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

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2014-08-01 Second Quarter 2014 Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

Overall, our macro view and assessment of the risks and returns across the major asset classes has not changed meaningfully since last quarter. We continue to see the U.S. and global economies on a slow path of recovery from the 2008 financial crisis. ... Despite our more positive fundamental outlook, we also continue to view the markets as too dependent on central bank largesse, too short-term focused, and too complacent about the risks and imbalances that remain in the global economy in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

2014-08-01 Getting Closer: Fed Continues its Tapering & Moving Toward Rate Hikes by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Fed continues its taper; moving closer to rate hikes. Strong GDP report elevating chatter about possible earlier-than-expected rate hikes. Although volatility/pullbacks are possible, history shows initial rate hikes are NOT negative for stocks.

2014-07-31 Normalize to What? by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Despite a disconcerting, growing consensus among investors, the likelihood of a sudden increase in U.S. interest rates is fairly remote for now.

2014-07-31 Principled Populism? by Paul McCulley of PIMCO

In the years before retiring from PIMCO in 2010, I often interviewed candidates for professional positions here, usually at the end of the process, after they had been thoroughly vetted through several rounds of interviews. My task was not so much to test candidates’ qualifications as to “take their measure” – and for them to take mine!

2014-07-31 Bond Investing in a Rising Rate Environment: How to Widen Your Options by Gareth Isaac of Schroder Investment Management

Bond valuations now look stretched in a number of areas of the market. However, the global economy now has far fewer headwinds to contend with. One way bond investors can reduce this risk - or even prosper from a rate rise - is via unconstrained bond funds.

2014-07-30 The Bank of England’s Balancing Act by Team of Manning & Napier

The United Kingdom (U.K.) has recently been a subject of increased attention in the media and investment circles. An improving economy—particularly relative to its Eurozone neighbors—has provided a reason for optimism among economists and investors alike. However, rapidly rising home prices and accommodative monetary policy have also raised potential red flags.

2014-07-30 Fed's Janet Yellen To Continue Punishing Savers by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

New revelations have suggested that our new Fed Chair, Janet Yellen, may be the most liberal person to ever hold the highest monetary office in the world. This news comes after a recent extended interview Ms. Yellen did with The New Yorker Magazine and her testimony before Congress earlier this month.

2014-07-30 Goodnight Vietnam? by William Gross of PIMCO

It was a matter of happenstance I suppose – certainly not serendipity. Our meeting may have been an inevitable coming together, but it was certainly not initially welcomed by me. Happenstance is the better word. Fateful happenstance.

2014-07-29 Corporate Earnings Season Update by Ryan Davis, Brian Payne of Fortigent

As the so-called punchbowl provided by the Federal Reserve is slowly withdrawn, $10 billion at a time, investors are increasingly looking to corporate fundamentals to see what might drive equity markets higher in the quarters ahead. Now three weeks into second quarter earnings season, market participants have a better idea of just how the most recent cycle is shaping up.

2014-07-25 Yellen: Where No Man Has Gone Before by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Although Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen said nothing new in her carefully manicured semi-annual testimony to Congress last week, her performance there, taken within the context of a lengthy profile in the New Yorker (that came to press at around the same time), should confirm that she is very different from any of her predecessors in the job. Put simply, she is likely the most dovish and politically leftist Fed Chair in the Central Bank's history.

2014-07-24 Standing By Convictions in European Equities by Philippe Brugere-Trelat of Franklin Templeton Investments

European equities have garnered a fair share of attention lately as leading indicators suggest economies in the region are starting to recover from years of crisis and austerity-induced recessions. While some observers will point to recent equity market volatility as a sign that investors should remain defensive when selecting stocks in the region, Philippe Brugere-Trelat, executive vice president and portfolio manager, Franklin Mutual Series®, says he’s encouraged by recent developments.

2014-07-24 Mar Vista Investment Partners Second Quarter 2014 Review by Brian Massey of Mar Vista Investment Partners

Mar Vista Investment Partners second quarter commentary reviews the market and their large cap growth strategies during the most recent period and discusses the opportunities they see for their portfolios in the coming months.

2014-07-22 Cause and Effect: Bank of Japan Becomes Government’s Largest by Bradley Krom of WisdomTree

Although central banks often use their holdings of government debt to affect monetary policy, the meteoric rise in the expansion of the BOJ’s balance sheet is unprecedented. With the BOJ continuing to signal its willingness to aggressively stimulate the economy, we highlight here what we believe are the most significant implications of these policies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-07-18 Physics Envy by Matthew Page of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

Economists have long sought to identify a deterministic "natural law" of markets in the same way that physicists have discovered natural laws such as gravity and electromagnetism. This is sometimes referred to as "physics envy". If economists could identify a deterministic natural law of markets then we would be able to make useful and accurate predictions. Sadly no such law exists. Human actions are not governed by simple predictable laws.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-07-11 Why The Fed Needs You To Sell Your Bonds by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today I will attempt to explain why longer-term interest rates have fallen significantly this year when almost everyone expected rates to rise. This discussion focuses on the fact that there is a shortage of Treasury securities in the marketplace today, especially in maturities of 10 years or longer. The shortage is due to a combination of factors that I will discuss below

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

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

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

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

2014-07-05 Central Bank Smackdown by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

And so it is that on a beautiful July 4 weekend we will amuse ourselves by contemplating the serious smackdown that central bankers are visiting upon each other. If the ramifications of their antics were not so serious, they would actually be quite amusing. This week’s shorter than usual letter will explore the implications of the contretemps among the world’s central bankers and take a little dive into yesterday’s generally positive employment report.

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

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

2014-07-03 Mid-Year Emerging Markets Update: ‘Recovery Phase’ by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

As I’ve often said, investing in emerging markets requires patience, long-term perspective, and selective stock-picking. I think many investors focus too much on the short-term. As long-term investors, we view short-term bouts of volatility as an opportune time to find potential bargains for our portfolios, and we certainly experienced that in the first half of the year.

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

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

2014-07-01 Reality Check by Robert Rodriguez of FPA Funds

Bob Rodriguez, Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer of FPA, delivered a speech titled "Reality Check" to shareholders of FPA funds on June 2, 2014, on Fed policy and federal fiscal excess.

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

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

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

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

2014-06-23 This Time is Different, Yet with the Same Ending by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The Federal Reserve’s policy of quantitative easing has produced a historically prolonged period of speculative yield-seeking by investors starved for safe return. The problem with simply concluding that quantitative easing can do this forever is that even speculative assets have to compete with zero. When a safe zero return is above the medium or long-term return that one can estimate for a very risky asset, the rationale for continuing to hold the risky asset becomes purely dependent on expectations of immediate short-term price gains.

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

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

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

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

2014-06-20 Turkey Is the Big Winner Following the Crisis in Ukraine by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and the possibility of further action taken in Ukraine and other former Soviet Bloc nations have led many investors to wonder, understandably so, what impact the crisis has had on investment opportunities in Eastern Europe. To unravel these concerns and more, U.S. Global’s Director of Research John Derrick caught up with Gavin Graham of VoiceAmerica’s “Emerging and Frontier Markets Investing” program.

2014-06-19 Draghi Hits Savers To Salvage Faux Recovery by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On June 5th, Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), announced a package of measures, including a policy of negative interest rates, aimed at encouraging or even forcing Eurozone banks to increase their lending to businesses.Although previously imposed by Swiss banks on their depositors, this will be the first time that a central bank has charged negative interest rates.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-06-14 Who’s Afraid of Low, Low Rates? by James T. Tierney, Jr. of AllianceBernstein

Falling yields on Treasuries are often seen as a signal of a weakening economy that could undermine stocks. We think there are other explanations that don’t threaten the outlook for equities.

2014-06-14 The Age of Transformation by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

Today I offer some musings on what I’ve come to think of as the Age of Transformation (which I have been thinking about a lot while in Tuscany). I believe there are multiple and rapidly accelerating changes happening simultaneously (if you can think of 10 years as simultaneously) that are going to transform our social structures, our investment portfolios, and our personal futures. We have had such transformations in the past. The rise of the nation state, the steam engine, electricity, the advent of the social safety net, the personal computer, the internet, and the collapse of communis

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

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

2014-06-09 We Learn From History That We Do Not Learn From History by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market conditions presently match those that have repeatedly preceded either market crashes or extended losses approaching 50% or more. Such losses have not always occurred immediately, but they have typically been significant enough to wipe out years of prior market gains. Our present views are not built on the forecast that stocks must decline immediately, or that we won’t go through some additional discomfort if the market pushes to a higher peak. Still, a century of history strongly warns that whatever transitory gains the market achieves from present levels will be wiped out in spad

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

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

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

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

2014-06-06 Snow Job by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Economists, investment analysts, and politicians have spent much of 2014 bemoaning the terrible economic effects of the winter of 2014. The cold and snow have been continuously blamed for the lackluster job market, disappointing retail sales, tepid business investment and, most notably, much slower than expected GDP growth. Given how optimistic many of these forecasters had been in the waning months of 2013, when the stock market was surging into record territory and the Fed had finally declared that the economy had outgrown the need for continued Quantitative Easing, the weather was an absolu

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

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

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

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

2014-06-04 Weekly Market Update by James Welch of Castleton Partners

Treasury yields continued to decline to new lows over the last two weeks, with intermediate and long dated maturities reaching levels last seen in June 2013. With the ten year US Treasury note declining nearly twenty basis to 2.48%, all fixed income sectors produced strong monthly returns in May, adding further to impressive 2014 returns. On the economic front, the only release of note last week was the sharp—and surprisingly large—downward revision to first quarter GDP. The second estimate of 1Q GDP showed a decline of 1.0%, down from the previous figure of a 0.1% gain.

2014-06-04 European challenges and outlook by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

The constant debate of leading and lagging indicators is one that spills over to the political components as well. The timing of demographic shifting, recent economic events, geopolitical tectonic shifts taking place globally and neo-creative monetary policy have all been pointing to voter sentiment evolving. We have seen this represented in Europe for some time and the recent European Parliament election saw more than sublime results.

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

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

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

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

2014-05-29 China Sets America’s Mental Trap by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

It is often said that a crisis should never be wasted: Politicians, policymakers, and regulators should embrace the moment of deep distress and take on the heavy burden of structural repair. China seems to be doing that; America is not.

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

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

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

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

2014-05-19 The Journeys of Sisyphus by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Investors have again pushed the stone to the top of the mountain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-05-12 Emerging Markets at Risk by George Bijak of GB Capital Pty Ltd

The massive post-GFC Quantitative Easing (QE) in the USA, EU, and now in Japan has repaired the global banking system’s balance sheet. Debt of various qualities, worth trillions of dollars, was moved from struggling banks to the central banks at book value where it is likely to run out to maturity or rollover.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-05-09 Is 2014 the Year to \"Buy in May and be Prepared to Stay\"? by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

One of the long standing adages on Wall Street is that investors would be wise to "Sell in May and Go Away" in most market environments. This adage contends that stock volatility historically is higher during the months of May - October so investors may want to consider exiting the stock market in May, perhaps repositioning to less correlated asset classes, and returning to the stock market in November.

2014-05-07 And the Band Played On by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

After three months of consistently disappointing jobs numbers, the markets were as keyed up for a good jobs report as a long suffering sailor awaiting shore leave in a tropical port. The just released April jobs report, which claimed that 288,000 jobs were created in the U.S. during the month, provided the apparent good news. But you don't have to go too far beneath the surface to find some troubling trends within the data. Even this minor excavation was too much for the media cheerleaders and Wall Street pitchmen to handle.

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

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

2014-05-05 Cahm Viss Me Eef You Vahn to Live by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Taking the broad stock market as a whole, and considering all stocks ? not simply the largest of the large caps ? investors are now making the broadest and most leveraged bet on overvalued equities in U.S. history. Conditions somehow do not feel so dangerous because profit margins are cyclically extreme, but I suspect that this only means that investors will be surprised by the depth of the markets losses, as they were in 2000-2002 and 2007-2009. The lessons on this really are freely available all the way back to the South Sea Bubble.

2014-05-05 Asian Currencies to Stay Calm at Center of EM Storm by Hayden Briscoe of AllianceBernstein

Emerging markets have fallen from favor, but does that mean investors should avoid them entirely? We don?t think so.

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

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

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

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

2014-05-01 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. 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.

2014-05-01 The Gold Price is Fixed: So What? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

We can't ignore it anymore - the markets are rigged. The LIBOR scandal broke almost two years ago, and the banks found responsible for manipulating that key index are still dealing with lawsuits. Meanwhile, allegations of gold market manipulation have been simmering for over a decade and grew into an inferno after the spot price dropped dramatically last spring.

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

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

2014-04-29 Where Do Small Caps Stand? by JB Taylor, Jeff Cardon of Wasatch Funds

QE?s effect on stocks has perhaps been most visible since June of 2012. The Russell 2000 is up over 50% since then, mostly driven by lower-quality stocks, which is quite unusual this late in a market cycle. At present, the mood of the market has definitely tilted back to risk-taking in lower-quality, more cyclical stocks. In addition, the valuations of higher-flying software and biotech stocks have been at nosebleed levels. Overall, the fundamentals of small-cap companies don?t really support what we?re seeing in the market.

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

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

2014-04-29 First Quarter Commentary by John Prichard of Knightsbridge Asset Management

In investing, certain things are viewed as worth paying a lot for, if you "know" you're going to get them. Akin to Socrates, we speculate that it may be wiser to admit that you do not know the future and therefore are unwilling to pay for these positive outcomes, than to falsely believe you can know the future with certainty and are justified in paying a high price...

2014-04-28 Equities Awaiting Stronger Growth Before Next Move by Robert Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished modestly lower last week with the S&P 500 nearly unchanged. Most of the damage occurred on Friday when escalating tensions surrounding Ukraine weighed on sentiment. Positive dynamics included an improvement in first quarter earnings metrics, a notable pickup in M&A activity and deal speculation. A broader macro narrative reflects better traction for the recovery and gradual policy normalization. With momentum plays under renewed scrutiny, several internet, software and biotech companies sold off despite an expected cushion from solid first quarter results.

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

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

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

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

2014-04-25 ?Cautious? Investors: Saying One Thing, Doing Another by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Five years into an equity bull market, investors say they?re still cautious. However, Americans hold as much risk in their financial portfolios as they did during the tech bubble in 2000. Russ explains what?s behind this trend and what it means for investors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-04-23 Hasenstab: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

Fixed income investors have dealt with a number of headwinds in early 2014, including unrest in Eastern Europe, the prospect of rising interest rates in the United States and fears about slowing growth in China. Michael Hasenstab, executive vice president and CIO, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group®, has been on a global tour to assess conditions in select countries first-hand, looking beyond what the media headlines portray.

2014-04-22 Unloved Emerging Markets May Hold Value for Opportunistic Bond Investors by Kathleen Gaffney of Eaton Vance

· Emerging markets have come under pressure over the past year due to the Federal Reserve tapering its asset purchases and increased expectations of higher interest rates in the U.S. · We think investors should consider emerging markets to find opportunities that may provide a yield advantage and diversification away from U.S. interest-rate risk. · A multisector approach that uses bottom-up, fundamental credit analysis may be helpful in finding opportunities in emerging markets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-04-16 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 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-04-10 Financial Market Warning Signs by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

For those that are actually loving the rise in this U.S. financial market this past week, Warren Buffett has so me pretty cheeky advice to share in his annual letter to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-04-03 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.

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

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

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

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

2014-03-31 Shifting Policy at the Fed: Good for Long-Term Growth, Bad for Cyclical Bubbles by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The Fed is wisely and palpably moving away from the idea that more QE is automatically better for the economy, and has started to correctly question the effectiveness of QE, as well as its potential to worsen economic risks rather than remove them.

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 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.

2014-03-26 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 Europe is a Land of Opportunity in 2014 by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh

While we are forecasting a high, single-digit gain for the S&P 500 index over the course of 2014 at this time, we do still contend that U.S. stock market returns will likely be outpaced in 2014 by certain International ? Developed Country stock market returns (notably Europe) as regions such as the Eurozone continue to emerge from their own recession.

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

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

2014-03-24 Four Reasons Businesses Could Begin Spending Again Soon by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Despite record profits and exceptionally high corporate cash levels, capital spending by U.S. businesses remains subdued. Russ explains why this could change this year as well as what a pickup in capital spending would mean for investors.

2014-03-24 Fed-Induced Speculation Does Not Create Wealth by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Fed-induced speculation does not create wealth. It only changes the profile of returns over time. It redistributes wealth away from investors who are enticed to buy at rich valuations and hold the bag, and redistributes wealth toward the handful of investors both fortunate and wise enough to sell at rich valuations and wait for better opportunities.

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.

2014-03-21 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-03-18 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.

2014-03-17 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.?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-03-10 It Is Informed Optimism To Wait For The Rain by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Regardless of very short-term market direction, it is urgent for investors to understand where the equity markets are positioned in the context of the full market cycle.

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.

2014-03-07 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 Weather or Not? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Everyone agrees that the winter just now winding down (hopefully) has been brutal for most Americans. And while it's easy to conclude that the Polar Vortex has been responsible for an excess of school shutdowns and ice related traffic snarls, it's much harder to conclude that the it's responsible for the economic vortex that appears to have swallowed the American economy over the past three months.

2014-03-07 Making Green from Gold, Palladium and Pollution by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold is coming back with a vengeance, experiencing a clear recovery and grabbing the attention of market cynics. Analysts from Noruma Securities even upgraded its outlook for gold, expecting bullion to climb over the next three years, according to Barron's.

2014-03-05 The Renminbi's New Normal by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

The gyrations in Chinese money markets in the last few weeks have caused much alarm in the financial press. The moves in these markets are not only inline, but healthy for an economy looking to increase the role of the market in allocating resources. Those who believe these moves indicate financial stress, or draw parallels between the recent volatility and that which preceded the subprime crisis in the U.S., might be looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

2014-03-05 What Is the Fed Thinking? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The central bank's decision to taper, despite its earlier caution on the economy, has puzzled many observers. New research from the Fed's own staff may provide some clues to its current mindset.

2014-03-05 The Renminbi's New Normal by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

The gyrations in Chinese money markets in the last few weeks have caused much alarm in the financial press. The moves in these markets are not only inline, but healthy for an economy looking to increase the role of the market in allocating resources. Those who believe these moves indicate financial stress, or draw parallels between the recent volatility and that which preceded the subprime crisis in the U.S., might be looking through the wrong end of the telescope.

2014-03-04 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.

2014-03-03 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 Blame it on the Weather? Not so Fast by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

How much is the weather to blame for recent soft U.S. economic data? While the weather is certainly responsible for some, or perhaps even most, of the recent slowdown, it?s not the whole story, writes Russ.

2014-02-28 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The sensitivity of emerging markets complicates the Fed?s exit plans; Raising the minimum wage is not the only way to aid low-income workers; Brazil?s economy is faltering as the World Cup approaches.

2014-02-28 Bounce Back by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

US stocks have bounced and the market’s still attractive and in the midst of a secular bull market. But there are likely to be bumps along the way; notably given that this is a midterm election year; which are known for first-half pullbacks. A diversified portfolio is important and both European and Chinese stocks appear to have upside, while Japan continues to frustrate with a two-steps forward, two-steps back sort of approach. And a final reminder not to replace fixed income assets with equities in search of higher income without recognizing the risk profile of a portfolio has changed.

2014-02-27 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 The Important Role of Country Funds in a Diversified Portfolio by Roger Nusbaum of AdvisorShares

As most investors know, foreign equity markets have had a rough time of things performance-wise for the last couple of years relative to domestic equity markets. While Quantitative Easing may or may not be to blame, after years of generally outperforming the US in the previous decade the new decade has been a different story.

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.

2014-02-25 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 U.S. Economy: Curb Your Enthusiasm by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Amid optimistic projections of an acceleration in growth, the factors that have restrained GDP remain firmly in place.

2014-02-25 Flirting With Deflation by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

Over the medium term, we see downside risks to both growth and inflation in the eurozone, unlike the ECB?s more balanced view. However, even if eurozone inflation sinks close to 1% in 2014?2015, as PIMCO forecasts, this in itself probably would not be low enough for the ECB to consider further easing. A lack of further policy action may undermine the ECB?s credibility to anchor longer-term inflation more closely to 2%.

2014-02-20 The Fed: Yellen's Tapering Tightrope by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

In reducing quantitative easing, the Federal Reserve chairwoman faces a big challenge: preventing asset bubbles at home without pressuring developing economies.

2014-02-18 Why Emerging Market Fears are Overblown by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Conditions in the emerging markets bear little resemblance to those in 1997 leading up to the Asian crisis, according to Simon Derrick, a leading market strategist with BNY Mellon. In this interview, he also explains why the euro is overvalued and picks the winners and losers in today’s currency wars.

2014-02-18 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Joe Tomlinson’s article, Providing Better Social Security Advice for Clients, which appeared last week, and readers respond to Gary Halbert’s commentary, Why Quantitative Easing Didn’t Work, which appeared on February 12.

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 Topping Patterns and the Proper Cause for Optimism by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

We would dismiss classic topping patterns we observe here if the recent market peak did not feature the "full catastrophe" of textbook speculative features, particularly the same syndrome of extreme overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising yield conditions observed (prior to the past year) only at major market peaks in 2007, 2000, 1987, 1972, and 1929. Meanwhile, we remain encouraged. Those who follow a historically informed, value-conscious, and risk-managed investment discipline should be among the most optimistic investors in the financial markets.

2014-02-14 Arresting Disinflation Will Require Taking up the Slack by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Arresting disinflation will require taking up the slack. Estimates of the U.S. output gap remain substantial. The U.S. achieves budget peace but still faces long-term fiscal challenges.

2014-02-14 Many Reasons for Rates to Rise by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

There are a number of scenarios and events that could cause rates to rise in the next several years. Increasing economic growth in the United States would mean that the Federal Reserve no longer needs to keep market interest rates artificially low. Central banks around the world have been buying debt to spur economic activity, with mixed result at best. When there is no longer a need to purchase more debt, the massive, coordinated demand for that debt will fall. And when that happens... uh-oh.

2014-02-13 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.

2014-02-13 A Centennial to Celebrate - The Federal Reserve Looks Forward to Its Next 100 Years by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Fed’s centennial arrives at an interesting juncture. Never in its history has the American central bank been so deeply involved in economic management, and rarely has it attracted such controversy. The recent transition in Fed leadership marks the end of a significant era. In some ways, this makes it a perfect time to contemplate what the Fed was, what it has become and what it should be during its second century. The results of this review will be valuable to central banks the world over.

2014-02-12 Why Quantitative Easing Didn?t Work by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

IN THIS ISSUE: 1. Why Fed?s Quantitative Easing (QE) Didn?t Work 2. Velocity of Money Plunged During Financial Crisis 3. Should Bernanke & Company Have Done More? 4. QE Was a Huge, Dangerous Experiment That Failed 5. Fed Begins to ?Taper? QE Purchases in January 6. Conclusions ? What Happens Next?

2014-02-11 Equities Markets Start 2014 in Deep Freeze by Douglas Coté of ING Investement Management

By slowly normalizing policy, the Fed is passing the responsibility of pricing risk back to the markets, resulting in higher volatility. The health of the emerging markets is vital to global growth, as developing countries have doubled their contribution to global GDP over the past decade to nearly 40%. S&P 500 corporations derive half their revenue from overseas; support from global consumerism and manufacturing is on track to continue. Broad global diversification across equity and fixed income markets is the best way to protect against volatility.

2014-02-11 ?Hot? Money?s Fast Exit Cools Emerging Markets by of Knowledge @ Wharton

Capital flight from emerging markets has been accelerating in recent weeks ($6 billion alone in the week ending February 5). Turkey is the poster child, but the exodus is also happening in India, Indonesia, Brazil, South Africa and others ? mostly from equity markets. This ?hot money? is moving out over concerns that asset bubbles have built up, and that emerging market economic growth is now slowing. The slowdown is partly a result of tighter money in the wake of the Fed?s tapering plans and a decelerating economy in China, many believe. To better understand the risks to the global financial

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.

2014-02-07 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 2013 Year-End Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

We find ourselves with a more sanguine big-picture view, at least over the nearer term, than we have had in some time. U.S. and global economic fundamentals gradually improved over the past year across a number of dimensions, and seem poised for continued improvement or at least stability in 2014. However, as we look ahead, the longer-term risks related to excessive global debt, subpar growth, and unprecedented government policy that we have worried about since the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis still remain largely unresolved.

2014-02-06 How Did the Emerging Markets Get Into This Mess? by Andres Garcia-Amaya of J.P. Morgan Funds

A number of central banks around the world tightened monetary policy during the week of January 27, but the rationale for their policy decisions varied significantly. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve continued its "tapering" of quantitative easing (QE) to reflect the strong economic growth prospects, while Turkey, India and South Africa tightened policy in an attempt to prevent an exodus of foreign capital from their countries.

2014-02-06 Emerging Market Woes abd Fed Tapering Equals Stocks Plunge by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

January saw US stocks record their first losing month since last August. After reaching new record highs at the end of December, the Dow Jones shed almost 1,000 points in the last half of the month and the decline continues. Analysts attributed the sell-off in large part due to troubling news from several emerging nations, in particular to the so-called "Fragile Five" - Turkey, India, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa.

2014-02-06 So Cruel: Pullback Could Become Correction by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

For now, the EM tail is wagging the dog, but the US remains the world’s big dog and should ultimately get through the latest turmoil. "January Barometer" has sent mixed signals for the remainder of the year historically. More technical and sentiment recovery is likely needed before a market recovery is likely.

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.

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

Some Bumps along the Road of Global Recovery

2014-02-05 The Fed\'s Forced Feeding Will End Badly by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

This financial market reminds me of when we were kids sitting at the dinner table and the one thing almost all of us heard back in the 1970s was "that plate better be clean by the time I get back or else." This left us with images of torture that would follow the "or else."

2014-02-05 Emerald Economic Commentary by Team of Emerald Allocation Strategies

As Yogi Berra once said, "You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there." As we look back on 2013 and look ahead to 2014,we want to share our thoughts on the road traveled and more importantly, the possible road ahead.

2014-02-04 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.

2014-02-03 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 Pushing Luck by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Speculators have been luckier than they may realize, and are now pushing their luck. Quantitative easing has distorted not only financial markets, but financial memory. The awakening is not likely to be gentle.

2014-02-01 Central Banker Throwdown by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The Federal Reserve is signaling that it is going to end quantitative easing at some point in the future; therefore, investors are trying to find the exits before the end actually comes.

2014-01-31 Thrift, Thrift, Burning Bright by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms of ING Investment Management

Does the title sound familiar? Think feral instead of frugal, and William Blake’s "Tyger, Tyger, burning bright" may start to flicker between the synapses of memory and an English lit class you once soldiered through. But even if you haven’t read "The Tyger", its theme is aptly captured in the opening line and its image of a big flaming kitty cat. Essentially, Blake saw reality in duality: To appreciate the ferocious feline in all its glory is to come face to face with the same force that created "The Lamb", another entry in the poet’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience.

2014-01-31 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

China’s shadow banking products are coming under the spotlight. Emerging markets: Be sure to differentiate. The fixed income sector’s surprising strength.

2014-01-31 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.

2014-01-31 Value-Hunting in the US by Cindy Sweeting of Franklin Templeton

With key stock indices in the US closing the year near historical highs and many pundits predicting stronger growth rates both in the US and globally going into 2014, one would think bargains would be hard to find this year. January’s volatility, however, proved just how unpredictable markets can be. The recent market gyrations may be somewhat painful for many investors in the short-term, but the silver lining is that corrections can serve up buying opportunities, particularly for long-term, value-oriented investors.

2014-01-31 The New Watchword-Deflation? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Equity markets have been shaky to start the year but we don’t believe it’s time to abandon ship. The fundamentals in the United States continue to look appealing and the recent pullback has helped to correct some sentiment and valuation concerns. We are watching the fight against deflation carefully in Europe and Japan, and believe both countries may need to do more via monetary policy stimulus. Meanwhile, some emerging economies are dealing with inflation, but we don’t believe the recent problems will morph into a widespread crisis at this point.

2014-01-30 Quarterly Review and Outlook - Fourth Quarter 2013 by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

In The Theory of Interest, Irving Fisher, who Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman called America’s greatest economist, created the Fisher equation, which states the nominal bond yield is equal to the real yield plus expected inflation. It serves as the pillar of macroeconomics and as the foundational relationship of the bond market. It has been reconfirmed many times by scholarly examination and by the sheer force of historical experience. Examining periods of both low and high inflation offers insight into how each variable in the Fisher equation affects the outcome.

2014-01-28 Winter Quarterly Commentary by John Prichard of Knightsbridge Asset Management

John Kenneth Galbraith was a force in the fields of politics and economics. He wrote into his 90s, with many of his 48 books covering economic history, a subject we find to be the oft forgotten friend of investors. His work made it clear that economics is not a hard science which can be reduced to simple trustworthy mathematical equations. Galbraith constantly challenged the "conventional wisdom", and in fact pioneered the term. Galbraith came to dismiss the then, and still now, common notion that individuals and markets always act rationally...

2014-01-27 Closed End Fund Review - Fourth Quarter 2013 by Jeff Margolin of First Trust Advisors

2013 was a mixed year for the closed-end fund (CEF) structure. While the Morningstar universe of 176 equity CEFs were up on average 12.13% on a share price total return basis and clearly benefited from the global rise in equity prices, the Morningstar universe of 387 fixed-income CEFs was lower by an average of 8.56% on a share price total return basis.

2014-01-27 Increasing Concerns and Systemic Instability by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The potential collapse of a now-complete log-periodic bubble is best considered something of a physics experiment, and it’s not what drives our investment stance. Still, the backdrop of steep overvaluation, extreme bullish sentiment, record margin debt, and international dislocations could hardly provide a more fitting context for a disruptive completion to the present market cycle.

2014-01-25 Why the Recent Lift in Junior Miners Will Likely Continue by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Junior venture companies in Canada are finally seeing a significant lift. In early January, the S&P/TSX Venture Composite Index rose above the 200-day moving average for the first time in three years. The index is also very close to experiencing a golden cross, which is when the shorter-term 50-day moving average crosses above the 200-day moving average. Historically, traders see this cross as extremely bullish.

2014-01-25 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

So while the Fed was the first to implement nontraditional monetary strategies, the BoE may be the first to unwind them. And it may be the first to test the power of macroprudential policy. The results might make for an interesting export back across the Atlantic.

2014-01-23 Can Equities Continue Their Rise? Equity Investment Outlook: January 2014 by Matt Berler, John Osterweis of Osterweis Capital Management

2013 marked the fifth year of recovery following the near-death experience of the 2008 global financial system meltdown. From a low of 677 in 2009, the S&P 500 Index (S&P 500) finished 2013 at 1,848, delivering a stunning 203% total return from the low. Over the same period, the total return for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 188%. The tech-heavy and arguably more speculative NASDAQ logged a 249% total return. These very large equity returns reflect both a strong recovery in corporate profits and a dramatic clean-up of our financial system.

2014-01-21 Albert Edwards and Dylan Grice: Bearish Forecasts from Two Top Strategists by Robert Huebscher (Article)

It’s been nearly 18 years since Albert Edwards forecast an "ice age" in which bonds would outperform equities. He’s been right until just recently, when cumulative returns on the two classes converged. But Edwards insists that his thesis is still accurate - deflation will be the force to propel bonds over stocks, he says. Dylan Grice, meanwhile, warns that the markets operate on an unstable equilibrium that could devolve into apocalyptic conditions.

2014-01-21 Superstition Ain\'t the Way by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer.

2014-01-21 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 Brother, Can You Spare a Bitcoin? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The electronic currency has attracted attention from speculators and financial media, but it’s unlikely to upend the existing monetary order.

2014-01-18 Dialing Down the Drama by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We remain optimistic on stocks for 2014, but there will likely be bumps in the road. Investor sentiment is elevated, complacency seems to be building, and the valuation story is less compelling. But waiting for a correction can be quite detrimental to portfolio performance, evidenced by last year. QE tapering will likely continue at a very modest pace and U.S. interest rates will likely drift higher throughout the year. We remain positive on Europe and our outlook toward China is improving, while we are in at wait-and-see sort of mode with Japan.

2014-01-17 What Does It Take to Be in the Top 1 Percent? Not As Much As You Think by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

You might be surprised to learn that the top 20 percent of income earners bring in a household income of just over $100,000. The top 10 percent of earners have a household income of more than $148,687. To be considered in the top 1 percent, household income is at least $521,411.

2014-01-16 A Flight to Quality by Ben Fischer of Allianz Global Investors

CIO NFJ Ben Fischer delivers his 2014 outlook, focusing on the Fed’s tapering of its bond-buying program and how high-quality, dividend-paying stocks should respond.

2014-01-16 Let the taper begin! Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

At the December meeting, the Federal Reserve (the Fed) decided to reduce its purchases of Treasury and mortgage securities (a.k.a. quantitative easing/QE) beginning in January 2014. This answered the question of when the taper would begin, and the markets reacted predictably. Two questions remain, however: How long until the Fed completely winds down QE; and when will short rates begin to reflect the improving economy? We feel it may be sooner on the former and could be quite some time on the latter.

2014-01-16 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.

2014-01-14 What Have We Learned from the Financial Crisis? by Michael Edesess (Article)

Why do we need yet another discussion of the 2007-09 financial crisis and its aftermath? That question is asked and answered by Alan S. Blinder in his new book, After the Music Stopped: The Financial Crisis, the Response, and the Work Ahead. Blinder provides new details about this harrowing chapter in our financial history and valuable insights about the effectiveness of potential regulatory policies.

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.

2014-01-13 Hovering With an Anvil by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In my view, the stock market is hovering in what has a good chance of being seen in hindsight as the complacent lull before a period of steep losses. Meanwhile, we would require a certain amount of deterioration in stock prices, credit spreads, and employment growth to amplify our economic concerns, but even here we can say that there is little evidence of economic acceleration. Broad economic activity continues to hover at levels that have historically delineated the border of expansions and recessions.

2014-01-13 3 Reasons the Dollar Should Strengthen This Year by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ explains why the U.S. dollar is likely to strengthen in 2014, and what this means for various asset classes.

2014-01-10 5 Investor Tips for 2014 by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

While the winding down of QE signals better times ahead, investors need to be selective and focused in taking smart risks, says US Investment Strategist Kristina Hooper.

2014-01-10 High Yield and Bank Loan Outlook- January 2014 by Team of Guggenheim Partners

Improving U.S. macroeconomic conditions should spur additional investor demand for high-yield bonds and bank loans, particularly with defaults exceptionally low. Still, investors should monitor trends pointing to an erosion of safety in leveraged credit.

2014-01-10 2014 Economic and Investment Outlook by Team of Ivy Investment Management Company

Although the December 2013 U.S. budget pact between House and Senate negotiators was a welcome development, partisan battles over government spending still are possible in 2014. The agreement ends a three-year budget fight and sets government spending through fall 2015, but it does not eliminate the need to raise the nation’s borrowing limit - the "debt ceiling."

2014-01-10 Macro Strategy Review by Jim Welsh of Forward Investing

Heavy emphasis on the fundamentals factors driving the U.S., European Union, China, and Emerging economies, and how the fundamentals are likely to impact markets.

2014-01-10 Hasenstab: Fed Tapering Was Inevitable by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) announced its decision to reduce its $85 billion monthly asset purchase program by $10 billion starting in January 2014. What might the eventual end of the Fed’s policy of aggressive money printing mean for fixed-income investors? Michael Hasenstab, Ph.D, executive vice president, chief investment officer, Global Bonds, Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, believes there’s no reason for investors to panic. He outlines why he thinks that’s the case, and where on the map he’s spotting fixed income opportunities.

2014-01-10 Yellen\'s Inheritance: Monetary Policy in Flux by Joseph Carson, Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

Evolving economic challenges are transforming central banking around the world. The new monetary-policy doctrine is likely to put greater emphasis on asset-price developments. But, without a true monetary anchor, central banks could still risk a repeat of the recent boom/bust cycle.

2014-01-10 Weekly Economic Commentary: December U.S. Employment Report by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

December U.S. employment report clouded by weather-related factors. A review of the two U.S. employment surveys. The ECB reaches a critical stage.

2014-01-10 Continuing a Winning Formula for 2014 by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We believe there’s a way that increases the odds of winning. It’s by combining a bottom-up approach with a top-down strategy: Find great, fast-growing and shareholder-focused companies and focus on the best stocks in the sectors experiencing positive momentum.

2014-01-09 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 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 Rehab World by Niall Ferguson of Project Syndicate

The late English chanteuse Amy Winehouse sang, "They tried to make me go to rehab, but I said ’No, no, no.’" Perhaps 2013 should be known as the year of Winehouse economics, with the singers being the world’s most important central banks, led by the Federal Reserve.

2014-01-06 Confidence Abounds by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

It’s the very nature of a peak that it can’t be produced except by unusual optimism.

2014-01-06 2014 Housing Predictions by Logan Mohtasham of AMC Lending Group

A tale of 2 halves with lingering questions characterizes what we can say was the story for housing for 2013. In the first half of the year, rates were low as the 10 year note was well under 2%. People were still refinancing, as home prices rocketed. Multiple bids were common, and pundits like Ivy Zelman cheered the improving market with praise like "Housing is in Nirvana".

2014-01-06 Too Big to Pop by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Most economic observers are predicting that 2014 will be the year in which the United States finally shrugs off the persistent malaise of the Great Recession. As we embark on this sunny new chapter, we may ask what wisdom the five-year trauma has delivered.

2014-01-06 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

To say that 2013 was an interesting year would be a bit of an understatement. We learned a long time ago not to make predictions about the stock market because no matter what is predicted, it is likely to be wrong. Even if we get lucky one year, we are not likely to even get close the following year. We do try to give guidance, however. Last year we suggested that, given the late run in the market in 2012 and its 15% return, investors should be happy with a return of 8 to 10% in 2013. Obviously, investors enjoyed much better returns.

2014-01-06 2013: A Review of the Past, the Present and the Future by Ron Surz of PPCA Inc

This commentary is divided into three sections. I begin with a review of current U.S. and foreign stock markets, examining the year 2013 and the past six years, including the crash of 2008. This perspective serves as a launch point into the future, specifically 2014 and the remainder of this decade. I conclude with a review of the past 88 years of U.S. stock and bond markets.

2014-01-03 Six Questions for 2014 - January 3, 2014 by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Our economic outlook for this year will be available next week. To provide a taste of what’s ahead, here are six of the key questions we’ll focus on during the coming months.

2014-01-03 2014 Outlook: The Emergence of a Global Expansion by Team of Loomis Sayles

After years of a global recovery characterized by fits and starts, we expect more synchronized global growth in 2014. Global GDP growth will accelerate modestly from 2.7% in 2013 to approximately 3.4% in 2014, primarily driven by larger advanced economies. In particular, we are optimistic that US growth will be sustainable. The fading economic drag from government policy and the ongoing housing recovery should help boost US GDP growth toward 3% as the year progresses. The UK is poised for a similar rate of expansion in 2014, and Europe will likely post positive growth in the coming year.

2014-01-02 The Long and The Short of Gold Investing by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

There are two types of gold investors: those trying to make money on short-term market timing and those looking for long-term asset preservation. It was the fear-driven trading of the former that helped gold break $1900 in 2011, and for good reason - stormy markets steer investors to safe havens.

2014-01-02 The World Economy\'s Shifting Challenges by George Soros of Project Syndicate

As 2013 comes to a close, efforts to revive growth in the world’s most influential economies are exerting competing pressures on the global economy. Perhaps not surprisingly, while Europe and the US will continue to play an important global role, developments in Asia will determine the worldwide outlook in 2014 and beyond.

2013-12-31 The 10 Most-Read Articles of 2013 by Various (Article)

As is our custom, we conclude the year by reflecting on the 10 most-read articles over the past 12 months. In decreasing order, based on the number of unique readers, those are...

2013-12-31 2014? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Year-end letters are difficult to write because there is always a tendency to discuss the year gone by or, worse, attempt to forecast the coming year. Typically, when the media asks where the S&P 500 (SPX/1841.40) will be at the end of the new year, I tell them you might as well flip a lucky penny.

2013-12-30 NYSE Margin Debt Is Fractionally Off Its Real All-Time High by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The New York Stock Exchange publishes end-of-month data for margin debt on the NYXdata website, where we can also find historical data back to 1959. Let’s examine the numbers and study the relationship between margin debt and the market, using the S&P 500 as the surrogate for the latter.

2013-12-24 Fed Taper Brings Us Back to the Future by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

A return to normal economic conditions is now more palpable following the Fed’s decision to start unwinding QE and early signs of a revival in consumer spending, growth and jobs, writes Kristina Hooper.

2013-12-24 Bernanke\'s Santa Claus Cheer by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

What will Santa bring for Christmas...does he exist at all? Yes he does, his name is Bernanke and he has a stock market rally to share and good holiday cheer for all!

2013-12-23 Risk Assets Take Fed Taper Announcement in Stride by Roger Bayston of Franklin Templeton

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) delivered an early holiday surprise to some market participants, announcing at its December 18 policy meeting it would start slowing its asset purchase program known as quantitative easing in January. For some thoughts on what this may mean for the markets in the new year, we turned just after the announcement to Roger Bayston. He believes the markets should be able to take the Fed’s tapering in 2014 in stride, although investors should prepare for the proposition of higher Treasury yields.

2013-12-23 The Diva is Already Singing by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The bell has already rung. The diva is already singing. The only question is precisely how long they hold the note.

2013-12-21 Start Me Up: Fed Announces a Much-Anticipated Taper by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Fed decided to begin tapering its QE-related bond purchases with a reduction of $10 billion; split evenly between Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. In a sign that tapering was already priced in, the stock market surged on the announcement; while bond yields remained quite tame. The Fed announced slightly sunnier economic forecasts, suggesting quantitative easing could wind down within a year.

2013-12-20 Let\'s Get Physical: Gold Bullion and Bitcoin by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), discusses in his latest insights piece the disparity in price direction between gold bullion and Bitcoin, in spite of the strikingly similar rationale for holding the two. He notes that the "Bitcoin-Gold incongruity is explained by the fact that financial engineers have not yet discovered a way to collateralize bitcoins for leveraged trades."

2013-12-20 The Challenges of Year-End Forecasting by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

Many investors piled on the equity bandwagon this year, pushing prices up to dizzying heights. With current yields for U.S. equities at record lows, is it time to get off the bandwagon?

2013-12-20 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 A Surprising Way to Participate in Today\'s Tech Boom by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China has become one of the best consumption stories out there, and looking over the next few years, local technology companies are almost certain to benefit. So while many U.S. investors are getting excited about the growing number of initial public offerings in the tech sector, they would be remiss if they didn’t look beyond Silicon Valley.

2013-12-19 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 A Dovish-Bullish Taper by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

They finally did it. At Chairman Bernanke’s next to last meeting, the Federal Reserve announced a modest tapering of quantitative easing, reducing its monthly purchases of Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities by $5 billion each ($10 billion total) to $75 billion starting in January. As a result, the size of the Fed’s balance sheet will continue to rise, but slightly more slowly than before.

2013-12-19 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 What the Fed\'s Taper Means for Investors by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper breaks down the Federal Reserve’s surprise move to begin unwinding its bond-buying program and its implications for markets and monetary policy.

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 Beware the Haunting of Stock Market Corrections Past! by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

I do think the ghosts of stock market corrections past are haunting us. Those who forget the lessons that history teaches us are predestined to repeat them. As an apprentice of U.S. stock market history, I’ve seen this maxim made true, time and time again. I believe I have seen the ghosts of the 1929, 1987, 2000 and 2008 U.S. Stock market crashes because they have materialized in 2013 and are appearing in front of everyone.

2013-12-17 Gundlach - Don’t Plan on Tapering by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Investors face many concerns as the new year approaches, but a recurrence of May’s "taper tantrum" should not be high on their lists, according to DoubleLine’s Jeffrey Gundlach. With the majority of Fed governors staking a dovish position, "quantitative stimulus is likely to remain with us longer than people think," Gundlach said.

2013-12-17 5 Takeaways from the Mini-Budget Deal by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The bi-partisan budget agreement inked last week has real implications for investors, including its impact on consumers, the stock market and the Fed, writes Kristina Hooper.

2013-12-16 The World We Live In by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

For me, the final month of the year has always been a time to reflect upon the past as well as plan for the future. Analyzing the year soon to pass provides a valuable perspective with which to evaluate the important issues that will impact our country and economy going forward. In this context, 2013 sure has been a memorable year highlighted by horrific natural disasters, the deaths of Margaret Thatcher and Nelson Mandela, and on the lighter side, the unforgettable ending to perhaps the greatest Iron Bowl ever played.

2013-12-16 Debt Crisis Recovery: Bell Curves and Balance Sheets by John Greenwood of Invesco Blog

This three-part series examines the life cycle of a debt crisis and looks at where the US, UK and eurozone are in the recovery process. This second post looks at where the US stands in the deleveraging process. Part 1 explained the phases of a debt crisis, while Part 3 will focus on why the UK and eurozone lag the US in balance-sheet repair.

2013-12-13 They Bravely Chickened Out by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Earlier this week Congress tried to show that it is capable of tackling our chronic and dangerous debt problems. Despite the great fanfare I believe they have accomplished almost nothing. Supporters say that the budget truce created by Republican Representative Paul Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray will provide the economy with badly needed certainty.

2013-12-13 Glance Back...Focus Forward by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

A great market year for stocks is about to be capped off...can the run continue into 2014?

2013-12-13 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Federal Reserve should find a way out of quantitative easing (QE) soon. And I think the Fed will take the first step in that direction at its December 17 - 18 Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Here are the arguments for and against reducing quantitative easing that the discussions will feature.

2013-12-13 One of the Most Notable Stories of the Year: Energy Renaissance in the U.S.A. by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Only a few years ago, we were contemplating the supply constraints facing the petroleum industry, as many major oil fields around the world were facing a decline in production. Now, with the disruptive technology in shale oil and gas, we may be looking forward to decades of drilling.

2013-12-12 The Fed, Inflation, and the Perfect Storm in Gold Miners by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

Neither hopes of job creation nor fears of inflation (based on the massive expansion of the monetary base since late 2008) have thus far materialized. Total credit creation (i.e. money supply) during most of the last five years either shrank or barely grew despite massive growth in the monetary base. Nominal GDP (growth plus inflation) grows in response to total expansion of credit (both from the Fed and the banking system), not just the monetary base.

2013-12-12 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.

2013-12-11 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 Q3:2013 Flow-of-Funds Report - \'Tis the Season to Be Jolly by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

I know that being a Debbie Downer gets more face time on cable news, but after looking at the Fed’s latest Financial Accounts of the U.S. report, formerly known as the Flow-of-Funds report, I cannot contain my optimism about the economy’s prospects in the New Year.

2013-12-10 A Framework for Understanding Bond Portfolio Performance by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

Investors are legitimately concerned that interest rates, after falling reliably for decades, are on their way up and that bond portfolio values are on their way down. Investors now seek interest-rate protection. I provide a framework for analyzing and, hopefully, predicting the returns on actively managed portfolios of bonds - a task different from analyzing the bond market itself.

2013-12-10 Macro Factors Distract Wealth Creation by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

What do Obamacare, Federal Government debt/budget deals, Quantitative Easing and jobs data have in common? To us they are all types of macroeconomic factors on which most investors focus. We believe the reason most investors focus on these types of news stories is because they can influence the US stock market over the next six to twelve months instead of the next 10 to 20 years. In this missive, we would like to challenge everyone’s thinking about their ultimate goal for investing in the stock market and the behaviors which lead to wealth creation.

2013-12-09 The Truth Does Not Change According To Our Ability To Stomach It by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The stock market is presently at valuations where not only cyclical but secular bear markets have started. A secular bear period comprises a series of cyclical bull-bear periods where valuations gradually work their way lower at each successive cyclical trough. The past 13 years of paltry overall total returns for the S&P 500 have unfortunately corrected very little of the excess in 2000, largely thanks to yet another round of Fed-enabled speculation. We should have learned how these episodes end.

2013-12-07 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 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The U.S. employment report puts taper onto the table. Don’t expect further rate cuts from the ECB or the Fed. Auto sales have been a bright spot amid sluggish consumer spending.

2013-12-06 Did the Government Shutdown Help the Economy? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Take the government shutdown in October, when the House and Senate fought over the debt ceiling. Economic data wasn’t released, services were halted, national parks were closed, and "non-essential government workers were told to stay home. As a result, GDP was expected to collapse. Yet, data released this week reveal a different, stronger image of the U.S. economy. I think Shakespeare would deem the media’s fear mongering tactics as Much Ado About Nothing.

2013-12-05 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.

2013-12-04 Gold, What Is It Good for? by Miguel Perez-Santalla of BullionVault

Absolutely nothing! Well, except 5,000 years of value exchange, non-correlation, and preserving wealth...The current market environment has led many in the press to question gold’s value as an investment or an asset class, writes Miguel Perez-Santalla at BullionVault.

2013-12-03 Why You Should Be Thinking About Quality Small-Caps by Sponsored Content from The Royce Funds (Article)

The Fed’s stimulus programs have had unintended consequences. Lower-quality businesses have performed well, and more conservatively capitalized companies have been relatively disadvantaged. We think tapering talk has begun to change this and that high quality small-caps should be able to benefit.

2013-12-03 Philly Fed, the Geo Score and A Housing Stat Making Some Blue by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

Following a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday that involved way too much food, I found myself doing all I could to avoid the Black Friday masses and succeeded until I took to the highway for a journey to Albany, NY - they were leaving the malls and, perhaps it was exhaustion from their day of shopping, but the traffic and driving skills left something to be desired. Those weary shoppers amassed along I-87 brought to mind the question of how healthy (or not so healthy) is the economy?

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.

2013-12-02 Japanese Equities: Room to Run by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

From a behavioral perspective, Japanese equities are showing some very positive signs.

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.

2013-11-29 ING Fixed Income Perspectives - November 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers and Matt Toms of ING Investement Management

Given rich valuations globally, we remain broadly neutral on interest rate risk with the exception of Japan.

2013-11-29 From the Taj Mahal to Westminster Abbey: Notes from a Global Investor by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

I recently returned from India, a nation where an incredible 600 million people are under the age of 25. That’s nearly double the entire population of the U.S.

2013-11-29 \"Fixed\" Income Investing is Broken by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Back in June of this year, the Fixed Income (a.k.a. bond) market may have experienced the defining moment of this generation of investors. The yield on the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond moved above 3.50% for the first time since the summer of 2011. It stands at about 3.80% now. After many fake-outs, this could be the start of a long-term trajectory higher.

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.

2013-11-26 QE: Not That Big of a Deal by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

The most frequent question we get lately is "what happens to long-term interest rates when quantitative easing ends?" Many analysts argue that the Federal Reserve is buying and holding a huge share of Treasury debt and once QE ends other buyers will suddenly have to absorb more. This will cause interest rates to soar, bust the housing market, undermine stocks, and possibly cause a recession.

2013-11-26 While You Were Sleeping: Asian Developments Loom for Financial Markets by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Amid all the Fed talk dominating airwaves and headlines, a few key developments occurred overseas last week that could shape financial markets significantly in the quarters ahead.

2013-11-25 An Open Letter to the FOMC: Recognizing the Valuation Bubble in Equities by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The Fed has done enough, and perhaps dangerously more than enough. The prospect of dismal investment returns in equities is an outcome that is largely baked-in-the-cake. The only question is how much worse the outcomes will be as a result of Fed policy that has few economic mechanisms other than to encourage speculative behavior.

2013-11-25 Ben\'s Rocket to Nowhere by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Herd mentality can be as frustrating as it is inexplicable. Once a crowd starts moving, momentum can be all that matters and clear signs and warnings are often totally ignored. Financial markets are currently following this pattern with respect to the unshakable belief that the Federal Reserve is ready, willing, and most importantly, able, to immediately execute a wind down of its quantitative easing program. How this notion became so deeply entrenched is a mystery, but the stampede it has sparked is getting more violent, and irrational, by the day.

2013-11-25 Unless the Fed Goes Cold Turkey on Us, Expect a Bountiful Economic Harvest for Thanksgiving 2014 by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

If your Thanksgiving family dinner conversation is anything like mine this Thursday, it will be dominated by a discussion of how the U.S. economy and its financial markets will be behaving after nearly a year of Dr. Janet Yellen at the helm of the Fed. Well, I am going to give my family an advance copy of what I plan to say so that we can just concentrate on willing a Packers victory over the Lions. As a preview, I am bullish about what things will look like by Turkey Day 2014 even if Chairwoman Yellen becomes a little hawkish. (Perhaps too cute with the animal references?)

2013-11-22 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 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The world needs to do more to stimulate spending. Moderate gains are seen for U.S. holiday sales. The Federal Reserve may change its policy mix.

2013-11-22 Understanding the Rise of China by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If the sweeping economic reforms planned by Chinese leaders during the Third Plenum can be our guide, it looks to be a promising decade for global investors. Details released this week confirmed President Xi Jinping’s concerted efforts to move China toward a market-based economy that mirrors the West.

2013-11-21 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.

2013-11-20 Setting Sail on the QE Express by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

I’ve been managing money for over 25 years and rarely have I seen the level of craziness and insanity in both our politics and financial markets in the U.S. I’m frightened of this deepening manmade disaster that’s unfolding in front of us right now in both the financial markets and the economy. Too much faith is being placed in untested theories and that quantitative easing is going to cure all of our ills.

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.

2013-11-19 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 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 Chumps, Champs, and Bamboo by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

At bull market peaks, it often seems that the market is simply headed higher with no end in sight, and “buy-and-hold” appears superior to every alternative. Meanwhile, the reputation of value-conscious investors and risk-managers goes from “champ” to “chump.” Then, the bamboo tree suddenly sprouts, and the entire lag is often replaced by outperformance in less than a year. Only after the fact does the reputation of risk-managed strategies surge from “chump” to “champ.”

2013-11-16 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 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 Dressed to the Nines with Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

While paper gold is getting the cold shoulder in the West, the Love Trade buyers in the East are wrapping their arms around all the physical gold they can get their hands on.

2013-11-15 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The Federal Reserve’s policies may remain easier for longer than previously thought. What’s the best way to arrest falling labor force participation? Look for the Fed to adopt a lower unemployment target.

2013-11-12 Markets Vacillate Between Stronger Economy and Fed Accommodation by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished mostly higher last week as the S&P 500 increased 0.6%, ending higher for the fifth straight week. The return of central bank action was a primary concern. The European Central Bank (ECB) surprised investors with a 0.25% rate cut, while the debate over the Federal Reserve’s impending tapering decision continued in earnest.

2013-11-12 Taper Talk by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Taperingplease bring it on. We wanted it yesterday, or last month, or even years ago. We never thought QE helped the economy and certainly don’t think keeping it around is a good idea. It’s created uncertainty at an unprecedented level.

2013-11-12 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 Janet Yellen\'s Mission Impossible by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Most market watchers expect that Janet Yellen will grapple with two major tasks once she takes the helm at the Federal Reserve in 2014: deciding on the appropriate timing and intensity of the Fed’s quantitative easing taper strategy, and unwinding the Fed’s enormous $4 trillion balance sheet (without creating huge losses in the value of its portfolio). In reality both assignments are far more difficult than just about anyone understands or admits.

2013-11-11 A Textbook Pre-Crash Bubble by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Despite the unusually extended period of speculation as a result of faith in quantitative easing, I continue to believe that normal historical regularities will exert themselves with a vengeance over the completion of this market cycle. Importantly, the market has now re-established the most hostile overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndrome we identify.

2013-11-10 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 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 Janet Yellen\'s Mission Impossible by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Most market watchers expect that Janet Yellen will grapple with two major tasks once she takes the helm at the Federal Reserve in 2014: deciding on the appropriate timing and intensity of the Fed’s quantitative easing taper strategy, and unwinding the Fed’s enormous $4 trillion balance sheet (without creating huge losses in the value of its portfolio). In reality both assignments are far more difficult than just about anyone understands or admits.

2013-11-07 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.

2013-11-06 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.

2013-11-05 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 U.S. Financial Market Red Flags by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

The latest American Association of Individual Investors survey showed the lowest amount of pessimism about the U.S. financial markets in the past 21 months, while optimism in the survey is the highest it’s been in the past 10 months. This is a red flag because historically it’s typically a sign that investors are becoming too complacent. Call me a contrarian if you like, but when "Joe (or Jane) Donut" is excited about the economy, watch out for falling equities.

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 Bubbles in the Broth by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

As below-trend GDP growth and high unemployment continue to afflict most advanced economies, their central banks have served up an alphabet soup of unconventional monetary policy measures. But, with asset prices continuing to rise, many countries may have more helpings than they can stand.

2013-11-04 Leash the Dogma by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

It’s fascinating to hear central bankers talk about the economy, because in the span of a few seconds they can say so many things that simply aren’t supported by the evidence. For anyone planning to watch the confirmation hearings for the next Fed Chair, the evidence below is provided as something of a leash to restrain the attacking dogma.

2013-11-02 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.

2013-10-31 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 Global Economic Outlook by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The United States avoided a fiscal accident after Congress struck a deal to end the partial government shutdown and bought time to resolve differences over the federal budget. Assuming political discord will not result in another standoff, the U.S. economy is projected to show steady and stronger growth in 2014 compared with 2013.

2013-10-31 A Bit More Hawkish, All Things Considered by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Today’s statement from the Federal Reserve was almost a carbon copy of the last one in September. No changes to the pace of quantitative easing or interest rates, which is exactly as the consensus expected. The Fed made only minor changes to the text of the statement, making it slightly more hawkish in one spot and slightly more dovish in another.

2013-10-31 Fed Outlook for the Short and Longer Run by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

One of the ironies of Ben Bernanke’s tenure is that he set out with a goal to improve Fed communication while in office. Immediately after his first meeting as chairman in March 2006, Bernanke set up a subcommittee tasked with facilitating debate around communication issuesincluding inflation targeting, post-meeting statements and minutes and public speeches by individual Fed officials.

2013-10-31 The Age of Experimentation (Global Economic Outlook for Fourth Quarter 2013) by Robert Scherfke of Hartford Funds

Macroanalyst Robert Scherfke, PhD discusses the progress global economies have made since 2008 and the challenges officials face as they normalize fiscal policies.

2013-10-31 International Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices saw robust gains in September as the U.S. Federal Reserve unexpectedly refrained from reducing its bond purchase programs. In addition, the lowering of the U.S. growth forecast by the Fed lifted investor optimism that the quantitative easing is likely to be wound down at a very gradual pace.

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 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”.

2013-10-28 The Grand Superstition by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

One thing that separates humans from animals is the ability to evaluate whether there is really any actual mechanistic link between cause and effect. When we stop looking for those links, and believe that one thing causes another because “it just does” we give up the benefits of human intelligence and exchange them for the reflexive impulses of lemmings, sheep, and pigeons.

2013-10-26 A Code Red World by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The heart of this week’s letter is the introduction of my just-released new book, Code Red. It is my own take (along with co-author Jonathan Tepper) on the problems that have grown out of an unrelenting assault on monetary norms by central banks around the world.

2013-10-26 Why U.S. Dollar Will Remain World\\\'s Reserve Currency, Despite Political Brinkmanship by Tatjana Michel of Charles Schwab

The U.S. dollar is not likely to lose its premier world reserve-currency status anytime soon. But continuing U.S. political brinkmanship could drive foreign countries into other currencies faster. With the market focus shifting to monetary policy and growth, we expect a Fed taper delay to give foreign currencies some time to recover.

2013-10-25 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The upcoming check-up of eurozone banks is long overdue. Quantitative easing is having little impact on U.S. bank lending. China needs to do more to stress consumption.

2013-10-25 Why Growth is Deep in the Heart of Texas by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

TIME Magazine’s cover this week features an engaging collage of the 50 states reassembled to fit within the boundaries of Texas. With a growing number of solid-paying jobs, affordable housing, and low taxes, “the Lone Star State is America’s Future,” declares economist and writer Tyler Cowen.

2013-10-25 Quarterly Review and Outlook by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

When an economy is excessively over-indebted and disinflationary factors have forced central banks to make overnight interest rates as close to zero as possible, central bank policy has repeatedly proved powerless to further move inflation or growth metrics. Four considerations suggest the Fed will continue to be unsuccessful in engineering stronger growth and higher inflation with their continuation of the current program of Large Scale Asset Purchases.

2013-10-23 Lack of Earnings of U.S. companies Scarier Than Washington Grid-lock by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

I think U.S. investors believe whatever happens in Congress, there will always be a last minute deal, which is the main reason for the recent major stock market surge on nothing more than hope. The markets, of late, have not been trading on fundamentals; they have been trading on news. This is a dangerous phenomenon, when news is bad; there is no backstop to the market. It causes volatility to surge and institutional confidence to falter.

2013-10-23 Shifting Gears: The Fed Turns from Tapering to Tempering Expectations by Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson of Hartford Funds

Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Ben Bernanke surprised markets on September 18 by announcing a continuation of the Fed’s $85 billion-per-month bond purchases and more muted expectations for economic growth and inflation. With this proverbial monkey wrench thrown into the gears of financial markets, investors are now asking how the Fed’s new course changes the investment outlook.

2013-10-23 What a Yellen Fed Could Mean for Interest Rates by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

A major question among investors after Janet Yellen’s nomination for Fed Chair is whether she will be too soft on inflation. Part of Yellen’s dovish reputation stems from a debate among the FOMC in July 1996, in which she warned the committee about the risks of pushing inflation too low. With the passage of time, however, the views Yellen expressed at that meeting now come across as very sensible. Indeed, today they would be considered uncontroversial among most economists. In reality Yellen is closer to the Fed consensus on inflation than her reputation in markets would suggest.

2013-10-23 Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

The portfolio enjoyed another index-beating month with a gain of 0.9% versus 0.6%, so improving further the long term numbers. As noted in previous Bulletins, correlations between growth and equity market returns are low. Investors remain fixated otherwise, but some confusion is reasonable given that growth in earnings per share is also slowing. Yet strong equity markets can be justified by the Free Lunch Theory.

2013-10-23 Economic & Capital Market Summary by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

It has been five years since the Financial Crisis wreaked havoc on the economy and capital markets. With equity markets trading near record highs and new issue corporate bonds coming to market regularly, the capital markets have largely recovered. However, we are concerned that the economic recovery is just an illusion that exists in spite of the efforts in Washington D.C. to kill it.

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.

2013-10-22 Bond Legend Dan Fuss on Rising Rates by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Having just celebrated his 80th birthday, Dan Fuss can claim a unique achievement ? his tenure in the fixed income markets has spanned a full market cycle, from the great bear market that began in the early 1950s through the equally great bull market that commenced in 1981. Fuss said today’s environment most closely resembles what he confronted in the late 1950s, when long-term rates were 3% and beginning their march upwards.

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 Earnings Season Hides in the Government Shadow by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Lost in all the discussion about Washington is the fact earnings season is in full swing.It is shaping up to be another interesting reporting season, on account of volatility in the markets and economy.So far, companies are beating expectations, but the broader trend is lower.

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.

2013-10-21 Closed-End Fund Review by Jeff Margolin of First Trust Advisors

The third quarter was a challenging one for many categories of the closed-end fund marketplace.

2013-10-21 Did Monetary Policy Cause the Recovery? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Much of the present faith in monetary policy derives from the belief that it was the central factor in ending the banking crisis during what is often called the Great Recession. On careful analysis, however, the clearest and most immediate event that ended the banking crisis was not monetary policy, but the abandonment of mark-to-market accounting by the Financial Accounting Standards Board on March 16, 2009, in response to Congressional pressure by the House Committee on Financial Services on March 12, 2009.

2013-10-21 Looking Past the Politics: What Does the Market Need to Grow? by Ron Sloan of Invesco Blog

As the tone of the debt ceiling negotiations in Washington wavered over the past several days, equity markets rose and fell in kind. While lawmakers were able to come to a last-minute agreement to raise the debt ceiling and end the 16-day federal government shutdown, the key to putting the markets on a solid foundation for the longer term is for corporations to generate earnings growth through increased revenues.

2013-10-18 Despite Uncertainty, the Market Still Looks Strong by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

Although it was an ugly battle, on Thursday morning October 17 President Obama signed a bill that reopened the government into January 2014 and raised the debt ceiling until early February of next year.

2013-10-18 Consumer Confidence Plunging Recession Ahead? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The stalemate in Washington continues, the government remains in partial shutdown and the debt ceiling looms on Thursday. A bipartisan deal to fund the government until January 15 and raise the debt limit until early February is working its way through the Senate and could be voted on later today or tomorrow. It is unlikely that the Senate bill will pass in the House, which is reportedly working on yet another bill (see link below) that is unlikely to pass in the Senate.

2013-10-18 High Yield Bond Outlook: A Time for Unconstrained Management by Vilis Pasts, Matthew Pasts, Isaac Braley of BTS Asset Management

Using our unconstrained approach, BTS indicators signaled a move back into High Yield bonds near the end of September.BTS Asset Management views the High Yield bond sector as exhibiting solid fundamentals. Based on historical comparisons, High Yields have strong cash flow coverage for interest payments, due to conservative use of leverage. Post 2008, companies hired less people and have kept other fixed costs down.

2013-10-18 Trying to 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 Weekly Economic Commentary by Christopher Molumphy of Northern Trust

Closing the books on the U.S. budget... for now; Do we need a debt ceiling?; Study of financial market function earns the Nobel Prize.

2013-10-17 Politics Secondary to US Equity Fundamentals by Grant Bowers of Franklin Templeton

It’s easy to get caught up in the tense drama surrounding the government shutdown and the debt ceiling squabble between Congressional Republicans and Democrats, but Grant Bowers, portfolio manager of Franklin Growth Opportunities Fund, maintains that looking beyond the political posturing and focusing instead on US corporate fundamentals is his preferred approach. Read on for more from Bowers on how he views the issues at hand, and why, even in the face of another political showdown in the Capitol, he thinks the US still presents a strong investment case.

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 Equity Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

As we write this outlook, our political leaders once again have succeeded in holding the U.S. government budget, and by extension the financial markets and the broader economy, hostage to their respective political agendas. We believe it is important to avoid getting caught up in the drama on Capitol Hill and remain focused on the slow but continued healing taking place in the U.S. economy.

2013-10-15 Bond Market Review & Outlook by Thomas Fahey of Loomis Sayles

Flip-flopping Federal Reserve (Fed) policy defined the third quarter. Last quarter, the Fed threw the markets a curve ball by announcing possible tapering of its large-scale asset purchases beginning this year. That “taper talk” set off a mini-riot in global bond markets. Many emerging market (EM) countries, like Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa, were the biggest victims, as their bond yields rose and their currencies crashed.

2013-10-15 Equity Markets to Congress: “What, me worry?” by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

President Obama said he was willing to have discussions, though he said he wouldn’t engage in negotiations. (Comment: I guess it depends of what the meaning of "is" is.) So far, those discussions haven’t produced a deal, but at least they’ve started talking.

2013-10-14 Equity Market Review & Outlook by Richard Skaggs of Loomis Sayles

Equities generally performed well across the board in the third quarter. The S&P 500 Index’s solid 5.24% return built on strong gains from earlier in the year. The Index has returned more than 19% through September, surpassing expectations at the start of the year. Slow but steady economic growth in the US, support from the Federal Reserve (the Fed), and more recently, signs of potentially better growth in Europe and Asia have been important positive catalysts.

2013-10-14 Short Horizon, Long Horizon by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

On all evidence, we’re far more inclined to view the position of stock prices as a temporary overextension of already extreme conditions than some durable change in the workings of the financial markets.

2013-10-12 These Could be the Most Lucrative Energy Plays by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Sometimes the most attractive energy assets aren’t found in the ground. Rather, at times like today, they are listed on the stock exchange.

2013-10-12 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 Tipping the Scale Toward High Yield Bonds by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision in September to delay at least for now any reduction in its asset purchases drove U.S. Treasury rates down materially from the highs seen over the summer, easing concerns about the impact of higher rates on economic growth. Now as we start the fourth quarter, the below-investment grade investment outlook appears positive, and more positive for high yield bonds than bank loans.

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 Economic and Market Overview: Third Quarter 2013 by Team of Envestnet

The economic environment in the third quarter was one of growth, albeit at a slower pace than most economists, and the Federal Reserve (“Fed”), believe can be self-‐sustaining. The slow but steady gains the economy made were enough to buoy the stock market, but likely only because the Fed has seen it necessary to maintain its aggressive monetary policy. While employment gains were anemic during the quarter, the unemployment rate actually declined to 7.3%, largely due to a contraction in the labor force.

2013-10-09 Little Visible Progress on the Budget Shutdown, but Some Inside Baseball In Play by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

President Obama canceled his planned visit to Asia and participation in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summitciting the inconvenience caused by the government shutdown (“the difficulty in moving forward with foreign travel in the face of a shutdown), sending John Kerry in his place, and reiterating his unwillingness to negotiate with Republicans.

2013-10-09 Fixed-Income Sector Report - High Yield and Bank Loan Outlook by Team of Guggenheim Partners

Fundamental factors underlying the corporate sector continue to underscore our constructive stance on leveraged credit, however, investors should prepare for heightened Q4 volatility amid shifting technical dynamics in the bank loan market.

2013-10-09 Emerging Values by Cliff Stanton of Envestnet

The current valuations and fundamentals in Emerging Markets make for an attractive entry point, if you can stomach the increased volatility and risk associated with the asset class.

2013-10-08 New Fed Alarm Over Shadow Banking by Miguel Perez-Santalla of BullionVault

It comes to something when every story you read in the papers makes you ask: What’s the agenda? says Miguel Perez-Santalla at BullionVault.

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.

2013-10-07 When Economic Data is Worse Than Useless by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Investors and analysts fall over themselves daily to analyze and interpret the latest data from regional Fed surveys (e.g. Philly Fed, Empire Manufacturing), purchasing managers indices (e.g. national manufacturing, national services, regional PMIs), and other economic measures (e.g. new unemployment claims, average weekly hours). The problem is that virtually all of these measures have become not only uncorrelated with subsequent economic outcomes, but negatively correlated with subsequent outcomes.

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 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 Much Ado About Fed Tapering by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

In the past few months, the global markets seem to have been fixated on the US Federal Reserve’s words and actions (or lack thereof). Will the Fed wind down its longstanding quantitative easing (QE) program, and when? Will the money tap dry up, and, with it, global liquidity? In more recent days, US markets in particular have been focused on a looming government shutdown, adding a dose of uncertaintyand volatility.

2013-10-04 The Fed and Its Big Thumb by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Co.

We’ve seen what happens when prices get ahead of the economy reality. The bubbles in the dot-com’s in 2000 and the housing market in 2007 were such effects. We fear that the apparent Fed desire to continue to manipulate interest rates may engender more bubbles.

2013-10-04 Introducing the Tortoise Economy by Sam Stewart of Wasatch Funds

All things considered, large U.S. companies that operate globally appear to be particularly attractive right now. Because many of these companies are generating significant portions of their sales outside the U.S., investors are effectively getting some international exposure with what I consider to be more-quantifiable risks.

2013-10-04 The Fire Fueling Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For patient, long-term investors looking for a great portfolio diversifier, a moderate weighting in gold and gold stocks may be just the answer. And, today, when looking across the gold mining industry, you’ll find plenty of companies that have paid attractive dividends, many higher than the 5-year government yield.

2013-10-03 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 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 What's easy about Quantitative Easing? by Gene Goldman of Cetera Financial Group

Recently you may have read or heard in the news about the possibility of the Federal Reserve (Fed) “tapering” its Quantitative Easing (QE) program. The topic can be so ingrained in the news cycle that few newscasters take the time to cover the details. So we thought we’d spend a few minutes discussing the background and recent developments on the QE program, and why it matters to investors.

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 Sitting Ducks by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Stocks are a claim on a very long-term stream of future cash flows that will be distributed to shareholders over time, and P/E ratios are simply a shorthand. P/E ratios are useful only to the extent that the earnings measure being used is reasonably representative and informative about the long-term stream of cash flows what might be called a “sufficient statistic.”

2013-09-30 Fourth Quarter Outlook: A Turning Point? by Gene Goldman of Cetera Financial Group

It seems sometimes that the outlook for the global economy and the markets has been unchanged for years. Since the end of the recession, each year has commenced with forecasts that the United States economy would break out of its below-trend growth mode, only to see expectations dashed. Meanwhile, Europe has been mired in its own recession as it struggles with heavy post-crisis debt burdens. Growth has slowed in the emerging markets, ending the commodity boom of the first decade of this century.

2013-09-28 The Renminbi: Soon to Be a Reserve Currency? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Contrary to the thinking of fretful dollar skeptics, my firm belief is that the US dollar is going to become even stronger and will at some point actually deserve to be the reserve currency of choice rather than merely the prettiest girl in the ugly contest the last currency standing, so to speak. But whether the Chinese RMB will become a reserve currency is an entirely different question.

2013-09-27 Read My Lips... by Dimitri Balatsos of Tesseract Partners

Chairman Ben Bernanke’s press conference this week, commenting on the decision by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) not to “taper,” reminded us of the famous slogan of Presidential hopeful George H.W. Bush at the 1988 Republican National Convention “Read my lips: no new taxes.” Yet, after he won the election, he raised taxes in an effort to reduce the public deficit.

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 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 How to Profit from a Changing China by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We believe China’s rebalancing is positive for investors who selectively invest in its stocks. As Jim O’Neill puts it, “When a country is embarking on a significant compositional change to its economy, stock-pickers rather than index-trackers have the upper hand.”

2013-09-27 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.9, up from last week’s 132.3 (revised down from 132.4). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 4.9% from last week’s 4.5%.

2013-09-27 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 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for Europe: Near-Term Recovery, Long-Term Risks by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

While Europe has emerged out of recession, the relative tightness of monetary policy means the eurozone is still struggling to get back to potential pre-Lehman growth rates. The European Central Bank should be able to maintain stability over the cyclical horizon while policymakers continue to address outstanding issues as they look to build a less vulnerable monetary union. We are selective in our approach to regional credit and remain neutral on the euro, balancing our cyclical outlook with longer-term secular concerns on the eurozone outlook and valuations.

2013-09-25 Bernanke's Temporary Reprieve by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

There is no nice way to state this opinion: the end of Quantitative Easing and the ultimate allowance of the open market to set interest rates will create a grueling multi-decade bear market in US bond investments. Higher rates mean the re-pricing of existing bond instruments to lower prices and the principle risk of longer-dated maturities getting exposed. In 1983, I remember people losing approximately 15% of their market value in one year as Treasury interest rates rose from 11% to 14%, temporarily crushing owners of 25-year tax-free unit trusts.

2013-09-25 Surprise... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Clearly, the numbers didn’t meet the Fed’s preconditions for tapering. And while the jobless rate has fallen to 7.3% (from 8.1% when QE3, the current round of quantitative easing began), Bernanke had to acknowledge what’s been obvious to all. The decline in the jobless rate hasn’t occurred just because more folks are getting jobs; it’s because many are dropping out of the workforce, which means they’re not counted as unemployed by the government.

2013-09-25 Muni Market Resurgent by Andrew Clinton of Clinton Investment Management

In light of the recent recovery in fixed income markets and the outperformance of the municipal bond market in particular, I thought I would send a note to provide a brief update since we last sent our market observations in July and August. As you may recall, we stated in the clearest terms that we felt the recent rise in interest rates provided an attractive entry point for municipal bond investors.

2013-09-25 Staff Toilets Not Working (A Gold Market Commentary) by Miguel Perez-Santalla of BullionVault

Picture of me 7For BullionVault I am the only employee outside of head office. But I am still on the all staff email. For which I am very grateful. I get to hear all the comings and goings of the employees as they often bring back treats from the different destinations where they have been on their vacations. I plan myself to bring something special to them when I go to London in December.

2013-09-25 Occupy QE by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

The Occupy Wall Street movement began two years ago this month, galvanizing attention to income and wealth inequality in the US and around the world. But, if anything, economic inequality has deepened since then and, lost in the angst over inequality, is the critical role that central banks have played in exacerbating the problem.

2013-09-24 Michael Aronstein’s Warning to Fund Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Fixed-income investors may think rising interest rates are their biggest worry. But bond funds face a new risk, driven by their need for liquidity to service investors’ daily redemptions, according to Michael Aronstein.

2013-09-24 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 Has the Fed Lost Its Credibility? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Any economics student will tell you central banks must achieve three things to effectively implement monetary policy: (1) independence; (2) credibility; and (3) transparency.For most of the Fed’s history, the first two characteristics were arguably well attained.However, the group was never well known for clarity into its thinking.

2013-09-24 The U.S. Economy: Poised for Growth? by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

The Federal Reserve decided to delay the beginning of the end of quantitative easing (QE). The markets were very surprised by this as nearly all Fed watchers were expecting at least a small reduction in QE. In explaining its course of action, the Fed cited economic conditions that are currently too weak and/or fragile to begin removing QE. Ironically, the bond and stock markets rallied on this news.

2013-09-23 Seeking Global Growth: Our Outlook for Credit by James Balfour of Loomis Sayles

Global business and credit cycles are nothing new to investors. The familiar sequence of recession, recovery, expansion and slowdown plays out over time, influencing interest rates, credit availability, business climate and capital markets. It’s a time-honored process, but in practice, no two business and credit cycle pairings are exactly alike. Business and credit cycles tend to be driven by specific but varying factors that accumulate until an economic “tipping point” is reached, after which the business and credit climates deteriorate.

2013-09-23 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 Psychological Ether by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In my view, the problem with quantitative easing is that its entire effect relies on provoking risk-taking by those who would otherwise choose not to do so; that the FOMC has extended and amplified financial market distortions without regard to the rich valuations and dismal prospective returns that financial assets are most likely priced to achieve; and that this distortion of financial asset prices has precious little to do with the presumptive goal of Fed policy, which is greater job creation and economic activity.

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

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.4, to one decimal place unchanged from last week’s 132.4 (revised down from 132.3). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 4.5% from last week’s 4.3%.

2013-09-21 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 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.

2013-09-19 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.

2013-09-18 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 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.

2013-09-17 Charles de Vaulx: “We Have Never Been as Cautiously Positioned” by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Charles de Vaulx is the chief investment officer and a portfolio manager at International Value Advisers. In this interview, he discusses his outlook for the market and the economy, and why his fund has never been as cautiously positioned as it is today.

2013-09-17 Gundlach ? Where to Expect the Next Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Unless there is a crisis, don’t expect a major decline in interest rates, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. And if such a crisis occurs, Gundlach warned, it will most likely take place in this emerging market.

2013-09-16 FOMC Preview: Taper Likely To Be Deferred or Minimal by Team of Northern Trust

Market participants have been working overtime to refine their expectations of what the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) might do at its meeting next week. Many are calling for a cut in the Fed’s pace of asset purchases from the current level of $85 billion per month.

2013-09-16 Russia is Tough to Love, Easier to Hate, Hard for Investors to Ignore. Here\'s Why by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Russian President Vladimir Putin created a stir recently when he shared his thoughts with Americans in an op-ed printed in The New York Times. According to The Times, very few pieces written by heads of state have been published by the paper and very few received the attention Putin attracted.

2013-09-16 Baby Steps by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Our view is that the Federal Reserve will taper its program of quantitative easing this week, in the range of a $10-15 billion reduction in the pace of monthly debt purchases. The Fed really has no “communication problem” about this the economic impact of further quantitative easing has had diminishing returns, and the economic drag from fiscal reductions has thus far been smaller than the Fed feared when it justified QEternity on the basis of those concerns last year.

2013-09-16 Opportunities in Uncertainty by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Uncertainty and volatility are elevated, which we believe provides opportunities for investors.

2013-09-13 Pacific Basin Market Overview August 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Asian equity markets ended lower in August, chiefly due to concerns about currency weakness in India and Indonesia, while improved macroeconomic data from China contributed to this market’s outperformance. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan fell by 1.3% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 0.71% lower during the month. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)

2013-09-13 What's Developing in Emerging Markets by Gene Goldman of Cetera Financial Group

Despite strong returns in United States equity markets, a different story has played out in the emerging markets. The MSCI Emerging Market Index, a proxy for emerging market equity returns, has fallen 9.94 percent year-to-date through Aug. 31, 2013. In contrast, the S&P 500, a proxy for U.S. equity markets, has risen 16.15 percent over that same span.

2013-09-13 What's Happening to Bonds and Why? by Mohamed El-Erian of PIMCO

To say that bonds are under pressure would be an understatement. Over the last few months, sentiment about fixed income has flipped dramatically: from a favored investment destination that is deemed to benefit from exceptional support from central banks, to an asset class experiencing large outflows, negative returns and reduced standing as an anchor of a well-diversified asset allocation.

2013-09-13 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.3, an increase from last week’s 131.5. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 4.1% from last week’s 3.9%.... At this point the company is still featuring a commentary posted at the end of July, Becoming Japan, which highlights the decline in GDP growth for Japan and seven other major economies, including the US.

2013-09-13 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?

2013-09-12 The Best Time to Own Cash: No Return is Better than a Negative Return by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest essay, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, writes about "the best time for an investor to own cash," which somewhat counter-intuitively, he believes is when that cash pays nothing.

2013-09-12 Rates Update: Rationale for the Continuing Sell-off and Distinctions between 1994 & 2003 by Brian Smith of TCW Asset Management

The bond market continues to struggle to find support, with 10-year Treasury yields touching 3%, a sell-off of roughly 140 bps in the last 4 months! While reduced dealer risk capacity and impaired investor loss tolerances are two underlying factors contributing to recent rates volatility, this violent move to higher yields has been primarily led by expectations that the Fed will begin to taper asset purchases in their upcoming meeting on September 18th.

2013-09-12 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 Brave New World by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms of ING Investment Management

If the monotony of high school lulled you into a catatonic state the semester you were supposed to read Brave New World, here’s the CliffsNotes summary of what you missed. Aldous Huxley imagined a futuristic utopia in which the government promotes economic and emotional stability through the plentiful use of a soporific opiate called “soma”. Soma allows the mind to take a holiday from worldly problems via a gram, or two or three. Imagine the chaos into which this fictional world would descend were the government to abandon its role as pharmacist to the masses.

2013-09-12 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.

2013-09-10 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 Some Scary Bumps in the Road Just Ahead by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The major stock indexes moved lower after setting new record highs in early August, although prices have recovered somewhat in the last few days. So was the weakness in August just an overdue correction before moving even higher? Maybe, but there are a number of things coming up in the next month or so that could rattle the markets even more, including whether or not we go to war with Syria. We’ll talk about those today.

2013-09-09 Get Ready for “Taper Lite”: 3 Signs the Labor Market Isn't Picking Up by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While the overall US economy is healing, the labor market’s recovery continues to be frustratingly slow. Friday’s payroll report suggests investors should prepare for a less aggressive Fed, a more muted backup in interest rates and a bond market that can go up as well as down.

2013-09-09 The Lesson of the Coming Decade by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Even if the S&P 500 Index goes nowhere over the coming decade - as historically reliable measures of valuation suggest - it will probably go nowhere in an interesting and volatile way, providing better value and opportunities that are well-supported by historical evidence. The challenge will be to maintain discipline even when frustration begs investors to abandon it.

2013-09-09 The Shape of Things to Come by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

With a week to go before the September FOMC meeting, there’s little that stands in the way of Fed tapering. Friday’s jobs report didn’t impress but it probably wasn’t bad enough to stop central bankers from pulling some punch, writes Kristina Hooper.

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.

2013-09-06 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 Markets Focused on the Wrong Target by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

In recent months economic commentators and financial markets have focused almost excessively on the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing ("QE") policy as the market’s main driver. However, last month two senior economists at the Federal Reserve published a report entitled ’How Stimulating Are Large-Scale Asset Purchases’ which calls this devotion into question.

2013-09-06 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Last year ECRI switched focus to their version of the Big Four Economic Indicators that I routinely track. But when those failed last summer to "roll over" collectively (as ECRI claimed was happening), the company published a new set of indicators to support their recession call in a commentary entitled The U.S. Business Cycle in the Context of the Yo-Yo Years (PDF format). Subsequently the company took a new approach to its recession call in a publicly available commentary on the ECRI website: What Wealth Effect?.

2013-09-06 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.

2013-09-06 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Manufacturing surveys are upbeat, but should we trust them? The August employment report leaves lots of room for improvement.

2013-09-06 Will Gold Follow Its Seasonal Pattern This Year? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

There are factors beyond Syria this week driving gold. That’s the Love Trade. This group gives gold as gifts for loved ones during important holidays and festivals. This is the time of the year that we are in the midst of right now. Historically, September has been gold’s best month of the year. Looking at more than four decades of monthly returns, the precious metal has seen its biggest increase this month, averaging 2.3 percent.

2013-09-05 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 Off to the Races by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

Summer is traditionally a slow season for precious metals, but this summer started with a rout. In the last week of June, gold and silver hit 2-year lows of $1,192 and $18.61 respectively. Fortunately, after staggering along the lows, the precious metals are off to the races once more - with gold rallying more than 18% and silver 31%. This remarkable performance continues even in the face of the Fed’s sustained tapering threats.

2013-09-03 The Hidden Risk in Gold by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Since their introduction a little over a decade ago, gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have accumulated more than $500 billion in assets. Investors’ most common rationale for owning gold is that it acts as a hedge against financial instability or a sudden shock to the markets, such as the 9/11 attacks. But what if the flow of assets into gold ETFs plays a greater role in the price of gold than do investors’ fears of instability? Is gold the hedge investors believe it to be?

2013-09-03 Autumn's Known Unknowns by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

During the height of the Iraq war, then-US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld spoke of “known unknowns” foreseeable risks whose realization is uncertain. Today, the global economy is facing many known unknowns, most of which stem from policy uncertainty.

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 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Global policy-makers increasingly at odds with one another. Foreign exchange reserves may hold key to stabilizing emerging markets. Geopolitics weigh heavily on energy markets.

2013-08-30 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.3, an increase from last week’s 131.0 (revised from 131.1). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) declined to 4.2% from last week’s 4.5%.

2013-08-30 An American Energy Revolution by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In Texas these days, there’s a feeling of absolute and unwavering confidence in the concept of an American energy revolution. From the depths of reserves to the richness of the energy, an incredible transformation is taking place.

2013-08-29 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.

2013-08-28 ING Fixed Income Perspectives August 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

While it’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, some pictures are just not that complicated. Take the current U.S. yield curve, for example, our interpretation of which can be boiled down to just a handful of syllables: “zero interest rate policy” and “taper”.

2013-08-27 Will Rate Rise Derail Housing Recovery? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

As the Federal Reserve grapples with when and how to unwind quantitative easing, interest rates climbed more than a point since the end of 2012. This caused mortgage rates to increase to their highest levels in two years last week, with the average conforming 30-year loan jumping to 4.58% from 4.40% the week prior. Rising financing costs is presenting a headwind for one of the biggest bright spots in the US economy over the past 12 months.

2013-08-27 Policy Uncertainty on the Rise by Libby Cantrill, Josh Thimons of PIMCO

Congress seems to be digging in and ramping up the rhetoric in advance of a possible government shutdown, a debt ceiling increase and a probable selection of a new Fed chair. We think it is likely policymakers will agree to a short-term deal to fund the government and avert a shutdown, and also cobble together a resolution on the debt ceiling, although neither is likely until the last minute. The Fed chair debate will likely continue to sway markets over the next few months, leading to greater uncertainty and greater market volatility.

2013-08-26 Summers For Fed Chair by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

In the next month or two, President Obama will pick someone to succeed Ben Bernanke at the Federal Reserve. At this point, we think the odds-on favorite is Larry Summers.

2013-08-26 Equities Relatively Flat as Crosscurrents Remain by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished mostly higher last week, and the S&P 500 advanced 0.50%.1 The Dow Jones Industrial Average was the only the only major U.S. index to falter last week.1 Market sentiment was dominated by the notion that the market had become too bearish in the wake of the prior week’s sell-off in equities and credit. Continued improvement in global recovery sentiment seemed to provide a notable tailwind. The Fed dominated headlines markets appear obsessed with policy normalization and succession issues.

2013-08-26 The Outlook Will Shift as Conditions Shift by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Though I expect that the present cycle will be completed by a market loss on the order of 40-55%, conditions can certainly emerge over the course of this cycle that could warrant a more constructive stance than we have presently, though possibly less extended than we’d like. The most likely constructive opportunity would emerge from a moderate retreat in market valuations, ideally to “oversold” conditions from an intermediate-term perspective, coupled with an early firming in measures of market internals.

2013-08-26 The Global QE Exit Crisis by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

The global economy could be in the early stages of another crisis and, once again, the Federal Reserve is in the eye of the storm. As the Fed attempts to exit from its unprecedented policy of massive purchases of long-term assets, many high-flying emerging economies suddenly find themselves in a vise.

2013-08-24 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.1, a decline from last week’s 131.2. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) declined to 4.5 from last week’s 4.7%.

2013-08-24 Revisiting the USD Bull Market by Paresh Upadhyaya of Pioneer Investments

The USD bull market has begun with signs that the USD is transitioning to a cyclical currency. Monetary policy divergences in G4, slowing in USD diversification and a dramatic turnaround in the twin deficits, provide a strong fundamental underpinning to a USD rally going forward.

2013-08-23 Is Asian Turbulence a Win for China? by Anthony Chan of AllianceBernstein

While this week’s sell-off in Asian currency and bond markets does not, as yet, amount to a crisis in our view, it is obviously cause for concern. At this stage, we think two outcomes are likely: one is that central banks and supranational funding agencies will work together to avert a full-blown crisis; the other is that China will emerge with its power and prestige as a regional financial powerhouse considerably enhanced.

2013-08-23 5 China Charts That Look Bullish for Commodities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Over the past few months, investors have seen better economic data coming out of Europe. Consumer confidence in the continent has been rising, manufacturing data is improving and the fiscal situation is on the mend. Now, China appears to be strengthening as well, which could signal better times ahead. Below are five charts that look bullish for China and commodities. While not meant to be comprehensive, they do point to areas where investors might want to pay close attention.

2013-08-23 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

India: Broken promise or temporary hiccup? Bond markets appear unmoved by central bank guidance. Rising mortgage rates are taking some of the steam out of housing.

2013-08-23 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 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 Big Secret Mutual Fund Companies Are Hiding by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Do you know that most (if not all) mutual fund and ETF sponsors are keeping vital information about their funds secret from you? We’ll start today’s E-Letter with a discussion about what that valuable information is and why fund companies don’t want you to know about it.

2013-08-20 Who Are You Going to Believe-These Non-GAAP Numbers or Your Lying Eyes? by Jeffrey Bronchick of Cove Street Capital

Great performance in the short-run-either absolute or relative-is a mixed blessing. If an investor owns a portfolio of stocks that is embedding 30% undervaluation, and voila, finds himself up 30% (this is a hypothetical number for the purposes of this example but it’s not far from recent reality) in six months, without a concurrent upward improvement in underlying fundamentals, you have to be a regular on CNBC to expect another 30% return over the next six months.

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.

2013-08-19 A Bear Market Is Here: In Bonds! by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

While it certainly hasn’t made the headlines that it should have, the bond market has been kicked in the teeth. After bottoming at 1.61% on May 1, the yield on the 10-year Treasury Note hit 2.84% on Friday, its highest level in two years the worst bear market move in bonds since the end of the 2008-09 financial panic.

2013-08-19 A Warning Regarding Broken Speculative Peaks by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

We presently observe what might best be called a “broken speculative peak” a strenuously overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising yield syndrome followed by a breakdown in market internals.

2013-08-16 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 What Happens When You Tell Indians to Stop Buying Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

With the government in India raising its import tax for gold to 10 percent this week, I firmly believe Indians will continue indulging in gold, even if they have to smuggle it in.

2013-08-16 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.2, a decline from last week’s 131.5 (a downward revision from 131.8). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) declined to 4.7 from last week’s 4.9%.

2013-08-14 What Role for Emerging Markets After the Sell-Off? by Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

While history suggests that the sell-off in emerging market bonds could ultimately offer attractive buying opportunities, it is important to anchor investment decisions firmly within a forward-looking economic and market outlook. Continuing vulnerabilities in global growth suggest there is fundamental value in EM bond yields at present valuations, as interest rate hikes priced into EM yield curves are unlikely to materialize in an environment of tentative growth.

2013-08-13 Quantitative Easing for Regular Folks: Three Lessons from the New York Times by Susan Weiner (Article)

Quantitative easing pops up regularly in economic and market commentary. The term conveys a lot to financial professionals who know the fine points of QE1 vs. QE3. However, it’s likely to make the average investor ask, “Huh?”

2013-08-12 Quantitative Easing: Is it Working? by Mark Ungewitter of Charter Trust Company

In September 2012, the FOMC announced a third round of quantitative easing intended to reduce long-term interest rates. Since then, the New York Fed has purchased about $700 billion of mortgage-backed securities. But a funny thing happened on the way to lower interest rates. During the “QE3” period, the benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield has risen by a full percentage point. The targeted 30-year mortgage rate has also risen by about 100bps.

2013-08-12 Understanding Quality: The Crux of Long-Term Investing by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

While some experts believe that small-cap valuations are currently stretched, we see ample opportunities in what we think are high-quality smaller companies.

2013-08-12 Fight Over the Fed: Why So Ugly? by Michelle Shwarzman of Invesco Blog

When President Barack Obama let it slip in a June interview that Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Ben Bernanke had “already stayed a lot longer than he wanted or he was supposed to,” the quest for the next Fed chair was underway. But few anticipated it would devolve into a fairly brutal brawl - by economist standards - between two extremely competent and capable PhD candidates: Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who also served as Harvard’s president and chief White House economic advisor.

2013-08-12 Extreme Brevity of the Financial Memory by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The period of generally rich valuations since the late-1990’s (associated with overall market returns hardly better than Treasury bill returns since then) has created a tolerance for valuations that, in fact, have led to awful declines, and have required fresh recoveries to elevated valuations simply to provide meager peak-to-peak returns.

2013-08-12 The Key Economic and Market Forces Guiding Equity Markets by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

This week we want to address important themes that underline our continued cautious optimism for a slowly improving global economy and signs of revenue and earnings growth momentum.

2013-08-12 Lower Your Expectations for Future Return by Cory Fulton of Mesirow Financial Wealth Management

While equities are not priced particularly well and the current environment does not bode well for future long-term expected real returns, they are currently a better choice for investors relative to the alternative. Right now, any meaningful shifts in one direction or the other could be setting the investor up for additional disappointment. At this stage in the game, equities look to offer better prospects in the long-term. However, the time is not right to abandon your long-term investment plan in the face of the positive market headlines and lofty predictions emanating from Wall Street.

2013-08-10 We Can't Take the Chance by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

What would it have been like to be a central banker in the midst of the crisis in 2008-09? You’d know that you won’t have the luxury of going back and making better decisions five years later. Instead, you have to act on the torrent of information that’s coming at you, and none of it is good. Major banks are literally collapsing, the interbank market is nonexistent and there is panic in the air. Perhaps you feel that panic in the pit of your stomach. This week we’ll perform a little thought experiment to see if we can extrapolate what is likely to happen in when the nex

2013-08-09 A Generational Selling Opportunity for the U.S. Long Bond by Jim O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

Because investors tend to extrapolate what their general experience in markets has been recently well into the future, it’s easy to see why investors are having a long-term love affair with bonds. Yet the data in this paper suggests that a crisis in long bonds is coming and, given this information, individual and institutional investors alike should reconsider the bond portion of their portfolios.

2013-08-09 The Half Full Economy by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The marginal economic strength that was described in the most recent GDP release from Washington has caused many to double down on their belief that the Fed will begin tapering QE sometime later this year. While I believe that is a fantasy given our economy’s extreme dependence on QE, market observers should have learned long ago that the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) initial GDP estimates can’t be trusted. A perusal of their subsequent GDP revisions in the last five years reveals a clear trend: They are almost twice as likely to revise initial estimates down rather than up.

2013-08-09 A Surprising Way to Play a Europe Rally by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After a lengthy period of stagnant growth and lackluster results, the gradual crescendo of improving economic data that’s been coming out of Europe lately certainly commands attention.

2013-08-09 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.8, essentially unchanged from last week’s 131.7 (a downward revision from 131.8). At the end of July the company posted a new commentary, Becoming Japan, which highlights the decline in GDP growth for Japan and seven other major economies, including the US. Also this week ECRI’s Lakshman Achuthan defended his company’s recession call on Bloomberg TV.

2013-08-08 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 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.

2013-08-07 Who has the Edge in Race to Head the Fed? by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

One of the most common mistakes policy analysts make is what I like to call normative bias’allowing personal opinions to affect perceived odds of certain outcomes. Saying “The Fed is unlikely to introduce quantitative easing because it would lead to high inflation” is an example of normative bias. Fed officials do not think quantitative easing (QE) leads to high inflation, and whether you think it does has no bearing on the probability. Personal perceptions are irrelevant for policy analysisthe only things that matter are the perceptions of the decision maker.

2013-08-06 Low Quality Jobs Recovery Continues in July by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

In a busy week of economic data, investors ended the week on a mixed note.The government jobs report revealed a labor market experiencing steady if not unspectacular growth, as nonfarm payrolls came in below consensus estimates while the unemployment rate surprised to the upside.

2013-08-05 Two Charts Illustrate How to “Follow the Money” by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Too often investors get caught up in their political allegiance or parties, focus on the negative and lose confidence in stocks. As a result, they can miss great bull markets. I believe when it comes to finding investment opportunities, it’s not about the political party, it’s about the policies, both monetary and fiscal.

2013-08-05 The Minsky Bubble by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In his classic treatise on speculation, Manias, Panics and Crashes (originally published in 1978), the late Charles Kindleberger laid out a pattern of events that has periodically occurred in financial markets throughout history. Drawing on the work of economist Hyman Minsky, the conditions he described are likely far more relevant at the present moment than investors may recognize.

2013-08-02 Fed Shows Its Dovish Side by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Federal Reserve made several small changes to the text of its statement, which, combined, suggest a slightly more dovish posture at this meeting than at the last one in June.

2013-08-02 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 QE Why $85 Billion per Month? Why Not $170 or $42 -1/2 Billion? by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

Am I the only one who wondered how the Federal Reserve arrived at a figure of $85 billion as the amount of longer-maturity securities it planned to purchase per month in its third round of quantitative easing (QE)? Why not double that amount? Why not half that amount? How will the Fed know when it is time to “taper” its securities purchases? How will the Fed know by how much to taper? Inquiring minds want to know.

2013-08-01 Is It Time for the Fed to Wind Down the Economic Stimulus? by Team of Knowledge@Wharton

Is it time for the Federal Reserve to start tapering down the "quantitative easing" bond-buying program that has helped stimulate the U.S. economy since the financial crisis of 2008? Views are mixed. Several experts, say yes, it’s time. Others worry it could be too soon.

2013-08-01 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 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 Still High Time for High Yield? by Team of Rainier Funds

Given recent strong performance and yields hovering at historic lows, a current topic of debate has been whether the high yield bond market has become an asset bubble and how much of a risk is the potential end to the Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy to high yield investors. While we at Rainier acknowledge there are current risks in the fixed income market, we believe these concerns are not unique to high yield bonds.

2013-07-30 The Power of Diversification and Safe Withdrawal Rates by Geoff Considine (Article)

When Bill Bengen published his seminal research in 1994, a 4% safe withdrawal rate (SWR) was clearly attainable with a variety of asset allocations. But bond yields are lower now than they were then, and equity returns for the next 20 years are unlikely to exceed those of the prior two decades. Indeed, a new paper by three highly respected researchers showed that SWRs for stock-bond portfolios are well below 4%. But as I will demonstrate, a 4% SWR is still possible with a more diversified portfolio ? and without subjecting clients to additional risk.

2013-07-30 Earnings Take a Back Seat to Policy by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Although it was a quiet week on the economic front, there were a few notable indicators to digest.

2013-07-30 Economic & Capital Market Summary by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

We are approaching the five year anniversary of the beginning of the Financial Crisis. By this time in 2008 we had already experienced the complete seizure of the Auction Rate Preferred securities market and the takeover of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan Chase. In August of 2008, we would see the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the government takeover of AIG. We stand here today, shoulders slumped, and heads bowed mourning the lack of real progress in addressing the structural problems that are impeding sustained economic growth and private credit expansion.

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 ING Fixed Income Perspectives July 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

We are constructive on interest rate risks in many developed and emerging economies as global central banks reinforce accommodative monetary policy. We favor the U.S. dollar versus the Japanese yen, the Euro and other developed market currencies. Credit spreads should narrow from current levels as the markets gain confidence and the Treasury market stabilizes. preads offer more than adequate compensation for likely credit losses and a further rise in interest rates. Spreads have been pressured to pre-QE3 levels and mortgages look attractive at these higher levels as prepayment speeds slow.

2013-07-29 Will a New Fed Chairman Derail the Stock Market Rally? by Kipley Lytel of Montecito Capital Management

Over the past two years, investor exuberance has poured over $150 billion into equity funds. The perception of market risk has been sharply lowered over the past years by the central bank’s supportive activities in the capital markets and the high octane fuel of near zero interest rates. Meanwhile, Bernanke’s buyback of treasury and mortgage back securities is at a pace of moving the Fed’s balance sheet to over $4 trillion.

2013-07-29 Baked in the Cake by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Once the risk premium is beaten out of stocks, there is no way out, and nothing that can be done about it. Poor subsequent returns, market losses, and the associated destruction of financial security (at least for the bag-holders) are already baked in the cake. This should have been the lesson gleaned from the period since 2000, but because it remains unlearned, it will also become the lesson of the coming decade.

2013-07-27 A Lost Generation by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week we will briefly look at why weak consumer spending is going to become an even greater problem in the coming years, and we will continue to look at some disturbing trends in employment.

2013-07-26 Is Europe Ready to Take Off? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After the U.S.’s huge run, is it possible the country will be handing off the baton across the Atlantic for the next leg of the relay race? Here are a few areas of strength that could send European stocks higher.

2013-07-26 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.3, up slightly from last week’s 130.2. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) remains unchanged at 4.5%.

2013-07-25 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 Summer Quarterly Commentary by John Prichard of Knightsbridge Asset Management

Recently the Fed indicated it may begin returning control over market pricing and interest rates to Adam Smith’s invisible hand... and borderline chaos erupted. The episode began mid-day May 22nd as Congress questioned Fed Chairman Bernanke and suddenly the cat was out of the bag and a paradigm shift ensued. Bond funds suffered some of their largest weekly redemptions on record. Rates spiked and markets swooned around the world through late June as investors assumed the worst.

2013-07-25 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 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 How Far is Gold Off Course? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Gold has been in extremely oversold territory lately despite drivers for the metal remaining in place.

2013-07-24 Stocks and Bonds Both Again Rally as Bernanke Soothes by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s congressional testimony got more headlines, but Detroit’s long-anticipated formal filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy was by far the more important development. Billions of dollars of losses will be imposed on general obligation bondholders and/or retired employees.

2013-07-24 Quarterly Review and Outlook by Van Hoisington, Lacy Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

The secular low in bond yields has yet to be recorded. This assessment for a continuing pattern of lower yields in the quarters ahead is clearly a minority view, as the recent selling of all types of bond products attest. The rise in long term yields over the last several months was accelerated by the recent Federal Reserve announcement that it would be “tapering” its purchases of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities. This has convinced many bond market participants that the low in long rates is in the past.

2013-07-24 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.

2013-07-23 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 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 Risk Communicates Signals that Something Important is at Stake by Robert Mark of Castle Investment Management

The equity markets hit new all-time highs again this past quarter. However, we believe this rally is largely due to Ben Bernanke’s policy of Quantitative Easing (QE) which presently equates to the purchase of $85 billion in U.S. government debt every month. Through the Federal Reserve’s policies our government has effectively printed trillions of dollars since the financial crisis began, arguably inflating a host of asset prices including the stock market.

2013-07-22 The Road to Easy Street by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The most important part of every studied investment discipline is the diligence to follow it even at points where it is frustrating to do so.

2013-07-22 What the *&%! Just Happened? by Ben Inker of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to GMO’s institutional clients, head of asset allocation Ben Inker highlights the period from May 22 to June 24 characterized by "the universality of the declines" across asset classes.

2013-07-22 The Purgatory of Low Returns by James Montier of GMO

This might just be the cruelest time to be an asset allocator. Normally we find ourselves in situations in which at least something is cheap; for instance when large swathes of risk assets have been expensive, safe haven assets have generally been cheap, or at least reasonable (and vice versa). This was typified by the opportunity set we witnessed in 2007.

2013-07-22 If the Fed Wants to Lower Bond Yields, Perhaps It Should Switch to QT by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

Whenever I forget to mute CNBC or Bloomberg TV, I invariably hear some wag explaining to us that the goal of the Fed’s policy of quantitative easing (QE) is to lower bond yields in order to stimulate borrowing by the nonbank public and thus, increase aggregate spending. If, in fact, the Fed’s paramount goal is to lower bond yields, then I suggest that it might want to consider quantitative tightening (QT). Why?

2013-07-19 Fixed Income Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

The question we keep asking is “Will the real Fed mandate, please stand up?” The Federal Reserve (the Fed) traditionally is charged with keeping inflation in check, but it also has a second mandate to ensure full employment. This dual mandate can occasionally create general confusion as to what is the best policy at a given time and which policy goal the Fed is trying to achieve. Today, we are at a juncture where the Fed’s mandates may not clearly align with stated future monetary actions.

2013-07-19 Print the Legend by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman tragedy has become one of those transcendent events that dominates the national discourse and throws light on dimly lit aspects of our society. Obviously, the case touches most closely on issues of race relations, media culture, and the politicization of the justice system. It also reveals how preconceived emotional commitments to a narrative can consistently trump demonstrable facts. These tendencies are also present in the polarized discussion about the persistent weakness of the U.S. economy.

2013-07-19 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The year’s first half included some big surprises. U.S. wage and salary growth sets the stage for stronger consumption. Don’t be discouraged by the most recent housing report.

2013-07-19 Challenging a Long-Held Assumption about Commodities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It is widely accepted that China spurred higher commodity prices in the past decade. And if the country was the force behind the boom, then the assumption is that China’s lower, but still healthy growth will be a drag on commodity prices. But recent research challenges this assumption.

2013-07-19 Fixed Income Fed Insight: It's All About Employment by Christopher Molumphy of Franklin Templeton Investments

We can try to guess what the Fed is thinking, but ultimately the Fed is driven by inflation and the labor markets. With inflation seemingly under control, it’s really the labor markets that dominate. So if you want to know what the Fed’s going to be doing, look at the labor markets how many jobs we create each month and, most importantly, the unemployment rate.

2013-07-19 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.2, up slightly from last week’s 130.1 (revised from 130.2). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 4.5% from 4.3% last week (revised from 4.6%).

2013-07-18 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 Second Quarter 2013 Newsletter by Steve Wenstrup, Jim Tillar of Tillar-Wenstrup

We wrote after the strong first quarter to expect volatility to increase with stocks remaining the preferred asset class and that is largely what happened in the second quarter. Almost all risk assets wobbled after the Federal Reserve (Fed) hinted at a possible tapering of quantitative easing later this year. Regardless, most domestic stocks did well in the quarter.

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 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 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.

2013-07-15 Don\'t Forget About Earnings by John Petrides (Article)

Earnings season is upon us! Investors can finally focus on what really matters in driving stock prices...earnings growth.

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.

2013-07-15 Rock-A-Bye Baby by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

I’ve always thought that singing “Rock-a-bye baby” offers a bizarre lesson to our young, encouraging them to be lulled gently to sleep by describing a scene that should have them wide-eyed with terror.

2013-07-12 The Fed's Circular Mess by Adam Thurgood of HighTower Advisors

Market volatility is back. The Fed put the end of QE in play, and as a result, big moves in risk assets have become the norm. The market’s reaction over the past several weeks has brought a disturbing question to the surfacehow is the Fed really going to get out of the mess it has put itself in?

2013-07-12 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 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

ECRI posts its proprietary indicators on a one-week delayed basis to the general public, but last year the company switched its focus to a version of the Big Four Economic Indicators I’ve been tracking for the past year. In recent months, however, those indicators have slipped below the fold, replaced by the mixed bag of whatever Indicator du Jour might look recessionary, as in the "Yo-Yo Years" commentary.

2013-07-12 Making Sense of the Bond Market by Phelps McIlvaine of Saturna Capital

The great challenge for investors and advisers today is to forecast where interest rates and bond prices will be once the influence of radical central bank intervention dissipates. Measures of inflation expectations are declining, and deflation remains the dominant influence on interest rates. In assessing whether to trim bond allocations, it is important to revisit the reasons for selecting a particular asset allocation before modifying or abandoning it.

2013-07-12 Commodities 2013 Halftime Report: A Time to Mine for Opportunity? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

It was a challenging first half of the year for most commodities, with only two resources we track on our Periodic Table of Commodities Returns rising in value. Natural gas and oil rose 6.5 percent and 5 percent, respectively, while silver lost a third of its value and gold lost a quarter of its price from the beginning of the year.

2013-07-12 Calming Downand Changing Focus by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Markets are calming and investors seem to be focusing on fundamentals againa nice change from recent history. The bar is relatively low for earnings season but focus will be on the commentary surrounding releases. We believe more sideways movement in both US equities and Treasury yields could prevail over the next couple of months, with summer months muting action; but remain optimistic about stocks longer-term. Likewise, Japan could tread water until new elections are held, but we believe the eurozone provides opportunities that should be looked into at the expense of investments in China.

2013-07-11 The Capital Flight from Safety: It is Not About Tapering it is About Growth by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

Since Ben Bernanke’s comments seemed to unleash the bond vigilantes on June 19, we have seen a reversal in money flows that have used the U.S. Treasury market and the gold market as a “flight to safety trade.”

2013-07-11 Pacific Basin Market Overview June 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Equity markets in Asia ended generally lower in the second quarter of 2013 due to concerns over the U.S. Federal Reserve’s apparent shift towards a more balanced monetary policy stance following Chairman Bernanke’s statements suggesting a “tapering” of its asset purchase program.

2013-07-11 The Taper by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

If SNL’s Emily Litella worked on Wall Street, she’d probably be asking “What’s all this hubbub about the Fed’s tapir? After all, it’s a fine animal that never hurt anyone on Wall Street.” It would then be pointed out to her that the word was “taper” and not “tapir”. She would politely end her commentary with her famous “Never mind.”

2013-07-11 Prepare for the 1-2 Punch of Declining Earnings and Multiple Contraction by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

The market today is counting on continued earnings growth driven in large part by ongoing quantitative easing without inflationary consequences. In a recent strategy letter, we show that the market’s expectation for future earnings growth is overly optimistic based on the fact that earnings are currently more than 40% above the long-term trend and mean-reversion and history suggests that real earnings are likely to decline over the next 5 years.

2013-07-10 Rising Rate: Challenge and Opportunity by Gibson Smith, Lindsay Bernum of Janus Capital Group

While the prospect of rising interest rates generally strikes fear into the hearts of fixed income investors, it’s important to remember that periods of rising rates are normal and can create opportunities for active bond managers. Since 1970 there have been 21 periods in which interest rates rose significantly. While each has had its own unique characteristics, over the past 20 years equities have rallied during these periods, which has tended to support corporate credit markets.

2013-07-10 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.

2013-07-09 U.S. Stocks Continue to Dominate ? What’s Next? by Ron Surz (Article)

U.S. stocks earned 2.5% in the second quarter, bringing the year-to-date return up to a lofty 14%. By contrast, the EAFE index lost 1% in the quarter, bringing its year-to-date return down to 4%. In fact, as shown in the following graph, no other asset class comes even close to the return on U.S. stocks so far this year.

2013-07-09 The Fed\'s Bind: Tapering, Timetables and Turmoil by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

There are striking parallels between the dramatic recent sell-off in U.S. Treasuries and the Great Bond Crash of 1994. But the summer of volatility now facing financial markets is no doomsday scenario. Instead, it puts the U.S. Federal Reserve in a bind. Higher interest rates will reduce housing affordability, which is especially troublesome since housing is the primary locomotive of U.S. economic growth.

2013-07-08 Deflationary Boom? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Taken together, the financial markets have priced a wide range of assets on the assumption that the U.S. is on the verge of a deflationary boom. Most likely, part of this scenario is wrong.

2013-07-05 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The odds of a September tapering have increased but are conditional on labor market conditions continuing to evolve at least as favorably as viewed at the present time. The important caveat is that the Fed’s forward guidance has stressed the importance of improvements in the “outlook” of the labor market and inflation to consider tapering, which implies that economic data between now and the September FOMC meeting will play an important role in the timing of tapering of asset purchases.

2013-07-05 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 130.4, down slightly from last week’s 130.6. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) fell to 5.3% from 5.8% last week.

2013-07-05 The Asian Giant Stampeding into Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In this environment, gold should remain attractive. However, as the West flees the precious metal, another set of gold buyers has come forward with the aim to preserve wealth. Take a look at the chart below which shows total gold production compared to the gold deliveries on the COMEX and the Shanghai Gold Exchange.

2013-07-03 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 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

Last month was the first down month for the market this year. The next few weeks ought to be interesting, we have the monthly jobs number on July 5th when most people are probably on vacation and then corporate earnings start in two weeks. No telling at this point about whether the market will want good news or more of the Goldilocks, not to hot, not too cold, news that could keep Quantitative Easing going. Going forward investors will continue to analyze anything the Fed says for clues.

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 Why a Normalized Yield Environment Marks the Return of Capitalism by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

While market sentiment over the past few years has shifted between confidence and fear, the quality companies that we covetand never abandonedhave been relatively ignored. Portfolio Manager Francis Gannon suspects that, although a shift back to a more normalized environment will mean continued volatility, the landscape will be more favorable for active managers.

2013-07-02 Gundlach’s One-Word Explanation for June’s Decline by Robert Huebscher (Article)

According to Doubleline’s Jeffrey Gundlach, a single word explains the declines global capital markets experienced in June.

2013-07-02 Recent Volatility ? Noise, not Signal by Keith C. Goddard, CFA (Article)

This spasm of volatility is a normal side effect when market participants adjust their positions to a new expectation for the future of monetary policy. Even though the policy adjustment being discussed at the Fed is minor ? i.e., a gradual tapering of quantitative easing (QE) ? the timing of the change was sooner than many investors expected, so trading volume jumped.

2013-07-02 Bullish on Quality and Active Management Over the Long Term by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds

While solid on an absolute basis, quality stocksas measured by returns on invested capitalhave lagged their lower-quality peers. Chuck Royce explains why shifts in Fed policy should help to complete a reversal that’s already begun.

2013-07-02 A Mid-Year Ten Predictions Assessment by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

As we reach the halfway point in the year, we want to track our progress against the predictions made in January. Equities had a strong six-month period, although a correction occurred in May and June, primarily due to a very difficult bond market. Perhaps the “great rotation” started late in the second quarter as investors moved from bonds and bond-like equities, with measured progress for cyclical and growth equities. Anxiety remains over the Fed ending its quantitative easing experiment, and there are also financial issues in China that are cause for concern.

2013-07-01 All of the Above by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market internals remain broken here. That may change, and it might even change soon. Until it does, we would be inclined to tread carefully, because this may be the highest level investors will see on the S&P 500 for quite some time. Choosing between potential catalysts - credit strains in China, the risk of disappointing earnings, or economic weakness, the incoming data is consistent with one conclusion: all of the above.

2013-06-28 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 The New, Old Normal by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We believe the recent volatility will be relatively short lived and provides an opportunity for investors who need to adjust their portfolios to do sowith long-term goals in mind. The risks associated with fixed income have been illustrated over the past couple of weeks and rising yields have caused equity volatility and a pullback. But we remain optimistic about US equities as well as developed international markets; particularly relative to emerging markets.

2013-06-27 How Bonds Will Suffer Before the Fed Raises Rates by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

The Federal Reserve’s years-long zero-interest rate policy has flattened Treasury yields to where rising interest rates and inflation are almost assured manifestations. Investors may have to face the threat of rising bond yields. Damage to high quality, long-duration debt instruments would likely happen far in advance of a rise in interest rates with periods of significant volatility. What are the risks to portfolios? The first in a series of three papers that examines this questions is now available.

2013-06-27 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 Currency Wars: A Case for the U.S. Dollar by Gibson Smith, Chris Diaz of Janus Capital Group

In recent years, the U.S. dollar has tended to lose value when the global economy improves, as investors are more willing to take risks. We believe that pattern has changed and that the U.S. dollar will outperform the Japanese yen, the euro and the British pound over the medium term, even if the global economy continues to improve. In our view, current conditions justify a material deviation in currency exposure compared with certain global fixed income benchmarks, such as the Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index.

2013-06-27 AdvisorShares Weekly Market Review by Team of AdvisorShares

Once again, US stock indexes declined last week based on investors’ fears of rising interest rates. While markets were rising at the beginning of the week, on Wednesday, Federal Open Market Committee Chairman Ben Bernanke said that if the economy continued on its current growth path, the Fed would scale back on asset purchases by the end of the year and attempt to end the extraordinary measures by the middle of 2014.

2013-06-27 ING Fixed Income Perspectives June 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Fears of Fed tapering are overblown; we expect global funding conditions to remain easy. We continue to favor the U.S. dollar and are bearish on the euro and the yen; we are cautious on EM local currencies, as volatility is likely to persist.Spreads are appealing at current levels, with higher-quality industrials offering the most attractive risk/reward.

2013-06-27 Breaking Bad Habits by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

At last, central banks in the US and China seem to be headed toward monetary-policy normalization. While the move will be painful for liquidity-addicted investors, nothing less can ensure that current excesses in asset and credit markets do not spawn new and dangerous distortions in the global economy.

2013-06-26 The QE Lemon Has Been Squeezed Dry by Tad Rivelle of TCW Asset Management

We’ve just witnessed the dress rehearsal for the end of the Fed’s Quantitative Easing (QE). Markets that had learned to stop worrying and love the financial repression have been given reasons to fear the interest rate cycle. For five years we have lived with a central bank that has used, or abused, a zero rate policy and QE to effectuate the Great Risk-On trade to cure the ills of the Great Recession.

2013-06-26 Win Ben's Money by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

From 1997 to 2003 a show called,” Win Ben Stein’s Money” ran on the Comedy Central Network. The last five years, investors in the US have been playing a very similar game we are calling, “Win Ben’s Money”. The new game stars Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke. The object is to win the money the Fed creates via Quantitative Easing (QE) through macroeconomic analysis. In this missive, we will look at how these investors chased Ben’s Money and consider what to do going forward.

2013-06-26 The Fed\'s Dirty Little Secret: QE Does Not Work by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today I hope to dispel the myth that the Fed’s massive quantitative easing (QE) policy has driven long-term interest rates lower. I will argue that the opposite is true and demonstrate that the yield on the 10-year Treasury note has actually risen during QE-1, QE-2 and QE-3. This flies in the face of most market commentators.

2013-06-26 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.

2013-06-25 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

All markets came under pressure last week (and this morning) over the dual concerns of a slowing global economy coupled with the Federal Reserve’s suggestion that things are improving and thus “tapering” might start by the end of the year.

2013-06-25 Is Fixed Income the New Equity? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

After several decades of positive returns, fixed income investors are being treated to a rude awakening in the last six weeks. Recent comments from Federal Reserve officials suggest a sooner than anticipated exit from quantitative easing, raising the prospect of higher interest rates. Throughout the universe of fixed income assets, investors are questioning the future return potential, leading many to wonder, what now?

2013-06-25 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.

2013-06-24 \"Fixed\" Income Investing Is Broken by Robert Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research

Herb Brooks, who coached the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic Hockey Team to its unlikely win over the Soviet Union, included that quote as part of what I consider to be the best motivational speech in sports history. He was talking about his team and their Russian opponents. He might as well have been talking about bond investors on June 20, 2013.

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 A Timetable for Ending QE by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

In a press conference following this week’s FOMC meeting, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke provided markets with a clearer understanding on how the Fed expects to phase out its current quantitative easing (QE) program. This timetable is justified both by economic progress and by the significant future costs which a too-large Fed balance sheet is likely to entail. Moreover, the timetable, while never previously explicitly outlined, should not have been a surprise to most market observers. Nevertheless, Mr. Bernanke’s words have been met by a sharp selloff across a wide range of financial a

2013-06-24 Tidbits, Employment and Quotes to Make You Say... by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

The Fed roiled the markets this week announcing the end of QE may be near if A few things to consider: we’ve heard this before, the “if” is a big “if” (see below for some insightful quotes from John Mauldin) and, remember QE was the extraordinary measure taken by the Fed after dropping rates no longer accomplished the Fed’s goals. This month, the Fed noted that the “downside risks to the outlook for the economy and labor market [has] diminished since last fall” while in May they noted that they “continued to see downside risks to the econ

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 Outlook for the Global Bond Market by Nic Pifer of Columbia Management

The global economy continues to expand, but seems stuck on a moderate, below-trend trajectory. Lately, the story seems to be more about a growth rotation across regions than a clear-cut acceleration or deceleration at the global level. Looking to 2014, however, we still expect the global economy to accelerate to a more trend-like pace.

2013-06-21 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Ultimately my opinion remains unchanged: The ECRI’s credibility depends on major downward revisions to the key economic indicators -- especially the July annual revisions to GDP -- that will be sufficient to validate their early recession call. Of course, the July revisions will be quite controversial this year, with some major accounting changes and revisions in annual GDP back to 1929. So if we don’t get the downward revisions to support ECRI, they can always question the accounting changes in the revision process.

2013-06-21 Tapering the Taper Talk by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

As usual the Federal Reserve media reaction machine has fallen for a poorly executed head fake. It has been fooled by this move many times in the past and for its efforts it has tackled nothing but air. Yet right on cue, it took the bait once more. Somehow the takeaway from Wednesday’s release of the June Fed statement and the Bernanke press conference is that the Central bank is likely to begin scaling back, or "tapering," it’s $85 billion per month quantitative easing program sometime later this year, and that the program may be completely wound down by the middle of next year.

2013-06-21 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

Today, the relative health of banks around the world goes a long way toward explaining differences in economic fortunes. As policy-makers seek ways to improve growth, addressing structural issues in their financial systems may be more effective than monetary or fiscal stimulus.

2013-06-21 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 End of Quantitative Easing Tapers Asian Returns? Part I by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

Historically Asian markets have done well in periods of a weaker U.S. dollar and faster growth, so lowering peoples’ growth expectations and causing them to bid up the U.S. dollar is about the worst combination for Asian equities historically. And I do not think that Asia’s relation to global markets has changed significantly enough to nullify this past relationship. However, there are reasons to think that the effects on Asia’s equity prices may be a little more muted this time.

2013-06-21 End of Quantitative Easing Tapers Asian Returns? Part II by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

While yields have come off their historical lows in the U.S. and Asia, there is substantially more room for rates to continue to rise. In terms of credit spreads, we have seen investment grade and high yield spreads widen. We believe that spreads will have some room to widen given a repricing of risk across the globe.

2013-06-21 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.

2013-06-21 What\'s an Investor to do in Markets like These? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

What should an investor do after a day like yesterday? Stay calm and invest on, as I believe there is opportunity in picking up what the bears left behind. Here are a few ideas to ponder.

2013-06-20 Fed Slightly More Optimistic by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Federal Reserve made only slight changes to the text of its statement, but those it did make signal slightly more optimism. It said labor market conditions show “further improvement,” rather than “some improvement” and sees “diminished” downside risks for the broader economy.

2013-06-20 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.

2013-06-19 Will The Fed Tank The Markets Tomorrow? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Fed Open Market Committee is meeting today and tomorrow to set monetary policy going forward. The big question is whether or not the Fed will decide to “taper” its monthly purchases of $85 billion in Treasury bonds and mortgage securities, which have driven stocks and bonds higher over the last few years. The decision depends largely on the Fed’s view of the economy, so they tell us.

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 Changes in our Asset Allocation by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

We believe that valuations in publicly traded securities are stretched, and, although we have seen a move higher in interest rates and stocks have sold off from their high levels, investors are faced with choices that offer generally lower expected returns based on historic measures of return. Today, with the S&P 500 hitting 1650 and the yield on the 10 year US Treasury Note moving abruptly from 1.70% to 2.15%, there are generally two schools of thought on the minds of investors.

2013-06-19 Dialing Down by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The financial markets have gyrated in recent weeks on fears that Federal Reserve policymakers will taper the rate of asset purchases. The rise in long-term interest rates and increased market volatility are hard to justify based on the discussion of possible changes in the Fed asset purchase program alone. No change in monetary policy is expected at this week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

2013-06-18 GMO’s Montier on Why to Hold Cash by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Central bank policies have distorted markets to such a degree that investors are devoid of any buy-and-hold asset classes, according to James Montier. But according to Richard Bernstein, the flood of liquidity unleashed through quantitative easing (QE) now offers investors compelling opportunities.

2013-06-18 Promise to Be Irresponsible by Jeremie Banet, Mihir Worah of PIMCO

We believe the recent rise in real rates and fall in inflation expectations could jeopardize the U.S. economic recovery. We also believe these are a direct result of uncertainty about the Federal Reserve’s ultimate goal. Low real yields accompanied by sufficient nominal growth are the necessary prescription for a still ailing economy.

2013-06-18 Unconstrained Bond Funds Fail to Deliver by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

There have been an incessant number of articles in the past year addressing a “Great Rotation” by investors the seismic shift in asset allocation predicted to result from a transition to a rising rate environment. Individual investors “spoiled” by a 30-year secular decline in interest rates, it is thought, will run to new alternatives in the face of this structural headwind for a significant chunk of their portfolios.

2013-06-18 Taking Seniority: Looking to Bank Loans in Uncertain Markets by Elizabeth (Beth) MacLean of PIMCO

Bank loans are senior secured loans to non-investment-grade corporations. They are floating rate instruments, secured by the collateral of that company and senior in the capital structure. Bank loans can be a more defensive way for investors to move into the high yield space, due to the collateral and their senior position. While we have seen yield spreads tightening among loans, on a relative basis we do think loan valuations still look attractive. PIMCO’s investment process helps us seek these attractive opportunities while managing risk.

2013-06-18 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stock prices came under pressure last week over the strength of the Japanese Yen versus the dollar which led to a large decline in stock prices there as well as the misplaced fears domestically that the Federal Reserve Board will pull forward its timetable for “tapering” its quantitative easing policy.

2013-06-17 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 The Price of Distortion by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Corporate profits have benefited in recent years from enormous fiscal distortions that have bloated margins 70% above their historical norms. Stock prices have benefited in recent years from enormous monetary distortions that have suppressed interest rates and encouraged investors to “reach for yield.” Combining those effects, investors have been encouraged to chase stocks, placing elevated price/earnings multiples on already elevated earnings. Investors who value stocks on the basis of these distortions are likely to discover in hindsight that they have paid a very dear price.

2013-06-17 2013 Midyear Economic Update -- Another False Dawn? by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

We’ve seen this movie before since midyear 2009, haven’t we? The pace of economic activity begins to quicken and it looks as though a full-throated cyclical expansion might finally be at hand, only to have the economy slip back into the doldrums. Nominal private domestic spending on currently-produced goods and services grew in the first quarter at an annualized rate of 5.5% compared to 3.4% in the previous quarter. Consumer spending accelerated, housing sales picked up and business spending on equipment and software continued to grow at a healthy pace.

2013-06-17 Sloppy Markets Continue by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Last week the S&P 500 declined 0.97%,1 while many global equity averages fell for the fourth week in a row. Early in the week, discussion of tapering by the Federal Reserve was a big headwind, as discomfort over a slower pace of policy accommodation rippled through global markets. Thursday’s rally was driven by thoughts that tapering fears may be overdone. Markets were also helped by better employment and consumption data.

2013-06-17 On the Radar: Bernanke\'s Balancing Act by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

A recent analysis in this space made the case for equities. Pointing to the continued flood of liquidity from the Federal Reserve and still-attractive stock valuations, I argued that the rally would continue, despite the subpar economic recovery and continued policy muddles in Washington and Europe. In this column, I will take up one of those fundamental, longer-term considerations: Fed policy. The columns that follow will discuss two other major issues: fiscal policy and energy.

2013-06-15 Economists Are (Still) Clueless by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The economic forecasts of mainstream economists are quite positive, if not enirely optimistic, reflecting the current data. Should we not take heart from that? Alas, no. This week we look at some of our recent musings on that topic, triggered by a letter from a very serious economist who took umbrage when I wrote disparagingly about economists and forecasting a couple months ago.

2013-06-14 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

For 13 days of every fortnight, my kids think that "floor" and "hamper" are synonyms. Stray shoes litter the entryway, used cups adorn the coffee table and spent contact lens packaging forms a grand pyramid on the bathroom vanity.

2013-06-14 A Sweet Find on an African Adventure by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The heart of Africa has been beating strong in recent years due to elevated commodity prices and resilient domestic demand, despite the global economic slowdown. Among the sub-Saharan African countries, Sierra Leone was the fastest growing country last year, according to the World Bank. Its economy experienced growth that is as rare today as Fancy Red diamonds. GDP increased a whopping 18 percent.

2013-06-14 ECRI Recession Watch: New Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.3, up slightly from last week’s 131.0 (revised from 130.9). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 6.6% from 6.4% last week (revised from 6.3%).... Two weeks ago the company took a new approach to its recession call in its most recent publicly available commentary on the ECRI website: What Wealth Effect? More...

2013-06-14 A Taste of Rising Rates by Team of Neuberger Berman

The mantra "sell in May and go away" has taken on a new twist this year. Equity markets saw mixed returns last month but bonds took a beating, with losses materializing in nearly every fixed income segment. The reason? Interest rates rose significantlyand rather unexpectedlyover the course of the month. What implications would rising rates have for the market? We consider what’s ahead.

2013-06-14 Changing Picture by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We could be in the beginning stages of an adjustment toward a more "normal" monetary policy environment, with attendant volatility. This once again illustrates the importance of diversification and focusing on long-term goals when investing. We continue to believe the US equity markets are an attractive place for assets and recommend buying on pullbacks to the extent that you need to add to equity exposure. Additionally, continue to exercise caution around fixed income allocations and focus more on the developed markets vs. EM.

2013-06-13 The Instability of Stability by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Hyman Minsky’s scholarship holds valuable lessons for the current dynamic in the economy. The Fed, via QE, continues to induce speculative buying in the Treasury market, which is having the effect of destabilizing a number of asset classes.

2013-06-13 Securing a Lasting Economic Recovery by Team of Northern Trust

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, business expansions have averaged 59 months in the past 11 business cycles. June 2013 marks the fourth birthday of the current U.S. economic recovery, and this one seems very likely to be above average on this score.

2013-06-13 Pacific Basin Market Overview May 2013 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

After a positive start, many Pacific Basin Markets ended the month lower amid concerns that the Federal Reserve (Fed) will soon begin to gradually scale back its quantitative easing measures by reducing the pace of central bank asset purchases. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan decreased by 4.8% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 4.3% lower in May. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)

2013-06-12 Bond Realities: The Changing Landscape for Fixed Income and the Death of the Agg' by Andrew Johnson of Neuberger Berman

Earlier this year Andrew A. Johnson, Neuberger Berman’s Chief Investment Officer for Investment Grade Fixed Income, led a series of discussions with institutional clients about the state of the fixed income market and key ideas in approaching opportunistic fixed income investing in the current environment. Here, Mr. Johnson has adapted, and elaborated on, the concepts described at those meetings.

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 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.

2013-06-10 Worry de Jour by Charles Lieberman (Article)

The current obsession is over when the Fed will begin to withdraw some of its quantitative easing policy and how this will affect markets. This is adding some volatility back into the markets, even though this change in policy has been expected for a long time. Since Fed policy is likely to change only gradually and will do little to tip the valuation balance between stocks and bonds for quite some time, we see little reason to temper our fundamentally bullish stance towards stocks and bearish view of bonds.

2013-06-10 2009 vs. 2013 by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the most strongly held beliefs of investors here is the notion that it is inappropriate to “Fight the Fed” reflecting the view that Federal Reserve easing is sufficient to keep stocks not only elevated, but rising. What’s baffling about this is that the last two 50% market declines both the 2001-2002 plunge and the 2008-2009 plunge occurred in environments of aggressive, persistent Federal Reserve easing.

2013-06-08 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 Why It Pays to Invest in Emerging Market Dividend-Payers by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

An unexpected change of heart happened in May that you might not have heard about. After years of resisting any path other than its rigorous course, Germany announced it is backing off from pure austerity and is now planning to spend billions of euros to stimulate the economies of Europe.

2013-06-07 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The change at the top of the Bank of England comes at a delicate time. The May U.S. employment report will not sway the Fed either way. Eurozone and China PMI reports - interpret with caution.

2013-06-07 As Economy Heats Up, Will Commodities? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Don’t wait for the Fed to officially raise rates, as research shows that investors get the most benefit from materials and energy stocks by getting in now

2013-06-06 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 June Economic Update by Justin Anderson of Cambridge Advisors

Stocks sold off on the last day of the month but still managed to finish higher in May with the large-cap S&P 500 index up 2.2% and the small-cap Russell 2000 up 4.0%. International stocks finished the month lower with the MSCI EAFE index down -2.9%. Bond prices came under significant pressure as yields rose after Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke hinted that Quantitative Easing may be tapered off sooner than the market expected. The 10-Year US Treasury Yield rose sharply to end the month at 2.16%.

2013-06-05 The Canary in the Coal Mine by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Ongoing monetary stimulus is leading to heightened volatility, and the bull market which has been in place since 2009 is becoming overextended. The recent string of surprise downside moves in markets may be the canary in the coal mine for global investors.

2013-06-05 Fed Advisory Council Drops A Bombshell by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last Friday afternoon, the Fed released the minutes from a May 17 meeting of the Federal Advisory Council (FAC). The Council is a group of 12 influential bankers from across the country who meet periodically and give the Fed Board of Governors input regarding the economy, moneyary policy, etc. The minutes from the latest FAC meeting clearly indicate that the bankers are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the Fed’s unprecedented “quantitative easing” policy. To my knowledge, no one in the mainstream media has reported on what you will read here today.

2013-06-05 Will Green Shoots Flourish in U.S. and Latin America? by Josh Thimons, Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

The US economy is much further along the road to repair relative to its developed market peers, but it is still dealing with an unsustainable fiscal situation. Latin America is closely coupled to the rest of the world. What happens in the U.S., China and Europe over the secular horizon is especially critical. Our secular investment outlook calls for a more defensive posture toward risk. In U.S. fixed income, this suggests positioning for alpha rather than capital appreciation.

2013-06-04 Vincent Reinhart on Debt and Growth in the U.S. and Japan by Robert Huebscher (Article)

High debt levels translate to slower growth, according to Vincent Reinhart. That conclusion will be disheartening to those who jumped on the errors several University of Massachusetts scholars found last month in Carmen Reinhart (Vincent’s wife) and Ken Rogoff’s research. But Vincent Reinhart is the author, along with his wife and Rogoff, of a study published in 2012 that documented the degree to which high debt-to-GDP levels correlate with slower economic growth in developed countries.

2013-06-04 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

2013-06-03 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 Following the Fed to 50% Flops by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the most strongly held beliefs of investors here is the notion that it is inappropriate to “Fight the Fed” reflecting the view that Federal Reserve easing is sufficient to keep stocks not only elevated, but rising. What’s baffling about this is that the last two 50% market declines both the 2001-2002 plunge and the 2008-2009 plunge occurred in environments of aggressive, persistent Federal Reserve easing.

2013-06-03 Is QE Really THAT Important? by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

The punditry has decided that anything good happening is actually bad. It is all just a sugar high based on Quantitative Easing and government stimulus and that talk of winding down or tapering QE is negative. So the latest fear is that any good data on growth is actually bad, because it means the Fed will wind down QE. They say “the economy can’t possibly grow on its own without support from the Fed and Ben Bernanke.”

2013-06-01 After the Gold Rush by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The run-up in gold prices in recent years from $800 per ounce in early 2009 to above $1,900 in the fall of 2011 had all the features of a bubble. And now, like all asset-price surges that are divorced from the fundamentals of supply and demand, the gold bubble is deflating.

2013-06-01 Central Bankers Gone Wild by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

For the last two weeks we have focused on the problems facing Japan, and such is the importance of Japan to the world economy that this week we will once again turn to the Land of the Rising Sun. I will try to summarize the situation facing the Japanese. This is critical to understand, because they are determined to share their problems with the world, and we will have no choice but to deal with them. Japan is going to affect your economy and your investments, no matter where you live; Japan is that important.

2013-05-31 Into the Woods by Tony Crescenzi, Tadashi Kakuchi, Ben Emons of PIMCO

Excess liquidity, falling net issuance and higher correlations among assets complicate the eventual exit that the Federal Reserve and other central banks must make from their extraordinary policies. The Bank of Japan’s ideology has completely changed to “tackling deflation” from “tolerating deflation.” The key focus in the coming months will be how private sectors react. Investors who depend chiefly upon central bank activism may put themselves at risk. They may need to hedge volatility by ensuring their investments are built more on solid fundamentals and reasona

2013-05-31 Japan and the Euphoric Volatility Trap by Ashwin Alankar, Michael DePalma, Arnab Nilim of AllianceBernstein

When equity markets are buoyant and optimism abounds, fears of volatility tend to subside. But recent events in Japan remind us that euphoria itself can generate turbulence.

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 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Is central bank communication clarifying or confusing? The European Central Bank should focus its efforts on small business lending. A look beneath the surface of housing proves revealing.

2013-05-31 What\'s the Answer to Unprecedented Policies and Ultralow Rates? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So what’s the answer to unprecedented central bank policies that have been driving stocks higher and ultralow rates? I believe investors need to stick to a strategy that includes dividend-paying stocks that offer the opportunity for both income and growth.

2013-05-30 UK Secular Outlook - Morphing into the Carney Era by Mike Amey of PIMCO

The UK remains in a “stable disequilibrium”, one that needs to either transform into growing economy with narrowing income differentials or risk a more aggressive policy response. Financial repression, protection of real purchasing power, tail risks of accelerated currency weakness and price sensitivity will likely dominate UK markets over the secular horizon. Investors may consider progressively reducing exposure to assets susceptible to tail risks. Higher quality short-dated income-generating, inflation-hedging and non-sterling assets remain attractive.

2013-05-30 Understanding Gold Market Dynamics by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

To an extent that reveals a thorough misunderstanding of the market forces, the financial media has failed to consider the different motivations and beliefs that drive the different types of investors who are active in the gold market. By treating the gold market as if it were comprised of just one type of investor, analysts have drawn false conclusions about the recent volatility.

2013-05-30 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.

2013-05-29 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 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 Economic Climate Change & the Long-Term View on Yields by Sponsored Content from Loomis Sayles (Article)

Will rates rise? It’s a logical question. US Treasury yields have been in a secular downward trend since the 1980s and almost frozen at historic lows for the last several months. While recent cyclical improvements suggest the US economy is heating up, we do not expect interest rates to start soaring to record highs. The interest rate environment will eventually undergo climate change, but the process will be gradual. There are secular headwinds cooling rates, and we expect them to persist for years to come.

2013-05-28 Rock, Paper, Scissors by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

There’s a sort of rock-paper-scissors relationship to financial indicators. Trend following factors typically trump valuations alone, while overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndromes trump trend-following and monetary considerations. Monetary factors tend to be most effective as confirmation of other measures, particularly of trend-following factors, but only in the absence of overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndromes.

2013-05-28 Taking Stock by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. and global equities were under pressure last week, with all major U.S. indices lower for only the fourth time this year. With discussion of the Fed tapering its stimulus, market uncertainty gained momentum. The S&P 500 was down 1.0% for the week.1 We consider the market pullback technical in nature since the mention of a Fed quantitative easing exit likely created a natural point to take profits after the recent rally.

2013-05-25 The Mother of All Painted-In Corners by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Japan has painted itself into the mother all corners. There will be no clean or easy exit. There is going to be massive economic pain as they the Japanese try and find a way out of their problems, and sadly, the pain will not be confined to Japan. This will be the true test of the theories of neo-Keynesianism writ large. Japan is going to print and monetize and spend more than almost any observer can currently imagine. You like what Paul Krugman prescribes? You think he makes sense? You (we all!) are going to be participants in a real-world experiment on how that works out.

2013-05-24 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The two Asian giants have a challenging year ahead. The Fed will be challenged to keep the bond market under control.

2013-05-24 The Love Trade for Gold is Still On! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The more important demand for gold, in my opinion, comes from the enduring Love Trade, as countries like China and India buy the precious metal out of love and tradition.

2013-05-24 Bifurcation Blues by Herbert and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

Bifurcation. A very technical sounding word. It merely means “a division into two parts”, which is what we are witnessing in many areas related to investment, both macro and micro. And it is exhibiting to value investors those areas to avoid and the most attractive to embrace. And giving rise to a wide range of disparate opinions among economic and investment professionals as to what outcomes are likely. Needless to say, we have our own strong views.

2013-05-24 Remarkable Resilience by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We saw how the prospect of a sooner pullback in purchases in bonds by the Fed rattled the market both in the US and globally, but the picture, to us, has not changed to any great degree. A very gradual pullback, not even going to zero, in quantitative easing due to an improved economic situation doesn’t spell disaster to us. We continue to urge investors to pay attention to both sides of the risk equation when making decisions and to keep the longer-term perspective in mind. Short-term swings are inevitable, but should not be the basis for sound decision making.

2013-05-23 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.

2013-05-22 How to Turn the ECB Straggler into a Central Bank Pacemaker by Myles Bradshaw of PIMCO

In our opinion, the ECB will be most effective if it can design a programme that helps banks deleverage more quickly to stimulate growth in the real economy. To have a meaningful impact on Europe’s broken transmission mechanism, any ECB programme needs to not only lower the cost of credit, but also be regionally tailored or big enough to be effective. Long-term investors should remain focused on the quality of issuers’ balance sheets rather than simply taking more risk because of lower prospective returns.

2013-05-22 A Whiff of Confidence by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

The single biggest on-going survey of consumer confidence in the United States is conducted by Rasmussen, who survey 500 consumers every night on their views of the U.S. economy and their personal finances. Since October 2007, there has not been a single month in which the index produced by this survey has exceeded 100. However, since the start of May it has averaged well above this level.

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 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 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.

2013-05-20 Not in Kansas Anymore by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Knowing where you are doesn’t mean that you’re leaving, but you should still know where you are.

2013-05-20 Alpha, Beta! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I had a somewhat lengthy conversation with Rich Bernstein last Friday. I have been on TV with Rich over the years, but have never really had a one-on-one talk with him. Recall that Richard Bernstein was the Chief U.S. Strategist at Merrill Lynch for years before becoming the eponymous captain of Richard Bernstein Advisors (RBA). I was speaking with Rich because I have developed an interest in a few of the funds he manages for various entities. Rich began by stating he is extremely bullish, believing we are in one of the biggest “bull markets” ever.

2013-05-18 All Japan, All the Time by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week we again focus on Japan. Their stock market has been on a tear, and their economy grew 3.5% last quarter. Is Abenomics really the answer to all their problems? Is it just a matter of turning the monetary dial a little higher and voila, there is growth? Why doesn’t everyone try that? And what would happen if they did?

2013-05-17 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

Predictions of an American manufacturing renaissance may be premature. Does the Fed have to worry about deflation? The U.S. fiscal deficit is narrowing rapidly.

2013-05-15 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.

2013-05-14 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 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 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.

2013-05-13 Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

Equity markets remained strong and the portfolio continued to outperform well, with a monthly gain of 3.2% vs 0.6% for the index. After two decades of policy torpor, Japan’s government has rapidly adopted a trio of policies to kick start the economy: monetary and fiscal stimulus, plus a weak yen. This is shock and awe’ relative to GDP, being far greater than any experiment in any developed country since the Second World War.

2013-05-13 Closing Arguments: Nothing Further, Your Honor by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Nothing further, your honor. I am resting my case.

2013-05-10 Weekly Research Briefing by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

This week’s focus was squarely on central bank policy decisions and the U.S. April payrolls data. Mid-week the FOMC reinforced the "Bernanke put" by stating explicitly that quantitative easing can be increased if conditions worsen.

2013-05-10 Countries Should Be Careful Not to Overstimulate Their Housing Markets by Team of Northern Trust

Countries should be careful not to overstimulate their housing markets. Credit extension is improving, but remains modest.

2013-05-08 Germany Under Pressure To Create Money by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Currently, central banks around the world are walking in lock step down a dangerous path of money creation. Led by the Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan, economic policy is driven by the idea that printed money can be the true basis of growth. The result is an unprecedented global orgy of currency creation. The only holdout to this open ended commitment has been the hard money bias of the German-dominated European Central Bank. However, growing political pressure from around the world, and growing dissatisfaction among domestic voters have shaken, and perhaps cracked, the German resolve.

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 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.

2013-05-07 Mutual Fund Companies Need to Prepare for a Changing Environment Fund Industry Turbulence Ahead by Paul Franchi (Article)

The mutual fund industry grew explosively from the 1980s on a rare tonic of a low-inflation credit expansion powered indirectly by international trade flows. That run reached a peak in 2008 when the application of quantitative easing (QE) served to prevent industry collapse with a softer form of transition, which continues today but must end when inflation returns.

2013-05-07 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 Global Bonds: A Flexible Solution for an Uncertain Market by Olivia Albrecht, Michael Story of PIMCO

The recent rallies in both safe-haven and risk assets have left many investors in a quandary. We believe alpha, or above-market return, will have to play a greater role for investors seeking to meet return targets. In our view, the current environment affords many opportunities for generating alpha.

2013-05-07 Bail-Ins, Bernanke, and Buyouts: Assessing Key Event Risks for Fixed-Income Investors by Team of Hartford Funds

While the eventual shift to less accommodative central-bank policy and a rise in global interest rates are perhaps the greatest focuses of concern today for bond investors, other risks also merit scrutiny. European sovereign debt worries have resurfaced as the tiny nation of Cyprus, representing just 0.3% of euro-area gross domestic product (GDP), joined the list of bailout recipients. Recent rhetoric from the Fed has prompted investors to consider the impact of an eventual winding down of its asset purchases.

2013-05-07 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

In his April 2013 commentary, PIMCO’s Bill Gross wrote, “PIMCO’s epoch1, Berkshire Hathaway’s epoch, Peter Lynch’s epoch, all occurred or have occurred within an epoch of credit expansion What if an epoch changes? What if perpetual credit expansion and its fertilization of asset prices and returns are substantially altered? What if a future epoch favors lower than index carry or continual bouts of 2008 Lehmanesque volatility ?”

2013-05-06 Aligning Market Exposure With the Expected Return/Risk Profile by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Some risks and market conditions are more rewarding than others. My objectives for this week’s comment are very specific. First, to demonstrate using a very simple model that investment returns do indeed vary systematically with market conditions. Second, to demonstrate that overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions have historically dominated trend-following measures when they have emerged. Third, to demonstrate the impact of accepting investment exposure in proportion to the return/risk profile that is associated with a given set of market conditions.

2013-05-06 The Narrative Changes Yet Again by Charles Lieberman (Article)

The April employment report suggests that the economy continues to expand at a moderate pace, as had been the common view prior to the March employment report. While sequestration and the hike in the payroll tax at the beginning of the year may have taken a bite out of growth, hindsight indicates the economy entered 2013 with enough momentum to overcome these new forms of fiscal drag. Growth should strengthen over the coming months, as lower oil prices and time overcome the negative influences.

2013-05-06 The Economy: Why Interest Rates Shouldn't Rise Anytime Soon by Ron Sloan of Invesco

Real is irrelevant. The US Federal Reserve (the Fed) is unconcerned about real GDP the inflation-adjusted measurement of US economic growth. Rather, without inflation in our economy, the Fed is focused on raising nominal GDP. And that priority means that interest rates should stay low for the foreseeable future.

2013-05-04 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.

2013-05-02 Gold Recovers Amidst Uncertainty by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The selloff in gold that captured the world’s attention in mid-April has revealed some truths about how the market trades and the sentiments of many of the investors who have piled into the trade over the past few years. While the correction does highlight a higher degree of uncertainty than many of the most ardent gold advocates had anticipated, it does not represent the historic "end of an era" reversal that the many in the media have so gleefully suggested. In many ways, the market has shown a resiliency that its detractors do not understand.

2013-05-02 Fed Doesn\'t Budge by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

It would be hard to find a policy statement from the Federal Reserve with as few changes as the one issued today. The Fed made no changes to monetary policy and only minor changes to the language of its statement. Even the lone dissent, from Kansas City Fed Bank President Esther George, was a carbon copy from the last statement in March.

2013-05-01 May 2013 Commentary by Team of Sadoff Investment Management

The slow growing economy will cause the Federal Reserve to stay the course with continued stimulus via low interest rates and Quantitative Easing (QE) for some time. This environment continues to be bullish for stocks.

2013-05-01 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management

he mixed economic numbers we have been seeing lately----higher than expected consumer confidence and home prices vs. lower than expected Chicago PMI---might be confusing to some. One number shows the economy improving while another shows the economy contracting. However, for investors this is actually good news as the data continues to confirm that we are in a Goldilocks economy, not too hot, not too cold.

2013-05-01 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

2013-04-30 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.

2013-04-29 New Highs Bring New Worries by Richard Golod of Invesco

The sustainability of the rallies in US and Japanese equities this year so far is looking uncertain amid slowing year-over-year earnings growth and mixed global economic signals. European and emerging market shares have traded lower year to date and seem likely to continue lagging in the near term. However, on balance, I remain optimistic about global equities, seeking yield opportunities and investments with an actively managed, more selective approach.

2013-04-29 The Trapdoors at the Fed's Exit by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

It may be too soon to say that many risky assets have reached bubble levels, and that leverage and risk-taking in financial markets is becoming excessive. But the reality is that credit and asset/equity bubbles are likely to form in the next two years, owing to loose US monetary policy.

2013-04-29 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 When Rich Valuations Meet Poor Economic Data by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Given the full set of market conditions that we observe, including the persistent overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndrome that has developed in recent months, our concerns about stocks are not dependent on the direction of the economy over the coming quarters. An economic downturn would simply add immediacy to those concerns.

2013-04-26 The Return of the Asian Tigers: Guinness Atkinson Asset Management Asia Brief by Edmund Harriss, James Weir of Guinness Atkinson Asset Management

Often overlooked by international investors, South East Asia encompasses some of the world’s best performing equity markets in recent years, putting the more established emerging markets in the shade. This performance is backed by good economic results and the favourable demographics of some of these countries, with youthful populations ready to improve productivity and increase consumption. One catalyst for future growth is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) free trade area, which will bring down trade barriers between the South East Asian nations.

2013-04-26 The Yin and the Yang of Commodity Price Trends by Team of Northern Trust

In recent weeks, financial press headlines have centered on the sharp drop in the price of gold. Of greater importance, however, are the significant price declines of oil, wheat, corn and copper. The S&P Goldman Sachs Commodity Index is down 6.1% year-to-date after a nearly steady reading in 2012 and gains exceeding 20% in both 2010 and 2011. It is essential to recognize the different nuances buried in these commodities’ price trends. First we will focus on the implications of declining commodity price trends and then discuss gold specifically in more depth.

2013-04-26 Why The Fed's Balance Sheet Matters Neosho Capital Takes On Alan Blinder by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

We anticipate the Fed will begin slowing, but not eliminating, its QE purchases later this year, barring another severe downturn in the intervening period. As such, we expect macro-economic factors such as currency, interest rates, growth, and inflation to continue to be a significant influence on stock market returns and that the long-term benefits of active portfolio management and individual company performance will continue to be masked by these macro influences.

2013-04-26 A Playbook for Investors: How to Shoot, Score, Win by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So, in the competitive spirit of the NBA playoff season, I’ve gathered a series of plays that investors can use to shoot, score and win during this year’s market. I’m happy to say they include all the elements of an exciting game, including a comeback kid, an upset and an underdog.

2013-04-26 Financial Repression: Why It Matters by Shane Sheperd of Research Affiliates

Financial repression refers to a set of governmental policies that keep real interest rates low or negative, with the unstated intention of generating cheap funding for government spending. The ramifications of these policies will be measured in decades, not years.

2013-04-25 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 Surf's Up! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Last month I was reminded of “Surf’s Up!” while rereading said report from my departed friend Stan Salvigsen of Comstock Partners fame. While that is the organization Stan, Michael Aronstein, and Charles Minter formed in the late 1980s, Stan’s investment career actually began in 1964 as an analyst with the Value Line Investment Survey. Subsequently, he was an equity strategist at a succession of firms, including Dreyfus, Oppenheimer, C. J. Lawrence, and Merrill Lynch.

2013-04-22 Strategy for a Second Gear Economy by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

American investors could be forgiven for feeling just a little confused. One week after the stock market posted its strongest first-quarter gains since 1998, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the weakest monthly job growth in nine months. Real GDP growth was just 0.4% in the fourth quarter but appears to have been much stronger in the first. So is the economy getting stronger or weaker, how is the Federal Reserve likely to react to it and what, if anything, should investors do about it?

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.

2013-04-19 Global Economic Overview - March 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Global economic trends turned softer during the month of March as indicators from Europe showed further declines and U.S. consumer sentiment moderated on labor market uncertainties, government spending cuts, and tax increases. Continuing weakness in European demand has somewhat dulled the export outlook for emerging economies, while government policies to prevent excessive asset price inflation have led to concerns about domestic consumption growth in these countries.

2013-04-19 F.I.R.S.T.: Bond Market Outlook by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Amid heightened political uncertainty in Europe and subdued global growth expectations, global investors owe Hiroki Kuroda a big domo arigato for his pledge to inject about $1.4 trillion into the moribund Japanese economy by the end of 2014. The newly appointed BOJ governor’s unprecedented plan to buy Japanese government bonds,

2013-04-19 The Pharaoh's Dream by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

As yields on assets decline, central banks’ ultra-loose monetary policies are effectively forcing investors further out the concentric circles into lower quality, more illiquid sectors in search of positive yielding assets after deducting inflation. In order to achieve 6%-7% returns in the future, investors may be required to take on more risk. Allocating part of a portfolio away from “middle circle” asset classes into assets with higher return potential as well as assets offering liquidity is the right strategy in our opinion.

2013-04-19 Fed to End QE, Obama's Tax & Spend Budget by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today I tackle several topics, each of which could take up an entire E-Letter. But these topics are very important, and I want to address them today. The first is the minutes from the March 19-20 Fed Open Market Committee meeting that were released last Wednesday. Those minutes definitively confirm that the Fed is ready to chart an end to quantitative easing.

2013-04-19 Japan Steps into the Void by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In the years following the global financial crisis, economists and investors have gotten very comfortable with very high, and seemingly persistent, government debt. The nonchalance may be underpinned by the assumption that globally significant countries that can print their own currencies can’t get trapped in a sovereign debt crisis. However, it now appears that Japan is preparing to put this confidence to the ultimate stress test.

2013-04-19 First Quarter Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

Looking ahead, significant uncertainty surrounds fiscal and monetary policy in terms of what policies will be adopted and their ultimate economic and financial market impacts. More broadly, still-high global debt levels pose an economic headwind. Against this backdrop, our outlook for stocks has not improved. If anything, given the sharp run-up in stock prices, we are getting closer to reducing our U.S. equity exposure further than we are to increasing it.

2013-04-18 Reversing Quantitative Easing by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The Fed is likely to lag the markets, as they do in most cycles. The markets will probably anticipate the Fed reversing QE. The Fed will surprise few investors. The Fed should reverse QE in a yield curve-neutral way, in our view. Steepening the curve risks perversely stimulating the economy by making carry trades and loan spreads more profitable. This cycle will probably end as do most cycles. The Fed will be behind the curve, play catch-up, tighten too much, invert the curve, and cause a recession. That end result, however, is probably quite far in the future.

2013-04-18 Fortune's Formula by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

I reflected on mathematics, probabilities, and odds over the weekend after again reading the book “Fortune’s Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street,” by William Poundstone. The book centers on Claude Shannon, who in the late 1940s had the idea computers should compute using the now familiar binary digits 0s and 1s such that 1 means “on” and 0 means “off.”

2013-04-17 Hyperactive Monetary Policy: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by Lupin Rahman, Mohit Mittal, Josh Thimons of PIMCO

Hyperactive monetary policy (HMP) is in full force as fiscal policy retreats. The benefits of HMP outweigh the costs for now. Despite cyclical growth, we will likely not achieve escape velocity and eventually the costs will likely overtake the benefits.

2013-04-17 The Interest Rate Environment: Comparing High Yield Bonds and Bank Loans by Team of Hotchkis & Wiley

In its first quarter 2013 newsletter, "The Interest Rate Environment: Comparing High Yield Bonds and Bank Loans," Hotchkis & Wiley’s high yield team analyzes the behavior of the high yield market and the bank loan market in different interest rate environments to determine whether they can make sensible assumptions about the future.

2013-04-17 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.

2013-04-17 What\'s Driving Emerging Markets? by James McDonald, Daniel Phillips, Phillip Grant of Northern Trust

Emerging market (EM) equities have historically outperformed as the global economy gained momentum, as shown in Exhibit 1. After a great catch-up rally in the second half of 2012, the stocks finished the year as global outperformers only to lose that momentum in the first quarter of 2013. What is behind the recent underperformance, and what does it say about the outlook? Our research points to a number of contributors to the recent weakness.

2013-04-16 Michael Pettis - Can China Save Itself? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Most analysts predict China’s growth will slow; they disagree only as to the depth and timing of its eventual recession. A rare exception to that group is Michael Pettis. Pettis, who describes himself as a skeptic, believes China can rebalance its economy.

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.

2013-04-15 Housing Is it Getting Better, A Second Look by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

This week we take a quick look at some of what is in the President’s budget and then focus on the housing market (the title harkens back to something we wrote a few months back). You may sense, as you read on, I’m a bit cranky this week. As you read through the housing section you’ll understand why.

2013-04-15 Increasingly Immediate Impulses to Buy the Dip (or, How to Blow a Bubble) by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

A tendency toward increasingly immediate attempts by investors to buy every dip in the market reflects a broadening consensus among investors that there is no direction other than up, and that any correction, however, small, is a buying opportunity. As investors clamor to buy ever smaller dips at increasing frequency, the slope of the market’s advance becomes diagonal or parabolic. This is one of the warning signs of a bubble.

2013-04-12 The Bank of Japan Pulls All the Stops by Raymund Uy of Invesco

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) surprised the markets by announcing a particularly aggressive round of quantitative easing (QE) designed to rid the Japanese economy of its persistent deflation. The new policy was unexpected not only in the size of the asset purchases announced, but also in the types of securities to be purchased and their maturity.

2013-04-12 How a Landslide Shifts Copper Supply by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The U.S. mining industry was dealt a devastating blow as Kennecott Utah Copper’s Bingham Canyon Mine experienced a pit wall failure causing a massive landslide with rocks and dirt covering the bottom of the mine pit. It’s a miracle no one was hurt due to the vigilance of its owner, Rio Tinto. The landslide is just one example of how quickly and unexpectedly the supply and demand factors facing the red metal can shift, which underscores the need for nimble active management.

2013-04-12 Everyone Wants More Financial Stability, But at What Cost? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

For all the good intentions, there is no guarantee that the rush to re-regulate will be successful. The next crisis may look nothing like the one just past, and the political will to take tough preventative steps during good times cannot be taken for granted.

2013-04-12 Soft Patch - Part Four? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks continue to trade at all-time highs, but concerns are rising over a possible pullback and downturn in economic growth. A consolidation of gains is likely, but trying to trade around a pullback can be quite difficult. A potential tapering of Fed asset purchases continues to be discussed, but the Fed also appears nervous over the potential for a spring downturn. Cooler heads appear to be gaining traction in Washington and at least some marginal progress is being made. Economic improvement is gaining traction in Japan, raising hopes of sustainable change, while Europe continues to suffer.

2013-04-11 The Ripple Effect of Abenomics by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Monetary policy in Japan will continue to drive investors in that country to overseas markets, which will affect global asset prices and bond yields.

2013-04-11 Global Investing in 2013: Policy Dominance, Active Management and a New Paradigm in Currencies by Scott Mather of PIMCO

We expect that the impact of ongoing global policy experimentalism on real economic growth and financial markets will likely vary substantially from country to country, creating both risks and opportunities. With flexible, active global strategies investors can potentially benefit from a broader opportunity set and the ability to go off benchmark in an effort to both avoid risks and tap opportunities.

2013-04-10 Surprising Surge!! by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup

Momentum from 2012’s surprisingly strong performance continued into the first quarter of 2013 with stocks rising sharply. Our portfolios did well but lagged behind our benchmarks in the quarter. Taking a little longer view, over the trailing 12 and 36 months we mostly matched the double-digit gains of our benchmarks, which we are very pleased with since we usually underperform during strong market advances. So far this year small- & mid-capitalization, value, and domestic stocks were the market leaders, while international, growth, commodity stocks and Apple were laggards.

2013-04-10 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.

2013-04-09 John Hussman ? Why Prospective Returns Are Low by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Monetary and fiscal policies have driven our economy into an unstable equilibrium, pushing investors into higher-yielding securities, according to John Hussman. But those higher yields are illusory, he said, because corporate profit margins are too high to be sustainable.

2013-04-09 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.

2013-04-08 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 Taking Distortion at Face Value by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The U.S. stock market presently reflects two unstable features. One is that extraordinary monetary policy specifically quantitative easing has created an ocean of zero-interest money that someone has to hold at each point in time, and that provokes a speculative reach for yield. The other is that extraordinary fiscal policy, coupled with household savings near record lows, have joined to elevate profit margins more than 70% above their historical norm, as the deficit of one sector has to emerge as the surplus of another.

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 The Stockman Backlash by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

This week, while economists should have been closely considering the implications of the actual bankruptcy of Stockton, California, they instead heaped scorn on the perceived ideological bankruptcy of David Stockman. In other words, Stockman trumped Stockton.

2013-04-05 This Week's Central Bank Meetings Revealed a Range of Behavior by Team of Northern Trust

This week’s central bank meeting revealed a range of behavior. The U.S. employment report fell well short of expectations. Does China have a property bubble?

2013-04-04 Short-Duration High-Yield Bonds: An Attractive Solution for a Low-Yield, Rising-Rate Environment by Eric Scholl, Tom Saake of Allianz Global Investors

With Treasury yields at historically low yields, investors need to look elsewhere for the income they need. Eric Scholl and Tom Saake, portfolio managers at Allianz Global Investors, discuss why high-quality short-duration high-yield bonds may be a good solution for today’s low yield environment and can provide protection against rising rates in the future.

2013-04-03 Surprise! 2013 Rally Pales in Comparison to 2012 “Stealth” Rally by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Despite the hoopla over first quarter market performance, it paled in comparison to the first three months of 2012. Driven in part by an extremely accommodative Fed, the U.S. economy is gaining traction, but Europe continues to flounder. After their first negative print in three years during the third quarter, S&P 500 companies returned to positive earnings growth in the fourth. A broad, globally diversified portfolio is the best way to balance the desire for wealth accumulation with an appreciation of volatility.

2013-04-03 A Man in the Mirror by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Am I a great investor? No, not yet. To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway’s “Jake” in The Sun Also Rises, “wouldn’t it be pretty to think so?” But the thinking so and the reality are often miles apart. When looking in the mirror, the average human sees a six-plus or a seven reflection on a scale of one to ten. The big nose or weak chin is masked by brighter eyes or near picture perfect teeth. And when the public is consulted, the vocal compliments as opposed to the near silent/ whispered critiques are taken as a supermajority vote for good looks.

2013-04-02 Bernanke’s Motives Behind Quantitative Easing by Paul Franchi (Article)

We are at a turning point: away from one global monetary standard, to a yet-to-be-determined new form.

2013-04-02 Flying High on Borrowed Wings by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

After selling off an astounding 56% between October of 2007 and March 2009, the S&P 500 has staged a rally for the ages, surging 120% and recovering all of its lost ground too. This stunning turnaround certainly qualifies as one of the more memorable, and unusual, stock market rallies in history. The problem is that the rally has been underwritten by the Federal Reserve’s unconventional monetary policies But for some reason, this belief has not weakened the celebration.

2013-04-02 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.

2013-04-01 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.

2013-03-29 Learnings From the Cyprus Saga by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

There are important differences between the situation in Cyprus and the challenges other southern European nations face that should limit the transfer of financial trauma. The hope remains that the ECB’s promise to do whatever it takes to solve the sovereign debt crisis will ultimately settle markets. But access to certain types of ECB support requires reaching agreement on restructuring with the same European officials who have handled the situation in Cyprus so maladroitly.

2013-03-29 Market Resilience by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

After a stellar first quarter performance from US stock markets, which showed impressive resilience to continued headwinds, a pullback is certainly possible but we don’t suggest investors who need to add to allocations wait. In a relative world, the US stock market continues to look like an attractive place to invest, although there may also be opportunities in Japan and Europe as well. The upcoming earnings season could tell the story for the market over the next couple of months, but we continue to advocate a long-term point of view and maintaining a diversified portfolio.

2013-03-28 On the Fed, the Keystone Pipeline & the War On Jobs by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) met as scheduled last Tuesday and Wednesday to review monetary policy and its massive “quantitative easing” effort. The official policy statement released at the end of the meeting on Wednesday was little changed from those in previous months.

2013-03-28 Emerging Markets Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

The increases in the portfolio’s net asset value continue easily to beat the hardly exacting returns from the index. The fund has gained 10.4% gross for the year to date (to 22 March), vs. a 3.0% rise for the MSCI Emerging Index. This outperformance (replicated over rolling 1- and 3-year periods) has been achieved by choosing investments irrespective of index country or sector weightings or where they are listed, so long as they derive the majority of income and profits from developing countries.

2013-03-28 What Will Drive the Market? by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

The sequester adds to the economic headwinds caused by ending the payroll tax holiday and the boost in tax rates. However, even with the sequester, total federal government outlays will rise this fiscal year. Finally, after more than a month of daily increases for a gallon of unleaded gasoline, prices are now declining. This has been of concern as rising oil and gasoline prices were yet another headwind facing the U.S. economy. (Oil prices have also declined.)

2013-03-27 What Happened to That Export-Led Recovery? by Mike Amey of PIMCO

With nearly 50% of the UK’s total exports going to Europe, an economic area constantly flirting with its own recession, it is no surprise to see that UK trade performance has been challenged.As the US continues to re-heal, and trade becomes more geographically diversified, we should see exports start to grow once more, albeit off a modest base. The easing in sterling is undoubtedly welcome and will improve prospects for exports, but it is unlikely to be a “game changer”.

2013-03-27 Why Not a Quantitative Target for Quantitative Easing? by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

When I should have been practicing my bass guitar in preparation for my band class Thursday evening, I, instead, watched the first few minutes of Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke’s post-FOMC press conference. A number of press inquiries were related to adding specificity to the FOMC’s criteria for modifying its current $85 billion per-month purchases of securities. In the short time that I watched the press conference, Chairman Bernanke did not seem to satisfy the press on this issue.

2013-03-26 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 The Stimulus Trap by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

For years we have been warned by Keynesian economists to fear the so-called "liquidity trap," an economic cul-de-sac that can suck down an economy like a tar pit swallowing a mastodon. They argue that economies grow because banks lend and consumers spend. But a "liquidity trap," they argue, convinces consumers not to consume and businesses not to borrow. The resulting combination of slack demand and falling prices creates a pernicious cycle that cannot be overcome by the ordinary forces that create growth, like savings or investment.

2013-03-25 The Hook by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

At the 2000 peak, Richard Russell observed "Every bull and bear market needs a hook.’ The hook in a bear market is whatever the bear serves to keep investors and traders thinking that everything is going to be all right. There is always a hook."

2013-03-25 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 The Success of Central Bank Policy Is Not Measured By The Revenue It Generates by Team of Northern Trust

The success of central bank policy is not measured by the revenue it generates. Cyprus is a small country that could cast a long shadow. The U.S. dollar’s fortune is changing

2013-03-20 Spending Patterns Paint Half Truth by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On March 13th, the Commerce Department announced a 1.1 percent increase in food and services retail sales, doubling a prior Dow Jones survey of economists that forecast an increase of just 0.6 percent. This new data has led to a fresh wave of enthusiastic commentaries that the US economy is set for a strong recovery. Less examined were the underlying factors that supported the increase.

2013-03-19 Paul Matlack from Delaware Investments on the Direction of the Bond Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Paul Matlack is senior vice president, senior portfolio manager and fixed income strategist for Delaware Investments. His firm oversees $145 billion in fixed-income strategies, and in this interview Matlack discusses his outlook for the economy and the bond market, and how advisors should be positioning client portfolios.

2013-03-19 Rising Political Risk and Ongoing Economic Weakness Challenge a Difficult Journey to Recovery by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

Looking ahead, it will continue to be a very bumpy journey as we anticipate economic contraction in the eurozone by -0.75% to -1.25% over the next year, hampered by growing political risk and fiscal tightening. Although we expect the pace of contraction in the eurozone to diminish over 2013, the duration of the recession is likely to be longer than consensus forecasts.

2013-03-19 Why Are Emerging Markets Struggling in 2013? by Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Despite one of the sharpest rallies in US equities in recent memory, emerging market equities have been left curiously behind in 2013. Through last Friday, the market segment was down 1.0%, compared to an S&P 500 index that was up 10.0%. This seems to violate the regime that investors have gotten used to over the past 10 years, whereby the emerging markets equity index served as a high beta proxy for the US equity market.

2013-03-18 M&A and Dividends Likely Drivers of the Market by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

The sequester adds to the economic headwinds caused by ending the payroll tax holiday and the boost in tax rates. However, even with the sequester, total federal government outlays will rise this fiscal year. Finally, after more than a month of daily increases for a gallon of unleaded gasoline, prices are now declining. This has been of concern as rising oil and gasoline prices were yet another headwind facing the U.S. economy. (Oil prices have also declined.)

2013-03-18 Investment, Speculation, Valuation, and Tinker Bell by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The most important questions investors should be asking are these: what do they know that can be demonstrated to be true; and what do they believe that can be demonstrated to be untrue. It is best to make these distinctions deliberately, lest the financial markets clarify these distinctions for investors later, against investors’ will, and at great cost.

2013-03-15 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 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.

2013-03-14 DC Plan Sponsors: Now's the Time to Get More From Bonds by Stacy Schaus of PIMCO

Long on equities and light on bonds, today’s DC plan lineups may expose participants to extreme market risks. Plan sponsors could potentially improve retirement outcomes by trimming choices for stocks and considering additional options for bonds. The inclusion of active fixed income strategies with global exposure or additional income opportunities could help participants reach their retirement goals.

2013-03-14 Global Currency Battles: A Waiting Disaster or a Win for All? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

To many, Japan’s recent moves to devalue the yen looked like the spark that could ignite a global currency war -- a series of competitive devaluations that, last century, helped plunge the world into the Great Depression. Until now, central bankers have been resisting the urge to politicize exchange rates. However, while currency skirmishes can be dangerous and require monitoring, they are also necessary for establishing equilibrium in markets and will help in the global economic recovery, some experts say.

2013-03-13 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.

2013-03-12 Gundlach: Investors are asking the Wrong Question by Robert Huebscher (Article)

If you're trying to assess the Federal Reserve's so-called exit strategy from quantitative easing, then you're asking the wrong question, according to Doubleline's Jeffrey Gundlach. Quantitative easing is a permanent policy tool, he said, and investors should be asking what that means for their investment strategy.

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.

2013-03-08 Labor Policy Needs to Help, Not Hinder Employment. by Team of Northern Trust

Labor policy needs to help, not hinder employment. The U.S. employment report surprised on the upside. Watch the shadows behind China's official credit measures

2013-03-07 Gentlemen, Start Your Presses by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

In his Congressional testimony last week in Washington, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke took time to downplay the significance of the few dissenting voices on the Fed's Open Market Committee (FOMC). Those statements, combined with an even more dovish statement by Fed Vice Chairman Janet Yellen earlier this week, clearly reaffirm the Fed's indefinite commitment to $85 billion of monthly quantitative easing.

2013-03-05 What Economists can Learn from Downton Abbey by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Economists warn that the U.S. economy could be heading toward one of two catastrophes: the two-decade long stagnation that has befallen Japan, or the hyperinflation that struck Zimbabwe and the Weimar Republic. Such cautionary tales alert policymakers to the failed efforts of their predecessors. But the most relevant comparison is rarely cited ? to Great Britain in the 1920s, as depicted in the highly popular PBS series Downton Abbey.

2013-03-05 The Sequester: A Second Quarter Worry by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Now that March 1 has come and gone, what will the sequester mean for the US economy and markets? Maybe not much in the near term, but Russ explains why the second quarter will be a different story.

2013-03-05 Currencies: The Winds of War by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

In this conflict, the collateral damage could include asset bubbles and accelerating inflation.

2013-03-05 The Magic of Compound Interest by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

When compound interest works in your favor, it is a blessing. When it works against you, it's a curse! That is a "Jeffreism" I learned the hard way back in the bear market of the early 1970s when I was working for a $100 per week in this business and consequently had my credit cards levered to the "max." The interest rate at the time was 18%.

2013-03-04 Out On A Limb - An Investor's Guide to X-treme Monetary and Fiscal Conditions by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Massive policy responses, directed toward ineffective ends, are scarcely better than no policy response at all. A look at the current monetary and fiscal policy environment, as well as more effective policy initiatives, and why they make sense.

2013-03-01 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 Ten QE Questions by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Most observers regard unconventional monetary policies such as quantitative easing as necessary to jump-start growth in today's anemic economies. But questions about the effectiveness and risks of such policies have begun to multiply as well.

2013-03-01 The Fed's Tightening Pipe Dream by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

Testifying before the US Senate this past Tuesday, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke made an extraordinary claim about its bloated balance sheet: "We could exit without ever selling by letting it run off." What Bernanke means here is that the Fed could simply hold its Treasuries and agency bonds until they mature, at which point the government would then be forced to pay the Fed back the principal amount. Through this process, the Fed's unprecedented and inflationary position will be gradually and placidly unwound.

2013-03-01 Critical Juncture? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Headwinds have reemerged and investor concern is heightened yet again. We still believe stocks can run further, but a pullback is more likely in the near-term. The sequestration is now in affect but that doesn't necessarily mean it's here to stay and more budget fights loom, particularly in advance of the potential government shutdown on March 27. Meanwhile, some members of the Fed are in favor of scaling back its quantitative easing (QE) program, rattling markets a bit.

2013-03-01 Greetings from Istanbul! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As I travel around Turkey, I am reminded how vital good government policies are to the health of a nation. Following a decade of fiscally responsible actions, Turkey is the picture of a growing prosperity. Perhaps Americas elected officials could take a tip from this vibrant country overseas.

2013-02-27 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 Rational Temperance by Bill Gross of PIMCO

While the market was indeed moving in the direction of "dot-com" fever three to four years later, the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the time was a relatively anorexic 6,000, and the trailing P/E ratio was only 12x. For a central bank that was then more concerned about economic growth and inflation as opposed to stock prices, risk spreads, and artificially suppressed interest rates, the Chairman's query made global headlines, became a book title for Professor Robert Shiller and a strategic beacon for portfolio managers thereafter.

2013-02-27 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 Pew: Americans Have Little Will to Cut Spending by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Pew Research Center released a new national poll on Friday and the results are quite surprising. As the March 1 deadline for a possible budget sequester approaches, the new Pew survey finds limited public support for reducing spending for a wide range of government programs, including defense, entitlements, education and health care.

2013-02-27 America's Strategy Vacuum by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

As the quintessential laissez-faire system, the US outsources strategy to the invisible hand of the market, with the government locked into a reactive approach to unexpected problems. Thus, both monetary and fiscal policy have been focused on cleaning up after a crisis rather than on how to avoid another one.

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.

2013-02-22 Central Banks Are Factoring Financial Stability into Their Decision Making by Team of Northern Trust

Central banks are factoring financial stability into their decision making. The FOMC is taking a critical look at its asset purchase strategy. Don't look now, but the sequester is coming.

2013-02-22 A Test of Strength for Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week, we saw the gold bears growling louder and gaining strength, as the worlds largest gold-backed ETF, the SPDR Gold Trust, experienced its largest one-day outflows since August 2011. The Fear Trade fled the sector following the Federal Reserves meeting that revealed a growing dissension among some of its members over the central banks bond-buying program.

2013-02-21 Gold Miners- Back in the Abyss- An Update by JJ Abodeely of Value Restoration Project

Back on May 18th, 2012 I wrote a piece titled Jumping Into The Abyss: A Bull Case for Gold Mining Stocks. The miners had declined 40% from their August 2011 highs and for a variety of fundamental reasons like valuation and the relationship between mining costs and the price of gold and technical reasons, like sentiment, I felt the case to buy was compelling. The stocks subsequently rallied more than 30% over the following 4-5 months.

2013-02-20 Whatever It Takes by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Was it only a few years ago I visited the Emerald Isle of Ireland? The collapse of its largest banks foreshadowed the demise of many other European banks that had borrowed money from British, German, and other European banks to lend against homes and property. The Irish government had to guarantee deposits and bond holders in order to prevent a bank run. I think I am correct when I state that the Central Bank of Ireland was the first central bank to avail itself of large-scale use of the Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) provision of the European Central Bank.

2013-02-19 The Pound Gets Pounded by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

As the global currency war intensifies, the majority of attention has been paid to the 17% fall of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar over the past few months. The implosion has given cover to the sad performance of another once mighty currency: the British pound sterling. But in many ways the travails of the pound is far more instructive to those pondering the fate of the U.S. currency.

2013-02-19 Too Great Expectations by Richard Golod of Invesco

Global investors entered the year with newfound enthusiasm. Across the board, global equities traded higher in January, and retail money flows into global equities were the best in 17 years. Media reports about a "Great Rotation" from fixed income into equities are raising expectations about the possibility of a new secular bull market. However, I believe a little perspective is in order.

2013-02-16 When It Comes to Gold, Stick to the Facts by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

During short-term gold corrections, its much more important to focus on the facts, including the fact that gold is increasingly viewed as a currency. Rather than buying real estate, lumber or diamonds, central banks around the world are buying gold. According to the World Gold Council (WGC), over 2012, central bank demand totaled 534 tons, a level we have not seen in nearly 50 years.

2013-02-15 Latest OECD Data Shows Global Economy in State of Flux by Steve Rumsey of Optimus Advisory Group

According to the OECD ("Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development"), the US economy managed to stage a leading indicator "rally" into the most favorable northeast quadrant. The red six month lagging tail on the graph clearly shows the economic leading indicators moving from expansion to slowdown, only to move back to the expansion quadrant in late 2012.

2013-02-14 A Bold New Direction for Japan\'s Economy by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to take Japan's economy in a daring new direction to end 20 years of stagnation and deflation. His policies resemble past efforts -- but with far more firepower behind them. That means even looser monetary policies and a sharp rise in government spending to boost demand. Some analysts say it's just the medicine Japan needs and, on the spending side at least, the opposite of what Europe and the U.S. are doing.

2013-02-13 Trading Secrets: And All Our Yesterdays by Tad Rivelle of TCW Asset Management

Markets work. Not because they are perfect, but because they self-correct. Inherent to their functioning is the ability for buyers and sellers, borrowers and lenders, to freely express their predilection to engage in commercial transactions as proxied by the price mechanism. This is all utterly basic. So, why are the capital markets in general, and the credit markets in particular, not to be trusted to operate without the price and quantity guidance of the Federal Reserve? I

2013-02-12 Fixed-Income Insights: When High Yield Loses Some Height by Zane Brown of Lord Abbett

If one sought an indication of how monetary policy and historically low interest rates can influence investor behavior, the high-yield bond market could provide some perspective. In 2012, investors' ongoing demand for income was reflected by the high-yield market's 15.6% return, the $32 billion that flowed into the asset class, andas several headlines pronouncedthe market's record-low yields of less than 6%.

2013-02-11 Shall We Dance? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

My impression is that the worst investment outcomes have typically followed appeals to the idea that "this time is different," and "you've got to dance as long as the music is playing."

2013-02-08 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 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 From QE to Queasy: Fiscal Policy and the Risk of Inflation by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

Quantitative easing does not directly cause inflation. Rather, by enabling the government to issue low-cost debt, it fosters undisciplined spending, says Jason Hsu, CIO of Research Affiliates, LLC in this commentary. This spending, in turn, generates inflation, transferring wealth from future taxpayers to the current generation. Hsu argues that Americans are more likely to follow the European model of insufficient saving than to imitate the Japanese practices of private sector belt-tightening, high savings rates, and international lending.

2013-02-06 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."

2013-02-05 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 2012 Equity Market Market Year in Review by Natalie Trunow of Calvert Investment Management

Equities started the year strong as global inflation remained tame, and aggressive, accommodative monetary policy by central banks around the globe helped equity markets rally hard off their lows posted in the fall of 2011. Continuously improving U.S. economic data, strong corporate earnings, and policy steps toward mitigation of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe also provided support for the equity markets worldwide.

2013-02-04 2013 Annual Forecast by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

It's that time again. January will be over by the time you read this which means we are out of holiday excuses or "just ramping up for the new year" reasons for not getting back to work. Having said that, I'd like to offer my excuse for the Annual Forecast getting to you in February instead of the first week of the year. Hand over my heart, we started early this go-round.

2013-02-04 Shifting Sentiment? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Is investor sentiment shifting in favor of equities, which could help to continue the recent rally?

2013-02-04 A Reluctant Bear's Guide to the Universe by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In recent years, I've gained the reputation of a "perma-bear." The reality is that I'm quite a reluctant bear, in that I would greatly prefer market conditions and prospective returns to be different from what they are. There's no question that conditions and evidence will change, unless the stock market is to be bound for the next decade in what would ultimately be a low-single-digit horserace with near-zero interest rates. For my part, I think the likely shocks are larger, and the potential opportunities will be greater than investors seem to contemplate here.

2013-02-01 Q412 Portfolio Commentary by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisers

While much of the fundamental picture has played out as we expected over the past 18-24 months, the financial markets appear to be concerned solely with the existence or non-existence of macro headlines and events. There seems to be a disconnect between market movements and fundamentals which means doing real work based on intellectual honesty and logic puts you at a disadvantage. Chasing momentum and profiting from central bank market manipulation appear to be the current winning strategies.

2013-02-01 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 The Lost Decade...Found? by Jeffrey Bronchick of Cove Street Capital

While much of the fundamental picture has played out as we expected over the past 18-24 months, the financial markets appear to be concerned solely with the existence or non-existence of macro headlines and events. There seems to be a disconnect between market movements and fundamentals which means doing real work based on intellectual honesty and logic puts you at a disadvantage. Chasing momentum and profiting from central bank market manipulation appear to be the current winning strategies.

2013-02-01 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 2013 Economic & Capital Market Outlook by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

It took our country 229 years to accumulate $8 trillion in federal debt. It only took the next eight years to double it to $16 trillion. History shows that when a country accumulates debt at this rapid pace, economic growth languishes. Not surprisingly, Congress is pursuing policies that attempt to inflate the economy. Five years after the Financial Crisis, we really havent fixed much. Instead, we've issued more debt in order to pay our bills and sustain a quality of life society cannot afford long term.

2013-02-01 Dow To 14,000 and Beyond? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So will the Dow go beyond 14,000? Although you cant predict how hot the weather will be this summer, the clouds appear to be parting to reveal the sun today. Make sure your asset allocation positions your portfolio to shine.

2013-02-01 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

Is the world engaged in a currency war? Januarys job report had some pleasant surprises, but more progress is needed. Purchasing managers surveys suggest growth in the US, retreat for Europe

2013-02-01 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 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 Elliott's Paul Singer On How Money Is Created ... And How It Dies by Team of TimeCapital

When we launched our series into the US Shadow Banking system in the summer of 2010 we had one simple objective: to demonstrate just how little the process of modern (and by modern we mean circa 2004 not 1981) money creation was understood.

2013-01-29 Q4 2012 Market Commentary by Team of Altegris Advisors

With the end of a historically challenging year for alternative investment strategies, signs emerge of a potentially more favorable environment.

2013-01-28 Capitulation Everywhere by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The bears are gone, extinct, vanished. Among the ones remaining, many are people whom even I would consider to be either permabears or nut-cases. And yet, the historical evidence for major defensiveness has rarely been stronger.

2013-01-28 Is the Fed Doing the Right Thing? by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates Funds

After a strong 2012, the stock market is off to a good start in 2013, rising more than 5% so far in January and currently riding an eight-day winning streak (the longest since 2004). Encouraging economic data has a lot to do with this. Unemployment claims are at a 5-year low, home sales and prices are up, and consumer credit and retail sales are growing. Research firm ISI says that the current level of unemployment claims is consistent with 4% real GDP growth for the first quarter, which would be an acceleration from the sluggish growth of recent years.

2013-01-25 Pension Liabilities Time to Get Real by Christian Stracke of PIMCO

Creeping pension liabilities are an increasing concern for credit investors. Companies should provide more granular information on both sides of their pension balance sheets, as well as use more realistic assumptions. A few companies have improved their disclosures in recent years, but in general the information available to investors is still far from what we need.

2013-01-25 Housing Is Off the Floor, But Faces Ceilings. by Team of Northern Trust

Housing is off the floor, but faces ceilings. The cost of housing could be a source of increased inflation. January's FOMC meeting should not break any new ground.

2013-01-25 Resource Investors: Why You Can Expect Sunnier Days Ahead by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

During the current commodity supercycle, there have been occasionstoo many to countwhen investor psyche has been damaged by reports about slowing U.S. growth, a hard landing in China or a debt crisis in Europe. Yet just behind the gloom, significant and positive trends are taking hold, causing the storms to start dissipating.

2013-01-25 Japan: Another Season of Downturn Abe? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The returning prime minister is trying to spark the moribund economy with the same old remediesbut bolder action is needed.

2013-01-24 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia Pacific economies showed strong signals of a rebound in economic activity amidst generally rising exports and stabilizing inflation. While some major economies like China, which had cut interest rates throughout 2012 to stimulate the economy, saw a mild resurgence in inflation, many countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Philippines saw inflation stabilize significantly during the quarter. Still, India, the region's second largest economy, continued to be troubled by rising prices despite high interest rates.

2013-01-23 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.

2013-01-22 Dylan Grice: Witch Hunts, Inflation Fears, and Why I?m Bearish in 2013 by Michael Skocpol (Article)

For someone who started his remarks proposing to 'kill all the economists,' Dylan Grice can wax surprisingly sentimental, with a fresh, human take on monetary policy that leads him to some worrisome conclusions. Making a case for gold, cash, and other safe havens, Grice said the biggest threat to investors today is a problem that has plagued societies throughout history ? mistrust.

2013-01-22 Sunglasses and Cockroaches ? Six Rules for Surviving in a Bear Market by Michael Skocpol (Article)

After more than three decades investing in Japanese securities, Peter Tasker has little patience for other investors' self-pity ? and he doesn't want to hear your horror stories from 2008. Overcoming the challenges posed by bear markets requires the adaptive instincts of a cockroach, and Tasker identified six lessons investors can take away from those lowly insects.

2013-01-22 The Economic Fundamentals of 2013 by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The global economy this year will exhibit some similarities with conditions prevailing in 2012 no surprise there. But there will be some important differences, as fiscal austerity spreads to more advanced economies, the risk of a hard landing in China rises, and the threat of war in the Middle East grows.

2013-01-22 Equities Set to Break Out of the Bear Trap by Catherine Wood of AllianceBernstein

In the face of significant uncertainties, US and global equities rallied in 2012 and at the start of the New Year. We think there might be more to come as stocks break out of the bear trap.

2013-01-22 Puppet Show by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

What's fascinating is that in the presence of what are not thin strings, but massive cables supporting the economy like a puppet, the only response that Wall Street can muster is "Hey! He's walking!" as if the puppet is capable of motion without being propped up to a nearly reckless extent.

2013-01-19 France and the UK Could Be the Lynchpins of Europe by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

While the problems of Europe appear to be contained, under the surface the problems are getting more dire by the day.

2013-01-18 2013 International Outlook by Colin Moore of Columbia Management

We continue our outlook for 2013 with a review of select international economies and financial markets. Similar to the U.S. the road to recovery will be bumpy and we expect financial markets to continue being affected by macroeconomic uncertainties. While the overall environment remains uncertain, some of the significant headwinds in 2012, e.g. the Chinese leadership transition and a complete disintegration of the eurozone, are perhaps less concerning for markets than they were a year ago.

2013-01-18 Are Central Banks Easing Off Prematurely? by Team of Northern Trust

Are central banks easing off prematurely? Washington is girding for another budget imbroglio; Inflation is contained, for now.

2013-01-18 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.

2013-01-17 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 The Year Past, The Year Ahead by Michael Gomez of PIMCO

The multiyear run of performance by emerging market (EM) sovereign external debt has been remarkable but residual valuations look either just fair (investment grade) or expensive (high yield) versus other comparable credits. We still see abundant opportunities in EM local markets, while EM equities are poised to benefit from a relatively low starting point for both earnings and earnings expectations.

2013-01-15 Japan: Tip of the Spear by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On Sunday, December 16, 2012, Shinzo Abe, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), led his coalition to a decisive electoral victory in Japan. The LDP won 294 out of 480 seats and, with the additional 29 seats captured by its coalition partner, the New Komeito Party, will control the lower house in the Japanese Diet. Abe was named the new prime minister ten days later.

2013-01-15 The Year Past, The Year Ahead by Michael Gomez of PIMCO

While not immune to global economic headwinds, emerging market investments remain well positioned to outperform their developed world counterparts over time. The multiyear run of performance by emerging market (EM) sovereign external debt has been remarkable but residual valuations look either just fair (investment grade) or expensive (high yield) versus other comparable credits. We still see abundant opportunities in EM local markets, while EM equities are poised to benefit from a relatively low starting point for both earnings and earnings expectations.

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.

2013-01-14 The More Things Change... by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

One crisis averted...another one on the way? Of course, but we're still positive on the US economy and stock market.

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 Abe's Return May Prod Japan Forward by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

Japan's politics have entered 2013 with a mixed freshness. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has clinched a rare second shot at the prime minister's post. His first term, which began in late 2006, lasted only about a year and ended with his sudden resignation. But following its landslide victory last month, his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has secured a two-thirds majority in the 480-seat Lower House, giving it the constitutional power to override Upper House opposition, where no single party holds a majority, on almost all issues.

2013-01-11 Invest In Equities: Your Future Self May Thank You by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Investors have had an illusion about the stock market since the financial crisis. With the barrage of negative headlines and abhorrence toward risk, investors seemed to feel that equities would not improve going forward. This turned out to be a mistaken belief.

2013-01-10 Chuck Royce on Q4 2012: Quality Rising by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds

Do you think the market's strength in the year's second half marks the beginning of a more historically normal period for equities? I do. Of course, we've been calling for a more typical market environment for a while now, so our recent forecasting has been less than stellar. However, the market's second-half results were telling. In the third quarter we saw many quality stocks keep pace with the small-cap market as a whole. Many of these businesses then went on to outpace the Russell 2000 in the fourth quarter, particularly in October, when the rally began to cool.

2013-01-10 Inflation Propaganda Exposed by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Economists who hold the popular view that expanding the money supply will provide the best medicine for our ailing economy dismiss the inflationary concerns of monetary hawks, like me, by pointing to the supposedly low inflation that has occurred during the current period of rampant Fed activism.

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 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.

2013-01-04 Ring in the New by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

The "year of the dragon" in 2012 certainly didnt disappoint, as the global markets battled one financial dragon after another. From the Eurozone's sovereign debt crisis to persistently high unemployment in the U.S. and a mayday call from many who worried that China's growth rate was headed for a "hard landing," 2012 certainly was interesting. As we turn the calendar page to 2013, the Eurozone seems to be in less-critical condition and China's economic growth still appears to be flying but as of this writing, the U.S. debt problems still haven't been solved.

2013-01-04 In 2013, Resolve to Follow the Money by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

During these first days of January, many adopt an out with the old, in with the new, approach to shed bad habits or extra pounds. Washington opted for its same ol strategy when averting the fiscal cliff, as the addictive nature of can-kicking is a transatlantic sport, according to The Economist. The short-term fix did nothing to control the unsustainable path of entitlement spending on pensions and health care nothing to rationalize Americas hideously complex and distorted tax code... and virtually nothing to close Americas big structural budget deficit.

2013-01-04 The US Congress Kicked the Fiscal Cliff Down the Road by Team of Northern Trust

The US Congress kicked the fiscal cliff down the road. Holiday sales in the US were tepid. December's job report will not impress the Fed

2013-01-03 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 2013 Forecast: Good Economy, Challenged Markets by Douglas Cote, Karyn Cavanaugh of ING Investment Management

We enter 2013 bombarded by conflicting signals. While fundamentals have been mixed of late, longer-term themes our "tectonic shifts" like the energy revolution are gaining momentum and promising to make positive contributions sooner rather than later. And while salutary measures taken by policymakers have eased global risks and lessened fears of Armageddon, there is considerable work yet to be done.

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.

2012-12-28 Shinzo Abe's Monetary-Policy Delusions by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

The politicization of central banking worldwide continues unabated. The resurrection of Shinzo Abe and Japan's Liberal Democratic Party pillars of the political system that has left the Japanese economy mired in two lost decades and counting is just the latest case in point.

2012-12-27 The Ten Best Articles You Probably Missed by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Great articles don't always get the readership they deserve. We've posted the 10 most-widely read articles for the past year. Below are another 10 that you might have missed, but I believe merit reading.

2012-12-26 Gundlach's High-Conviction Investment Idea by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Count Jeffrey Gundlach among those who expect Japan's currency to collapse because it can't service its debt. Japan's challenges may parallel those that the US faces, and Gundlach feels strongly that they have created a compelling investment opportunity.

2012-12-24 Aspirin for a Broken Femur by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The Federal Reserve under Bernanke is like a bad doctor facing a patient with a broken femur. Being both unable and unwilling to restructure the broken bone, he announces that he will keep shoving aspirin down the patient's throat until the bone heals.

2012-12-21 Year-End Capital Markets Forecast by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

What looks best for 2013? Given financial repression in developed marketspolicies that prolong negative real interest ratesemerging market local currency sovereign bonds are likely to outperform their developed market counterparts. For equities, both developed (ex-U.S.) and emerging markets offer more attractive valuations and better dividend yields than U.S. stocks.

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 Light at the End of the Tunnel for Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Intuition was telling me something was going on these past few days in the gold market. Our investment team was watching gold and gold stocks take a tumble for no obvious reason. It wasnt only us who felt this way: many analysts were caught off-guard. One comment from Barclays Research indicated that the week was unusually brutal with quite a few confused participants with some seemingly positive aspects of the market not having an impact.

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.

2012-12-19 PIMCO's Cyclical Outlook for Asia: Awaiting the Policy Breakthrough by Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead, Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

Our base case for China includes incremental policy reform, but we also see an increased chance of a potential positive surprise on reform, resulting from the recent changes in leadership. Japan's new government will likely focus on reflating the structurally impaired economy, but policy effectiveness will remain questionable. Australia is being burdened by the unintended consequences of the policy responses of others, accompanied by the impending rebalancing of the Chinese economy.

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 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for Europe: Policy Developments Will Shape Growth Prospects and Risks by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

Policy developments in particular, the European Central Banks acceptance of its role as a lender of last resort have helped to normalize European financial markets but been insufficient to promote decent growth. Eurozone leaders recently laid out a long-term roadmap to achieve stability, but the plan faces great execution risk, technically and politically, and in cross-border coordination. We continue to take a cautious approach and underweight European credit risk and European financials in general, looking for specific opportunities rather than broad exposure.

2012-12-18 Pulling Back the Lens in Emerging Markets by Western Asset Management (Article)

Emerging markets remain resilient, according to Western Asset Portfolio Manager Rob Abad. But in the face of so much global uncertainty, investors would be wise to consider the latest trends and dynamics impacting this maturing asset class.

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 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.

2012-12-17 Roach Motel Monetary Policy by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Monetary policy has become a roach motel easy enough to get into, but impossible to exit.

2012-12-17 Fed Talks Louder, To Little Avail by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

When someone doesn't speak your language, yet you must communicate, funny things can happen. At first, most just talk normally, hoping the message somehow gets through with a hand gesture or two. If that doesn't work, some people start talking really slowly. And if all else fails, how about saying it REALLY LOUDLY, and emphatically, to finally get our point across. That's where the Federal Reserve is today. In its own collective mind, it has a very important message to convey: that monetary policy is going to be as expansionary as necessary to get this economic recovery off the ground.

2012-12-17 The Fed's New Math and What It Means by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Central bankers are scrapping the use of a timeline to determine how long to keep interest rates at record lows. Rather, they will tie rate increases to specific unemployment and inflation targets. There is definitely more clarity around the Fed's decision making now than ever. The question is, will such "outcome targeting" really change the outcome? In looking at the last three economic recoveries, the average time it took for unemployment to fall from 7.7%, our current level, to 6.5%, was 26.6 months.

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 2013: A Year in Global Emerging Markets by Allan Conway of Schroders Investment Management

We expect emerging market equities to deliver solid performance during 2013 and perform even better over the longer term. Emerging markets look extremely attractive in terms of valuations. We believe the Chinese economy has stabilised and will see a modest recovery next year and that tail risks in the developed world have been reduced for now by central bank policy.

2012-12-15 A Face-Off Between Passive and Active Investing by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Exchange-traded funds continued to attract assets in 2012 while money has been exiting mutual funds. Still a majority of assets continue to be invested in actively managed products: As of the end of 2011, of the nearly $13 trillion invested in funds, index and exchange-traded funds comprise only about 8 percent, according to the Investment Company Institute.

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 FOMC: More of the Same on QE, But New Language to Guide It by Team of Northern Trust

The Fed's decision to increase the scope and size of the quantitative easing program following the two-day FOMC meeting was largely expected. Its choice of new wording to express its posture came sooner than expected.

2012-12-13 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 Conditional: Fed Drops 2015 in Favor of 6.5% and 2.5%185 by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Fed announced it's adding $45 billion in US Treasury purchases to QE3s $40 billion in MBS purchases and moving to economic versus calendar targets.

2012-12-12 To QE Infinity, and Beyond! by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Federal Reserve made two big changes today, but changes that were mostly anticipated by the markets.

2012-12-11 Loomis Sayles' Matt Eagan on the Macro and Fixed Income Outlook by David Schawel, CFA (Article)

In this interview, Loomis Sayles' Matt Eagan discusses the fixed income universe, Fed policy and issues facing the global macro economy. Eagan is the co-manager, along with Dan Fuss, of the Loomis Sayles Bond Fund and he manages the Loomis Sayles Strategic Alpha Bond Fund.

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.

2012-12-08 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

What are the margins of monetary policy? The November job report showed only modest improvement. Japan continues to struggle, with a change of government on the horizon.

2012-12-07 The Keynesian Depression by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Five years have passed since the beginning of the Great Recession. Growth is slow, joblessness is elevated, and the knock-on effects continue to drag down the global economy. The primary difference between today and the 1930s, when the U.S. experienced its last systemic crisis, has been the response by policymakers. Having the benefit of hindsight, policymakers acted swiftly to avoid the mistakes of the Great Depression by applying Keynesian solutions. Like the last depression, we are likely to live with the unintended consequences of the policy response for years to come.

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.

2012-12-04 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.

2012-12-01 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.

2012-11-29 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?"

2012-11-26 Deja Vu All Over Again by Tony Crescenzi, Andrew Bosomworth, Lupin Rahman, Ben Emons of PIMCO

If the eurozone is to endure, it will require reduced economic differences among countries and larger common fiscal capacity. Emerging market central banks are likely to remain in wait-and-see mode while looking to the U.S. for clarity on the fiscal negotiations and domestic macro prints for signs of moderation in both inflation and activity. While central banks in advanced economies have not traditionally used explicit policies to target exchange rates, the European debt crisis may change all that.

2012-11-26 Japan: After the Quake, After the Floods by Richard Mattione of GMO

Japan's recovery from the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 has been so astounding that people rarely even think about the tsunami anymore. Even fewer remember that heavy rains in Thailand further disrupted the global production chain at the end of 2011. With so much accomplished, why do so few Japanese companies see bright days ahead?

2012-11-23 Five Amazing Global Consumer Trends by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Fifth Avenue no longer the worlds most expensive retail location. China set to be the second largest luxury market by 2017. Viva Macau is gaming capital of the world. Inexpensive Indian Aakash 2 could revolutionize tablet industry. Emerging market residents don't need a bank account to pay with their mobile wallet.

2012-11-21 Reflections: Primate in Distress by John Gilbert of GR-NEAM

The enthusiastic response of the capital markets to the Federal Reserve's announcement of the third quantitative easing program is, of course, just what they intended. It recalls the even more ebullient response to the ECB's Long Term Refinancing Operation announcement late last year.

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.

2012-11-19 Waiting for Godot by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Democratic and republican policymakers are actively negotiating over the fiscal cliff, as investors watch and wait with baited breath. They seem to be making progress, or so they suggest in their public comments. But until the situation is resolved, markets are likely to remain volatile. Other issues do seem to be moving towards resolution.

2012-11-19 Q3 2012 Market Commentary by Jon Sundt of Altegris

Decisive actions by central bankers altered the course of global markets in the third quarter of 2012 at least temporarily.

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 The REIT Stuff: How REIT Investors Have Benefited from the Real Estate Recovery by Steve Benyik of Lord Abbett

In an otherwise slow-growth economy, real estate investment trusts' (REITs) strong returns and yields have attracted considerable investment in recent years. Steve Benyik, Lord Abbett REIT analyst, provides perspective on the sector's key trends.

2012-11-14 Helplessly Hoping...That a Market Riot Isn't Needed for Fiscal Cliff Fix by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

A status-quo election puts the "fiscal cliff" front and center. The stock market's knee-jerk reaction was to sell; could further weakness light a fire under politicians? Good news has come from recent economic numbers, but sentiment will remain under pressure until the fiscal cliff is resolved.

2012-11-13 Emerging Markets: Maintaining Perspective by Robert O. Abad (Article)

In this Q&A, Western Asset Portfolio Manager Robert Abad discusses the latest dynamics and trends within emerging markets (EM). Although EM continue to demonstrate resiliency, Mr. Abad believes that given the amount of global uncertainty today, it is important that investors evaluate opportunities alongside a manager equipped to guide them through the risks and rewards of this evolving asset class.

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 Central Bank Insurance by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

"If you want to enjoy life, go to Buenos Aires. If you want to do business, go to Sao Paulo," the saying goes. It is hard to get an impression of a country by going to a city of 20 million people. It is like visiting New York City and thinking you can understand the United States. But I never fail to enjoy myself in Brazil.

2012-11-12 Surveying the Post-Election Landscape by Team of Lord Abbett

Of all the uncertainties facing investors over the past few years, the U.S. presidential election was among the most significant. And now that the election is over, asset managers are assessing the opportunities and riskssuch as the looming fiscal cliffwithin their respective markets. Indeed, the direction of fiscal policy remains investors' foremost concern, according to a recent survey of nearly 600 financial advisors conducted on Lord Abbett's postelection Web conference.

2012-11-09 Americas: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Economic trends in most countries across the Americas region saw a moderate recovery during the third quarter, though the pace of growth remains subdued. Slower global demand due to the ongoing European recession and the slower expansion in Asia continues to restrict exports from the Americas. At the same time, domestic consumption growth has been relatively more robust than expected and has helped most regional economies prevent a deeper slowdown.

2012-11-09 Chart of the Week: Gold and an Ever-Growing Balance Sheet by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

While Americans were still submitting their ballots, gold rallied on the possibility of a President Barack Obama reelection. With presidential results confirmed, it appears that Ben Bernanke's job of hovering over the economy and dropping parachutes of money out of his helicopter is secure. "Gold could not have asked for a better outcome," with a second term for Obama, a Democratic Senate and Republican House, says UBS Investment Research.

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.

2012-11-08 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia Pacific economies faced a challenging third quarter in 2012 as exports to key developed markets such as the Euro-zone came under pressure. As the austerity policies implemented by many of the countries in the Euro-zone caused a significant slump in demand, emerging market economies, which serve as the workshop of the world faced significant difficulties. Almost all major export-dependent nations like China, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia faced pressure to export growth. Still, most of the economies possessed both monetary and fiscal ammo to overcome the slowdown.

2012-11-08 Obama Wins: What's Next? by Team of Janus Capital Group

U.S. President Barack Obama has been re-elected for another four years, while Democrats will continue to control the Senate and Republicans the House of Representatives. We believe this outcome was largely anticipated by the markets before Election Day. However, U.S. Treasury markets likely will gain and risk assets could decline as investors remain concerned about sluggish economic growth, the impact of the impending "fiscal cliff" and the effects of continued Federal Reserve (Fed) intervention.

2012-11-07 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 Lacy Hunt on Our Economic Future by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Last week I spoke with Lacy Hunt, an unequivocal advocate of deficit reduction. Hunt defended ? as persuasively as few others can ? the need to address our fiscal imbalances. But equally respected economists are advocating for the other extreme, and he shares some common ground with them.

2012-11-06 ClearBridge Advisors - Market Commentary Q312 by Harry ?Hersh? Cohen (Article)

Vibrant end demand is missing, as consumers have neither the wherewithal nor the will to spend as they did in prior periods.

2012-11-02 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The October employment report paints a favorable picture of the labor market.

2012-11-02 What Would Happen at the Fed Under a Romney Presidency? by Josh Thimons of PIMCO

Between now and the election expect markets to continue to reflect the changing election probabilities. Expect Treasury yields to climb if Romneys probability of victory increases due to fear of what he will do when it comes to Fed nominations. However, any substantial rise in Treasury yields based upon a Romney victory is likely to be a buying opportunity, because Fed policy will be accommodative regardless of who controls the White House.

2012-11-01 Time To Vote! by Bill Gross of PIMCO

So I pulled out my magic lamp that for some reason works only every October 22nd, and rubbed until the Genie appeared in his red and white checkered cloak with a 10-inch diameter Flavor Flav clock hanging ceremoniously around his neck. Being a rather forward, although not disrespectful Genie, he immediately said, "Mr. G, instead of the yield on the 10-year Treasury, perhaps this year you should wish to know who is going to win the Presidential election?"

2012-10-31 US Stocks Facing a Bumpy Ride by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The US stock exchanges are slated to reopen for trading on Wednesday, after Hurricane Sandy prompted the longest weather-related closure of the New York Stock Exchange since 1888. What can investors expect when trading resumes? Russ K explains.

2012-10-30 The Dangers of Mortgage REITs: Does Doubling the Leverage Make Them a Good Investment? by David Schawel, CFA (Article)

Levered mortgage-backed REITs are dangerous. Many of those who invest in the underlying REITs have little idea what is generating 10%+ yields, nor do they understand what scenarios could lead share prices to drop precipitously. These investors need to recall the lesson we all learned so vividly in 2008 - leverage may increase returns, but it does so by significantly magnifying risk.

2012-10-29 Velocity, Uncertainty & the Economy by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Recently we lifted our recession odds to 25% from 10%. For some, this was worrisome. In recent weeks we've been asked, "If you guys get a little bearish on the economy, after being bullish for so long, shouldn't I get really nervous?" Our answer to this question is "no."

2012-10-29 The Shifting Investment Environment: Picking Growth Stocks in a "Saturated" World by Virginie Maisonneuve, Katherine Davidson of Schroders Investment Management

Is the global economy close to reaching a tipping point? The impacts of our key themes (demographics, climate change and the emerging market supercycle) are combining with the ramifications of the global financial crisis to create an environment where growth is reaching a point of "saturation". In this world, focusing on the sustainability of growth becomes more important than ever. This is important for investors as the global economy painfully adjusts to new realities and follows a rocky path to normalization.

2012-10-26 October 2012: Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Like last year, this summer's quarter was eventful. Investors entered the quarter with high expectations that the European Central Bank (ECB) and Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) would provide the markets with more monetary largesse. On July 26th, Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, vowed to "do whatever it takes" to preserve the euro. Risk assets then began an anticipatory rally heading into some key events in mid-September.

2012-10-26 October 2012: Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Equity and other "risk" assets rallied in the third quarter in anticipation of further monetary easing by central banks around the world. The prospect of increased liquidity from the central banks appears to have focused investor attention, at least temporarily, away from the generally softer economic data that continue to emerge from Europe and Asia.

2012-10-26 Of Irish and Fiscal Cliffs by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

Dr. Michael Hasenstab, Templeton Global Bond Fund portfolio manager and co-director of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group's International Bond Department, doesn't prescribe legislative answers, but he can relate the fiscal challenges the U.S. faces to the experiences of a country with its own dramatic cliffs: Ireland.

2012-10-26 Don't Fear a Normal Gold Correction by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Dont let the short-term correction fool you into selling your gold and gold stocks. The dramatic increase in money suggests that monetary debasement will continue, and in addition to all the above drivers, these are the positive dynamics driving higher prices for gold and gold stocks.

2012-10-26 What Now? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

The market appears to be in a "wait-and-see" mode in advance of the elections, but looking beyond November 6th is important for investors. The election is only one piece of the puzzle, and certain aspects of the political landscape likely won't be much clearer after Election Day. Earnings season has been somewhat disappointing, even though there was a relatively low bar to hurdle. We see more signs that the slowdown in the United States may be ending, however, with strength in housing particularly noteworthy.

2012-10-25 In or Out? The Case for - and Against - the Stock Market by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Given ongoing volatility in the stock market, it's no surprise that investors are increasingly bearish on the market's prospects, beset by a lack of confidence in its institutional underpinnings and a general pessimism about the direction of the economy. But is that distrust misplaced? Wharton experts are mixed about the future fortunes of the stock market, with some saying that investors are withdrawing at the worst possible time and others noting that many people had entrusted too much of their retirement savings to the fate of equity markets.

2012-10-25 Picking Up Nickels by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

Those who pursue puny returns in the face of enormous risks to their principal are said to be "picking up nickels in front of a steamroller". You would think such behavior is limited to drunkards and fools, but you will be shocked to hear that our very own Federal Reserve has undertaken just such a strategy in their well-intentioned, but, by their own admission, futile pursuit of improved U.S. employment numbers.

2012-10-24 Policy at a Crossroads by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

On September 13, the Federal Reserve announced a third round of quantitative easing, dubbed QE3, in the hope of providing an additional boost to the slow U.S. economic recovery. Although this latest policy action reinforces the notion that the U.S. is prepared to support its economy for as long as needed, some economists question whether the stimulus can really make a difference. In this issue of Strategic Spotlight, we consider the recent effects of loose monetary policy and whether the Fed has "reached its limit."

2012-10-24 Emerging Markets Local Currency Bonds: Reducing Risk and Improving Returns in a Global Fixed Income by Marcela Meirelles, Blaise Antin of TCW Asset Management

Emerging market (EM) local currency bonds broaden the scope for income generation and risk diversification in a global fixed income portfolio. The asset class offers a unique opportunity to access higher income and potential for capital appreciation through a basket comprised of mostly investment grade credits with an average yield spread of 475 basis points over US Treasuries.

2012-10-23 A Tepid Week for Earnings by Matt Rubin of Neuberger Berman

Through the first two weeks of earnings season, corporate results have largely mirrored the releases we witnessed a quarter agoof the 118 S&P 500 companies that have reported to date, only 60% have exceeded their earnings estimates while 29% have surpassed their revenue expectations. This week, we will see financial results from 169 S&P 500 companies, representing 32% of the index market capitalization, which will be well dispersed across all 10 S&P 500 sectors.

2012-10-23 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks remained sluggish last week as earnings guidance more than last quarter's reports put a damper on stock prices. In addition, the European summit was a failure and investors remain hesitant before the November elections.

2012-10-22 The Data-Generating Process by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

For anyone who works to infer information from a broad range of evidence, one of the important aspects of the job is to think carefully about the structure of the data what is sometimes called the "data-generating process." Data doesn't just drop from the sky or out of a computer. It is generated by some process, and for any sort of data, it is critical to understand how that process works. In the financial markets, the data-generating process is often very misunderstood.

2012-10-22 An Alternate Reality by Robert Stimpson of Oak Associates

The largest positive factor affecting the environment for stock prices this year has been the recovery in the housing sector. After years of struggle, the sector appears to have turned the corner. The housing market had been showing signs of improvement for some time, but the debate as to whether the recovery was legitimate weighed on the group and added to concerns over the economy.

2012-10-22 Politics, Cliff Watching Take Priority in the Short-Term by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

The US elections are only two weeks away, and the recent polls show a very tight race. There are significant differences, both perceived and real, in the policies of the two candidates and the impact they might have on financial markets.

2012-10-19 International Equity - Monthly Product Commentary: September 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

International equities made strong gains in September as aggressive policy action from central banks in Europe and the U.S. helped offset concerns over moderating economic growth across the globe. The European Central Bank (ECB) announced a program to buy unlimited quantities of debt issued by troubled countries such as Spain, Portugal, and Greece, provided they adhere to a strict fiscal adjustment timetable.

2012-10-19 House of Mirrors by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

Did you ever try to navigate the "House of Mirrors" as a kid at your local carnival? You know the one I mean ---- where you walk through a labyrinth of mirrors designed to confuse your orientation while mocking you with various distortions of your body? If you were particularly skilled, you could use the mirror to your own advantage. What a compelling metaphor for the current state of the financial markets.

2012-10-19 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company

In his latest quarterly letter, Ron Muhlenkamp, president and portfolio manager of the Muhlenkamp Fund, re-examines Europe, China, and U.S. Politics as the major drivers of the markets. On September 7, 2012, Muhlenkamp published a Market Commentary, headlined "Threat of European Banking Crisis Recedes." In it, he discusses the Outright Monetary Transactions program, introduced by the European Central Bank. Mr. Muhlenkamp thinks this program makes credible the ECB's promise to do all it can to keep the Eurozone together.

2012-10-19 Muddling Down the Middle by Josh Thimons of PIMCO

PIMCO expects that the debate over the fiscal cliff will end in fiscal consolidation, but not a fiscal catastrophe. Unfortunately, while the Fed's monetary policy actions have been, by and large, successful in achieving its intermediate-term goal of increasing asset valuations, they have not been effective in influencing real economic outcomes. Our forecast for the drag on GDP from the fiscal cliff in the coming year is roughly negative 1.5%. Improvement in the housing market will only fill a small part in that hole.

2012-10-19 Stealth Mode by Stephen J. Taddie of Stellar Capital Management

After more than 30 years of declining rates, a reversal that started a longer term trend of higher interest rates, like that experienced from the late 50s to early 80s could be devastating to bond investors. In addition, interest rate increases have not treated many other income investments like fixed rate preferred stocks very well as many of these issues have extremely long maturities, and/or are perpetual. This makes stretching for yield in this type of environment both challenging and hazardous.

2012-10-19 Chinese Stocks Looking Like a Bargain by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This appears to be a good time to be investing in China, as stocks are historically cheap. Chinese stocks are also cheap compared to emerging markets.

2012-10-17 Q3 Investor Letter by Team of HORAN Capital Advisors

At the beginning of the third quarter, investors following the "sell in May" strategy felt vindicated as the S&P 500 Index declined over 9.0% from May 1st to June 4th. The June 4th date turned out to be the intra-year market low and the equity rally was almost uninhibited throughout the remainder of the third quarter. We have been experiencing mixed global economic data over the past several months and in response, the Federal Reserve announced a third round of quantitative easing. While the market initially responded favorably, it ultimately declined through the end of the quarter.

2012-10-16 Will Bonds Be ?Burnt to a Crisp?? by David Schawel, CFA (Article)

Bill Gross's recent monthly commentary painted a disturbing picture for investors - he foresees bonds being ?burnt to a crisp.? This isn't just hot air. Such a conflagration is possible, and investors in bond funds, especially those that are constructed similar to the widely followed Barclays bond index, need to heed risks inherent in today''s market.

2012-10-16 Stiglitz vs. Bremmer: What?s Next for the Global Economy? by Ben Huebscher (Article)

On October 3rd, the same night Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were clashing in their first debate, two equally polarized men met in New York City's Kaufmann Concert Hall to discuss the future of economics, both here and abroad.

2012-10-15 The United States: Stability or Complacency? by Alan Levenson of T. Rowe Price

The International Monetary Fund's updated World Economic Outlook foresees a modest pace of U.S. economic expansion in 2012-2013, emphasizing significant downside risks emanating from the euro area crisis and from the domestic fiscal cliff. Weakness in the euro area and slower growth in a secularly-restructuring Chinese economy are weighing on U.S. export trends, but sturdier growth in Canada and Mexico is providing an important offset.

2012-10-15 Lender of Last Resort Move Crucial to Regional Stability by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

While the ECB's engagement as a lender of last resort is crucial, Europe's big four governments must provide political commitments supportive of ECB policy to counter the lingering threat of a Greek exit, address convertibility risk, and build a more stable union. However, this will require sustained growth. Faced with capital flights from the periphery and lowered credit ratings, the key challenge remains crowding-in private and foreign official investors to buy peripheral sovereign debt.

2012-10-15 Passed Pawns by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

I've long been fascinated by the parallels between Chess and finance. Years ago, I asked Tsagaan Battsetseg, a highly ranked world chess champion, what runs through her mind most frequently during matches. She answered with two questions "What is the opportunity?" and "What is threatened?" At present, I remain convinced that the key opportunity lies in closing down exposure to risk.

2012-10-15 QE3Back to the Future by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The broad scope and open-ended nature of the Federal Reserve's third round of quantitative easing raises questions about what exactly Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has in mind. Some insight, remarkably, emerges from a speech he gave in November 2002 to the National Economists Club in Washington, D.C., when he was simply a Fed board member. Taking his cue then from fears of a Japanese-style deflation, he laid out a path for monetary stimulus in an extreme situation, outlining nontraditional policy tools that have since become common.

2012-10-12 Chinas Pyramid of Power by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We've been able to witness Chinas incredible growth, with GDP averaging 10 percent per year and more than 500 million people moving out of poverty over the past 30 years. Now after three decades of tremendous expansion, this new generation of leaders will have to carefully maneuver the country into the next decade, towing the line between maintaining the stability created during the previous Hu-Wen administration and continuing the political and economic reform necessary to adjust to the countrys slowing growth.

2012-10-11 The New TIPping Point by Jeremie Banet, Rahul Seksaria, Mihir Worah of PIMCO

The Federal Reserve's QE3 program combined with more aggressive communication are likely to have implications for Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS).

2012-10-11 Alternative Investments Offer Strategies to Avoid Fed-Inflated Bond Bubble by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

Over the past several years, investors have shifted hundreds of billions of dollars out of stocks and into investment grade corporate bonds and U.S. Treasuries. To date, this strategy has delivered solid results for many investors, as bond prices have generally continued to rally while bond yields have continued to fall.

2012-10-10 Return to Bretton Woods by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The gold-convertible U.S. dollar became the global reserve currency under the Bretton Woods monetary system, which lasted from 1944-1971. This arrangement ended because foreign central banks accumulated unsustainably large reserves of U.S. Treasuries, threatening price stability and the purchasing power of the dollar. Today, central banks are once again stockpiling massive Treasury reserves in an attempt to manage their currency values and gain advantages in export markets. We have, effectively, returned to Bretton Woods.

2012-10-10 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Regional equity markets remained largely directionless and volatile during the third quarter amid the summer trading lull. Government policy action towards the end of the quarter triggered the biggest market moves. However, the euphoria was short lived following the announcements of the European Central Bank's Outright Monetary Transactions and the Federal Reserve Board's third round of quantitative easing.

2012-10-10 Third Quarter Surge Caps 12-Month Relentless Risk Rally by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Despite the rally of the past year, equity markets still look cheap. Weakening manufacturing data suggest the 12-quarter streak of positive earnings growth may come to an end in the third quarter. Housing has turned the corner, providing consumers with cause for confidence. Though fundamentals have wavered a bit, we are constructively bullish on risky assets, as "successful investing demands a choice between prudent risk control and outright risk avoidance".

2012-10-10 Gold Strategy Investor Letter, Q3 2012 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), examines in his latest quarterly letter how "Gold and precious metals stocks rallied sharply in the third quarter." He believes the catalyst for this move was the "resumption of quantitative easing by the Fed and ECB in late August." Mr. Hathaway goes on to say that "The rally suggests that the lengthy correction which began in August of 2011 has been completed, setting the stage for a powerful new leg in the bull market for precious metals and related mining shares."

2012-10-09 Is Gluskin's David Rosenberg Right about Utilities? by Geoff Considine (Article)

They're not the sexiest property on the Monopoly board, but in today's market, there's plenty of evidence mounting that utilities are a great source of income. Indeed, Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg made the case for utilities in a recent commentary.

2012-10-09 Riding Into The Sunset or a Brick Wall? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

A month ago, I presented the case for why Fed Chairman Bernanke would have strong motivation to launch another round of quantitative easing (QE) before the election. In short, it would save him his job. Now, I didn't predict with certainty that he would do so - only the few men at the FOMC knew that for sure - but it seemed likely. Shortly thereafter, Bernanke not only announced more stimulus, but promised to keep it flowing to the tune of an additional $40 billion a month until conditions improve.

2012-10-09 Global Investment Outlook by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Global growth remains positive but momentum is lacking. Central bank action has eased tensions. Markets are calmer but future direction is uncertain

2012-10-05 Market Respite by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

In a period of looming macroeconomic risks and great investor uncertainty the quarter resulted in solid gains in most global equity markets. The Dow was up 4.3%, the S&P 500 5.8% and the NASDAQ 6.2% for the quarter. Year-to-date the Dow was up 10%, the S&P 14.5% and the NASDAQ 19.6%. The news internationally was encouraging though mixed with European indices up 8% for the quarter and 11.8% for the year while Pacific indices were up 2% for the quarter and 7.4% for the year.

2012-10-04 Priming the Liquidity Pump by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

The global economy is often like a line of dominos. One piece tumbles, causing others to fall too. This year, weak economic growth and heavy debt burdens in many developed markets had a domino effect on emerging economies, and many investors lost confidence in both. In response, central banks have taken actions to boost economic growth and prime the liquidity pump.

2012-10-04 Monetary Mystification by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Central banks on both sides of the Atlantic took extraordinary monetary-policy measures in September, sending stock markets soaring. But politicians and markets in both Europe and America are mistaken if they believe that monetary policy can restore economic growth and boost employment.

2012-10-04 Nothing's Perfect by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

On September 21, the Apple iPhone 5 made its debut simultaneously on four continents. Its first weekend saw over five million in sales! And the current inventory was sold out within a week a perfect product introduction. Wellnot quite. Soon articles like iPhone 5′s Biggest Problems started showing up, talking about scratching, chipped exteriors, lens flares and others. Then there were complaints about its faulty Maps application that even drew a rare corporate apology last week. It just proves the point of this weeks Hotline: Nothings Perfect.

2012-10-03 The Fed Plays All Its Cards by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

There never really could be much doubt that the current experiment in competitive global currency debasement would end in anything less than a total war. There was always a chance that one or more of the principal players would snap out of it, change course and save their citizenry from a never ending cycle of devaluation. But developments since September 13, when the U.S. Federal Reserve finally laid all its cards on the table and went "all in" on permanent quantitative easing, indicate that the brainwashing is widely established and will be difficult to break.

2012-10-03 Has Unconventional Policy Helped Lower the Yield Curve? by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

With the funds rate stuck at zero for nearly four years, the Federal Reserve (Fed) has used a variety of unconventional policy tools in an effort to push longer-term interest rates lower. We think these actions affect markets in a variety of ways, and also that some of their effects may overlap.

2012-10-03 Let the Good Times Roll by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup

To summarize our current position, while we acknowledge there are many risks we feel those are already reflected in the market and stock prices will drift higher as investors begin to recognize the positive developments outlined above. Analysts remain very bearish and continue to recommend a below-average weighting to stocks. Moreover, despite strong returns from equities investors have pulled money from U.S. stock funds for 18 straight months and are largely under-allocated when compared to history.

2012-10-03 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Economic Armageddon by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

After the recent announcement by the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) that they would begin to engage in what has been deemed "QE3," there has been a lot of skepticism that such a plan could actually work. The Fed is attempting to carry out their dual mandate of price stability and full employment by engaging in a new round of asset purchasing targeted at the mortgage market.

2012-10-02 Confronting the Unemployment Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Policymakers seeking a path to economic recovery must first answer one crucial question: Is our persistently high unemployment structural or cyclical? If it's cyclical, then monetary and fiscal measures designed to boost consumer spending will restore the US to full employment in due course. But if we face a structural problem, then quick fixes won't work until we correct deeper imbalances that have left 12.5 million Americans without jobs.

2012-10-02 The 2010, 2011, 2012 Corrections Were P/E Multiple Related; Earnings Were Sound by George Bijak of GB Capital

We had nasty stock market corrections in the middle of 2010, 2011 and 2012 caused by political uncertainty about Europe's debt. In times of market declines it is good to remind ourselves the difference between a correction and a bear market.

2012-10-02 Are Markets Ready for a Correction? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Entering the final quarter of 2012, many investors may find themselves apprehensive about the outlook for markets and the broader economy. While the pace of economic disappointment appears to have slowed down and actually reversed according to the Citigroup Economic Surprise Index actual data levels continue to suggest an anemic economic state.

2012-10-02 QE and the Equity Market: Is the Fed Driving or Along For the Ride? by Patrick Lawler of PIMCO

Federal Reserve officials have said several times that among other benefits, its quantitative easing (QE) programs have helped boost U.S. equity prices. Based on our analysis, QE has not been the driving force behind rising equity prices in recent years. How does the Federal Reserve measure the success of its asset purchase programs, or quantitative easing (QE), since the 2008 financial crisis QE1, QE2, Operation Twist (OT) and QE3?

2012-10-01 Leap of Faith by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Both the economy and the financial markets will do fine in the longer-term, but to imagine that there will not first be major challenges and disruptions is a leap of faith and a leap over a century of economic and financial history that screams otherwise.

2012-10-01 Quantitative EasingBernanke Sizes Up the Risks by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Bernanke acknowledged four potential pitfalls in policywith a fifth lurking in the shadows.

2012-09-28 Gold Glitters by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Just a few weeks ago, Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, announced that he would do anything required to bailout the weakest members of the Eurozone and in so doing prevent the euro currency from dissolution. Two weeks ago, as signs of recession increased, Fed Chairman Bernanke announced he would do anything required to stimulate the U.S. economy, real estate, and the financial markets. But the biggest winners thus far that may have resulted from these newly communicated intentions are not the euro or the broad stock markets but rather gold and gold-related investments.

2012-09-28 The Permanent Portfolio Turns Japanese by Adam Butler, Mike Philbrick of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates

Our last few articles dealt with the Permanent Portfolio, a widely embraced static asset allocation concept proposed by Harry Browne in 1982. To review, the simple Permanent Portfolio consists of equal weight allocations to cash (T-bills), Treasuries, stocks and gold to ward against the four major financial states of the world.

2012-09-28 Schwab Market Perspective: Disrespected RallyCan It Continue? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

US equities are trading near five-year highs but numerous measures show investors remain skeptical. The enthusiasm following the Fed's announcement of more quantitative easing was short-lived, although the summer rally in stocks could be at least partially attributed to anticipation of more stimulus. The enthusiasm following the Fed's announcement of more quantitative easing was short-lived, although the summer rally in stocks could be at least partially attributed to anticipation of more stimulus.

2012-09-28 Commodity Stocks: Improving Returns With No Extra Volatility by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Not every investment is the same. Even within the commodities space, when looking at measures such as correlation, performance and risk, two indexes can have very different effects on a portfolios results.

2012-09-27 QE3: Better for Gold than the Economy? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The Fed's recent actions may not have much impact on the economy, but, as Russ explains, keeping interest rates low for an extended period may help support commodities, particularly gold.

2012-09-27 Gold Stocks or Apple: Which Holds a Place in Your Portfolio? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In a battle between the largest gold exchange traded fund and the biggest tech stock, which investment would get your vote? Would you choose gold because of the macroeconomic factors supporting the rise of the precious metal? Or do you put your money on Apple because of its overwhelming popularity?

2012-09-27 Its the (REAL, not the financial) economy, stupid! by Kane Cotton of Bellatore Financial, Inc.

The Fed is relying on the wealth effect. It can't directly bring down unemployment (i.e., part of the "real" economy), so it is focusing on the areas that it can affect, the financial economy and asset prices. Since both PCE and Core CPI inflation measures have been fairly low and are unlikely to become uncomfortably high in the near term due to the slack labor market, low capacity utilization and stagnant incomes, the Fed is again taking aim at asset prices.

2012-09-27 PIMCO'S Cyclical Outlook for Asia: Structural Slowdown Shaping Near-Term Growth Dynamics by Tomoya Masanao, Robert Mead, Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

Rather than a hard landing for China, we foresee a structural downshift that could be called a "New Normal with Chinese characteristics." Australia has considerable scope for additional rate cuts and more expansionary fiscal policy to address regional weaknesses. The Japanese economy will be affected by weak economic growth in China, which will add more pressure for the Bank of Japan to respond.

2012-09-26 Bernanke Put: Beware of Easy Money by Alex Merk of Merk Funds

Central bankers around the world may be providing a backstop to the financial markets in much the same way Greenspan did during the "Goldilocks" years, but when the short-term euphoria wears off, will the negative repercussions be even more severe?

2012-09-25 Jim Bianco ? Markets Will Benefit From Disastrous Fed Policy by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The Fed's quantitative easing policy will be 'disastrous,' according to Jim Bianco, but prices for riskier assets will rise over the near term as a result. In remarks last week, Bianco, the head of the Chicago-based economic research firm that bears his name, also gave the US economy a near-failing grade of C-, and warned that inflation will be 'problematic.'

2012-09-25 Bill Gross: Hedging Your Bet on Deflation versus Inflation by Ben Huebscher (Article)

Will deflation or inflation prevail? The answer to that one question determines portfolio construction, according to Bill Gross, founder, managing director, and co-CIO of PIMCO.

2012-09-25 Value Investing in a Macro-Driven Environment by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The GoodHaven Fund (GOODX) is managed by Larry Pitkowsky and Keith Trauner. For most of the previous decade, Larry and Keith held research, portfolio management, and executive positions with the Fairholme Fund. I spoke with them last week.

2012-09-25 Stocks Should Overcome Hurdles to Continue the Bull Market by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Although global economic data has been relatively weak in recent years, risk asset prices have nonetheless advanced. We would attribute this trend to the fact that weak economic growth does not, by itself, limit the potential for risk assets. In our view, the liquidity-driven reflationary policies of the world's central banks have been a more important factor for asset prices than economic growth levels have been.

2012-09-25 The Future Of Money Market Funds by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

The Financial Crisis of 2008 has left its mark on the capital markets and the economy, and money market mutual funds are one of those areas that were affected. One of the pieces of unfinished business following the financial crisis is improved regulation of money market mutual funds.

2012-09-24 Housing Recovery Still Young by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

The turnaround in the housing market is perhaps the brightest spot in an otherwise tepid economic recovery. Home sales, home building, and even home prices are all headed up. In the past twelve months, sales of existing homes are up 9% while sales of new homes are up 25%. Housing starts are up 29%. The two most prominent home price measures, Case-Shiller and FHFA, are both up at about a 7% annual rate in the past six months.

2012-09-24 ECB Throws Euro a Life Preserver by Philippe Brugere-Trelat of Franklin Templeton Investments

A few short months ago, the euro appeared to be in critical condition. The crushing weight of debt, particularly in Southern Europe, seemed to be sucking the life out of the European Union. Now that the European Central Bank has announced that it stands ready to provide some life support to the euro, the contagion fears seem to have ebbed, and one might even say predictions of its death were perhaps greatly exaggerated.

2012-09-22 QE Infinity: Unintended Consequences by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

Last Monday an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, penned by five PhDs in economics, among them a former Secretary of the Treasury and an almost-guaranteed Nobel laureate (and most of them former members of the President's Council of Economic Advisors) minced no words in excoriating the current QE policy. We will look at that op-ed in detail below. The point is that there are grave reservations about the current policy among some very serious policy makers.

2012-09-21 The Ramifications of a Robin Hood Tax by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Could a transaction tax have unintended consequence for American banks? While the jury is still out on that answer, Hungarys example is a reminder to policymakers to comprehensively consider the rewards of collecting a Robin Hood tax along with the risks. Profits and bank credit growth rates across Hungary plummeted due to the hefty bank levies imposed.

2012-09-20 QE n+1 What The Fed Is Really Up To by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

As I survey the news stories and other analysis on the Feds recent announcement, most fall short of describing what the Fed is really up to. Here is a hint: it's not really about employment. It's not really about "price stability" or really about growth either.

2012-09-19 Fed to Debase Dollar? by Alex Merk of Merk Funds

Is the Fed's goal to debase the U.S. dollar? The Federal Reserve's announcement of a third round of quantitative easing (QE3) might have been the worst kept secret, yet the dollar plunged upon the announcement. Is Bernanke intentionally debasing the dollar?

2012-09-19 Us and Them: Household Sector Deleveraging vs. Public Sector Leveraging by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The eruption of the financial crisis in 2008 unleashed a household deleveraging cycle, triggering unprecedented Fed easing and now QE∞. Next up, government sector deleveraging.

2012-09-18 Gundlach ? The End of the Bond Bull Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Likening bullishness on Treasury bonds to a 'mass psychosis,' Jeffrey Gundlach made his strongest statement yet that interest rates are about to rise. In a conference call with investors last Tuesday, he said that the rate on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond could increase by 100 basis points by the end of the year.

2012-09-18 Shock and Awe by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Almost twenty years ago, the US initiated a campaign of "Shock and Awe" with its bombing campaign on the Iraqi capital city of Bagdad. I bring this up because some commentators are comparing the Federal Reserve announcement made last week (not to mention the shocking new Arab unrest and murder of our Ambassador!) to the "Shock and Awe" of the first day of the Iraq War. What made it "Shock and Awe" was that the new Fed policy differed, according to John Carney at CNBC, in three ways from past Fed actions.

2012-09-18 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week the stock market got all it wanted from the Central Banks of Europe and here at home. The money presses have been put on full power. The result was a continuation of the stock market rally along with commodities while bonds suffered a setback as investors swapped out.

2012-09-18 Federal Reserve Actions Help the Rally to Continue by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

The headline news last week was the US Federal Reserve's announcement of a new round of quantitative easing in which the central bank plans to purchase $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities on a monthly basis (without a predetermined end date). The Fed also pushed back the timeframe on how long it will maintain its current zerointerest-rate policy, indicating that the current level of rates should be in effect through the middle of 2015.

2012-09-18 Fed Delivers another Big Dose of QE by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

Yesterday, the Fed delivered the much anticipated dose of Quantitative Easing (QE) announcing that it would continue to buy U.S. Agency Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) in an effort to further drive growth in the U.S. economy and decrease the ranks of the unemployed. The monthly purchase rate of $40 billion will be in addition to the already $10 billion that is being reinvested from QE 1&2 in mortgage-backed securities. This new money balance sheet expansion by the Fed accompanies additional guidance that the Fed would stay low on interest rates likely until mid-year 2015.

2012-09-18 Housing Recovery? Try Long Convalescence by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The US Federal Reserve's decision to expand quantitative easing is dramatic, but we don't think it will have a significant impact on the US housing market. While the extra liquidity is supportive of risky assets in the very near-term, lower mortgage rates are not a game-changer for a consumer still struggling with little income growth and too much debt.

2012-09-17 Low-Water Mark by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

As of Friday, our estimates of prospective return/risk for the S&P 500 have dropped to the single lowest point we've observed in a century of data. There is no way to view this as something other than a warning, but it's also a warning that I don't want to overstate. This is an extreme data point, but there has been no abrupt change; no sudden event; no major catalyst. We are no more defensive today than we were a week ago, because conditions have been in the most negative 0.5% of the data for months.

2012-09-17 Charlie Dreifus on the Global Economy and Its Impact on Stocks by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

Portfolio Manager Charlie Dreifus examines the data from Europe, China, and the U.S. and discusses how it may affect domestic stock prices.

2012-09-17 Ben Wants You To Spend Cash by John Petrides (Article)

This week the Federal Reserve launched its third round of monetary policy easing in as many years. Under QE3 (quantitative easing), the Fed will purchase $40 billion of mortgage backed securities on a monthly basis with the purpose of continuing to fuel the housing market. Under QE3, the Fed said it will keep its zero interest rate policy until mid-2015, with the goal of removing market assumptions of a rising rate environment. The Fed is and always will be data dependent, so all of these actions are subject to change.

2012-09-17 "QE" Stands for Quality Employment by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The Fed's expansive and open-ended quantitative easing program centers on building up a depleted workforce and quickening the pace of the housing recovery, but higher inflation and tight credit could play the role of spoiler. Buying mortgage-backed securities and pushing interest rates lower is designed to boost the housing sector, help loosen lending standards, stimulate corporate spending and increase foreign demand for U.S. products. This is a tall order and there are many "ifs" in this scenario, but the flexibility and breadth of QE3 increases the likelihood of its effectiveness.

2012-09-17 Main Street Policy...Seriously? by Jason Doiron of Sentinel Investments

In case you did not catch the press conference last week, Ben Bernanke believes that his latest round of quantitative easing will benefit Main Street. Seriously? The notion that Main Street will benefit from the Fed purchasing an additional $40 billion per month of agency-backed MBS is preposterous to us.

2012-09-15 The Direction of the Compromise by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

I think this election has the potential to be one of those rare times, at least in terms of economic outcomes. In Thoughts from the Frontline we cover economics and investments, money and finance. We only rarely stray into the political world, and then only glancingly. Today, we cross that gray line, but at a somewhat different angle, as we look at the economic consequences of the political decision that will come with the choices we make in November in the US.

2012-09-14 Afraid of QE3? Buy Real Assets by Seth J. Masters of AllianceBernstein

We expect to see continued asset-buying announcements from central banks around the world: the ECB last month, the Fed today, the Bank of Japan imminently. The impact of these announcements, and ensuing implementations on the real economy, are likely to be ambiguous at best. However, our research suggests that real assets such as real estate and commodities will profit from asset purchases in the near term and protect from related inflationary risks in the medium term.

2012-09-14 Open-Ended Easing by Carl Tannenbaum and Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) took a very forceful set of steps this week, designed to stimulate what officials have called a "frustrating" job market. Our updated forecast suggests that the growth trajectory of the US economy is positive but sufficiently sub-par for the Fed to have initiated additional monetary policy support. There are increasing signs that China's economy is slowing more than the official readings would suggest.

2012-09-14 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

It is a heads I wintails you lose - scenario for American farmers. Everyone has heard about the drought throughout the U.S. being the worst since the 50s. However, dont feel too badly for the farmers as their net income will hit a record $122 billion this year. How can that possibly be, given all of the crops drying up? Easy. Since the supply is down and demand remains the same, the price has jumped dramatically and has offset the loss of yield per acre.

2012-09-14 QE3: Ineffective Parachute for Fiscal Cliff by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While the most likely scenario is that Washington reaches a compromise at the last minute, until then the uncertainty will keep the markets volatile and potentially drag down fourth quarter growth. Given recent comments out of Congress, there is also a non-trivial chance that we will, at least temporarily, go over the cliff. If that happens, QE3 will not be a particularly effective parachute.

2012-09-14 Operation Screw by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The Fed will try to conjure a recovery on the backs of currency debasement. It will not stop or alter from this course. If the economy fails to respond to the drugs, Bernanke will simply up the dosage. In fact, he is so convinced we will remain dependent on quantitative easing that he explicitly said he won't turn off the spigots even if things noticeably improve. In other words, the dollar is screwed.

2012-09-14 Dont Be the Equivalent of a Stock Market Racist by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Common stocks are very different and come in all assortments, sizes, shapes and flavors. Consequently, we encourage investors to think more specifically and rely more on the precise characteristics of the individual company or companies they are contemplating. Worrying about the general state of the economy or the stock market, or their future direction, is not only an exercise in futility, but an unnecessary exercise as well.

2012-09-14 All Signs Pointing to Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So, gold investors, if you havent put in your orders, consider getting them in quickly, because the bulls are buying. Credit Suisse saw 'massive inflows' into gold exchange-traded products in August after experiencing significant outflows compared to crude oil and the broader market in March, April, May and July. August shows a clear preference toward gold.

2012-09-14 Central Banks Take Center Stage by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Accommodative central banks have traditionally been good for equities and stocks have responded positively to recent action. However, each market reaction to US Fed action has been shorter in length and challenges persist. Although recent economic data has been beating relatively low expectations, it is still not meeting the Fed's hopes. We appreciate the sentiment of wanting to stimulate growth, but the Fed's power is limited. It's down the street in Washington where the real power to stimulate growth lies.

2012-09-13 Fiddling at the Fire by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Worldwide, political leaders are putting off the economic reforms needed to avoid a painful, if not catastrophic, endgame. But, as everyone kicks the can down the road, the can is getting heavier and, in the major emerging markets and advanced economies alike, is quickly approaching a brick wall.

2012-09-13 U.S. Dollar: Don't worry, be happy by Alex Merk of Merk Funds

May we suggest a Twitter version of today's FOMC statement: "Don't worry, be happy!" The Fed may want you to take a valium to stomach the ride ahead. Will the latest statement by the Fed put the U.S. dollar at risk of melting away under your feet?

2012-09-13 Fed Sets Sail on QE3 by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

They did it. The Federal Reserve today announced a third round of quantitative easing, making an open-ended commitment to buy additional mortgage-backed securities at a pace of $40 billion per month. The Fed said it also will "closely monitor" the economy and financial markets and continue these purchases and possibly expand them until they see substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market.

2012-09-11 Ponzi Games by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Whatever schemes the European Central Bank may cook up over the next few months will only prove short-term liquidity relief to what are long-term insolvency problems. Like any Ponzi scheme, the last money in is going to be hurt the worst when the charade comes to an end. In the meantime, investors proceed at their own risk.

2012-09-11 Ready, Set, Fed! Weak Jobs Report Raises QE3 Odds by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ says the US Federal Reserve Open Market Committee has more reason to consider quantitative easing at this week's meeting, after the latest payroll report suggests the US economic recovery is likely to remain weak into the end of the year.

2012-09-11 The Winds of Market Change by Mark Mobius, Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton Investments

As we cross the mid-way point of the year, you might say the equity and fixed income markets have been a lot like the recent weather in much of the world: uncertain, and tending toward extremes. The perception of a stormy economic climate has driven some equity valuations to extremely low levels, particularly in Europe, and investors have been pouring into fixed income despite extremely low yields.

2012-09-11 Fed Preview: Time to Forge Ahead by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

I got home at about 8 one evening last week, and it looked like a bomb had gone off inside my house. The shrapnel included empty pop cans, open bags of snacks, and scores of used napkins. The sink was filled with dirty dishes, and laundry (clean, or dirty?) was strewn about the floor. No one was home, leading me to suspect that the explosion had done them all in.

2012-09-10 Late-Stage, High-Risk by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The market conditions we observe at present are very familiar from the standpoint of historical data, matching those that have appeared prior to the most violent market declines on record (e.g. 1973-74, 1987, 2000-2002, 2007-2009).

2012-09-10 Performance Anxiety?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

In last week's verbal strategy comments I suggested participants study the chart pattern of the S&P 500 (SPX/1437.92) and then think about what it would feel like if you were an underinvested portfolio manager (PM), or even worse a hedge fund that is massively short of stocks betting on a big decline. The concurrent performance anxiety would be legend because not only would you have performance risk, but also bonus risk and ultimately job risk.

2012-09-10 Back to School: Summer Vacation Ends for Central Bankers by Andrew Boczek of Sentinel Investments

The heady days of "Maestro" Alan Greenspan may be long gone. Nonetheless, most of us still take for granted that similarly wise men and women, aloof from the pressures of politics and short term market fluctuations, have the capacity to set the proper price of our most precious commodity: time. Or said another way, to set an effective interest rate policy that encourages either savings or spending, today or in the future, to help manage long term economic stability.

2012-09-10 Are Labor Markets the Key to Fed Easing? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Widely reported last week was anemic labor market growth in August. Some talking heads took this news in stride, assuming this would guarantee further market intervention by the Fed, but there is a danger in assuming any form of quantitative easing will alleviate the intermediate-term concerns of the market.

2012-09-08 Debt Be Not Proud by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

The unemployment numbers came out yesterday, and the drums for more quantitative easing are beating ever louder. The numbers were not all that good, but certainly not disastrous. But any reason will do, if what you want is more stimulus to boost the markets ever higher. Today we will look first at the employment numbers, because deeper within the data is a real story. Then we look at how effective any monetary stimulus is likely to be.

2012-09-07 The ECB: No Rest for the Weary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The economic picture in Europe is worsening, exposing flaws in the foundation of the euro compact. The European Central Bank is trying its best, but remains hindered by its charter. European policy makers should focus on stabilizing the situation first, and seeking retribution later.

2012-09-07 The Federal Reserves Next Move: QE3? Perspectives on U.S. monetary policy by Team of Janus Capital Group

We believe the Fed will take additional action by mid-September to stimulate the economy, probably through a third round of quantitative easing. U.S. economic growth remains well below potential and is slowing, and the Fed is not meeting its dual mandate to ensure price stability and full employment. We recently reduced our 2012 GDP growth estimate to between 1.5% and 1.7%.

2012-09-07 The Fed's Campaign by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

This past Friday, as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered his annual address from Jackson Hole - the State of the Dollar, if you will - I couldn't help but hear it as an incumbent's campaign speech. While Wall Street was hoping for some concrete announcement, what we got was a mushy appraisal of the Fed's handling of the financial crisis so far and a suggestion that more 'help' is on the way.

2012-09-07 Chinas Next Act by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

World markets may not have to wait much longer for Chinese policymakers to act, as the government recently announced new infrastructure projects. According to Bloomberg, China approved 25 new subway construction projects, with related investments estimated to be more than 840 billion yuan. Railway, subway and construction stocks in China increased on the news. China is in much better shape than the rest of the world. A powerful rebalancing strategy offers the structural and cyclical support that will allow it to avoid a hard landing.

2012-09-06 September 12th Looms Large for Germany by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The German economy is undoubtedly the powerhouse of Europe. As a result, an understanding of the developments within Germany can offer a strong indication of the path that the rest of Europe is likely to take. Until recently, Germany stood as a bastion of sound money against those Keynesian led regimes in the developed nations that favor continual currency debasement as an economic panacea.

2012-09-06 Laboring a Point by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Right before Labor Day each year we are treated to a major policy speech at the Federal Reserve Board's meeting of the Fed's Open Market Committee. In 2010, we were treated to suggestions from Chairman Bernanke that a new period of Quantitative Easing was near. And sure enough, the Federal Reserve announced QE2 on October 22nd of that year.

2012-09-04 Civility by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Webster's defines "civility" as: civilized conduct; especially: courtesy, politeness. But, there was no civility last Friday afternoon. The place, CNBC; the time 3:05 p.m.; the anchors Michelle Caruso-Cabrera and Bill Griffith; the show "Closing Bell"; the guests were myself, Bill Spiropoulos, Lee Munson, and Matt McCormick. The interview started off well enough with each interviewee responding to the anchors' questions.

2012-09-04 All QE, All the Time by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

In a week of relatively light trading to wrap up the summer, equity markets trickled lower, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.5% and the S&P 500 Index fell 0.3%. It was a mixed week of economic data in the U.S., but markets were clearly locked in on Ben Bernanke's speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. News on housing seems to confirm that a bottom is in place, while manufacturing data continues to move in all different directions.

2012-09-01 The Consequences of Easy Monetary Policy by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We heard from Bernanke today with his Jackson Hole speech. Not quite the fireworks of his speech ten years ago, but it does offer us a chance to contrast his thinking with that of another Federal Reserve official who just published a paper on the Dallas Federal Reserve website. Bernanke laid out the rationalization for his policy of ever more quantitative easing. But how effective is it?

2012-08-30 Opportunity Cost: Emotions by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

Emotions may be keeping your clients in cash, putting their long-term goals at risk. Taking a snapshot of headlines and it is not hard to discern where investors' predispositions lay.

2012-08-30 The ESM: Saviour, Super SIV or End of the Road? by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

So long as the fundamental issues about the future of the eurozone remain unsolved, the extra supply of ESM bonds will likely drive up the borrowing costs of its weaker stakeholders. Without a cap on or exit clause from additional capital calls, the ESM could lead northern eurozone countries down a difficult and unsustainable path.

2012-08-29 Is Inflation Returning? by Martin Feldstein of Project Syndicate

Inflation is now low in every industrial country, and the combination of high unemployment and slow GDP growth removes the usual sources of upward pressure on prices. Nevertheless, financial investors are increasingly worried that inflation will eventually begin to rise, owing to the large expansion of commercial bank reserves engineered by the United States Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (ECB).

2012-08-27 Inside the Feds Head by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Now more than ever, investors are getting a glimpse into the minds of policy makers. While economic forecasts remain foggy, recent FOMC minutes reveal why the Fed is sharpening its tools and which ones it is likely to use.

2012-08-27 Janitor's Job by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Peter Drucker was a writer, consultant, and teacher who was deemed the father of modern management theory. His groundbreaking work turned management theory into a serious discipline, and he influenced or created nearly every facet of its application. He coined such terms as the "knowledge worker," which plays to the intangible capital theme often discussed in these missives.

2012-08-27 Letter From Fed Camp by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The minutes of the July 31/August 1 Federal Open Market Committee provided clear insight into the Fed's policy debate. At that meeting "many" FOMC members felt that "additional monetary accommodation would likely be warranted fairly soon unless incoming information pointed to a substantial and sustainable strengthening in the pace of the economic recovery."

2012-08-27 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

When Ben Bernanke talks...investors listen, Republican moans, Romney belittles, and markets react. For now, the jury is still out about any upcoming stimulus move as the policymakers appear far from consensus. Housing continued its rebounding ways, though manufacturing again raised concerns. Europe still appears to be in disarray as Greece takes direction (and a scolding) from its stronger brethren. Stocks ended their nice winning streak, though closed the week on a high note.

2012-08-24 Is a Japan-Style "Lost Decade" Ahead for the US? by Sharon Fay of AllianceBernstein

The laborious pace of the US recovery has inevitably fostered comparisons with Japan. But we find several reasons why a protracted slump like Japan's is unlikely, as my colleague Gerry Paul argues. After five years of tepid growth, investors can be forgiven for wondering if the US is headed for a decades-long slump like Japan's.

2012-08-24 Large Cap Value: Review and Outlook by Richard Helm of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the U.S. large cap value market as of July 31, 2012. For the month, the Russell 1000 Value Index had a total return of 1.0%, compared with a total return of 1.4% for the S&P 500 Index.

2012-08-24 Gold: First Mover Advantage by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week, gold bugs were rewarded with the long-awaited positive momentum in the yellow metal, and on Friday, bullion rose to about $1,670. After falling below the 200-day moving average, gold had been stuck in quicksand for several months. With the jumps in the price this week, bullion swiftly rose above this critically important long-term moving average.

2012-08-22 The Faustian Bargain by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

In Goethe's 1831 drama Faust, the devil persuades a bankrupt emperor to print and spend vast quantities of paper money as a short-term fix for his country's fiscal problems. As a consequence, the empire ultimately unravels and descends into chaos. Today, governments that have relied upon quantitative easing (QE) instead of undertaking necessary structural reforms have arguably entered into the grandest Faustian bargain in financial history.

2012-08-21 Inflation Subdued, But Will It Last? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

As the economy continues to grind along at a sub-optimal rate of growth, many pundits are calling for additional quantitative easing measures from the Federal Reserve. Recent inflation data keeps the door open for further easing, but pockets of higher prices exist, keeping the Fed at bay.

2012-08-20 QE3: Tackling the Big Questions by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Will the Fed launch another round of quantitative easing? If so, when? Here are the factors that could influence the central bank's decision.

2012-08-17 Press Play by Liam Molloy, Bethany Carlson of Galway Investment Strategy

The Treasury has doled out approximately $10.5 billion on excess bank reserves over the last four years. The emergency Fed policy of paying 25 basis points on excess reserves was enacted on October 6, 2008 to incentivize banks to hold them in the midst of the financial crisis. It worked. But the policy also introduced another headwind to velocity of money.

2012-08-17 Groundhog Day: Will Septembers Sell-off Repeat? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Investors might feel they are trapped in their own version of Groundhog Day this year as Russ K expects September, which has historically been the worst month of the year for capital markets, to once again fall victim to its well-documented negative seasonal bias.

2012-08-15 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

There are bears out there who are extremely disappointed that the U.S. has not entered another recession over the past three plus years. Certainly, the 18 months of downturn in the markets that began in October of 2007 and culminated in March 2009 gave them a lot to cheer about. But, since then, they have looked everywhere possible to come up with bad news.

2012-08-14 Blind Faith by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Central banks are facing political and practical obstacles that will render it very difficult for them to deliver anything more than anodyne words and actions as summer moves into the always dangerous August holiday season. IPhones should be kept on alert at the beach through Labor Day.

2012-08-14 The Eurozone Drama Continues by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we will review the political and economic structure of the Eurozone. From there, we will discuss the critical event that caused the reversal in safety assets and what this reversal likely means for the geopolitics of the Eurozone. As always, we will conclude with potential market ramifications.

2012-08-13 Which Way Will the Pendulum Swing for Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

One of the most fascinating aspects when watching a sporting event like the Olympics is the historical statistics highlighting the tremendous advances in athleticism over the years. In the spirit of the events this summer, BTN Research compared gold's advancement from the beginning of the games in Beijing to the London Olympics.

2012-08-13 Begging for Trouble by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Investors remain so addicted to the temporary high of monetary intervention that they are practically begging to be shot, mauled by dogs, and diced by a Veg-O-Matic so they can get their next fix of pain-killers.

2012-08-13 Stocks Look Poised for Continued Gains by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Although investor attention seems focused on a number of well-known downside risks (including the European debt crisis, hesitant US economic growth and the pending US fiscal cliff), stocks have continued to climb higher and last week notched their fifth consecutive week of gains.

2012-08-10 2012 2Q Economic - Capital Market Summary by Greg Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

The single biggest driver for the economy and investment returns is the deleveraging process which we are currently struggling through. Arguably, we have successfully transferred debt from the financial sector to the U.S. government through the Fed's QE programs. As we move through the long process of reducing debt, economic growth inevitably moderates as resources are applied to debt reduction rather than fixed investment and consumption within the economy. As a result, expected returns on financial assets are lower.

2012-08-10 Citius, Altius, Fortius by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Countries across the globe seek faster, higher, stronger growth. Central banks in the United States and Europe are both seeking new ways to stimulate economic activity. Recent news from the housing market has been encouraging, but the race to recovery is likely to be a marathon, not a sprint. Headwinds blowing from Europe and China will continue to present significant downside risks to U.S. economic growth.

2012-08-10 Dog Days by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We now appear to be firmly in the dog days of summer. Low volume and little conviction may dominate but investors need to stay vigilant and now is a good time to prepare for the fall. The recent Fed meeting yielded no new action, but policy makers reiterated that they will act if necessary. We are skeptical that more stimulus measures will have a lasting impact. A waiting game has ensued in Europe as investors look for action following hopeful comments from various officials. But despite concerns over corn prices, central banks will continue to ease, helping to support global growth.

2012-08-08 Monthly Product Commentary: International Equity - July 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

International equities made modest gains during the month of July on repeated assurances from European policymakers that they will explore all possible steps to prevent a collapse of the monetary union and arrest further economic decline. Developed markets in Europe's Nordic region and the Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, as well as select emerging markets in Asia ended with healthy gains for the month.

2012-08-07 Promises, Promises by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

In the last week of July, ECB President Mario Draghi attracted investor interest worldwide by saying that he would do "whatever it takes" to solve the Eurozone crisis and, in the process, save the euro. Given the record of Central bankers for encouraging hopes that invariably have proved fruitless, it was surprising how international financial markets appeared to be taken for yet another ride.

2012-08-07 The Not So Super Hero by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The past week provided clear lessons not just in how central bankers have a limited ability to positively influence the economy but also how they are limited in their capacity to deliver the shortsighted policy actions that investors currently crave. The developments should provide new reasons for investors and economy watchers to abandon their faith in central bankers as super heroes capable of saving the economy.

2012-08-06 Why the Long Face? by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Back in early 2009, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Business teamed up to create the Financial Trust Index. The latest readings from July 2012 show that just 21% of Americans trust the financial system and only 15% trust the stock market. For many, this negativity is understandable.

2012-08-05 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

One of the so-called potential benefits of a 401(k) plan is the ability of the participant to borrow money from the plan. Generally, a participant can borrow up to $50,000 from the plan and pay themselves interest. The loan must be repaid within a five year period of time.

2012-08-03 GDP Report: "Good News" - You've Got to be Kidding! by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

We dissect last Fridays controversial 2Q GDP report, which most found disappointing but some in the mainstream media found encouraging (ie at least were not in a recession). From there, well discuss the Feds latest monetary policy meeting that ends tomorrow. The stock markets rallied strongly last week, partly on perceived good news from Europe, and partly because of renewed expectations that the GDP report would be weak enough to move the Fed to enact QE3.

2012-08-02 Q1 GDP Revised Upward; Q2 Growth Remains Sluggish by Team of American Century Investments

The 1.5% rise in gross domestic product (GDP) for the second quarter was in line with market expectations, while growth for 1Q was revised up slightly to 2.0%. The major U.S. equity markets fared well, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing above 13,000 for the first time since may. In other news, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets this week, which could result in a third round of quantitative easing.

2012-08-01 Whither Global Stocks? Be Sure to Track This Data by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Sometimes, either weak economic numbers or strong economic numbers can point to a surge in US and global equities. This could be one of those weeks. Russ has his eye on two important economic reports that are being released this week, and he explains why weak data may be positive for global equities.

2012-08-01 The Vanishing Treasury Yield by Team of Neuberger Berman

Although Treasury bonds have performed well in recent years, investors should be aware of increasing risks as yields decline. Yields for 10-year Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities have been persistently negative since the fourth quarter of 2011 and continue to trend lower, implying that investors are paying increasingly higher prices for the relative safety these investments are supposed to provide.

2012-07-30 No Such Thing as Risk? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In the face of present enthusiasm over central bank interventions, one almost wonders why nations across the world and throughout recorded history have ever had to deal with economic recessions or fluctuations in the financial markets.

2012-07-30 Legends of the Fall 2012 by Nicholas Field of Schroder Investment Management

Are there any lessons from history for global stock markets, including emerging markets? Despite strong economic fundamentals, emerging stock markets have been negatively impacted by the global financial crisis and the European crisis. The outcome for all stock markets, including emerging markets, significantly depends on how these problems are resolved. In this context can previous crises, including the 1930's, give us any clues regarding timing?

2012-07-30 Looking Past Weak Data; Awaiting Policy Responses by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Although last week featured some lackluster economic and earnings news, investors continued to focus their attention on the growing possibility of additional monetary policy action, particularly from Europe. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 2.0% to 13,075, the S&P 500 Index advanced 1.7% to 1,385 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.1% to 2,958.

2012-07-30 The Longest Yard by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons, Andrew Bosomworth, Isaac Meng of PIMCO

As the global slowdown progresses, we can expect central banks to deploy more policy tools without limits to stem the pace of deleveraging. In Europe, quantitative easing using ESM bonds could prove to be another bridge that buys politicians more time, but does not solve the root problem. We expect real economic growth in China to be muted. While some stabilization is possible later this year, it is hard to foresee a sustained recovery.

2012-07-27 Challenging the Paradigms of Investing by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Global investors constantly need to be watchful of individual biases, impaired thinking and emotional reactions that can have an adverse effect on a portfolio. One of our values at U.S. Global Investors is to always be curious to learn and improve, and the Investor Alert was borne from a belief that shareholders want to understand the very subtle nuances of biases and misconceptions. I have selected a few that I believe challenge the paradigms of investing.

2012-07-27 FOMC Preview: Christening QE III by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Look for the Federal Reserve to embark on a new round of quantitative easing next week.

2012-07-25 Top Line Growth Stalling Amid Global Weakness by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

At this juncture, positive catalysts seem few and far between. According to FactSet, 18 of 22 companies have already guided lower for the third quarter. Analysts are also ratcheting down forecasts quickly, with flat earnings growth expected in Q3. While growth is expected to pick back up in the fourth quarter, analysts have not cut those estimates aggressively yet. If the economic picture does not improve in the next few months, expect a pattern of downgrades to follow suit.

2012-07-25 Global Bonds - Where To Now? by Nic Pifer of Columbia Management

Economic data over the past four months show a clear softening trend in global economic activity. From our perspective, the muddle-along, sluggish global growth scenario remains very much intact. Highly accommodative monetary policies by the major central banks are helping support activity and contain downside risk.

2012-07-25 Economic Review: Americas - 2Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Among the developed economies in the region, growth forecasts for both the U.S. and Canada have been revised lower. Though the U.S. outlook has weakened, the Mexican economy has so far remained unaffected, as manufactured goods from the country remain competitive in export markets. Brazil is yet to see a recovery even after a series of monetary and fiscal measures taken since the second half of last year to support the economy.

2012-07-25 One More Dance by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO

We are witnessing a synchronized slowdown worldwide that is beginning to affect corporate profits. The most likely right-tail event is the Federal Reserve launching another round of quantitative easing. We dont believe liquidity alone can engineer sustainable, real economic growth in the context of a secular deleveraging cycle. But we acknowledge that equity portfolios would likely benefit should the Fed keep the music playing a little longer.

2012-07-24 The Upside of Low Interest Rates for Pension Plans: Issuing Debt to Fund Pension Liabilities by Jared Gross, Seth Ruthen of PIMCO

Issuing debt allows a sponsor to de-risk without waiting for market events or cash contributions to reach the level of funding that triggers a shift in asset allocation. There are a number of ways in which a sponsor may benefit from replacing inefficient debt (in the form of a pension deficit) with the tax and accounting advantages of marketable debt.

2012-07-23 Quarterly Market Overview by Robert Carey of First Trust Advisors

While it is nice to get the news in real time, the need for speed on the information superhighway can lead to incomplete or erroneous reporting. Look no further than the current election campaign season where the finger pointing has already started between President Obama and Mitt Romney. Good thing the Internet has also brought us some fact-checkers to help sort things out. Helping to sort things out is what we strive to do for our clients, as well.

2012-07-23 Economic Review: Developed Europe Second Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Europe remained on tenterhooks for the greater part of the April-June quarter, but ended the period on a high note. At their Brussels summit on June 28-29, European leaders chalked out two crucial policies. They decided that the monetary unions permanent bailout fund or European Stability Mechanism (ESM) would be allowed to provide capital to ailing banks directly rather than through the governments of the countries in which they are located.

2012-07-22 Extraordinary Strains by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

A broad array of observable evidence suggests extraordinary strains in Europe, and abrupt though expected deterioration in U.S. economic activity. The Federal Reserve certainly has policy options, but those options have no material transmission mechanism to the real economy.

2012-07-20 No Armageddon, but Consequences by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

In a time of severe stress and crisis, its easy to come to the conclusion that Armageddon is upon us. Those who believe the European Union is going to split up and Chinas growth will come to a screeching halt are probably building bunkers and sharpening their survival skills right about now. Hasenstab isnt in panic mode. In fact, hes optimistic the eurozone will survive, and that no, China wont move back into the feudal age.

2012-07-19 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Recent escalations in the euro crisis and weaker-than-expected global economic data have led to widespread calls for further stimulus. Global leaders believe they are addressing the issue, with China and the ECB lowering interest rates and the Bank of England announcing an additional 50 billion sterling of quantitative easing. We are skeptical about the benefits of such policy action and believe that the U.S. and Europe each require different solutions to solve their fiscal issues.

2012-07-18 Peaks and Valleys by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Second quarter economic activity disappointed on many fronts. The drama in Europe has taken its toll on exports, markets, and confidence. The 2012 election is starting to take shape, amid the approach of a huge fiscal "cliff" at the national and local level. The negativity and uncertainty which often surround Presidential campaigns may hinder economic and market performance. This months special focus is on the Fed's recent Survey of Consumer Finances, and what it means for our economy.

2012-07-17 Gundlach ? Avoid Riskier Assets by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Since early this year, Jeffrey Gundlach has warned investors to avoid exposure to riskier assets ? among them, equities, non-dollar-denominated securities and sovereign debt. Still reluctant to move to a more aggressive position, Gundlach said on Thursday that 'substantial opportunities await,' but they may be as much as a year away.

2012-07-17 Game of Thrones by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

An economy consists of a gazillion simple transactions, all working together; and our economy used to be grounded is such factors such as supply and demand, growth, and imports and exports. But today the economy is driven by the political rhetoric of our elected officials as it relates to regulations, taxes, and anticipation of QE3. We are in global slowdown mode, and to understand how we should invest we need to better understand what deleveraging will mean over the coming couple years.

2012-07-17 Dependence Day by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The Fourth of July week brought unwelcome birthday gifts to the United States in the form of poor domestic jobs data and similarly gloomy information from other major economies. Amidst the heat and festivities, it has become difficult to deny that the economy is deteriorating. Politicians appear helpless, thrashing about for a solution and blaming everything and everyone but themselves.

2012-07-16 The Third Law of Randomness by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Proper investing doesn't rule out randomness and unpredictability, particularly when it comes to individual events. It instead diversifies against randomness both across holdings at each point in time, and across time by repeatedly acting on the basis of averages instead of individual forecasts.

2012-07-16 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Now that's a nice way to end a losing streak. After six consecutive down days (and little in the way to promote optimism), investors jumped back into the equity pool feet first and the Dow surged over 200 on the final day of trading. In terms of new news, the JP Morgan earnings announcement was not as bad as expected (I guess), though investors may have been looking for any excuse to seek out bargains in the aftermath of a pretty dreary week-plus.

2012-07-16 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Europe's sovereign debt crisis continued to hound the global equity markets throughout the second quarter, while economic data from the U.S. was also lackluster. Despite a late recovery, the Japanese equity market fell during the April-June quarter, owing to instability in the European financial system, economic distress in Europe, the U.S. and China, and the yens appreciation.

2012-07-16 We Are All Alone by John Nyaradi of Wall Street Sector Selector

Global markets seem to be pricing in a new round of quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve. Dr. Bernanke and his colleagues will likely comply sometime between now and December. However, even with more quantitative easing, investors cant count on the Federal Reserve to rescue the stock market and their portfolios. We are on our own, and here's why.

2012-07-13 Looking Past Negativity to See Opportunity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Tremendous population growth, changes in government policies, development of new technologies, urbanization trends work the same way. Its what Jeremy Grantham called the great paradigm shift and they have equally dramatic effects on how we invest in commodities, change opportunities and adjust for risk. Smart investors look past the rampant negativity in the media to see these patterns and anomalies to determine where the opportunities and threats lie.

2012-07-12 Bond Market Review & Outlook by James Balfour of Loomis Sayles

The liquidity-driven rush into riskier assets that dominated the first quarter faded during the second quarter. The European sovereign debt and banking crisis was once again the primary catalyst, but softer economic data in the US and China also fed negative investor sentiment. Global liquidity suffered following the end of the European Central Banks (ECBs) long-term refinancing operation (LTRO).

2012-07-10 The Plight of the Conservative Retiree by Michael Nairne (Article)

Today's extraordinarily low rates on top of a lower equity premium leave conservative retirees with the risk of heightened capital depletion as poorer portfolio returns may be inadequate to offset the combined impact of withdrawals and inflation.

2012-07-09 What if the Fed Throws a QE3 and Nobody Comes? by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

When we look around the globe, we find that the impact of quantitative easing is rarely much greater than the market decline that preceded it. Investors seem to be putting an enormous amount of faith in a policy that does little but help stocks recover the losses of the prior 6 month period, with scant evidence of any durable effects on the real economy.

2012-07-09 Level Best by Richard Clarida of PIMCO

Craving instant information gratification, many of us spend much time trying to forecast and analyze short-term changes in economic data. Looking at the trends in the levels of economic data over a period of five to seven years provides refreshing insight and perspective on the economy that are often distorted by the daily data noise. Specifically, trends in the Consumer Price Index, the U.S. Dollar Index and real GDP reveal important insights about the economy, markets and policy.

2012-07-09 Weekly Commentary and Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks around the world have spent the past two weeks reacting to various announcements from government leaders and central bankers. Additionally, the economic news has certainly been found wanting both here and around the globe.

2012-07-06 Central Banks Take Steps to Stimulate Economic Growth by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

Following the Feds extension of Operation Twist on June 20, 2012, the European Central Bank (ECB), Peoples Bank of China (PBoC), and the Bank of England (BoE) put in place new monetary policy support today as gloomy economic data have trickled in during recent weeks.

2012-07-06 Are You Limited by Linear Thinking? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Dont be limited by linear thinking in your portfolio. As an alternative to low yielding Treasury bonds, consider resources stocks that pay dividends. Weve found that most materials, utilities and energy stocks in the S&P 500 Index pay a dividend higher than the 10-year Treasury: Materials and utilities companies yield an average of 2.3 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, while energy stocks pay an average yield of 2.2 percent. Nonlinear thinkers have historically benefited from the inclusion of natural resources as part of a balanced portfolio.

2012-07-05 And That's the Quarter That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

So much for that Random Walk Theory. During the past two years, equities started strong before running into headwinds in the second quarter and Europe (namely Greece) was perceived to be the primary culprit. As another very solid first quarter came to a close, perhaps smart investors should have been looking at charts and reading the Greek press to predict another downturn.

2012-07-03 Of Mice and Men by Michael Shamosh of Corby Asset Management

We have all spent our share of time at amusement parks. We always marvel at the degree of engineering required to subject the human body to stresses not present in our ordinary day. Those screams mean something. Investing is often described as similar to riding a roller coaster, where the rapid ups and downs can subject ones emotional framework to feelings of exhilaration, fear, and pain. We liken it to a ride called the Wild Mouse, one you might have spent some time on in your youth.

2012-07-03 Let's Twist Again by Daniel Kurland of Corby Asset Management

Ben Bernanke must be nostalgic for his childhood. On June 19th in the summer of 1961, when Chairman Bernanke was only 8 years old, Chubby Checker released his smash hit, Lets Twist Again. Chairman Bernanke, citing decreased inflationary concerns and heightened employment weakness, announced that Operation Twist, which had been set to expire at the end of June, would be extended until the end of the year.

2012-06-29 Fat Tails by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks have moved modestly higher and may now be in a relatively large trading range. US economic growth remains sluggish and is drifting dangerously close to stall speed. Policymakers in Europe appeared to make some progress in the most recent summit, but much is left to be done and time is running out. Meanwhile, global growth is slowing and central banks are attempting to stem the decline.

2012-06-29 Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch... by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

With worries about Europe and the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act behind us, we can go back to looking at the economy. At issue is whether recent signs of slowing were an illusion or more real. In particular, the June job market figures will be critical.

2012-06-28 European Leaders Play With Fire by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The world economy today stands at the doorstep of great change. A gathering crisis looms in Europe, splitting the Continent into two competing blocs. While leaders there face off against one another in a high stakes game of chicken, the rest of the world powerlessly watches the train wreck slowly unfold.

2012-06-26 Running on Empty by Marie Schofield of Columbia Management

In a move that was more anti-climax than comforting, the Federal Reserve (Fed) satisfied the minimum expectation of the markets and extended Operation Twist, or the MEP (Maturity Extension Program), through the end of the year thankfully taking us beyond the election period.

2012-06-26 Playing Against the House by Shane Shepherd of Research Affiliates

Some observers have compared the stock market to gambling in a casino. This issue of Fundamentals examines how investing in sovereign debt markets can resemble playing against the house.

2012-06-25 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Ahthe doldrums of summer. Sure Greece just completed crucial elections that could have dramatic impact on the euro-zone and the global economy; AND Spain just saw its interest rates rise above the key seven percent level into traditional bailout territory; AND JP Morgan, of failed hedging fame, just received a major ratings downgrade by Moodys Investors Services; AND Facebook disappointed the investment world with its disastrous IPO, a comedy of errors for most everyone involved

2012-06-25 Enter, the Blindside Recession by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The joint evidence suggests that the U.S. economy has entered a recession that will eventually be marked as having started presently. In recent months, our measures of leading economic pressures have indicated the likelihood of an oncoming U.S. recession.

2012-06-25 Let's Twist Again by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

It looks like the Fed is finally facing up to the facts. The U.S. economic recovery has stalled and policymakers have realized that they need to step in. Despite a favorable election outcome in Greece, a renewed commitment to austerity and staying in the euro zone, the Fed has lowered its outlook for growth and extended Operation Twist.

2012-06-25 Markets Vacillate Between Weaker Data and Hopes for Policy by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Last week was a modestly negative one for stocks as investors continued to focus on a trend of weakening economic data. Additionally, many were disappointed by what was perceived to be a less-than-robust response from the Federal Reserve following its policy meeting last week.

2012-06-23 Daddy's Home by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week we will look at the recent action of the Fed and use that as a springboard to think about how effective Fed policy can be in an age of deleveraging. And we simply must look at Europe.

2012-06-22 An Ending Made For Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Hold tight to your convictions, gold investors. Review your allocation to gold and gold stocks to make sure it remains around 5 to 10 percent of your portfolio. That way the precious metal can act as a shock absorber to help protect from any unexpected bumps in the financial system.

2012-06-21 Will Quantitative Easing Lead to Higher Inflation? by Keith Wade, James Bilson of Schroder Investment Management

In certain circles, talk of Quantitative Easing (QE) immediately triggers thoughts of Weimar Germany and Zimbabwe. The only beneficiaries of turning to the printing presses, it is suggested, will be wheelbarrow salesmen. Whilst extreme inflation seems an exceptionally low risk event, there are legitimate concerns over the impact of the huge expansion of the monetary base on future inflation. In this Talking Point, we examine the key signals to watch out for in assessing future inflation risks.

2012-06-20 Fed Does the Least by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

In the past few days, news outlets have breathlessly reported that the Federal Reserve would today launch into another round of quantitative easing, probably including major purchases of mortgage backed securities. Instead, the Fed did the least that was expected, extending Operation Twist until the end of the year, but not altering the size of its balance sheet at all and not as some analysts suggested it might changing when it thinks it will start raising rates (still late 2014).

2012-06-19 Will Policy Response Follow Policy Rumor? by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

The past two weeks have been better for stocks, with the major indices up in consecutive weeks for the first time in more than a month. Europe remains stuck in a cruel cycle of recession, a banking system in need of life support, frozen policymakers, too much debt and a downward confidence spiral. In the United States, economic growth slowed this spring (likely due to poor weather and the earlier spike in gasoline prices), but remains intact.

2012-06-19 Consumers Remain Perplexed by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Consumers have long been the cog behind the American economic engine. After suffering a terrible fate in 2008, there was a long, slow build to post-recession normalcy. Consumer balance sheets are in a better place, but remain tenuous and suggest there continues to be a long distance to travel before we can once again depend on the American consumer to be the buyer of last resort.

2012-06-19 Achilles Last Stand: Greeks Vote in Favor of Euro by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The June 17 Greek elections favored the pro-bailout party and allow for a likely coalition to be formed probably the least-tumultuous outcome. However, kicking the can further down the road doesn't solve the eurozone's structural problems, nor does it stem contagion. Next on investors' radar is this week's Federal Reserve meeting, where additional easing is expected.

2012-06-19 Shocking Fed Survey on Consumer Finances by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we focus on a new Fed study which found that Americans net worth plunged almost 39% in the period from 2007 to 2010. That period included the so-called Great Recession, a financial crisis and a severe bear market in stocks. There are lots of interesting statistics to look at in this new Fed study.

2012-06-18 A Brief Primer on the European Crisis by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Europe has repeatedly been successful at addressing its recurring liquidity crises with the help of other central banks, but its still an open question whether they can durably solve the solvency crisis without more disruption and more restructuring of both government debt and troubled banks. In my view, the hope for an easy solution is misplaced, and the likelihood of recurring disruptions from Europe will remain high.

2012-06-15 Schwab Market Perspective: Time for Action by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

With escalated uncertainty, sitting back can be an easy choice, but we believe investors and policymakers alike need to take action. Equities bounced off of what appeared to be oversold conditions but although the US economy appears to be holding its own, a renewed sustainable uptrend may be hard to come by until some substantive policy actions are taken around the globe. The time for decisive action in the eurozone appears to be quickly approaching as short-term solutions are no longer satiating the market.

2012-06-15 Speed Up or Slow Down--Don't Exit the Commodities Highway by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A positive signal received this week came from Goldman Sachs, when the firm recommended stepping back into the markets in its latest Commodity Watch. Goldman is anticipating a 29 percent return for the S&P GSCI Enhanced Commodity Index over the next 12 months and suggests investors might want to increase their position in commodities.

2012-06-13 Three Years and Counting by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO

In addition to muted economic growth, record low interest rates, and sustained high unemployment, extraordinary equity market volatility has been a repeated feature of the past three years. As heightened volatility persists, many equity investors remain on the sidelines. We think a better investment approach is to invest globally, across asset classes, reflecting the likelihood of the various outcomes. We believe managing against downside shocks is enormously beneficial to compounding attractive returns over the long term.

2012-06-12 Kingdoms of the Blind by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Recent events offer a rare illustration of the combined effects of the failure of monetary, fiscal and regulatory policy to coordinate a meaningful response. Rising budget deficits, record low interest rates, J.P. Morgan's proprietary trading blunder and the botched Facebook IPO process speak to abject policy failures in virtually every aspect of finance. It's not even a question of not having learned our lessons; our collective policy intelligence actually appears to have diminished.

2012-06-11 Bet Against QE3 by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Since the financial crisis in 2008 the Federal Reserve has done extraordinary things lowered interest rates to essentially zero, increased the size of its balance sheet by $2 trillion and announced Operation Twist. With unemployment still relatively high and real GDP growing at a 2% rate in the past year, there are many on (and off) the Fed who think more should be done. If we thought liquidity was a problem, we might agree, but its not.

2012-06-11 China Toes a Delicate Balance by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Markets posted their best returns of 2012 last week as investors anticipated additional policy action from global central banks. A series of events during the week heightened optimism that central banks would once again step in to support financial markets. In a Wednesday release, the European Central Bank did not cut its policy rate, but ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank was ready to act in response to the deteriorating state of the Eurozone.

2012-06-08 The Global Debt Crisis by Greg Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

The Financial Crisis of 2008 represented a turning point for the capital markets, financial regulation and global central bank policies. For the twenty years leading up to the Financial Crisis, accommodative monetary policies of the developed countries resulted in prosperity, higher wages, increased asset prices and an overall higher standard of living. However, this false sense of perpetual prosperity resulted in unbalanced social service and pension benefits that are now more difficult to rationalize in the economic environment following the Financial Crisis.

2012-06-08 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Add the Fed to the equation to make things a bit more interesting. With stock prices plummeting (with no end in sight), enter Dr. B. and friends with comments that led some to expect future stimulus moves (or maybe not). The European Central Bank made similar remarks, and China took it a step farther with an actual rate cut. Investors welcomed the potential moves and a bit of optimism returns (even if just for a short period). As always, the political bickering is heating up (at home and in Europe) and yet November still remains several months away.

2012-06-07 Spain & Weak US Economy Dominate Markets by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Stock markets around the world have been pummeled in recent weeks amidst the growing reality that were in a global recession, especially in Europe. Fears that the US will also fall into recession have intensified, particularly in light of last weeks very disappointing economic reports. At the same time, the European debt crisis has once again raised its ugly head, this time with the spotlight on Spain. Spains own Prime Minister has admitted that the country is in a state of emergency, and money is gushing out of Spanish banks.

2012-06-05 Energy and the Wealth of Nations by Richard Vodra, JD, CFP (Article)

It is time for a new and different approach to understanding the economy, according to ecologist Charles Hall and economist Kent Klitgaard, who together are pioneering the discipline of biophysical economics. They advocate a novel methodology that properly accounts for the realities of global energy supplies and consumption.

2012-06-05 Weekly Commentary and Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Between the problems in Europe and the disappointing news on jobs and economic growth at home, stock markets globally have taken a tumble albeit with the USA doing much better than everyone else. For some reason investors finally opened their eyes these past couple of weeks. They did not like what they saw. As we have commented endlessly here over the past six months, there never has been a recovery in our employment category, and the growth rate of the economy has never shown any inclination to rise above 2% on an annualized basis.

2012-06-04 Job Recap/How Big of an Impact from Europe? by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Job growth has slowed. However, its unclear exactly why or even, despite all the hand-wringing on Friday, whether its something to worry about. A European recession would have a moderate impact on U.S. exports, but there are some positives. There are a number of other possible explanations for the recent slowdown in (seasonally adjusted) job growth.Firms may be reluctant to hire for a number of reasons: political uncertainty, fiscal policy uncertainty, higher gasoline prices, and worries about the fallout from Europe.

2012-06-04 The Sky Is Falling - Again by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

Last week provided a very scary end to May in both the equity and bond markets. The 10-year Treasury set a new historic low yield and the equity markets ended the week giving back all of its year-to-date gains. European fiscal and banking issues continue to overshadow the slow recovery of the U.S. economy. Of current note, the EU and ECB are trying to successfully deal with the need to recapitalize the banks of Spain. On top of this rosy news, the U.S. economy continued to show a slowdown which was indicated by a much lower than expected job creation for May.

2012-06-04 Job Drought, Greece Wipe Out 2012 Gains by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The U.S. employment report dominated headlines and put investors on watch for further threats to the recovery. In Europe, Ireland's adoption of the fiscal pact was not enough to counter worries about the escalating banking problems in Spain. But as long as the U.S. savings rate, which currently stands at 3.4%, continues to decline, the downside risk to U.S. economic growth is limited. In addition, the substantial drop in the price of oil should also help boost the economy. We maintain the view that the United States will achieve 2% economic growth this year.

2012-06-02 Will the ECB and Fed Follow Where China Leads? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Every month, policymakers track purchasing managers indices (PMI) around the world as they consider fiscal and monetary actions. To us, a PMI is a measure of health of companies around the world, because it includes output, new orders, employment and prices across manufacturing, construction, retail and service sectors. Historically, weve seen Chinas PMI number leading the year-over-year change in exports by three to four months, so when the PMI has increased, a few months later, Chinese exports have historically risen, and vice versa.

2012-05-30 U.S. Dollar and Euro - Review and Outlook by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

The 12-month period ended March 31, 2012 (the Period) could be described as one of contrasting halves. News emanating from Europe dominated market gyrations for the majority of the Period. During the second half of the Period, the market appeared to ascribe a more optimistic assessment to the European situation and the global economy. Regarding the U.S. dollar, we consider the more dovish FOMC voting member composition to be a negative for the currency, as it will likely lead to more expansionary policies relative to global central bank counterparts

2012-05-29 Unraveling the Mess in Europe by Charles Lieberman (Article)

There is considerable nonsense written about the European debt crisis. Greece must balance its books, whether they remain inside the Euro or not. There are major benefits and costs to both remaining inside the Euro and to exiting. There is no silver bullet that will solve their problems easily. More broadly, banks need to be recapitalized all across Europe. This has not been done as yet, perhaps for political reasons, which only compounds the economic problems and allows them to fester. It seems like the Europeans are working towards solutions, but painfully slowly.

2012-05-26 Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We need to tear our gaze away from Europe and look around at what is happening in the rest of the world. There is about to be an eerily near-simultaneous ending to the quantitative easing by the four major central banks while global growth is slowing down. And so, while the future of Europe is up for grabs, the true danger to global markets and growth may be elsewhere.

2012-05-23 Is Quantitative Easing the Silver Bullet to Economic Recovery? by Joseph Giulitto of Trust Company of America

I saw this quote recently while researching another topic. I found it to be appropriate to capture the challenge that professional money managers have in finding investments appropriate for the current domestic economic and geopolitical environment. The rules (that apply to what makes an investment good or bad) that have been established over the previous 40 years of investing are no longer relevant, and those investments that typically would struggle during a massive global recession have been successful in achieving a rising valuation.

2012-05-23 Global Investment Outlook by Mike Turner of Aberdeen Asset Management

Investors continue to focus on the global macroeconomic backdrop, which is still relatively positive despite slightly disappointing data recently. There are signs that some of the imbalances within the Eurozone are starting to ease as competitiveness is improving in some of the peripheral countries and this is beginning to be reflected in trade figures. Looking further ahead, we feel that global consumption should be supported by falling headline inflation.

2012-05-22 Goodbye Planet Rates, Hello Planet Quantity: Credit Markets in a Zero Rate World by Luke Spajic of PIMCO

There is a sense that developed market economies are somehow undergoing a reversed metamorphosis reverting from butterfly back to caterpillar where growth is crawling as opposed to flying. The fear of credit destruction, perhaps triggered by deflationary scares, becomes a bigger obsession for central banks. The culture of credit risk-taking changes as rates go lower and approach zero with a perennial risk of the economy tipping into deflation.

2012-05-18 Sublime to Ridiculous by John Gilbert of GR-NEAM

There was a time when governments were held to account for the long-term consequences of their financial habits. Those days appear to be long gone, of course, to policymakers frenzied at the political urgency of producing rising employment. But there must be a price to pay for thumbing our noses at lessons previously learned. We look here at just how far government husbandry of the financial system has strayed over time, and how important the consequences are likely to be in years to come.

2012-05-18 Gold: The World's Friend for 5,000 Years by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Investors have defriended gold recently in favor of the dollar, as Greek and French voters rejected austerity measures. Greeks have been responding to their escalating debt issues for a while by steadily pulling money from overnight deposits. I often say, money goes where it is best treated, and these deposits will need to find a safe haven.

2012-05-18 Global Real Estate Securities April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

North America fundamentals are on a slow but positive trajectory. European economic challenges keep us focused on high-quality names. Policy easing trends likely to benefit Asia Pacific.

2012-05-18 International Real Estate Securities April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

European economic challenges keep us focused on high-quality names. Policy easing trends likely to benefit Asia Pacific.

2012-05-15 An Attack on Paul Krugman by Michael Edesess (Article)

A foundational principle of modern economics is that the creation of credit leads to economic growth. That precept underlies need for quantitative easing, and it is central to the question of what role monetary policy can and should play in stimulating a faster recovery from the Great Recession. It is also the subject of a debate between one of the world's most prominent economic scholars, Paul Krugman, and a feisty Australian economist, Steve Keen.

2012-05-15 Earnings Seasons Recap: Is Corporate Strength Fading? by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Strength in the corporate sector since the recession ended has been well documented. In the face of general economic malaise, record profits have been achieved through aggressive cost-cutting and low financing costs. This phenomenon has been one of the major pillars propping up the markets (with the other being central bank policy). Now with Q1 earnings season all but over, it is not unreasonable to question whether that corporate strength is fading. Initial impressions of first quarter earnings season were very favorable after the first big wave of earnings releases.

2012-05-11 Here We Go Again....or Not? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Softer economic data has prompted concerns that the market may be headed for a summer swoonsimilar to the previous two years. We believe the backdrop is decidedly different (and better) this time around but investor and business confidence will continue to be important. Some appear to be hoping for weaker data in order to spur the Fed to enact QE3. We believe the bar is much higher and that the Fed should look to return to a more normal monetary stance. Complicating the overall picture and the Feds job is the coming "fiscal cliff" out of Washington at the end of this year.

2012-05-08 Sentiment Readies for a Tumultuous Fall by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Market sentiment has oscillated quite rapidly in recent months on the heels of dramatic market intervention by the ECB and shifting views of global economic stability. Sentiment is likely to remain unstable in the months ahead as investors grapple with any number of events, from elections in Europe and the US to the end of recent monetary easing efforts domestically. While markets have rallied substantially over the past six months, retail investors are maintaining a somewhat neutral view on their allocations.

2012-05-07 Q1 2012 Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

The overall equity markets strong first quarter rally was narrowly focused and, from our perspective, fragile. Cutting to the chase, we think both stocks and bonds are expensive. During the quarter, we used opportunities presented by Mr. Market to trim some of our lower quality positions and to add starter positions in a few high quality businesses. We also added to our short-term, high-yield fixed income holdings, sources of return that we expect to show less volatility but results equal to or better than the broad equity market indices.

2012-05-07 Despite Uncertainty, the Bull Market Should Persevere by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

There is a great deal of uncertainty that is acting as a headwind for the markets. In the United States, perhaps the main uncertainty is over the looming fiscal and tax issues that must be dealt with before the end of the year. Additionally, the still-developing European debt crisis has the potential to derail markets, as does the possibility for worse-than-expected economic growth. In any case, while we do expect to see markets continue to churn for the near term, we also believe that stocks will eventually be able to resume their climb.

2012-05-04 Do Emerging Markets Win, Place or Show in Your Portfolio? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The recovery in U.S. stocks is significant and helps restore confidence in equities. Were pleased to see markets improving, especially following a rough finish in 2011. Yet there lingers a persistent negativity toward emerging markets growth and commodities that prevents many investors from jockeying their portfolios into a position for growth. Rather, they remain spectators on the sidelines, with equity fund outflows continuing.

2012-05-03 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week was a seesaw affair, with the macro news being a negative, while corporate earnings served to support stock prices. The charts above illustrate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.4% last week as the blue chips reported pretty good earnings and outlooks. The NASDAQ Composite though fell .36%, mainly because of concerns and some confusion developing in the shares of Apple, which reports tomorrow evening.

2012-05-03 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stock prices rallied here in America last week as discouraging (but predictable) economic news at home along with the worsening situation in Europe were more than offset by positive earnings from Apple, dividend increases, and buybacks from countless other corporate names. As the charts above illustrate, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.5% and the NASDAQ Composite which is heavily influenced by the price of Apple improved by 2.3% last week.

2012-05-01 Another Story of Too Much Debt: Investing During Unsustainable Economic Conditions by Brian McAuley (Article)

US-based investors cannot ignore the macro environment, and therefore must consider the consequences of our increasing indebtedness and its impact on capital markets. We can gain valuable insights into our fiscal problems from the housing bubble and the European sovereign debt crisis - lessons which every value investor should heed.

2012-05-01 Is Now The Time To Brace For Another Volatile Summer? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

In the latest week, the Federal Open Market Committee reiterated its stance that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014. While rates will remain low for now, the Fed will need to fend off other challenges in the months ahead, ones that could send investors racing for the beach sooner than normal. The biggest challenge for the Fed and the economy in the coming months is in the form of Operation Twist. The hope was that such actions would drive down interest rates and encourage borrowing of all forms.

2012-04-28 A Gold Standard? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Here is a speech by Jim Grant to the New York Federal Reserve. The always erudite Grant takes us back in time to the very beginnings of the Federal Reserve, to show us how far we have strayed from the original intent. Grant argued for a return to the gold standard in the very halls of fiat money! It seems the New York Fed is asking some of its critics to come and speak.

2012-04-27 Managed Futures and Macro: Q1 2012 Market Commentary by Jon Sundt of Altegris Investments

With Eurozone concerns receding and the macroeconomic picture showing strength, the market outlook at the end of Q1 is notably brighter than at the end of last year. Reduced correlations, lower volatility and the prospect of less government intervention have led some players to hope for a return to a new old period in which fundamentals drive the markets. If that theme does indeed prove to be sustainable, we expect that: a) more managed futures managers, would profit from stronger trends; and b) more circumspect global macro managers may take advantage of increasingly bullish positioning.

2012-04-27 3 Signs That US Treasury Rates Will Rise by Russ Koesterich and Matt Tucker of iShares Blog

How long can the 30-year bull market for Treasuries be sustained? While a bond market meltdown isnt imminent, Russ and Matt outline the signs that investors can watch for that could signal the beginning of the end.

2012-04-27 Sell in May and Go Away? Not this Year by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

One catchy investing maxim thats popular this time of year is sell in May and go away, the notion that investors should cash in their investments and take the summer off. We believe its a much better market this year. After following a similar trajectory as the previous year from October to the beginning of March, improving economic data pushed the S&P 500 over 3 percent higher in March 2012 after trending sideways during the same time period last year.

2012-04-26 The Global Fiscal & Monetary Policy Shift Moves Markets by George Bijak of GB Capital

The powerful macro forces that drive global economy and move stock markets have changed direction post the peak of the Global Financial Crisis. Governments are tightening their Fiscal Policies and Central Banks are expending their Balance Sheets (also known as quantitative easing or money printing) as part of globally synchronized deleveraging process. The two opposing forces pull the global economy in different directions. The fiscal cuts are slowing economic growth but are counter-balanced by a stimulative nature of the Central Banks easing.

2012-04-26 One Step Closer: Fed Keeps Rates Low But Gets More Hawkish by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee (FOMC) made no change to short-term interest rates, but provided no hints that a third round of quantitative easing (QE3) was in the offing. As usual, the committee repeated its comment about keeping the Fed's balance sheet under review and being willing to act "as appropriate," while also confirming its pledge to keep rates "exceptionally low" through 2014. For the third consecutive meeting, there was one dissenterRichmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lackerwho believes the first increase in rates will be necessary in 2013.

2012-04-25 Is The Economic Recovery Stalling? by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The US economic recovery is facing some stiff headwinds. Those include high gasoline prices, the recession and higher interest rates in Europe and the recent disappointing unemployment numbers in the US, just to name a few. The apparent slowdown in the recovery recently is in part due to the unusually warm winter, which served to pull economic activity forward in January and February, thus making March and April so far look softer. Some in the mainstream media concluded that we dont have a problem with the economy. Maybe so, but the recovery has had an uneasy feeling about it recently.

2012-04-24 Gundlach - Two Dangers for Equity Markets by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Don't buy stocks ? for real, this time. That was the message Jeffrey Gundlach delivered to investors last Tuesday.

2012-04-24 Fixed Income Commentary First Quarter 2012 by John E. Villela, David W. Seeley and Barbara J. McKenna of Longfellow Investment Management

The ever‐changing regulatory environment must be watched closely. The new, onerous capital requirements directed at the broker‐dealer community will make it more costly for broker‐dealers to hold inventory on their balance sheets. This will affect the cost of liquidity by making transactions more expensive in the marketplace. In addition, potential changes to money market regulations, which could include allowing the net asset value to float, could force a number of market participants to seek alternative fixed income solutions such as cash or short duration strategies.

2012-04-23 Americas: Economic Review First Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Optimism over economic prospects increased across the Americas regions during the first quarter of the year, as economic data showed sustained improvement and global risks eased somewhat. Despite costlier fuel, consumer spending climbed in most countries across the region, especially in the U.S. The European fiscal crisis now appears less worrisome when compared to last year, while the slowdown in Asia has turned out to be milder than expected earlier. Commodity prices have recovered after the correction during the second half of last year, on an improved outlook in global demand.

2012-04-23 Run, Don't Walk by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

One way to gauge your speculative exposure is to ask the simple question - what portion of your portfolio do you expect (or even hope) to sell before the next major market downturn ensues? Almost by definition, that portion of your portfolio is speculative in the sense that you do not intend to carry it through the full market cycle, and instead expect to sell it to someone else at a better price before the cycle completes. With respect to those speculative holdings, and when to part with them, my own view is straightforward. Run, don't walk.

2012-04-20 Monthly Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

Stocks and other risk assets surged in the first quarter, continuing the strong run that began in the fourth quarter of last year. In each of the past two quarters, domestic stocks gained about 12%, marking one the strongest runs over the October-March span going back to the 1920s. Developed foreign stocks increased nearly 12% in the quarter, emerging-markets stocks gained 14, small-cap U.S. stocks were up 12%, high-yield bonds rose 5%, and emerging-markets local-currency bonds added 8%.

2012-04-20 Whats Ahead for the Fed? by Team of Neuberger Berman

Although growth could slow from here, we do not believe economic conditions will deteriorate enough to provoke further accommodative measures from the Fed. The Fed may be on hold for the time being, but we also believe that Bernanke is acutely aware of the potential consequences of reversing monetary policy too quickly. As a result, interest rates may stay lower for longer. In this type of yield-constrained environment, we continue to favor segments like high yield fixed income and emerging market debt, which both offer attractive sources of income and upside potential.

2012-04-20 Equity Investment Outlook April 2012 by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

We think stocks are reasonably priced on an absolute basis and extremely attractive relative to bonds. Bonds have performed well over the past three decades, but with interest rates at record lows, there is not much room for bonds to continue outpacing stocks on a total return basis. Meanwhile, companies are steadily increasing dividends. Even Apple recently instituted a dividend. For some time, investors have been lowering their exposure to U.S. equities. We believe this trend should reverse, especially once interest rates start to rise and bond market returns turn negative.

2012-04-20 Closed End Funds First Quarter 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

. With borrowing rates likely to remain low for an extended period, we believe the yield advantage of leveraged closed-end funds will continue to draw investor interest. As a result, we see potential for the broad closed-end fund market to trade at even narrower discounts or even premiums to NAV. In addition, the recent success of new issues should allow the closed-end fund IPO window to remain open in 2012. At the present pace, we do not believe new supply will pressure pricing in the secondary market or impede discount narrowing.

2012-04-19 Huge Dilemma: Do You Protect Your Job or Your Clients' Money? by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

I feel like a broken record. Jeremy Grantham, John Hussman, and Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live surely feel the same way. I have been preaching the "low returns for a decade" concept for quite some time. It is very tough preaching caution, when caution is routinely tossed to the winds. Yet history has proven time and time again, that such times are precisely when caution is warranted, even though timing the precise moment is simply impossible.

2012-04-18 Q2 Markets: Dont Expect Smooth Sailing by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While valuations still appear reasonable, inflationary pressures remain well contained and the economy is stabilizing, Russ explains why he expects more market volatility in the second quarter and details how investors may want to position their portfolios as a result.

2012-04-18 European Debt Crisis Never Went Away by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

US stocks are having a big day today, with the Dow up just over 200 points. But there are problems lurking in Europe that could be quite negative for global equities over the next several weeks. There are fears that Spain and perhaps Italy will need more bailout loans in the weeks just ahead. Thats our topic for today. In December and January the ECB took the unprecedented step of loaning apprx. 1 trillion euros to European money center banks in an effort to buy some time for the banks to recapitalize. The loans had three year maturities, and the interest rate was an incredibly low 1%.

2012-04-17 Muppet Capers by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Investors enjoyed strong stock market and credit market gains during the first quarter of the year, but storm clouds may be forming on the horizon. Corporate profits have likely peaked. Stocks may be the best house in a bad neighborhood, but houses in that neighborhood appear to be fully priced for now. There are also some troubling signs in the bond markets, particularly the long end.

2012-04-17 Quarterly Review and Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

From both economic theory and historical experience the answer is clear; austerity is the solution to too much debt. McKinsey Global Institute examined 32 cases where extreme leverage caused financial crises since the 1930s. In 24, or 75% of these cases austerity was required, which McKinsey defines as a multi-year and sustained increase in the saving rate. Public and/or private borrowers took on too much debt because they lived beyond their means, or they consumed more than they earned. Thus, to reverse the problem spending had to be held below income, increasing the saving rate.

2012-04-13 Schwab Market Perspective: Concern or Correction? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Economic data has softened a bit lately but still indicates growth in the US. After a long stretch of relative calm in the markets, we've seen the markets pull back, possibly fulfilling the correction that was overdue. We believe the longer-term trend is higher but near-term risks continue to be elevated and earnings season could bring more volatility. The minutes from the most recent meeting of the Fed seemed to solidify that another round of quantitative easing (QE3) is not in the offing. Although the stock and bond markets initially reacted negatively, we are heartened by the rhetoric.

2012-04-12 Global Investment Outlook - March 2012 by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Global economic growth sustains its momentum for now. Fiscal policy remains a global focus. Further monetary policy accommodation should support markets. Recent positive momentum within the U.S. economy is driving the global economic recovery, overwhelming the negative sentiment emanating from peripheral Europe. Real incomes, boosted by employment growth and easing inflation, are showing signs of turning positive in the U.S., feeding through to the broader economy.

2012-04-10 Paul Kasriel's Parting Thoughts on the Economy by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Paul Kasriel, the chief economist at Northern Trust, will retire at the end of this month. In this interview, he explains why he is optimistic about the prospects for the US economy and why supposed headwinds - from the price of oil to the housing market - pose much less of a threat than most people believe.

2012-04-10 China Experiencing Growing Pains by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis of Fortigent

For most of the past two years, investors have been pre-occupied with the fiscal catastrophe in Europe and with good reason. However, the relative health of the worlds second largest economy arguably deserves more headline space. A year ago, Chinas stock market led the broader emerging markets down due to pervasive inflation concerns. Official figures reached as high as 6.5%, and some reports of pork and other food price inflation reached double-digit levels. Chinese authorities were forced to slow down the pace of their economy by raising bank reserve ratios and key lending rates.

2012-04-09 Is the Fed Promoting Recovery or Merely Desperation? by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

What we've observed in the employment figures is not recovery, but desperation. Having starved savers of interest income, and having repeatedly subjected investors to Fed-induced financial bubbles that create volatility without durable returns, the Fed has successfully provoked job growth of the obligatory, low-wage variety. Over the past year, the majority of this growth has been in the 55-and-over cohort, while growth has turned down among other workers. All of this reflects not health, but despair, and explains why real disposable income has grown by only 0.3% over the past year.

2012-04-09 The Fed Shifts Gears by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The Federal Reserve, while continuing to hint at future quantitative easing (QE), seems at last to have also felt a need to address the longer-term inflationary risks of such policies. Accordingly, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke unveiled a new approach to quantitative easing, what he calls "sterilized QE." It, he claims, would both support markets (and the economy) and at the same time guard against any longer-term inflationary consequences. Though there is good reason to harbor skepticism about the technique he has outlined, this recent change in tone does offer encouragement.

2012-04-05 Our National Debt Is Scarier Than You Think by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The US national debt stands at just over $15.6 trillion as compared to the $15.1 trillion gross domestic product in 2011. This means that our national debt is now 103.3% of GDP, a feat which has not happened in the Post-WWII era. To put $15.6 trillion into perspective, this means that every man, woman and child in America owes just over $50,000 toward the national debt. If we use an estimated budget deficit of $1.1 trillion for 2012, the national debt will have grown by just over $5 trillion in the last four years.

2012-04-04 Kasriel's Parting Thoughts - Has the Fed Boosted the Stock Market? by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

The Feds actions have benefited the stock market as well as aggregate demand for goods and services in the U.S. economy. Would you have preferred that the Fed sit idle as it did in the early 1930s, with likely similar results for the stock market and the economy in recent years as occurred at that time? The Fed has simply provided some of the credit to the economy that the private MFI system would have had it not been crippled with loan losses. And even with the Feds additional credit creation, total MFI credit growth has fallen short of the long-run normal credit creation of private MFIs.

2012-04-04 Economic Update by Richard Hoey of Dreyfus

We believe that a full-scale global recession is unlikely, assuming that there is no major oil price spike from a disruption of the flow of Middle East oil. We believe that a key cause of global economic expansion will be the easy monetary policy prevailing in many regions and countries worldwide. We expect a global growth recession in 2012, with declining economic activity in Southern Europe, an economic stall or temporary declines in the U.K. and much of Northern Europe, a moderate slowdown in emerging markets and a U.S. expansion at a near-trend pace in 2012, somewhat faster than last year.

2012-04-03 Have We Reached the End of the Rally? by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Our overall view about the markets is that improvements in the global economic outlook, continued easy financial conditions and slowly improving investor risk appetites are all reasons that stock prices should continue to crawl higher. Markets have, however, paused somewhat in their rally over the last several weeks. This can be attributed to the fact that prices had risen so far so quickly and that markets were overdue for a period of consolidation or correction, but it is also important to emphasize that we will need to see further evidence of economic improvement for gains to continue.

2012-04-03 Have Investors Moved Past Europe? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

At the end of 2011, the Long-Term Refinancing Operation brought a modicum of stability to financial markets in Europe.When coupled with the orderly default of Greece, the situation in Europe is seemingly on a road to more pleasant ground. Just as soon as investors place Europe in their periphery, however, problems once again begin bubbling to the surface.In recent weeks, the spotlight has turned to Spain, where unemployment is near 24% and the government is expected to run a 5.9% budget deficit for 2012.

2012-03-30 Shifting Winds-Turbulence Ahead? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Treasury yields have moved somewhat higher, while stocks have largely continued to rise. Recent correlations appear to be breaking down, which could lead to increased volatility but we remain relatively confident in equities. Perception as to the next moves by the Fed appeared to be shifting, but Bernanke reiterated their easy monetary stance. Uncertainty is rising and the Feds goal of increased clarity through more transparent communication is under scrutiny. Liquidity concerns in Europe have eased but economic risks remain, while Spain and Italy face deal with their ongoing debt crises.

2012-03-29 To QE or Not to QE by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

If the Fed does nothing, asset prices could fall, threatening Americas fragile economic recovery. But if the Fed decides to battle the forces of deleveraging, it could commit a classic error by acting during a turning point and thereby doing too much. During Operation Twist, the Fed will absorb the equivalent of all of the issuance of U.S. Treasury securities maturing beyond seven years. When Operation Twist ends, global investors will be left to shoulder the burden.

2012-03-28 Revisiting the Liquidity Cycle with the Minsky Model by Thomas Fahey of Loomis Sayles

Once an extreme event occurs, standard models offer limited insight as to how the ensuing crisis could play out and how it should be managed, which is why policy responses can seem disjointed. The latest policy responses to the European crisis have been no exception. To understand and respond to a crisis like the one in Europe, perhaps we need to consider some new models that include the human factor. Economic historian Charles Kindleberger can offer some insight

2012-03-27 Questions of Character by Michael Lewitt (Article)

As a long-time investor in leveraged companies, the character of management has long informed my decisions of where to direct capital. There is no margin of safety when you invest in a company managed by dishonest or reckless managers, or a management team that has a history of placing its own interests before those of its shareholders or creditors. The same is true of choosing an investment manager.

2012-03-26 Economic Insights: Fear, Bank Lending, and Fed Frustrations by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The Fed recently released the results of its latest survey of senior bank officers. Like the economy, the bankers' attitudes were mixed. Things have improved over the past year. Bankers on balance have shown a greater willingness to extend credit. But still, they remain very cautious. Understandable after the losses of 200809, this lingering reluctance to lend offers yet another explanation as to why this economy's recovery has proceeded so slowly to date, and will likely continue to do so for some time to come. Still, there are tentative signs that the environment is easing.

2012-03-26 Postcards from the Edge: Central Banking in the Age of Policy Extremes by David Kelly, David M. Lebovitz and Brandon D. Odenath of J.P. Morgan Funds

Major developed world central banks have taken extraordinary action over the last few years, leaving us in uncharted territory, close to the edge with little experience or history to rely on. The move to todays extremes was forced by the impotence of conventional monetary policy tools, as well as the breadth and depth of the crisis-causing issues. Uncertainty about the probabilities and range of possible outcomes resulting from current extremes has, and will, impact both capital markets and decision making in the real economy.

2012-03-23 International Real Estate Securities- Investment Review & Outlook - February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

International real estate securities added to their year-to-date gains in February, although the pace of the rally moderated. Most markets in Europe and Asia Pacific continued to benefit from the retreat of macro risk concerns. Europes difficult grapple with its fiscal crises has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the region. Given this environment, we seek to invest in companies that are best able to shield themselves from the most adverse effects of slowing economies and a general deleveraging.

2012-03-23 Closed End Funds - February 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

The U.S. economic picture has brightened since the fall of 2011, and we expect the trend to continue. We are also encouraged by progress in Europe, as economic austerity measures will likely weigh meaningfully on the regions growth. In this period of extended easy monetary policy by the Fed, we believe the yield advantage of leveraged closed-end funds will continue to draw investor interest. The success of recent IPOs should bode well for closed-end fund issuance in 2012, although we do not believe new supply will pressure pricing in the secondary market or impede discount narrowing.

2012-03-23 Europe Investment Review & Outlook February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

Europes difficult grapple with its fiscal crises has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the region. The recent LTRO facilities have prevented a severe credit crunch and collapse of the EU banking system. However, we take the view that this three-year program merely buys time to sort out the overleveraged balance sheets of most EU banks; it does not solve the long-term solvency crisis facing Greece and possibly Portugal.

2012-03-23 Global Real Estate Securities Investment Review and Outlook February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

Global real estate securities added to their year-to-date gains in February, although the pace of the rally moderated. Most markets in Europe and Asia Pacific continued to benefit from the retreat of macro risk concerns. U.S. REITs, which advanced in 2011 while other regions struggled, had a modest decline.

2012-03-23 Gold and China: Where the Bulls and Bears Square Off by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

To paraphrase the great Steve Martin, todays investors are very passionate people and passionate people tend to overreact at times. An overreaction is exactly whats happened in gold and global markets in recent weeks. While market bulls have been sniffing out data points to support their case, market bears have continued to take a glass-half-empty approach. Gold and China are two areas that have been caught in the bear trap this week, but we believe the gold and China bulls still have room to run.

2012-03-22 Why Gold Can Go the Distance by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Golds been knocked down lately, but several enduring factors have conditioned the yellow metal for an inevitable comeback. Since the beginning of 2012, gold has trailed its precious metals peers, gaining only about 6 percent compared to double-digit returns for silver and platinum. At the end of February, gold was especially hard hit, following Ben Bernankes announcement that there would be no additional quantitative easing and the European Central Bank offering additional LTRO loans to banks.

2012-03-22 Explaining the Stir over Recent Fed-Speak by Team of American Century Investments

The official statement from the Federal Reserves March 13 interest rate policy committee meeting was relatively ho-hum (no significant changes from Januarys statement), but other recent Fed communications have raised more of a stir. In particular, we explain what fiscal cliff and sterilized QE mean, and help put them into context. Its all part of a mixed, uncertain economic outlook in which slower mid-year growth, like last year, cant be ruled out, but higher inflation by next year is also a possibility.

2012-03-20 The Wages of Denial by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Europe is insolvent, and hopelessly so. Her procurer - the European Central Bank (ECB) - can front her some money for a while, but in the end she is either going to have to repay him or suffer a very rough consequence. In the meantime, however, she can continue to entertain her customers, in this case those willing to extend her credit in one form or another. Sooner rather than later, however, these creditors are going to grow tired of her tricks and turn their attention otherwise. At that point, she will be left to deal with the ECB because nobody else will have her.

2012-03-20 An Actively Passive Debate by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

The debate surrounding active versus passive investment management continues to attract a growing share of investor interest. After several years of underperformance, active managers are finally outperforming their benchmarks YTD, but it may be too late. Investors, frustrated with the underperformance and higher fees, are piling en masse into exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other low cost solutions. The time for an all-passive solution may not be right now, but active managers are undoubtedly concerned about what the future may hold.

2012-03-19 Western Medicine by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO

Liquidity is buying time for European countries, but their economies are growing too slowly to support their debt loads. Just as there is no reason to assume U.S. household debt levels will continue to climb, there is also no reason to assume companies that benefitted from that debt-fueled spending will grow at historical rates. Until we see sustainable, real economic growth in America, we believe equity investors should carefully scrutinize the assumptions underlying consumer discretionary stocks and consider global companies that are selling into higher growth markets.

2012-03-19 The Fed's March Madness by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The best currency to be in over the next year or so is the US dollar. Yes, the Fed is loose, but everyone already knows that. Its priced in. The issue today is whether the Fed tightens policy faster than investors previously thought. And that looks increasingly likely. Momentum is now shifting toward the US, with some global investors looking at equity returns sweetened by currency gains. Add higher US bond yields and emerging markets should be even more willing to buy US assets. A self-sustaining, virtuous cycle is emerging, the kind that often forms in long-term bull markets.

2012-03-19 Stocks: More Room to Run by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

While it is important to remain cognizant of the risks facing the markets, our overall view toward stocks remains constructive. Since the current rally began last autumn, we have seen some market pullbacks, but they have been brief and shallow, likely because many investors remain underweight equities and have been using pullbacks to buy on price dips. Now that bond prices are falling, we believe investors as a whole will finally begin to move out of Treasuries and into stocks. As such, as long as the macro fundamentals remain reasonably good, we believe equities should grind higher from here.

2012-03-16 Why Invest in Asia Bonds? by Teresa Kong of Matthews Asia

The development of Asias bond markets is one of the regions most profound economic changes of the last decade. This month Teresa Kong, CFA, writes about the diversification Asias bond markets can offer investors, and their three primary return drivers: credit, currency and interest rates.

2012-03-16 The Real Debate: Preservation of Capital vs. Preservation of Purchasing Power by Chris Clark of The Royce Funds

Investments in high-quality companies that have embedded pricing power and high returns on their invested capital look to us to be some of the best investments to protect and grow purchasing power, and we believe they need much broader representation in investors' asset allocation. We think that the period of exclusively focusing on the preservation of capital has passed and that now is the time to be focused on the preservation of future purchasing power.

2012-03-16 The Heart of March Madness by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Everyone agrees that its unethical to put the firms interest ahead of its clients. More importantly, a self-serving financial attitude is a breach of fiduciary duties. It may be possible that Goldman Sachs has moral issues, but not all financial firms are morally bankrupt. Nor are thousands of executives and professionals employed in the industrymoms, dads, uncles, aunts, daughters, sonswho are hard-working and acting in the best interest of their customers.

2012-03-15 Two Important Steps for the Economy by Greg Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

The FOMC released a statement which showed a more positive tone from prior meetings. However, it is clear the Fed will continue to maintain a highly accommodative stance as they see downside risks to economic growth continuing to outweigh the upside risks to inflation. The Feds economic assessment differed from the last several meetings, in two important ways. First, the FOMC acknowledged recent improvements in the labor markets and forecast continued improvement in the jobs market with declines in the unemployment rate. The Second Step toward Progress is a Healthier U.S. Banking System

2012-03-15 Everyone Hates Stocks ...and That's Why You Shouldn't by Bill Mann of Motley Fool

I dont tend to put currency into market moves, particularly short-term ones. But it has to be said that the tenor of the news regarding economies worldwide has been unambiguously bad. Why in the world would stocks go up in the face of such misery? Havent people heard about whats going on in Greece? Of course they have -- its why so many rushed out of risk assets last October and November. But while the caterwauling has done its job in spooking people, the underlying facts belie the news cycle: the American economy is booming.

2012-03-14 No QE3 Yippee! by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Fed made no major changes to its policy statement and announced a continuation of Operation Twist, but did not hint at or announce further quantitative easing. The Fed's assessment of the economy did improve somewhat. Richmond Fed President Lacker's dissent and Dallas Fed President Fisher's pronouncements ring true.

2012-03-13 The Ambergris Factor! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

I had a meeting with two PMs from Switzerland that had 10 questions they wanted answered. 1. Would you buy cyclical stocks or defensive stocks? I would buy cyclicals because I dont believe we are going to see another recession in the U.S. for the near future. 2. 2011 was a risk on/risk off year, so is it a top down or bottom up strategy for 2012? Last year you only had to get two things right. You had to raise cash in March/April and put it back to work during the bottoming sequence of August October. One always needs to employ a bottom up strategy combined with a top down view.

2012-03-13 Another Country in Europe to Avoid by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ recently advocated that investors avoid Spain and Italy, markets that are cheap for a reason. Now, hes adding the United Kingdom to the list of European markets to consider underweighting -- a country that has its own issues separate from those of the euro zone.

2012-03-12 The King is Back by Liam Molloy and Bethany Carlson of Galway Investment Strategy

On Mar 1, Lazlo Birinyi called for the S&P500 to hit 1700 in 2012 (an increase of 35%). The 24% rise in the S&P500 between Oct 4 and Feb 29 has prompted many to review their outlook for the year. Their euphoric revisions are propelled by some tailwinds: lean company financials with high operating leverage; emerging markets consumer demand; improving jobs reports; low interest rates, and high cash balances. Many of these factors contributed to Galways relatively positive outlook. However, one lesson we have learned over the years is to start getting nervous when everyone agrees with you.

2012-03-09 The Healing Powers of a Weaker Yen by Kenichi Amaki of Matthews Asia

In mid-February, the Bank of Japan surprised markets with an expansion of its Asset Purchase Program, Japans version of quantitative easing. At the same time, the BOJ reworded its stance regarding inflation, revising its quantitative easing understanding to a goal and formally adopting an inflation target of 1%. Equity markets reacted positively, prompting foreign investors to pour more than US$5 billion into Japanese stocks and futures over just a 2-week period. The yen weakened to levels not seen since May 2011, and the currency seems to have broken from its 5-year appreciation trend.

2012-03-09 Market Fatigue? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Market action has been relatively muted, notwithstanding the first 1% down day of this year. After the strong run to start the year, another pause or pullback would not be surprising but we continue to believe the upward trend will largely stay intact. Uncertainty abounds as to whether the Fed will unleash a new round of easing but liquidity remains abundant. Rhetoric continues in Washington but any substantial fiscal or tax policy action this year seems unlikely, despite the many challenges that are looming.Europe has stabilized somewhat but risks remain elevated.

2012-03-08 Global Forecast Update: Growth Upgraded, But Problems Remain by Azad Zangana and Keith Wade of Schroder Investment Management

We have upgraded our forecasts for global growth in response to better data and a further easing of policy. In particular, the success of the European Central Banks (ECB) long term liquidity operations and surprising resilience of Germany mean that we expect the recession in Europe to be shallower than before. However, it is still a weak picture. We do not see US activity taking off as the de-leveraging process has further to run. Much of the recent improvement in growth reflects an inventory cycle as the factors which held the economy back last year fade and go into reverse.

2012-03-08 Bernanke Spooks Gold by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Regardless of who wins the reserve currency race, a key issue will be the gold conversion price. To accommodate the world economy without being recessive, many have concluded that the price of gold would need to be far higher than it is today. In any case, if China continues to pursue a path towards a fully convertible Yuan, investors might be wise to pursue a buy and hold strategy. This of course discounts the possibility that their holdings are not confiscated by debtor governments with plummeting fiat currencies.

2012-03-07 The Truth Behind High Gasoline Prices by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

While the latest report on 4Q GDP came in a bit better than expected, most economists agree that growth in 2012 will not be as good as the 4Q of last year. Following that, we look at some remarks from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in his recent Senate testimony. While he defended quantitative easing, it doesnt sound like the Fed is going to do QE3 anytime soon.

2012-03-06 Fed Takes 'Goldilocks' Approach to Tepid Economy by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Ben Bernanke's not-too-hot, but not-too-cold outlook spells low rates through 2014, but there's no QE3 in sight. He cautioned that while the unemployment rate has decreased faster than the Fed anticipated over the last year, the job market remains far from normal. Despite a more optimistic consumer outlook, investors have largely stayed on the sidelines. This is where the Fed's Goldilocks approach to monetary policy should prove beneficial.This level of certainty highlights certain truths that will help investors make better decisions. Investors will be punished for being savers.

2012-03-06 Continued Struggle Between Borrowing and Lending by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate headline the weeks economic data. Consensus expects another 200K+ gain in payrolls and no change in the unemployment rate. Other major economic data of note includes the ISM Non-Manufacturing index and the US trade balance. Abroad, there are important releases on tap including Q4 EU GDP and EU retail sales. Both the ECB and Bank of England meet this week, but neither is expected to adjust their key interest rates. Other central banks meeting include Russia, Australia, Brazil, Poland, New Zealand, Indonesia, South Korea, Canada, Peru, and Malaysia.

2012-03-02 Fed Done: So Is Gold by Brian S. Wesbury of First Trust Advisors

The bottom line is that even though Bernanke wants to make the case for QE3, he cant.In fact, better news on the economy has cut the Fed off from doing more massive easing projects.In the end, we believe the Fed has finally run out of justification for its excessively easy monetary policy.As the quarters ahead unfold, the prospects of more ease will continue to wane.This is good news for stocks which do not do well with accelerating inflation but, it is bad news for gold.Gold is done.and so is the Fed.

2012-03-01 2012: A year in US bonds by David Harris of Schroder Investment Management

There are two new factors that came to the forefront in late 2011 and which are set to influence investments throughout 2012. Indeed, it appears the collective bond market had a series of epiphanies in Q3 that should frame investment activity for some time to come, and these factors are by no means isolated to the US. The first factor is the broad recognition that debt expansion will not be the large driver of economic growth as it has been for the past several decades. The second factor is that political policy pronouncements will often trump economic and credit fundamentals.

2012-02-29 Dirt Economics: Demographics Matter! by Shane Shepherd of Research Affiliates

Generations ago, people had large families, ensuring an adequate supply of labor to work the farm and provide a comfortable retirement. Now, families are small and we face a mountain of debt and soaring deficits. This months Fundamentals examines the implications for the economy and investors portfolios.

2012-02-29 2012: A Year in the Global Economy by Azad Zangana and Keith Wade of Schroder Investment Management

Global growth is set to slow further in 2012 largely as a result of the euro crisis. On the positive side, two factors should support activity in 2012. The first is a fall in inflation, which will support household real incomes leading to stronger consumer spending. The second is the strength of the corporate sector; companies have stockpiled cash and built up profits. However, Europe is entering a serious recession and will weigh on growth elsewhere. Euro policymakers should redouble their efforts to find a solution to the eurozone crisis.

2012-02-28 Black: Swans and Crude by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Economic/financial "black swans" are generally more dire than geopolitical ones. The Middle East is today's hotbed for potential geopolitical crises. Oil is taking the brunt of the pressure, but it's not necessarily the death knell for stocks or the economic recovery.

2012-02-27 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks moved higher last week in anticipation of a deal over Greek sovereign debt, as well as evidence the economy is not falling into a double-dip recession. As the charts above illustrate, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained over one percent, while the NASDAQ Composite moved higher by 1.65% led by Apple, Inc.

2012-02-27 Equity Gains Likely to Continue, But at a Slower Pace by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

It was a relatively subdued week in terms of economic data, with the highlight perhaps being the weekly initial unemployment claims, which were unchanged (a stronger-than-expected result). This data helps confirm that improvements in the labor market have been gaining traction. This Friday we will see the February employment report and most economists are calling for a new jobs number of 200,000 or higher with a flat or perhaps slightly lower unemployment rate.

2012-02-25 The Emotions of Fear and Apathy Create Good Buying Opportunities by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

One of the reasons money has found its way back to the market is that low interest rates and a bubble in bonds have upped the attractiveness of equities relative to other asset classes. In fact, many large-cap equities come with a higher yield. This means that investors can wait for the growth, while receiving the income. Overall, it looks like the markets dark clouds are lifting and we could be in for a period of sunny skies in the months ahead.

2012-02-24 The Outlook for the Overvalued Euro by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Now that a second Greek bailout deal has been reached, investors are asking whether Greece will remain in the euro bloc and how the euro will likely perform going forward. Russ answers these questions, explaining why the euro currently appears overvalued and how a weaker currency could be good for Germany.

2012-02-24 Schwab Market Perspective: Two Steps Forward... by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

US stocks and economic data appear to be moving at least two steps forward for every step back, which we believe leads to a strengthening trend for bothalthough there are inevitable bumps along the way. We believe the agreement in Washington to extend the payroll tax through 2012 may be the last substantial economic-related agreement before the election, but there are major issues looming. The Fed continues to believe another round of easing may be appropriate, which we think could be dangerous and that they should be looking to move in the other direction.

2012-02-23 9 Key Themes To Impact Returns in 2012 by Scott Migliori of Allianz Global Investors

A breakdown of the key drivers of market performance in 2012 including corporate profits, pricing/inflation, interest rates, economic activity, international performance, the dollar, valuations, technical/sentiment and fiscal policy. The U.S. economy is likely to grow 5%

2012-02-22 Tick, Tock Goes the Inflation Clock by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Despite this short-term good news, the cloud hanging over Europe promises to remain for some time. As expected, the first glimpses of fourth quarter GDP reveal a region under severe economic pressure. Growth in the European Union contracted 0.3%, the first such decline since the recession. Most member countries saw their economies shrink, including Germany (-0.2%), Italy (-0.7%), and Spain (-0.3%). On the bright side, France actually surprised consensus with a 0.2% expansion.

2012-02-18 The Enduring Popularity of Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For thousands of years, pharaohs, explorers, rulers and investors have been attracted to gold, as the precious metal has been a vital tool in building and protecting wealth. While gold naysayers focus on the day-to-day fluctuations in price, I believe gold equities and bullion will continue to enjoy maximum popularity, as the Oracle of Omaha puts it, for years to come. The allure of goldwhether it is from Fear or Lovecannot be underestimated.

2012-02-18 Danger: Caution Ahead by Bob Rodriguez of First Pacific Advisors

I know many of you would like more actionable ideas but principal protection is uppermost in my mind. Patience is required now. Many investors underestimate the potential risks and disruptiveness from high global financial leverage. We are in phase 2 of a continuing and expanding economic and financial market instability. Flexibility, high liquidity, and concentrated asset deployment, when appropriate, will be key elements in attaining superior investment performance. The era of being fully invested and adjusting portfolio weights relative to an index has been over for more than a decade.

2012-02-17 Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something 2 by Richard Clarida of PIMCO

Given the Feds targets for both inflation and long-run normal employment, the new framework suggests continued lower bound rates, forward guidance and potentially additional QE. The Fed explicitly extended the length of time that it expects interest rates to remain exceptionally low and kept the door open to adjusting at a future meeting the size and composition of its balance sheet. The Fed reached unanimous agreement on a published numerical inflation target of 2% that, in its judgment, best satisfies its mandate to achieve price stability.

2012-02-14 Keynesians Jump The Gun on Inflation by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Regardless of what the triumphant Keynesians would have you believe, my analysis continues to be that the current combination of monetary and fiscal stimulus is driving us toward disaster. Instead of a real recovery, the US will experience an inflationary depression. Europe, on the other hand, will suffer much less, precisely because it was not seduced by the short-term appeal of stimulus.

2012-02-10 Western Medicine by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO

Liquidity is buying time for European countries, but their economies are growing too slowly to support their debt loads. In the U.S., household debt is declining, but remains high. There is also no reason to assume companies that benefitted from that debt-fueled spending will grow at historical rates. Until we see sustainable, real economic growth in America, we believe equity investors should carefully scrutinize the assumptions underlying consumer discretionary stocks and consider global companies that are selling into higher growth markets.

2012-02-10 Theres Value in Russias Future by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Increasingly, Russian companies have begun paying dividends, with some companies paying as much as a 10% annual dividend. As interest rates around the world will remain low or even negative for years to come, dividends offer investors the opportunity to earn income with the potential of appreciation. Although political risks remain, we believe Russia continues to be a hotbed of opportunity for emerging market investors.

2012-02-09 Q411 Portfolio Commentary by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisers

We continue to stress that investors remain patient. Given that we are likely in the 1% of money managers that look beyond the next 30 days, it is inevitable that the markets will move counter to our positioning. This is to be expected and is consistent with the Fund's historical performance.We continue to remain disciplined and receive counsel from the investing bible: Graham and Dodd's Security Analysis. For those few true value investors left, it's worth noting that nowhere is the phrase "margin of safety" defined by quantitative easing, government stimulus, or bank bailouts.

2012-02-03 The Unlikely Bull Market by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Europe is going from crisis to crisis at the same time as stock markets climb higher. Meanwhile, investors are left confused. The key to understanding the apparent disconnect between stock market behavior and economic fundamentals is the aggressive policy being pursued by the ECB which has eased credit conditions in the crisis-stricken European banking industry. With more QE from the ECB in the pipeline, we expect equity prices to benefit.

2012-02-03 In the Bullring With Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We anticipated that the Year of the Dragon would spur an increase in the buying of traditional gifts of gold dragon pendants and coins. Gold buying did hit new records, says Mineweb, with sales of precious metals jumping nearly 50 percent from the same time last year, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Commerce. This should serve as a warning to all of golds naysayers. Gold bullfighters bewareyou now have to fight the gold bull while fending off a golden Chinese dragon.

2012-02-01 Year-End Commentary by Steven Romick of First Pacific Advisors

We find investing especially challenging todaynot that its ever been easy. We feel like we are forced to bet on policy, and how does one do that? Particularly when we believe we are betting that too many of the wrong people will make the right decisions. We feel a little like explorers, blazing new trails, learning about the new world weve come upon, charting a different path with new information, all while trying to avoid being scalped. We continue to seek the best path, even if its new, to both protect your capital (first) and to provide a return on it (second).

2012-02-01 Life and Death Proposition by Bill Gross of PIMCO

When interest rates approach zero they may transition from historically stimulative to potentially destimulative/regressive influences. Recent central bank behavior, including that of the U.S. Fed, provides assurances that short/intermediate yields will not change, and therefore bond prices are not likely threatened on the downside. Most short to intermediate Treasury yields are dangerously close to the zero-bound which imply limited potential room, if any, for price appreciation. We can't put $100 trillion of credit in a system-wide mattress, but we can move in that direction by delevering.

2012-02-01 The Doves are Flying Circles around the Hawks by Colin Moore of Columbia Management

Most of the members of the FOMC of the Fed remain concerned about the level of economic growth and inflation over the next few years. The Committee expects growth to be modest over coming quarters which appears to be a downgrade from moderate. As a consequence, the FOMC pledged to keep rates near zero into 2014 versus 2013, as previously indicated. Some members were slightly more hawkish. Six members thought monetary policy tightening should begin as early as 2012 or 2013. Five participants chose 2014. Six participants thought 2015 or later.

2012-01-31 To Fight or Not to Fight the Worlds Central Banks by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons, Andrew Bosomworth, Lupin Rahman and Isaac Meng of PIMCO

We are skeptical that fiscal austerity alone is sufficient for all eurozone countries to grow and remain solvent. We thus expect the ECB to continue supporting the euro area with liquidity in 2012. Recent central bank policy in China is oriented toward stabilizing growth in a political succession year, while balancing lingering inflation and medium-term systemic risks. Investors may want to hedge portfolios by looking to select emerging markets with the ability and willingness to cut policy rates both from a cyclical as well as structural perspective.

2012-01-31 Fed Forecasts Depend on Data by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Last summer, the Fed promised to hold rates down through mid-2013. Headlines from last week suggest that the Fed now thinks 2014. But, how committed is the Fed to this strategy? What will it take to change course? Some analysts argue that this is an ironclad commitment and there will be no course changes. We believe this is a misreading of the Feds intentions. There are 19 potential economic views that are important at the Federal Reserve 7 are on the Board of Governors and 12 are Presidents of regional banks. There is more disagreement at the Fed than meets the eye.

2012-01-31 The ECB to the Rescue by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Though a good deal of concern over European downgrades has emerged, markets actually have received reason to anticipate relief in Europes financial crisis. The old risks and fears remain, of course, but the ECB has at least changed the equation, signaling that it had jettisoned its former hands-off policy and begun, at last, to support European financial markets. The remarkable nature of the change received only a few headlines, and even less commentary, but it deserved then and deserves now more attention. The ECBs help is crucial.

2012-01-30 Tide Turns for Structured Credit by Joshua Anderson and Carrie Peterson of PIMCO

Many investors remain skeptical, but the market environment for structured products has changed markedly since the financial crisis of 2008. Current pricing now reflects a more realistic view of the underlying fundamentals, including weakness in the global economy and U.S. housing market. We believe now is the time to consider entering the structured credit market.

2012-01-30 Modest Economic and Jobs Growth Should Continue in the Months Ahead by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

From a technical perspective, the market backdrop continues to be a strong one. All of the major indices are trading at above their 200-day moving averages and the advance/decline lines are trending quite strong. Additionally, mutual fund flows are starting to move in a positive direction for stocks with some evidence suggesting that investors are starting to get back into the markets (although the amount of cash on the sidelines remains high). Although economic and market data is looking better than it did months ago, it is important to remember that significant downside risks remain.

2012-01-30 Fourth Quarter Investor Letter by Mark Bennett, David Templeton and Nick Reilly of HORAN Capital Advisors

We have our reservations about world economic output, but stand by our past comments about slow U.S. growth without a recession. We do believe equities offer attractive return opportunities for the foreseeable future in the context of historical valuation and relative valuation. We acknowledge the structural issues prevalent in developed economies and the risk that comes with debt hurdles, demographic challenges and potential deflation, but there are many data points that make us optimistic about equity returns in 2012 and for long-term strategic investment allocations of capital.

2012-01-27 12 Trades for 2012 by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

Earlier this month, I suggested that investors closely watch 12 macroeconomic and financial indicators in deciding whether the world economy is improving or worsening (12 Indicators for 2012, January 3, 2012). Some readers wrote to ask if I would discuss what those indicators would mean for investment strategies. That was the genesis of the present piece which is intended to be consistent with expectations on the economic and financial fronts.

2012-01-27 What the Bond Market Knows That You Dont by Matt Tucker of iShares Blog

On the back of improving US economic data, equities have rallied off of autumn lows, and yet US Treasury yields have continued to surf bottom with the 10-year note trading below 2% for the first time on record. Why havent interest rates recovered in support of improving data? Do US Treasury investors know something that equity investors dont? The answer may lie across the pond in Europe. The European crisis intensified significantly in the fall, causing equity markets (and most risky assets for that matter) to sell off and US Treasury rates to fall, despite the August downgrade.

2012-01-26 Journey to the Center of the (Fed's) Mind by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Federal Reserve opted to keep short-term interest rates on the floor and extended the period of time during which rates are likely to remain near zero. Newly published forecasts show slightly better growth, a bit less inflation and a lower unemployment rate. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke got hit with a lot of questions about the risks of extending zero-rate policy for 2 more years.

2012-01-26 Fed Language Goes Dovish, But Policy Unchanged by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Investors should take note that at his press conference today Chairman Bernanke made it clear that if the Feds economic forecast proves either too optimistic or too pessimistic, that it would change its forecast and alter its policy expectations for the funds rate as well. The importance of this statement cannot be underestimated. We anticipate faster economic growth, lower unemployment, and higher inflation than the Fed projects over the next few years. As result, we believe the Fed will start raising interest rates well before late 2014.

2012-01-26 The Price of a Good Nights Sleep by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Even with the recent market rally, investors are still placing a significant premium on those assets perceived as safe. Case in point: the US Treasury market. By one measure-real yields measured against core inflation long-dated Treasuries are offering the worst returns in over 30 years. The flip side of this trade is a persistent aversion to assets perceived to be the most risky, particularly Europe. Even in the more stable, northern parts many markets are trading at 8 times earnings, with dividend yields at 4% to 5%. In a low yield world, this strikes us as a long-term opportunity.

2012-01-25 Bull Riding is Risky by Fred Copper of Columbia Management

One of the most important actions taken by the ECB is the creation of a new liquidity facility for banks known as the Long Term Refinancing Operation which offers 3-year loans against a wide range of collateral. In the first auction, approximately 489 billion euros were borrowed by multiple banks. The second 3-year LTRO auction scheduled for February 29 could have substantially higher interest.This will represent a major de-risking of the banking sector. However, there are two reasons why any continued run-up to that auction may be a good time to take risk off the table.

2012-01-24 Beyond Reinhart and Rogoff by Robert Huebscher (Article)

My article two weeks ago, The Misreading of Reinhart and Rogoff, elicited a number of challenges, both from those who argued that excessive debt imperils our economic growth and from those who claimed that my proposed solution was unworkable. Among those challengers was Lacy Hunt, who raised several valid concerns. I will explain why I disagree with Hunt and others, and why the dollar's position as the reserve currency increases our borrowing capacity. But our ability to borrow cannot be a license to spend unwisely, and I will conclude by expanding on the policy choices the US must pursue.

2012-01-23 The Path of Least Resistance Is Up by Charles Lieberman (Article)

There is so much skepticism with respect to stocks that most everyone who might be scared out of the market has already exited. Investors fear a credit meltdown in Europe following a Greek default. They also fear a weakening domestic economy. As a result, stock prices are depressed, despite solid earnings growth and a healthy corporate sector. If investor's fears are not fulfilled, stocks should move higher.

2012-01-23 Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Sovereign Debt Wolf? by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Last Friday, the sovereign debt of nine European nations was downgraded by S&P. Now, there are only four European nations whose sovereign bonds carry the highest AAA rating: Finland, Germany, Luxemburg and the Netherlands. Since the sovereign debt refinancing and potential default problem still goes unsolved, we foresee the markets having to keep digesting more waves of bad news. Yet the fear created by such news is diminishingnot because of a shortage of negative news headlinesbut because European banks are more protected by the many lifelines that central banks keep throwing them.

2012-01-23 Cutting Debt and Deficits by Keith Wade and James Bilson of Schroder Investment Management

Clearly fiscal tightening in the developed markets will produce strong headwinds to world economic growth at an already unfavorable phase of the economic cycle. The extent of this drag on growth will in part be determined by the composition of the consolidation taking place between spending and revenue. Fiscal multipliers - the extent to which changes in spending and taxation affect real output - are difficult to predict with great accuracy at the best of times, but two factors suggest they may have become more powerful.

2012-01-23 Rally Not Built on Complacency by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

No matter how we make our argument, and no matter how consistently the economy grows, the doubt and fear and disbelief just wont go away. We noticed this recently, when conventional wisdom started to say that investors were being complacent these days. In other words, when the equity markets go down, investors are living in reality and accepting that the economy and financial markets just arent in great shape. But when the equity markets go up, they are being schizophrenic, overly optimistic, and now some are saying complacent.

2012-01-19 Inflation: Wheres the Beef? by Team of American Century Investments

With inflation seemingly in check, we reevaluate the near- and longer-term inflation environment, and discuss implications for investor portfolios. It is easy to understand why this topic intrigues so many. Depending on your perspective, inflation can be said to be rising fairly rapidly from low levels seen just a few years ago; or it could be said to be quite restrained, given the calls in recent years for runaway inflation as a result of unprecedented U.S. monetary and fiscal policies and a number of pronounced global economic imbalances.

2012-01-18 Americas Economic Review: Fourth Quarter 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

As the year 2011 ended, the clouds of pessimism about the economy lightened across the Americas region, as key data trends suggested that earlier fears of a steep downturn were unfounded. Financial markets stabilized as investors turned more optimistic about the outlook for 2012. Concerns over external risks, particularly about the European fiscal crisis, also calmed down as hope was renewed that enduring political solutions will be found for the fiscal challenges facing the developed countries.

2012-01-17 The Mess That Is the Eurozone Inflation-Linked Bond Market by Michael Althof and Jeremie Banet of PIMCO

Italian ILBs now mostly reflect credit risk and tend to trade at a discount to compensate for the higher volatility. Unless the eurozone collectively decides to inflate their way out of their sovereign debt problems through a large increase in the ECB balance sheet, Italian inflation-linked bonds are likely to keep trading like a more volatile and less liquid version of nominal Italian bonds. A European investor looking to secure consumption of real assets in the future may wish to think about alternative measures to help protect their real purchasing power when hedging real liabilities.

2012-01-17 Q4 GDP - No Recession In Sight by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Three months ago, we added up the major components of real GDP for the third quarter and predicted a solid annualized growth rate of 3.5%. Instead, the advance report came in at 2.5% and was later revised down to a tepid 1.8%. We were too high on inventories as well as government purchases, and that made our overall forecast too high. However, our estimates of consumer spending, business investment, home building, and the trade balance were all pretty darn close to the mark. Final sales (GDP excluding inventories) grew at a 3.2% annualized rate.

2012-01-17 The Turtle? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

The turtle makes no progress until it sticks its neck out; I have been sticking my neck out since Thanksgiving, believing the Santa rally was beginning. I stuck with that strategy until the first day of trading this year, which felt like a short-term emotional trading peak. A short-term price peak occurred on 1/10/12 at 1296.46 basis the SPX. The only question in my mind was whether we were going to get a pullback into the 1230 1240 support zone, or if we would experience a sideways correction as the overbought condition was worked off and the markets internal energy was rebuilt.

2012-01-17 Double-Digit Market Returns in 2012? by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Skeptics would suggest that the solid start to 2012 is little more than a typical "January effect" in which stocks tend to rise at the beginning of the year, but we think there is more to it than that. In part, we believe the upward moves of the last two weeks can be attributed to the fact that many investors (including active fund managers) came into the year underexposed to risk assets following a disappointing 2011, and who are at this point beginning to put their cash to work.

2012-01-17 European Nations Stripped of Credit Rating by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

S&P announced they were cutting the credit rating of nine European countries and stripping Austria and France of their AAA credit rating. Reminiscent of the removing of the AAA status from the US nearly six months ago, all eyes are on what will happen to their debt markets and currency. The markets had long expected some sort of credit rating warning or downgrade with regard to the United States. So too is the reaction from the European downgrades on Friday. Consider what has occurred in the debt markets over in Europe and you can then compare it to the United States movement.

2012-01-17 On the Fed, Stocks, the Election & More on the 1% by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

We look at the Feds latest Beige Book report that came out last week, which showed that the economy improved in all 12 Fed Districts. We also ponder the question of whether the Fed is ramping up to do a QE3. Next, with everyone wondering if were facing another roller coaster ride in the stock market this year, I will bring you some interesting facts about what stocks have historically done in presidential election years. Finally, I dug a little deeper over the last week to find some fascinating information on the so-called Top 1% of wealthiest Americans.

2012-01-13 Quarterly Review and Outlook, Fourth Quarter 2011 by Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

As the U.S. economy enters 2012, the gross government debt to GDP ratio stands near 100%. Nominal GDP in the fourth quarter was an estimated $15.3 trillion, approximately equal to debt outstanding by the federal government. In an exhaustive historical study of high debt level economies around the world, it was demonstrated that when a countrys gross government debt rises above 90% of GDP, the median growth rates fall by one percent, and average growth falls considerably more. This study sheds considerable light on recent developments in the US.

2012-01-12 A Look Back (2011) and Forward (2012) by Team of American Century Investments

The major US equity markets ended 2011 not far from where they began in terms of their index values. Now that the New Year has arrived, the question is where these markets might be headed in 2012. Three important considerations behind this question are: 1. How key macro-factorse.g. the EU debt crisisare or arent addressed 2. Can U.S. corporations continue to deliver the earnings growth they have for the past three years 3. What are the prospects for US consumers and householdsan increasingly important consideration as the global recovery slowed in the fourth quarter of last year.

2012-01-12 Global Investment Outlook by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Policy makers globally face the challenge of supporting growth while managing debt levels, and still remaining aware of inflation. The Eurozone crisis is a further complication, and has the potential to make matters more difficult. That being said, there is still growth in the world economy, though perhaps more disparate than in previous cycles. Given the inter-connected nature of countries in the globalized world, there are few areas truly insulated from turmoil. However, there are safer-havens where clearer policy frameworks and the ability to enact solutions more robustly are helpful.

2012-01-10 Chaos Theory by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO

How developed nations address their fiscal deficits will have broad implications for equity markets. Debating a future of inflation vs. deflation is radically new territory for investors. The chaotic nature of the choice facing societies is whipsawing equity markets and dominating bottom-up factors. Equity investors seem to be pricing in a combination of outcomes, with the largest weighting going to a goldilocks, mild inflation scenario. But the markets large daily swings reflect jumps back and forth as investors update the probabilities of very different destinations.

2012-01-09 Lots of Bulls, Few Bears by John Buckingham of AFAM

The market goes down and investors become bearish, the market goes up and they become bullish. Seems like folks will one day wise up as buying stocks on sale should make shoppers more excited than waiting to pick them up after theyve advanced, but this is evidently not the time to break the spell. While we do worry that the rally, albeit modest, in stocks heading into Q4 earnings reporting season, which kicks off this week, could succumb to a little selling (buy the rumor, sell the news), we remain upbeat in our view for the equity markets in 2012.

2012-01-09 Muddling Through in 2012 by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

The world continues to operate in a post-creditbust environment in which significant amounts of deleveraging still need to occur. The momentum in the United States is pointing in the right direction, but we do expect to see ongoing back-and-forth in the tone of economic data. Conditions will not continue to improve at the same pace we have seen over the last couple of months, nor will they deteriorate to the point that a double-dip recession becomes likely. Instead, we expect the economy to chart a middle course and grow somewhere between 2% and 2.5% for the year.

2012-01-06 What Happened in 2011Whats up for 2012? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

This all lends itself to a volatile, but nearly flat trend for stocks and bonds in 2012. Fundamentals dont yet support a run-up, but easy money may put a floor underneath assets over the short run. Unless the situation were to change, we believe aggressive dips in stock markets represent buying opportunities. We tend to think bonds will underperform equities in 2012, given their dramatic outperforming in 2011.

2012-01-05 2012 Market and Economic Commentary and Outlook by Multiple of Various

This is a compilation of economic and market forecasts from managers at 14 individual mutual fund companies.

2012-01-04 Markets Off to the Races in 2012 by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

As we kick off the New Year, the markets are starting like Usain Bolt off the line. The European markets are up already for the year after two trading days with the German DAX index up 4.55% and the Euro Stoxx 50 up 3.17%. The U.S. markets are moving higher with gains of nearly 2% for the day. Though a few trading days dont translate to what will happen over the year, the combination of improved manufacturing data across the globe and a further comprehension of the dramatic comments made by the ECB (European Central Bank) President Draghi last week seems to be fueling the gains.

2012-01-04 Towards the Paranormal by Bill Gross of PIMCO

The New Normal, previously believed to be bell-shaped and thin-tailed in its depiction of growth probability and financial market outcomes, appears to be morphing into a world of fat-tailed, almost bimodal outcomes. A new duality credit and zero-bound interest rate risk, characterizes the financial markets of 2012, offering the fat left-tailed possibility of unforeseen policy delevering or the fat right-tailed possibility of central bank inflationary expansion. Until the outcome becomes clear, investors should consider ways to hedge their bets.

2012-01-03 The Triumph of Optimism by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim

Over the course of history there is a certain triumph of optimism. Betting against the column of progress of human history and the innovation of mankind has always proven to be a losing proposition. In the short run, there are times to become cautious, as the past five years have exemplified. Broad-based economic expansion and its attendant outsize investment returns follow contraction and panic just as the day follows the night. As dark as the current environment may seem, the sun will come up tomorrow. When it does, I believe it will shine favorably on the optimists of today.

2011-12-30 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stock markets here in the USA and Europe are ending the year on a positive note. The concerns of the European sovereign debt issue have been put aside for now as the European Central Bank is essentially embarking on a quantitative easing policy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 3.6% last week and is positive for the year while the NASDAQ Composite jumped by 2.5% and is more or less break even for the year with a few trading days left in 2011.

2011-12-30 Beyond Beasts and Bossa Nova:The Brazilian Boom by Team of Guild Investment Management

What does all this mean for those who wish to invest in Brazil? It means that when it is time to buy Brazil and the time isnt here yet you will want to consider banks and credit card companies as a way to capture the wave of consumer cash since many consumers go abroad to buy personal and pricey consumer goods. To take advantage of rising internal Brazilian spending you will probably want to consider autos, housing, and big ticket durables that will not fit into the luggage of shoppers returning from spending trips abroad.

2011-12-23 Banking Reform: Hopefully Britannia Creates A Wave by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The British government has set in motion this week a future overhaul in the way that individual banks do business. British banks will be required to separate their basic lending and deposit operations from investment activities involving trading and speculation on behalf of clients and the banks themselves. This should mean that the deposits of retail customers will be shielded and protected from bank investment and trading ventures.

2011-12-21 Fiscal Pressures Could Lead to European Solution by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

As we and many have noted during the debt crisis in Europe, the ultimate end to the current dilemma requires a comprehensive and coordinated solution from all of its members. In an article over night from Bloomberg we read that, a measure of ECB leverage may grow from a record 30 times, raising the risk of a widening in sovereign bond spreads unless governments commit a detailed rescue plan for members. The two challenges we have seen from Europe is the conscious effort to do just enough to get by which doesnt instill confidence and inability to comprehend the severity of the situation.

2011-12-21 Hot Potato by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons, Andrew Bosomworth, Lupin Rahman and Rob Mead of PIMCO

The world is playing a game of hot potato with European financial assets, and the European Central Bank is a reluctant player. Together, Europes fiscal and monetary authorities can likely avert a systemic accident, but they must act quickly and courageously. Differentiation among emerging market monetary policies is increasing. And in Australia, the central bank will likely need to ease further in 2012. If every central bank enacts similar monetary policy tools, those tools compete for the same targets (financial and inflation stability), thereby potentially eroding their effectiveness.

2011-12-20 European Credit Freeze Thawing? by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, said that banks may borrow money from the ECB to purchase sovereign bonds. This is a form of quantitative easing that circumvents the prohibitive inflexibility many other central banks around the world dont have to meddle with. Like any additional indirect action, its ultimate impact may be more subtle than a direct action but it does bring about some creative solutions where leadership has stalled. Other assistance could come from a discussion in increasing liquidity by nearly 200 billion Euros via the International Monetary Fund.

2011-12-16 Loose Monetary Policy Paves Way for Growth by Scott Migliori of Allianz Global Investors

Continued volatility in early 2012, but an increasingly accommodative monetary policy globally could jumpstart growthparticularly among export-driven companiesin the second half of the year. Energy and health care sectors stand out as likely outperformers.

2011-12-16 Early Santa Arrival? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks have continued their seesaw pattern around developments in the European debt crisis. The major indices remain in the wide range we've been in for the last two years. Factors are setting up for a potential break above that range in the coming year. Expectations about progress in Washington are extremely low and near-term the biggest issues are the proposed extensions of the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance. The increasing populist rhetoric is not helpful and any chance of major debt-reducing legislation occurring before the 2012 election seems remote.

2011-12-14 Fed Ends 2011 with a Whimper by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

There were no surprises out of the Fed meeting today, with short-term interest rates remaining pegged at zero. There was one dissenting FOMC member who wished for additional policy accommodation. Much of the Fed's near-term focus remains on the eurozone debt crisis.

2011-12-13 The Borrowing Has Finally Begun by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Since all the financial troubles began in 2008, the Fed has pumped massive amounts of liquidity into the economy: first to stem financial collapse, then to ameliorate the effects of the recession, and more recently to spur the all too sluggish recovery. For a long time, this liquidity remained bottled up in banks and other financial institutions, where it helped, but less than it otherwise might have. Now however liquidity seems to have begun to flow more generally, suggesting 1) that Fed policy is finally having its looked-for effect and 2) that in future, the economic climate will improve.

2011-12-12 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Markets continue to be whipsawed by headlines out of Europe which much of the time are confusing and contradictory. Overall, however, the stock market here in the United States continues to outperform other global markets, and as evidenced by the charts below showed gains for the week. Last week saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average gain 1.4% while the NASDAQ Composite moved higher by three quarters of a percent.

2011-12-12 Europe Crisis: Not Over Yet! by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

On Friday European leaders completed their 14th or 15th crisis-related summit meeting since the beginning of 2010. Fitting a pattern, the results were termed a success by the leaders. Wolfgang Schuble told Focus magazine that he was certain that the leaders will be able to handle the debt crisis in Europe with the agreed, far-reaching measures on institutional reform of the European currency union. A close examination of factors behind the agreement suggests, however, that the decisions may end up being another band-aid solution to the still festering crisis.

2011-12-09 You Can't Print More Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As central banks print money and increase supply, currencies become devalued. Whereas in the recent past, one currency may be reduced in value compared with other currencies, this time there is global competitive devaluation as excess liquidity is put into the system. Historically, this excess liquidity has made its way to riskier assets, i.e. stocks and commodities. Gold is generally a benefactor of this flight to riskier assets as many investors see it as a store of value. This chart illustrates the interconnectivity of gold and global money supply growth.

2011-12-08 Global Economy and Market Summary Third Quarter 2011 by Stephen Hammers of Compass EMP Funds

The world economy has continued to slow during the last few months. The next several quarters are likely to be weak for three reasons. First, fiscal policy will continue to be restrictive as plans to trim excessive federal budget deficits continue to unfold. Second, private sector demand looks gloomy because households will continue to deleverage from high debt levels while unemployment remains a problem. Third, the uncertain future of the Euro-zone debt situation remains a major setback to future economic growth.

2011-12-08 2012: A Gut Check for Global Markets by Andreas Utermann of Allianz Global Investors

We are clearly facing a significant slowdown in economic activity in 2012, but we do not expect most developed economies to fall into recession. However, growth risks are increasingparticularly in Europe, where a recession is becoming increasingly likely. We do not expect a return of deflationary fears despite weakening growth, nor is inflation likely to be a threat in the foreseeable future. We expect rates to come down further in the euro zone and emerging markets; in the U.S., U.K. and Japan, we expect extremely low interest rates to continue.

2011-12-07 The Fed: Is QE3 Coming in January? by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

For most of this year, rumors have continually swirled that the Fed was about to embark on yet a third round of Quantitative Easing. The rumors suggested, that the Fed would announce another $600 billion in asset purchases, primarily of long-dated Treasury bonds. While many of us argue that the first two rounds of QE have had little positive effect, the Obama administration and many others are urging the Fed to do more. The argument is that Europe is heading into a recession, and this cant help but weaken the US economy just ahead.

2011-12-06 The Quality Conundrum by J.J. Abodeely, CFA, CAIA (Article)

We are witnessing the end of a remarkable and confounding era for stocks, best described by the 'quality conundrum' investors faced for much of the last two years. During that time the combined outperformance of low-quality stocks alongside the underperformance of high-quality stocks was unprecedented in the last 30 years. Now, we are embarking on an era where high-quality stocks will likely significantly outperform low-quality stocks, resolving this conundrum.

2011-12-01 Central Bankers Hold A Conference CallVery bullish by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

After the ECB announced late last week that they had bought bonds to create demand for the bond auctions of this week, they further stated that they had not sterilized all of those purchases. Some viewed this as a bearish event, but it made us become more bullish and we began to buy stocks on Monday 11/28. Europes bond buying without sterilization is QE, or money creation. New data came out yesterday saying that the ECB and Euro zones 17 national central banks balance sheets have grown to an all-time high of 2.4 trillion Euros. Some see this as a bad thingwe disagree.

2011-12-01 On Money and Confidence by Andrew Foster of Seafarer Capital

At this moment, the worlds central banks have undertaken what appear to be coordinated efforts at relief, easing liquidity by boosting money supply. This is a welcome move, as liquidity has been strained. My concern is that while this monetary stimulus is necessary, it is not sufficient to achieve financial stability. Unless confidence is restored specifically, by repairing balance sheet solvency growth will remain tepid, and markets range-bound.

2011-11-29 Jeremy Siegel on Why Stocks are 'Extremely Attractive' by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Jeremy Siegel is the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His book, Stocks for the Long Run, now in its fourth edition, is widely recognized as one of the best books on investing. We spoke to him last week about equity valuations and the prospects for the economy.

2011-11-29 Is 2012 Destined to be a Repeat OF 2008 for Banks? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Mounting concerns in Europe and the failure of Congress supercommittee weighed on investor sentiment during the holiday-shortened week. As expected, the congressional supercommittee failed to negotiate a $1.2 trillion deficit reduction by Wednesdays deadline. The move triggers automatic cuts to the federal budget starting as early as this year. Near-term effects are mostly in the form of program non-renewals for example, the expiration of 99-week unemployment benefits, the payroll tax cut, and other Recovery Act stimulus.

2011-11-29 Deja Vu? Eurozone Crisis Today vs. 2008 Subprime Crisis by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

News flow on the eurozone debt crisis is speedy, and the latest news of a fiscal pact brings cheers by stock investors for now. There are many similarities between the 2011 and 2008 crisesbut even more differences. The end of the "Debt Supercycle" has ushered in a period of heightened risk and shortened economic/market cycles.

2011-11-26 Breakup Of The EuroGreece Will Be The First To LeaveGermany Leaks A Bombshell Proposal by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

In our opinion, global stock markets are beginning to price in a breakup of the Euro-Zone currency.Some will quit under pressure or be forced out and possibly some will quit because they do not want to pay part of the bill to bail out less conservative more spending oriented sister states. We anticipate that Greece will be the first to leave the Euro. The Greeks are perceived to be thumbing their nose at their European neighbors, and the Euro community could use Greece as an object lesson for other countries who might consider the role of non-cooperation.

2011-11-26 Beyond the Supercommittee by Team of Charles Schwab

After months of negotiations, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction announced that it could not reach agreement, stating: "we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee's deadline" The supercommittee had a deadline of November 23 to make recommendations to trim at least $1.2 trillion from the budget deficit. What's beyond the supercommittee? Schwab answers the key questions. Such as, why did the supercommittee fail? and are US Treasuries still a safe-haven investment? among others.

2011-11-23 Manipulated U.S. Rates See Saw Gold Prices by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The Super Committee has followed the path of least resistance and maximum irresponsibility. Given the likely after-effects, the outcome should be judged as criminal dereliction of duty. It should now be crystal clear to even the most casual observer that a solution to the U.S. debt crisis will not come from within, but will be imposed, perhaps brutally, from without.

2011-11-22 Europe Is in for a Long Recession by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

Collectively, the 27 sovereign nations that make up the EU most likely entered a recession this quarter. Given that the EU represents the largest economy in the world, a recession there is no small beer for the rest of the world. The Greek tragedy morphed into an Italian comedy. Now, it has become a French farce. The plot behind all of these theater forms is how an economy struggles when deprived of adequate bank credit. Although eurozone MFI credit is growing, its growth is much slower than it was prior to the global recession.

2011-11-22 Whether the U.K. is in the Euro or Not, We Are All in This Together by Mike Amey of PIMCO

Can the U.K. economy withstand a further sharp deterioration in the European debt crisis? The prospect of European recession, coupled with the U.K.'s program of tight fiscal policy, points to a challenging economic outlook for the U.K. A weak eurozone means weak export prospects at a time when the U.K. is trying to rebalance its economy towards greater exports. The U.K. economy has made great strides in stabilizing its banking system, but it is not yet in a position where it can withstand a systemic European crisis involving multiple defaults.

2011-11-21 Investment Outlook: November 2011 by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Financial crisis continues to dominate the political agenda: a credit crunch looms as Europes banks shrink balance sheets, growth momentum is diverging among different regions, investor focus on global fiscal policy will intensify in 2012 and abundant liquidity via central bank easing is likely to prevail for some time. Economic data has tended to surprise analysts over the last few weeks, encouraging the view that growth may not be as weak as some were predicting only a month ago. However the picture is very different among different regions around the world.

2011-11-16 It Ain't Over Till It's OverAnd Thats Not Happening Soon by Team of Guild Investment Management

Dont expect the current crisis of budgetary deficits and spending restraints to stop any time soon. Instead, think in these realistic terms: the era of fiscal restraint and spending limits has come, and will be with us for ten to twenty more years. It is obvious to veteran observers that Europe and America are facing hard choices that will result in slow growth and increased suffering for the people. And for that we have our incompetent legislators past and present to thank. They have misused their mandates, grossly exceeded their budgets, and are loath to correct wayward behaviors.

2011-11-15 QE2 and Its Impact on Sterling Credit Markets by Ketish Pothalingam and Luke Spajic of PIMCO

The removal of government bond supply combined with the likely suppression of yields may encourage investors to seek out greater yield via investment grade bonds in the credit markets. The BoEs new round of QE could exacerbate the imbalance between supply and demand and leave a hole in supply that is highly unlikely to be filled by sterling credit issuance. The lack of issuance in the case of non-financials is generally due to strong corporate balance sheets, undrawn credit lines at banks and the rebirth of the loan market.

2011-11-11 Just as Domestic Demand Picks Up, Foreign Demand Weakens by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The Commerce Departments first estimate of Q3:2011 real GDP growth was 2.5% annualized. Although this headline was better than the 0.8% annualized real GDP growth in the first half of 2011, underneath the headline, the news was even cheerier. Real final sales to domestic purchasers grew at an annualized rate of 3.2% in Q3:2011, the fastest growth of this measure since the 4.9% posted in Q2:2010. So, is it onward and upward for the U.S. economy going forward? Unlikely. Although things may be looking up for domestic demand, foreign demand for U.S. exports is expected to wane.

2011-11-10 Italys Crisis is Also a Global One by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

The most important risk indicator in Europe-and for the global economy-is Italys ten-year bond yield. Italys 1.9 trillion in total public debt makes the country too big to save. After rising to over 6% in recent weeks and stubbornly staying above that critical level, the yield surged by over one-half percentage point today to more than 7.25%. Just as important, the ten-year German bond, the regions safe haven, fell in yield to 1.72%. Clearly, the market is suggesting that Italy is not too far behind Greece in either being forced to restructure its debt, or default on its obligations.

2011-11-08 Is the U.S. to China what Greece is to Germany? by Colin Moore of Columbia Management

As the U.S. and peripheral Europe each try to adjust their economies to lower budget deficits, they risk recession over the next year or two. However, the impact on Germany and China may be more prolonged. Each region will struggle or refuse to adapt to a greater balance between external investment/export growth and domestic demand. An important conclusion of the book The American Phoenix Why China and Europe Will Struggle After the Coming Slump, as its title suggests, is that the U.S. will eventually deal with its issues and emerge relatively strong compared to Europe.

2011-11-07 Risks Remain High, But May Be Receding by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

We do not think the Fed is quite ready yet to enact QE3, but should we see some sort of combination of further chaos in Europe, inflation levels receding further and economic growth deteriorating, the likelihood would grow. On the economic front, last week saw the release of the October payrolls report. Gains were slightly weaker than expected (up 80,000), but the data also showed that gains in August and September were revised up sharply and that unemployment fell very slightly, from 9.1% to 9.0%.

2011-11-04 Return of the Phillips Rule by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim

The U.S. remains the least-dirty shirt in the bag. In fact, its looking comparatively better all the time. In the stock market, I believe fundamental and seasonal factors could push the S&P 500 to new highs before the end of the year, despite the drama in Greece. The market has discounted some pretty nasty events that I dont believe will come to fruition. When more certainty comes, especially regarding events in Europe, investors will likely look back and wish they had paid more attention to fundamentals rather than emotions. On a historical basis, stocks are attractively valued.

2011-11-03 Dressing Up a Default for Halloween by Team of BondWave Advisors

Politicians in Europe spent October trying to juggle three balls: 1) avoiding an unavoidable Greek default, 2) keeping a Greek default from cascading into Italy and Spain, and 3) shoring up the European banks before a Greek default. BondWave Advisors discuss the details of the Greek situation in our November Fixed Income Report and provide additional insight into the US Treasury, Corporate and Municipal Bond Markets.

2011-11-01 Just When You Thought Europe was Rescued, New Skeletons Emerge by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Economic data in the US will receive plenty of attention this week. On Tuesday, the ISM Manufacturing Survey is released, with economists anticipating continued expansion in the manufacturing sector. Wednesdays ADP private payroll employment report will offer a taste of what is to come in Fridays nonfarm payroll employment report for October. Consensus expectations are for job growth of slightly less than 100,000 and an unemployment rate of 9.1%.

2011-11-01 The Market Drivers: European Debt, Chinese Inflation, and the U.S. Economy by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Co.

We remain concerned about Europe. In fact, the two sources of capital closest to the problem, Germany and the ECB, have stated they will not provide any additional assistance, preferring to try to incent others to provide capital instead. As the concerns about the U.S. economy and China have diminished, we have put some cash back to work, but still have a bit over 15% in cash. We anticipate putting more cash to work when it becomes apparent that the Chinese Central Bank stops constricting its money supply, and we continue to watch Europe.

2011-10-31 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Europe apparently has solved all of its financial challenges While Greek protests continue daily, the EU leaders held a contentious summit that teetered between storming out with nothing and completing a breakthrough deal. In the end, the group agreed to significantly write-down Greeces sovereign debt held by private investors, recapitalize the banking system, and expand the bailout fund. The ministers hope that China and Japan will embrace the new deal and even throw a few bucks their way as an investment in the global economy, but nothing definitive has been determined at this time.

2011-10-31 Financial Market Update & Outlook by Jonathan E. Lederer of Lederer Private Wealth Management

In this volatile environment, I consider preservation of capital to be a higher priority than speculation and am inclined to remain defensive until valuations appear more attractive. I strongly believe that we will see better opportunities in 2012 as the markets start to better reflect the global economic situation and the inevitable reduction in corporate earnings estimates. Though we run the risk of getting left behind if this rally turns into a longer-term bull market, it is a risk that Im comfortable taking in light of the global macroeconomic backdrop.

2011-10-31 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks continued to advance as stellar earnings reports continue to overshadow the macro worries. These include the European crisis as well as many of our domestic problems such as the protests in the streets, And the confusion caused by President Obama starting his reelection campaign so early. This has created total grid lock in Washington DC. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.4% last week while the NASDAQ Composite fell slightly due to confusion around Apple Computers earnings release. I doubt the disappointment for Apple will prove to last for long.

2011-10-31 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The stock market is on the verge of completing its best month since 1974. Who would have thought that just five weeks ago? The ostensible reason given for the upswing is some resolution of the European debt issues. Forget that; the reason stocks recovered is the reason they always bounce back and that is higher earnings, higher dividends and a lack of alternative asset choices. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ Composite gained almost 4 percent each last week. Shorts were covering and hedge fund managers were caught underinvested into the end of the month. Too bad.

2011-10-29 European Summit: A Plan with No Details by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The market reacted like yesterdays announcement was the Second Coming of the Solution to End All Solutions. But if you look deeply there is more to the market "melt-up" than simple euphoria and relief. What you find is a very disturbing unintended consequence that will come back to haunt us. The finger points to derivatives and credit default swaps. This week, we look at gamma and delta and other odd entities that may be behind the real reason for the market response, as we march inexorably toward the final chapters of the Endgame.

2011-10-27 Asia-Pacific Portfolio Committee Discusses Cyclical Outlook for Globe and Region by Robert Mead, Tomoya Masanao and Isaac Meng of PIMCO

China will likely focus more on rebalancing of the investment-focused domestic economy this time, rather than on reflating of the economy to engineer higher growth as it has done in 2008 to 2009. Japans fiscal policy will need to be expansionary to facilitate reconstruction efforts. We believe Australian government bonds have the potential to outperform U.S. Treasuries on a local currency basis, particularly in a left-tail global economic scenario.

2011-10-27 Greek Bondholders at a Loss by Michael Finger of Euro Pacific Capital

In a best case scenario, Western governments increasingly accept that creative destruction is a part of capitalism that bad debts must be liquidated fully, honestly, and quickly to make room for new growth. In the more likely scenario, the EU's structural divide keeps it walking a middle road between bailouts and default of its weaker members, while the US refuses to accept reality until it risks becoming the largest sovereign collapse in history. Let's hope laissez-faire prevails, but invest like we know better.

2011-10-27 Eyes on the Prize by Richard Clarida of PIMCO

Before Nobel laureates Tom Sargent and Chris Sims developed their methods, economists and policymakers had no rigorous way to incorporate expectations into their statistical models. There is a limit to forward guidances effectiveness, which is why the Fed has pursued other policy options since hitting the zero lower bound. An uncanny correlation exists between the Feds preferred measure of the publics long-term inflation expectations and the timing or initial announcement of a quantitative easing or twist program.

2011-10-26 72% Say US Headed in the Wrong Direction by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

We begin with some new Associated Press polls released. Lead among them is the poll which found that 72% of Americans now believe that the US is headed in the wrong direction. Then summarize the latest economic reports, most disappointing, but there were a few bright spots. Finally, I will address a political issue that is just beginning to make the rounds in the media. That the Republican presidential hopefuls are gravitating to a flat tax and jobs growth agenda that could stand up very well against President Obamas tax-and-spend, punish- success policies in the 2012 election.

2011-10-25 Miccolis, Bengen and Evensky on the New Challenges in Portfolio Construction by Michael Skocpol (Article)

Conventional wisdom about the best way to construct a portfolio has been discredited, according to three industry thought leaders ? Jerry Miccolis, Bill Bengen and Harold Evensky. Each has distinct visions of the ways in which advisors should build portfolios in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, but all three agree that traditional methods must be scrutinized.

2011-10-25 Got Jobs?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Whether this stampede turns out to be that strong will likely depend on the economy, our changing political environment, and Europe. However, I remain cautiously optimistic, believing there is a change afoot inside DC whereby business people are being elected, fostering the hope of simple, market-based solutions to our Nations ills. And, over the last three weeks the stock market appears to be sensing this as well with winning sectors continuing to be Energy, Financials, Consumer Discretionary, and Materials. Such sector rotation suggests the stock market believes things are getting better.

2011-10-25 Economy Continues to Surprise, But Inflation Offers a Scare by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Equity markets continued fighting higher, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 1.4% and the S&P 500 Index increasing by 1.1% last week. Optimism from both Europe nearing an agreement on its debt problems, as well as positive earnings reports, pushed equity markets higher throughout the week. Since the start of earnings season, slightly more than 300 companies reported quarterly earnings figures. Out of those that reported, 63.7% beat consensus earnings estimates. That is a moderate improvement from the past two quarters, but somewhat below the 65% average since March 2009.

2011-10-24 The Valley of Debt: Will You Walk Away from the Fed and Its Money? by Tad Rivelle of TCW Asset Management

Regardless of your philosophy, financial crises do test the mettle of the investor and judged this way, the past three years have been among the most challenging period in decades. Perhaps because crises mean different things to different groups of investors, we have lived with the ultimate traders market, one alternately characterized by the risk on or the risk off. Interestingly, the level of the Dow Jones is within just a few points of where that index started the year. Had you just returned from the Antarctic, you might have concluded that 2011 was a snoozer.

2011-10-19 U.S. Dollar and Euro - Review and Outlook by Axel Merk and Kieran Osborne of Merk Funds

With so many global dynamics playing out, and the worlds financial markets fixated on the political process (or lack thereof) in the Eurozone, driving market sentiment around the world, it may be a good time to take a deep breath, take a look back at where weve come from, and assess the likely implications going forward. Specifically, what are the implications for the U.S. dollar and currencies globally? With continued expansionary monetary policy here in the States, and lack of such policies elsewhere, the divergence in monetary policy is likely to further erode the U.S. dollar.

2011-10-19 Developed Europe: Economic Review September 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

With the world anxiously watching, Developed Europe battled against its sovereign debt problems on several fronts all through September. Investors became increasingly concerned as the month progressed because Euro-zone leaders delayed making a decision on paying Greece the next installment of its bailout package, despite the beleaguered country declaring that it would run out of money by mid-October without the aid tranche. News reports from the region indicated that the installment was being delayed to pressure Greece into speeding up crucial structural reforms.

2011-10-18 Wrong by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Near-term overbought is our short-term call, yet we think the lows are in for the year. Regrettably, we also believe there has been so much technical damage that the May 2nd intraday high of 1370.58 marks the high for the year. Nevertheless, we are buyers of favored stocks on weakness given our sense that there will be no recession and that earnings will continue to surprise on the upside.

2011-10-18 Economic Data Receives Another Dose of Positive News by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Not only was key economic data, such as retail sales, better than expected, but also the start of earnings season brought about a number of positive corporate earnings surprises.An important caveat is that analysts earnings estimates were routinely cut over the past several weeks, leading to a lowered bar and higher likelihood of upside surprise.Regardless, markets appear pleased by the news, at least for the time being. Over the latest week, each of the major indicators, excluding consumer sentiment, came in above consensus.

2011-10-17 Solid 3.5% Growth in Q3 by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

When real GDP growth barely budged in Q1 (0.4%) and sputtered in Q2 (1.3%), conventional wisdom became convinced that a recession was on its way. Many argued that unless the US stimulated the economy with more spending, temporary Keynesian tax cuts, or another round of quantitative easing, it was in for another recession. With the Fed accommodative, and productivity strong, we never believed the pessimistic narrative. Conventional wisdom has been wrong. With most monthly data in, it looks like real GDP grew at a 3.5% annualized growth rate in the third quarter of 2011.

2011-10-14 Europe Moving In The Right Direction by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

The rally in European and world stock markets that began on October 5th appears to be continuing for several practical reasons. Many stocks just got too cheap. Europes policymakers have expressed language the markets want to hear. Ans Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy have given the world reason to believe that Europe will gradually implement a comprehensive program to recapitalize European banks. The combination of these factors has made us feel more constructive about markets. Don't forget gold, our advice continues to be buy the dips and take some profits on spikes.

2011-10-14 The Bottom Line #6 by Paul Azeff and Kory Bobrow of Euro Pacific Capital

What we can learn from the past is that in the current environment, being nimble, buying at major fear-induced selloffs and, even more importantly, selling into strength, is a strategy that will outperform the buy-and-hold crowd. For nimble traders, volatility represents opportunity. Having someone by your side to help calm the fear and quell the exuberance helps the returns a lot. Its when you have volatility like weve seen of late, or after the Great Depression, or experienced in the Japanese market over the last 20+years, when you really need a good execution strategy to stay profitable.

2011-10-13 Our Fixed Income Macro OutlookFourth Quarter 2011 by Team of American Century Investments

Our economic outlook has become a bit more defensive and cautious, compared with earlier this year. After improvement last year, economic conditions have slowed. In particular, the financial sector has come under renewed pressure from the European sovereign debt crisis and continued housing market stagnation. It remains to be seen if this slowing is transitory or more significant. Both the consumer and business sectors have experienced slowing. But a subpar recovery with headwinds remains our projected most-likely scenario, not a recession.

2011-10-12 ​Repeating the Future by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO

For long-term investors, meaning those prepared to stay invested for three, five and even 10 years, who can endure volatility, we believe equities can offer attractive returns. In an extended period of slow economic growth and deleveraging, interest rates are likely to remain low. Actual income generation from investments is important. Hopefully society can institutionalize the lessons from this crisis so that future generations dont repeat it: Individuals, corporations and countries should only borrow to fund long-term investment, not current consumption.​

2011-10-12 Quarterly Review and Outlook by Team of Hoisington Investment Management

Negative economic growth will probably be registered in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2011, and in subsequent quarters in 2012. Though partially caused by monetary and fiscal actions and excessive indebtedness, this contraction has been further aggravated by three current cyclical developments: a) declining productivity, b) elevated inventory investment, and c) contracting real wage income.

2011-10-11 The Economy Takes a Sudden Turn by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

A busy economic week brought much-needed relief for investors. With 75% of domestic economic reports beating expectations over the past two weeks, equity markets were able to find stable ground. Additionally, outside the US, new QE measures by the Bank of England and progress on the European sovereign debt situation bolstered investor confidence. Re-anchoring domestically, the news was largely positive across a range of data series, from manufacturing and services to labor. Similar to last year, economic data severely disappointed in the summer but is now showing improvement.

2011-10-07 Bond Market Review and Outlook by Thomas Fahey of Loomis Sayles

Amid the ongoing debate, the financial markets are signaling a need for liquidity. Until Europe and the US are able to demonstrate economic growth, the financial markets are likely to remain skittish, leaving risk premiums high. In the interim, policy-makers will be in the spotlight. In our opinion, central banks should supply more liquidity on a global basis in this turbulent environment. We believe such intervention can help assuage the markets.

2011-10-07 Corporate Bond Transparency Report by Chris Shayne of BondDesk Group

The equity market turmoil impacted yields for retail corporate bonds as expected, but the effect was not consistent across rating grades. Yields for 2nd tier investment grade (A, BBB) bonds increased substantially, while upper tier (AAA, AA) were largely unchanged. This was a continuation of the trend established in August.

2011-10-07 Municipal Market Transparency Report by Chris Shayne of BondDesk Group

September was another extremely quiet month in the retail market for individual municipal bonds. Median municipal spreads increased in September, continuing a trend that began last month. because Treasury yields fell faster than muni spreads widened. Comparably rated revenue bonds were generally yielding more than their general obligation counterparts, continuing a trend that began in August.

2011-10-05 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks were mixed last week as global growth concerns trumped the continuing mix of ok economic reports and on-balance good corporate news at least in terms of dividends and so on. As the charts above illustrate, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.3% last week while the growth centered NASDAQ Composite fell by 2.7% as concerns about a double-dip recession moved further onto the front burner.

2011-10-05 Million Dollar Question: Dollar and Recession Risk Up Together by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Recession fears have mounted, but the picture is still mixed and it's not yet conclusive. The US dollar is winning the "least ugly" currency contest, but isn't helping stocks or commodities. Short-term, a stronger dollar is a negative for riskier assets but not necessarily longer-term, if history's a guide.

2011-09-30 Schwab Market Perspective: Perception vs. Reality by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Economic data continues to reveal sluggish activity, and markets have been increasingly trading in a risk-on, risk-off mode. The Fed continues to try to stimulate greater economic growth, most recently with the announcement of operation twist. We have serious doubts this will engender any broad upturn. We continue to look toward Washington to move beyond short-term rhetoric and provide some serious long-term plans that allow businesses to have more confidence in the future. European policymakers continue to delay any real action, increasing the risks of an escalation of the debt crisis.

2011-09-30 Extreme Divergence Between Coal Rocks and Stocks Unwarranted by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Coal was relatively flat for the quarter, but whats interesting is that coal companies were severely discounted. Over the last two years, coal stocks and the commodity have closely tracked each other, until this summer, when worries about a global slowdown caused coal stocks to fall off a cliff, not once, but twice, in August and again in early September. This extreme divergence between coal companies and the commodity seems unwarranted when the long-term drivers of coal remain supportive.

2011-09-28 With Apologies to James Carville, It's the Demand, Stupid by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

If there were more demand for goods and services in the economy, then corporations allegedly sitting on all that cash would start to use it. Our current weak economic growth is largely the result of inadequate aggregate demand for goods and services, not inadequate supply. And that is why I suggested a properly designed Federal Reserve quantitative easing could chum up aggregate demand until banks are able to create adequate amounts of credit on their own to get the job done. Monetary policy is all about affecting aggregate demand; fiscal policy is all about affecting aggregate supply.

2011-09-26 A Whiff of Volcker by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Equities will soon shrug off last weeks news. The economy is not in a recession and while European problems are a real issue, US banks have plenty of capital to sustain the system in case of further crisis. Despite all the dour language and the volatile market reaction, we like the downward move in gold. What it says is that the Fed will no longer follow a path of policy that seemed to print money with no regard for any historical lessons. As Paul Volcker showed us, tighter money can be in a countys best interest. Gold investors should look out below. But, for equities, this is a good sign.

2011-09-23 Twist Paves the Way for QE III by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

But many of those who oppose QE3 do so because they believe the economy doesnt need more stimulus not because the stimulus itself is causing the economic weakness. As a result when the economy deteriorates, support for QE III could grow. In the end QE3 will likely be far more popular than another bank bailout, which may be on the table if the Fed fails to rescue the banks it may be pushing over the edge with Twist. But our zombie economy does not need to be perpetuated by more QE. It must be allowed to die so that a living, breathing, self-sustaining economy can replace it.

2011-09-23 "Animal Spirits" - What Keynes Penned, Its Relevance Today by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

In Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, Why it Matters for Global Capitalism, Akerlof and Shiller explore a new avenue to understand macroeconomy and Keyness notion of animal spirits is the inspiration for their thesis. The authors of this book make an important point about animal spirits and policy making in the context of a credit crunch. In a garden variety recession, expansionary monetary and fiscal policies have the ability to revive economic activity. However, the combination of an economic recession and a credit crunch needs a special remedy.

2011-09-23 Extreme Moves Leave Markets in Rare Territory by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Many investors have used gold and other commodities as a haven from recent volatility, buoying prices while equities sunk, but even those investments werent immune to the wave of selling. The U.S. dollar, in contrast, was up 2.2 percent. Much of the dollars rally came after the Fed announced the creatively named Operation Twist. The Fed will sell $400 billion of short-term securities and buy an equal amount of long-term debt. The goal is to push down long-term interest rates, which would spur economic activity.

2011-09-22 Twist and Shout: The Fed, as Expected, Announced "Operation Twist" by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Federal Reserve announced "Operation Twist," which was largely expected. The goal is to further reduce borrowing costs and push money via lending out into the real economy. Whether it will work is the big question because high interest rates are not the economy's problem. Ultimately, confidence has to improve before we're likely to enjoy any reasonable pace of economic growth. Whether this move by the Fed starts the confidence-healing process remains to be seen. But we suggest you keep your expectations relatively low.

2011-09-20 Ya Gotta Believe! by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons, Andrew Bosomworth, Lupin Rahman and Isaac Meng of PIMCO

Central banks around the world consider easing monetary policy amid concerns of a global economic slowdown. At least one major central bank, however, appears to be taking an opposite stance: China. Policymakers there are concerned about inflation, excessive credit and property speculation. In other emerging nations, central bankers are generally poised to ease, but have less ammunition than they did after Lehman collapsed.

2011-09-19 How to Prevent a Depression by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The latest economic data suggests that recession is returning to most advanced economies, with financial markets now reaching levels of stress unseen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The risks of an economic and financial crisis even worse than the previous one-now involving not just the private sector, but also near-insolvent sovereigns-are significant. So, what can be done to minimize the fallout of another economic contraction and prevent a depression and financial meltdown? The best way to avoid the risk of repeating such a sequence is bold and aggressive global policy action now.

2011-09-19 Benjamin Strong and Milton Friedman - Ironically, Something in Common? by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

Had Milton Friedman not passed away in 2006 and were alive and writing today, he would be arguing forcefully in favor of continued Federal Reserve quantitative easing. Friedman argued that had Benjamin Strong been alive to influence Federal Reserve policy in 1930 and 1931, the recession of 1929 would not have degenerated into the Great Depression. If Milton Friedman were alive today to influence the current Federal Reserve monetary policy debate, the near stagnant economic environment we find ourselves in would not need to persist.

2011-09-19 Europes Confidence Game by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Of the three big issues dragging markets up and down these daysWashingtons ongoing budget uncertainties, the threat of a second recessionary dip, and Europes sovereign debt crisisthe latter is most dangerous. It not only carries a direct risk of wealth destruction but also of bank insolvency and, consequently, the prospect of a return to the liquidity shortages of 2008. Probabilities suggest that Europe will work its way through this mess, not without pain, of course, but more successfully than many now fear. Until it does so, however, risks remain.

2011-09-19 Uncertainty Remains, but so too Does Opportunity by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

In contrast to Europe, the United States economy remains in reasonably good health. The United States does, of course, have its own sovereign debt issues to deal with and the future state of the federal deficit is an obvious source of concern. The difference between the United States and Europe is that the United States has the ability to solve its own fiscal problems, even if coming to an agreement about how to do so is a significant challenge. Given this backdrop, its hardly surprising that US stocks have been outperforming on a relative basis over the past couple of months.

2011-09-16 Fall 2011 Market Review by Owen Murray of Horizon Advisors

After the volatility in the capital markets over the past few weeks, it is easy to forget that the market was just a hair from its 52-week high as recently as July. Then, a flurry of events has made the once happy days of spring feel like a distant memory. With the debt ceiling debate going into the eleventh hour, Standard and Poors announcing a debt downgrade, and the euro-zone debt crisis seemingly reaching a crescendo, confidence has been severely impacted and concerns over the durability of our recovery have been raised.

2011-09-16 An Analysis of the Obama Jobs Plan by Mark Zandi of Moodys Economy.Com

In the current political environment, it is less than likely that most of the presidents plan will pass Congress. Our current baseline outlook assumes that the payroll tax holiday for employees is extended for only one more year. There is a fighting chance that broader payroll tax cuts for employees and employers could become law, but the odds arent high enough at this time to change our baseline assumptions.

2011-09-16 Is the End Near for the Eurozone? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Warning signs are flashing red. Bond markets are projecting a 98% chance of default on Greece's debt. Stock prices for French banks, heavily invested in that debt, have plunged 10% in recent days. Has the European debt crisis hit the breaking point, with Greece -- and perhaps others -- soon to exit the eurozone? Or, will officials once more cobble together new agreements that keep Greece in the club and prevent a huge contagion effect likely to cripple an already slowing global economy? Wharton finance professors Franklin Allen and Bulent Gultekin offer their insight.

2011-09-14 Obamas Jobs Speech, The Economy & The Fed by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Once again this week, there is a lot of news to cover. We begin with my thoughts on President Obamas latest jobs speech in which he asked for yet another almost $450 billion in stimulus which he said is paid for. That all depends on Congress passing a litany of new tax increases that Obama announced yesterday. Following that discussion, we will look at the latest economic reports, including the dreadful August unemployment report. Next, we will move on to the latest news from the Fed and what the FOMC may be up to at its upcoming monetary policy meeting on September 20-21.

2011-09-14 Asian Bonds Fund Manager Interview: A Misunderstood Opportunity by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Global investors remain under-invested to Asian bonds. Exposure is often made through global debt benchmarks; however, these benchmarks typically have low allocations to Asia, may not be particularly active, have allocations to less creditworthy countries and possess limited local currency exposure. Many investment opportunities in the Asian region have been overlooked. Asia provides a diverse set of markets and a broad set of country issuers across the credit spectrum, offering what we believe are good opportunities for investors to enhance portfolio yields.

2011-09-13 The End of the Line: Eurozone Crisis Hits Tipping Point by Liz Ann Sonders & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

The growing likelihood of debt default by Greece rocks markets and sentiment. Although the banking system is healthier today than it was in 2008, contagion risks are elevated. The grand experiment of a unified currency in Europe is facing its greatest test yet.

2011-09-12 Fed Policy: No Theory, No Evidence, No Transmission Mechanism by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the main factors prompting a benign response to what is now a recession and virtually certain Greek default is the hope that the Fed will launch some new intervention. Many view the present weakness as a replay of 2010, however, the evidence tells a different story. While we have to allow for the possibility of a knee-jerk response in the event of further Fed intervention, it is also much clearer now than it was in 2010 that quantitative easing does not work. To a large extent, the only basis for further Fed action here is superstition in the absence of either fact or theory.

2011-09-12 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks ended the week once again on a sour note over the problems looming in Europe and the non-reaction to President Obamas annual jobs speech. As the chart above illustrates the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped over two percent last week while the NASDAQ Composite was relatively calm with a decline of just one half of one percent.

2011-09-12 Market Slide Continues, but Positives May Be on the Horizon by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

We are in the midst of a bear market in confidence more than anything else and investors should be on the lookout for signs that conditions will be getting better. There are a number of developments that could help restore confidence. Positive surprises in US economic data; lower interest rates in Europe; major European bond purchases; a eurobond issue; additional quantitative easing from the US Federal Reserve; the US Congressional super committee agreeing to major long-term entitlement reform; and US pro-growth tax policies that encourage capital formation.

2011-09-09 Americas: Economic Review August 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

While markets have calmed after the anxiety caused by S&Ps downgrade of U.S. debt, economic indicators for most countries in the Americas region remain subdued. 2nd quarter growth declined for most countries and full year forecasts are being revised lower. The subdued global growth outlook has dulled the prospect for continued growth in export earnings while consumer spending in some of the larger economies is increasingly being restrained by higher interest rates and the heightened economic uncertainties. Nevertheless, inflationary risks have declined, except most notably in Brazil.

2011-09-09 Merk sells Euro to buy Australian Dollar by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Given that many know Merk Investments as "euro bulls", arguing that the euro can thrive despite all the turmoil in the Eurozone, we wanted to share with our investors and the public that in our hard currency strategy, currently with over $700 million in assets, we sold over U.S. $90 million worth of euros late Thursday to re-allocate to the Australian dollar. This re-allocation was an acceleration of a recent trend to deploy euro holdings elsewhere. The strategy is now underweight in euros. Our move was motivated by recent European Central Bank (ECB) and U.S. Federal Reserve communication.

2011-09-09 Fed 'Twisting' Will Stimulate Economic Activity for Bond Traders by Paul Kasriel and Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The consensus view is that after adjourning from its September 20-21 meeting the FOMC will announce a plan to lengthen the maturity structure of its securities portfolio by increasing the proportion of longer-maturity securities in the portfolio.

2011-09-09 Schwab Market Perspective: What's Next? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

The economic debate continues between the recession and slow growth camps. We lean toward the latter but the argument may be just splitting hairs. The more important issue is what this sideways movement may mean for the market and jobs growth. There seems to be more disagreement among Fed members than we've ever publicly seen. Theyve laid out potential further stimulus but we believe their effects are likely to be limited. The European crisis continues to fester and some hard choices may need to be made sooner rather than later. Slowing European economies however, could help emerging markets.

2011-09-08 If Some Dare Call It Treason, Was Milton Friedman a Traitor? by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

The principal factor accounting for the current exceptionally weak economic recovery is not unusually high uncertainty, too burdensome regulation and taxation, excessive federal government spending and/or debt or a major structural change in the economy, but rather inadequate depository institution credit creation. The reason depository institutions are not creating normal amounts of credit is that they suffered enormous losses after the residential real estate bubble burst and they remain concerned about current and/or future capital adequacy.

2011-09-07 Keep Calm, Carry On by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim

The markets overreaction has created an incredible opportunity in U.S. equities. In particular, I see value in high-dividend stocks. Many companies with strong cash flows and stellar credit ratings pay more in dividends than the yield on their bondsa situation that hasnt existed for such a large number of stocks since the 1950s. Without doubt, Europes problems indicate that further turbulence, even a retest of recent lows on the S&P 500, cannot be ruled out. Nevertheless, for investors with 2- to 5-year horizons, price dips represent buying opportunities.

2011-09-06 An Imminent Downturn: Whom Will Our Leaders Defend? by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The global economy is at a crossroad that demands a decision-whom will our leaders defend? One choice is to defend bondholders-existing owners of mismanaged banks unserviceable peripheral European debt, and lenders who misallocated capital by reaching for yield and fees by making mortgage loans to anyone with a pulse. Defending bondholders will require forced austerity in spending of already depressed economies, continued monetary distortions, and the use of public funds to recapitalize poor stewards of capital. It will do nothing for job creation, foreclosure reduction, or economic recovery.

2011-09-06 Time to Embrace a new round of Quantitative Easing by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

As we head into the fall, investors should prepare for a continuation of this summers volatility.While August is viewed as a challenging month for the markets, September reigns supreme as the worst month for market performance historically. Dominating the headlines this week will be an announcement by President Barack Obama on Tuesday regarding plans for boosting job growth and increasing budget savings. Across the globe, services PMIs will be released this week, and akin to the global manufacturing PMIs, declines are expected.

2011-09-01 Updated Ideas for Fixed Income Positions by Team of American Century Investments

The current environment and related factorsincluding double-dip recession concerns, equity and high-yield corporate bond market volatility, moderate inflation expectations in the near term, and premium pricing for U.S. Treasury securitieshave raised questions for investors as they return from summer activities and re-examine fixed income investment positions. It is difficult to address all investor situations and scenarios. So for our hypothetical allocations in this piece, we will focus on fixed income positioning within employer-sponsored retirement plans, both qualified and non-qualified.

2011-08-30 Austerity is not Enough by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

Before the Jackson Hole meetings over the weekend, it was no surprise that all eyes were on central banks. They have demonstrated in recent years that they can act swiftly and decisively when they choose to. While eurozone governments have failed to maintain a united front to deal with a sovereign debt crisis, and American politicians have concocted their own budget crisis, central bankers have retained the moral and operational high ground. Yet, given the problems of growth in the U.S., and of growth, solvency and the coherence of the eurozone, there is a limit to what central banks can do.

2011-08-30 The Economy is Stagnant, Are Banks to Blame? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

On Tuesday, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index will be released. That afternoon brings the release of minutes from the August 9 FOMC meeting, during which three individuals dissented. ISM manufacturing comes out Thursday. Economists believe it will fall into contractionary territory below 50, based on recent disappointing regional manufacturing data. By Friday, the much anticipated nonfarm payroll figures for August will be released. Expectations are low, especially considering the difficult economic headwinds faced in the past month.

2011-08-29 A Reprieve from Misguided Recklessness by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Over the past three years, Wall Street and the banking system have enjoyed enormous fiscal and monetary concessions on the self-serving assertion that the global financial system will "implode" if anyone who made a bad loan might actually experience a loss. Because reversing this mantra is so difficult, policy makers are likely to continue fitful efforts to "rescue" this debt for the sake of bondholders. The justification for those policies will therefore have to be coupled with rhetoric that institutions holding these securities are too "systemically important" to suffer losses.

2011-08-29 Banks Lending at Last by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Amid the many signs of economic weakness, the recent rise in bank lending stands as a welcome contrary indicator. Policy makers at the Fed no doubt see the news as significant. Certainly, a willingness among banks to lend actively to companies and to individuals does much to build confidence that the economic expansion can continue. Bernanke has on many occasions identified bank lending as a crucial sign that past stimulative policy has gained traction. Growth in bank loans should give the Fed comfort about its past efforts to exercise patience with a QE3.

2011-08-29 Markets Recover Some Ground As Uncertainty Remains High by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

In some ways, whether or not the economy does sink into recession is a technical point. If we do see a double-dip recession, any such contraction should be mild. If the economy avoids a recession, growth will still be weak. From an earnings perspective, any decline that comes about in earnings growth due to economic weakness should also be smaller than the average contraction that occurs during a typical recession. Looking ahead, our forecast is that earnings growth flattens out while GDP remains very low.

2011-08-26 Confidence Counts by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Most of the normally historically-telling leading indicators continue to point to the US avoiding a recession. However, risks are clearly heightened as continued erosion of confidence could push perception into reality. The Fed continues to be divided on whether to attempt further monetary stimulus. We question if any efforts will have the desired impact. The Obama Administration and Congress continue to scramble to be seen as doing something to help, but also have limited policy options. European policymakers seem oblivious to the erosion of confidence.

2011-08-26 Valuation Gap Makes Gold Miners Attractive But All Miners Arent Created Equal by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Goldwatchers were reminded golds volatility works in both directions this week, with prices falling more than $100 an ounce in just one day. We forecasted the selloff last week, explaining a 10 percent correction would be a non-event. Once again the CME Group hiked the exchanges margin requirements for gold investment to shake out overleveraged speculation. This is a positive for long-term investors.

2011-08-25 Perspective on the Fed, Inflation, and the Economy, as Well as Implications for Income Investors by Team of American Century Investments

The Fed recently took the unprecedented step of declaring their interest rate policy for the next two yearsthey will be holding their short-term rate target essentially at zero well into 2013. Well give our perspective on why the Fed has taken this unusual step, and what these policy decisions tell us about the state of the economy, inflation, and the bond market. Finally, well address potential solutions for income-oriented investors in todays environment of record-low bond yields.

2011-08-25 Will the U.S. Economy Face Recession in 2011? by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

The question I am now most often asked is, Will the United States slip into a second economic recession this year? The risks have definitely risen such that the current soft patch in the U.S. economy may translate from slightly positive GDP to a negative reading. Investors are faced with a huge opportunity to buy risk assets at a great entry point. We believe that the probabilities are that the markets will be significantly higher in the future. Market participants are net short this market and cash on the sidelines is at record highs. That is a recipe for a rare opportunity.

2011-08-24 Much Ado About Debt: Dollar vs. Euro by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

A key reason for recent market turmoil may be the long overdue untangling of important debt-driven interdependencies between the U.S. and Europe. Not only has the Feds ultra-low monetary policy taken away any incentive to engage in meaningful reform in the U.S., but the easy money also spilled far beyond U.S. shores, providing European banks with hundreds of billions of reasons not to shore up their capital bases. With volatility riding high, investors appear to be chasing emotions rather than facts.

2011-08-23 Strategies for a Rising Rate Environment by Jayant Kumar of Fisher Francis Trees & Watts (Article)

Shortening the duration of a fixed-income portfolio is often considered the default option, but it is not the only way to hedge against a potential rise in interest rates. This article provides investors with a framework to analyze and implement a range of fixed-income strategies, and highlights various investment considerations that should carefully be taken into account.

2011-08-23 Germany's Stumble Threatens Appetite for Peripheral Support by Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Equity markets faced mostly negative economic data last week for both the US and abroad, putting a quick end to the market rebound that began the previous week. In Europe, Germanys GDP slowed markedly. The regions most powerful economy expanded by just 0.1% in Q2, the slowest since early 2009 and down considerably from 1.3% in the first quarter. It was also far lower than an expected 0.5%. This in turn weighed on Eurozone growth, which expanded just 0.2%. Slower growth than the tepid levels already anticipated puts further pressure on the deficit-plagued region.

2011-08-16 A Commentary on the Correction by Michael Nairne (Article)

Market corrections are always painful and this one particularly so because of the lingering anxiety from memories of the 2008-2009 market crash. I explore the history of stock market corrections and examines the dynamics of the recent downturn as well as actions that may be warranted, depending on individual circumstances.

2011-08-16 As the Economy bumps along, is a Recession on the way? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Last week, we learned the economy is continuing to struggle, but there was some slight improvement in jobless claims and retail sales. One area not improving is small business optimism. The National Federation of Independent Business reported that its Index of Small Business Optimism fell 0.9 points to 89.9 in July, representing the fifth consecutive monthly decline. Small businesses list poor sales, taxes and government regulation as their three most important problems. Consumers were also quick to echo that sentiment last week.

2011-08-15 Americas: Economic Review July 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Second quarter economic growth was weaker than expected in the U.S.. Canada is also expected to report slower second quarter growth, but may regain some of the lost pace by the second half. Slower growth in the U.S. will likely have a restrictive effect on economic activity in Latin America, especially in Mexico and Colombia, which have relatively deeper economic ties with the U.S. For the resource exporters in the region, the expected decline in global demand growth for commodities and industrial material is likely to be a dampener.

2011-08-15 Return to Recession.or Recovery? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Soft economic data has caused talk of a return to recession to grow, leading to a return to the risk-off trade and a spike in volatility. We believe these fears and the market reaction are overdone and indicators still point to growth, but risks are high. The chorus calling for a new quantitative easing (QE3) program from the Fed has grown. We believe it's unlikely at this point. The European debt crisis continues to damage investor confidence as policymakers appear to be consistently behind the curve. Meanwhile, the economic slowdown could ultimately help emerging markets.

2011-08-15 Is Capitalism Doomed? by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The massive volatility and sharp equity-price correction now hitting global financial markets signal that most advanced economies are on the brink of a double-dip recession. A financial and economic crisis caused by too much private-sector debt and leverage led to a massive re-leveraging of the public sector in order to prevent Great Depression 2.0. But the subsequent recovery has been anemic and sub-par in most advanced economies given painful deleveraging.

2011-08-15 Fed Looking in Wrong Tool Shed by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Fed made history again last week when it specifically committed to near-zero short-term interest rates through at least mid-2013. This commitment was a first for the Fed, and while it can always renege, the bar for doing so is now very high. The Fed also said it had discussed a range of policy tools to strengthen the economy. If theyre the ones the Fed has been leaking to the media, count us as unimpressed. One option would be to launch QE3, modeled after round two that ended in June. Trouble is, other than boosting commodity prices, QE2 had little visible affect on the real economy.

2011-08-15 The August 9 FOMC Decision - Ineffective at Best, Dangerous at Worst by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

The FOMCs decision to commit to holding its federal funds target in a range of zero to 25 basis points at least through mid 2013 strikes me as an ineffective way to accomplish one of its goals full employment of the labor force and potentially dangerous with regard to another of its goals stability in an index of goods/services prices. In my view, the Fed should abandon an interest-rate targeting approach to monetary policy. Rather, it should adopt a quantitative-targeting approach targeting the growth in the quantity of combined Federal Reserve and commercial bank credit.

2011-08-12 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Markets around the world fell last week as Europe crumbled over the bankruptcy of Italy and what to do about it. As the charts above illustrate, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 5.8% while the NASDAQ Composite dropped an astounding 8.1% last week on both sovereign debt issues as well as global growth concerns.

2011-08-12 Buy, Sell or Hold? Relax and Don't Panic by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

There was more blood in the streets Monday as the world continued to digest S&Ps downgrade of US debt, the two-week market selloff, and the likelihood the US economy could possibly slide back into recession. These concerns, combined with continued political/economic struggles in the eurozone from socialist policies, have created a potent concoction of fear across global markets and sent volatility skyrocketing Monday to its highest level since the May 2010 Flash Crash. While many investors are running for the exits, others have chosen to ride the wave of volatility or buy depressed shares.

2011-08-10 Despite Recent Darkness, Long-Term Picture Brighter for Equities by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

A review of some of the data provides valuable perspective on the recent extreme market volatility. The recent weeks correction has taken US equities down about 18% from their April high. About 11% of that decline has come in the past three days. In comparison, when equity markets began to price in a double-dip recession last summer, US stocks fell 17%, a decline of virtually identical magnitude. Following sharp reversals of this sort, we have in the past seen the market quickly recover 33% to 50% or more of its losses.

2011-08-09 Weekly Aisa Update by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia

Italys government bond yields have been spiking as investor concerns threaten to become self-fulfilling prophecies that raise the specter of default in Italy and dismemberment of the euro. While, China is stepping more than a little lightly on the monetary brakes, along with other countries across Asia, over fears that inflation is getting out of control. And the markets response is to push up the price of U.S. bonds and sell down equities across the globe. Obviously, slowing growth is of far greater concern to investors than the opinion of the rating agencies.

2011-08-08 Recession Warning, and the Proper Policy Response by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

As of Friday the S&P 500 was below its level of November 2010, when the Fed initiated its second round of quantitative easing. Aside from a brief bump in demand that kicked the recession can down the road a bit, the U.S. economy is not much better off. Meanwhile, countless individuals in developing countries have been injured by predictable commodity hoarding and global price instability. The Fed has leveraged its balance sheet by over 55-to-1. As policy makers look to address the abrupt deterioration in U.S. , we should ask ourselves: Do we really long for more of the Fed's recklessness?

2011-08-08 What does the Downgrade of U.S. Debt Mean? by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

The downgrade potential was not mitigated with the overly dramatic yet not surprising game that Congress and the President partook in. Losing the AAA status has some fundamental and some theoretical impacts. The obvious facet is the increase in interest costs for the U.S. government and every interest based instrument. Estimates for increased interest expense have ranged from 25 billion annually to as high as 100 billion annually. Any measuring is sure to have flaws when one considers past rating cuts and the significance and uniqueness of the Treasury market.

2011-08-05 Denominators Matter! What the Price of Gold Tells Us About the Value of Other Assets by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

In an environment where holding either U.S. dollar cash or a broad market portfolio may be detrimental to real wealth preservation, more active asset allocation is required. Portfolio managers who have a broad toolbox of assets to choose from, nimbleness and flexibility, and an eye on the denominators that show us real value, will be in an enviable position to capitalize on the next great bull market in stocks.

2011-08-05 Markets Enter Correction Territory as Economic Concerns Set In by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Two weeks ago, we did not think that stocks were expensive. Now, with markets lower by 10%, stocks are pricing in a more negative scenario than we expect. To us, this suggests that the present market could represent an opportunity to accelerate moves out of cash and Treasuries and into risk assets.

2011-08-05 The Center of Gravity Shifts Slowly by Andrew Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

To an extent not fully appreciated by the investing public, financial markets are influenced by human emotion just as much as they are by economic data, corporate earnings, and dividend yields. Of all human motivations, fear is perhaps the most powerful. When people get scared, the fight or flight instinct forces us to take action. Simple dangers prompt simple responses. If we unexpectedly encounter a bear on our driveway, we immediately run into the house and call animal control. But its harder to know what to do when financial danger stalks the stock market.

2011-08-04 The Five Horsemen of the Economic Malaise by Craig Hester of Hester Capital Management

The unwinding of the economic malaise will take years, and it will be a painful - but necessary-process. There is much fear and anxiety reflected in the financial markets. Many of the world economies are in a state of disequilibrium, with too much debt, facing high unemployment and sluggish growth. Policy options are limited, and politicians lack the courage to act. But out of such times come opportunities. We live in a world of instant news and an acute short-term focus. One of the keys to investment prosperity is to manage money with a long-term perspective while balancing risk and return.

2011-08-04 Gold is the True Reserve Currency by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

The reliance upon the U.S. dollar as the worlds reserve currency and safe haven asset has created a perverse, but deeply entrenched, mindset among global investors. In fact, many believe the major financial players have no alternatives to owning U.S. debt and dollars. They argue that the market for U.S. dollars and Treasuries is the only financial pool large enough to handle the massive liquidity that sloshes around the globe on a daily basis. This idea makes a mass exodus from U.S. debt holdings seem impossible.

2011-08-03 Let's Make a (Debt) Deal and Crush the Market by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Today was about fundamentals, both here and in Europe. We got yet another batch of limp economic news today with weak personal income and spending; while we're still hung over from last week's hit to GDP growth for the first half of this year, and all of the recession's era. As a refresher, GDP barely grew at 0.4% in the first quarter and grew a paltry 1.3% in the second quarter. It didn't help that the S&P 500 crossed below its 200-day moving average, which often begets additional selling by the technically-inclined traders.

2011-08-02 A Winning Endgame by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Reducing our nation's debt burden is no longer only the rallying cry of Tea Partiers and fiscal conservatives. As the debate over the debt ceiling proved, it is now the goal of the president and many fellow Democrats. John Mauldin and Jonathan Tepper's book, Endgame, published earlier this year, makes a compelling argument as to why reducing the deficit is so critical and why we face a long, slow and ultimately painful period of deleveraging. I will explain their thesis and then provide the counterargument.

2011-08-01 More Than Meets the Eye by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Our concerns remain focused on significant "core" issues facing the markets and the economy, including overvaluation, compressed risk premiums, over-reliance of investors on the maintenance of record profit margins, unresolved mortgage strains, and sovereign debt problems. Valuations remain rich on the basis of normalized earnings, market internals have deteriorated considerably, and recession risks are increasing. There are certainly various policy developments that are likely to provoke investor enthusiasm from time to time. What is important to us is the weight of the evidence.

2011-07-28 Rough Waters? Trim the Sail by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

These are interesting times, to say the least, for politicians, businessmen and investors alike. Given the systemic challenges and political standoffs in the U.S. and Europe, we believe it's wise to keep a little extra powder dry. While we generally prefer to be fully invested, we believe our more conservative stance may help dampen the impact of what could be some extreme market volatility in the time ahead. The situation is fluid and we intend to redeploy the cash and short exposure into the markets as some of these risks dissipate, but for the time being, we're trimming the sail.

2011-07-27 Are We Headed For A Second Recession? by Caroline Corbett & Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Is a second recession in so short of a time in the offing? It certainly seems that way. The hope for a continued recovery has grown dim lately as many of the economic indexes are moving towards contractionary territory. In the words of David Rosenberg, chief economist at Gluskin Sheff, "one small shock" could send us into a second recession. With the recent release of the Chicago Fed National Activity Index, our proprietary economic index is just one small step away from crossing the 35 mark which has always been a pre-cursor to recession.

2011-07-22 Continued Sluggish Economic Growth Expected Through 2012 by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

Bernanke indicated that the FOMC would be prepared to make monetary policy more accommodative if things do not improve. He emphasized the importance of the employment situation improving. Our forecast does not call for an acceleration in real GDP growth in the second half of 2011 nor does it call for a decline in the unemployment rate. Rather, we see the unemployment inching higher. Although we do not envision a meaningful risk of a contraction in indexes of consumer prices for goods and services in the next 12 months, we do envision continued declines in house prices.

2011-07-21 Kovitz Investment Group, LLC Summer 2011 Quarterly Commentary by Jonathan A. Shapiro of Kovitz Investment Group

People tend to suffer greater pain from losing a given amount of money than they experience pleasure from gaining the same amount. The typical investor is therefore a pain avoider who shuns certain stocks when there is any hint of trouble. This tendency results in consistent overreaction to bad news that we believe creates opportunity. Inefficient pricing results from the excessive focus on short-term that we believe sets up a unique time arbitrage. By capitalizing on situations where uncertainty is high, but risk is low, we can put ourselves in a position to earn above-average returns.

2011-07-19 Staring at the Ceiling by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Everyone's focused on the debt-ceiling negotiations, impacting everything from market action to consumer confidence. Default remains unlikely, but investors are wondering about portfolio positioning in the event the unthinkable occurs. Behind the scenes, the news isn't all bad, as some economic readings and most corporate earnings releases have been pleasant surprises.

2011-07-18 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

The equity and high yield markets seem to be reacting to renewed fears of sovereign debt defaults in Europe and slower economic activity in the U.S. The duration and ultimate severity of our economic slowdown is still in question, as inflation fears seem to have temporarily abated and the yield curve in the U.S. is steep, which has historically preceded economic growth. We are avoiding highly leveraged companies and longer-dated bonds, which may be vulnerable if a double-dip recession were to occur. There seem to be many sellers of shorter-dated bonds from which to choose.

2011-07-18 Amid Crosscurrents, the Positives Outweigh the Negatives by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

In addition to heightened levels of unease over the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and escalating noise over the debt ceiling in the United States, market volatility has been driven by uneven economic data. While the economy is in a recovery mode, it is important to remember that recoveries that occur in the aftermath of financial crises tend to be bumpy and slow. If we were in the midst of a normal recovery, real US GDP growth should have averaged around 6% over the last two years. It has averaged less than half of that. For the first half of 2011 will have expanded at a less-than-2% pace.

2011-07-15 The Fraying European Union by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

Gold, oil and food prices will rise much higher in an inflationary climate where pivotal currencies are depreciating and astronomical sums of money are being infused into sick economies. The U.S. banking crisis of 2008 was by no means a first-of-its-kind. The most immediate previous example was in Japan in 1990, a crisis that generated a long-term economic malaise. Now, the U.S. and Europe are following precisely in Japan?s ill-fated footsteps.

2011-07-15 It Ain't Money If I Can't Print It! by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

I have been forecasting with near certainty that QE2 would not be the end of the Fed's money-printing program. My suspicions were confirmed in both the Fed minutes on Tuesday and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's semi-annual testimony to Congress yesterday. The former laid out the conditions upon which a new round of inflation would be launched, and the latter re-emphasized ? in case anyone still doubted ? that Mr. Bernanke has no regard for the principles of a sound currency.

2011-07-14 Pacific Basin Market Overview ? June 2011 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Faced with the imminent withdrawal of the Fed?s QE2 policy, the ongoing sovereign debt woes in the Euro-zone, and concerns over a slowdown in China, the Asian equity markets were at best only able to range trade during the second quarter. The broad indices remained relatively flat, with the MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index declining by 0.50% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific declined 0.87%. As the immediate concerns over the sovereign debt crisis in Europe subsided, a steady recovery in domestic production also helped to lift the Japanese market and trigger a late rebound in equity prices.

2011-07-14 Equity Market Review & Outlook by Richard Skaggs of Loomis Sayles

In many ways, 2011 feels like a repeat of 2010, as the economy has hit a bit of a soft patch, the Federal Reserve?s quantitative easing program has come to an end, and the eurozone is faced with serious sovereign financial concerns. Stocks have pulled back, but the decline has been much more moderate than in 2010, in part because the corporate earnings cycle remains firmly positive. Companies have continued to exceed analyst estimates more often than not, and we expect the upcoming quarter to produce another round of good earnings reports.

2011-07-14 Quarterly Letter to Shareholders by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Co.

Our ?watch and worry? list remains: 1.European government debt and banking problems; 2.China?s slowdown which could become a ?hard landing? or recession; 3.The ongoing U.S. political/economical debate on taxes and spending; 4.We do see improvement in some U.S. states, which are coming to grips with government spending at the state level. The plusses are the attractive balance sheets and current stock prices of many American (and international) companies. We think there will be ample opportunity for more aggressive investing when some of the headwinds discussed above are clarified.

2011-07-14 Three Competing Theories by Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

While the massive budget deficits and the buildup of federal debt, if not addressed, may someday result in a substantial increase in interest rates, that day is not at hand. The U.S. economy is too fragile to sustain higher interest rates except for interim, transitory periods that have been recurring in recent years. As it stands, deflation is our largest concern, therefore we remain fully committed to the long end of the Treasury bond market.

2011-07-08 Don't Miss Your Chance to Catch a Bull Market by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Many people missed the market?s enormous appreciation during the latest equity bull market because they were late to the game or chose to sit on the sidelines. The sideline is a crowded place these days as investors have been reluctant to fully embrace equities. Household savings for the past 12 months totaled $711 billion, the highest level ever recorded in dollar terms. You can see from the chart that?s roughly double the amount of savings recorded following the Tech Bubble. In fact, household debt-to-savings ratios are currently at levels so low, they?ve not been seen since the mid-1990s.

2011-07-07 Hey Hey Hey?.Goodbye: The End of Quantitative Easing? by Laird Landmann of TCW Asset Management

Commentators have described the end of QE2 as a ?major milestone- the first tightening move from the Fed since the financial crisis began.? Our view is that this is just the end of one balance sheet program and is certainly not the first monetary tightening since the financial crisis. Monetary tightening is all around us in the form of new regulation, changing lending practices and increased bank capital requirements. The Fed will monitor the impacts of these changes and adjust policy as needed. Currently, the plan is to continue to replace assets on the Fed balance sheet as they roll off.

2011-07-07 The Psychology of Bond Investors by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

We argue that as the United States takes on ever more debt and prints greater quantities of dollars, that buyers of our debt will demand higher rates of interest to compensate for greater risk. In fact, our philosophy leads us to believe that rates would currently be spiking as Washington debates whether to raise the debt ceiling yet again or default on existing debt. Instead, rates are hitting close to multi-year lows. As a result, our critics have found a seemingly valid issue. However, we believe that there are strong market reasons that are holding rates low.

2011-07-06 Sparks: Are Stocks Telling a Better Story For the Second Half? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Investors continue to focus on the macro ? but the micro is telling a much better story. There was lots of good micro and macro news last week. Is the market's rally sending a signal that the second half of the year is looking up?

2011-07-05 Chutes and Ladders by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

We are all playing a game of Chutes and Ladders where it is not at all clear which game-board is applicable. To believe strongly in a certain investment outcome is to imagine that there is only one correct model of the world, and that the correct model is in hand. Investors appear very eager to apply post-war norms to the economy, and to apply the elevated valuation norms of the past two decades to the stock market. I doubt that these models represent the correct view of the world, but our approach is to allow for these possibilities and dozens of alternate ones.

2011-07-02 China Opens World\'s Longest Cross-Sea Bridge by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

When the new Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay Bridge opened to traffic this week in China, it made the Guinness World Records for the longest cross-sea bridge in the world. The 26.4-mile long and 110-foot wide bridge stretches across the bay, linking the Huangdao district to the city of Qingdao and Hongdao Island. China spent 17 years planning and designing the engineering marvel to be able to withstand the bay?s high salt content and icy winters. Yet, it only took four years to build, with at least 10,000 workers on the construction team.

2011-07-01 Expert Roundtable on Interest Rates by Mark W. Riepe, Liz Ann Sonders, Kathy A. Jones, Rande Spiegelman & Brad Sorensen of Charles Schwab

US short-term interest rates have hovered near zero percent for a record period of time. The Fed has kept the funds rate extremely low, not only to boost economic growth, but also to ward off the threat of a deflationary spiral. Given the economy's recent soft patch, we don't expect the Fed to raise rates too soon. But, at some point rates will rise, it makes sense for clients to start planning now. With this in mind, Mark Riepe, led a roundtable discussion of investment and debt strategies for both the current low-interest rate environment and a future point when rates begin to tick up.

2011-06-30 Sunlight on U.S. Banks by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

Among global banks, we believe U.S. banks are in a stronger position to absorb deterioration in the macroeconomic environment in Europe. U.S. banks also look attractive given their profitability, improving asset quality and capital position. Global banks vary dramatically in their asset quality and ability to meet capital requirements over time. As a result, we believe financial markets will continue to reward the strongest and safest banks and penalize the weakest. While we remain cautious on the U.S. housing market, U.S. banks appear to have the resources to manage further weakness.

2011-06-30 Quantitative Easing Versus the 1940 Fall of France by Doug Short of Doug Short

In real (inflation/deflation-adjusted) terms, when did the US market permanently regain the high reached in 1929? The first chart illustrates two answers to the question. One uses the real price and the other uses the real total return. The remaining charts compare market performance since 2000 with the equivalent elapsed time following the peak in 1929. As the final chart shows, the current real total return over the past eleven plus years has been worse than the performance over the equivalent timeframe during the Great Depression ? at least until the second round of quantitative easing.

2011-06-30 Thoughts on Rising Volatility by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

In a recent mid-year update to our 2011 outlook, we noted how equity market volatility is likely to rise further in light of continued near-term weak economic growth. Already, spring?s unusually placid markets have given way to heightened volatility. The most recent cause has been anxiety over Greece, but investors are not at a loss for things to worry about. This is a sharp departure from just eight weeks ago. In April, the VIX Index, which measures implied volatility on S&P 500 options, the ?fear index? hit its lowest level since early 2007. Investors had a blindly optimistic world view.

2011-06-28 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Another week of watching the Europeans deal with their flawed common-currency union as the financial media focus on all things Greek. The stock market was able to shrug off the bankruptcy of Europe as well as the continued soap opera here at home, as our government cannot find a way to trim the annual 1.6 TRILLION dollar deficit. The result was a fractional loss for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, while the NASDAQ Composite jumped out to a 1.4% gain for the week.

2011-06-27 Look For Improved Conditions in the Second Half of 2011 by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Last week the Fed elected to keep interest rates on hold. The central bank has downgraded its assessment of US economic growth. The Fed did, however, underscore that the factors causing the weakness were mostly temporary, highlighting higher fuel and food prices and disruptions from the natural disasters this year. We are not expecting to see any near-term changes in the Feds position and we think there is virtually no chance of a QE3. Conversely, given a slow recovery and a subdued inflation outlook we are not expecting to see higher interest rates until at least mid-2012.

2011-06-25 Playing Cat and Mouse with Global Oil by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Oil markets took another dose of global geopolitics this week when the International Energy Agency (IEA) unexpectedly announced that it would be releasing 60 million barrels of oil from strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) around the globe. Thursday?s surprise announcement gave oil prices a 4.5 percent hair cut and oil prices closed Friday at $91.25, down 20 percent from their April 29 peak.

2011-06-24 The 3-D Hurricane and the New Normal by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

Debt, deficit, and demographics?the 3-D hurricane? is heading to the shores of all developed economies. It threatens to derail the economic recovery and to alter forever the heretofore path of robust growth for the developed world.Emerging economies with healthy government and household balance sheets, responsible fiscal policies, and young labor forces will be the drivers for global growth and will compete with their developed counterparts for economic and political leadership. More importantly, the emerging economies will demand their fair share in the consumption of resources and goods.

2011-06-24 International Energy Association To Sell Crude Oil From Government Stockpiles by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

Today, the U.S. and IEA decided to sell 60 million barrels of oil over the next month, supposedly to make up for the 1.5 million barrels a day that was produced by Libya. This is a political maneuver which will have a short term effect on oil and gasoline prices. The authorities announced that this is meant to help the consumer, but it?s obvious that they also wanted to punish the speculators. The IEA has previously said that targeting the speculators will backfire, yet here they are doing just that. We find that hard to grasp that the consumer will get more than very temporary help.

2011-06-24 Fed Benefits from Global Fears by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

This week, in the second in a series of less-than-impressive press conferences, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke offered market observers little hope that any additional quantitative easing programs are on the horizon. The Chairman continues to cling to the position that the economy is improving (with the recent ?soft patch? attributable to external forces) to the extent that additional Fed support will be unnecessary. Left unsaid was any guidance as to who the Chairman believes will buy the massive amounts of Treasury debt formerly swallowed up by the QE II program?

2011-06-23 U.S. Monetary Policy: A Case of Self-Induced Paralysis? by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

Part of the decreased real GDP growth/increased unemployment rate central-tendency forecasts for June vs. April can be attributed to supply interruptions from Japan and higher energy prices. But given the FOMC's assumption that the supply interruptions are dissipating and that energy prices are declining, this explanation does not apply to the reduced real GDP growth and unemployment rate central-tendency forecasts for 2012. I think the central-tendency forecasts for real GDP growth and the unemployment rate are optimistic for 2011 and 2012 in the absence of continued quantitative easing.

2011-06-22 Can U.K. CPI Really Get Back to Its 2% Target? by Mike Amey of PIMCO

​U.K. CPI (Consumer Price Index) will likely continue to be buffeted by food and energy inflation. To generate the conditions necessary to bring inflation down more aggressively would put even greater pressure on U.K. households. The Bank of England is right to be cautious on raising the Bank rate given the current state of the economy.

2011-06-20 Investors Should Look Past Near-Term Risks by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

There is no shortage of things to worry about, an environment that has caused stocks to move in a sideways pattern for close to two months. Investor anxiety and market volatility levels will remain elevated for the time being. At some point, stock valuations will settle at a level where investors feel adequately compensated for the downside risks facing the market. We are retaining a constructive view toward the economy and the markets and we suspect such a valuation level is not too far away. Investors should view the current period of weakness as an opportunity to take on additional risk.

2011-06-17 Will Gold Equity Investors Strike Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

While the party continues for gold bullion prices, stocks of gold companies have been a no-show. The NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index (HUI) has fallen more than 13 percent year-to-date and the Philadelphia Gold & Silver Index (XAU) has toppled more than 16 percent. Companies such as High River Gold Mines, Jaguar Mining and NovaGold Resources are off 45 percent from 2007-2008 highs. This has been exacerbated in recent weeks making it a hot topic of discussion among investors. This chart shows gold equities of all market capitalization sizes were holding up quite well until late April.

2011-06-16 U.S. Investors Overexposed to U.S. Dollar Risk? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

The U.S. dollar has experienced significant weakness over recent years. And there is a risk the U.S. dollar will experience ongoing deterioration for an extended period of time. U.S. investors may want to take this possibility into consideration when assessing the U.S. dollar risk inherent in their investment portfolios. Our analysis into the aggregate financial asset holdings of the U.S. personal sector finds that the vast majority of investor?s financial assets are denominated in U.S. dollars and as a result, significant U.S. dollar risk exposure is evident.

2011-06-15 The End of QEII: Gaining Clarity, Losing the Treasury?s Biggest Customer by Anthony J. Crescenzi and Ben Emons of PIMCO

​The Fed?s policies and its fat balance sheet are playing a powerful role in shaping financial and economic conditions around the world. The drain of a single dollar from the financial system will signal a reversal of Fed policy and thus have a major bearing on financial conditions. Depending on the speed of the economic slowdown, the Fed could decide to keep a level of discretion over when and what will be reinvested in its portfolio.

2011-06-15 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week the market continued its reaction to the indisputable evidence of a global slowdown, as well as the farcical leadership being shown in Europe, as to how to deal with their various sovereign debt problems. As the charts above illustrate, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.6% while the growth-oriented NASDAQ Composite fell 3.3% on the week and is back to even for the year.

2011-06-15 GOLDRelic or Real Money? by J Michael Martin of Financial Advantage

In the past 10 years, the price of one ounce of pure gold has risen from less than $300 to $1,500, far outpacing the return on stocks and bonds. And yet, in most gatherings of professional investors it is not respected. Why is that? What drives the price of gold, anyway? And is gold really an appropriate investment in the 21st century? We set out to better understand this unique metal. Well explore the reasons that some consider gold an important asset class with unique and valuable investment characteristics, while many professionals regard it as a sort of investment sideshow.

2011-06-15 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

The more things change, the more they remain the same. That trite expression has been applied to many different things. We are applying it to what may be an early stage tech ?bubble?. Almost every investor is familiar with LinkedIn coming out at $45 per share then jumping to $120 per share in the first day of trading before settling in at $90 per share. Other examples abound. The very popular Facebook is estimated to be worth $76 billion. We have to admit that at least some of the tech companies are actually making money today with viable ideas, but the valuations still seem a bit absurd.

2011-06-14 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management

Europe?s sovereign debt woes and inflation fears have plagued the Asian equity markets recently, sending indices lower during May. The eventual withdrawal of QE2 also became a real concern for the markets. Japan?s post disaster market downturn continued in May, but mainly due to negative international factors this time. Meanwhile, domestic concerns about the ongoing negative impact of supply-chain disruption on manufacturers? earnings and the political disarray caused by a divided parliament and a weakened prime minister have continued to weigh on the market.

2011-06-13 Does Slowdown Justify Sell Off? by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Bernanke described the pace of the economic expansion as unsatisfactory and suggested that stronger job growth for a sustained period is necessary. We expect policy to remain accommodative until the expansion picks up some steam. Stocks have reacted quite strongly to the ebbs and flows of the data. If they maintain this behavior, they may rebound strongly if the economic weakness proves temporary, as we think likely. It is clear the Fed is not willing at this point to consider a third quantitative easing program. Still, Fed officials understand that policy must remain highly accommodative.

2011-06-10 Why Bill Gross Doesn?t Like Stocks (or Treasury Bonds) by Sam Parl (Article)

Stocks have come to the end of a ?wonderful journey,? according to PIMCO's Bill Gross, and are now on their own, like ?a baby bird just released from the nest.? The journey Gross spoke of is the multi-decade decline in real interest rates, which have fueled bull markets across ?risk assets,? especially in equities and bonds.

2011-06-10 Searching for the Market's 'Sweet Spot' by John Derrick of U.S. Global Investors

One of U.S. Global Investors? ?sweet spots? is investing in global small-and mid-cap companies. We generally define these companies as having a market capitalization between $1 and $10 billion. Ten billion sounds like a lot but is relatively small compared to market caps of companies such as Apple ($301 billion), Johnson & Johnson ($181 billion) and Coca-Cola ($149 billion). We like small and mid-cap companies because they tend to be less volatile than micro-caps, but still nimble enough to grow at faster rates than large companies.

2011-06-10 Pause or Panic? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Economic data has deteriorated to the point that talk of a double dip recession has returned. The risk of another recession is low as most indicators remain well in expansion territory. Several factors are contributing to a soft patch, but a rebound is likely in the latter part of 2011. Along with talk of recession risk, chatter about the need for QE3 by the Fed has increased. The bar is quite high for QE3, but it is very likely the Fed will not let its balance sheet shrink in the near-term. Global growth is decelerating as well, with China tightening and Japan dealing with reconstruction.

2011-06-09 Economy Brakes Even Before Fed Takes Its Foot Off the Accelerator by Paul Kasriel and Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

Although quantitative easing might not help stimulate domestic spending on goods, services and assets, in the words of our grandmothers-it couldn't hurt. All else the same, if the Fed purchases securities in the open market, the seller of these securities can do one or a combination of three things with them - spend them, lend them or just hold them. If sales proceeds are spent or lent, then there is a net increase in spending on something in the economy. Only if the sales proceeds are just held would quantitative easing not lead to a net increase in spending in the economy.

2011-06-09 Bernanke - It\'s Complicated! by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Get ready for more money to be printed ? this time not to subsidize but to stem against the credit destruction caused by the Fed itself. Tuesday evening at the International Monetary Conference in Atlanta, J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon gave a list of changes that have already incurred, including: No more Special Investment Vehicles (SIVs). No more sub-prime, no more ?Alt-A? mortgages. No more CDOs. Higher underwriting standards. On top of these changes, the Fed now wants to introduce 300 new regulations. Has anyone at the Fed studied what impact these regulations will have on credit?

2011-06-08 Behind the Numbers: The Latest from the Federal Reserve by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve Board released its latest Beige Book report, which provided more color on the recent slowdown and indicated the recovery is likely to be anemic and uneven. According to the report, which is a summary of anecdotal information from each Federal Reserve Bank on its district?s current economic conditions, ?economic activity generally continued to expand since the last report,? though it did slow somewhat in four of the 12 districts. In particular, ?some slowing in the pace of growth? was noted in the New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Chicago districts.

2011-06-07 Is There a Guide for What May Trigger QE3? by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The 'hurdle for QE3' is high. Discussion of the current U.S economy almost always includes mention of the Feds view that justification for QE3 is more stringent than QE2. We have been mulling this thought around for a few days and here is the checklist for what may trigger QE3. First, labor market conditions need to show a consistent improvement which suggests that the turnaround is durable. The requirements pertaining to the labor market could be summed up as: back-to-back declines in the unemployment rate, strong gains in payroll employment, and a declining trend of initial jobless claims.

2011-06-07 New Challenges for the Endowment Model by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The multi-billion dollar endowments of elite institutions like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are supposed to never be strapped for cash, but that's not how things played out during the financial crisis, when all those schools and many others were forced to raise liquidity under adverse market conditions. The endowment model, despite those failures, is still basically sound, according to Luis Viceira, but it needs several key improvements before institutions and individuals can rely on it.

2011-06-06 Handicapping QE3 by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

As disappointing economic news mounted last week, the attention of market participants immediately turned to policy responses - will the Fed embark on QE3? In my view, there are three central questions relevant to this issue. The first is simply this: Has QE2 been successful in a way that the economy should desire more of it? The second: How much scope for intervention does the Fed have left? The third: Is Bernanke so invested in this attempt at balance-sheet expansion that he will push forward an extension of the policy despite its economic ineffectiveness and speculative distortions?

2011-06-06 Disappointing Data Should Be Temporary, But Ultimately All Depends On Jobs by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

A stream of increasingly disappointing economic data helped accelerate the multi-week correction in stocks. The most recent high-profile evidence pointing to a slowdown in growth came in Fridays jobs report for May. For the month, total nonfarm payrolls grew 54,000 (consensus expectations were for over 150,000). Additionally, the unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 9.1%. There has clearly been a soft patch in economic performance this spring, and as such, the employment growth rate is slowing rather than accelerating. In addition the ISM Manufacturing Index for May dropped sharply.

2011-06-06 Economic Rapture? by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Harold Camping predicted the "end of the world" on May 21st. Let?s imagine that the world really did end. Let?s imagine that we?re now living in an artificial world. Ben Bernanke is making the sun rise with monetary policy. Federal spending is generating oxygen and enormous increases in federal debt are making water. Everything seems relatively normal, but it?s all ultimately just a mirage, created by artificial means, and it can't last forever. This is an extreme example, but that's what it seems many believe about the economy today.

2011-06-03 Five Misconceptions Squashed by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

DSK is not the only one in need of a bailout! As the sovereign crisis intensifies - and it will - bond yields in some countries will go higher. But they won?t go higher everywhere. Demographic as well as technical factors (e.g. Solvency II) will drive ever more money towards bonds, and that money will have to go somewhere. Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavia are probably the safest bets in terms of where sovereign bond yields could fall further. You should also expect high quality corporate bond yields to trade through sovereign yields in many countries. The trend has already begun.

2011-06-03 Natural Resources Q&A with the Global Resources Fund Team by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This week Frank Holmes and the co-managers of the U.S. Global Investors Global Resources Fund (PSPFX), Evan Smith and Brian Hicks, participated in a special webcast for the Peak Advisor Alliance. Here are some candid portions of the Q&A: Q. How are interest rates currently affecting commodity prices? A. The magic number for real interest rates is 2 percent. That?s when you can earn more than 2 percent on a U.S. Treasury bill after discounting for inflation. Our research has shown that commodities tend to perform well when rates fall below 2 percent.

2011-06-02 Still Chugging Along: The Market that Could by Team of Eagle Asset Management

The global economic recovery is moving along but there remain some areas of concern. Our managers? discussion included such things as rising commodity prices, real estate problems and perhaps most interesting to readers, how they have investment portfolios positioned. Included in the roundtable were Bert L. Boksen (Small/Mid Cap Growth); James Camp (Fixed Income); Ed Cowart (Equity Income/Value); Todd McCallister (Small/Mid Cap Core); Jack McPherson (Small Cap Core Value); Eric Mintz (Small/Mid Cap Growth); Richard Skeppstrom (Large Cap Core); and Stacey Serafini Thomas (Small/Mid Cap Core)

2011-06-02 Some Days (Months) Are Better Than Others by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

May was a rough month for investors, though it ended on a sunnier note. A growth slowdown is evident, but the debate rages about whether its factors are temporary. We think May's risk-off mode is easing, but choppy action remains likely until longer-term worries subside. After an uphill ride in April, when the Dow was up 4%, May wasn't kind to investors, although the last two trading days brought some sunshine. It was the first time in nearly three years that the S&P 500® index had no up weeks in a month.

2011-06-01 Buy Cheap Bonds with Safe Spread by Bill Gross of PIMCO

If the government is going to artificially repress yield, then focus on the parts of a bond that are less repressed! Rather than outright default, many countries attempt rather successfully to keep nominal interest rates lower than would otherwise prevail. Over the long term, this ?financial repression? results in a transfer of wealth from savers to borrowers. Investors shouldn?t give their money away, and at the moment, the duration component of a bond portfolio comes close to doing just that ? because it doesn?t yield enough relative to inflation.

2011-05-28 Railway Revolution Builds China's Consumer Culture by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China is building the world?s largest network of high speed rails. Since opening the first high speed line between Beijing and Tianjin in 2008, the country has laid down more than 4,600 miles of new tracks. This is three times more than Japan, where the bullet train was invented. Once completed near the end of this decade, the high speed rail system will connect more than 250 Chinese cities, span 18,641 miles and reach roughly 700 million people. Currently, the high speed rail network connects about one-third of China?s cities. That figure is set to nearly double over the next two years.

2011-05-26 The Case for More Monetary Elixir by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim

Ive noticed a critical mass of groupthink growing around the expiration of the Feds asset purchase program dubbed QE2. After tripling its balance sheet in 2.5 years, the conventional wisdom is that the era of quantitative easing should now give way to the era of inflation. As a result, the foregone conclusion is that U.S. interest rates will rise and bonds will underperform significantly. While I acknowledge the potential for rising rates, I dont think the expiration of QE2 is the catalyst that most believe it to be. In fact, I believe U.S. rates should remain at historically low levels.

2011-05-23 Scarcity, Usefulness, and Getting an Edge by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

While my sense is that many investors and institutions are holding a greater market exposure than is appropriate given present return/risk prospects, I should mention that there isn't a great deal of evidence that bears and short-sellers have a particular "edge" here either. Our own investment stance is defensive but also fairly neutral, and with a preference toward moderate, if transitory, positive exposure. At the point we see a greater deterioration of market internals the market environment will probably turn hostile in a more sustained way.

2011-05-23 One Small Step for Bernanke by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Fed has indicated its intention to let QE2 end as scheduled in June. This decision would mark the first designated step in the cautious program for policy change that Bernanke had previously outlined. If the Fed sticks with this plan it will take until early 2012 before policy makers will begin to increase market interest rates. Even at that last step, policy would remain easy as the Fed makes its gradual moves. The only difference is that the easing will gradually become less extreme. It will likely take until late 2012 or 2013 before American monetary policy even approaches restraint.

2011-05-23 Don't Sweat by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Some recent reports on the economy have been tepid and that?s likely to continue for at least a few more weeks. For example, back in early March the four-week average for initial unemployment claims hit a recovery low of 389,000; now they?re 439,000. Manufacturing production dropped the most in April for any month since the start of the recovery. Meanwhile, for May, we witnessed declines for both the Empire State index and Philly Fed index, which are measures of manufacturing activity in their regions. Both were still in positive territory but not as rapid as earlier this year.

2011-05-23 Is Deflation in the US Housing Sector Accelerating? by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst

This week in The Institutional Risk Analyst, we offer our view on the housing sector as we travel to Philadelphia on Tuesday to participate in the 29th Annual Monetary and Trade Conference sponsored by the Global Interdependence Center and Drexel University. John Burns walked the participants through the current situation in the US housing sector and the outlook for a recovery in prices. The bottom line: Even though affordability has returned, new home sales are likely to remain depressed for years due to massive inventories of unsold homes, dwindling finance and weak employment markets.

2011-05-23 And That's The Week That Was? by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The market showed its third consecutive weekly decline as the concerns over Europe?s sovereign debt issues and the now convincing evidence of a global slowdown has traders taking some short-term profits. As the charts illustrate, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped .7% last week while the NASDAQ Composite declined an even larger .9%.

2011-05-20 Training Wheels Off, Crash Helmets On by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

Based on many pronouncements by economic policy makers, among others, it appears that the quantitative easing juggernaut that has steamed the high seas of macroeconomics for the last three years is finally pulling into port?supposedly for the last time. According to the dominant narrative, QEI and QEII helped stabilize the economy during the Great Recession and now the Federal Reserve is ready to take the training wheels off. If so, the economy may need a helmet because there is virtually no chance that it can avoid major contractions without central banking support.

2011-05-19 Explaining U.S. debt levels, credit ratings, and recent bond market behavior by Team of American Century Investments

This week, we discuss the U.S. debt ceiling and the credit ratings for U.S. sovereign debt, plus explanations for seemingly counterintuitive bond market behavior. To fully comprehend the ceiling, we should first review the U.S. federal debt it?s attempting to cap, and why. The U.S. federal debt reflects what the U.S. government has to borrow to help pay for its multitude of operations, services, and financial commitments. Like some of its citizens, the U.S. government has been living beyond its means in recent years, spending more money than it has in reserve or receives in tax revenues.

2011-05-17 Pippa Malmgren on Inflation and its Geopolitical Impact by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The Cold War may have been over for a quarter century, but the inflation-driven challenges that characterized that historical era are heating back up. Today, global volatility is back, according to Pippa Malmgren, who says that commodity-driven inflation will lead to political instability in emerging markets.

2011-05-17 The Smooth Illusion by Michael Lewitt (Article)

In retrospect, the Federal Reserve's interminable zero-interest policy and its quantitative easing programs are likely to be seen not only as ineffective but damaging to the prospects for sustainable long-term economic growth. A number of asset classes are beginning to exhibit bubble-like behavior, something that would be far less likely to occur were interest rates normalized.

2011-05-16 The End of QE2 Should Be a Non-Event for Investors by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Stock markets were flat-to-down last week as economic data continued to be mixed. In other markets, commodity prices continued to fall and the US dollar moved higher. While we do not believe that the long-term secular uptrend in commodity prices has ended, we do think that the cooling effect could be in place for some time, which will hopefully be a positive for both economic growth and stocks. Data suggests that the global economy has slowed recently, but we believe that it is still in the midst of transitioning from recovery to self-sustaining expansion.

2011-05-16 Secular Outlook: Navigating the Multi-Speed World by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

It is a world that heals slowly and unevenly, and remains structurally impaired. Balance sheets, both across and within economies, are still out of equilibrium. We expect advanced economies will face sluggish growth and persistently high unemployment over the secular horizon. Emerging economies will achieve higher growth but face recurrent inflationary concerns. We do not expect policymakers to boldly address structural problems. By targeting negative real interest rates, they will pursue financial repression that undermines the ?real return? contract that savers expect.

2011-05-16 Public Policy Looking Better by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

We think there are five (5) reasons to be bullish about the US economy. First, monetary policy is loose and likely to remain so. Second, the financial panic is over, thanks to the end of mark-to-market accounting rules. Third, technological advances continue to boost productivity growth. Fourth, our free market economy is incredibly resilient, more so than the pessimists believe. And fifth, the policy environment is improving. Despite what Bernanke might say (that quantitative easing lifted stock prices), we think the return in the S&P 500 has to do with a positive shift in government policy.

2011-05-13 Three Reasons to Believe in $100 Oil by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

After selling off nearly 14% last week, oil prices finished this week slightly higher at $99.65 per barrel. While the end result was a net positive, the volatility continued. Oil reached $104/bbl, then fell to around $96, before nesting just below $100. As an investor, this volatility can be difficult to handle. Throw in the uncertainty of today?s geopolitical environment, and investors feel the need to downsize their positions in commodity investments, such as oil. Markets could remain volatile in the short-term, but here are three long-term indicators to support $100+/bbl oil prices.

2011-05-11 An Updated Perspective on Japan by Joshua Demasi of Loomis Sayles

More than a month after the massive earthquake and tsunami that buffeted Japan, the nation is still grappling with humanitarian and nuclear crises, and persistent, destructive aftershocks. It is still difficult to quantify the damage precisely. The number of lives lost and the costs to rebuild the country?s infrastructure are staggering and have been rising steadily. Japan?s nuclear crisis and resulting power shortages remain critical variables for the country?s humanitarian effort and industrial recovery.

2011-05-10 Bulls Versus Bears, Again by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The big news last week was the execution of Osama bin Laden. It was both the end and the beginning of an era. It provides closure on at least some part of 9/11. However, terrorism is still with us, just with a different face. The same is true for the economy and markets. Last week real GDP was released for the first quarter of 2011 and was up for the seventh consecutive quarter, hitting a new all-time high. Even though unemployment is elevated, US economic output has recovered from the Panic of 2008. Nonetheless, investors remain nervous, even bearish, about the economy and financial markets.

2011-05-10 Americas: Economic Review April 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Rising inflation remains the major policy concern across most economies in the Americas region and is attracting stronger policy responses, as energy and commodity prices remain elevated. While some of the Latin American countries continue with monetary policy tightening, Canada is widely expected to start hiking interest rates later this year. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve will end its quantitative easing program by the end of this quarter, though interest rate hikes are not expected until early next year.

2011-05-10 Global Overview: May 2011 by Team of Thomas White International

Global economic growth now appears more sustainable, as the developed economies continue to recover and the emerging economies maintain their rapid pace of growth. The Euro-zone economy is expanding faster than expected while the U.S. growth slowdown in the first quarter is widely believed to be due to seasonal factors. The IMF acknowledged that global economic activity is set to accelerate again, and maintained the global growth forecasts for both this year and 2012 at 4.5 percent. However, the IMF warned that growth remained unbalanced and that inflationary risks have increased.

2011-05-09 The Menu by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the ways investors can think about prospective return and risk is from the standpoint of the Capital Market Line, which lays out a menu of investment possibilities at various levels of return and risk. In theory, investors like to believe that this menu is always a nice, positively sloped line, where greater risk is associated with greater prospective return. And somehow, regardless of where market valuations are, investors often seem to believe that 10% is 'about right' for the prospective return on stocks. As it happens, valuations exert an enormous effect on the prospective returns

2011-05-09 Inflation Threat? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Any serious discussion of inflation today must separate short- from longer-term prospects. For the short run, the risks of a generalized inflation remain small, recent increases in commodity prices notwithstanding. For the longer run, the risks rise. Perhaps recent commodity price hikes anticipate this longer-term potential, though there are other explanations. But whatever the specifics, the fundamental risks lie almost entirely with policy in Washington, that is, how the Fed treats the excess liquidity in markets today and how the federal government deals with its huge budget deficits.

2011-05-07 Don?t Turn Out the Lights on Commodities Just Yet by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The prices for many commodities suffered the worst week in recent memory this week. Oil prices dipped below $100 per barrel, gold fell below $1,500 an ounce and silver gave back much of the past month?s gains by falling to the $35 an ounce level. The prices for other commodities such as sugar, tin, nickel, aluminum, lead and copper also pulled back. Immediately, headlines on websites such as Marketwatch, Bloomberg and SmartMoney read ?Has the Commodity Bubble Popped?? and ?Imploding Commodities Complex.? In our opinion, not likely.

2011-05-06 Silver Takes it on the Chin by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

This week saw the type of downside volatility in the precious metals market that will be remembered for years to come. For those of us who have been long gold, and silver in particular, the memories will not be pleasant. While many had been expecting a pullback in silver, when the violence did come it was still shocking. Silver shed one third of its value in less than one week. And while gold was pulled down by the general sell off in all commodities. the yellow metal shed only 6.5% during the carnage. Those mild losses should remind us that gold is not just another commodity.

2011-05-03 My Breakfast with Dave by Robert Huebscher (Article)

A month ago, one of the most closely followed market observers, Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg, moved his Breakfast with Dave commentaries behind a pay-wall, ending an era of free access to his insights. Last Friday, however, he presented his views publicly to an audience of 500 advisors and investors, your author included.

2011-05-03 Gary Shilling - Five Things that can Derail the Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Die-hard deflationists - those who foresee a continued bull market in bonds - are so few in number these days they could all share an elevator, according to Gary Shilling. One is Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg, whose views are considered elsewhere in this issue. But the loudest such voice belongs to Shilling himself, who has advocated for a long position in Treasury bonds continuously since 1980, a stance that has always proved prescient so far.

2011-05-03 RCM Sees Double-Digit Earnings Growth for S&P by Josh Orth of Allianz Global Investors

Scott Migliori, CIO of RCM U.S., of Allianz Global Investors?says U.S. equities should continue to receive support from stronger corporate profits, a high level of new orders, favorable taxes and rising capacity utilization rates?which should also boost capital spending. We believe a 2011 full-year S&P 500 earnings growth rate close to 12%?15% is attainable. Profit margins are high and vulnerable in some sectors. Unit labor costs are to remain well behaved with the unemployment rate likely to remain above 8%. We believe 2011 S&P 500 earnings can reach the $95?$96 range, with an 9% gain 2012.

2011-05-03 Lucky People by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Since last June my unencumbered observation has been, You can get cautious from time to time, but dont get bearish. That mantra has served us well, especial since last September, because beginning on September 1, 2010 the senior index has not experienced anything more than a one- to three-session pause/pullback making today the 174th session in its upside skein. Such a stampede is unprecedented in my notes of over 40 years. Still, It looks like its going up to me.

2011-05-02 Schwab Market Perspective: Making Sense of a Mixed Bag by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Earnings season is winding down and is largely positive and CEO confidence is high. This points toward a continued improving labor outlook but could mean more grinding in the stock market. Housing remains moribund but the market seems to be largely dismissive. A ratings warning on US debt rattled the stock market but bond markets were relatively unmoved. Issues need to be addressed, but they are more likely to affect money flowing into the economy and highly unlikely to result in failure to pay obligations. Meanwhile, the Fed is striving to communicate more effectively-but about what?

2011-05-02 Extreme Conditions and Typical Outcomes by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

As of Friday, the S&P 500 has advanced to a point where it is either within 0.1% or fully through its top Bollinger band on virtually every horizon. We can define an "overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising-yields syndrome" a number of ways. The more general the criteria, the better you capture historical instances that preceded abrupt market weakness, but the more you also encounter "false positives." Still, as long as the criteria capture the syndrome, we find that the average risk profile for subsequent market performance is negative, regardless of the subset of history you inspect.

2011-05-02 Bernanke and the Teflon Fed by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Fed acts like an academic institution, but it operates in a political environment and it is really good at navigating the landscape. Alan Greenspan (Chairman 1987-2006) was one of the most successful politicians ever to set foot in Washington DC. He never won an election, but was called the ?maestro.? His critics could not scratch his Teflon coating. Lately, he has come under attack for the housing bubble. And even though it is clear that 1% interest rates back in 2004 had a huge role in causing over-investment in housing, the Fed and Greenspan have once again come through unscathed.

2011-04-29 How a Falling Dollar Affects Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Statements by Chairman Ben Bernanke on April 27 shouldn?t have surprised investors. Following the Fed?s press conference, the Fear Trade continued. Gold hit a new high while the dollar fell further, touching a three-year low on Thursday. As gold investors know, the metal has historically been negatively correlated with the dollar, meaning when the greenback is weak, gold tends to be strong. That correlation is reaching an extreme, widening substantially over the last year. Spot gold prices on the COMEX closed above $1,527 yesterday while the U.S. Trade Weighted Dollar Index tumbled to 73.32.

2011-04-29 The Fed Terminates QE, We Lower our GDP Forecast by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

We have been putting a lot of emphasis on monetary financial institution (MFI) credit as a cyclical determinant of domestic demand for goods and services. We define MFI credit as the sum of the credit extended by the Fed, the commercial banking system, loan system and the credit union system. MFI credit is credit figuratively created ?out of thin air.? There is a distinction between created credit and transfer credit. In the latter is transferred from the grantor of this credit to the recipient of credit. Transfer credit, then, is funded by the grantor by postponing some spending.

2011-04-29 Quarter 1 Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

QEII is set to end no later than June 30th. Prominent money managers disagree on the impact. PIMCO?s Bill Gross thinks yields are bound to rise as the largest net buyer of Treasuries moves to the sidelines. Gross has sold all of the US Treasury holdings in the flagship Total Return Fund. Jeff Gundlach, formerly of Trust Company of the West and now with DoubleLine Capital, believes the opposite. According to him, yields will fall in the short term because quantitative easing is inflationary. When QEII stops, bond buyers will require lower yields as future inflation expectations recede.

2011-04-29 We Are Not Perma-Bears, But We Are Cautious Now by Team of Litman Gregory

To understand the potential upside for stocks it's important to evaluate the factors that drive returns and how they might behave over our investment horizon. The three key variables are dividends, earnings growth, and changes in the price/earnings ratio. Our analysis focuses on assessing these key factors under several broad economic scenarios. This allows us to estimate return ranges for stocks, and to weigh these potential returns against the risks we see to make informed portfolio allocation decisions.

2011-04-29 Coal Use in China Shines Light on Growth by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

International coal prices hit $124 per ton this week, the highest levels in five months, as strong demand from reconstruction projects in Japan and reduced supply from flood-ravaged Australia has made coal supply tight. The floods in Queensland, Australia cut the country?s output of coal by 15 percent and other big coal producers such as Indonesia, South Africa and Colombia are experiencing similar production cuts due to floods of their own.

2011-04-28 The Fed Meets the Press by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Fed's meeting ended with no surprises on rates or outlook. But the first-ever news conference added some clarity, context and transparency to the Fed's thinking. The Fed has just begun its long process toward monetary policy normalization?and that's a good thing.

2011-04-27 QE3 on the Horizon? by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

Everyone is concerned about what happens when QE2 ends. On one side believes that when QE2 ends, long term interest rates on Treasuries will spike as the largest buyer exits the market. They believe that the Fed may be tempted to generate QE3 in order to continue try to keep interest rates down and keep the fragile economic recovery going. On the other side of the aisle, there are folks arguing that the yields on the Treasury bonds will drop even as the Fed exits and despite the fact that they are the largest holder of U.S. debt following a slowing U.S. economy during the first quarter.

2011-04-26 The End of QEII: It?s Time to Make the Donuts by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons, Andrew Bosomworth and Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

With quantitative easing the Federal Reserve has in essence picked the pockets of Treasury bond investors throughout the world. Ultimately, the U.S. must own up to its past sins and let the deleveraging process play itself out. The U.S. must invest in its people, its land, and its infrastructure, as well as promote free trade, to achieve economic growth rates fast enough to justify consumption levels previously supported by debt.

2011-04-26 Are You Watching Your Brokered Deposits? Bob Eisenbeis: What's a Central Bank to Do? by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst

In this issue of The Institutional Risk Analyst, we feature a comment from Bob Eisenbeis, Chief Monetary Economist of Cumberland Advisors. Bob clearly states the obvious in his excellent analysis of the choices facing the Federal Open Market Committee, namely that the Fed continues to steer monetary policy based upon largely domestic factors, this even as the global role of the dollar creates dangers for the US and other nations as they flee the perils of deflation.

2011-04-25 Monetary Policy in 3-D by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the most important factors likely to influence the financial markets over the coming year is the extreme stance of U.S. monetary policy and the instability that could result from either normalizing that stance, or failing to normalize it. It is not evident that quantitative easing, even at its present extremes, has altered real GDP by more than a fraction of 1%. Moreover, it's well established that the "wealth effect" from stock market changes is on the order of 0.03-0.05% in GDP for every 1% change in stock market value, and the impact tends to be transitory at that.

2011-04-25 Near-Term Turbulence Wont Upset Positive Equity Backdrop by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Equities remain in the broad trading ranges they have been tracing for months, but made a strong move to the top of those ranges this past week. The big news event in the US was the S&P downgrade of the US outlook, causing investors to focus on the possibility of the US government losing its AAA rating, and making it likely the budget problems will become the preeminent issue in the 2012 campaign. The looming debt ceiling vote is the proverbial bargaining chip in the middle of the chasm between the two parties on deficit reduction.

2011-04-22 Don?t Fear a Pullback in Prices by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The S&P credit agency sent shockwaves through the global financial system on Monday. This sent markets lower and the prices of commodities such as oil rocketing back above $110 per barrel and both gold and silver to new highs. It should be clear the S&P announcement was just a warning, the rating was affirmed at AAA. The fears quickly subsided and U.S. markets hit fresh three-year highs. Essentially there?s only a one-third chance of a downgrade and anyone who?s ever listened to the weather man knows that a 33 percent chance of rain means you probably don?t need your umbrella.

2011-04-19 Gundlach: Treasuries will Rally When QE2 Ends by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The bonds that PIMCO's Bill Gross sold to take a 3% short position in the Treasury market may have found a buyer in Doubleline's Jeffrey Gundlach. In a conference call with investors last week, Gundlach said that Treasury prices would rise in the near term, once QE2 expires on June 30.

2011-04-18 Approaching the Eraser by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market conditions in stocks continue to be characterized by a hostile syndrome of overvaluation, overbought conditions, overbullish sentiment, and rising interest rates, which has historically been associated with a poor return/risk profile, on average, across a wide variety of subsets of historical data. Though I question the ability of the economy to "pass the baton" to the private sector as government stimulus effects run off in the coming 8-10 weeks, I should emphasize up front that our present defensive position is not driven by those economic concerns.

2011-04-16 Will China's Economy Overheat? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China?s GDP growth continued at a blistering pace during the first quarter of 2011, rising 9.7 percent from the previous year. Once again this outpaced many forecasts and reignited the discussion of China?s overheating economy. While its robust growth may raise a few eyebrows, the economy isn?t in danger of ?red-lining.? Andy Rothman points out that the first quarter growth figures ?[aren?t] dangerously high given the GDP growth rate and strong income growth? After rising nearly 8 percent during 2010, inflation-adjusted urban incomes rose 7.1 percent during the first quarter.

2011-04-14 U.S. Dollar ? Review and Outlook by Axel Merk and Kieran Osborne of Merk Funds

We believe that continued U.S. dollar weakness may be a consequence of the diverging monetary approaches central banks are taking around the globe. While many international central banks have been on a tightening path, raising rates (i.e. Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Norway, Sweden, to name a few), the U.S. Federal Reserve has been conspicuous in its continued easing monetary policy stance. Indeed, while other central banks have been shrinking the size of their balance sheets, the U.S. Fed?s balance sheet continues to expand on the back of ongoing quantitative easing policies.

2011-04-12 Sentiment Creeps Back into Overly Bullish Territory by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Over the past six months, actions by the Federal Reserve to purchase assets through its quantitative easing program played a major role in driving market prices. As the markets prepare to transition away from quantitative easing, investors are facing the prospects of a tougher market environment. The upcoming earnings season will go a long way in determining whether this recovery is ready to stand on its own.

2011-04-12 Seizing The Narrative by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Later this month, Bernanke will hold his first post-FOMC press conference. The press conference is meant to present the Federal Open Market Committee's current economic projections and to provide additional context for the FOMC's policy decisions. The real goal is to reclaim the narrative. The Fed was caught off guard by the criticism and second guessing it received in 2010. These press conferences should help clear things up regarding monetary policy not that well receive clear signals of future Fed policy moves rather, well get information on how the Fed will decide what to do.

2011-04-12 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

As we expected last Monday the stock market did nothing but tread water last week. Hesitation before the earnings season begins this week, along with the pause, while our national government debated whether to shut down, were the two dominant reasons for the peace and quiet. the Dow Jones Industrial Average as well as the NASDAQ Composite were flat for last week.

2011-04-12 No Help by Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

If the objectives of QE2 were to: a) raise interest rates; b) slow economic growth; c) encourage speculation, and d) eviscerate the standard of living of the average American family, then it has been enormously successful. Clearly, with the benefit of hindsight these results represent the Fed?s impact on the U.S. economy, regardless of their claims to the contrary. Why the Fed would believe the economy could benefit from the addition of $600 billion in reserves to a banking system that already had over $1.1 trillion in unused, but potentially inflationary reserves on hand defies understanding

2011-04-11 Charles Plosser and the 50% Contraction in the Fed\'s Balance Sheet by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Last week, an unusual event happened in the money markets that should not escape the attention of investors. The yield on 3-month Treasury bills plunged to less than 5 basis points. As I noted this past January in Sixteen Cents: Pushing the Unstable Limits of Monetary Policy, a collapse in short-term yields to nearly zero is a predictable outcome of QE2, based on the very robust historical relationship between short-term interest rates and the amount of cash and bank reserves (monetary base) that people are willing to hold per dollar of nominal GDP.

2011-04-11 Bond Market Review & Outlook by Thomas Fahey, Teri L. Mason and David W. Rolley of Loomis Sayles

The power of easy money policy to dampen volatility is evident in the global bond markets. There has not been any systemic credit spread widening or major jump in risk aversion on the back of the significant political upheaval or natural disaster. The collective investor conclusion seems to be that the impact of the losses will not derail global growth, and Japanese reconstruction may even contribute to it later this year. Specifically, Chinese growth still looks on track for a strong year, and labor markets in the US have at last begun to show something like a normal recovery.

2011-04-09 The Curve in the Road by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We have chosen deliberately to take the inflation road. We have not traveled that road for some time. The Fed may think they know what is around the curve and what to do if inflation comes back, but no two crises are the same. I worry about these things. If the Fed and the US government wanted a weaker dollar, the return of inflation, and the potential for yet another boom-bust, they could not have designed better policies than the ones they?re pursuing.

2011-04-08 Anchors Away? by Richard Clarida of PIMCO

Public expectations of future inflation are an important determinant of actual inflation. We really don?t know if longer-term inflation expectations are well anchored. We just know they tend to adjust slowly to actual inflation. The substantial economic costs of bringing down high inflation are largely due to the need to bring down inflation expectations. Most central banks that recently enacted unconventional monetary policies are seeking to exit from them.

2011-04-08 Why High Oil Prices Are Likely Here to Stay by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

A number of forces continued to push oil prices higher this week, reaching their highest levels in the U.S. since September 2008. One factor fueling the run has been the continued decline of the U.S. dollar. Oil and the dollar historically are negatively correlated. This means that a rise in oil prices generally coincides with a decline in the dollar, and vice versa. The U.S. dollar has seen a dramatic decline since the beginning of the year as oil prices have moved some 30 percent higher. This could be due to fact that roughly two-thirds of the U.S. trade deficit is related to oil imports.

2011-04-07 Inflation and the U.S. Bond and Stock Markets by Jim O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

With the Federal Reserve well into QE2 in its response to the recent economic crisis and recession, we thought it would be an ideal time to review the effects of inflation and deflation on the returns of US bonds and stocks. The adjusted monetary base for the United States has exploded over the last several years. As a result many economists and investors expect inflation to increase in the coming years. Let?s review the history of US inflation and the returns for U.S. stocks and bonds and see what it can teach us about the returns of stocks and bonds during a variety of inflationary periods.

2011-04-06 Let Them Eat Crude by Robert Stimpson of Oak Associates

World events over the past month have received a lot of media attention, but few accounts have emphasized the long-term effects on equity markets. The revolts in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, unrest in Bahrain and Yemen, and the earthquake in Japan are significant for equity investors going forward. While most of the media have focused on the human aspect of the events, the influence of food inflation, rising oil prices, and the state of the US dollar have been overshadowed by the regime changes and nuclear disaster in Japan.

2011-04-05 When Doves Cry: Debates Rage About QE2's Finale by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Will the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing (QE2) pull into the dry dock in June as intended? If so, what are the implications for stock and bond investors? Might the Fed begin tightening policy before many think?

2011-04-04 Will the Real Phillips Curve Please Stand Up? by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Much of the intellectual basis for the Federal Reserve's dual mandate "to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates" is based on the Phillips Curve. The curve, named after economist A.W. Phillips, is understood as a "tradeoff" between inflation and unemployment. The idea is so engrained in the minds of economists that it is taken as fact. High unemployment, is associated with low inflation risk, and in that environment, policy makers can pursue measures targeted at increasing employment, without consequences for inflation.

2011-04-04 The Taylor Rule Is Wrong by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The working hypothesis of just about every forecaster or Fed-watcher in the world has been that the Fed would not tighten at all until 2012. That meant no interest rate hikes this year. And to avoid putting on any brakes at all, the Fed would even think about QE-III. But this view is now coming under fire, not just from the private sector, but from inside the Fed itself. Stronger gains in employment, along with some relatively hot inflation reports have pushed many regional Fed presidents to make hawkish statements.

2011-04-02 Expert Roundtable on Inflation: Should You Be Worried? by Mark W. Riepe, Liz Ann Sonders, Rob Williams, Michael Iachini & Brad Sorensen of Charles Schwab

Inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services; your money buys less. With oil and other commodity prices rising, the Federal Reserve's current easy monetary policy and the economy picking up, many investors are worried about inflation. Mark Riepe, head of Financial Research and president of Charles Schwab Investment Advisory, led a roundtable discussing why Wall and Main Street may have different perspectives on inflation. The roundtable also covers our inflation outlook, ways to protect your investments and inflation-savvy investments you might want to consider.

2011-04-01 The Bedrock of the Gold Bull Rally by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Naysayers started calling gold a bubble back when prices hit $250 an ounce and though gold?s bull market has tossed and flung the bubble callers around for almost a decade now, their voices have only gotten increasingly louder as prices broke through $1,000, $1,200 and now $1,400 an ounce. However, gold prices appear asymptomatic of the signs generally associated with financial bubbles.

2011-03-31 Weekly Market Update by Team of American Century Investments

Last week brought more bad news regarding the residential housing market. There were declines in sales volume of both new and previously occupied homes for the month of February. Additionally, one major and closely followed home price index exhibited a 3.1% decline in January, marking the fourth consecutive month of price declines for this index. In most regional markets, the situation remains deflationary as prices continue to slip and (as is characteristic of deflationary markets) demand declines as buyers await further price declines before jumping in.

2011-03-30 Andrew Balls Discusses PIMCO?s European Cyclical Outlook by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

Europe?s outlook hinges on limiting contagion from the most troubled peripheral countries. The European Central Bank has signaled its intentions to start tightening, which could complicate the outlook for the more distressed countries. We think the Bank of England will begin to tighten rates over the summer. The UK outlook depends on the impact of fiscal tightening.

2011-03-29 American Consumer Sputtering in Q1 by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The U.S. consumer spending and income report for February was a bit of a mixed bag. First, personal income in the U.S. did eke out a 0.3% MoM gain in February, but it was below expected and failed to keep up with the rise in inflation, which are largely, but not exclusively, being driven by food and fuel prices (accounting for half the increase). The personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price deflator rose 0.4% MoM and as such real income - straight up, net of taxes and excluding personal transfers - fell 0.1% in the first contraction since last September.

2011-03-28 The Profit Boom is Over by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

A seven-quarter run of positive profit growth ― six were double-digits ― came to an end in the fourth quarter as pre-tax corporate profits in the U.S.A. sagged at a 10% annual rate (looking at corporate earnings before tax without inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments). That was the first decline since the fourth quarter of 2008. The YoY growth rate is still healthy at +16% but off the boil, that is for sure.

2011-03-27 QE2 - Apres Moi, le Deluge by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

As rules of thumb go, "the trend is your friend" historically performs better than "don't fight the Fed". While the market tends to perform better when both are true, the exception is the overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising-yields syndrome, which is uniformly negative regardless of the random subset of historical data one examines. There is certainly a tendency for "unpleasant skew" featuring a persistent series of marginal new highs for some period of time, but on average, those are ultimately overwhelmed by steep and abrupt losses that finally clear this syndrome.

2011-03-27 Changes in the Inflation Rate Matter as Much to Investors as the Level by Bill Hester of Hussman Funds

It is clear from February's inflation data that there was a broad increase in price levels last month, especially for goods used during the early stages of production. The Producer Price Index rose 5.6 percent from its level a year earlier, up from 3.6 percent in January. On a month-to-month basis, the PPI rose 1.6 percent, doubling its recent pace. That increase was partially fueled by higher food prices, which makes up about a fifth of the overall PPI. Commodity prices tracked within the PPI Index rose 8 percent from a year ago, up from 5.6 percent last month

2011-03-26 Unintended Consequences by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Governments around the world need to be alert and make difficult choices to deal with a world excess liquidity. From an investor?s point of view, enjoy the current ride in emerging markets but recognize that they are high beta to the U.S. economy and stock markets. The next time the United States goes into recession?and there will be a next time?it is likely that emerging markets will suffer significant losses. So, emerging markets are a trade and not a long-term investment.

2011-03-25 To QE or Not to QE? That is the Question by Paul Kasriel and Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

Historically, % changes in MFI credit "explain" a large proportion changes in nominal GDP. Commercial bank credit accounts for the largest component of private MFI credit. Since the FOMC commenced its second round of easing in early November 2010, the increase in Federal Reserve and commercial bank credit has been dominated by the increases in Federal Reserve credit. If the FOMC terminates its easing policy in June and private MFI credit creation does not pick up, total MFI credit growth will slow. All else the same, this would augur poorly for nominal GDP growth in the second half of 2011.

2011-03-25 Quantitative Easing: How the Rest of the World Reacts by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

The decision was made to implement new purchases of $600 billion in U.S. Treasurys by June 2011. The transactions would expand the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve to about $2.9 trillion, a multiple of the $800 billion dollar level it was at in September 2008. This paper examines how the countries which have been recipients of the newly created liquidity have responded to the Feds move. While the Fed explained that its purchase of securities was intended to make riskier assets, the excess liquidity also made its way to foreign countries to take advantage of attractive interest rates.

2011-03-25 What's Driving Russia's Outperformance? by Frank Holmes, John Derrick and Tim Steinle of U.S. Global Investors

All ten sectors of the S&P 500 Index increased this week. The best-performing sector for the week was energy which rose 4.08 percent. Other top-three sectors were technology and materials. Financials was the worst performer, up 0.50 percent. Other bottom-three performers were utilities and healthcare.

2011-03-23 In Search of Value by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Within the space we do favour large-caps, strong balance sheets, high-quality, low P/E stocks, and commodities, especially energy. But among all the worries, we still see this as an overvalued market and we believe in buying low and selling high. We know that many pundits like to use short-term market measures of valuation using year-ahead or trailing earnings or cash flow, which at times seems a little disingenuous for an asset class that is inherently long-term in duration. Be that as it may, perhaps we can shed some light on why patience may still be virtuous here.

2011-03-23 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook: U.S. Economy, Global by Saumil H. Parikh of PIMCO

PIMCO continues to foresee a multi-speed global recovery over the next few years. The U.S. is experiencing a cyclical economic rebound, but its strong durability is uncertain. Several countries in Europe face headwinds to growth over our cyclical horizon. Japan?s growth rate will likely fall in the near term, but reconstruction activities should stimulate growth over time. We expect real economic growth in key emerging economies to remain at a solid rate during 2011, but lower than 2010.

2011-03-22 No Shortcuts to Greatness by Vitaliy Katsenelson (Article)

Nothing defined Alan Greenspan's tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank more than his wholehearted embrace of capitalism. According to a current Fed governor, however, both Greenspan's Fed and the Fed today have not been the stalwarts of capitalism that the Maestro believed them to be.

2011-03-21 The Treasury Auction Shell Game by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Very few people have the time to sift through the data released by the Treasury Department in the wake of its bond auctions. But the numbers do provide direct evidence of the country?s current financial condition that in many ways mirror a financial shell game that typifies our entire economy. Despite continued deterioration of America?s fiscal health, the Treasury is still attracting buyers of its debt. Market watchers take these successful auctions as proof that our current monetary and fiscal stimulus efforts are prudent. But who?s doing the buying, and what do they do with the bonds?

2011-03-21 Japan, by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

While the news coverage of problems at Japan?s nuclear power plants was sensationalized and misleading, the death toll from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami is horrendous. Moreover, the economic damage to the affected areas is substantial and will require a large re-direction of resources. Japan?s economy will not gain from this shift in resources because the cost of repair only replaces what was lost. That said, after the initial economic blow is fully absorbed, Japan?s economy may accelerate for a time because people change their labor-leisure trade-off.

2011-03-21 iShares Bi-Weekly Strategy Update by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Last week, world equity markets suffered their sharpest correction since August of 2010. Unrest in the Middle East and sovereign debt issues in Europe are contributing to the spike in volatility, but last week?s sell-off was primarily driven by the earthquake in Japan and related concerns over the safety of its nuclear power plants. The events in Japan are unlikely to detract from global growth, or change the market dynamics favoring equities. In fact given the recent flight to safety and accompanying drop in nominal bond yields, we reiterate our preference for equities over bonds.

2011-03-19 Key Market Trends between QE1 and QE2 by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

QE1 provided support to the U.S. economy and revived economic activity. In the months before QE2 was put in place, a turnaround of the U.S. economy from a severe recession was a vote of confidence which lifted equity prices. If economic reports in the months ahead plant seeds of doubt about the durability of economic growth, equity prices are most likely to post declines and a drop in interest rates is possible, irrespective of whether QE2 has expired.

2011-03-19 How the VAR Model and Japan?s Tragedy Affect Investors by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The threat of disaster from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant unleashed a ferocious sell-off of Japanese equities, but the damage to other major markets has been limited. Already experiencing a slight pullback prior to the events on March 11, U.S. equities and emerging markets have held up quite well. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index has only pulled back 2 percent since the earthquake and the S&P 500 Index only 3 percent.

2011-03-19 The End of QE2? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The Fed committed to buying $600 billion of Treasuries between the beginning of QE2 in November and the end of June. June is 3 months away. What will happen when that buying goes away? The hope when QE2 kicked off was that it would be enough to get the economy rolling, so that further stimulus would not be deemed necessary. We?ll survey how that is working out, with a quick look at some recent data, and then we go back and see what happened the last time the Fed stopped quantitative easing.

2011-03-18 What Inflation Means to You: Inside the Consumer Price Index by Doug Short of Doug Short

The Fed justified the current round of quantitative easing "to promote a stronger pace of economic recovery" The Fed is trying to increase inflation, operating at the macro level. But what does an increase in inflation mean at the micro level, specifically to your household? Let's do some analysis of the Consumer Price Index, the best known measure of inflation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics divides all expenditures into eight categories and assigns a relative size to each. The pie chart below illustrates the components of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers.

2011-03-18 Has the Game Changed? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. This is otherwise known as Newton?s first law of motion. In market parlance, this implies that a trend remains in force until such time as an exogenous shock causes it to either stall or reverse. Economic, geopolitical, and natural disaster events aside, equity markets around the world have definitely broken their intermediate-term uptrend.

2011-03-17 Focus on Japan Overshadows Fed Decision by Brad Sorensen of Charles Schwab

To no one's surprise, the Fed kept interest rates at near zero and maintained its scheduled purchases of Treasury securities (also known as quantitative easing, or QE2). We're growing more concerned that the Fed is keeping interest rates low for too long, leading to potential problems down the road. With the market currently reacting to the tragedy in Japan and the ensuing market volatility, it's important to avoid acting hastily.

2011-03-15 U.S. Government: Evermore Reliant on Foreign Investors by Kieran Osborne of Merk Funds

Despite the Fed recently surpassing China as the largest owner of U.S. government debt, the U.S. remains heavily reliant on foreigners to fund the government?s ongoing fiscal largess. Geithner?s Treasury Department has firmly focused new issues at the mid to longer end of the yield curve. Despite the Treasury taking advantage of the ultra-low interest rate and funding environment, there are substantial refinancing issues over the near term; moreover, many of these maturing issues are foreign owned.

2011-03-14 Anatomy of a Bubble by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Over the past decade, investors have seen near-parabolic advances in a variety of assets, followed by crashes. These have included dot-com stocks (which peaked and crashed well before the general market peak in 2000), technology stocks, housing, commodities, and stocks in a variety of emerging markets. These experiences have made investors somewhat more attuned to the destructive potential for speculative bubbles in various assets, but has also created something of a "casino economy" where a great deal of resources are directed in hopes of participating in these bubbles.

2011-03-14 The End of QE2 by Charles Lieberman (Article)

This week's meeting of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee is sure to focus on whether to terminate its quantitative easing program early and when it will be time for overnight interests to be returned to more normal levels. While economic growth appears to be much healthier, higher oil prices and credit risks in Europe pose significant risks to the growth outlook. Therefore, we expect no change to policy, although it is our judgment that the Fed should begin to alter its language subtly to remind investors that changes in policy will be coming.

2011-03-14 Interest Rates Are on the Launch Pad by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

A few months ago, the recovery cheerleaders reached a crescendo when expanding consumer credit stats and surging US trade deficits provided them with ?evidence? of an economic rebound. In declaring victory, they overlooked the very nucleus of this past crisis: namely, the enormous debt levels and bubbling inflation that created fragile asset bubbles. In reality, only a reduction in US debt levels or increase in the value of the dollar would have signaled a budding recovery; but, thanks to the Federal Reserve and Obama Administration, there is virtually no way those results will ever be seen.

2011-03-12 Inflation and Hyperinflation by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Companies and households typically deal with excessive debt by defaulting; countries overwhelmingly usually deal with excessive debt by inflating it away. While debt is fixed, prices and wages can go up, making the total debt burden smaller. People can?t increase prices and wages through inflation, but governments can create inflation, and they?ve been pretty good at it over the years. Inflation, debt monetization, and currency debasement are not new. They have been used for the past few thousand years as means to get rid of debt. In fact, they work pretty well.

2011-03-12 Domestic Equity Market by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The figure below shows the performance of each sector in the S&P 500 Index for the week. Four sectors increased and six decreased. The best-performing sector for the week was utilities which rose 1.5 percent. Other top-three sectors were telecom services and consumer staples. Energy was the worst performer, down 4.0 percent. Other bottom-three performers were materials and technology. Within the utilities sector the best-performing stock was Constellation Energy Group which rose 6.8 percent. Other top-five performers were Exelon, First Energy, DTE Energy, and Duke Energy.

2011-03-12 Volatility on the Rise by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Geopolitical unrest and rising inflation concerns have conspired to increase market volatility. We remain bullish on US stocks and believe that this recent increase in consternation will ultimately be healthy for stocks. The US government keeps kicking the debt can down the road, while the Fed seems unconcerned about inflation and is intent on completing QE2. We believe changes are needed at both entities to foster sustainable economic growth. The European debt crisis is bubbling up again, while the ECB is talking interest-rate hikes. Future growth depends on the path of both issues.

2011-03-11 The Seven Immutable Laws of Investing by James Montier of GMO

This dearth of assets offering a margin of safety raises a conundrum for the asset allocation professional: what does one do when nothing is cheap? Personally, I?d seek to raise cash. This is obvious not for its uninspiring near-zero yield, but because it acts as dry powder ? a store of value to deploy when the opportunity set offered by Mr. Market becomes more appealing. And this is likely, as long as the emotional pendulum of investors oscillates between the depths of despair and irrational exuberance as it always has done. Of course, the timing of these swings remains as nebulous as ever.

2011-03-08 Ed Hyman: The Key Threat to Economy Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Ed Hyman is not worried about China, quantitative easing or fiscal deficits. Equity market performance this year will be strong, he predicts, and the US economic recovery will proceed. But there is a caveat in his outlook ? and it is an immense one.

2011-03-07 Quantitative Easing and the Iron Law of Equilibrium by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

If you think about equilibrium, it helps to clear up all sorts of fallacies that people hold about the financial markets. For example, the currency and money market securities that are held by investors will - in aggregate - never "find a home" in any other form or market. If one takes their cash and tries to buy stock, they get the stock and the seller gets the cash. Nothing disappears, and nothing is created. The money-market securities held by investors is not a reflection of "liquidity looking for a home," but is a measure of how borrowers are on short-term sources of credit.

2011-03-07 A Little Understanding Goes a Long Way by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

As the world confronts one of the most critical periods of economic upheaval that it has ever seen, it is clear that our most influential economic stewards have absolutely no idea what they are doing. But, like kids with a new chemistry set, they are nevertheless unwilling to let that stand in the way of their experimental fun. As they pour an ever-growing number of volatile ingredients into their test tubes, we can either hope that they magically stumble on the secret formula to cure the world?s ills, or more pragmatically, we can try to prepare for the explosion that is likely to result.

2011-03-07 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week was dominated by continued good economic data, which supported stock prices, even as concern mounts about supposed inflation and the ability of the Federal Reserve Board to come up with a believable exit strategy from its current policy of quantitative easing (read that to mean the FED is buying treasuries from the government to finance this year?s $1.6 trillion deficit).

2011-03-07 Who Gets Credit For the Recovery? by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

What?s the opposite of a double dip? Whatever it is, that?s where we are. Remember commercial real estate, re-setting ARMs, foreclosures, muni-bond defaults, Greece, Ireland, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, high unemployment, more savings, or just plain old government debt? At least one of these, or maybe all of them, was going to make recovery impossible, or end any recovery prematurely. But none of it happened. The double dip turned out to be a figment.

2011-03-04 The Job Market, Oil Prices, and the Fed by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Higher oil prices have raised new concerns about the strength of the economic recovery. If sustained, the rise in gasoline prices will restrain the pace of economic growth noticeably, but does not appear to be large enough (so far) to derail the expansion. Meanwhile, a federal government shutdown looms as lawmakers bicker over the future path of expenditures. Austerity at all levels of government is well-intentioned, but is not advisable at this point in the economic recovery.

2011-03-03 Driving Without Restrictor Plates by Cliff W. Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

Since mid-January we have found ourselves in a quandary over ?jumping in? or ?diving in? to the strongly flowing bullish current of the developed markets. The warning signs have been the Mideast riots, unemployment, commodity inflation, and the US percentage of debt relative to GDP. The positives are corporate earnings, an accommodative Fed, cash-rich balance sheets, and no new taxes for now. Therefore we wanted to share with you a number of charts and statistics that are part of our process.

2011-03-02 Two-Bits, Four-Bits, Six-Bits, a Dollar by Bill Gross of PIMCO

A successful handoff from public to private credit creation has yet to be accomplished, and it is that handoff that ultimately will determine the outlook for real growth and stability. Because quantitative easing has affected all risk spreads, the withdrawal of nearly $1.5 trillion in annualized check writing may have dramatic consequences. Who will buy Treasuries when the Fed doesn?t? The question really is at what yield, and what are the price repercussions if the adjustments are significant.

2011-03-02 Random Market Thoughts by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Only time will tell if yesterday?s market action was a true watershed. It was the first time since last July that the stock market was down on the first day of the month. Till yesterday, the opening days in January and February had already accounted for over half the year-to-date gains in the S&P 500. It was also the first time since the last leg of the bear market rally began six months ago that ?good? news failed to ignite equity prices. Yesterday we saw auto sales shoot up 6.7% to 13.4 million units, which was the best level since August 2009, and we also saw the ISM inch higher.

2011-03-01 Musings on Proposed Government Spending Cuts and Current Energy Price Increases by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

Just as labor is an important input in the production of goods and services, so is energy(E). An increase in the price of E reflects a relative shortage of E from what was the case. Just as the price of labor can increase from an increase in demand or a decrease in supply, so, too, can the price of E. Assume that before an increase in the price of E, the economy was set to go from 3% growth to 4% growth. Assume that the increase in the price of E has resulted from an increase in the demand for E. At the higher price of E due to demand, the economy will not be able to rise from 3% to 4%.

2011-02-28 When Inflation Fuels Deflation by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Global macroecon concerns led to the sharpest weekly sell off in the S&P500 Index in three months. For the week, the S&P 500 Index was down 1.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.1%. A multitude of catalysts were behind the selloff, including concerns about the situation in Africa and the Middle East, surging commodity prices, in particular crude oil, and finally, a feeling that equity valuations were moving into overbought territory. There were only a handful of important domestic economic releases last week, including several data points on housing and the state of the consumer.

2011-02-28 Moment of Surrender: Regimes Fall, Oil Prices Spike by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Geopolitical tensions swell along with oil prices, pushing the stock market lower. The absence of a longer-term oil- supply shock suggests the price spike could be short-lived. Consumers will take a hit, but the broader economy should avoid a double-dip recession.

2011-02-27 Bank Stress Index Up in Fourth Quarter; Can China Slow Down Bank Lending? by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst

The Q4 2010 results from the latest IRA bank stress index ("BSI") survey are in and the US banking industry saw slightly higher stress than in the previous quarter. At the start of 2010, we wrote in The IRA Advisory Service that Q1 was likely to be the best quarter of the full year 2010. As it turns out, Q1 2010 was the lowest BSI score for the full year and since the start of 2009. Operational stress as measured by the BSI has been rising in the US banking industry steadily since Q1 2010. 

2011-02-27 Cash or Credit - Implications for the Financial Markets by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

From the standpoint of prospective investment returns, it is important to recognize that the main effect of quantitative easing has been to suppress the expected return on virtually all classes of investment to unusually weak levels. It's widely believed that somehow, QE2 has created all sorts of liquidity that is "sloshing" around the economy and "trying to find a home" in stocks, commodities, and other investments. But this is not how equilibrium works.

2011-02-25 What Really Drives the Market by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Well, we used to say there were four key drivers: 1. Fundamentals; 2. Fund flows; 3. Technicals; 4. Valuation; Then we introduced another one last week: 5. The Fed?s balance sheet; Now that is not going to be included in any of the Graham & Dodd textbooks, that is for sure. But since Dr. Bernanke embarked on his non-traditional monetary maneuvers two years ago, there has been an 86% correlation between the S&P 500 and the movement in the Fed?s balance sheet. And now there is a sixth: 6. Corporate earnings surprises Yes, this works with a 90% historical accuracy rate.

2011-02-25 Worry ... Friend or Foe? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Interest rates have moved higher, inflation concerns are growing, debt issues remain and global tensions are heightened. All valid concerns, but in our opinion not enough to derail stocks?although they could potentially in the future. Violence in the Middle East and North Africa is creating tension in global markets, but there are other concerns for emerging markets as well. Europe is becoming a bifurcated situation, with investors distinguishing between those with debt issues and those without.

2011-02-24 Will the Oil Price Be a Game Changer? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

First Tunisia. Then Egypt. And now Libya. What makes Libya different from a market?s perspective is that we are now talking about an oil exporter in the sudden grips of political upheaval. In this domino game, the next critical country we have to keep an eye on is Bahrain. The risk of further unrest is rising, especially with sectarian issues in full force in Bahrain. This means that oil prices at a minimum will retain a geopolitical risk premium. Bottom line: there is still more near-term upside potential than downside risk for the oil price (and most energy stocks).

2011-02-24 Arab Autocracies and US Inflation by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

Civil revolt is currently spreading across the Arab world. What began in Tunisia has now metastasized into Bahrain, Egypt and Libya. Though two dictators have been ousted, the chances that these regimes will fundamentally transform from autocracy to a system of free markets and property rights are also up in the air. There are many unknowns, but what is known is that the turmoil has had an immediate and significant impact on the price of oil. It is also evident that global consumers continue to get pummeled by rising food and energy prices.

2011-02-23 Don?t Know Much about Geography, Don?t Know Much Trigonometry, But Sarah Palin Does Know Her ... by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

On November 8, 2010, Sarah Palin commented that the Fed?s quantitative easing monetary policy was tantamount to printing money out of thin air. Sarah Palin may not know much about geography, but she does know her Fed policy. I would phrase quantitative easing a little differently. It is the Federal Reserve creating a specific amount of credit figuratively out of thin air. Theoretically, the Federal Reserve can create an unlimited amount of credit out of thin air. Of course, there would be dire economic consequences if the Fed were to create an unlimited amount of credit out of thin air.

2011-02-23 Right Brains and the Dismal Science by Herbert Abramson and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

It has been said that successful investors need to employ not only the left side of their brains which is the analytical or scientific part but also the right side which is the centre for creative thinking. Thats because much of investing has to do with the unpredictable, the down cards, variables about future demand, growth, political policy changes, psychological responses, weather, oil spills, and so forth. Value investors dont want to pay for the down cards, but want to buy so cheaply in the here, that there is little or no risk of losing, and the hereafter can take care of itself.

2011-02-23 Right Brains and the Dismal Science by Herbert Abramson and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

It has been said that successful investors need to employ not only the left side of their brains which is the analytical or scientific part but also the right side which is the centre for creative thinking. Thats because much of investing has to do with the unpredictable, the down cards, variables about future demand, growth, political policy changes, psychological responses, weather, oil spills, and so forth. Value investors dont want to pay for the down cards, but want to buy so cheaply in the here, that there is little or no risk of losing, and the hereafter can take care of itself.

2011-02-22 The Monetary Policy Outlook by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Fed Chairman Bernanke is set to deliver his monetary policy testimony next week. There?s not much suspense. The release of the FOMC minutes from the January 25-26 policy meeting included senior Fed officials? revised projections of growth, unemployment, and inflation, as well as a thorough discussion of the uncertainties. No change in monetary policy is expected for some time. However, the Fed will have to consider when to lose the ?extended period? language and eventually move to a more normal policy position. That doesn?t look likely for 2011.

2011-02-22 Fiscal Contraction is Coming ... This is a Key Theme by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Well, if you haven?t yet heard, major budgetary restraint is coming our way in the second half of the year, and so we would recommend that you enjoy whatever fiscal and monetary juice there is left in the blender. There isn?t much that is for sure. The weekend newspapers were filled with reports of how the conservative wing of the Republican party have banded together to ensure that spending cuts will be in the offing. The state and local governments are already putting their restraint into gear.

2011-02-21 Inflation or Deflation? Or is it Global Weimar? by Christopher Whalen of Institutional Risk Analyst

As we've noted in recent missives for The IRA Advisory Service, the visible volume of business flowing through the bank consumer channel seems to be receding or maintaining low levels. The commercial channel at most banks we hear from is still running at 1/3 to 1/2 of pre-2008 levels in terms of new originations and demand for credit. This is why when clients ask us about whether we worry more about inflation or deflation, our answer is "both." The chief worry bead remains revenue flowing through banks, housing and the US economy.

2011-02-18 Breakfast with Dave by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The Treasury market retains a nice bid here and equities now look a bit wobbly or at least engaging in a pause. European bourses are in the red column for the most part and Asia was mixed with Japan, Hong Kong, and Korea posting gains but China and India were both clocked for a 0.9% and 1.6% loss, respectively. Even though China raised reserve requirements by a half-point again, the oil price is receiving support from concerns over the spread of social unrest in the Middle East towards Libya and Bahrain.

2011-02-17 Baby Steps in the Complex Global Recovery Wasatch Funds by Sam Stewart and Roger Edgley of Wasatch Funds

The U.S. recovery is generally headed in the right direction. The good news is that credit markets are easing and many economic indicators are slowly improving. The bad news is that unemployment remains stagnant, companies are hoarding cash, and we have a growing federal deficit to address. The recently passed tax bill is good psychologically. People are generally pleased that their taxes won?t be going up this year, despite other concerns they may have with the bill. More importantly, this was one of several pieces of recent legislation showing the renewed possibility of bipartisanship.

2011-02-14 Bernanke on the Hot Seat by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Why is the Fed taking so much flak? Is this a subtle way to criticize the Administration indirectly? If so, the critics will get their due, since the Fed's policies appear to be helping the economy gather some momentum. The inflation outlook remains benign, while growth is picking up. The critics will be the ones with some explaining to do, while Bernanke is working to earn a reputation for the history books for dealing with the credit crisis and promoting recovery.

2011-02-14 Financial Disconnect by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The printing of fiat money is likely to be able to sustain a false economic recovery for some time. But, eventually, the cost will be a rapid erosion of the value of the US dollar ? not just in real terms, but also against almost every other foreign currency. Despite possible short-term corrections, gold and silver holdings are likely best to shield investors from the perils that lie ahead.

2011-02-13 Rich Valuations and Poor Market Returns by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

At present, my view on monetary policy is that the inflation outlook following the completion of QE2 will be quite unstable, because small changes in interest rates are likely to induce very large changes in the willingness of individuals to hold base money. Any external upward pressure on interest rates beyond a fraction of a percent will have to be rapidly offset by a large reduction in the outstanding monetary base in order to avoid a deterioration in the value of money relative to goods and services (i.e. inflation).

2011-02-12 Balancing Act by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Strong US economic signals and solid earnings continue to provide a positive backdrop for stocks. We expect pullbacks if optimistic sentiment gets too elevated, but remain optimistic about the stock market. Inflation concerns are rising, but the Federal Reserve is unlikely to react with tighter policy. There's not much it can do to fight commodity inflation, but Treasury yields are rising in response to headline inflation, even with little near-term risk of companies passing on rising costs.

2011-02-11 Reiterating Our Investment Thesis for 2011 by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

For 2011, not only do I still favor credit, especially the spread compression left in the high-yield space, but relative value portfolios, hybrids with a decent running yield and exposure to Canadian dollars. The resource sector is also attractive, especially oil, with a long-term view towards buying these companies on dips and not just for the commodity price uptrend. Corporate bonds, especially BB-rated product. Hedge funds, with low correlations with the direction of the market or the economy. And precious metals as a hedge against periodic bouts of currency and monetary instability.

2011-02-11 Yelling Fire in a Crowded ?Muni? Theatre by Andrew Clinton of Clinton Investment Management

Municipalities have the unique power to raise taxes and service fees, while cutting non-essential services, in order to create revenues sufficient to pay debt holders. There are over 50,000 individual municipalities across the country. Over the course of decades, there have been very few instances of default. The economy's improvement should bolster state and local finances now and in the future. I firmly believe investors seeking safety of principle and attractive tax-free cash flow should look to capitalize on the current market uncertainty as they are being well compensated to do so.

2011-02-11 The Year of the Rabbit by Craig Hester of Hester Capital Management

The global financial markets in 2011 are likely to reflect many of the characteristics of the rabbits personality: quick to react, avoiding conflicts, erratic, resilient yet determined. The year started on a fast note. The S&P 500 jumped out to a 3.3% gain before selling off late in January over concerns regarding political instability in the Middle East. Global tensions, sovereign debt, state and federal finance, the economy and earnings may affect financial markets this year. One can expect a year of volatility, but a market that will display resiliency in the face of these uncertainties.

2011-02-10 Betting Against the House; Is This the Time to be Going Long? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Housing starts are at around 550k annualized units right now and household formation averages in the 1.1 to 1.2 million range. At what point do you think this dovetails and a housing recovery takes place? Great question. This is one overextended U.S. stock market, that is for sure. We have a dividend yield on the S&P 500 of 1.8% with a 10-year bond yield at 3.7%. The dividend yield, by the way, is where it was at the market peak in October 2007. The cyclically-adjusted P/E ratio on the S&P 500 is now 23.3x, where it was back in May 2008. At the lows, it was trading at 13.3x.

2011-02-10 FPA Crescent Fund Q4 2010 by Steven Romick of First Pacific Advisors

We do not have a strong view as to what will transpire over the intermediate-term with respect to the economy or securities markets, nor do we have a great love for the opportunities the markets have to offer. In general, we require more upside than the market currently permits, because the downside (for reasons discussed) is not inconsequential. Taking a look at the S&P 400 Midcap Index gives some idea as to why that may be the case. Midcap stocks have increased 129% since the 2009 trough. That kind of move generally sucks the oxygen out of the room as far as good risk/reward investments go.

2011-02-08 Changing Perception of the Economy - Food for Thought by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The bond market essentially signals the U.S. economy is turning around and is most likely to establish sustained growth in 2011. A part of the bullish sentiment commenced after Bernanke's speech in the last week of August 2010 when the Fed signaled that a second round of support was on its way. Inflation expectations have moved up (see Chart 3) from lows in the summer of 2010. But, they are yet to surpass the levels seen prior to the onset of the crisis. Actual inflation measures also do not represent a threat.

2011-02-07 Misquoting Keynes by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The famous quote attributed to John Maynard Keynes - "the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent" - is a favorite of speculators here. Actually, I very much agree with this observation, provided that it is correctly understood. Solvency is always a function of debt, and it's extremely important for investors to recognize that when you take investment positions by borrowing on margin, you'd better use stop-losses, because the debt obligation stays intact even if the investment values decline.

2011-02-07 Jobs Data Redux and Inflation Spasm Ahead by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

The labor market in the US is not improving. Lost in the debate over the weather impact was the benchmark revision to 2010 ? overstated by 215k or 24%. The economy generated 909k jobs last year -insignificant considering that the population grew around 160k/month. The level of employment today is where it was in 2003. There have only been a handful of times in the past when both food and energy prices were rising so sharply in tandem. Since almost 25% of the CPI basket is in food and energy directly, it would seem logical to assume that we are going to get headline inflation in coming months.

2011-02-04 Portfolio Commentary : Fourth Quarter, 2010 by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisors

For our 4Q commentary we have decided to alter our approach and provide direct insight into our managers? thoughts by pro­viding portions of their commentaries in a series of indepen­dent ?short stories.? Collectively they represent many of the thoughts that we have utilized for writing our quarterly com­mentaries, but we feel the current environment offers a unique time to hear things ?directly from the horse?s mouth.?

2011-02-04 Death by Treasuries by Doug Short of Doug Short

Are Treasuries rolling over? Check out the astonishing rise in yields over the past week. In some respects the Fed's quantitative easing has been quite effective ? for example in punishing the risk-adverse savers who've invested in Treasuries.

2011-02-03 Feb 2011 Absolute Return Letter by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

We celebrate the Chinese New Year - the year of the rabbit - by taking a closer look at what is now the second largest economy in the world. We embrace the longer-term opportunities which present themselves, but we also discuss some of the near term challenges, which include uncomfortably high inflation combined with surprisingly weak economic growth towards the end of 2010. Enjoy the read!

2011-02-01 Can Economics Save the Economy? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Christina Romer, Greg Mankiw and Paul Krugman were among a group of thought leaders who spoke at a conference in Cambridge last week. They cited a lack of sufficiently powerful and politically feasible policy options, calling into question whether economists will be able to produce the clear path to the stronger recovery that the Obama administration seeks.

2011-01-28 The Fed Sticks to the Status Quo by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The Fed announced no changes to its interest rate and quantitative easing round two (QE2) policies. There were no dissenters, with two new voting members changing their tune about QE2. The risk is growing that the Fed will stay easy too long, which could have implications for bond yields (and bond investors).

2011-01-28 A Mockery of a Sham by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

We do not need more regulation. Government interference has done enough damage already. We simply need to return to a sound monetary policy and get the government out of the mortgage and housing markets. Unfortunately, that?s not going to happen.

2011-01-26 Plan C for UK Fiscal Consolidation by James Mason and Parul Walia of Roubini Global Economics

The UK government has engaged in a forceful reduction of its fiscal deficit (?Plan A?) to ensure debt sustainability and thereby reduce the risk of a loss of market confidence in public finances. The move has been effectively endorsed by Bank of England Governor Mervyn King, who has said that further quantitative easing could be used to support the economy if necessary (?Plan B?). In RGE?s view, however, the risk to the market was overstated, as the UK has enjoyed safe-haven status while pressures have intensified in eurozone countries.

2011-01-26 Bring Back Hoenig by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Get out your carbon paper. No matter how much evidence there is that both real economic growth and inflation are accelerating, the Federal Reserve is determined to issue policy statements that read like the pessimistic ones from prior meetings.

2011-01-25 Economic Forecast Failures: The 10-Year Yield by Doug Short of Doug Short

Earlier today I analyzed the Wall Street Journal survey of economist forecasts for Q4 GDP. How accurate are economists' forecasts in general? It varies, of course, but sometimes they miss by a long shot. Consider, for example, the forecasts for 10-year Treasury yields in the October 2010 WSJ survey.

2011-01-24 Monetary Stimulus is Gaining Traction by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The Federal Reserve?s recent recommitment to a second round of quantitative easing (aka QE2) has come at a time when past efforts at monetary stimulus seem at last to have gained traction. Accelerations in various measures of money supply suggest that the economy is finally drawing on the copious amounts of liquidity the Fed previously injected into it even before the most recent round of quantitative easing.

2011-01-23 Sixteen Cents: Pushing the Unstable Limits of Monetary Policy by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Completing the Fed's planned purchases under QE2 will require a decline in 3-month T-bill yields to just 0.05% in order to avoid inflationary pressure. Otherwise, liquidity preference will not expand enough to absorb the addition to base money, even if we assume GDP growth at 4%. Given the extreme stance of monetary policy, the avoidance of inflationary pressures increasingly relies on a very persistent willingness by the public to hold the outstanding quantity of base money in the financial system. Small errors will have surprisingly large consequences. This is not a stable equilibrium.

2011-01-22 Together at Last! by Stephen J. Taddie of Stellar Capital Management

Many people get lost when economists start talking about monetary and fiscal policy. By definition, fiscal policy is the use of government expenditure and revenue collection to influence the economy through borrowing, spending and taxation. Monetary policy is the process by which the monetary authority of a country (the Federal Reserve, or ?Fed?, in the U.S.) controls the money supply in that economy through targeting interest rates or buying and selling securities from its portfolio. In the end, the two policies are just two different tools used to manage an economy.

2011-01-20 Word on the Street: Cautious Optimism by Eagle portfolio managers of Eagle Asset Management

The general consensus among Eagle managers is that companies are more optimistic than they have been in many years. Businesses are starting to loosen their purse strings, albeit slowly and deliberately, to take advantage of competitive opportunities. Eagle managers continue to believe independent, diligent research is paramount in selecting stocks right now and that this likely will prove to be an excellent opportunity for long-term investors.

2011-01-19 2011 Capital Markets Outlook by Joseph V. Amato of Neuberger Berman

During 2010, macroeconomic factors largely dominated the financial markets, creating a volatile, emotional environment as investors appeared at times to be thinking less about what stocks to own than whether they should own stocks at all. As a result, many equities with very different fundamental characteristics often showed very high correlations to one another, while valuations converged. Over time, we believe that the market will differentiate these stocks based on their individual fundamentals. A similar statement can be made about other assets as well.

2011-01-18 Jeffrey Gundlach: The Greatest Investment Opportunity of 2011 and 2012 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In June of 2007, against a backdrop of strong equity and corporate bond performance, Doubleline's Jeffrey Gundlach was one of the first to warn investors that sub-prime mortgages were 'a total unmitigated disaster, and they are going to get worse.' In an equally bold statement, last week he identified the asset class he considers the greatest investment opportunity for the next two years. Again, it was one for investors to avoid.

2011-01-18 A Market Story by Robert J. Horrocks of Matthews Asia

It is not the headline rates of growth in Asia that excite me?it?s the profit-making opportunities within those economies that are necessary to sustain reasonable rates of growth and support the changing lifestyles of Asian households. And that, I hope, is a sentiment with which both the old and the reformed Scrooge might embrace.

2011-01-18 Headwinds Ahead by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

It is difficult to understand why it is that everyone is so whipped up about U.S. growth prospects. Even the latest set of data points has been less than exciting. Retail sales, payrolls, and consumer confidence have all been below expected and all of a sudden we see that jobless claims are moving back up. We have federal fiscal support, which at the margin is subsiding. And we have massive monetary support, and on this the Fed is going to be facing much more intense congressional scrutiny going forward. At the same time, about half of last year?s GDP growth was inventory accumulation.

2011-01-18 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

As for our strategy, we continue on a steady course of balancing major risk aversion while opportunistically seeking returns. Although there are no longer any soft pitches like there were in late 2008 and early 2009, we feel that there are still enough bond issues from well-run companies that offer reasonable returns without going too far out on the risk or duration curves. We do not believe it is prudent to lower quality standards or to take excessive duration exposure at this time in order to increase returns. We believe there will be better opportunities for that in the future.

2011-01-18 The Fed?s Dual Mandate ? Therein lies the Dilemma by Jason R. Graybill and Neil D. Klein of Carret Asset Management

High-quality municipal bonds should continue to move in concert with U.S. Treasury bonds. We expect supply to decrease slightly to be more closely aligned with softer demand. The media will continue to cast a light on the challenges facing the market. As the overall economy improves, we envision states and local municipalities following suit. Downgrades may continue to occur but the most severe cuts should be limited to the marginal parts of the municipal landscape. In closing, we expect structural change to occur, in a positive way, over the next few years.

2011-01-17 Adding Up the Inflation Carnage; US Consumer Hitting an Air Pocket by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

This is just the fifth time in modern history that BOTH food and energy prices have risen at a double-digit annual rate for any length of time ― 1979, 1980, 1996, and 2008. At this rate, the energy bill is going to create a drag U.S. household spending power by $60 billion this year. Beneath the veneer of all the enthusiasm is the reality that real organic incomes are under pressure.

2011-01-15 Thinking the Unthinkable by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Mauldin criticizes Bernanke's comment that a benefit of QE2 has been rising equity prices, arguing that this would amount to a third mandate for the Fed. He commends Richard Fisher of the Dallas Fed for his comments that monetary policy is not a tool to solve the country's fiscal problems. Mauldin then says that a big treat to his growth forecast is continued sovereign debt problems in Europe. Lastly, he questions whether China can engineer a soft landing for its economy, given rising inflation.

2011-01-15 Further Fuel? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks may be vulnerable to a near-term pullback thanks to elevated sentiment, and earnings season could provide an impetus for some profit taking. The economy appears to be strengthening and we remain optimistic. Despite signs of growth, the Fed seems insistent on letting QE2 play out, pointing to continued high unemployment and housing. The new congress also has to deal with these issues, while attempting to pare deficit spending. International exposure is important, but we recommend taking some profits and rebalancing if your emerging-market exposure gets above your target allocation.

2011-01-15 Trading Secrets by Tad Rivelle of TCW Asset Management

Treasury yields are lower today than they were in the early 1930s. This is despite a paucity of evidence that prices are deflating, or that the U.S. is the beneficiary of a flight-to-quality. Furthermore, the low rates have continued notwithstanding QE2, a program of thinly disguised ?money printing.? Our belief is that low rates are the product of a zero rate policy that is distorting Treasury pricing. This ?artificial? propping up of Treasury pricing will last until such time that bank balance sheets are substantially repaired. As such, our outlook for Treasuries is decidedly negative.

2011-01-14 Quarterly Review and Outlook, Fourth Quarter 2010 by Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

An even slower growth rate of real GDP should be recorded over the next four quarters, suggesting the unemployment rate will be essentially unchanged a year from now. As we have noted previously, this modest expansion is due to the significant over-indebtedness of the U.S. economy. We see seven main impediments to economic progress in 2011 that will slow real GDP expansion to the 1.5%-2.5% range.

2011-01-14 2011 Outlook: International and Emerging Market Equities by Benjamin Segal and Conrad Saldanha of Neuberger Berman

We anticipate modest but positive global economic growth in 2011. Economic growth in emerging markets should benefit developed-market firms with global reach as well as emerging-market companies. Issues we are closely watching: the potential for currency/trade wars, asset bubbles and inflation in the emerging markets, increasing regulation and possible negative impacts of monetary tightening. Many overseas corporations are profitable and healthy, with cash available for M&A, higher dividends and other corporate activities.

2011-01-11 2010: A Truth Odyssey by Ron Surz (Article)

I review some of the lessons learned in the last two years. I review the last year, discuss 2008's lessons, and conclude with my traditional review of the longer-term history of U.S. markets over the past 85 years.

2011-01-11 Its the Jobs, Stupid! Part IV by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

Even though the unemployment rate declined to 9.4% in December from 9.8% in November, the drop was largely due to 260,000 individuals leaving the work force. Now, with the unemployment compensation extended as part of an agreement that President Obama reached last month with the Republican opposition, the unemployment rate will likely resume its climb toward the 10%-mark. Here are three suggestions to deal with the growing problem of unemployment in the U.S. economy.

2011-01-11 Global Outlook and Strategy by Team of Loomis Sayles

After being challenged in November by renewed Eurozone sovereign debt concerns, global risk markets ended 2010 on a strong note. The key to the late-2010 and early-2011 optimism was the potential for the two biggest engines of global growth ? the US and Chinese economies ? to pull together this year.

2011-01-10 Q4 Bond Market Review and Outlook by Teri L. Mason of Loomis Sayles

The US economic picture brightened as policymakers announced additional steps to stimulate the economy. Bond yields rose, causing many sectors of the bond market to lose ground in the final quarter of 2010, though high yield bonds, selected currencies and equity markets roared ahead.

2011-01-10 The Key Asset Classes For 2011 Will Be: Oil, Gold, And Stocks by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Investors are moving from bonds to stocks and the huge cash balances at money market funds will likely find their way into stock and commodity markets in 2011. This means inflation and commodities prices are likely to rise faster than wages, and those living on fixed incomes or bond interest will be affected the most, due to the fact that their money buys them less of everything; both luxuries and necessities. However, the ramifications of this inflationary trend are also serious for wage-earners. In every inflationary period in recorded history, wages have risen more slowly than inflation.

2011-01-05 Things Are Looking Up in LatAm by Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics

In our 2011 Outlook, we revised up our growth forecasts for Latin America, in anticipation of resilient domestic demand, improved external conditions and elevated commodity prices. We now envision annual growth rates of 4.7% in 2011 (compared to the forecast of 4.1% we set in September) and 6.1% in 2010 from 5.7% previously. If we are correct, 2010 will mark Latin America?s strongest economic performance of the last decade and its fastest growth since 1980.

2011-01-05 Off With Our Heads! by Bill Gross of PIMCO

American politicians and citizens alike have no clear vision of the costs of a seemingly perpetual trillion-dollar annual deficit. Meanwhile, policy stimulus is focused on maintaining current consumption as opposed to making the United States more competitive in the global marketplace. Dollar depreciation will sap the purchasing power of U.S. consumers, as well as the global valuation of dollar denominated assets.

2011-01-04 Glory Days: Another Good Year in 2011? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Setting targets doesn't make sense to us, but we do believe in reading the market's tea leaves, and the outlook is healthy. However, frothy sentiment has us a little concerned in the very near-term. Investors need to be mindful of complacency, but also to make sure they're not still loaded up on bonds?a major capitulation from bonds to stocks is possible.

2011-01-04 Getting a Grip by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

We can expect a showdown between the House Republicans and the Administration over the debt ceiling in Q2. At stake could be a good dose of spending restraint as ?pay-go? rules make a sudden reappearance after being neglected by the lame-duckers last year. There is always the reality of the payroll tax cut coming to an end in December and how that will crimp personal income in 2011. Of course, there is always the prospect of a Q4 corporate spending binge as the bonus depreciation allowance expires. The last 3 quarters of 2011 are going to be very interesting

2011-01-04 The 2011 Economic Outlook ? Credit Given Where Credit Is Due by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

With regard to 2011 real GDP growth, we now expect Q4/Q4 growth of 3.3% vs. 3.0%. An upward revision of 2011 Q4/Q4 real consumption growth to 2.9% from 2.5% in November is the primary factor accounting for the upward revision to the real GDP growth forecast. We are more optimistic about 2011 real GDP growth primarily because QE2 implies that the Fed will be purchasing all of the additional Treasury debt issued in conjunction with the Obama-McConnell tax and unemployment insurance compromise. We currently see more upside risk to our 2011 real GDP growth forecast than downside risk.

2011-01-04 Understanding Recent Municipal Bond Market Volatility by Steven Permut of American Century Investments

Municipal bonds have fallen in price recently. The price drop is not due to a new significant credit event or default, but rather, the decline is being driven by a host of other factors such as rising interest rates and a lack of liquidity stemming from increasing municipal supply, uncertainty surrounding the extension of Build America Bonds and the Bush tax cuts, and reduced investor demand. While municipal bond price volatility may continue into the beginning of 2011, we believe that municipal bonds still offer value over a long-term time horizon.

2011-01-03 Economic Outlook 2011?Inching Our Way Toward Recovery by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

For all the complexities and undeniable risks, the outlook is reasonably upbeat. Continued, if slow, economic growth will raise earnings and, in time, gradually will begin to improve the labor market. Inflation, though a longer-term risk, will remain well contained in the coming year. Questions about monetary and fiscal policy will continue to hang over the economy and the markets, but circumstances nonetheless seem set to generate further advances. If, at the end of the year, few would declare themselves as rich and secure as they once felt, they still will have experienced improvement.

2011-01-03 New Year Fraught with New Risks? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

With 2010 officially behind us, it is time to consider what risks and opportunities lay ahead for investors for 2011. Just as 2010 proved to be the year of the sovereign credit crisis, 2011 will not be forgotten as a year without its own potholes. From the economic side of the ledger, the biggest concern remains employment. Despite improving economic growth and a Federal Reserve that has shown a penchant for doing everything in its power to stimulate the economy, employment growth is virtually nonexistent since the recovery began.

2010-12-31 The Enigma Decoder by Ronald W. Roge of R.W. Roge

Our outlook for 2011 remains cautious, as we were last year. We will continue with most of our 2010 strategies for 2011, with the exception of bonds and municipal bonds which may present problems. We have already lowered our allocation to bonds in the third quarter, lowered our bond duration, and may lower it further, especially in the municipal bond area. We are still formulating our strategy as we gather more information.

2010-12-31 Pessimism was not the Winning Bet in 2010 by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

The easy money has been made, particularly in certain economically sensitive sectors. Returns in bonds could be flat or even negative over the next several years. We?ve substantially increased our exposure to boring old consumer staples, utilities, REITs and telecomm stocks, which offer dividend yields starting at 4% and ranging up to 12%. We expect US GDP growth to range between 2-3% over the next 4 quarters. In that environment, we would forecast gains in the S&P 500 of 8-10%, but now we wonder whether December?s 6.9% gain has already accounted for most of 2011?s stock market returns.

2010-12-30 Rising Rates Reveal Debt Reality by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

Right now, the US national debt is the biggest subprime ARM of all time. Much like homeowners who thought they could afford a mortgage that was 10 times their annual incomes, Messrs. Krugman and Wesbury are blinded by deceptively low current rates of interest. These ostriches won't poke their heads up to see the writing on the wall: low rates and quantitative easing cannot coexist for long. As rates continue to rise, the reality of US insolvency will be revealed.

2010-12-29 Deciphering Debt by Dr. Victoria Marklew, Richard Thies, James Pressler and Dr. Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

2011 is likely to raise more issues about debt, with periodic market panics about debt sustainability and bailouts. We offer this primer on the issue of debt ? specifically the various measures and the roles they play in determining a country?s risk of facing some form of debt-related crisis. Metrics to assess indebtedness of nations are classified as solvency and liquidity measures. Each are discussed, as is the special topic of the banking sector and its relation to public debt. We give our view of global public-debt-related challenges in 2011.

2010-12-29 2011 Here We Come! by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

There are two major trends in place that set the stage for world economics in 2011. The first is China?s continued rise. Although the U.S. remains the most powerful economic force on earth, China will soon be replacing Europe as the second most powerful economic force. China?s power is not built on sheer size alone: indeed, China?s statesman-like behavior during the current economic crisis in U.S. and Europe has highlighted its maturity and greatly enhanced its image. The second major trend going into 2011 is the rise of inflation.

2010-12-27 Treasury Moves?Four Reasons Why by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Treasury bonds recently have made an impressive and, to some, frightening move?a sudden reversal of the long flight to quality that previously had so bid up Treasury prices and reduced the yields to ridiculous lows. Many explain this sudden reversal in terms of Washington?s recent decision to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for another two years. Certainly, there is reason to make such a link, but there is more going on than just this compromise, enough to keep the trend in place for some time to come. Here are four references on what lies behind this reversal.

2010-12-27 First Trust Sees 4% Real GDP Growth in 2011 by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

In 2011, we expect 4% real GDP growth. The biggest difference between the First Trust forecast and the conventional wisdom is deleveraging. We do not view the deleveraging process in as negative a light as the conventional wisdom. Once deleveraging begins to slow, it will not hurt the economy. If a consumer (or a business) pays down debt but pays down less than she did the prior year, then her spending can go up faster than her income (or profits). Higher saving is not going to be a negative for the economy.

2010-12-22 The Waves of 2011 by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

2011 likely will open with a deepening recession, increasing austerity, and falling asset prices. If this is met by a new round of inflation creation and yuan revaluation, then investors should weigh whether to redeploy assets in anticipation of potential rising commodity prices. I expect these developments not to happen gradually, but to come in great waves. Smart investors will tie their fate to an investment vessel with a solid hull, because in these seas, even a hint of rot could tear a ship asunder.

2010-12-22 The Year in Review by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners

For 2011, we believe this trend of bond outflows and equity inflows will likely continue, overwhelming any concerns about valuations or fundamentals. In the short run, I've come to realize that fund flows, or investor desires for specific favored asset classes over others - tends to exacerbate price movements in both directions, often for much longer than most expect. I see great things for the stock market in 2011. While an improving economy will help, a shakeout in bonds may be just what the doctor ordered to get investors truly interested in stocks again.

2010-12-22 2011 Outlook: Fixed Income by Fixed Income Investment Team of Neuberger Berman

Entering 2011, there is no shortage of potential issues that could ignite periods of extreme market volatility. While short-term market gyrations are unsettling for both novice and experienced investors alike, for the year as a whole, we believe the outlook for the economy and the fixed income market is generally positive. In particular, certain non-Treasury sectors have compelling fundamentals going into the New Year. In our opinion, these areas could benefit generally from an increased risk appetite, should investors seek incremental yields given a continued low interest rate environment.

2010-12-22 Will Egyptian Elections Scare Would-Be Investors? by Nouriel Roubini of Roubini Global Economics

In Egypt, although the National Democratic Party (NDP) has a solid grip on power, the election cycle is adding to policy uncertainty that could worsen prospects for the foreign investment needed to kick-start domestic investment and diversify growth away from consumption. As RGE notes in its 2011 Global Economic Outlook, policy implementation delays in Egypt could add market volatility and restrain inward FDI as investors monitor the country?s political risk.

2010-12-21 All That Glitters by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

I have ave no doubt: gold is the ideal investment. It serves as a reliable store of value, especially in challenging and uncertain times. It?s a hedge against inflation, since its price rises in sympathy with the general level of prices. It exists without the involvement of man-made constructs such as governments. And it?s desired and accepted all around the world (and always has been.) The supply of gold is finite. It can?t be created out of thin air. Thus it?s not subject to dilution or debasement, as is paper currency when governments decide to print more.

2010-12-21 Gundlach: Are Taxes Too Darn Low? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

One way to avert the crisis posed by growing fiscal deficits is a significant tax increase, according to Doubleline's Jeffrey Gundlach. Although he did not advocate this policy, in his conference call with investors last week he said the strain of fiscal deficits poses as yet unanswered challenges to the economy and the markets.

2010-12-21 Ed Hyman: We Are Not Japan by Katie Southwick (Article)

Despite his worrisome outlook earlier this year, the ISI Group's Ed Hyman provided an upbeat forecast of the US economy, arguing that we are in the midst of an economic recovery that will lead to expansion. We are demonstrating that we are not Japan, he said.

2010-12-20 Things I Believe by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

1) Investors dangerously underestimate the risk of an abrupt and possibly severe equity market plunge. 2) Agreement among "experts" is not your friend. 3) Downside risk tends to be elevated precisely when risk premiums and volatility indices reflect the most complacency. 4) We did not avoid a second Great Depression because we bailed out financial institutions...

2010-12-20 Weekly Investment Commentary by Bob Doll of BlackRock

As the year is winding to a close, we thought it would be a good opportunity to take a look back at the predictions we made at the beginning of 2010 to see how they are shaping up. We didn?t get them all exactly right, but most of our predictions were on track.

2010-12-17 Capital Markets Brace for Exciting 2011 by Andreas Utermann of RCM

Andreas Utermann, global chief investment officer at RCM, a company of Allianz Global Investors, highlights key themes likely to shape the direction of capital markets in the coming year and provides a brief outlook on how he expects major asset classes to perform.

2010-12-17 For Whom the Bell Tolls by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

What lies ahead is a new era of rising interest rates, soaring consumer prices, increasing unemployment, economic stagnation, and lower living standards. Instead of stimulating the economy, quantitative easing and deficit spending will prove to be a lethal combination. Bondholders beware, the bell tolls for thee.

2010-12-17 Fed Decision: Stick to the Status Quo by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The stock market may not be fighting the Fed, but are bonds? Treasury yields and stocks can rise simultaneously, but dollar strength could bite. Investors are being driven to reallocate away from bonds and toward stocks.

2010-12-15 U.S. Economy Rays of Hope by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

I have had three recommendations in 2010: 1) Extend the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 for at least one more year. 2) Implement Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Panama and Colombia all important U.S. trade partners. 3) Permit greater flexibility in labor markets.

2010-12-14 The End of the Asian Bull Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)

A broadly diversified emerging market investor would have earned nearly 12% annually over the last five years, far outpacing investors in the US and other developed markets. Over the next five or even ten years, investors relying on emerging economies will not be as fortunate, however, according to Louis-Vincent Gave, CEO of the Hong Kong-based research and investment management firm GaveKal.

2010-12-14 Looking Back at a Year of Policy Mistakes by Michael Lewitt (Article)

As we approach the end of 2010, the global economy remains captive to a boom-and-bust cycle resulting from years of pro-cyclical monetary, fiscal and regulatory policies. With very limited exceptions, the same policies that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis remain in place. The only difference is that government balance sheets are far more leveraged than they were heading into that crisis.

2010-12-14 A Notable Year of Emerging Market Growth by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

I view 2010 as a year of economic resurgence. Many emerging markets recorded strong GDP growth as they continued to recover from the impact of the 2008 financial crisis. In several cases, robust domestic consumption, government expenditure and intra-regional trade offset weak external demand from developed markets. This led many countries in Asia and Latin America to return to pre-crisis growth levels much faster than expected. China and India were among the world?s fastest-growing major economies during the year, with China overtaking Japan as the world?s second-biggest economy.

2010-12-13 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The impact of the tax deal on the economy is positive. The absence of wide spread tax hikes is good but not sufficient to cause our economy to grow. For this we need more trade agreements, less regulation and a reduced presence in the private sector by the US government.

2010-12-10 December Economic Update by Justin S. Anderson of Cambridge Advisors

We are encouraged by improving economic data on several fronts despite an unfavorable employment picture. As markets continue to heal, we are optimistic that the economic environment will become increasingly favorable for stocks. However, the healing process is far from over and shocks to the system remain a meaningful risk. We believe a well diversified portfolio combined with an emphasis on assets that benefit from a weaker dollar will be an effective strategy in the months ahead.

2010-12-10 Interim Update and Comment by Van R. Hoisington and Lacy H. Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a recent television interview that economic growth was not ?self sustaining.? This description also applies to an economy that is in a classic growth recession. A growth recession is characterized as an economy where GDP grows but the unemployment rate also moves higher. A close look at the U.S. economy bears out Chairman Bernanke's description.

2010-12-10 Washington Orders Another Free Lunch by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

This week Washington displayed the kind of ?bipartisanship? that will bankrupt our country and wreck our currency. Coming at a time when both parties say they want to address our long-term fiscal imbalances, the compromise extension of the Bush era tax cuts should be a wake-up call to anyone who somehow expected the American leadership to ever have an ?adult conversation? about the country?s long term economic health.

2010-12-08 Two Flawed Currencies by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Despite America?s economic problems, the US dollar has maintained its respected status the world over ? and has even managed to maintain value in comparison to other currencies. The dollar?s charmed life stands in strong contrast to the euro, which is currently suffering from its internal flaws and the Europeans' unfortunate recognition of reality.

2010-12-06 Cutting Through the Noise by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Economic data is rarely clear-cut, but we believe the weight of the evidence indicates a strengthening US economy. The negative rhetoric surrounding the Federal Reserve's recent decision reached a crescendo, but while we were among the first to voice our belief that it wasn't necessary, we believe the dire warnings of potential consequences from a second round of quantitative easing (QE2) are overblown. The European debt crisis continues to plague world markets. Finally, we believe the European Central Bank (ECB) needs to be more proactive instead of continually reactive.

2010-12-06 What Inflation Means to You: Inside the Consumer Price Index by Doug Short of Doug Short

The universal response is to moan over price increases and take delight when prices are cheaper. But in reality, households vary dramatically in the impact that inflation has upon them. The one thing we can be certain about is this: An increase in inflation will have a painful effect on lower income households, those on fixed incomes, and any household whose discretionary spending is more dream than reality.

2010-12-06 The Worst US Employment Report of the Year? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

This was arguably one of the worst employment reports of the year. It was fascinating to see what little negative market reaction there was to the data ? not just nonfarm payrolls but also the news that factory orders slipped 0.9% MoM in October, the steepest decline in five months. This is why everyone seems to believe the economy is improving and it?s so easy to do that when you simply ignore the bad data points! One of the key features of the payroll report was the continued retrenchment in the state/local government sector. This promises to be a major macro theme for 2011.

2010-12-06 Creating a Mirage of Economic Growth by Doug Carey (Article)

Bubble formation is not random. Some may believe it is, but bubbles are in fact a predictable byproduct of the fractional reserve system upon which our economy is built. By stimulating and amplifying lending through its fractional reserve system, the Federal Reserve systematically creates the mirage of growth, from which deception systemic crises inevitably result.

2010-12-04 Rebalancing the World by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

We are currently witnessing a largely one-way flow of capital, as money moves from countries of disinflation or deflation to countries with inflation, possibly perpetuating the situation for both. We need to see a rebalancing of the world economy. In recent history, financial authorities in the developed world have encouraged a period of easy credit and loose monetary policy, driving a debt-fuelled rise in consumption. There needs to be more ?balance? in the world economy, so high-savings countries should spend more and develop their own vibrant domestic market as we see in the U.S.

2010-12-04 Short Skirts and Second Shoes by Herbert Abramson and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

We are in an honest-to-goodness bull market. There is much more upside ahead. Possibly for years. Tops are made in euphoria, as when the Fed decides to tighten money and raise interest rates. With the evident despondency today the Fed continues to bring on the punchmore liquidity, accommodative easing, to keep interest rates low and make credit readily availablefor consumer spending, for housing and autos and apparel and necessaries, for government borrowings. And for stocks. Well be swimming in punch.

2010-12-04 Reframing A Case For High Yield Bonds by Tom Fahey of Loomis Sayles

Our contention is that high yield bonds are likely to continue to be a respectable store of value. We base this on their valuation profile and fixed income characteristics, which tend to stand out in the midst of a protracted economic recovery and ongoing deleveraging process that could have significant implications for economic growth and yield potential.

2010-12-01 Allentown by Bill Gross of PIMCO

The global economy is suffering from a lack of aggregate demand. In the U.S. and Euroland, many policies only temporarily bolster consumption while failing to address the fundamental problem of developed economies: Job growth is moving inexorably to developing economies because they are more competitive. Unless developed economies learn to compete the old-fashioned way ? by making more goods and making them better ? the smart money will continue to move offshore to Asia, Brazil and their developing economy counterparts, both in asset and in currency space.

2010-12-01 The U.S. Dollar Is A Poor Alternative To The Euro by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

The U.S. dollar is poorly managed, Congress has already saddled the U.S. with enough debt to keep the dollar under pressure for years, and the Federal Reserve has made it clear that it is their intention to devalue the dollar. The U.S. sponsored a 2nd round of QE, which was implemented to improve exports, to stop a deflationary psychology from forming and to create enough inflation in the U.S. economy to inspire the populace to begin investing to stay ahead of inflation. When investors begin to focus upon these obvious points, the inflation benefitted investments will rocket ahead.

2010-12-01 Open and Shut by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

Today some assets are fairly priced and others are high, but there are no bargains like those of 2008. Capital and nerve can?t hold the answers in such an environment. We?re no longer in a high-return, low-risk market, especially in light of the inability to know how today?s many macro uncertainties will be resolved. Instead of capital and nerve, then, the indispensable elements are now risk control, selectivity, discernment, discipline and patience.

2010-11-30 QE2: Beware the Perils of its Success by Vitaliy Katsenelson (Article)

QE2 is like a drug prescription that comes with a list of side effects that are often worse than the disease it was supposed to cure. It is difficult to know the unintended consequences of QE2, but it may result in a substantial decline in the dollar, stagflation, lower economic growth and much higher interest rates.

2010-11-30 Currency Focus: QE2 and the Course Ahead by Ugo Lancioni of Neuberger Berman

We believe the dollar is likely to move higher on an intermediate-term basis. QE2, in our opinion, could lead to stronger economic growth in the U.S. and eventually drivehigher yields, making the dollar more attractive to investors. In our view, the impact of QE2 was already in the price of the U.S. dollar at the time of the announcement. And the market is generally still shorting dollars.

2010-11-29 Plenty of Action, but Quiet Improvement by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Ireland gets all the headlines and attention, but the domestic data is coming in on a more positive note, suggesting that economic growth may be picking up. As always, the crosscurrents are strong, with unpredictable political distractions now including Korea. But despite it all, the economic outlook, strongly supported by policy, is improving.

2010-11-29 A List of Concerns ? A Dozen of Them by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Among Rosenberg?s concerns: China undergoing a significant, though likely brief, economic adjustment by 2012; The contagion reaching Spain, which would likely be game over for the euro; A renewed deflation in home prices in the US; State and local government budgets ? the critical source of downside risk for the U.S. economy in 2011, which could easily result in 1.5-2.0 percentage points of withdrawal from GDP growth.

2010-11-29 Weekly Investment Commentary by Bob Doll of BlackRock

Downward pressure on the markets is coming from a number of sources, including geopolitical risk in the form of heightened conflict between North and South Korea, the deepening of the European debt crisis, policy tightening in China, an FBI-led investigation of insider trading, confusion over the implementation of quantitative easing and weakening housing market data. While we recognize that all of these issues represent downside risks for the market, we believe that stocks are in the midst of a normal corrective phase and that the longer-term trend remains positive.

2010-11-29 Not Fade Away: European Debt Crisis Hits Markets by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Optimism is waning as global concerns are taking center stage, notably in the euro-zone. Investors shouldn't be complacent, but should heed the more-positive message coming from the US economy.

2010-11-23 Why Three Top Bond Managers Like Equities by Robert Huebscher (Article)

You'll rarely - perhaps never - hear a fund manager say that market conditions do not favor investing in their chosen asset class. That's why it was so remarkable when several prominent managers recently admitted that they favored equities over their own discipline - fixed income.

2010-11-23 Ned Davis - Still Positive on Stocks by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Just over a year ago, Ned Davis correctly forecast a continuation of the cyclical bull market in stocks. In February of 2008, he foresaw that year's market upheaval, and a year later he predicted the rally that began in March of 2009. Today, Davis is moderately bullish on stocks, as long as the Fed maintains its policy of quantitative easing.

2010-11-23 Stop Front-Running the Fed by Keith C. Goddard, CFA (Article)

A change of mindset is in order for bond investors, who must recognize that it is no longer wise to 'front-run' monetary policy by purchasing the same bonds the Federal Reserve is targeting with its latest round of quantitative easing.

2010-11-23 Global Tensions Rising Over Fed's QE2 Initiative by Team of American Century Investments

QE2 represents a dramatic intervention in the capital markets, and its ultimate impact is hard to predict at this point in time. Critics of the plan, including some Fed members, believe that too much monetary stimulus might lead to runaway inflation, which in turn could derail economic growth or even create future asset bubbles. Alternatively, a weaker dollar could create incentives for other countries to implement capital controls and foreign exchange interventions that negatively impact global trade.

2010-11-23 The Fed Under Attack by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Despite hopes that the anti-QE rhetoric would die down, the noise continued last week, and unfortunately, become more political. One of the key aspects of the Fed is its independence. The Fed is answerable to Congress, and ultimately, to the American people. However, it is not controlled by Congress - nor would we want it to be controlled by Congress. Attacks on the Fed and its latest round of asset purchases aren't helping

2010-11-23 They?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Jeffrey Saut analyzes the DJAI and continuously favors the upside. Thus, he states his longstanding strategy that a "profits boom" will give way to an inventory rebuild, and then a capital expenditure cycle followed by increased hiring, and then a pickup in consumption, remains "stirred," but not shaken. As for the strongest sectors, they remain Energy, Basic Materials, and Information Technology, while the best performing market capitalization class is the mid-caps.

2010-11-23 Setting the Record Straight...Again by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Still-high levels of mortgage delinquency rates are a vivid sign that household financial strains have hardly abated. The NY and Cleveland Fed?s published reports outlining the severity of the deleveraging cycle that?s in full swing. The Fed?s yet again going to take a knife to its growth and inflation forecast as it has done with regularity over the past eight months. Corporate profits have come in fine despite one of the weakest recoveries on record, but to some extent, much of this has already been priced in.

2010-11-22 Outside the Oval / The Case Against the Fed by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Ever since the Bear Stearns bailout, I've been insistent that the Federal Reserve is increasingly operating outside of its statutory boundaries. Ensuring the legality of Fed actions is not a Democratic issue, a Republican issue or a Tea Party issue. Rather, it is about whether we want America to function as a representative democracy.

2010-11-22 Europe's Latest Victim Enters the Spotlight by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Now that Ireland?s domino is falling, what next? It turns out that the vultures are circling back to get another piece of Greece. Officials restated Greece?s budget deficit for 2009 to a whopping 15.9% of GDP. Couple that with recent rumors that Greece was hoping for a payment extension on its $150bln bailout and you have a recipe for further disaster. Not to be forgotten is Portugal, a country with a budget deficit of 9.3% of GDP in 2009. It may be a period of months before Portugal is forced to pay the piper, but make no mistake, eventually Portugal will face its day of reckoning.

2010-11-22 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Despite high profile news items such as the bail out of Ireland (and soon to be other nations in the Euro zone), the monetary tightening occurring in China and the high profile campaign to attack our country?s monetary policy, the stock market was as flat as a pancake last week which did not sit well with the many prognosticators calling for a significant pullback.

2010-11-22 Does the Fed Create Money? by Michael Pento of Euro Pacific Capital

Certain deflationists have recently gone on record saying that the increase in the Fed?s balance sheet is meaningless with regard to creating inflation because our central bank can?t print money, it can only create bank reserves. The problem with their view is that it both disregards the definition of money and ignores the process of creating bank reserves.

2010-11-22 Commodity Prices: What is Likely Impact in the United States? by Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The S&P GSCI commodity index has moved up 11.3% from a year ago on November 19, 2010 (see Chart 1). The trade weighted dollar declined 1.2% from a year ago as of November 12, 2010. The immediate inference is that the extent of gains in the commodity price index is larger than the decline of the dollar. By implication, commodity price gains reflect more than the depreciation of the greenback.

2010-11-20 O Deflation, Where is Thy Sting? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The economy growing between one and two percent. That is better than recession but not good enough to really bite into the unemployment rate, which means trouble. Mauldin examines the construction of the BLI's CPI index and specifically the role of housing: inflation, when you take out housing costs, is a jaunty 1.9%. Right in the Fed target range of 1.5-2%. The Fed's QE program may create inflation where we can least afford it - in energy and food.

2010-11-18 Europe Will Be The Next Region to Create Liquidity for the World by Monty Guild of Guild Investment Management

The coming European bailout of Ireland and Portugal will have to include some method of quantitative easing (QE), or the printing of new money. The European Central bank will claim they are not using QE, but using newly created money must be a part of the plan. Often, when hiding their bond-buying, governments will use means to disguise their actions. Clearly, very few professional investors have an appetite for Portuguese or Irish bonds unless they are put under some political pressure, so the buyer of last resort will be the governments and European Central Bank.

2010-11-18 QE2 by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates

Interestingly, while one of the goals of QE is to lower long-term interest rates in order to stimulate the economy (particularly the housing market), the policy seems to be having the opposite effect, as rates have risen recently. This also occurred after the implementation of QE1 in 2009. In a perverse way, this may actually indicate that the Fed?s strategy is working, as higher rates generally reflect a healthier economy.

2010-11-18 The Dollar Survives Again by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

As far as investors are concerned, the G-20 provided little new information, but confirmed the continuing drift. The international monetary system is still based upon the gravely flawed U.S. dollar. The Yuan will not be allowed to rise in the near term, the euro faces great political challenges, and the U.S. dollar seems continually to be devalued. Meantime, precious metals, key commodities, and hard currencies should continue to benefit.

2010-11-17 QE2 and Mortgage Rates: Measuring the Fed's Strategy by Doug Short of Doug Short

How will we know if the new round of quantitative easing is a success? An early sign will be that a variety of rates will fall ? at least until the economy reaches liftoff, which probably means sustained real GDP north of 3.3% (the long-term GDP average). I'm already tracking Treasury yields on a regular basis (Treasury Yield Snapshot). Spreads are widening, which should be pleasing to the Fed, but the rising yields at the short end are probably not the Fed's intention.

2010-11-17 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

In the third quarter, America?s gross domestic product grew at a rate of 2%. While many so-called pundits talk about how ?sluggish? the recovery has been, at least we are not listening to anyone continue to spread fear by talking about a double-dip recession. When you consider that the construction industry, which is still in a recession, is an industry which normally helps lead the way out of a recession, it is not surprising that the economy is not growing faster. But it is growing.

2010-11-17 I Wonder What Milton Friedman and Karl Drunner Would Say About Allan Meltzer by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

On November 9, I wrote a commentary entitled ''Quantitative Easing in the mid 1930s Appeared to be Successful''. In my commentary, I did not mention what happened to the U.S. unemployment rate as a variation on quantitative easing was taking place. So, let?s do this now.

2010-11-16 Touch of Grey: Market Takes a Breather by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

My best guess as to the scenario that is unfolding is that the economy is gaining traction, which could cause the Federal Reserve to pull QE2 into the dock sooner than expected. It could also lead to a lift in the dollar, a related pullback in commodity prices, and rising bond yields. Given the high correlation recently between bond yields and stock prices, if yields were to continue to rise, they could take stock prices up with them; especially if the reasons are a better economy and lessened deflation fears.

2010-11-16 Is The Psychological Impact of QE2 Already Being Felt? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

Economic data provided a degree of cautiously optimistic news, although it was a subdued week compared to the exhaustive news faced in prior weeks. There will be plenty of important economic data to key in on this week. October retail sales will be released on Monday and economists are expecting a relatively healthy gain for the month. Inflation will return to the forefront with the release of the Producer Price Index on Tuesday and the Consumer Price Index on Wednesday.

2010-11-16 Jeremy Siegel on the Upside for Equities and the Virtues of QE2 by Robert Huebscher (Article)

In our annual interview, Jeremy Siegel, the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton School, offers his forecast for equities - a 10% to 20% gain in 2011, along with a continued rally through the end of this year. He also explains why the current round of quantitative easing is exactly what is needed to stimulate the economy.

2010-11-15 Lighten Up, Francis by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

The increase in the deficit over the last couple of years is due largely to the recession and efforts to minimize the impact of the economic downturn. Quantitative easing isn?t some hair-brained scheme, but is simply another form of monetary policy accommodation. The dollar is down, but not out of line with its longer-term trend. Stop the hysterics, please.

2010-11-15 Weekly Investment Commentary by Bob Doll of BlackRock

Last week?s market correction was, in many ways, somewhat overdue. Both stocks and commodities have experienced significant price appreciation and the US dollar had become oversold, so it should not be surprising to see some sort of reversal in these trends. The risks of a double dip recession are in the process of vanishing. As the recovery continues to move along, our outlook is that the trend of risk asset prices moving higher is likely to continue.

2010-11-15 Stocks Are Cheap, Bonds Are Not by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Stocks are still cheap and the bull market is still young. Bonds are expensive and bond yields are headed higher. Quantitative easing is under attack and better fiscal policy is on the way. Put it all together and the bearish (or ?risk aversion?) trade of recent years is losing ground.

2010-11-15 I Am Shocked, Shocked that the QE2 is Akin to Printing Money and Public Debt Monetization! by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

Whenever the sum of Federal Reserve and commercial banking system credit increases, credit is being created out of thin air and debt is being monetized. The magnitude of the credit creation being contemplated by the Fed is not extraordinary in an historical context. It is not an extraordinary increase in credit creation given the current amount of resource underutilization in the U.S. economy. Being shocked by the implications of QE2 with respect to ?printing money? and the ?monetization of debt? would appear to be either naïve or hypocritical.

2010-11-15 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The stock market succumbed to profit taking last week. The reasons are many, but revolved around a poor earnings report from Cisco Systems, a growing skepticism of the Fed?s announced plan to goose the money supply, and finally what the mainstream media is reporting as a rather disappointing trip to Asia by President Obama even as he tried to put his electoral defeat here at home behind him.

2010-11-15 Fall Quarterly Commentary by John G. Prichard of Knightsbridge Asset Management

Economic and employment conditions remain soft amidst continued deleveraging. Developed market debt and currency issues remain. There are however offsetting positives. Corporations are in good shape with lots of cash and moderate leverage. Household finances are improving as well. Further, it is important to remain cognizant of the fact that conditions can change and equities are forward looking. Housing and autos, common drivers of economic expansion, should kick in at some future point.

2010-11-12 They Just Don't Get It by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

Had the Fed said that QE2 would involve the purchase of $600 billion of Treasury bills rather than Treasury coupon securities, we could have avoided this phase of uninformed criticism of the policy. Of course, the chorus of critics would have complained that by the Fed purchasing bills rather than coupons it was not affecting the ?important? part of the yield curve.

2010-11-12 Down the Home Stretch by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Economic data has shown signs of strengthening. We believe we could be emerging from the soft patch and that stronger-than-expected growth could be in the offing. The elections are done and the Federal Reserve made its move, but the question remains as to whether much-needed confidence returns to businesses. Additionally, housing remains a problem that may not be helped substantially by either event. Competitive currency devaluations are dominating the international conversation, while investors are flocking to emerging markets, making us a bit skittish in the near term.

2010-11-11 A Kind Word For Ben by Paul McCulley of PIMCO

The Fed makes policy consistent with its legislative mandate handed down by the democratically elected government of the United States. Price stability (mandate-consistent inflation) that promotes bubbles in asset prices and debt creation is a prescription for a debt-deflation bust and a subsequent liquidity trap. Acting irresponsibly relative to conventional wisdom is precisely the right approach for reversing an economy facing, or worst yet, mired in a liquidity trap.

2010-11-11 The Road Ahead: Is It Inflation or Deflation by Martin J. Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

Since the financial crash of 2008 there has been an intensive discussion amongst economists as to whether the fiscal stimulus and extraordinary monetary policy (Quantitative Easing, QE I and II) will lead to a significant inflationary wave or whether the system falls into a liquidity trap. Our objective here is not to dwell on the economic arguments, rather to examine the secular trends of commodities, bonds and their inter-market relationship to see what clues the markets themselves may be giving about the inflation/deflation outlook.

2010-11-10 The Quantitative Easing in the mid 1930s Appeared to have been Successful by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

There is much skepticism as to whether the Fed?s second round of quantitative easing, QE2, will be effective in stimulating the nominal demand for goods and services in the U.S. economy. Keying off Mark Twain?s aphorism that although history may not repeat, it often rhymes, perhaps we can get some guidance as to whether QE2 will be successful from the results of the quantitative easing that was initiated in the second half of 1933.

2010-11-10 Corporate Bonds March to Their Own Drummer by Chris Shayne of BondDesk Group

During the first week of the month traders bet big on QE2, purchasing Treasuries with abandon and dropping long term yields. On October 8th, 10-year yields hit a new low for the year, falling all the way down to 2.38%. But for reasons that arent completely clear, things changed in mid-October.

2010-11-09 Keynesian Confusion by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Keynesian policies are inflicting untold damage on the U.S. and global economies today. Keynes did not have to be misread. The reason that the current recovery is below par is that the economy is experiencing a massive paradox of thrift. We doubt that reducing already low rates is going to stimulate much of anything other than more frustration on the part of savers. Sooner or later, everything being earned on the upside of this liquidity-induced rally will be given back in spades - the only question is when.

2010-11-09 Everybody?s Happy!? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

Over the decades I have come to trust my 'day count' indicator because it has worked so well. Since the late-June ?lows? there have been ten 90% Upside Days, accompanied by strong Advance-Decline readings, reflecting the durability of this rally. In fact, the New York Composite Advance-Decline Line is well above its April rally peak and Lowry?s Buying Power Index has risen to a new rally high, while the Selling Pressure Index tagged a new reaction low, late last week. All of this only reinforces my view that any correction will be shallow and brief.

2010-11-09 RCM's Global Strategic Outlook: Fourth Quarter 2010 by Andreas Utermann of RCM

Analyzing various leading indicators, there is hardly any hint of a recession. This is not to say that there is no risk of a recession happening. A continued weak labor market is weighing on household consumption in industrialized economies. The housing market in the U.S. is showing signs of weakness. There is a risk of a policy failure in emerging markets, especially of China overdoing policy tightening. Fiscal policy tightening in the West may actually turn out to be too strong. In sum, we think that structural headwinds and tailwinds could balance each other out.

2010-11-09 The Fed's Asset Purchases by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee has embarked on another round of planned asset purchases. There has been much criticism of the move in the financial press. Certainly, there are risks in the Fed?s strategy. However, it?s hardly reckless or ill-advised.

2010-11-09 There Was a Fed Chairman Who Swallowed a Fly by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In reality, quantitative easing will produce the exact opposite of its intended result. In the short-run, it may create the illusion of economic growth and temporarily add some service sector jobs, but once the QE ends, the growth and jobs will vanish. Then, the Fed will most likely try once again to douse the fire it started with another round of QE gasoline, creating an even larger and less manageable inferno.

2010-11-09 Chinks in the Armour by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Nobody thought a year ago that things would have weakened to such an extent that we would have needed QE2 or the extension of Bush tax cuts. The Fed is doing $600bln in quantitative easing, which is about one-third what it did last year. I?m not convinced that it alone will prevent the economy from weakening, even if contraction risks have abated. Now what will it take to turn me more positive? Well, a sustained job creation for one and if we can get initial jobless claims down to 400k that would be huge. But I have to admit, QE2 does not do it for me.

2010-11-08 Increased Clarity Implies Increased Optimism by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Major events of last week clarified the outlook in a way that is consistently very positive for equities. Much of the weakness in the economy since spring was merely temporary fallout from the Greek debt crisis. Policy remains very expansion oriented and the political environment should improve for the corporate sector. The latest developments imply we should be even more circumspect over the outlook for bonds (if possible) and more optimistic with the equity market's prospects.

2010-11-08 Fed Follies by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

With the Federal Reserve seeming to embrace another round of what it calls ?quantitative easing? and what the cognoscenti in the financial community quaintly refer to as ?QE2,? a couple of questions naturally emerge: first, will the additional monetary ease help the economy? and second, is it warranted? On both counts, the weight of argument seems to fall on the negative side, though in the short run the added liquidity will likely boost markets.

2010-11-08 No Soft Patch, No Excuse for QEII by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

The bottom line here is that QEII ? which we believe is ineffective anyway ? was unnecessary, especially when the ball and chain of fiscal policy is under attack. Not only will current tax rates likely be extended for two (possibly three) years, but the White House has made it clear it is willing to eliminate the 1099-reporting requirement for purchases over $600. This was a part of Obamacare and other parts of that law may also face the knife as well.

2010-11-08 The Hail Mary Pass by David Baccile of Sextant Investment Advisors

With the announcement of $600 bn in new QE this week, Fed quarterback Bernanke has dropped back deep into the pocket and launched a last ditch Hail Mary pass with the hopes of stimulating growth to bring down persistently high unemployment. There is one major problem this view. The magnitude of the debt overhang is far greater now than at any other time in history, making the relatively trivial QE1, QE2, QE3, etc. ultimately doomed to failure. For those with a long-term approach to asset allocation, chasing a hot asset class or reacting to a 'clueless' Fed policy is not an option.

2010-11-08 Crossing the Threshold into a New World ... Or Not by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

There is no doubt that the events which transpired last week are without precedent. The long-term implications of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve are entirely unknown. Should the Fed?s program conclude on schedule, private investors would need to step to the plate and replace the incremental demand lost from the Fed. It is unlikely private investors could replace that demand, which would lead to enormous upward pressure on interest rates.

2010-11-08 Weekly Investment Commentary by Bob Doll of BlackRock

In our view, the strength of the GOP victory makes it quite likely that Congress will push through some extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, which are set to expire at the end of 2010. We expect the Fed to continue to be aggressive in terms of combating deflation and promoting economic growth, at least until it sees a downturn in the unemployment rate. Deflation is a more present risk than inflation, but the environment will eventually be moving to the other side of that risk spectrum. The valuations and earnings backdrop also suggests that stocks should be headed higher.

2010-11-07 Bubble, Crash, Bubble, Crash, Bubble... by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Given that interest rates are already quite depressed, Bernanke seems to be grasping at straws in justifying QE2 on the basis further slight reductions in yields. By irresponsibly promoting reckless speculation and illusory "wealth effects," the Fed has become the disease. The economic impact of QE2 is likely to be weak or even counterproductive. Even though the S&P 500 is substantially below its 2007 peak, it is also strenuously overvalued once again.

2010-11-05 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

Investors should keep gold for long-term investment, as well as oil-related holdings. The U.S. dollar, Japanese yen, British pound and the euro are poor long-term prospects. Investors should continue to hold shares of growing companies in India, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Colombia, Chile and Peru, as well as food-related shares such as grains, wheat, corn, soybeans and farm suppliers. Finally, investors should continue to hold U.S. stocks for a further rally.

2010-11-05 More on QE2 - Will it Work? by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff

Quantitative easing is no antidote for structural economic problems, even if it manages to give investors a short-term sugar high. Let's learn from the Japanese QE experiment. The day the Bank of Japan launched the program on March 19, 2001, the Nikkei surged 7.5 percent, from 12,190 to 13,103. Three months later, as it became painfully obvious that the real economy was not responding well to the shock therapy, the Nikkei index slid 16 percent to just over 12,000.

2010-11-05 Elections and QE2: Will It Make a Differe