.

2013-04-08 Europe Stumbles to a Cyprus Solution by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

After several late-night meetings and considerable angst, the members of the eurozone have settled on something for Cyprus that looks very much like a typical bankruptcy. It is comical in a way that people worked so hard to arrive at an already widely known, well-established process. Still, this result may have value. Because Europe through these four years of crisis has strived to tailor settlements for each new challenge, it has always left people in doubt about each outcome, particularly where the pain would fall.

2013-04-08 Can Something Good Be Cheap Too? by Charles Lahr of PIMCO

Over the last eight years, the least volatile components of the MSCI World Index tended to have lower valuations, higher profit margins and higher dividend yields. This anomaly, which appears to be among the most persistent in all of equity space, is rooted in speculative human behavior such as the “lottery ticket phenomenon.”

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 What's Next for U.S. and European Markets? by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

I was asked recently to provide some color around the state of global fixed income markets as we close out the first quarter of 2013. Of course, one of the more watched situations in the global markets has been Cyprus’s banking crisis. I won’t go into too much depth on the subject here, as my colleague, Cosimo Marasciulo, has recently provided a comprehensive analysis.

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 Dodging Soccer Balls and Sharks in Recife, Brazil by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Recife, in Brazil’s northeast Pernambuco state, is known to many as the “Venice of Brazil” given its many waterways and bridges. A welcome winter stop for our emerging markets team, the city is blessed with a tropical climate that’s as warm and sunny as its people. While the residents in this area of Brazil are often regarded as being extremely laid back given the balmy weather, we found them to be very hard workers. We found this seaside and shipping hub was not only a hotbed of tourist activity, but of potential investment opportunities as well.

2013-04-05 Federal Judge Green-Lights Stockton Bankruptcy by Michael Brooks of AllianceBernstein

Stockton, California, made headlines last June when it filed for a Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Now, a federal judge has not only given his okay to proceed; he’s also thrown retiree pension benefits into the debate. The big question is whether these benefits can be cut. The outcome could be a groundbreaking decision that would encourage other municipalities to adopt this approachparticularly those with pension problems.

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.

2013-04-04 Sound Fundamentals but Fatigue in the Markets by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Although economic fundamentals continue to strengthen, the run-up in asset prices that has unfolded over the past half-year appears to be at risk of a temporary set-back.

2013-04-04 The Road To Omaha: Valuation Matters Dearly by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Valuation is the topic that will begin a month-long series we’re calling, “The Road to Omaha.” In the next five weeks as we build to the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting, we will present a picture of Mr. Warren Buffet and his investments through the Smead Capital Management lens. There is one central fact on which Warren Buffett, efficient market theorists, and Smead Capital Management agreevaluation matters dearly.

2013-04-03 First Quarter Recap by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

This past month marked the fourth anniversary of the global equity market bottom on March 9, 2009. U.S. stocks have clawed back all of the losses from the Great Recession and are near historical highs. Most other major markets are still well below their 2007 peaks, but have rebounded sharply since last June and look increasingly resilient. However, there is tremendous anxiety about the economic outlook, and many investors fear equities and other risk assets are floating on a sea of liquidity rather than solid fundamentals. We are more constructive and maintain a pro-growth investment stance.

2013-04-03 When Does The Great Recession Become the Great Rotation? by Gene Tannuzzo of Columbia Management

Given the strong flows into the bond market over the past few years, many pundits have pondered the beginning of the “Great Rotation” when bond investors begin to move money into the equity market. Investors fear that this shift could cause losses in bond funds as investors flee. Indeed since the start of the Great Recession in 2008, investors have plowed into bond funds as an alternative to equity volatility.

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 F.I.R.S.T.: Made in the U.S.A. by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Not just the preamble for the “machine-wash-in-cold-water-and-eat-celery-only” instructions on the inside of your skinny jeans, “Made in the U.S.A.” is a brand in vogue these days as the Stars and Stripes looks to dawn a manufacturing renaissance to go with that snazzy new housing recovery everyone’s been talking about.

2013-04-03 Why This Economic \"Recovery\" is So Weak by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

We start today with an excellent editorial I read last week written by Mort Zuckerman, Editor-In-Chief of U.S. News & World Report. My goal every week is to do a lot of reading and summarize what I’ve learned in these pages week in and week out. But every now and then I run across something so good that it just makes sense to reprint it in its entirety, even if it’s not my own work. Not many of my contemporaries are willing to do that, as they think it makes them look less scholarly. I don’t have that problem.

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.

2013-04-03 Learning from Douglas H. Bellemore One Great Teacher and Investment Counselor by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Sometimes, I think those of us in the investment business strive to obtain the abilities of Star Trek’s Mr. Spock. Spock, the half-human half-Vulcan, learned to ignore the human emotions buried inside his self and use logic in order to solve the problems before him. Just think, what great investors we could be if we could simply control our human nature. As a Vulcan, we could construct an investment portfolio that would produce higher returns than any human could produce.

2013-04-02 Choosing an Actively Managed Fund: What Works and What Doesn’t by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Few topics have been studied as closely as selecting actively managed funds that will outperform the market. Advisors who use such funds need to be confident in their choices – and justify their methodology to clients. Here’s what the latest academic research says on this highly contentious issue.

2013-04-02 A Q1 Letter to Clients: Why Warren Buffett is Bullish on Stocks by Dan Richards (Article)

Since 2008, I have posted templates to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the year that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead. This quarter’s letter draws on Warren Buffett’s most recent letter to shareholders, and why he is bullish on the US equity market.

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 Chuck Royce on 1Q 2013: Conditions Remain Favorable for Equities by Team of The Royce Funds

In stark contrast to what we saw in 2010, 2011, and most of the first half of 2012, the market tuned out a lot of seemingly ominous political news and enjoyed a strong first quarter.

2013-04-02 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 Finally by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

With a headline like that, I could be talking about my Law School Alma Mater, the University of Michigan, making it back into the Final Four for the first time since 1993 by beating the University of Florida in the NCAA South Regional basketball Finals yesterday. Or it could be the exclamation of most Michiganders with the first sunshine-filled days this weekend since spring had sprung earlier in March (yes, the ice also finished melting on our lake this weekfinally).

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 A More Mature Bull Market by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

One of the characteristics of a more mature bull market, such as the one we are in today, is that asset prices become more susceptible to contractions due to negative news.

2013-04-01 Buffett\'s Advice for Apple Inc. by Sean Bonner, William Bonner Jr. of Carne Capital

During a recent interview on February, 27th on CNBC Warren Buffett described a phone call he got from the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Mr. Buffett gave this account, "It was an interesting conversation because I hadn’t talked to him in a long time. He said, ’We’ve got all this cash. What should we do with it?’ So we went over the alternatives. It was kind of interesting." Mr. Buffett often comments in his annual letters about the options for deploying cash and he did again in this interview.

2013-04-01 Again and Again. by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

My work has always been predicated upon using quantitative modifiers to enhance portfolio value through greater efficiency of information processing and the creation of momentum-driven asset allocation models. But because so many investors quizzically suffer from a herd mentality, they find it difficult to digest common sense solutions to diffuse problems. And yet, our methodology and its consistent point of view has enabled clients to benefit without compromising investment expectations.

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 The Discipline of Buy and Sell Decisions by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

The thought of giving up a once-treasured possession can be an emotional exercise for anyone, even if the object of affection has outlived its use. As investors, we can find it difficult to sell a once-favored holding even more difficult than the decision to purchase it. But sometimes, you just have to let go.

2013-04-01 Look Beyond the U.S. Budget Bluster by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Believe it or not, prospects for better fiscal developments out of Washington appear positive. Here’s why.

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.

2013-03-28 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 2 Factors Keeping a Lid on Interest Rates by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Investors have been expecting interest rates to rise, but with the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond back below 2%, Russ explains two structural factors that are slowing the rate rise.

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 RISE Survey Reveals Some Somber Retirement Realities by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

As numbers go, 1% and 99% have gotten more than their fair share of media attention, but if you’re one of the millions who hope to retire someday, you may want to pay attention to another figure: 21%. According to the 2013 Franklin Templeton Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations (RISE) survey, that’s the percentage of retirees who have no savings to speak of. So how do you avoid falling into this statistical group? That’s the $64,000 question that’s worth much more than thatit’s the price of your future.

2013-03-27 Mark Hulbert: Our Kindred Spirit by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Mark Hulbert and I started in the investment business in 1980. He chose to create a business out of analyzing the results and psychological implications of investment newsletter writers. At Smead Capital Management, we formed a business to analyze publicly-traded US common stocks through the prism of our eight proprietary criteria. We enjoy his unbiased third-party opinions on current circumstances and his consistently good historical perspective.

2013-03-26 Adapting the Yale Model for Clients by C. Thomas Howard, PhD and Lambert Bunker (Article)

The Yale University endowment fund is one of the most successful in the country, with a 10-year return besting the endowment universe average return by 300 basis points and the Wilshire 5000 return by 400 basis points. David Swensen is the architect of this program, and his guiding principles are widely used to manage large endowments. They are equally useful for client portfolios.

2013-03-26 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks were flat last week as investors were mesmerized by the goings on in Cypress and the European Union.

2013-03-26 Reacting to All Time Highs by Jeff Knight of Columbia Management

The financial press has been all a-flutter, of late, with talk of new highs across U.S. stock markets. Indeed, the Dow Jones Industrial Average set a new all time closing high in March. Meanwhile, the S&P 500, as of this writing, sits less than one percent below its all time high. The surge in these well known market bellwethers in recent months feels good, and no doubt tempts investors to bask in their portfolio gains, and to ease back in their fussing over the nuances of investment strategy.

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 Little Bank That Did. by Dan Ariely of Dan Ariely Blog

Over the last few years, I’ve had some harsh words for bankers, banks, and the culture of the industry. In truth, I could have said worse, and it would have been justified.

2013-03-25 Energy: Perilous Present, Promising Future by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

For oil and gas, an era of abundant supplies and lower prices awaits. But investors will have to weather a tricky geopolitical situation before it arrives.

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.

2013-03-25 Still Bullish by Richard Golod of Invesco

Global equities (as measured by the MSCI All Country World Index) fell modestly in February amid reignited fears about the euro’s future, signs of distress in China’s economy and the looming sequester deadline in the US. Nevertheless, I believe the US, Japan and emerging markets may offer compelling opportunities, while Europe requires a more selective approach.

2013-03-22 ING Fixed Income Perspectives March 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Developed sovereigns are still broadly unattractive, but global central banks appear poised to ease. We prefer EM currencies that will continue to benefit from positive global growth and tolerate further upward pressure on the U.S.

2013-03-22 Happy Clients; Terrified Prospects by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

Four years ago, on March 9th, 2009, US stocks collapsed to a 12 year low. A financial crisis rooted in overleveraged purchases of junk (or even fraudulent) securities claimed, in quick succession, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brother, Merrill Lynch (forced into a shotgun marriage with Bank of America) and AIG. Investors panicked, selling good securities at deep discounts to fair value.

2013-03-22 Power of Positive Screening: Pursuing Strength of Social and Financial Returns by Chat Reynders, Patrick McVeigh of Reynders, McVeigh Capital Management

Market volatility and sweeping changes to mainstream views of investing are catalyzing acceptance of tactics that combine fundamentals with a progressive outlook on social issues. Positive screening brings balanced companies to the fore of the investment landscape: this practice isolates sound equities that demonstrate strength of balance sheet, dependability of management, and a commitment to act as part of a global community focused on positive change.

2013-03-22 Is Plan B for Cyprus an Exit from the Euro? by Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Having rejected an initial bailout package that would have imposed a levy on bank deposits, Cyprus now faces some difficult choices in exchange for continued emergency bank funding.

2013-03-22 US Stocks: Third Time’s the Charm by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

At 1550, the S&P 500 has regained the peak it reached in March of 2000 (when the tech bubble burst) and again in October of 2007 (before the credit crunch hit). But we think the third time’s the charm: We think the stock market still has room to rise because equities are now more attractively valued and of higher quality than they were at previous peaks.

2013-03-22 Deep Value Diving in the Eurozone by Katrina Dudley of Franklin Templeton Investments

Greece’s tale of financial woe may well go down as a modern Greek tragedy, with people in power falling prey to a tragic flaw which brings about their catastrophic reversal of fortune. It’s all quite dramatic and dire, but if the real life Greek financial system stays true to the classical formula, the conclusion means recognition of that tragic flaw and potential course correction. For those hardy and/or contrarian souls who suspect opportunity may be sprouting from Greece’s great mess, this would be good news.

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 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 Will the Real Unemployed Please Raise Your Hands? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week’s letter will be a very short part of a book I am writing with Bill Dunkelberg (the Chief Economist of the National Federation of Independent Businesses) on the future of employment. It has taken longer to write than I initially anticipated, for a host of reasons, chief among which is that the future is not as obvious as I originally thought. Diving into the data has brought a few surprises.

2013-03-21 Cyprus as a Pandora’s Box by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The attempt to levy a deposit tax on Cypriot accounts has the potential to further destabilize the European Union, with contagion risk elevating for other peripheral member states.

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 Playing with Fire in Cyprus by Fred Copper of Columbia Management

Early Saturday morning, after 10 hours of negotiations, it was announced that Euro Area (EA) finance ministers had agreed upon a bailout package for the government and banking system of Cyprus. The total financing needs of Cyprus are 17 billion euros ($22 billion), which equates to approximately 100% of Cypriot gross domestic product (GDP), making this by far the largest bailout relative to the size of the economy yet in the EA.

2013-03-20 Global Real Estate StocksTime to Get Out? by Eric Franco of AllianceBernstein

Real estate stocks have now rebounded from the crash during the global financial crisis. But we think valuations are still reasonable, especially as property fundamentals continue to improve in key markets.

2013-03-20 The Most Important US Economic Number Now by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Wondering about the outlook going forward for the US economy? Russ shares the economic number that may give you a clue.

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 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 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 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks had a very quiet week with volumes reaching levels that one associates with holiday trading.

2013-03-19 Mila Kunis, Euphoria, and the Stock Market by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

Are we in the “euphoria” stage of the market right now? This past week, as the S&P 500 nears a record level, financial news pundits were fascinated with the following headlines.

2013-03-19 A Tired Equity Market Crawls Higher by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities rose again last week as the S&P 500 increased 0.66%, with an overall gain for the year of 9.96%.1 The remarkable resilience of the U.S. economy against fiscal cliff headwinds has boosted equity investor sentiment. The U.S. macroeconomic outperformance has also helped U.S. equities outperform global counterparts. Investor preference toward the U.S. has largely been confirmed by rising flows into U.S. equities.

2013-03-19 Things Could Get Bumpy But Hang in There? by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

The quality of the Fed’s Flow of Funds data is about as comprehensive a balance sheet assessment of corporate and private America as you could wish for. It’s also great for looking at trends rather than the hot spots over which the market frets. Here are some of the findings:

2013-03-19 The Dow Marches On by Gene Peroni of Advisors Asset Management

The stock market has demonstrated tireless resiliency in the face of challenging headline news and geopolitical events since its bottom in March 2009. Now, some four years later, the burden of some of these once gripping issues has been lifted.

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 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.

2013-03-15 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities saw a moderate correction in February, broadly similar to the rest of the world. Prices reacted negatively to renewed concerns of a worsening European fiscal crisis as the results of the recent Italian elections turned out to be inconclusive.

2013-03-15 Waiting on Weakness? by Mike Boyle of Advisors Asset Management

On Tuesday, March 5, The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) set a new record close at a level of 14,253.8 (old record of 14,164.5 was set on 10/09/07). Since then it has gone on to set four more consecutive record-closing highs. The S&P 500, at a closing level of 1556.2 on 3/11/13, is still about nine points shy of its record high of 1565.2 (also set on 10/09/07), but it is up seven days in a row and the odds of that occurring are about 1.17%.

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 High Yield Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Constrained Index, posted a positive total return of 0.46% in February, as the high yield market finished on a positive note, after experiencing heightened volatility throughout the month.

2013-03-15 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 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 Excess Liquidity Finds a Home by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

U.S. home prices appear likely to continue to rise as the Federal Reserve injects more liquidity into the system. Given housing’s unique characteristics, this will have positive effects for consumption and growth.

2013-03-14 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

In the latest edition of his client newsletter, Harold Evensky highlights a number of interesting bits of news, including a must-see destination for your friends, your kids and your grandkids, some advice from Warren Buffett, a tip from Albert Einstein and the latest data on hedge fund performance.

2013-03-14 3 Reasons It's Not Too Late to Consider Emerging Market Bonds by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

After the recent rally in emerging market bonds, is it too late to allocate to this asset class? Not for long-term investors, says Russ and he offers 3 reasons why.

2013-03-13 What's Your Advantage? by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

In the March 9, 2013 issue of Barron’s, writer Jonathon Laing wrote an excellent piece about Howard Marks. This article provides the base from which we can discuss the main components of investment portfolio composition. These components are information, analysis of information, and decisions made from information and analysis. In doing so, we will bring to light why we believe today’s best opportunity is in long-duration common stock investing.

2013-03-13 Who Cares if There's a High-Yield Bond Bubble? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

High-yield bonds, or "junk bonds" as they are widely known, have received a lot of attention in recent months. Is there a high-yield bond bubble? Certainly a ton of new money has gone into high-yield bond funds over the last few years. Millions of Americans who would have never considered high-yield bonds have bought in due to near zero returns on traditional savings vehicles.

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 Feared Copper "Flood" More Likely a Trickle by Jon Ruff of AllianceBernstein

Investors have turned bearish on commodities, particularly in the case of copper, where recent talk of a looming surge in new supply has sparked fears of a price rout. We’re skeptical about the copper supply-glut story and don’t think what’s happening in copper is a "canary in the coal mine" for the rest of the metals markets.

2013-03-13 Coping With Age by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

Many things in life get better with age, but many others do not. Unfortunately for central banks, the effects of unconventional monetary policy probably fall in the latter category. Unlike traditional monetary policyin which the central bank only sets short-term interest ratesthe impact of unconventional policies likely decays over time. This means that it is not enough for the Federal Reserve to keep its current policies in placeit actually has to take additional action to maintain the same impact on interest rates and the economy.

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 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 Client Communication beyond the Newsletter by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

You have written about the importance of communicating with clients in a variety of ways. What are some examples of things that work best, other than the standard newsletter?

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 Bill Ackman on What Makes a Great Investment by John Heins (Article)

In addition to commenting on his high-profile current investments, Pershing Square Capital's Bill Ackman in a recent interview with Value Investor Insight describes the general company traits he looks for in both active and passive investments, why a high public profile is an important element of his strategy, whether his thesis on J.C. Penney has evolved, what lessons he's learned from a few prominent mistakes, and why his short conviction on Herbalife is as high as ever.

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 Pacific Basin Market Overview February 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Monthly returns for February 2013 were somewhat mixed, but the Pacific Basin regional markets generally ended in positive territory this month. Outside of Asia, political instability in Italy and concerns that the Federal Reserve might begin to scale back its monetary stimulus in the U.S. led to weaker investor sentiment. Economic data from China was weak, largely due to the effect of the Chinese New Year.

2013-03-12 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 U.S. Dominates World Markets for the Trifecta by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

While large-cap indices get all the headlines, mid and small caps have continued to excel. Frontier markets have picked up the slack as major emerging markets stumble. Global risks persist, though U.S. fundamentals appear solid. The move toward U.S. energy independence should soon result in a trade surplus, boosting GDP.

2013-03-12 Spring Thaw by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

The first thing you notice when you are landing at Detroit Metro Airport in the winter after two weeks in the Caribbean is whether or not there is snow on the ground. I am pleased to report that other than a few clumps left by the snow plows or swept by the wind into the empty furrows and fenced-in corners of a farmer's field, the six inches that covered everything when I left have largely disappeared.

2013-03-12 After Last Week's US Rally: Proceed with Caution by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While last week's rally was supported by better-than-expected economic data and improving investor sentiment, the magnitude of US stocks' advance is starting to cause some indicators to flash yellow. Russ explains.

2013-03-11 Two Myths and a Legend by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The present market euphoria appears to be driven by two myths and a legend. Make no mistake. When investors cannot possibly think of any reason why stocks could decline, and are convinced that universally recognized factors are sufficient to drive prices perpetually higher, euphoria is the proper term.

2013-03-11 Italy: Welcome to the Bungle by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Results of the recent election increase the likelihood of a eurozone breakupand disruptions to financial markets.

2013-03-11 Who's Selling And Who's Buying As The Dow Trades In Record Territory? by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

Last week turned out to be another positive week for investors, as the S&P 500 finished the week up 2.2 percent. However, as my regular readers know, I consider the current market risk high, and have been building a case these past few weeks that we will soon be entering a bear market.

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 Three Trends Will Shake American Businesses Out Of Paralysis by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

On-shoring, energy infrastructure reinvestment and plant replacement are three trends in the making that will shake American business out of paralysis. In the last "Bond Deer in the Headlights," I outlined the "Monetary Abolitionists" assertion that out-of-control government spending, made acceptable by historically low interest rates, was responsible for corporate paralysis in investing and hiring.

2013-03-08 Ride Over Bump in Gas Prices with These Investment Themes by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

U.S. oil independence is picking up steam. In December, the country lost its position as the world's largest importer of oil, with shale production climbing faster than expected. Net imports fell below 6 million barrels per day, domestic production increased more than 1 million barrels per day and demand declined by about 700,000 barrels per day.

2013-03-08 Our Five Year Forecast by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

We believe that predicting short term swings in the market is an exercise in humility. Longer-term market predictions can have some value, but they should be based on a form of valuation methodology of the underlying securities which make up the market of choice, and a consideration of the current mood of the market participants should also be included.

2013-03-08 How Cash Could Point to More Upside for U.S. Stocks by Adam Peck of Heartland Advisors

Investors remain concerned about dwindling bond yields but still aren't rushing headlong into stocks, notwithstanding their recent market highs. We thought it might be interesting to take a look at the difference between the cash earnings yield of U.S. stocks (as represented by the MSCI U.S. Stock Index) and the yield being paid by intermediate-term investment grade corporate bonds. In looking at historical data, cash earnings yield can be a good proxy for free cash flows and an indicator of a company's financial strength.

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 Labor Policy Needs to Help, Not Hinder Employment. by Team of Northern Trust

Labor policy needs to help, not hinder employment. The U.S. employment report surprised on the upside. Watch the shadows behind China's official credit measures

2013-03-08 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 When Will the Music Stop? by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The investment environment is in transition, with uncertainty around policy moves contributing an increasing amount of uncertainty for asset prices.

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 Animal Spirits: F.I.R.S.T. by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Call it what you will a dog-eat-dog world in which you're wearing Milk-Bone underwear or an example of capitalism at its finest an M&A cycle is heating up. This activity may be signaling the rebirth of what British economist John Maynard Keynes originally referred to as "animal spirits", much to the delight of fictional corporate barbarian Gordon Gekko and his real-life analogues, who require little prompting to act on Keynes "spontaneous urge to action".

2013-03-07 Freewheeling? by Dimitri Balatsos of Tesseract Partners

Ignoring threatening clouds in the distant horizon, the financial markets are wrapped in a blanket of complacency. Consider the following. The Dow Jones Index has been flirting with the 2007 record peak. Implied stock market volatility, as measured by the VIX Index, is in the basement. Junk bond yields are at record lows, compressing spreads to within shouting distance of risk-free Treasuries. Securitization is back from the dead, while the drought in M&A activity is now getting plenty of rainfall.

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 A New Chapter for Turkey? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In 2012, Turkey was the best performer among the emerging markets we track on our Periodic Table showing a decade of returns. All developing countries rose last year, but stocks in Turkey climbed an astounding 56 percent.

2013-03-07 Three Dimensions of Discipline by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

As New Year's resolutions fade into guilty memories, it's a bitter reminder that maintaining discipline, in life and investing, is just plain hard. Despite best intentions, bear markets can tempt investors to sell everything, while bull markets can whip people into a buying frenzy, both courses of action that rarely end happily.

2013-03-07 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 Lessons Learned by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

The need for taking precautions, preparing for emergencies, having "just-in-case" options, was a much discussed topic...right after the 2000 and 2008 market crashes. Not so much anymore.

2013-03-06 How Big a Problem will the Sequester be for the U.S. Economy? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Having dodged the fiscal cliff and postponed the debt ceiling deadline, Congress decided to let the spending sequesters happen. Will the result be to throw the economy into recession or cause an economic catastrophe? We don't think so, and neither does Congress.

2013-03-06 Smooth Returns by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Harry Markopolos was working for a hedge fund of funds and attempting to put a portfolio together that would "smooth" long-term returns. In the process of marketing what his company was doing, he ran into a client who already had a money manager doing that for him. The money manager the client used was Bernie Madoff. When Markopolous looked at the long-term track record of Madoff's client, he instantly knew that it was mathematically impossible to have a return that high with as little year-to-year variance in the return. We at Smead Capital Management would like to ask a few questions.

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 Pain Aversion by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

As the equity market continues to rally, the consensus among investors has called for a 3-5% pullback. Unfortunately for the market bears, "the pain trade remains higher right now." There are many who claim that equities are "overbought" or that stocks are "too extended." As market strategist Barry Ritholtz stated, "We find it hard to believe that after hiding under a rock for nearly five years, that a few months of equity inflows means investors have gone from petrified to exuberant. That process in our opinion is a longer arc, not a singular event."

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 Why Our Best Ideas Come In The Shower and Why They Are So Hard To Remember by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

I don't know about you, but I have had some of my best and most creative ideas while in the shower. But the shower is not the only place or activity where we tend to be more creative. Our creative juices can frequently be stimulated when doing other things as well such as driving home from work, during or after exercise, cooking, meditating, etc.

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 You’re The Cream of the Crop: Key Findings from the 2012 Advisor Perspectives Reader Survey by Jeff Briskin (Article)

Experienced. Results oriented. Focused on serving the needs of individuals and families. Confident in your abilities. Eager to expand your knowledge. If this sounds like you, you're not alone. These are the traits that stand out among Advisor Perspectives readers, based on the findings of our 2012 Reader Survey.

2013-03-05 Understanding the Risk in Bonds by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Treasury bond prices rallied this past week, as sequestration promised to act as a drag on growth, while a very messy election result in Italy also pushed safe haven investors into Treasuries. Both factors are likely to be short lived insofar as they support bond prices. Interest rates are likely to head higher even with Fed policy likely to remain highly accommodative. Initially, longer maturity bond prices will decline and the yield curve will steepen.

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 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks drifted last week, buffeted by concerns over Europe due to the Italian elections and worries here at home as the "dreaded" sequester begins to take effect.

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.

2013-03-04 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 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 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 Health Is Wealth: Health Care Spending As An Emerging Market Growth Engine by Amit Bhartia, Alvaro Pascual of GMO

Amit Bhartia and Alvaro Pascual, members of GMO's Emerging Markets Equity team, write to institutional clients in a new white paper about the correlation in emerging markets between public healthcare spending and domestic consumption.

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 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 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.

2013-02-28 An Ephemeral Swoon by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Although volatility is likely to stay relatively high going forward, the recent move in the markets to risk-off mode appears to be a temporary condition.

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 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 Is This Market "For the Birds"? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Last week, the stock market hit one of those gusts of headwind that seemed to stop the 2013 rally in its tracks and push it backward. When that happens, as it is again today, it is like watching the gull traverse just a few feet in front of us on the beach. What happens in the short run can be progress or retreat.

2013-02-27 The Rising US Dollar - What It Means To The Economy And To Investors by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

Earlier this week, we saw a spike in the US dollar. After months of being stuck in a sideways trading pattern, the US dollar is starting to aggressively move upward. Global investors are starting to allocate to dollars. While the US has its own problems, the dollar is still the strongest currency in the world and is viewed by many as a safe haven.

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 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 Ignore the Noise. Equities Offer Income Potential. by Joe Kringdon of Pioneer Investments

Common prospectus disclosure reads, "past performance is no guarantee of future results." Yet, this crowd of naysayers seems to be projecting the paranoia associated with the "lost decade(s)" onto the current environment and beyond. They are preparing for the future by fighting the last few wars all over again. Their sentiments and actions (or inactions) are emblematic of an American looking the wrong way for traffic on a London street. Given wrongfully configured context, these people are looking in the wrong direction for the wrong things. I continue to be positive on the equity markets.

2013-02-26 Can Advisors Add Value Through Fund Selection? by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Low-cost index funds will beat the average actively managed fund after expenses. But can advisors identify superior active funds to overcome this disadvantage? Advisors who believe they can choose those funds will be challenged by the results of two studies from the defined-contribution industry.

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 Horse Feathers by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

While wisdom and experience are certainly very important to long-term investment success, I do believe it is also necessary to begin each day with an open mind. Flushing the senses, so to speak, allows new information to be processed through an unbiased filter. In short, markets change, and investment thinking must be adaptable.

2013-02-26 A Permanent Investment by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The Buying Power, and Selling Pressure, indicators continue to suggest no major top is in the works. Ditto the Advance/Decline line traded to a new high before the mid-week pullback, also confirming the upside. The major averages continue to reside above their respect 50-DMAs and 200-DMAs; and, those moving averages are rising, another bullish sign. Then there is Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A/$152,009/Not Covered), which is somewhat of a proxy for the stock market, as it traded to a new all-time last Friday.

2013-02-26 The Postman May Not Ring at All by Paul DiGiacomo of Columbia Management

United States Postal Service is technically insolvent. Last year, the agency exhausted its borrowing capacity and failed to pay $11 billion into its retiree health plan. This year, it will not make a $6 billion contribution. While the current cash balance of $2 billion is sufficient for 10 days of operation, management forecasts a $100 million deficit by October. When payments to employees and suppliers end, so too will the mail.

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 Fiscal Policy: The Same Old Drag by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Among the many fears shared by investors, concerns over fiscal drag have recently risen. Though no one yet can know the specifics of Washington's coming compromises, these will no doubt impose the anticipated tax hikes or spending cuts, and these will indeed hold back the pace of economic growth. Still, it would be a mistake to anticipate too much of a shock. The country, after all, has suffered fiscal drag for some years now. Even with failure in Washington, a moderation in cutbacks at the state and local level should allow government overall to offer the economy a measure of relief.

2013-02-25 Dodging the bullets by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

Although the year is barely a month old there are already signs that the long-awaited rotation out of the perceived safety of bonds and into inflation-proofed equities may have begun. Given the dismally low yields on offer it seems likely that, at the very least, it is the beginning of the end of the bond market bubble. Some of the biggest bubbles in the bond market, and thus most at risk from a sell-off, are in high yield and emerging market debt.

2013-02-25 Tupperware Brands Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This report presented essential fundamentals at a glance illustrating the past and present valuation based on earnings achievements as reported. Future forecasts for earnings growth are based on the consensus of leading analysts. Although with just a quick glance you can know a lot about the company, its imperative that the reader conducts their own due diligence in order to validate whether the consensus estimates seem reasonable or not.

2013-02-22 Emerging Markets Outlook: Will Emerging Markets Continue Their Run in 2013? by Scott Klimo of Saturna Capital

A number of times we have been asked whether emerging markets will continue their run in 2013. Our response typically begins with the following clarification: "Emerging markets" may be a handy way to refer to the countries that constitute a generally recognized asset class, but this group is far from monolithic. Widely differing levels of development, economic drivers, opportunities to invest, and returns exist under the emerging markets umbrella. For this reason it's not entirely correct to imply that "emerging markets" had a run in 2012.

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 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 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.

2013-02-21 General Dynamics Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article will reveal the business prospects of General Dynamics Corp through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.

2013-02-21 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 Tapping China's Growth via Dividends by Yu Zhang of Matthews Asia

When the long-term historical performance of global equity markets is considered, investors can see that the contribution of dividends to total return is significant. In this regard, China has been no exception. Between 1999 and 2012, 46% of the total return of the MSCI China Index was derived from dividends received and reinvested. This month, Yu Zhang, CFA, explores the ways in which a dividend-investing approach can be an effective investment strategy in China.

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 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 Taxes: Living Off the VAT of the Land? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The country has renewed its conversation about the way it should tax itself, whether to rely on income taxes or replace them with sales taxes. This latest buzz springs from plans by several Republican governors to reduce or eliminate their state income taxes. It has extended to talk about change at the federal level, including speculation about the introduction of a value-added tax (VAT) in addition to existing federal income taxes. Similar proposals surfaced in the 1990s and earlier in this century.

2013-02-20 The 2030 Most Likely Best Case Scenario by Bill O'Grady Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

Two weeks ago 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 these expected trends. Last time, we presented the most likely worst case scenario. This week, we will explore the most likely best case scenario.

2013-02-20 Nervous Investors Approaching a Trap? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

With the S&P 500 reaching new post-crash highs, it is interesting, to say the least, that most individual investors are not bullish on stocks. Rather, as the market has moved relentlessly higher this year, individual investors have turned more and more bearish.

2013-02-20 Two New Country Views for a Two-Speed Global Economy by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The global economy is stuck in a two-speed regime: Developed markets like Europe, Japan and the United States are stalling, while China is re-accelerating. Russ explains what this divergent growth landscape means for his country outlooks.

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 The Three Minutes that Cost a Million-Dollar Prospect by Dan Richards (Article)

Small investments of time often pay big dividends. That message was agonizingly clear to an advisor who wasted several minutes having a coffee at a Starbucks, when he should have been preparing for the prospect he was about to meet.

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 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 Jesse Livermore by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

"There were times when my plans went wrong and my stocks did not run true to form, but did the opposite of what they should have done if they had kept regard for precedent." So said Jesse Livermore, as chronicled in the brilliant book Reminiscence of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefever; and, stock market historians will recall that Jesse Livermore is still considered one of the most colorful market speculators of all time.

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 How To Remain Solvent Longer Than The Market Is Irrational by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

I believe it is extremely important that investors focus on the value of what they own more than they do on the day-to-day machinations of price volatility. However, I also believe, and even recognize, that very few investors are capable of ignoring volatile stock price movements. When the price of a stock that they own is rising or falling, especially when the swings are large and/or violent, it is very difficult for people to maintain a steady head and hand. Instead, emotions take over reason which often cause otherwise rational investors to make irrational decisions.

2013-02-15 High Yield Market Overview January 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Constrained Index, posted a positive total return of 1.38% in January, as the high yield market continued to rally into the new year.

2013-02-15 International Equity Commentary January 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices sustained the uptrend in January, helped by data releases that supported the growing optimism over healthier global economic growth. Though the U.S. and U.K. economies declined unexpectedly during the fourth quarter of last year, the pace of growth improved in several Asian countries, including China, during the period.

2013-02-15 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

So, what is the top tax bracket next year? For couples with earnings over $450,000, it is 39.6%. Oh, no. We're sorry. It's potentially another 1.19% which is the amount that is added to the marginal rate due to the cut-backs in itemized deductions. Therefore, the top tax rate is 40.79%. Oh, no. We're sorry. You could also lose your personal exemptions, which will add as much as another 1.05%, so the top tax bracket is 41.84%. Oh, no. We're sorry. We forgot the Medicare surtax on high wage earners of 0.9%, making the top tax bracket 42.74%. Oh, no. We're sorry.

2013-02-15 Thailand: Land of the Smiles by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

China and India may be Asia's largest economies, but they aren't the only countries with growth potential on the continent. Southeast Asian countries can also offer compelling investment opportunities. Thailand, known as the land of the smiles because of the expression its natural beauty and friendly people inspire, is a country where we believe the economic prospects could give investors reasons to smile too.

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.

2013-02-14 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 Pressure Points: Where Tax Reform Can Be Most Effective by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

The deficit deal that averted the fiscal cliff crisis at the start of the year raised taxes on the wealthiest and postponed -- for two months -- government spending cuts that threatened to derail the economic recovery. But the problem remains: Spending far exceeds revenue. So what's to be done? Five Wharton faculty members offer their views.

2013-02-14 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 Concerned by Recent Economic Data? Look Closer by Marco Pirondini of Pioneer Investments

We've seen a lot of GDP data recently that, at first look, may seem a bit concerning. But if we take a moment for analysis, much of the news is actually good for the economy and the markets.

2013-02-13 Our Job: Whether; Market's Job: When by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Warren Buffett describes the stock market's purpose as being "a wonderfully efficient mechanism for transferring wealth from the impatient to the patient". We are reminded of this by a series of news reports and commentaries on subjects greatly influenced by basic economics. In today's missive, we consider what the law of supply and demand says about China, oil, and housing in the USA.

2013-02-13 The Next Step to Increasing DC Plan Participation by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Defined contribution (DC) plans can deliver benefits only if workers choose to participate. Unfortunately, about one in every five eligible US employees chooses not to, according to research from Aon Hewitt. So it's encouraging that 77% of DC plan sponsors stress the importance of increasing participation in their plans, according to a recent survey we conducted. Automatic enrollment has helped lift participation in many DC plans. But how can plans take the next step toward 100% participation?

2013-02-13 January Retail Sales: Why Stocks May Be Vulnerable by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

When the Commerce Department releases the headline January retail sales number on Wednesday, economists expect to see a big drop from December. Russ explains why the number could come in even lower and the implications for investors.

2013-02-13 It's Time To Take Advantage Of Rising Energy Prices by John Rothe of Riverbend Investment Management

Oil prices have been on the rise again as we enter a period of the year that is historically strong for the energy sector. While markets continue to be a bit overbought, investors should not yet panic at rising oil prices. Since last summer, oil prices and the market have been closely correlated. What had been viewed by consumers as a "tax" in the past, is now viewed as a sign of increasing demand for gas due to economic expansion.

2013-02-12 The Best Tool You’ve Never Heard Of by Bob Veres (Article)

What's the most useful tool for your advisory practice that you've probably never heard about? I nominate an online service that fills in the blanks in your client asset management system.

2013-02-12 Consumers Less Enthused to Bail Out the Economy by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Following recent recessions, it was commonplace to rely on American consumers to bail out the economy. The reliance on the American consumer was widely understood as the best remedy for an ailing economy. We are not as fortunate this time around and our dependence on consumers is one reason for the sluggish rate of recovery since 2008.

2013-02-12 Macroeconomic Risk? That's So 2012 by Tom West of Columbia Management

Fourth quarter earnings are modestly beating expectations, albeit by less than the amount expectations were lowered during the quarter. And while every sector and industry is different, the market seemed to give companies (even with their cautious outlook for 2013) the benefit of the doubt they can manage through a tough demand environment. This may be based on a general belief that the risk of extreme events is dropping.

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 High Yield Opportunity in a Crowded Space? by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

We have seen something interesting unfold over the last month in the markets signs of what we believe are the beginning of a Treasury breakout. Yields are starting to push through levels that have been fairly stable and steady over the last year. Our observation would be that we are starting to see a more secular move out of U.S. Treasuries and other high quality fixed income assets.

2013-02-12 Is Love in the Air? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

This week includes Valentine's Day, the day millions worldwide exchange cards, letters, candy, flowers and other gifts with the center of their affection. Surely there must be a study of Valentine's Day. But search as I might, I could not find a single study of the influence of this fabled day on our financial markets. I did find one in Australia that dared to show that the chances for an up or down day in their stock market were, what else, 50-50. Could it truly be that we had finally found a seasonal event that was dare I say it random?

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 Brazil: Infrastructure Push Creating New Opportunities Across Sectors by Team of Thomas White International

Both corporates and the federal government have started investing heavily on overhauling Brazil's infrastructure.

2013-02-11 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 Stocks: Why "Risk On" Rules by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Investors appear to believe the equity market will muddle through its many challenges.

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.

2013-02-11 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Earnings continued to roll in which combined with higher dividends in many cases continued to support stock prices.

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 Golden State Gets Upgrade by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The turbulent clouds that settled upon California's bond market are beginning to dissipate, as the state's general obligation debt was recently upgraded to 'A' by Standards & Poor's. It has been almost a year since the rating agency has had a sunny outlook on the Sunshine State, but a series of improving economic data and better fiscal position have been turning things around.

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 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 Echoes of 2004 by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Rising equities and tightening credit spreads define the near-term investment outlook, but this is not the first time we have seen this cycle play out in recent memory.

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 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 The Good, the Bad, and the Greek (Risks) by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Greece is a small country with large implications. Last week we began to explore what I learned from my recent trip to Greece. In this week's letter we will finish those observations and in particular look at some of the comments from my meetings with over 40 people: owners of small businesses and large ones, billionaires, taxi drivers, politicians, central bankers, investors, ex-patriots, wives, and mothers. I believe we can arrive at some small understanding of the problems Greece faces. Then we will consider the broader consequences for Europe.

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 Four Steps to Get in Front of Million-dollar Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)

Most advisors tell me that once you're face-to-face with a prospect, you have an excellent chance of signing them up. It's not the slam dunk that it might have been 15 or 20 years ago, but good odds nevertheless. The big challenge is getting that face-to-face meeting.

2013-02-05 Australia in the Asian Century by Team of Thomas White International

Early in 2011, The Economist magazine ran a cover story titled 'The Next Golden State.' The title, incidentally, referred to Australia. Today, Australias citizens enjoy some of the highest standards of living anywhere in the world. With a real income of $62,000 per person in 2012, the country ranked 13th worldwide. Five of the ten best livable cities in the world are in Australia. But, for all its advantages, the country's contribution to the world economy in absolute terms is small. It accounted for just over 1 percent of world GDP in 2011.

2013-02-05 In Uncertain Environment, Jobs Grow Tepidly by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

For the 35th consecutive month, private payrolls registered positive growth. It was hardly the robust report economists would prefer, but the labor market continues to mend. However, there are still plenty of reasons to be concerned, especially with sequestration on the horizon.

2013-02-05 Are We There Yet? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Last week we talked about the numerous commentators urging investors to buy the dips. We pointed out that many of them (unlike many of the Flexible Plan strategies) were under invested during the stock market rally that began last November and thus were simply trying to finally get on the market band wagon.

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 Our Outlook: Very Bullish for the Stock Market by Team of Sadoff Investment Management

The combined readings of these breakouts, volume strength, significant pivots by a long list of financial stocks and improving commodity prices evidence major trend improvements. Restated, the underpinnings for both the economy and stock market evidence significant strengthening ahead.

2013-02-04 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 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 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.

2013-02-01 Crystallization at Davos by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The euphoria among my fellow Davos attendees was palpable, but short and long-term risks for the world's advanced economies, including competitive currency devaluation, remain concerning.

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 Myth of the Nest Egg by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

For decades we've focused on the nest-egg notion as the goal for retirement saving, benchmarking our progress in relation to that lump sum. But it has no context other than probably being the single biggest "paycheck" most of us will ever see. That lump sum may sound great to me, but what does it mean for my spending over 20 or even 30 years without a paycheck?

2013-02-01 Fiscal Cliff: Making Decisions in Crisis Part III by Brian Singer of William Blair

The December 31 fiscal cliff was averted, but by the narrowest of conceivable margins. The resolution is consistent with our November analysis, but the narrowness leaves much to be resolved and prolongs uncertainty through March.

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 China's Market Ups and Downs by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

China's stock market was a roller coaster in 2012, and those investors with a weak stomach for unpredictability probably found the ride unpleasant. Its true that by many measures last year's weak market performance in China's A share market was disappointing, but in a market of this size the story isn't all good or all bad, so unlike the market masses, I remain confident about China's prospects and continue to search for long-term investment opportunities in China.

2013-01-31 Closed-End Fund Review: Fourth Quarter 2012 by Jeff Margolin of First Trust Advisors

Following a year (2011) when the average closed-end fund was up a respectable 5.37% on a share price total return basis, closed-end funds posted even better performance in 2012, with the average fund up 14.00% (according to Morningstar) on a share price total return basis. The strong performance was broad and deep with many categories posting double-digit total returns. There were many factors which contributed to the strong results posted in 2012 and while I have written and spoken about them before, I want to reiterate them here.

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 Fiscal Cliff: Making Decisions in Crisis Part II by Brian Singer of William Blair

Having set a framework using strategic decision theory to interpret the choices of US politicians in response to their incentives around the "fiscal cliff," we now similarly turn our attention to the incentives (or disincentives) around the choices facing investors. While the general rise of uncertainty around changes to the rules of a game slow down the decision making process of investors, we consider the implications of a shifting tax burden on longer run equity valuations.

2013-01-31 Making Sense of Low Volatility Investing by Feifei Li of Research Affiliates

Why do low volatility stocks outperform riskier ones over time? Dr. Feifei Li, our Head of Research and my long-time collaborator, has focused on understanding the theoretical foundation underpinning the low volatility anomaly and documenting the strategy's risk-return characteristics in developed and emerging markets. In this issue of Simply Stated, our newsletter focusing on investor education, she summarizes the literature on the low volatility effect as well as provides additional insights from her own research based on an expanded global data set.

2013-01-31 Q4 2012 Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

During the second half of 2012, central banks turned their massive and coordinated monetary intervention "up to eleven." This is the overwhelmingly dominant economic and market force today. Despite the long-term consequences (which are very real), we believe the central bankers commitment is steadfast. It has and will likely continue to mute both real economic and financial market volatility (at the expense of long-term growth). A deeper analysis of what has changed, our assessment of the impact, and our portfolio response follows.

2013-01-31 Hasenstab: Little Value in U.S. Treasuries Right Now by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

The financial markets may have let out a collective sigh of relief on January 1 when U.S. politicians managed to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff, but the fact is the fundamental issue plaguing the U.S. still hasn't been addressed mounting debt. As a result, Dr. Michael Hasenstab, co-director of the International Bond Department and portfolio manager for the Templeton Global Bond Fund, says he doesn't see much value in U.S. Treasuries right now. He does see it elsewhere in the world, though, including Ireland and select emerging markets where fiscal houses appear in much better order.

2013-01-31 Signs of a Solid 2013 for Stocks by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Yield spreads versus bonds indicate that stock valuations have considerable upside.

2013-01-30 Taking a Dip? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

In the cold Midwest in January, the only talk of dips tends to be at Super Bowl parties or during the annual Polar Bear Club celebrations when a few hardy, scantily clad individuals jump into the frigid winter waters. Of course, in the summer those dips are much more inviting, following which a double "dipped" cone from the ice cream parlor has plenty to recommend it. But tune in to any financial news program or pick up your favorite financial read and you'll see that dips are all the rage. In this case, the reference is to "buying on dips."

2013-01-30 Fiscal Cliff: Making Decisions in Crisis Part I by Brian Singer of William Blair

Having lost touch with mainstream America, neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party enjoys much governing ability. Second, politicians struggle to function as leaders, regardless of competence, as a result of party disengagement. Third, left to their own devices, politicians will respond to their individual incentives. Bringing these observations together, neither party platform nor leadership vision will provide as much guiding force as the incentives of each politician, sometimes individually and other times in coalition.

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.

2013-01-29 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 How to Hire the Best People by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Numbers rule. Investments, financial plans and future goals can be assessed quantitatively. But the fundamental component of an advisor's practice is the people. Having the right people on your team to work with your clients and support your efforts is crucial to your long-term success, which is why I created a structured process for hiring the best employees.

2013-01-29 Letter to the Investment Committee by Emilio Vargas (Article)

The following is a thousand words on investing that will irritate most every investment professional. Most forms of active portfolio management incur fees, transaction costs and taxes. Whole industries exist due to these costs, and their proponents will argue that they are adding value. In aggregate they cannot; they are all costs. That I am proposing an investment that could take food from the mouths of the children of an army of accountants, brokers and investment professionals will, no doubt, cause them to find flaws in what follows.

2013-01-29 How Much Help from Housing? by Alan Levenson of T. Rowe Price

We expect the ongoing recovery in new housing construction from unsustainably low levels to contribute roughly percentage point to real GDP growth this year, and emphasize the risks to the upside of this forecast. Imminent employment growth in housing-related industries will provide an important channel for secondary "multiplier" effects of the housing recovery. Applying recent house price increases to the entire stock of owner-occupied housing overstates their likely wealth effect on consumer spending.

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 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 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 A Few Things to Consider. Plus a Look at Maine and Illinois by Gregg L. Bienstock of Lumesis

This week's commentary is a slight departure from our standard format. It's been a few weeks since we mentioned the fiscal cliff, sequestration and the like. This is due to our collective saturation and the perspective of so many that the problem was solved. Well, we want to provide a reminder or two and throw a few thoughts at you to kick around. We conclude with a quick look at Maine and Illinois.

2013-01-25 Feeding the Dragon: Why China's Credit System Looks Vulnerable by Edward Chancellor, Mike Monnelly of GMO

Edward Chancellor and Mike Monnelly, members of GMO's Asset Allocation team, write to institutional clients in a new white paper about China's credit boom and outlines some worrying recent developments in its financial system. In GMO's view, "China's credit system exhibits a large number of indicators associated with acute financial fragility," including China's debt and real estate bubbles, the belief that the government is underwriting financial risk, the shadow banking system, a proliferation in credit guarantees, among others.

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 Will Resolution of the Fiscal Cliff Squelch Consumption? by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments

The U.S. averted the Fiscal Cliff with passage of the "American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012" on December 31. Economists think resolution of the Fiscal Cliff will lead to a fiscal drag of 1% on GDP and adversely affect the mainstay of the economy: the American Consumer. We're not convinced this will happen and believe tax increases overstate the related negative consumption impacts. While we expect some weakness in consumption, it is likely to be transitory and confined in the first half of 2013, before recovering above-trend in the second half.

2013-01-25 Cliff Dwellers by Stephen Taddie of Stellar Capital Management

In the ensuing days and weeks there will be plenty of opinions about what passed and what will continue to be negotiated in the drama known as the fiscal cliff. The spectacle of across-aisle dealings makes for a well rated "Reality" show (Fiscal Riff?), but poor ratings for both effectiveness and efficiency in governance. With US-centric issues in the forefront, the focus has been taken off the ongoing Euro Zone talks, which continue to plod along.

2013-01-25 Truth vs. IgnoranceThe Impactful Investment Manager of Tomorrow by Katy Sherrerd of Research Affiliates

Ignorance in investing can have devastating consequences for individual portfolios and personal wealth. Too often, capital market participants have little knowledge of how markets work, how to make investment decisions, or how to manage their portfolios. This month's Fundamentals explains how investment managers can add value for their clients through insight and education combined with the quest for alpha.

2013-01-25 Opine Less, Think More by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, looks at investing from a broad perspective and goes over in detail some of the macro themes he is examining as he tries to help the reader make sense of what 2013 will bring. He discusses potential "black swans" that he has his eye on, the bounceback of American and European stock markets, the sometimes overlooked lack of a correlation between economic growth and stock market performance, what P/E ratios tell us both historically and in the present, and where valuations can go from here.

2013-01-25 Prisoner of the Bureaucracy by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

I wrote some time ago that Greece had a choice between Disaster A: staying in the euro; and Disaster B: leaving the euro. I have recently come back from four days in Greece, meeting with lots of people at all levels of society, and will share with you in this letter my analysis of their choices and the results. I'll also have a few things to say about what the developments in Greece might mean for the rest of Europe and the developed world.

2013-01-24 Searching for Growth in a Low-Growth World by Austin Graff of PIMCO

We believe corporate profit growth will fall short of sell-side consensus estimates. But companies with inflation-linked revenues and supply side advantages to drive revenue growth, and those with ample cost levers to improve margins, are positioned for sustained earnings growth in the New Normal.

2013-01-24 Breaking Away by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

With the college and the NBA seasons now in full stride, these breakaways are on full display every day of the week and most hours of the day throughout television land. Not to be outdone, the stock market staged its only breakaway last week as it broke out above its post-correction high and scored a new market-rally highpoint. As the chart illustrates, this has been a hard fought victory. The market made the just-broken highs back in September. Since then, uncertainty sustained by an election and impending fiscal cliff had formed a nearly impenetrable defense.

2013-01-24 Quick Takes on the Investing Year Ahead by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

We covered a lot of market and investment topics at Pioneer's National Sales and Marketing Meeting last week. Here are some notes on a few that were popular: GDP Growth for the U.S.. Expectations for rates: Fed Funds Rate and the 10-year Treasury, EM equities favored over U.S. Equities?, Things that keep us up at night (outside of the debt ceiling, Europe, and Middle East tension.

2013-01-24 Tail Risk Hedging: It Pays to Be Countercyclical by Vineer Bhansali of PIMCO

The cost of hedging in absolute terms is back to pre-crisis lows. Quiet markets, low volatility and a lack of visible risks on the horizon can lead to complacence and increasingly dangerous, leveraged positions. Many credit markets have been direct beneficiaries of the belief in seemingly lower tail risks in equity markets, and could also end up suffering if there is a re-emergence of widespread fear of, and upward repricing of, these tails. Investors should consider taking this opportunity to reload their hedges as soon as they can.

2013-01-24 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia Pacific economies showed strong signals of a rebound in economic activity amidst generally rising exports and stabilizing inflation. While some major economies like China, which had cut interest rates throughout 2012 to stimulate the economy, saw a mild resurgence in inflation, many countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Philippines saw inflation stabilize significantly during the quarter. Still, India, the region's second largest economy, continued to be troubled by rising prices despite high interest rates.

2013-01-24 Escape Velocity in the Economy by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The broad improvement in U.S. economic data indicates that the economy is likely to continue to expand, supporting earnings growth and pointing to an eventual return of leveraged buy outs.

2013-01-23 High Yield Market Overview December 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Constrained Index, posted a positive total return of 1.59% in December, as the high yield market rallied on the perceived benefits of a fiscal compromise in the U.S.

2013-01-23 Economic Backdrop Supports Stocks, Credit Sectors and Munis by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Thanks to solid earnings, some decent (if mixed) economic news and indications that the debt ceiling debate may be delayed slightly, stocks posted additional gains last week, continuing their strong start to 2013. For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 1.2% to 13,649, the S&P 500 index advanced 1.0% to 1,485 and the NASDAQ composite rose 0.3% to 3,134. Bonds have remained relatively steady, with the 10-year Us treasury closing the week at a yield of 1.84%, two one-hundredths lower than the previous Friday close.

2013-01-23 The Year of the American Consumer by Philip Tasho of TAMRO Capital

It was an above-average year for stock returns across the domestic market cap spectrum. Ultimately, unconventional and accommodative monetary policy trumped investor concerns over fiscal policy, the Presidential election and weakness overseas. The Federal Reserve (the Fed) entered uncharted waters when it announced open-ended quantitative easing through the ongoing purchasing of government securities. Importantly, other central banks globally waded in by mimicking the Fed in word if not deed and the global liquidity cycle continued apace.

2013-01-23 Is the European Crisis Over? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The European sovereign debt crisis that first erupted in 2010 and stoked almost three years of intense market volatility has all but faded from the front pages. Overshadowed by domestic policy issues and European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi's pledge to do "whatever it takes" to save the Eurozone, fears that the monetary union would crumble and unleash a maelstrom of financial distress appear to have dissipated.

2013-01-23 Norfolk Southern Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Norfolk Southern Corp (NSC) is one of the nation's premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers.

2013-01-23 Gun Control & How To Play Upcoming Debt Battles by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Ever since the tragedy on December 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut occurred when Adam Lanza senselessly murdered 26 people (20 children and six staff) and then himself there has been a growing cry from millions of Americans for some kind of new gun controls. And the current occupant of the White House is all too happy to oblige. Last week, the president unveiled the most sweeping new gun control laws since the so-called Brady Bill was passed in 1993, requiring background checks on firearm purchasers in the US. Obama's proposals go much further as I will discuss.

2013-01-23 Avoid Disappointment, Aim Low by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

No, it's not a life aspiration. But it can work when it comes to investing. We had a rush of gains coming into the end of the year with the S&P up 22% over the year. But it's also one of the more relaxed markets and start we've had in years. The political agenda is still front and clear and we're in a lull until the debt ceiling arguments gain steam. The markets know this but seem comfortably complacent. They're probably right to be.

2013-01-22 Wally Weitz on Value Investing in the Post-Crisis Era by Robert Huebscher (Article)

As the president and founder of Weitz Funds, Wally Weitz has spent nearly three decades putting his instinct for opportunity to work for shareholders. Influenced by the value-investing model of Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett, Wally manages the Partners III Opportunity Fund (WPOPX), which has had an annual return of 10.85%, versus 6.23% for the S&P 500. In this interview, he discusses his investment methodology and how it has evolved since the financial crisis.

2013-01-22 Venerated Voices by Ranks Economic and Market Commentaries Most Read by Financial Advisors (Article)

Here are the winners of our 2012 Venerated Voices awards: the top commentaries, authors and firms for the past year, based on readership.

2013-01-22 2013 Investment Outlook by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

I would like to focus this commentary on three trends which I believe will have a larger positive impact on the US economy going forward than the broader investment community expects.

2013-01-22 Ten for '13 by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Last year, despite the noise surrounding the U.S. elections and the ongoing European debt crisis, the main drivers of asset prices arguably were the large-scale bond-buying programs put in place by global central banks to alleviate systemic pressures. In 2013, we anticipate fewer aggressive central bank actions as the pace of global growth gradually picks up. We believe the largest influential factors to our outlook are premature fiscal tightening in the U.S. and a potential resurgence of eurozone problems.

2013-01-22 Consumer Staples: Don't Overpay for Safety by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Many investors have flocked to the perceived safety of defensive sectors over the past few years, including consumer staples. But Russ gives three reasons they might want to think twice about the sector now.

2013-01-22 Latin America: Europe's Pillar of Strength by Team of Thomas White International

European firms are shaking off pressure at home through various business transactions in Latin America.

2013-01-22 Keep Your Eye On The Ball - 2012 Year End Letter by Team of Sloan Wealth Management

The members of the Portfolio Management Team at Sloan Wealth Management (SWM) coach two baseball teams, two soccer teams, one T-ball team and one basketball team for our collective young children. Thus, we find ourselves stressing the basics. Learning the fundamentals of how to catch a pop-up will eliminate some of the fear of getting hit in the face. In 2012, we found many parallels to the capital markets as our portfolios posted high double digit returns in the face of fear.

2013-01-22 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week saw the markets continue to trade off of concerns over Apple, and just what might happen in Washington DC concerning the debt limit negotiations. Earnings season will hit high gear this week.

2013-01-22 Fossil Inc Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Fossil Inc. (FOSL) is a global design, marketing and distribution company that specializes in consumer fashion accessories. The Company's principal offerings include an extensive line of men's and women's fashion watches and jewelry sold under proprietary and licensed brands, handbags, small leather goods, belts, sunglasses, soft accessories, shoes and clothing.

2013-01-18 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

According to the International Monetary Fund's Regional Economic Outlook report, countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are expected to grow at different rates. Oil exporting nations are cashing in on high energy prices and production, and are projected to expand 6.6 percent in 2012 before tempering in 2013. On the other hand, oil importers such as Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia among others are expected to clock growth just over 2 percent as the slowdown in the world economy and political tensions continue to hinder expansion for some of these countries in transition.

2013-01-18 The Allure of Panda Coins by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

While I waited in another long line in San Francisco International Airport recently, I struck up a conversation with the gentleman behind me. It turned out we were both returning from research trips in China. But rather than being an investor of securities as I am, this fellow traveler was an investor in Chinese coins, specifically, panda coins.

2013-01-18 Equity Investment Outlook January 2013 by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Despite many headwinds and amid great uncertainty, both the U.S. economy and stock market enjoyed a rather good year in 2012. Real Gross Domestic Product ("GDP") grew around 2%, and the stock market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, returned 16%. At the risk of sounding complacent, we believe that the fundamental trends that produced such favorable results in 2012 are still in place and should support another good year in 2013.

2013-01-18 4 Sensational Facts About Gold Investing That You Might Not Know by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

1. Gold has been a consistent performer over the decades. 2. Gold should remain a hot commodity in 2013. 3. Gold is the least volatile commodity on the table. 4. The last four years were better than you thought.

2013-01-18 VF Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article will reveal the business prospects of VF Corp through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool. Therefore, it is offered as the first step before a more comprehensive research effort. Our objective is to provide companies that have excellent historical records and appear reasonably priced based on past, present and future data and expectations.

2013-01-18 Taking Stock of the Greek Issue by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investment Management

Euro zone officials have shown a lot of flexibility in dealing with Greeces efforts. As the crisis extended to other countries, EMU politicians have put the integrity of the euro area above all and are unlikely to give up on their efforts should further difficulties arise. A Greek exit from the euro area does not seem to be an option any longer, but Greece must continue its efforts to return its public finances to a sustainable path.

2013-01-17 International Equity Commentary December 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices made robust gains in December, as further improvement in economic trends across most regions lifted the outlook for 2013. Policymakers in the U.S. managed to put together an agreement at the last minute and averted the 'fiscal cliff', one of the major risks that had restricted investor sentiment during earlier months. In Europe, though economic signals remain largely weak, the further fall in bond yields of the troubled countries has helped sustain optimism about resolving the region's fiscal crisis this year.

2013-01-17 Signs of a Rotation by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

As yields continue to dwindle and risks in the fixed income market come into clearer focus, investors have begun to regard equities as a compelling alternative to bonds.

2013-01-17 Investing in Africa: Misconceptions and Realities by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

It's easy to fall prey to misconceptions and generalizations about places we've never been: to assume everyone in the United States drives big cars, all the French love croissants and all Canadians play hockey. There are many misconceptions about investing in developing markets, and Africa certainly has its fair share, but it's dangerous to make sweeping generalizations.

2013-01-17 End of An Era: 30 Years of Double-Digit Chinese Growth by Bryce Fegley of Saturna Capital

Slumping exports, lackluster domestic consumption, and slowing urban migration contribute to lower growth expectations for China. With Chinese manufacturing capacity now saturated relative to global demand, and developed economies facing the consequences of over-indebtedness, external tailwinds to China's growth have passed.

2013-01-16 The Rise of Asia's REITs by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia

Real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Asia are following in the footsteps of their U.S. counterparts as they become an increasingly important asset class attracting investors looking to gain exposure to a diversified pool of real assets and relatively high yields. In the past decade, REITs have become a growing force in the regions investment universe. This month Sherwood Zhang, CFA, takes a look at just how far Asia's REIT markets have come, and what new opportunities as well as risks may still exist.

2013-01-16 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

By now you may have read more than you care to about the changes to income taxes. We avoided rushing to get you something as so many others did, so that we could provide you with some comprehensive and practical information. It is a long read, but we hope you find it to be worth your time.

2013-01-16 Haka Politics and the Slow Crawl by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

In the last few months we have seen the rise of Haka politics. Familiar to any All Blacks fan, this is the ritualistic Maori war dance, full of noise, bluster and theater. But it rarely intimidates and most opponents sit it out with some amusement. So it is with the political interventions last year. We saw countless announcements and intentions from EU leaders and solemn pledges with little follow-through. And in the US we had a soporific election and a squalid squabble over the fiscal cliff that caught the public but not the market's attention.

2013-01-16 3 Reasons the Stock Market Rally Could Falter by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Enjoy the US stock market rally while it lasts. Russ Koesterich has three reasons why investors should remain cautious in the near term.

2013-01-16 Tax-Deferral Becomes More Urgent As Congress Seeks Fiscal Solutions by Mitchell Caplan of Jefferson National

Many Americans began the New Year relieved that the "fiscal cliff" had been averted, if only temporarily. But there is no escaping their biggest fearthat an increase in their federal tax bill is inevitable. Congress continues to hammer out the final details, but one thing is certain: anyone drawing a salary or receiving other income will be hit with more taxes. And the higher their income, the bigger the bite.

2013-01-15 Gundlach’s Predictions for 2013 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Don't expect the low volatility that characterized the capital markets in 2012 to continue. Global economic uncertainty remains, and markets are poised like a 'coiled snake' to reward or penalize investors in certain asset classes, according to Jeffrey Gundlach.

2013-01-15 Template for a Year-End Client Letter 2012 in Review: Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future by Dan Richards (Article)

Client concerns about whether you're on top of things can be reduced by sending regular overviews of what's happened in the immediate past and the outlook for the period ahead. That's why each year since 2008, I have posted templates to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the year that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead.

2013-01-15 Land of the Rising Dead by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Yes, you knew we were going to talk about Japan. It's all the rage and the big standout in market performance in the last few weeks. Since November the broad Nikkei-225 average has risen 24% because there's new thinking in town. It's hard to describe Japan's 20 year malaise. Once proud companies shaken, the shattering of a property market and total collapse of stocks. Even if the market rises at the same level of the last few months, it will take six years to re-reach its peak. A more reasonable 10% growth rate will take 14 years. Weird things happen when economies enter deflation.

2013-01-15 Forecast 2013: Unsustainability and Transition by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

As we begin a new year, we again indulge ourselves in the annual rite of forecasting the year ahead. This year I want to look out a little further than just one year in order to think about the changes that are soon going to be forced on the developed world. We are all going to have to make a very agile adaptation to a new economic environment (and it is one that I will welcome). The transition will offer both crisis and loss for those mired in the current system, which must evolve or perish, and opportunity for those who can see the necessity for change and take advantage of the evolution.

2013-01-15 Are Investors Buying into the Equity Story? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Last week we discussed the debate over active versus passive management. We believe active managers can add tremendous value in particular segments of the market, despite recent challenges. Outside of the active management discussion, many investors are deciding whether equities are a prudent place to allocate capital at this point in the market cycle. The first week of the year answered investors' opinions on that question loud and clear.

2013-01-15 The Markets and the Cult of Now by Joseph Paul of AllianceBernstein

Crisis-battered investors continue to favor the relative certainty of current income over the "maybe" of future capital appreciation. If you ask me, however, this hyperfixation on Now is creating some provocative opportunities in Later.

2013-01-15 New Year's Vantage Point: Christopher Molumphy by Christopher Molumphy of Franklin Templeton Investments

For a view on the U.S. and global fixed income market and potential opportunities therein, we turn to Christopher Molumphy, CFA, chief investment officer of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group.

2013-01-15 New Ice by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Last week, the immediate snap-back reversal we were expecting lasted 3 days and then the rebound to new short-term highs that we also spoke about occurred as well. While it is always difficult in the very short term to tell if we are back on track, to me it looks like we remain pointing higher, expecting some short-term dips along the way.

2013-01-15 It's Not What Happens That Matters by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Late in 2008 and in early 2009, a group of what we like to call "brilliant pessimists" hit the airwaves with their economic theories. The prognosticators' vision of the future was and is predicated on the history of similar situations and the mathematical realities of the huge debt overhang from the prior ten years of profligate economic behavior. They put very effective names on their visions like "new normal" and "seven lean years". They marketed their visions incredibly well to the point of shaming anyone who might disagree with their theories.

2013-01-15 Declaring Victory at Halftime by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Present overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising-yield conditions fall within a tiny percentage of market history that is associated with dismal market outcomes, on average. Its true that we've observed extreme conditions since about March 2012 with little resolution aside from short-term declines. But the S&P 500 remains only a few percent from its March 2012 high, and if history is any guide, the extension of these unfavorable conditions is not likely to reduce the depth of the market loss that can be expected to resolve them.

2013-01-15 What's Behind the Buyback Binge? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The pace of stock repurchases says much about equity valuationsand companies' expectations for economic growth.

2013-01-14 The 'Dark Continent' is Shining Bright by Team of Thomas White International

From a recipient of aid, Africa has transformed itself into a magnet attracting capital and investment.

2013-01-14 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Another quiet week in early January as the earnings season is about to gear up.

2013-01-11 Thanks, Everybody...We'll be Right Back! by Colin Moore of Columbia Management

The Washington Comedy Club has taken a brief intermission and will be back in session shortly to resume the show. Please enjoy the facilities of this great country, free of charge, while you wait. Ignore the "Nero" character in the far corner playing the fiddle. Apparently, he isn't part of the show. Economic uncertainty emanating from fears of the U.S. fiscal cliff has been deferred but not avoided.

2013-01-11 On the Road in India by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

India appears to be on its way to becoming a major market for motor vehicles. Annual car and truck sales currently in India are roughly one third of the 15 million units produced in the U.S., but the pace of growth has been high. The total population of registered motor vehicles in India numbered more than 100 million in 2008- 2009, with consumer vehicles (passenger cars, motorcycles and scooters) accounting for about 4/5 of the total.

2013-01-11 New Year's Vantage Point: Norm Boersma by Norman Boersma of Franklin Templeton Investments

As we ring in a new year, it's a good time to gain some perspective on where we've been, and where we might be headed. Norm Boersma, CFA, chief investment officer of Templeton Global Equity Group, takes a look at the current headwinds facing the global equity markets, from fiscal imbalances to growth challengesand how market uncertainty can result in market mispricings.

2013-01-11 2 Reasons to Stick With Emerging Markets by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Think emerging markets equities have run their course? Not so fast despite recent strong performance, Russ explains why there's room for further EM gains in 2013.

2013-01-11 How the Platinum Coin Could Work (or Backfire) by Mohamed El-Erian of PIMCO

The unusual move of minting a large platinum coin might shock politicians into cleaning up the fiscal mess. But the rest of the world may see it as inflationary.

2013-01-11 Pacific Basin Market Overview - December 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Equity markets ended the year on an upbeat note, shrugging off concerns over the impending "fiscal cliff" while focusing on better economic data from the U.S. and China. In Japan, expectations of a higher inflation target and a depreciating yen brought some overseas investors back to the Tokyo stock market. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 5.6%, while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index also closed 5.6% higher in the October-December quarter of 2012.

2013-01-11 Gold Strategy Investor Letter, Q4 2012 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), examines in his latest quarterly letter the macro factors affecting the price of gold and gold mining stocks. While such stocks have traded at a discount relative to historic norms, Hathaway remains bullish on gold and gold related equities, believing both could see new highs in 2013.

2013-01-10 Market Perspectives Q4 2012: Politics vs. Economics by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The major news of the quarter was that a fiscal cliff deal passed in the final hours of the 112th Congress and was signed by President Obama. The deal averts tax increases on most Americans and prevents large indiscriminate cuts in spending in many government programs. It also averted, by nearly universal consensus among macroeconomists, tipping the American economy into recession with attendant global implications.

2013-01-10 Things Can Only Get Better by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

As long-duration common stock owners, we at Smead Capital Management don't put much emphasis on predicting the year-to-year movements in the stock market. We expect at least a 10 percent or greater decline during each year and a greater than 20 percent decline at least once every five years. With that caveat in place, we will throw our two cents into the debate about what the US stock market will do in 2013.

2013-01-10 Finally, a Solution to the Income Investing Dilemma by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

There's an endangered species in the investment industry today and it goes by the name of "yield." With continued downward pressure from the Federal Reserve, both short-term and long-term interest rates have been held to artificially low levels. And each new announcement from the Fed seems to extend the outlook for low interest rates farther into the future.

2013-01-10 A Brighter Picture for Jobs and the Economy by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Promising fundamental developments suggest that U.S. economic expansion is likely to continue and equities will rise in the first quarter.

2013-01-10 Defense as a Good Offense by Brian Frank of Frank Capital Partners

Oddly, defensive names that ordinarily trade at premiums to the market are trading at big value discounts. These companies that have the ability to grow in any economic environment are a part of the portfolio, as well as companies riding pockets of growth around the globe. There is a lot to be excited about in 2013 for value stocks.

2013-01-10 A New Years Vantage Point: Michael Hasenstab by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

As we ring in a new year, it's a good time to gain some perspective on where we've been, and where we might be headed. In the first few weeks of January, Beyond Bulls & Bears will be featuring a series of investment commentaries from select Franklin Templeton investment management teams. These professionals provide their insights on the market ups and downs of 2012, and the potential challenges and opportunities that may lie ahead from their respective vantage points. Today we hear from Michael Hasenstab, portfolio manager and co-director of the International Bond Department.

2013-01-09 Political Small Ball and Its Impact On Municipal Bonds by Tom Dalpiaz of Advisors Asset Management

In politics, making a grand bargain might be compared to the big inning where big things are accomplished in a big way. Given the serious issues we currently face regarding government spending, deficits, and the need for entitlement and tax code reform, it is not surprising many investors and the public generally have been feeling the need for a big inning or grand bargain from our political players.

2013-01-09 Stock Market Rocket by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

I know that if you spent any time during the holidays around children eight or older, you probably saw some pretty amazing electronic toys, communication, and entertainment devices. But 50-some years ago one of the best toys in the world was...a rubber band. Today the snap of the rubber band holds a different meaning to me. It symbolizes what I believe has been happening in our stock market.

2013-01-09 Ten Acts for Chairman Bernanke in January 2013 by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernankes term ends in January 2014, and it is unclear whether he will stay on for another. We expect Bernanke will muster every means he can over the next year to help the U.S. and indeed the world emerge from a gloomy time.Here, then, are 10 items we suggest for Ben Bernankes to-do list in 2013.

2013-01-08 3 Key Dates to Watch After the Fiscal Cliff Deal by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

After last week's partial deal, Russ explains when investors should expect more market volatility and another round of late-night drama from Washington.

2013-01-08 Brave New Start to the Year by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Well that was fun. Negotiations went to the brink, we had politicians dropping the "F" bomb a few steps from the Oval Office, the Senate described as "sleep deprived octogenarians" by a congressman and an all around feeling that it was better than nothing. Welcome to the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which actually, er...raises taxes for everyone. That's right. No one in 2013 pays less than they paid in 2012. This is our best estimate of the fall out. It's definitely better than what was at risk back in November but it's still a net drag on the economy of around 1.0%.

2013-01-08 From Cliff to Ceiling: No Clear Signal for Investors by Libby Cantrill, Josh Thimons of PIMCO

We expect the last minute deal in the lame duck session to result in about 1.3% of GDP contraction, slightly less than our earlier prediction of about 1.5%. The compromise eliminated (or at least delayed) the possibility of the most damaging equity market outcomes. The deal failed to set up a framework for structural deficit reform in 2013. Almost immediately, Congress must address the debt ceiling, the sequester and the continuing resolution to keep the government funded.

2013-01-08 Why China Won't Crack by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

For the world's second largest economy, a hard landing scenario looks increasingly remote.

2013-01-08 Early 2013 Looks to Feature Slow Growth and Ongoing Fiscal Drama by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Stock markets started 2013 off with a bang, as investors expressed relief over the down-to-the-wire agreement on the fiscal cliff that came on January 1. For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average jumped 3.8% to 13,435, the S&P 500 index rose 4.6% to 1,466 and the Nasdaq composite advanced 4.8% to 3,101. Although the deal reached last week was good news for the markets, Washington's fiscal soap opera is far from over. Although the deal reached last week was good news for the markets, Washingtons fiscal soap opera is far from over.

2013-01-08 Another Lost Year for Active Management by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

There is no doubt that 2012 will be remembered by many investors, for reasons both good and otherwise. One group less likely to remember the good of 2012 is active managers. Across the universe of hedge funds and mutual funds, relatively few were able to outperform their comparative benchmarks. This continues a long running trend of active managers lagging their less active counterparts and raises many questions about the efficacy of active management.

2013-01-07 Fixed Income Asset Allocation Post-Apocalypse by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

December 21, 2012 the day the Earth was prophesized to collide with a black hole of kaputness has come and gone in defiance of the Mayan calendar. The more upbeat interpretation of the 5,125-year Mayan cycle, however, is that the end date doesn't signify Armageddon but rather the beginning of a new time for positive change here on earth. So allow us to suggest an investment playbook to cash in on this silver lining. In short, the sweetness of the metaphorical fortune cookie in your hand will depend on how you allocate your fixed income assets in 2013.

2013-01-07 Restricted Room for Higher Rates by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Interest rates should rise through 2013, however, the level to which they can increase will be limited by the Federal Reserve's ongoing attempt to stimulate activity in the housing market.

2013-01-07 Germany and Eastern Europe: Lessons in Free Trade by Team of Thomas White International

Economies in east and central Europe are attracting huge foreign investments into the automobile sector.

2013-01-07 Investments That May Keep Me Up at Night in 2013 by Charles Lieberman (Article)

The outlook for 2013 is quite improved compared with 2012. Domestic economic growth prospects are significantly less troublesome. The election is over. Europe has (painfully) slowly made progress in reducing its own budget problems. It is not all clear sailing, however. (It never is.) Europe remains a work in progress. All of the geopolitical risks of 2012, notably North Korea, Iran, and all of the rest of the Middle East, remain on the docket in 2013. And the battle over the U.S. budget will resume in the near future.

2013-01-07 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The stock market has started the New Year in fine shape, relieved that President Obama's threat to raise taxes to the moon on capital gains and dividends were thwarted with the deal agreed to on New Year's Day.

2013-01-03 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!We don't know what you did on Monday night to ring in 2013, but the U.S. Senate was in session as they were attempting to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff".At 2:07 a.m. on New Year's Day the Senate passed a bill, 89 to 8, which does a number of different things.Then late that same morning, the House also passed the bill.We are going to touch on a few of the highlights in this opening Bullet and promise to give a more detailed analysis in our mid-month Bullets.

2013-01-03 Money for Nothin' Writing Checks for Free by Bill Gross of PIMCO

It was Milton Friedman, not Ben Bernanke, who first made reference to dropping money from helicopters in order to prevent deflation. Bernanke's now famous "helicopter speech" in 2002, however, was no less enthusiastically supportive of the concept. In it, he boldly previewed the almost unimaginable policy solutions that would follow the black swan financial meltdown in 2008.

2013-01-03 Another Look at Small-Cap Myths by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

A few years ago we wrote about several small-cap myths. As we begin the New Year, we thought it might be helpful to revisit some of the more prominent misconceptions about our chosen asset class and to examine how they have factored into recent performance.

2013-01-03 Outlook 2013: Fiscal Cliff Remains Unresolved, but Opportunities Still Exist by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

As we look ahead to 2013, it is impossible to make any sort of forecast without first turning our attention to the still-unresolved fiscal cliff debate. We have long said that unless we were to see significant movement on the issues of tax rates and entitlement spending, the most likely outcome would be some sort of bare-bones deal. At the time of this writing, congress and the President were still negotiating, but our analysis suggests that such a bare-bones resolution remains the most probable result, even if it does not come before the January 1 deadline.

2013-01-03 High Yield Market Overview December 1, 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The high yield market, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Master II Constrained Index, posted a positive total return of 0.74% in November, as high yield investors focused on the fiscal cliff and the risk that the U.S. government fails to negotiate a resolution.

2013-01-03 The Deal is Done Observations on the Cliff, the Ceiling and Your Investments by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

I've been saying that December 31 was a media deadline, not a real deadline for a fiscal cliff resolution, since Congress could act retroactively.

2013-01-03 Taking Care of Business, DC-Style, to Avert the Fiscal Cliff by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

No "grand bargain," but Congress got a deal done at the 13th hour to avert the fiscal cliff. The next two months will bring more DC wrangling and likely market angst, but we believe the outlook has brightened for the economy and market in 2013. The "wall of worry" is alive and well.

2013-01-03 5 Investment Ideas for a Post-Fiscal Cliff Deal World by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

As discussed in previous posts, Congress kicked off the New Year with a bare bones deal to avert (or at least delay) the fiscal cliff. Though markets responded positively to the news Wednesday morning, the euphoria isn't likely to last.

2013-01-02 Getting the Most from Your Investment Committee by Bob Veres (Article)

Investment committees are a little bit like fingerprints: they come in all shapes and sizes, and no two are exactly alike in form or function. So advisory firms that have investment committees – or are considering creating one – can learn a lot from one another. My research has identified some best practices for this flexible management tool, by comparing notes among advisors on how they are managing their IC teams.

2013-01-02 Brian McMahon on Thornburg’s Investment Income Builder Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Brian McMahon is the chief executive officer and chief investment officer for Thornburg Investment Management, where he the co-portfolio manager for the $11.4 billion Thornburg Investment Income Builder Fund (TIBAX). The fund's goal is income production, and it has outperformed its benchmark, the Morningstar Moderate Target Risk, over the last ten years (10.87% versus 2.88%). In this interview, he offers his views on the economy and the markets, and how he has positioned his fund.

2013-01-02 Somewhere Over the Rainbow by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We are 13 years into a secular bear market in the United States. The Nasdaq is still down 40% from its high, and the Dow and S&P 500 are essentially flat. European and Japanese equities have generally fared worse. The average secular bear market in the US has been about 11 years, with the shortest to date being four years and the longest 20. Are we at the beginning of a new bull market or another seven years of famine? What sorts of returns should we expect over the coming years from US equities?

2013-01-02 How Much Hedge Fund Exposure Makes Sense? by Daniel Eagan of AllianceBernstein

Our research suggests that a well-diversified allocation to hedge funds might improve portfolio returns, but their greatest benefit is the risk reduction that comes from their low correlation to stocks. Here's why.

2013-01-02 Where Munis and Government Budgets Meet by Rafael Costas of Franklin Templeton Investments

In the realm of municipal bonds, if you had been focusing on the bankruptcy filings or threats facing a few California cities that dominated the news headlines earlier this year, you couldn't have been blamed for concluding that the sector was a minefield. But then, as year-end approached, the state and local government story became more upbeat, and investors were flocking to the municipal market. Rafael Costas, co-director of the Franklin Municipal Bond Department, has ridden this kind of headline carousel before and he's used to seeing these types of stories cycle through.

2012-12-28 Capitol "Cliffhanger": Thriller or Chiller? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Whatever the outcome of the last-minute jockeying in Washington, meaningful fiscal reform remains unlikely.

2012-12-28 Don\'t Wait for the Robins: Investment Strategy for 2013 by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

Warren Buffet once remarked, "If you wait for the robins, spring will be over." "Uncertainty" has been an overarching issue since the financial crisis of 2008 and one of the principal reasons that investors have remained on the sidelines away from the equity markets. As it has been a part of the investment lexicon, "uncertainty" will always exist in some capacity. In 2012, investors began by focusing on European issues, then the U.S. election, and now the fiscal cliff. In fact, when there is little uncertainty and investors appear unafraid, one should be more concerned.

2012-12-28 Readers' Golden Nuggets Focused on Gold, Resources and Overcoming Negativity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The past few days Ive been counting down the most popular commentaries over the past year. China, commodities and bond fund popularity were big hits; so were the Surprises in Gasoline, Oil and Resources Stock Prices. Here are the top four.

2012-12-27 The Best Investment-Related Quotes by Glenn Frank (Article)

I've compiled a list of my favorite investment-related quotes. They come from a range of sources – including many outside the world of finance. I hope that they provide wisdom and inspiration for the year ahead.

2012-12-27 Saving for Retirement Stage 3: Making Retirement Funds Last as Long as You Do by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

So you're finally ready to retire. You've worked hard. You've planned. You've saved. You're ready to toss the business section and flip to the travel pages. You hope the investment decisions you've made have positioned you to meet your future needs. You may be retired, but your money has to keep working, and luck, as they say, tends to favor the prepared. In this third installment of our "Saving for Retirement" series, we take a look at some considerations and strategies for those fortunate folks beginning or living in retirement.

2012-12-26 The Ten Key Benefits of Investment Committees by Bob Veres (Article)

In this first part of a two-part report, I'll identify ten core purposes that investment committees serve in different types of firms, ranking them in order of the number of responses I received. If your investment committee is serving all ten purposes, based on the survey, you're among a select minority - which means that many advisors may find new ways to use this versatile new tool in their RIA practices.

2012-12-26 Looking on the Bright Side by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

It is Christmas Eve and not the time for long letters just a brief note on why the fiscal cliff is not the End of All Things, and to point out a worthy cause led by some good friends of mine who are helping people who truly have no options in life. And we'll start things off with a movie review of sorts to launch us into a positive take on the year behind and the year ahead.

2012-12-26 Why China is a Reason for Optimism by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

"China has taught me how to think about growth. Consider its stable political environment: it has gone from revolutionary upheaval to smooth (almost boring) transitions of power."

2012-12-24 Skip the Surtax: A Tax-Saving Strategy for CRTs by Daniel Eagan, Steve Schilling, Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein

A special provision buried deep in a recent set of proposed US Treasury regulations opens the door for charitable remainder trusts (CRTs) to protect gains from being subject to next year's 3.8% Medicare surtax. Here's how CRTs can reduce their beneficiaries' tax burden.

2012-12-21 Egypt's Arab Winter by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

It's been almost two years since the "Arab Spring" swept North Africa and the Middle East, and with it, grand hopes for change. Sometimes, change doesn't happen as quickly as the people would like, and oftentimes it can be a messy process. That is certainly true in Egypt right now, a country that is still in the throes of shaping its future. The ousting of Hosni Mubarak in 2011 didn't instantly transform the nation into a model of democracy, and the country is currently deliberating the best way forward via public debates, protests and the election process.

2012-12-21 "Frack and Slack" Put U.S. Trade in the Black? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Could it be that the U.S. trade balance is headed into the black? At first blush, the prospect looks dubious. This country's trade deficit has drifted deeper into the red for so many decades now that few can even conceive of lasting improvement. Even so, that is what seems to be in prospect.

2012-12-21 The Barbarous Relic Expresses an Opinion by John Gilbert of GR-NEAM

Gold has a long and varied history in economics and finance. Otherwise sensible people lose rationality and logic when conversation turns to the subject, with some rising to passionate romance, and others to apoplexy. It elicits neither for us, which allows us an attempt at a reasoned view. That is more important today than usual, because there is a message in gold's price behavior, and it is not an encouraging one. That message is that not only are rates of return low at the moment, but they may remain there for some time.

2012-12-21 How to Screen for Wonderfully Boring Stocks by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

In a December 7, 2012 piece for Barrons.com, Mark Hulbert shared the research from a study called "Low Risk Stocks Outperform within All Observable Markets of the World." The study, written by Nardin Baker and Robert Haugen, convincingly made the argument that boring stocks are wonderful for superior compounded returns regardless of which country you measure.

2012-12-21 Lights, Camera and Action in China by Winnie Phua of Matthews Asia

More than a decade ago, China reached a turning point in its film industry with the co-production of its first internationally acclaimed movie hit, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." The film, directed by Academy Award winning Taiwanese American director Ang Lee, raked in more than US$213 million globally, and became the highest grossing foreign language film in U.S. history. Pretty good for a movie made in China on a US$17 million budget.

2012-12-21 The Japanese Economy: The Result of the Lower House Election by Team of Nomura Asset Management

The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) reclaimed power in a landslide victory. Together with coalition partner, the New Komeito Party, the LDP secured 325 seats giving it two-thirds of the total seats, which allows them to pass legislation by using the supermajority position in the lower house. This will enable them to overrule the upper house where no party currently holds an overall majority, otherwise requiring the LDP to consult with opposing parties. In addition, on an individual case by case basis, the LDP would be able to seek cooperation from the third party Japan Restoration Party.

2012-12-20 Hedge Funds: Identifying Alpha and Mitigating Risk by Daniel Eagan of AllianceBernstein

Hedge funds have historically generated higher returns than stocks with less volatility, but they also pose several significant risks that volatility alone doesn't capture, our research suggests. That makes careful due diligence and diversification of managers crucial.

2012-12-20 Rolling Tail Hedges: The Dynamic Tradeoff between Cost and Potency by Vineer Bhansali of PIMCO

In our hypothetical illustration, rebalancing tail risk hedges more frequently than once a year offers some benefit under all volatility curves (ignoring transaction costs) but the benefits are greatest when the volatility curve is flat or steep. Some of the benefits of rebalancing can quickly disappear if the transactions costs are large. Two key points for investors to consider: Hedging has to be a systematic, repeated, asset allocation decision to obtain best long-term benefits, and the hedge program has to be active and consider pricing levels so efficient rebalancing can be implemented.

2012-12-20 Japan: Abundant Opportunities Despite Debt-Induced Deleveraging Cycle by David Nadel, Dilip Badlani of The Royce Funds

Over the last two decades, Japan has suffered under the malaise of deflationary deleveraging after its stunning growth between the 1960s through the end of the 1980s. In 1991, economists were predicting that Japan would overtake the U.S. as the world's largest economy by 2010. Instead, Japan's GDP has stayed largely stagnant over this time period as the country has been trapped in a debt-induced deleveraging cycle.

2012-12-20 The Limits of Monetary Policy by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

With unemployment levels remaining stubbornly elevated, investors should not expect a reversal of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve in 2013.

2012-12-20 Can China Double National Income by 2020? by Daisuke Nomoto of Columbia Management

Xi Jinping, China's newly elected president, was the featured speaker at the recent National Congress. However, I felt the most interesting point to come out of the event was outgoing President Hu Jintao's announcement of a plan to double Chinas national income by 2020. This plan is reminiscent of a similar program launched in Japan in the 1960s, spearheaded by Prime Minister Ikeda, where the goal was also a doubling of national income. The two programs have a number of parallels despite the multi-decade time gap between them.

2012-12-20 Italy: The Impending Elections by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments

As Italy's technocratic party prepares to exit , I asked Cosimo Marasciulo, Pioneer's Head of European Government Bonds and Foreign Exchange, for his thoughts on pending elections in 2013 and how they might affect investors. I'll share a few of those thoughts with you here.

2012-12-19 Accenture: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article will reveal the business prospects of Accenture (ACN) through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool.

2012-12-19 Energen Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article will reveal the business prospects of Energen Corp (EGN) through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool.

2012-12-19 2013: A Year in Multi-Asset Investing by Johanna Kyrklund of Schroders Investment Management

Extreme political risk is reduced but the cyclical environment remains challenging. Safe havens are expensive and we are increasingly incentivized to take on more risk. Equity valuations are attractive. Our core emphasis remains on quality although there is tactical opportunity in pockets of extreme value.

2012-12-19 ING Fixed Income Perspectives December 2012 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

While all the good little boys and Cindy Lou Whos dream of sugar plums and new iPhone 5s in blue, the adults in our modern-day Christmas story can't sleep but a wink, as visions of getting Scrooge'd by the fiscal cliff are making hearts sink. No matter if this political humbug cease or persist, down the chimneys of a recuperating housing market Ol' Saint Bernanke-olas will continue to gift $85 billion of Treasury and MBS purchases per month or more until the labor market can finally get over the hump and deliver 6.5% unemployment and inflation of 2.5% and no more.

2012-12-19 The Consumer Catalyst in Asia's Emerging Markets by Andrew Sleeman of Franklin Templeton Investments

There may be no better evidence of the economic power of the consumer than the spending frenzy that occurs this time of yearthe sparkling lights, the must-have gifts and gadgets, the indulgent meals. Whether online, brick and mortar, big box or mom-and-pop, retailers count on the year-end consumer boom.

2012-12-18 Better Angels by Michael Lewitt (Article)

If all else fails, President Obama should lock the members of Congress inside the Capital about a week before Christmas, post the military at the door, hang big-screen television in each chamber, tune them to CNBC, and turn up the volume up. Faced with listening to endless repetitions of the words "rising above" or "fiscal cliff" or "kick the can down the road," our legislators will have no trouble reaching a compromise quickly.

2012-12-18 What's Going Right? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Discussions of the fiscal cliff are capturing investor's attention, largely at the expense of trends pointing in the right direction. Year-end is synonymous with future prognostications, but current indicators suggest there is reason to be optimistic about the turn of the calendar this holiday season.

2012-12-18 The Fed's Giant Stride by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

FOMC: The news from this meeting was widely telegraphed (see Yellen, Evans, etc. last month) but produced some real and welcome developments. Here's the quick summary.

2012-12-18 Energy Face-Off: North American Energy Independence vs. Canada's Export Plans by John Devir of PIMCO

President Obama's November 2011 postponement of a decision on whether to permit an oil pipeline from Canada's oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast caused a barrage of protests and negative press in Canada. Canada's new focus on building capacity to sell to Asia-Pacific could hinder U.S. ambitions of energy independence from overseas oil, since the U.S. imports roughly 30% of its crude oil from Canada. We see investor opportunities in rail transportation and pipeline systems that possess excess capacity.

2012-12-18 Central Bank Insurance by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Possibly, the question I am asked the most is, "What do you think about gold?" While I have written brief bits about the yellow metal, I cannot remember the last time I devoted a full e-letter to the subject of gold. Longtime readers know that I am a steady buyer of gold, but to my mind that is different from being bullish on gold. In this week's letter we will look at some recent research on gold and try to separate some of the myths surrounding gold from the rationale as to why you might want to own some of the "barbarous relic," as Keynes called it.

2012-12-18 Cliff Diving by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

A "fiscal" cliff potentially to be caused not by the confluence of divers, swirling ocean and towering cliffs, but by a huge impending tax increase and self-imposed unspecified cuts that must be made automatically at year end to essential defense and social welfare programs, all to deal with a tidal wave of government spending, resulting in a nation drowning in debt.

2012-12-17 The Market's Next Appointment: Health Care by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Even if a "fiscal cliff" resolution is achieved, investors will receive another dose of uncertainty courtesy of the Affordable Care Act.

2012-12-17 Fiscal Cliff Deadlines Draw Near by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

In addition to the seemingly never-ending focus on the fiscal cliff, markets turned their attention to last week's Federal reserve meeting and the corresponding announcement of the central bank's continuation of its bond-purchase program. Following a very brief rally after the announcement, however, stock prices fell and ended the week marginally lower. For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average declined 0.2% to 13,135, the S&P 500 index fell 0.3% to 1,413 and the NASDAQ composite dropped 0.2% to 2,971.

2012-12-17 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The stock market has gone into a trance as we approach the end of the year. The uncertainty around fiscal policy, along with concerns over Apple and the economy at large have caused institutions to wait for the dust to clear.

2012-12-15 Looking Back to Look Ahead by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Markets have been more focused on short-term forces; not least being Washington and the fiscal cliff negotiations. But taking a step back and gaining some longer-term perspective can help investors better weather short-term volatility. Even beyond the fiscal cliff, Washington and fiscal policy will likely remain in focus next year. Monetary policy is also front-and-center with the Fed maintaining its extremely accommodative policy and targeting specific economic conditions instead of providing calendar guidance. Europe managed to make it through the year, but challenges and risks remain.

2012-12-15 Saving for Retirement Stage 2: The Sandwich Generation by Team of Franklin Templeton

Youve probably heard of the term sandwich generation, a time at mid-life when many individuals find themselves caring simultaneously for their children and their aging parents. Its a time when investment dollars can get squeezed out by day-to-day and unexpected expenses, a mortgage and possibly even a college savings plan. In this second of our three-part Investing for Retirement series, we take a look at some retirement savings strategies for individuals coping with these mid-life challenges as they themselves begin to look toward transitioning into retirement.

2012-12-14 2013: A Year in Global Equities by Virginie Maisonneuve of Schroders Investment Management

Global equities are very attractively valued and we are positive for their prospects in 2013 as the global economy normalises. Progress in Europe, the end of China's growth slowdown and continued momentum in the US economic recovery will support global equities. Longer-term investors must position themselves for a growth-saturated world in which sustainability and innovation will be even more important.

2012-12-14 FOMC Laying the Groundwork for an Exit Strategy? Investment Implications. by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments

Yesterday's FOMC meeting was a surprisingly eventful one that injected some volatility into financial markets. As expected, the Fed left its target rate of 0 - .25 percent unchanged and implemented more quantitative easing (QE). It announced additional monthly purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities of $40 billion per month and stated that "The Committee also will purchase longer-term Treasury securities after its program to extend the average maturity of its holdings of Treasury securities is completed at the end of the year at a pace of $45 billion per month."

2012-12-13 Decoupling From the Eurozone by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Recent positive data releases from the U.S. and Asia seem to indicate that global investors should not expect to be severely affected by the ongoing problems in the eurozone.

2012-12-13 Can The U.S. Afford Its National Credit Card? by Garritt Conover and Orhan Imer of Columbia Management

With U.S. national debt at all time highs and major Federal programs expiring within weeks, it is no surprise that the focus of investors following the election has quickly shifted back to the upcoming fiscal cliff. Fears of an insolvent government or a U.S. debt crisis have sparked heated debates regarding ways of tackling the budget deficit but just how imminent a threat does it pose?

2012-12-13 Rescuing the Bond Deer from the Bond Bear by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

It's the season to talk about the man who delivers presents. No, not Santa Claus, but Fed Chairman Bernanke who has been delivering the green stuff for the past four years in a helicopter, not a sleigh... My last installment introduced the Fixed Income Bond Deer the investor caught in the headlights confused about what to do. This week we contemplate the following: should "Bond Deer" be grateful for the green stuff or frightened by the possibility that it is fueling the next bond "bear" market? The answer: it depends on how long this experiment continues.

2012-12-13 Hedge Funds: Separating Fact from Hype by Daniel Eagan of AllianceBernstein

It's easy to understand the allure of hedge funds and the fear they inspire. After conducting rigorous research aimed at separating fact from hype, we have concluded that hedge funds historically have had an attractive risk/return profile.

2012-12-13 Will China's New Leaders Rise to Reform? by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

While the uncertainty wrought by the election process in democratic countries may be largely absent in China, the country's gradual transition to new leadership and the likely new course for the country over the next decade still raises questions. In March 2013, the National People's Congress, China's parliament and highest state body, intends to formally usher in China's leadership, and some members of the "old guard" are retiring. Will China's new leaders continue to reform the economy, moving it toward a domestic consumption model, and still be able to maintain enviable growth rates?

2012-12-13 The Fake Economy by Bill Mann of Motley Fool Funds

A random question for you (one that contemplates your breaking federal law, so be forewarned): Given enough time and ample resources, do you think you could create a reasonable facsimile of a $20 bill? I'd wager that given modern printing capabilities, a reasonably diligent and determined individual could create a fool-some-of-the-people copy of a $20 bill.

2012-12-13 3 Potential Scenarios for 2013 by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Despite getting lucky in 2012, many of the major risks that economies and markets faced this year remain. With the current environment in mind, Russ K shares his 3 potential scenarios for 2013 along with potential investment strategies for each.

2012-12-13 Pacific Basin Market Overview - November 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Asian equity markets ended higher this month, although they were heavily influenced by events elsewhere. Improved economic data from Germany, coupled with expectations that Greece will receive a further round of financial support from the European Union (EU), helped to lift sentiment. Meanwhile, investors were paying close attention to the American congressional budget negotiations to avoid the looming year-end "fiscal cliff" risk to the economy, although U.S. economic data was generally positive.

2012-12-12 The Fiscal Cliff Doesn't Arrive on December 31 by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

The news media is breathlessly counting down the days until the arrival of the fiscal cliff on December 31. It may make for good television (tune in tomorrow) but it's not good economics...or good political analysis. Here's why.

2012-12-12 Mish Shedlock Exposed by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In January 2009, just as the "Peter Schiff was Right" YouTube video that catalogued my previously derided predictions about a coming financial collapse was racking up views and attracting mainstream attention, a blogger and investment advisor named Mike Shedlock (aka "Mish") saw an opportunity to make an unethical grab at my current and prospective clients by breaking the nascent wave.

2012-12-12 Nu Skin Enterprises: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article will reveal the business prospects of Nu Skin Enterprises (NUS) through the lens of FAST Graphs fundamentals analyzer software tool.

2012-12-11 Shared Sacrifice by David Rosenberg (Article)

Now that everyone is focused like a laser beam on Fiscal Armageddon, it may be more appropriate to look at what is happening on Main Street rather than Washington. Looking ahead, it is going to be more about the economy, and taking it a step further, at times like these, it is important to understand where the real economic power resides, and this is with the people.

2012-12-11 Fine Wine - Why it's for More than Just Drinking by Mark E. Ricardo, JD, LLM, AAMS (Article)

For many investors, an ideal asset class would combine superior long-term absolute and risk-adjusted returns with a hedge against inflation and stock market volatility. There's a way to get all of that, in an asset class you might never have thought of until now: fine wine. Investment-grade wine deserves careful consideration, particularly now that - unlike other collectibles, such as art and rare books - it can be traded on a regulated exchange.

2012-12-11 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

Readers respond to a series of articles that appeared over the last several weeks.

2012-12-11 High-Yield Bank Loans: Look Before You Leap by Ashish Shah, Gershon Distenfeld, Ivan Rudolph-Shabinsky of AllianceBernstein

High-yield bank loans are a hot topic again in capital markets, with features touted as ideal for today's environment. But we think it makes sense to take a closer look at what bank loans really areand aren't. In our opinion, there are a few holes in the case for piling into high-yield loans.

2012-12-11 The Death of Managed Futures? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Managed futures strategies, or systematic trend followers, have long been an important component of diversified high net worth portfolios. Because of their ability to go both long and short in more than 100 global futures markets spanning equities, currencies, commodities, rates, and bonds managed futures have historically generated very uncorrelated performance to traditional investments.

2012-12-11 Tax Reform: A First Step by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

I rarely use this space to rant about political issues, but the recent election made it obvious just how dysfunctional the American political process has become. The ongoing financial crisis in the US will never get fixed as long as both political parties remain focused on solutions that make the problem worse. The Democrats want to give people more money to spend, claiming this will grow the economy. The Republicans want to cut taxes, so that people have more to spend, claiming that will grow the economy

2012-12-11 Peak Oil or Peak Energy? A Happy Solution by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

A consistent theme in this letter has been the connections between items that may seem to be far removed from each other but are actually linked at the very core. If you push on one end you get a reaction in what would seem to be the most unlikely spots. Today we explore the connection between the fiscal deficit and energy policy.

2012-12-11 Up, Then Down by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Five losses in a row for my Detroit Lions, and every one a heartbreakerin most of the games they led by at least ten points at one time. Getting ahead but still losing is a pattern that is not restricted to sports, but is also encountered in investing. It's surprising that conventional stock market investing has not seemingly developed any effective ways to counter it. Yet with profits in most of our strategies so far this year, it's important to seek to do so.

2012-12-11 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The stock market continues to have one eye on Washington DC and the other on the various global concerns of slowing growth and European disintegration. The net result was another quiet and slow week of trading.

2012-12-10 Dwelling on a "Cliff" Deal by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

After the brinksmanship runs its course, Congress will jury-rig a fiscal compromise.

2012-12-10 Russia's WTO Entry a Big Boost to World Economy by Team of Thomas White International

The WTO's 156th entrant is the world's ninth largest economy and Europe's biggest.

2012-12-10 Have the New Paper Clips Arrived, Enid? by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

If there's one economic stat that spans the economic/political spectrum, it's jobs. Last week's NFPs had a headline of 146,000, way above estimates, and an unemployment rate of 7.7%, the best since December 2008 and a comfortable one point below a year ago.

2012-12-08 How Gold Miners Can Leverage the Price of Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gazing into their crystal balls this week, Wall Street firms interpreted differing futures for gold next year. Morgan Stanley awarded gold the best commodity for 2013 while Goldman Sachs called the end of the metals hot streak. After seeing 11 consecutive years of positive performance from gold, one needs to be wary of research analysts price forecasts, as they have consistently underestimated the shifting dynamics driving the precious metal higher.

2012-12-07 Saving for Retirement: Stage 1 by Team of Franklin Templeton

Most of us have certain expectations about our retirement. We may daydream of the golden years as a time to explore exotic locales, perfect a golf swing, or just relax. The reality is often quite different, particularly for those whove done more daydreaming than planning, or who have suffered setbacks to their portfolios in 2008-2009 and feel a sense of paralysis. Knowing where to begin can be confusing, and as with most things, overcoming inertia to take that first step certainly isnt easy.

2012-12-07 Archer Daniels Midland Co: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by F.A.S.T. Graphs of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This report presented essential fundamentals at a glance illustrating the past and present valuation based on earnings achievements as reported. Future forecasts for earnings growth are based on the consensus of leading analysts. Although with just a quick glance you can know a lot about the company, its imperative that the reader conducts their own due diligence in order to validate whether the consensus estimates seem reasonable or not.

2012-12-07 Ball Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by F.A.S.T. Graphs of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This report presented essential fundamentals at a glance illustrating the past and present valuation based on earnings achievements as reported. Future forecasts for earnings growth are based on the consensus of leading analysts. Although with just a quick glance you can know a lot about the company, its imperative that the reader conducts their own due diligence in order to validate whether the consensus estimates seem reasonable or not.

2012-12-07 Dillards Inc: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by F.A.S.T. Graphs of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This report presented essential fundamentals at a glance illustrating the past and present valuation based on earnings achievements as reported. Future forecasts for earnings growth are based on the consensus of leading analysts. Although with just a quick glance you can know a lot about the company, its imperative that the reader conducts their own due diligence in order to validate whether the consensus estimates seem reasonable or not.

2012-12-07 Hormel Foods Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by F.A.S.T. Graphs of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This report presented essential fundamentals at a glance illustrating the past and present valuation based on earnings achievements as reported. Future forecasts for earnings growth are based on the consensus of leading analysts. Although with just a quick glance you can know a lot about the company, its imperative that the reader conducts their own due diligence in order to validate whether the consensus estimates seem reasonable or not.

2012-12-06 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks continued to bounce back from their post-election sell off. In fact for the entire month of November the popular averages were virtually unchanged. For the past week one can see from the charts above that the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat and the NASDAQ Composite gained 1.5% as Apple starts to regain some of the ground it has lost since September.

2012-12-06 From a Fiscal Cliff to a Fiscal Speed Bump by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

More granular analysis of the line items in the fiscal cliff tells a less harrowing story than what Congress and the media are presenting. The official projections are showing scary numbers for the fiscal cliff, but when we dig into the details we see that the real impact will likely be materially less significant. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the fiscal cliff adds up to a total increase in tax revenue of $631 billion, which is approximately 4% of GDP. Going through the report line by line tells a different story.

2012-12-06 Regal-Beloit Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by F.A.S.T. Graphs of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This report presented essential fundamentals at a glance illustrating the past and present valuation based on earnings achievements as reported. Future forecasts for earnings growth are based on the consensus of leading analysts. Although with just a quick glance you can know a lot about the company, its imperative that the reader conducts their own due diligence in order to validate whether the consensus estimates seem reasonable or not.

2012-12-06 United Technologies Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by F.A.S.T. Graphs of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This report presented essential fundamentals at a glance illustrating the past and present valuation based on earnings achievements as reported. Future forecasts for earnings growth are based on the consensus of leading analysts. Although with just a quick glance you can know a lot about the company, its imperative that the reader conducts their own due diligence in order to validate whether the consensus estimates seem reasonable or not.

2012-12-06 Questions and Answers Surrounding the Fiscal Cliff by Team of Northern Trust

There is no resolution yet to the US fiscal cliff. It is probably unfair to have expected one by now; the clock is too far from midnight. But as the negotiations continue, several questions have been raised that deserve some reflection. 1. The two sides seem to be making statements that reflect stark disagreement. Are talks failing? 2. Is our fiscal path a cliff, or a slope? 3. There is a proposal to limit the deductions claimed by high income taxpayers. How would these work, and what are the consequences? 4. The cliff has been in the news for a long time. Why isnt everyone prepared for it?

2012-12-06 Tango Time by Colin Moore of Columbia Management

Investors should be prepared for a sizable tax hike in excess of $1 trillion. The Republican position on taxes is untenable. I can find little evidence that a tax yield of approximately 18%/19% harms the economy. I am in the camp of lower tax rates and fewer deductions especially for incomes above $500,000. However spending is at a level not seen since World War 2. I am supportive of the deferral assuming the cuts are specifically identified and the deferral period is explicit. However the ratio of cuts to tax increases needs to be approximately 2 to 1.

2012-12-05 Waiting for Signs on the Fiscal Cliff and From the Fed by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Investors are stuck between a rock and a hard place: Theyre trying to plan for the end of 2012, while also looking ahead to 2013. Its being reflected in the questions Im getting from clients right now, who are worried both about the fiscal cliff and the outlook for interest rates in 2013. As we saw last week, the markets are focused on every utterance out of Washington on the fiscal cliff. For better or worse, this is unlikely to change until we have a deal. And in terms of getting to one, the truth is we did not see much progress last week.

2012-12-05 Nordstrom Inc: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by F.A.S.T. Graphs of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This report presented essential fundamentals at a glance illustrating the past and present valuation based on earnings achievements as reported. Future forecasts for earnings growth are based on the consensus of leading analysts. Although with just a quick glance you can know a lot about the company, its imperative that the reader conducts their own due diligence in order to validate whether the consensus estimates seem reasonable or not.

2012-12-05 Argentinas Trials & Trubulations by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Equity markets climbed higher for a second straight week, extending a rally that began November 16. For the week, the S&P 500 rose 0.6% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2%. In the post-mortem on Q3 earnings season, much has been made of the first quarter of negative earnings growth in three years. However, analysis by Morgan Stanley reveals an even more disturbing picture of corporate America: just 10 companies in the S&P 500 delivered 88% of the indexs earnings growth. Of those 10, four accounted for more than half and Apple alone made up nearly one-fifth of the indexs growth.

2012-12-05 Headline Roulette by Christian W. Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

That Fiscal Thing dominated the week. Every twitch out of Washington was greeted with over analysis by the press and us. Less so the markets. Truth is, markets are not very good at discounting political uncertainty. Sure, a tax scare here and a debt ceiling impasse there might lead to a sell-off but ultimately it's about earnings, corporate health and outlook and on those metrics, nothing last week really upset the markets in a major way. The bond market tends to get this right.

2012-12-05 Resilient Markets Mask Greater Concerns in Real Economy by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Though equity markets have been calm, the real economy tells a different story. If our leaders in Washington arent able to arrive at a compromise, January 1 will mark the beginning of the countrys first scheduled recession, though third quarter corporate earnings suggest a global slowdown is evident. Dont be surprised to see a Christmas rally should Congress kick the fiscal can down the road and the Fed extend Operation Twist.

2012-12-04 Nate Silver's Message for Financial Advisors by Ben Huebscher and Michael Edesess (Article)

By now you are likely aware that Nate Silver of the New York Times correctly predicted the results for all 50 states (plus DC) in this year's presidential election and all but two Senate races. Silver's predictive capabilities across a range of disciplines have made him a near-deity among those whose livelihood depends on accurate forecasting - from poker players to counter-terrorism units. It's clear why: His methods work - at least in some cases. And their strengths and limitations carry important lessons for financial advisors.

2012-12-04 Surprising Choices in the Search for Safety Near-Certain Loss of Purchasing Power versus Short-Term by Jason Petitte, CFA (Article)

Risk, in its many guises, is unavoidable, and investors today are taking on significant amounts of credit risk, duration, and leverage to obtain high yields from many presumably safe bonds. But certain types of risk are often mispriced. By overweighting one's portfolio to those sectors that currently offer attractive risk-adjusted returns, investors will be better positioned to meet their long-term goals.

2012-12-04 How to Turn Acquaintances into Clients by Dan Richards (Article)

The transition from a casual social conversation to a business-related one is tricky, requiring us to do it in a way that's not intrusive and doesn't make the person uncomfortable. Here's an approach that worked for one advisor.

2012-12-04 Cliff Diving by Michael Lewitt (Article)

While there may be compromise to avoid the self-inflicted crisis of the fiscal cliff, the course of fiscal policy is unlikely to alter significantly. There is a great deal of bold talk about tax reform, but the odds of our current leaders replacing our profoundly flawed tax regime with one that would breed economic growth and productivity are low. Congress will be lucky to avoid the fiscal cliff; asking it to alter the economy's DNA is unrealistic.

2012-12-04 Don't Let Sleeping Utilities Lie by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

As the market continues to digest the unrelenting daily news flow relating to the fiscal cliff, some investors are trying to anticipate who the big winners and losers will be as we head into 2013. Although some may worry about uncertain economic consequences, Ned Davis Research notes that history reveals that in periods of market decline between 1970 and 2000, dividend paying stocks have outperformed their stingy counterparts by 1.5% per month.

2012-12-04 Economics 101: Little Return without Risk by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

A tremendous amount of energy and effort has been expended in the US on behalf of wealthy investors to secure returns while reducing risk. Like any useful endeavor, it started out as a wise thing and reached its stride in the late 1990s as a way to deal with a massive asset misallocation. As Warren Buffett always says, What the wise man does at the beginning, the fool does at the end. It appears to us that the efforts to eliminate risk in the US capital markets have reached the foolish point.

2012-12-04 Strawberry Fields Forever? by Bill Gross of PIMCO

As John Lennon forewarned, it is getting harder to be someone, and harder to maintain the economic growth that investors have become accustomed to. The New Normal, like Strawberry Fields will take you down and lower your expectation of future asset returns. It may not last forever but it will be with us for a long, long time.

2012-12-04 Intrinsic Value from Ben Graham to Anderson Griggs With an example; Emerson Electric (EMR) by Kendall J. Anderson of Anderson Griggs

Ben Graham may not have been the first to use the term intrinsic value as a form of analysis for stocks and bonds. But, through his teachings and the successful application of this approach by his many students and practitioners (including Warren Buffett, John Templeton, Seth Klarman, Mason Hawkins, Howard Marks and yours truly) he is given the credit. Understanding the concept of intrinsic value is necessary for an intelligent investor. Without understanding intrinsic value, its offspring, margin of safety, has no meaning.

2012-12-03 Housing, GDP, Lumesis Muni Index & Federal $ to the States by Gregg L. Bienstock of Lumesis

While the media is fixated on the looming cliff and having everyone and their mother opine, information about the status of our economy is of as much importance. This week we take a look at housing prices, GDP, the Coincident Index, the DIVER Muni Index and how much of each States revenue comes from the Federal Government. We keep hearing how much better the housing market is. In this regard, we routinely remind our readers that better or worse depends on from where you start. Starting pre-recession to date, only Texas, Oklahoma and the Dakotas have seen positive housing price trends.

2012-12-03 Economic Insights: Is Capital Spending Spent? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Once an area of considerable relative strength, business spending on capital goods has weakened of late. When the spending pickup began earlier in this recovery, utilization rates of existing facilities were so low that many expressed surprise. Only little of the spending went for increased capacity, of coursemost of it aimed at labor-saving equipment. But though this concentration held back the pace of hiring, it did contribute to economic growth. Now, however, it looks as though this surge has run its course, and the capital spending sector, too, has fallen into the slow slog.

2012-12-03 Watching for Cliff to Fade, Jobs to Appear by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Investors are likely to remain volatile as the focus on the fiscal cliff will remain intense. Progress on the cliff needs to happen quickly if a compromise is to be reached. Given the sluggish nature of jobs growth, we are unlikely to see the Fed change its stance anytime soon.

2012-12-03 CVS Caremark Corp: Fundamental Stock Research Analysis by FAST Graphs of FAST Graphs

This article is going to look at CVS Caremark Corp (CVS) through the lens of FAST Graphs - fundamentals analyzer software tool. The 12-year historical chart on CVS Caremark Corp shows that the company is undervalued. The prudent investor seeking growth and a rising income stream might want to look more in-depth at CVS Caremark Corp for possible addition to his own portfolio.

2012-12-01 The Significant Impact of U.S. Oil Production by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The Eagle Ford shale formation lies south of our headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, giving the U.S. Global investment team a firsthand, tacit perspective on the oil and gas industrys growing natural resources phenomenon. Weve witnessed how the oil activity is boosting the local economy with solid-paying jobs, a healthy housing market and strong consumer sentiment, as oil giants such as Schlumberger and Halliburton take a bigger stake in the area.

2012-12-01 The Bank of Canada Has Barked, But Will It Bite? by Ed Devlin and Richard Clarida of PIMCO

As Canadian consumers have increased their mortgage debt and bid up housing prices, the potential for a disorderly unwinding of these imbalances rightly concerns the Bank of Canada. PIMCO believes that the banks next policy move will be to raise interest rates, but with the traditional aim of fighting inflation rather than reducing home prices and consumer debt. We expect the Bank of Canada to continue tightening mortgage credit and using moral suasion to damp the housing boom and discourage consumers from taking on more debt.

2012-12-01 The How Matters by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Market focus has clearly been on fiscal cliff negotiations. An agreement that averts the cliff would likely ignite a further near-term rally, but the ultimate solution and its components could have longer term consequences that may not be as market-friendly. US economic data has been impacted by Hurricane Sandy, but it appears modest growth is continuing; although business investment has fallen off. Housing continues to provide support and the Fed is staying the course. There are some signs of growth stabilization globally, notably in some of the emerging economies, including China.

2012-11-30 Active Management: Don't Drop the Pilot by Patrick Rudden of AllianceBernstein

For years, we've advised clients to hold diversified portfolios with balanced allocations to stocks, bonds and other assets. Lately, it's been a hard sell, especially after years of underperformance by active equity managers. But the tide may be turning.

2012-11-30 Fiscal Cliff Countdown: Templeton Perspectives by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

The U.S. "fiscal cliff" clock is ticking loudly, and so far U.S. politicians havent been able to cooperatively silence it. A sweeping roster of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes remain set to go into effect at year-end with what could be detrimental economic consequences.

2012-11-30 A Municipal Bond Cliffhanger by Guy Davidson of AllianceBernstein

Municipal bonds are popular because the interest they pay is exempt from federal taxation. But in its search for solutions to the fiscal cliff, the US federal government is looking under every rock for more revenue sources. This could put muni bonds' tax-exempt status at risk.

2012-11-30 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

Last year the post office lost almost $15 billion. You would think that postal rates would be going up, and they are. Effective January 27, 2013, the price of a first class stamp will increase to 46 while a postcard will increase to 33. Both are a one penny increase. Does the post office really think this will make a difference? We hope you have a lot of those "forever" stamps.

2012-11-30 3 Reasons to Hold Off on Holiday Sales Celebrations by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Is the US consumer saying goodbye to the Great Recession and hello to a heady holiday season? Initial holiday sales results may paint a rosy picture, but Russ K explains why investors shouldn't be prematurely uncorking the New Year's champagne.

2012-11-29 The 13th Labour of Hercules: Capital Preservation in the Age of Financial Repression by James Montier of GMO

James Montier, a member of GMO's asset allocation team, writes to institutional clients in a new white paper on the prospects for preserving and growing capital in a world of slowing growth. Defining financial repression loosely "as a policy that results in consistent negative real interest rates," Mr. Montier poses the question "how does a value investor respond to this? It certainly appears as if the assets one would normally associate with capital preservation are expensive. So can and/or should you substitute other assets such as equities into the role of safe-haven value store?"

2012-11-29 Small-Caps Pack Big Punch in Emerging Markets by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In October, the International Monetary Fund painted a gloomier picture for global investors, as it projected slower growth due to slumping world trade and uncertainty in the West. Despite the forecast, big gains can still be unlocked in the faster-growing emerging markets. We believe the smaller stocks are holding the key.

2012-11-29 Are E&Fs Jeopardizing Their Missions? by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Many US endowments and foundations (E&Fs) still plan to spend 5% of their assets each year, despite unusually low expected returns. We think few understand how likely it is that this will limit their ability to fulfill their missions in perpetuity.

2012-11-29 "Bond Deer" in the Headlights by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

An insightful client exclaimed to me last week, after I had enumerated the many risks facing bond market investors that he felt like a deer in the headlights. "Bear" with me for a paragraph or two while I elaborate. . .

2012-11-27 Capital Formation and the Fiscal Cliff by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In today's economic environment, we often complain about volatility and uncertainty, but there is one thing I think we can be fairly certain of: taxes are going up. I constantly try to impress upon my kids, most of whom are now adults, that ideas and actions have consequences. In todays letter we will look at some of the consequences of an increase in taxes. Please note that this is different from arguing whether taxes should rise or fall. For all intents and purposes that debate is over

2012-11-27 Are Equities Still Cheap? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Since reaching a near-term top in mid-September, the S&P 500 Index fell more than 7%. After a 4% rally in the last five trading days, there are reasons to believe equity markets are poised to extend recent performance despite headline concerns.

2012-11-27 Beta The One Trick Unicorn by Liam Molloy, Bethany Carlson of Galway Investment Strategy

For a long time investors have been told the only free lunch is diversification. In a hurry to buy into the mythical free lunch investors jumped in without asking enough questions, like what is diversification. Instead everyone hurried to fill buckets and cover the style boxes with about as much thought as someone filling out a March Madness office bracket.

2012-11-27 Fixed Income Perspectives by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

A wise American once said "Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid." A good example is when your pals in Washington are so busy pushing their partisan agendas that they lose sight of what could happen to the American economic Thunderbird if it goes all Thelma and Louise over the fiscal cliff. With the latest elections in the books, it remains to be seen if a Democratic president and acrimonious Republican House can put on their thinking caps to devise a way to delicately pump the brakes of fiscal restraint.

2012-11-27 Fiscal Perdition by Marie Schofield of Columbia Management

Fiscal consolidations are underway across the developed world, and many require large adjustments. At a minimum, countries need to bring their primary budgets into balance in an effort to stabilize growing debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratios. Many are looking at trimming deficits totaling 5% of GDP or more. This will require both spending cuts and tax increases which often work counter to stabilizing debt ratios, as this can brake GDP growth and undermine both the fiscal position and the political fortitude for action.

2012-11-27 Seasonal Rallies and Fiscal Cliffs by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Black Fridaythat term used to be reserved for days that major crashes began in the stock market. Fortunately, we saw anything but last week as stocks soared to their best week in months. The market followed through once again on the pre- and post-Thanksgiving positive seasonality pattern that we reported on last week.

2012-11-26 Stuck in the Muddle with You by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Raising Keynes hasn't worked. What will finally lift the fog of uncertainty that bedevils the economy?

2012-11-26 Fiscal Cliff: An Emerging Markets' View by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Now that the U.S. presidential election is over and President Barack Obama has been re-elected to serve a second four-year term, we're able to do what we always do after a major election or regime change, and that's examine the potential implications of policy changes on our investments. As our team sees it, there are two main factors for global investors to consider: the U.S. economy's future health, and President Obama's foreign policy stance toward key countries, particularly China.

2012-11-26 To Invest or Not To Invest? That is NOT the Question! by Matt Scales of Columbia Management

The question that many investors continue to ask is, "Should I be buying stocks now or not?" This is the question investors trying to time the market ask themselves every day. If they choose not to be in the market, they may idle in cash as their neutral position until they figure out when to get back in. However timing the market is a very difficult game, even for the most accomplished investors.

2012-11-22 Emerging Asias Rising Productivity by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

Per capita GDP in China has tripled in purchasing power parity terms in the last decade yet Chinese workers still likely have their most productive years ahead of them. Asia as a whole has seen consumption increase by a third since the global financial crisis, even as the West has languished. This month, Robert Horrocks, writes about what is key to the emerging opportunities in Asia: Productivity.

2012-11-21 The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...for Stocks by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

November hasn't been living up to its reputation as one of the best months for U.S. stocks. Equity investors have been fed a cornucopia of negative news that has been difficult to digest, including the outcome of the "fiscal cliff," the front page photos of rioting in the eurozone, and the escalation of geopolitical risk in the Middle East.

2012-11-20 Kyle Bass on the Next Big Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)

If economics could be studied in a laboratory, scientists might concoct something like the circumstances now unfolding in Japan – and policymakers should be paying close attention. According to Kyle Bass, Japan's currency – and its bond market – are about to collapse under the weight of the country's unsustainable fiscal deficit.

2012-11-20 President Obama’s Re-Election and the Impact on the U.S. Economy by Eaton Vance Distributors, Inc. (Article)

President Obama’s re-election resolves a major element of uncertainty that has hung over the political landscape. But what kind of impact will his victory have on the economy and the markets, especially with the House still in Republican control? We posed that question to a roundtable of five investment professionals from Eaton Vance Management, Hexavest and Richard Bernstein Advisors.

2012-11-20 Are Inflation-Adjusted Annuities Right for Clients? The Product and Its Prospects by Joe Tomlinson (Article)

Many economists and retirement experts favor inflation-adjusted SPIAs, but advisors and the investing public have never shared their enthusiasm. Detractors contend that the product is fundamentally flawed and will never gain broad acceptance. My own view is more optimistic, but significant obstacles will, nonetheless, continue to impede wider adoption.

2012-11-20 Fix the Debt! by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

In the "normal" course of a U.S. election, investors typically breathe a sigh of relief when the results come in, with at least one layer of market uncertainty removed. This time around, the political squabbling hasn't ended with the close of the polls on November 6. The debate about the "fiscal cliff," a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes set to go into effect on January 1, 2013, has heightened. Market volatility since the election seems to have heightened, too.

2012-11-20 Companies Grapple With Pressure from All Sides by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

As we move closer to closing the books on another earnings cycle, it is time to look back at the hits and misses for the quarter. Unfortunately, this quarter brought more misses than investors have seen in quite some time, despite a greatly reduced bar. The outlook also leaves something to be desired, with companies cutting forward guidance and analysts ratcheting down estimates for the next two quarters.

2012-11-20 Emerging Markets Equity -- Monthly Product Commentary: October 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Economic data from major emerging markets suggested a moderate reversal from the weak trends of recent months.

2012-11-20 Favoring France: The Newest Bright Spot in Europe by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Europe may be stabilizing, but it's not out of the woods yet. One bright spot on the continent? France. Russ explains why he would now overweight the country's equities.

2012-11-20 When is the Turkey Supposed to Arrive? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

This Thanksgiving week historically has not been a turkey in the markets. Since 1950, stocks have advanced the day before and after the holiday 76% of the time. Yet, this year the turkey in the financial markets seems to have arrived early. Stocks as measured by the S&P 500 Index have fallen 5.1% since the Tuesday Election Day close.

2012-11-19 Little Dutch Boy by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In the Mary Mapes Dodge book titled Hans Brinker, there is a fictional story within the story of a little Dutch boy who, on his way to school, notices a hole in the dyke. Having nothing else to fix the leak, he plugs the hole with his finger and stays there through the night until workers come to repair it. We are now into the fourth year of efforts to print trillions of little Dutch boys out of dollars and euros in order to stop a tide from crashing through a fundamentally damaged dyke. All of this has bought time, but no workers have arrived, and no real repairs have been done.

2012-11-19 4 Reasons Not to Taiwan On by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ K shares four reasons hes downgrading his view of Taiwan from overweight to neutral and shares potential single country solutions he prefers instead.

2012-11-19 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks continued their post-election selloff. The usual concerns about future tax increases and retrenchment by both consumers and business weighed heavily upon investor sentiment.

2012-11-19 The Seeds of Higher Market Volatility Were Sown by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

A paradigm shift in financial markets has taken place since 2008 into a more volatile investment environment that will demand different ways of managing risk. In an ironic twist of intention, today's higher volatility is the consequence of attempts by central banks to engineer a less volatile economic environment.

2012-11-19 Will the "Cliff" Steal Christmas? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Probably not. Here's how a last-minute deal on spending cuts and tax hikes could work.

2012-11-17 Three Events That Sum Up the Week by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

India regained its title as the strongest performing market, overtaking the greater China area, as the country experienced a bounceback in demand due to improved sentiment during the festival season. The Federal Housing Administration reported that it has exhausted its reserves, possibly requiring a bailout from U.S. taxpayers for the first time ever in its nearly 80-year history. The global economic picture came into focus a little more this week with the announcement of Chinas new leadership.

2012-11-16 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

With the elections behind us, we must now look ahead to the next six weeks of a Lame Duck Congress. Given the fact that the President was re-elected, the Republicans maintained control of the House, and the Democrats gained in the Senate, we know there will either be collaboration or chaos in Washington. The positioning has already started. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

2012-11-16 Central Bankers Take Steps Where Politicians Fear to Tread by John Remmert of Franklin Templeton Investments

In the past few years, many global central banks have enacted various measures to stimulate their respective economiesin some cases without the support of fiscal measuresand sometimes to little effect. John Remmert, senior vice president and senior portfolio manager for Franklin Equity Group, shares his insights on why central banks have acted in some cases where politicians seemed fearful to tread.

2012-11-16 Obstacles to a Lasting Recovery: The Liquidity, Hesitancy & Solvency Traps by Thomas Fahey of Loomis Sayles

Those familiar symptoms are back again to start the summer: risk aversion; falling equity prices; rising volatility; record-low German and US government bond yields; wider credit spreads; a European country getting picked on; and a stronger US dollar. We have seen this bad movie twice before, during the summers of 2010 and 2011.

2012-11-16 Fed Balance Sheet Expands, Reward-Risk Clarity Fades by Alan Levenson of T. Rowe Price

While the minutes of the October 23-24 FOMC indicated a lack of consensus regarding whether to initiate a new asset purchase program to replace the Maturity Extension Program (MEP) upon its year-end conclusion, we believe that the Committee will announce at the conclusion of its December 11-12 meeting that the Fed will begin open-ended purchases of Treasury securities at a pace close to the $45 billion per month in the MEP.

2012-11-15 Russia and China's Neighborly Interests by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Whether our neighbors are as close as the airplane seat next to us or across a national border, most would probably agree that while we may not see eye to eye, peaceful cooperation makes more sense than tense relations. China and Russia share some 4,000 miles of common border, and their neighborly relationship has certainly had some ups and downs. But it's clear to me that the opportunities for cooperation between these two nations have enormous potential mutual benefits, particularly in the trade of natural resources.

2012-11-15 New Leaders, Same Steady Hand on the Chinese Economic Tiller by Anthony Chan of AllianceBernstein

The media spotlight is on China's new president, Xi Jinping. But investors should be watching Li Keqiang, the new premier. It's Mr Li who will be responsible for combating the country's slowing economic growth and, with it, potentially the fate of the world's economy.

2012-11-15 November 2012 Market Commentary by Andrew Clinton of Clinton Investment Management

In light of the approaching fiscal cliff and likely changes to the US tax code, we continue to believe that municipal bonds offer some of the most attractive risk- adjusted return potential available in the market today.

2012-11-15 Pacific Basin Market Overview - October 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Equity markets derived support this month from improved U.S. economic data and an impression that China's economy might be bottoming out. In addition, the Euro Area Industrial Production numbers came in above consensus. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan declined by 0.39% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index gained 0.44% in October 2012.

2012-11-15 Too Low for Too Long by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The Federal Reserve faces the risk of inducing a sell-off in bonds similar to that which occurred in 1994 when Dr. Greenspan tightened credit conditions after maintaining an artificially low interest rate environment for an extended period.

2012-11-15 The Fiscal Cliff Comes Into Focus by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

Investors and economists have been debating the fiscal cliff for more than a year. When budget negotiations fell apart in July 2011, the White House and congressional leaders delegated responsibility for finding additional federal savings to a bipartisan "super committee". However, this group could not bridge the differences between the two parties either, and so the nation's fiscal policy was set to the fallback option: automatically begin cutting spending and allow tax rates to set higher at the start of 2013.

2012-11-13 The Downside to Socially Responsible Investing by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Who wouldn't want a cleaner environment or a more just society? We can all agree these are worthy goals. But it's an established fact that pursuing them through one's investing is costly; environmental-, social- and governance-based investing (ESG) does fine on a gross basis, but loses money net of fees. Now, a recently published paper argues that that ESG is basically a waste of time.

2012-11-13 Harvard's #1 Strategy Guru on the Key Decision for Your Business by Dan Richards (Article)

Competition has brought many once-dominant names to the brink of survival - General Motors, Kodak, Sears and Xerox. Michael Porter, Harvard's top expert on strategy, explains why advisors ignoring the important lesson here do so at their peril.

2012-11-13 Voyages by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Anything short of drastic entitlement reform, serious cutbacks in defense spending, and serious tax reform that alters incentives away from speculation in favor of production will leave this country stuck on the dangerous path it is on today.

2012-11-13 The New Dynamics of Referral Generation by Beverly Flaxington (Article)

Discussion of financial advice among acquaintances has gone totally off the grid. It has become an almost universally taboo subject. People are loath to broach any conversation about personal finances. What are your thoughts?

2012-11-13 The Real Job Creators by Justin Locke (Article)

The election is behind us, but a politically charged phrase that took a starring role in the campaign lingers on: "job creators." Now that cooler heads are returning, it's time to get past the politics and acknowledge the facts: Capital, by itself, does not create jobs. Jobs are created by salespeople.

2012-11-13 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

The multiple hurricanes of fiscal deficits and monetary malfeasance are headed our way. Unfortunately, financial market models that seek to assess the magnitude, direction, and timing of economic tempests are far less precise than those of our scientific brethren. So, we prepare for the worst, but we dont immediately evacuate. There are still plenty of opportunities for solid investment returns and we will describe two new investments in the pages that follow. Yet, the risks are real, as we have discussed frequently in these letters, so our overall portfolio structure remains conservative.

2012-11-13 China's Transition Occurring at a Critical Time by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

While the presidential election in the U.S. was on the forefront of most investors' minds, current events in China could be equally important to the global economy. China is going through a political transition at the same time as it seeks to re-balance its economy. Whether those efforts will be successful remains a great unknown.

2012-11-13 Four More Years... by Kate Schapiro of Sentinel Investments

Americans went to the polls this past Tuesday and re-elected President Obama to four more years in office. In addition, the partisan breakdown of Congress stayed roughly the same in both the House of Representatives (Republican majority) and Senate (Democratic majority). So after nearly two years and billions of dollars spent on campaigning, debating, polling, grand-standing and mudslinging, the leadership is unchanged. A good argument for campaign finance reform if ever there was one.

2012-11-13 Sequestration - What It Means for the Municipal Bond Market by Michael Taylor of Columbia Management

If Congress fails to quickly reach an agreement on deficit reductions, automatic cuts to federal discretionary spending (sequestration) are scheduled to take effect January 2, 2013. On September 14, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its report detailing how it would implement sequestration, as required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Act). Designed to impact defense and non-defense (domestic) program budgets equally, most agencies are subject to cuts between 7% and 11% over the next decade. The exception is Medicare which is subject to a 2% cut.

2012-11-12 After the Election, Fiscal Cliff Outcome May Surprise by Libby Cantrill, Josh Thimons of PIMCO

Our base case for a fiscal cliff resolution continues to be a lame-duck mini-deal that would reflect about 1.5% of GDP in fiscal contraction in 2013 (vs. nearly 5% without a deal). But the dynamics of polarization and partisanship that played a role in past dysfunctional negotiations may have gotten worse. On a more optimistic note, it is widely known that second-term presidents are largely interested in their legacies spearheading noteworthy, bipartisan and lasting accomplishments for the history books.

2012-11-12 Can Housing Save the U.S. Economy? by Stephen Sheehan of Columbia Management

After leading the U.S. out of the Great Recession, the manufacturing sector has recently begun to show signs of sputtering. Uncertainty surrounding the election and fiscal cliff in the U.S., decelerating growth in China and a perpetually weak Europe have led to a soft patch in the third quarter. This global hiccup has caused some U.S. companies to catch a cold, most notably those in heavy machinery, transportation, metals and mining, and general industrials.

2012-11-12 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The election results were no sooner determined when stocks started selling off. Hard to believe it is coincidence, but it is also hard to believe the markets were caught off guard either.

2012-11-12 Housing Recovery - A Dose of Realty Reality by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Media and the investment community have made much of recent good news on housing. Certainly, the recent upturn in sales, building, and real estate prices is welcome. But if the 1980's housing bust is any guide, popular references to strength and imminent recovery grossly overstate. That older experience suggests that health in the sector will return only slowly. Residential real estate may well have turned a corner, but major gains and price recovery will likely wait for some time.

2012-11-09 Americas: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Economic trends in most countries across the Americas region saw a moderate recovery during the third quarter, though the pace of growth remains subdued. Slower global demand due to the ongoing European recession and the slower expansion in Asia continues to restrict exports from the Americas. At the same time, domestic consumption growth has been relatively more robust than expected and has helped most regional economies prevent a deeper slowdown.

2012-11-09 With the Election Over, Get Ready for the Fiscal Cliff by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ Koesterich discusses how the close election could translate into more gridlock on the fiscal cliff, as well as longer-term tax and entitlement reforms.

2012-11-09 Roots of Economic Karma by Vivek Tanneeru of Matthews Asia

I'm a strong believer that bad governance (yes, bad) is a natural part of the process of socio-political empowerment, and one that is actually necessary at times in order for some democracies, such as India, to achieve faster economic growth. Typically, during times of great socio-political transformation economic governance takes a backseat as newly empowered segments of society view redistribution of power and patronage as the first order of business. Their attention turns to good economic governance only after they feel fully assimilated. Allow me to explain.

2012-11-09 Looking Past the Election by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

The election results are in, removing at least one area of uncertainty from the equation. For the near term, economic data in the United States may take a back seat. Growth around the world appears soft, but some pockets are more encouraging than others.

2012-11-09 Two Policy Instruments, Two Labor Market Thresholds by Alan Levenson of T. Rowe Price

Despite understandable post-election focus on the resolution of the looming fiscal cliff, there is persistent interest in the conditions under which the FOMC will end the asset purchase program initiated in September ("QE3"). The economic projections and monetary policy expectations submitted for the September 12-13 FOMC meeting indicate that a consensus for rate hikes begins to build as the unemployment rate approaches 7.0%.

2012-11-09 Will China Ditch Mao To Save The Party? by James Gruber of Asia Confidential

Maintaining the status quo isn't an option. It'd jeopardize the future of the Communist Party itself. But the party has a habit of reinventing itself and I am cautiously optimistic that it'll do so again. You're likely to see China move more and more towards a Singaporean-style economic and political model.

2012-11-08 Magic 8 Ball Knows All by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

The efficacy of 1980s technology turned out to be a real bummer, huh? Flying DeLoreans and flux capacitors are the ultimate heartbreakers, but the clairvoyance promised by those iridescent black and white Magic 8 Balls is definitely a close second. Give one a few shakes today and see for yourself. "Magic 8 Ball, [SHAKE] will financial markets rally post the U.S. election?" "It is decidedly so." "Magic 8 Ball, [SHAKE] are you lying?" "Yes definitely." "Magic 8 Ball, [SHAKE] seriously?" "Reply hazy, try again."

2012-11-08 Overcoming the Brake Light Shockwave by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Big democratic breakthroughs, say Egypt, Tunisia are halting and fall far short of the hopes they embodied. Technology is a race over mobility and brevity but hardly elicits the same wonder from years past. Governments are polarized. The US had almost no voting overlap in recent years so big ideas are on the wane. In Europe, the supra-national organizations like the EU are swift to talk and slow to act. No we're not reactionaries. We think all this is explained by the deepest drop in output in the post-war period and the slowest recovery.

2012-11-08 Make Way for Debt Mutualization in Europe by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Hurdles and hold-ups are inevitable but recent policy developments in Europe indicate that the ECB and the Bundesbank are cooperating and greater federalization is likely.

2012-11-08 Alternative Thoughts - All That Volatility For Nothing? by Lawrence Epstein, Josh Rowe of Orinda Asset Management

In 2011, the S&P 500 had one of the smallest price changes in its history, but investors experienced significant daily volatility. Stock investors experienced an extraordinarily tumultuous 2011 marked by the collapse of governments, standoffs over raising the national debt ceiling, and an escalation of the sovereign credit crisis in Europe. Markets rose and fell several percentage points in minutes on the barest of rumors from Washington and Brussels and frequent surprises in economic data around the globe.

2012-11-08 A Delicate Balance by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who argues that balance is a bad thing, but in this time of austerity versus growth and political us-versus-them, you'd be equally hard-pressed to find agreement on how to achieve balance. Right now the U.S. economy is teetering on the edge of the much-publicized so-called "fiscal cliff," a one-two punch of automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to go into effect in 2013, and which threaten to tip the nation into recession.

2012-11-08 Japanese Carmakers Can Surmount Backlash from China Dispute by Takeo Aso, Atsushi Horikawa of AllianceBernstein

The territorial dispute between China and Japan is clouding the outlook for Japanese automakers. But we think that bilateral business pragmatism will eventually trump the current political tensions.

2012-11-08 Developed Europe: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Amid signs of a deepening economic slowdown in Developed Europe, three key events brought some cheer to the beleaguered region, raising hopes of a lasting solution to its debt crisis. In early September, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced its new Outright Monetary Transactions scheme, which is in effect a commitment by the ECB to buy unlimited quantities of sovereign bonds with up to three years in maturity, providing the bond-issuing member country agrees to a reform agenda.

2012-11-07 October 2012 Monthly Commentary by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

A light flashed on in my car this morning, telling me that it was due for service. When I take it in, the mechanics will presumably check both the engine and the brakes before deciding on exactly what it is that I need to repair, replace or adjust. For investors, after nine months of ups and downs in markets, an investment strategy checkup is in order.

2012-11-07 US Olympic Swim Team and Warren Buffett: Buy and Hold by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

The US swim team has their own criteria for developing young athletes. We assume in every ten-year stretch that they support the swimming efforts of 25 to 30 young athletes in hopes of finding an occasional Mark Spitz or Michael Phelps. Most of them share the characteristics we described about Michael Phelps. The US Olympic team is the most successful swim team portfolio manager in the world. What can we learn from them as portfolio managers?

2012-11-07 October Surprise by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Third quarter earnings growth for S&P 500 companies is at risk of being negative for the first time in three years. While the presidential election is important, Congress will ultimately control spending and tax legislation. Monetary stimulus alone is both inadequate and unsustainable; pro-growth taxation, spending and regulatory policy is key to our economic revival.

2012-11-06 Asset Location: Nine Tips to Create “Tax Alpha” by Glenn Frank (Article)

With campaign season finally over, taxes are going to dominate the debate in Washington in the months ahead – however things shake out at the polls today. It's going to be confusing; it's going to be uncertain. But many of the most critical questions advisors will ask can be answered with an analytical approach to deciding where to 'house' assets – in taxable or tax-sheltered accounts.

2012-11-06 Earnings Cliff? by Mike Boyle of Advisors Asset Management

We are now about 63% (316 of the 500 S&P 500 companies have reported) of the way into the third quarter earnings season and the popular opinion seems to be that the earnings are disappointing, that this current earnings cycle has peaked and that earnings going forward will fall sharply (earnings cliff). In a nutshell, we don't believe that this is the case and will begin with the former, that the current crop of earnings reports are disappointing.

2012-11-06 The Absolute Return Letter: The Era of Kakistocracy by Neils Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

We are now five years into a crisis that just doesn't want to go away. Paraphrasing Charles Gave of GaveKal who wrote a supremely succinct pa