More on Related Themes
2014-04-17 Fixed Income Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management
Given that the Fed is likely to complete its asset purchases this year and may raise rates in early 2015, we still feel that Treasuries and investment grade bonds are unattractive. Although yields in the high yield universe are low by historical standards, they still give us a decent cushion against rising rates, especially at the shorter end of the maturity spectrum. Maintaining a shorter duration exposure in high yield and some convertible bonds, as well as a cash reserve, continues to make sense.
2014-04-15 Credit Availability Underpins Recovery in Commercial Real Estate Prices, But Also Poses Risks to CMB by Bryan Tsu of PIMCO
Credit availability, low interest rates, limited new construction and improving economic conditions have contributed to the recovery in commercial real estate (CRE) prices. We expect a strong 2014 in the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market, which has been a primary source of CRE credit expansion. Increasingly aggressive loan underwriting is a concern. CMBS investors need to speak with their wallets and push back on either valuations or underwriting standards if recent trends continue.
2014-04-10 "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 Master Limited Partnerships by Greg Reid and the Salient MLP Team of Salient Partners
Master Limited Partnerships (“MLPs”) are a unique asset class in the investment landscape. Historically, MLPs have been primarily owned by high net worth and retail investors due in part to the tax complexities. However, MLPs have started gaining traction over the past few years among institutional investors as they seek alternative sources of yield in our present low-yield world.
2014-03-18 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.
2014-03-06 Volatility Returns as Crisis in Ukraine Creates Uncertainty by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh
Most investors have most likely never even heard of Ukraine prior to the last two weeks. Now the future of Ukraine and potential repercussions on other countries in the region appear to be at the forefront of investor minds across the globe. Overall, Ukraine is a relatively small country in Eastern Europe with a population of about 46 million people that borders the likes of Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.
2014-02-26 Market Perspective by CCR Wealth Management Investment Committee of CCR Wealth Management
It cost $0.32 to mail a letter, unemployment was 4.9%, O.J. Simpson was found liable in a civil suit, Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule, Timothy McVeigh was sentenced to Death, Green Bay defeated the Patriots in the Super Bowl, Titanic came crashing into movie theatres, and Dolly, the first genetically engineered lamb was unveiled to the public; the year was 1997.
2014-02-26 U.S. Housing: Investors Reach for Higher-Hanging Fruit by Joshua Anderson, Emmanuel Sharef, Grover Burthey of PIMCO
PIMCO expects house prices to transition to steady secular growth, with nominal price increases of 5%–10% cumulatively over two years. An environment of reduced volatility and steady gradual growth may result in tightening risk premia and spreads as the market begins to price in this new dynamic. Over the coming years, we will focus on whether the underbuilding of single-family homes is ultimately resolved through housing starts, rental growth or continued price appreciation.
2014-02-20 Stocks for 2014: Fairly Valued Dividend Growth Stocks with an Emphasis on Dividends - Part 4 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs
I am a firm believer that common stock portfolios should be custom-designed to meet each unique individual’s goals, objectives and risk tolerances. With that said, I believe it logically follows that in order to create a successful portfolio, the individual investor must first conduct some serious introspection to be sure that they truly "know thyself." Therefore, I believe the first, and perhaps most critical step, towards designing a successful equity portfolio is to ask your-self, and honestly answer several important questions.
2014-02-20 Stocks for 2014: High Yield and Fairly Valued Dividend Stocks for High Current Income – Part 5 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs
Retired investors seeking high income to live off of during retirement, face greater challenges today than almost ever before. The days of high yields available from bonds and other fixed income vehicles are long gone. Consequently, generating an adequate level of current income on retirement portfolios is difficult to say the least. This is especially tricky for those investors with a low tolerance for risk.
2014-02-03 Stocks for 2014: Fairly Valued Dividend Growth Stocks with an Emphasis on Dividends - Part 4 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs
I am a firm believer that common stock portfolios should be custom-designed to meet each unique individual’s goals, objectives and risk tolerances. With that said, I believe it logically follows that in order to create a successful portfolio, the individual investor must first conduct some serious introspection to be sure that they truly "know thyself." Therefore, I believe the first, and perhaps most critical step, towards designing a successful equity portfolio is to ask your-self, and honestly answer several important questions.
2014-01-29 How the Pioneer of Hydraulic Fracturing changed the MLP Landscape by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors
A banner year for MLPs and the future looks bright.
2014-01-23 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.
2014-01-22 Commodities Remain a Source of Frustration by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent
The environment following the global financial crisis has been a challenging one for asset allocators, as long held relationships shifted and traditional idioms were turned on their head. As we detailed last week in "The Diversification Obituary," investors have seen little work in their portfolios other than US stocks, while supposed diversifiers have offered little more than muted beta and unusually high correlations.
2014-01-16 Stocks for 2014: Something for Everyone: Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs
My biggest pet peeve regarding common stock investing is how so many people have a tendency to over-generalize this asset class. Commonly held beliefs such as investing in stocks is risky, or that the stock market is overvalued, or that the fed is driving stock prices, etc., are just a few examples illustrating my point. In truth, common stocks are as individually different as people are individually different. When dealing with human beings, most reasonable thinking people would reject prejudicial statements. Personally, I believe we should have the same attitude about common stocks.
2014-01-15 The January Barometer by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James
It’s that time of year again when the media is abuzz with that old stock market saying, "so goes the first week of the new year, so goes the month and so goes the year." Admittedly the January Barometer has a pretty good track record.
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.
2014-01-09 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.
2013-12-17 Five Strategies for a Rising-Rate Environment Revisited by Kane Cotton, CFA and Jonathan Scheid, CFA (Article)
In June 2010, we recommended five strategies for a rising-rate environment, acknowledging that we had no idea when or how abruptly rates would rise. Indeed, rates fell since we wrote that article. But they are on the rise again. After reviewing how our original five strategies performed, we’ll now present our revised recommendations for investing as rates increase.
2013-11-26 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.
2013-11-22 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 When the Stimulus Stops, Cash Flow Matters by U.S. Equity Management team of Mesirow Financial
Several rounds of massive stimulus by the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates well below where they would otherwise be, buoying both stock and bond markets. As stock prices have reached new peaks, many professional investors consider current valuations to be stretched. When the stimulus finally stops, a new era of rising interest rates will likely take hold. And experienced investors know that rising interest rates and high valuations and can be a dangerous combination. Read more.
2013-11-17 The Unintended Consequences of ZIRP by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors
Two recently released papers make an intellectual and theoretical case for an extended period of very low interest rates and, in combination with other papers from both inside and outside the Fed from heavyweight economists, make a strong case for beginning to taper sooner rather than later, but for accompanying that tapering with a commitment to an even more protracted period of ZIRP. We are going analyze these papers, as they are critical to understanding the future direction of Federal Reserve policy. Secondly, we’ll look at some of the unintended consequences of long-term ZIRP.
2013-11-15 Has Washington Drama Taken Its Toll On MLPs? by David Chiaro of Eagle Global Advisors
“They did it! They blew it up!” shouts Charlton Heston in the iconic ending scene of the film Planet of the Apes when he finds out he has been living on a post-nuclear war planet Earth. Americans are probably having some of the same feelings about our current world resulting from the ongoing political “nuclear war” raging in our nation’s capital.
2013-11-12 The Bomb Shelter Portfolio: Maximum Income with the Least Risk by Geoff Considine (Article)
Conservative investors are faced with unappealing choices. They can reduce risk and accept low yields and high exposure to rising rates, or they can push the bounds of their risk tolerance to increase yield. My analysis shows a way out of this predicament: a “bomb shelter” portfolio of ETFs, which offers attractive yield with minimal volatility and exposure to rising rates.
2013-11-06 Permabull? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James
A permabull is defined as somebody who is always upbeat about the future direction of the stock market and the economy. Recently I have been called a permabull by certain members of the media, which may be true since March of 2009, but certainly not true over the past 14 years.
2013-11-04 Steve Jobs Didn\'t Give a *!@% About the Debt Ceiling by Jeffrey Bronchick of Cove Street Capital
A quick nod to Bloomberg columnist Caroline Baum from whom we lifted our title. Anything else you might have been (or will be) subjected to on the subject of how the government operates pales in materiality to the headline. And as miserable as our predicament seems to anyone over the age of 13, it really and truly is old and increasingly dull news. To wit, I present the following, highly curated list of quotes-please note the timeline.
2013-11-04 Mortgage REITs: Last Chance to Exit? by Keith Jurow of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)
An online advertisement raises the following question often asked by your clients: Can you find me more income? In a nutshell, that is the dilemma facing high net worth investors.
2013-10-29 Only RED That You Have Seen in October... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital
The markets felt a bit different this week. While equities finished with another weekly gain, it was lead to new highs by a new and interesting cast of characters: the Dow Industrials, Dividend Stocks (like Utilities & Industrials), Germany, the United Kingdom, Gold & Silver, and Long Maturity Treasuries. While everyone under invested in risk is hoping for a pullback, the rest who are equal or overweight seem to be looking to buy on any pullback.
2013-10-26 Inflation Update by Team of North Peak Asset Management
Historically the larger the increase in monthly inflation, the worse mainstream stocks and nominal bonds perform.
2013-10-24 Putting Tax-Deferred Accounts to Best Use by Kathleen Fisher, Tara Thompson Popernik of AllianceBernstein
The common wisdom about retirement planning is to fund tax-deferred vehicles such as 401(k) plans and IRAs to the maxand we agree. But how to put these accounts to best use is more complicated.
2013-10-18 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.
2013-10-07 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.
2013-10-02 Chuck Royce on 3Q13: Quality Small-Caps Can Continue to Bear Fruit by Chuck Royce of The Royce Funds
Co-CIO, President, and Portfolio Manager Chuck Royce discusses his outlook on the current state of the small-cap market, his continued confidence in quality despite the Fed’s announcement in September to prolong its ongoing stimulus efforts, and the current case for active small-cap management.
2013-10-01 The Ultimate Income Portfolio Revisited by Geoff Considine (Article)
Rising interest rates will be unkind to income-generating assets and the investors who depend on them in retirement. My ultimate-income portfolio (UIP) provides a solution to this problem. It has reliably produced high income and low volatility with respect to the stock market, and its performance is likely to continue, even if rates rise further.
2013-09-30 The Global Sea Change Continues by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
Most investors will readily admit the global credit bubble is deflating, yet continue to favor credit-based asset classes within their portfolios. Whereas many investors still believe that the emerging markets are a growth story, the data tell us that U.S. investors can find growth in their own backyard.
2013-09-24 Is The Dividend Mania Ending? by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management
In the last couple of months, there’s been an unusually high number of stocks making new 52-week lows even though the S&P 500 remains 24% above its own 52-week low set last November. This disjointed type of internal market action is usually not healthy, but it can persist for awhile before the warning flag turns from yellow to red.
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 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 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.
2013-09-17 Charles de Vaulx: “We Have Never Been as Cautiously Positioned” by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Charles de Vaulx is the chief investment officer and a portfolio manager at International Value Advisers. In this interview, he discusses his outlook for the market and the economy, and why his fund has never been as cautiously positioned as it is today.
2013-09-17 Gundlach – Where to Expect the Next Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Unless there is a crisis, don’t expect a major decline in interest rates, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. And if such a crisis occurs, Gundlach warned, it will most likely take place in this emerging market.
2013-09-17 Investing for Real People by Sponsored content by Oppenheimer Funds (Article)
Investor goals are the same, but solutions have changed. Today, aiming to meet basic needs requires new solutions. Laser focus on investor goals will help uncover appropriate investment opportunities. Expanding the opportunity set beyond the usual suspects will be critical to long-term success.
2013-09-13 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.
2013-09-03 How to Find Value in Real Estate With “Risk On, Risk Off” Off Again by Walter Stabell, III of Invesco Blog
Recent trends, including falling stock correlations, have been strong indicators that the global economy is normalizing and the practice of “risk on, risk off” investing, in which investors enter and exit perceived riskier investments based on how they feel about the economy, is now off again after becoming a phenomenon in the post-financial crisis years.
2013-08-27 Do Income-Oriented Portfolios Reduce Safe Withdrawal Rates? by Geoff Considine (Article)
Among studies of safe withdrawal rates (SWRs) researchers have followed a common path: constructing portfolios with the goal of optimizing total return. This strategy achieves the highest SWR, but retirees often prefer a more income-oriented portfolio. I will illustrate the tradeoff investors make – in terms of a lower SWR – as they increase allocations to income-producing securities. But increasing income also brings a key benefit: lower estimation risk.
2013-08-27 How Real is the Recovery in Commercial Real Estate? by Joel Beam, Ian Goltra of Forward Management
How Real Is the Recovery in Commercial Real Estate? A conversation with Joel Beam and Ian Goltra of Forward’s Real Estate Portfolio Management Team.
2013-08-23 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.
2013-08-20 Epic Climb Up and to the Right... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital
Interest rates continue to make an epic climb up and to the right...
2013-08-08 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.
2013-08-08 Is The Financial Crisis Over For Financial Stocks? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs
The cause of the financial crisis of 2007 -2008, also known as the Great Recession of 2008, is attributed to many different theories. However, one of the most common theories is an easy money regulatory environment that led to an abundance of subprime loans, which in turn inflated real estate prices to bubble levels. Additionally, many blame the Financial sector, predominantly the money center banks, for exploiting the lax lending requirements with reckless and greedy behavior.
2013-08-07 Japan The Land of the Rising Stock Market by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
We have been ardent bulls on the Japanese stock market since last Fall. Our thesis has been a simple one: For the first time in the history of our data, Japan began running consecutive monthly current account deficits.
2013-07-30 The Power of Diversification and Safe Withdrawal Rates by Geoff Considine (Article)
When Bill Bengen published his seminal research in 1994, a 4% safe withdrawal rate (SWR) was clearly attainable with a variety of asset allocations. But bond yields are lower now than they were then, and equity returns for the next 20 years are unlikely to exceed those of the prior two decades. Indeed, a new paper by three highly respected researchers showed that SWRs for stock-bond portfolios are well below 4%. But as I will demonstrate, a 4% SWR is still possible with a more diversified portfolio – and without subjecting clients to additional risk.
2013-07-30 FPA Crescent: Steve Romick\'s Quarterly Commentary by Steven Romick of FPA Funds
FPA Crescent Fund has released its quarterly commentary examining the state of the fund and its investments as well as an outlook on the greater economy. Portfolio manager Steve Romick feels that the economic “recovery has been disappointing and largely engineered by central bank policy” and worries “that low interest rates and novel and theoretical Fed policy could lead to unintended consequences.”
2013-07-23 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.
2013-07-18 Second Quarter 2013 Financial Market Commentary by Andrew Zimmerman of DT Investment Partners
To taper, or not to taper, that is the question that investors are currently grappling with.
2013-07-18 Closed-end Fund Review by Jeff Margolin of First Trust Advisors
Following a quarter in which the average closed-end fund was up 4.31%, the universe of 595 funds was lower by 5.60% on a share price total return basis during the second quarter (both figures from Morningstar). For many funds, most of the weakness occurred during the month of June (when the average fund was lower by 6.09% on a share price total return basis, according to Morningstar).
2013-07-16 The Great Rotation Continues Forward... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke grabbed the mic on Wednesday and gave a performance that garnered a standing ovation from Stock, Bond, and Commodity investors. Only U.S. Dollar longs went home dragging their programs and spilling their popcorn. As a result, U.S. equity markets ended the week at all-time highs as stocks remained the darlings of the asset classes.
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 Widening the Search for Income: Beyond Traditional Bonds by Team of Forward Management
Multisector bond market strategies may provide an opportunity to capitalize on differences in relative value. A more refined and global approach may generate yield with dividend-paying stocks. Emerging market (EM) corporate bonds feature attractive fundamentals and have increased in popularity as an asset class.
2013-07-03 For Abenomics, the Hard Part Is Still to Come by Guy Bruten of AllianceBernstein
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “Abenomics” program, designed to revive Japan’s economy, was a big success in its first five months, easily surpassing low expectations. But it’s drifted off course since it began, and the going is sure to get tougher from here. Still, it’s too early to write off this policy experiment.
2013-07-02 Second Quarter Market Commentary by Mark Oelschlager of Oak Associates
The market posted another positive quarter, with the S&P 500 returning almost 3%. In recent years, Q2 has witnessed a “growth problem,” in which softening economic data prompted investors to sell stocks. But this year that did not happen, as the data actually improved. While new job creation is less than some would like to see, there has been a clear acceleration over the past six months.
2013-06-28 Reviewing the Dividend Sell-Off by Jeff Middleswart of Ranger International
Higher yielding stocks outperformed for much of this year, but fell sharply with the pop in interest rates.
2013-06-27 Welcome Back, Mr. Bond by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James
“We’ve been expecting you Mr. Bond.” The phrase is itself a variant and joins the phrase “Play it again Sam” as a phrase attributed to a film or TV series. I have used said quip over the past few years, having been wrong-footedly expecting a backup in interest rates. While I did finally target the yield low of last July, the ensuing rate rise has been far slower than I would have thought, that is until the past few weeks.
2013-06-26 Weekly Market Review Notes by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
This has been a rough week for the markets. It started when Bernanke spoke (if this keeps up we will have to buy protection before he speaks the next time) and continued with bad economic news out of China. The selloff after Bernanke’s speech looked like a buy on the rumor, sell on the fact event. The selloff after weak China data came out was a good, old fashioned sell off.
2013-06-25 How Not to Invest in Dividend Stocks: Seven Mistakes Investors Commonly Make by David Ruff of Forward Management
While investors may assume that dividend investing is relatively straightforward, they commonly make mistakes that may undercut the potential income and total return of their investments.
2013-06-25 Despite More Downside Risk, Stick with Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
Despite stocks’ recent declines and the rocky road ahead, Russ explains why he still prefers equities over bonds.
2013-06-21 Are Actively Managed Funds About to Gain an Edge by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds
Although 10-year Treasury rates rose last month, the strong performance of certain cyclical sectors within small-cap looks to us like investors may be showing a bit more confidence in areas favored by many active investment approaches.
2013-06-18 Help Clients Fill the Income Void by Sponsored Content from Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)
Affluent investors all over the world just aren’t getting what they want from their income investments, according to Legg Mason’s recently released Global Income Survey. Yet there is good news: most say they want to become more knowledgeable about income investing, and they’re eager for financial professionals to point out fresh opportunities.
2013-06-14 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.
2013-06-11 Gundlach – Don’t Sell Your Bonds by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Don’t sell your bonds just yet, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. Global economic growth is slowing, he said, and the U.S. will be competing for a larger slice of a shrinking worldwide pie. A weaker economy dims the prospects for higher interest rates. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield – currently 2.08% – will be 1.70% by the end of the year, according to Gundlach, providing profits for holders of long-term bonds.
2013-06-11 Bursting the Bond Bubble Babble by Andy Martin (Article)
Interest rates will eventually go up. The 50-basis-point spike in May on the 10-year Treasury bond may have been the beginning. But despite industry and media assertions, history shows that there is nothing to fear from rising rates.
2013-06-11 May Flowers Bring Best Equity Market Since 1997 as Bonds Wilt by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management
The S&P 500 has opened 2013 with its best year-through-May return since 1997. U.S. Treasury prices, in contrast, plunged last month on talks of Fed “tapering”. Don’t expect the reflation in bond yields to continue in the near term, as the Fed continues to struggle in its current war against deflation. Fundamental business activity not quantitative easing is the wellspring of sustained economic growth, creating lasting sales and profits. For investors, the two biggest self-defeating fears continue to be 1) the fear of buying equities and 2) the fear of buying bonds.
2013-06-11 And Like Clockwork... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital
And like clockwork, stocks bounced both from their very short term oversold point and off the 50 day moving average on Wednesday...
2013-06-11 6 Investing Implications of Friday's Jobs Report by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
While the jobs report on Friday merely confirmed that the recovery continues to chug along slowly, it does have six implications for investors.
2013-06-07 As Economy Heats Up, Will Commodities? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Don’t wait for the Fed to officially raise rates, as research shows that investors get the most benefit from materials and energy stocks by getting in now
2013-06-06 But We Want Goldilocks-Like Growth by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital
While the equity markets would enjoy a bit of the great rotation out of the 20+ year outperformance in bonds and into equities, the move in May has been too much, too quick for even equity investors to stomach. So while the Long Treasury ETF (TLT) fell -6.8% in May, the size of the move even scared investors in REITs (IYR), Junk Bonds (JNK/HYG), and Utilities (XLU).
2013-06-05 Weekly Market Commentary by Team of Tuttle Tactical Management
Yesterday ended the streak of up Tuesdays in the market while last week saw an acceleration in the the "crush anything that pays any sort of yield" theme. Treasuries, high yield bonds, preferred shares, Utilities, REITs, etc. all got killed. At this point this just seems like the weird type of dislocation that happens sometimes in markets where money just doesn’t want to go anywhere except under a mattress.
2013-06-04 The Role of Cash in Multi-Asset Portfolios by Ashish Tiwari, Andrew Spottiswoode of PIMCO
Determining the optimal allocation to cash is as challenging as ever in today’s unusually uncertain markets. When allocating to cash, investors should consider a multi-dimensional framework to assess the liquidity of the underlying cash instruments. In our view, the most attractive risk-adjusted opportunities for cash investors lie just outside the traditional money market space.
2013-06-03 Defense and Selective Offense by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO
Given the market’s newfound risk appetite for credit and less attractive valuations, we are taking advantage of global credit market liquidity in an effort to reduce our overall risk posture. In our selective offense approach, we continue to favor U.S. housing and housing-related areas, in addition to select investments in the energy, pipeline, specialty finance, gaming, hospitals, and airline and auto industries, given the more positive fundamental outlook for these sectors.
2013-05-31 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
2013-05-30 Global DC Plans: Similar Destinations, Distinctly Different Paths by Stacy Schaus, William G. S. Allport, Justin Blesy of PIMCO
DC plans in in the U.S., Australia and the U.K. may benefit from better aligning asset allocation defaults to workers’ needed outcome: purchasing power in retirement. Focusing on needed outcomes would suggest a higher allocation to real assets, earlier de-risking and consideration of tail risk hedging.
2013-05-24 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.
2013-05-23 Investing in Gold: Does It Stack Up? by Team of Knowledge@Wharton
Gold has a timeless allure -- especially if you worry about stock market volatility, inflation, a decay of ordinary currency or the collapse of civilization. Yet not everyone agrees that gold offers the safe haven its promoters describe. How reliable can demand be for a commodity that very few people actually need? What is the proper role for gold in an investment portfolio? Why has its price been falling?
2013-05-20 Global Real Estate Is Hot Again, but Where Are the Best Opportunities? by Joe Rodriguez of Invesco
In this low interest rate environment, yield-hungry investors have been moving out of bonds, and many are opting for real estate investment opportunities. Combine that with a structural undersupply of institutional quality real estate in many key cities across the globe, and an attractive case for investment starts to emerge. Here’s where we see the most attractive and promising opportunities by region this year.
2013-05-15 Pacific Basin Market Overview by Team of Nomura Asset Management
Pacific Basin equity markets continued to rally in April, led by Japan where the central bank announced that it intends to double the monetary base and inject liquidity into the markets. The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Free Index including Japan gained 4.9% while the MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex Japan Free Index closed 2.6% higher in April. (All performance figures are based on MSCI indices in U.S. dollar terms with dividends included unless otherwise stated.)
2013-05-10 A Tale of Two Markets: Equity Bulls and Bond Bears by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management
Surging equity markets absent an accompanying rate rally is a red flag, as Treasury yields remain well below “normal”. While investors’ renewed enthusiasm for equities is warranted, they must be careful to avoid the “folly of gaming diversification”. Corporate earnings have impressed, though revenue has struggled due in part to a moribund Europe. Divergent markets mean investors should stay broadly diversified in equities and real bonds not near-cash and ever alert to the fundamentals.
2013-05-07 Investing for Income and Capital Appreciation by Giorgio Caputo, Rob Hordon, Ed Meigs, Sean Slein of First Eagle Investment Management
A Q&A with First Eagle Investment Management’s senior members and their market views and strategic insights.
2013-05-07 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.
2013-04-29 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.
2013-04-26 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Equilibrium by Ben Inker of GMO
The bedrock of GMO’s investment philosophy is reversion to the mean. We believe that capitalism should cause the return on capital to be in line with the cost of capital, and that assets that embody similar risks should offer similar long-term returns. These beliefs, in turn, guide our assumptions that equities should trade at replacement cost, that the long-term return to equities should be approximately the same as their normalized earnings yield, and that assets without long return histories should have similar valuations and equilibrium returns as related assets with longer histories
2013-04-26 Many Of My Dividend Growth Stocks Have Become Overvalued, What Do I Do Now? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs
To me, there’s almost nothing better than finding a great company that I truly want to own at a fair valuation, or better yet, undervalued. In the long run, it has been my experience that this usually leads to outsized future returns, especially if you buy stocks when they are undervalued at the time. But there is quite often a side effect that can prove very disconcerting. Once an undervalued stock starts moving to the upside, momentum will often carry it above what prudent fair valuation would dictate.
2013-04-24 The 5% Problem: Double Jeopardy for Traditional Bond Investors by Nathan Rowader of Forward Management
Investors have suffered with low yields, but profited from rising bond values during the 30-year bull market for bonds. We believe the bond market is moving into a bearish phase, putting the value of existing bond holdings at risk. A variety of income-producing options are available for those who want to diversify bond portfolios and seek better yields. Historical analysis shows that a diversified portfolio would have outperformed traditional bonds during the last bear bond market and in periods of rising interest rates.
2013-04-18 The Lure of Hedge Funds by John West of Research Affiliates
Investors often buy what they think is exciting, sophisticated, and complex with the embedded assumption that all of these attributes will lead to greater returns. We see this today where we witness the continued explosive growth of hedge funds. But, a careful examination of the data reveals that these fancy lures fail to hook as much in excess, after-fee returns as more time tested strategies.
2013-04-10 The Clock is Ticking for Passive Management by Team of The Royce Funds
It may feel like only yesterday, but it has been four years since the equity market bottomed in March 2009. Much has changed since that timegovernment debt and the Fed’s balance sheet have exploded, bond yields have declined, and quantitative easing has become the norm.
2013-04-10 Investing for Income? “Safe” Bets Can be Surprisingly Risky. by Joe Kringdon of Pioneer Investments
The recent, seemingly terminal decline in interest rates has been difficult on many investors who have been planning their income needs for the future. Interestingly enough, a wise presenter at a meeting I attended in January* addressed this very point with a wow’ factor of quite a different nature.
2013-04-02 Chuck Royce on 1Q 2013: Conditions Remain Favorable for Equities by Team of The Royce Funds
In stark contrast to what we saw in 2010, 2011, and most of the first half of 2012, the market tuned out a lot of seemingly ominous political news and enjoyed a strong first quarter.
2013-03-28 Whatever It Takes in Japan? It Takes an 'Audacious' Monetary Policy! by Richard Clarida and Tomoya Masanao of PIMCO
The BOJ will have to make some key monetary policy decisions soon, given Kuroda’s sincere but ambitious desire to achieve 2% inflation within two years. The BOJ has lagged far behind other major central banks in the deployment of its balance sheet since the onset of the financial crisis. Expect Japan’s monetary policy to be more aggressive and experimental as it shifts toward reflating the economy. For global investors, this may mean a modest economic growth contribution from Japan, at least over a cyclical horizon, as well as additional central bank liquidity pouring into global m
2013-03-26 A Cry for Help from Income Investors by Legg Mason Global Income Survey (Article)
Confronted with the stark realities of income investing now, affluent investors all over the world are rethinking their approach, notes Legg Mason’s just-released Global Income Survey. Yet the Survey also found income investors hungry for more knowledge and ideas -- creating opportunities for savvy financial advisors.
2013-03-20 Global Real Estate StocksTime to Get Out? by Eric Franco of AllianceBernstein
Real estate stocks have now rebounded from the crash during the global financial crisis. But we think valuations are still reasonable, especially as property fundamentals continue to improve in key markets.
2013-03-07 Capex Revival by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds
For some time now, we have been noting the defensive nature of the investment environment, one in which fear and uncertainty continue to be the major forces driving markets. Interestingly, this trend has held true for both investors and corporations alike of late. Even after a powerful move from the low of last November, for example, investors remain fearful about cyclical or economically sensitive sectors while at the same time embracing those very sectors that benefit from easy money, are defensive by nature, and are supposedly riskless.
2013-03-01 Wait for Your Pitch in Today's Market by John West of Research Affiliates
Great hitting in baseball depends in part on waiting for the right pitch. In today's market, most asset classescoming off their impressive 2012 recordare "high and outside" the valuations necessary for future big league returns. Patience is the name of the game today.
2013-02-28 Jeremy Siegel on Why Stocks Are -- and Will Remain -- the Best Bet by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
Though stock market volatility continues to rattle investors' nerves, the future looks bright for equities in the U.S. and many emerging markets, according to Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel. That's not so for bonds, which could become money-losing investments as rising interest rates drive bond prices down. In an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Siegel says that investors should think about reducing their bond holdings, buying more stocks and keeping just enough cash for a rainy day and other liquidity needs, since interest rates on cash are near zero.
2013-02-27 The Great Migration by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management
We are value investors dedicated to creating portfolios for clients, whether growth (equities), income or a balanced blend of both, of undervalued securities with meaningful upside potential and a margin of safety to guard against permanent loss. For us, the bottom-up factors are the most compelling, but we are also mindful that we need to take account of the top-down macro factors. We know how the Crash of ꞌ08 and the accompanying recession created havoc for investors, including us, no matter how undervalued stocks were.
2013-02-22 Finding What's Real in Real Estate by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments
The U.S. financial crisis in 2008-2009 left many investors with a reluctance to take investment risks, particularly those related to any of the world's wilted housing markets. However, as your local real estate agent would likely tell you, the market in one location can be vastly different than it is in another. Wilson Magee, co-manager of Franklin Global Real Estate Fund would agree that the adage "location, location, location" applies not only to individual home buyers and sellers, but to investors seeking opportunities in the commercial real estate sector, too.
2013-02-19 Kyle Bass on Inflation and How to Protect Against It by Mark Quam (Article)
Kyle Bass, the founder of Hayman Capital, foresaw the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage bond market in 2008 and the foreign sovereign debt crisis in Greece. Bass' latest warning is about looming Inflation – and he advises how to protect against it.
2013-02-19 Asset Class Allocation and Portfolios by Adam Jared Apt (Article)
Asset class allocation has been so thoroughly absorbed into the culture of investing that today, most investment guidance is built around it, and you may even have heard that it is the foundation of an investment plan. And like nearly all respectable investment ideas, it is misunderstood and abused. One misconception is that asset class allocation and portfolio management are the same thing. I'll explain why they aren't later, but let's start by considering another misconception.
2013-02-14 Is Inflation Around the Next Corner? Then What? by Pete Sorrentino of Huntington Funds
As the Federal Reserve Board reiterates its intention to keep interest rates near zero into 2015, it appears that the markets and many investors are growing complacent about inflation. Ever since the Financial Crisis of 2007-08, "headline inflation," as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), has stayed low so far. Although it has threatened to break out at times, economic weakness has restrained the price growth that underlies inflation.
2013-02-08 The Year in Review: 2012 by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
Politicians crave the spotlight, but it is unfortunate that investors watch the show. 2012, like 2011, was another year in which Washington theatrics scared investors. As a result, investors largely missed out on above average equity returns. Corporate profits and valuations, and not Washington, continue to be the primary drivers of equity returns. We think there are several important points to consider when reviewing 2012 performance, and when structuring portfolios for 2013.
2013-01-30 Expanding Horizons: The Most Difficult Environment for Generating Income in 140 Years by Ehren Stanhope, Travis Fairchild of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management
In the most difficult environment for generating income in 140 years, we survey the landscape of income-generating options, review lessons from the previous bond Bear Market, and demonstrate why we believe global, dividend-paying equities deserve a prominent role in investor portfolios.
2013-01-16 The Rise of Asia's REITs by Sherwood Zhang of Matthews Asia
Real estate investment trusts (REITs) in Asia are following in the footsteps of their U.S. counterparts as they become an increasingly important asset class attracting investors looking to gain exposure to a diversified pool of real assets and relatively high yields. In the past decade, REITs have become a growing force in the regions investment universe. This month Sherwood Zhang, CFA, takes a look at just how far Asia's REIT markets have come, and what new opportunities as well as risks may still exist.
2013-01-15 Template for a Year-End Client Letter 2012 in Review: Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future by Dan Richards (Article)
Client concerns about whether you're on top of things can be reduced by sending regular overviews of what's happened in the immediate past and the outlook for the period ahead. That's why each year since 2008, I have posted templates to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the year that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead.
2013-01-15 The Markets and the Cult of Now by Joseph Paul of AllianceBernstein
Crisis-battered investors continue to favor the relative certainty of current income over the "maybe" of future capital appreciation. If you ask me, however, this hyperfixation on Now is creating some provocative opportunities in Later.
2013-01-08 The Forecast for Risk in 2013 by Geoff Considine (Article)
With the new year upon us, pundits are issuing their forecasts of market returns for 2013 and beyond. But returns don't occur in a vacuum – meeting clients' goals requires an asset allocation that appropriately balances return and risk. So what follows are my predictions for risk across major asset classes, based on a theoretically sound approach that has proven to be reliable in the past.
2013-01-07 White Noise? by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James
"Investing in the financial markets necessarily involves one's ability to change perspectives over time... And there's more of the white noise than ever before."... The Contrary Investor.com. So said the Contrary Investor; and I could not agree more given my sense that the media remains "long" volatility. Indeed, every time volatility increases, so do my phone calls from the financial media as they feel "compelled to come up with rationales for daily movements in asset prices;" last week was no exception.
2013-01-02 Brian McMahon on Thornburg’s Investment Income Builder Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Brian McMahon is the chief executive officer and chief investment officer for Thornburg Investment Management, where he the co-portfolio manager for the $11.4 billion Thornburg Investment Income Builder Fund (TIBAX). The fund's goal is income production, and it has outperformed its benchmark, the Morningstar Moderate Target Risk, over the last ten years (10.87% versus 2.88%). In this interview, he offers his views on the economy and the markets, and how he has positioned his fund.
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.
2012-12-21 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.
2012-12-04 Surprising Choices in the Search for Safety Near-Certain Loss of Purchasing Power versus Short-Term by Jason Petitte, CFA (Article)
Risk, in its many guises, is unavoidable, and investors today are taking on significant amounts of credit risk, duration, and leverage to obtain high yields from many presumably safe bonds. But certain types of risk are often mispriced. By overweighting one's portfolio to those sectors that currently offer attractive risk-adjusted returns, investors will be better positioned to meet their long-term goals.
2012-12-01 Are Corporate Bonds Expensive? by Team of Neuberger Berman
As in the case of Treasury bonds, yields for U.S. corporate credits have fallen to historic lows as prices have risen. The yield on the Barclays Aggregate U.S. Investment Grade Bond Index was recently at 2.8%far below levels achieved during the heady days of 2007. Obviously, this reflects overall interest rates, but is it also a sign that corporate issues may be overvalued? We explore the issues and consider how investors should position their portfolios for the current environment.
2012-11-26 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?
2012-11-21 Meet Cliff by Rob Isbitts of Sungarden Investment Research
Oh, we had heard about Cliff. We were warned about this nefarious character many months ago. We knew he was lurking and we knew he was not going to just go away. Cliff had invited himself into our lives, and unless we dealt with him, he was not going anywhere. You, the hard-working financial advisor, have probably been wondering when everyone else would notice him. That time came when the sun came up Wednesday after the election. There he was, casting his extraordinarily long and potentially costly shadow. Fiscal Cliff finally entered the national spotlight. It is time to meet him.
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.
2012-11-07 October 2012 Monthly Commentary by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds
A light flashed on in my car this morning, telling me that it was due for service. When I take it in, the mechanics will presumably check both the engine and the brakes before deciding on exactly what it is that I need to repair, replace or adjust. For investors, after nine months of ups and downs in markets, an investment strategy checkup is in order.
2012-11-06 Asset Location: Nine Tips to Create “Tax Alpha” by Glenn Frank (Article)
With campaign season finally over, taxes are going to dominate the debate in Washington in the months ahead – however things shake out at the polls today. It's going to be confusing; it's going to be uncertain. But many of the most critical questions advisors will ask can be answered with an analytical approach to deciding where to 'house' assets – in taxable or tax-sheltered accounts.
2012-11-06 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
A reader responds to Gary Halbert's commentary, What Really Happened in Benghazi on Sept. 11, which appeared on October 31, and a reader responds to David Schawel's article, Will Bonds Be 'Burnt to a Crisp?', which appeared on October 16.
2012-11-05 A New Queen Bee by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James
By the time a queen bee is five she is old and no longer reproduces, leaving her army of honeybees torn between loyalty and survival. Since the hive cannot survive without a productive queen, the beekeeper reached into the hive with a long-gloved hand and squashes the enfeebled queen. With the entire hive as witness, all know the queen is dead. Absent the scent of their leader, the honeybees panic. Something similar to that "queen bee" sequence may be happening currently. The "old queen," at least in the private sector, was driven by exports and manufacturing.
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 The White Hurricane by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James
I revisit The White Hurricane this morning because it potentially looks like another 100-year storm is heading pretty close to Manhattan. So in addition to dealing with the Benghazi scandal, Syrian atrocities, Euroquake, the "fiscal cliff," a stalled U.S. economy, softening earnings momentum, waning revenues, a dysfunctional government, the nastiest campaign I have ever seen, and who Taylor Swift should date next, Wall Street now has to contend with the potential of being flooded out.
2012-10-24 It's Where You Start by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors
There is no shortage of cash on the sidelines. Although some investors have been sitting on a pile of cash for quite some time, there are a few catalysts on the horizon that may motivate some of that cash into the stock market.
2012-10-18 Investment Outlook 2013: "ABCD" Investing: Anything Bernanke Cannot Destroy by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors
The Ben Bernanke and Mario Draghi concert gave the markets a double shot of their love in the month of September by promising to print as much money as needed to finance the debts of their respective countries. Ever since the financial fraternity party ended in 2008 and the world began deleveraging its massive credit hangover, the global markets have been hooked on the next shot of love from the central bankers.
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.
2012-10-12 Long/Short Investing: Bon Apptit by Geoffrey Johnson of PIMCO
Long/short equity is a distinct investment approach that seeks to reduce downside risk while still capturing much of the equity markets upside potential. By removing the long-only constraint, long/short managers have an expanded opportunity set with the potential to generate returns and mitigate risk from both long and short investment ideas. Long/short equity strategies have a lower long-term volatility and risk profile than the market as a whole and have captured a good percentage of price movement in up markets and a smaller percentage in down markets.
2012-10-11 Inflation Regime Shifts: Implications for Asset Allocation by Nicholas Johnson, Sebastien Page of PIMCO
Investors who are concerned about inflation should focus on increasing their exposure to asset classes that provide a positive beta to changes in inflation. We believe that asset prices are much more sensitive to inflation surprises than actual inflation levels themselves. Given the current macro environment, investors face the possibility that low growth and high inflation may coexist. Commodities provide a levered response to inflation. Investors can hold a relatively small amount of commodities to hedge a much larger portfolio.
2012-10-09 A Q3 Letter to Clients - Insights from a Wall Street Legend by Dan Richards (Article)
Here is a template for a letter to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the past 90 days and the outlook for the period ahead. In it, I draw upon investing principles articulated by the legendary Barton Biggs, who passed away earlier this year.
2012-10-05 High-Yield Buys: There Is a Lot of Value In This Market: Part 3 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs
In this part 3, we turn our attention to the highest yielding stocks that are constituents on the S&P 500. However, we submit that there are essentially two primary reasons that explain why these stocks offer such high yields.
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.
2012-09-19 Farmland: The New Gold? by Randy Bateman of Huntington National Bank
Yes, it's just 'dirt', but life on this planet wouldn't exist as it does today unless it didn't comprise a third of the world's surface. Unfortunately much of that 'dirt' is in areas too wet, dry, rocky, salty, devoid of nutrients, or covered by snow for agricultural production. With only 14 percent of the world's landmass considered fertile, and that shrinking at a significant pace, there's a realization that increased farm production is essential to satisfy the increasing demand for food products.
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.
2012-09-10 The Case for Real Estate by Jeff Kolitch, David Baron, David Kirshenbaum of Baron Funds
We believe we are in the early stages of a multi-year real estate recovery fueled by improving cash flows, rising demand, a scarcity of new development projects, improving credit availability, and generationally low interest rates. We believe the outlook is promising for both residential and commercial real estate.
2012-09-04 Risks in the Search for Yield by Charles Lieberman (Article)
Interest rates are so extraordinarily low that investors have pushed up prices (and pushed down yields) of all the traditional investments used for income, so they have even forced into more esoteric or risky investments. This search for yield has created significant risks that may not be well appreciated. This Commentary discusses these risks.
2012-08-31 Risks in the Search for Yield by Charles Lieberman (Article)
Interest rates are so extraordinarily low that investors have pushed up prices (and pushed down yields) of all the traditional investments used for income, so they have even forced into more esoteric or risky investments. This search for yield has created significant risks that may not be well appreciated. This Commentary discusses these risks.
2012-08-29 International Real Estate Securities: Review and Outlook by Jon Cheigh, Rogier Quirijns, Gerios Rovers, Luke Sullivan of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the international real estate securities market as of July 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed ex-U.S. Real Estate Index had a total return of 5.2% for the month (net of dividend withholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. By comparison, U.S. REITs returned 2.0% for the month, as measured by the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index. Year to date, the indexes returned 21.3% and 17.2%, respectively.
2012-08-28 Real Estate Resiliency: the REIT Model Proves its Mettle by Josh Olazabal, Amit Arora of PIMCO
REIT unsecured debt has been one of the best-performing sub-sectors in the entire investment-grade credit area. When insurance companies began to look at REIT unsecured debt, they asked for the same type of covenants associated with property-level mortgages. These requirements have coalesced into a standard REIT covenant package. We believe low default rates and relatively high recovery rates make the sector attractive over the long term particularly for buy-and-hold investors.
2012-08-28 Permanent Portfolio Shakedown Part 2 by Adam Butler and Mike Philbrick of Butler|Philbrick|Gordillo & Associates
In our Permanent Portfolio Shakedown Part 1 we investigated the history of the approach, tracing it back to Harry Browne in 1982. The company he helped to found, The Permanent Portfolio Family of Funds, has been running their version of the strategy in a mutual fund for almost 30 years, with fairly impressive results. Harry's thoughts about the portfolio are worth repeating in this second installment.
2012-08-27 U.S. Real Estate Securities: Review and Outlook by Jon Cheigh, Thomas Bohjalian of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the U.S. real estate securities market as of July 31, 2012. The FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index had a total return of 2.0% for the month, compared with a 1.4% return for the S&P 500 Index. Year to date, the indexes returned 17.2% and 11.0%, respectively.
2012-08-27 European Real Estate Securities: Review and Outlook by Rogier Quirijns, Gerios Rovers of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the European real estate securities market as of July 31, 2012. For the month, the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Europe Real Estate Index had a total return of 3.9% (in U.S. dollars, net of dividend withholding taxes). By comparison, U.S. REITs had a total return of 2.0%, as measured by the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index. Year to date, the indexes had total returns of 14.0% and 17.2%, respectively.
2012-08-24 Preferred Securities: Review and Outlook by William Scapell, Elaine Zaharis-Nikas of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the preferred securities market as of July 31, 2012. For the month, the BofA Merrill Lynch Fixed Rate Preferred Index had a total return of 1.7% and the BofA Merrill Lynch Capital Securities Index returned 2.9%. Year to date, the indexes had total returns of 11.1% and 12.7%, respectively.
2012-08-23 Global Real Estate Securities: Review and Outlook by Jon Cheigh, Chip McKinley of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the global real estate securities market as of July 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index had a total return of 3.6% for the month (net of dividend withholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. Year to date, the index returned 18.9%.
2012-08-15 Preparing Portfolios for Inflation by Ronit Walny, Kevin Winters of PIMCO
Although disinflation has seemed the more likely scenario in recent years, PIMCO expects inflation to accelerate from recent levels over the next three to five years, but double-digit rates are unlikely. An understanding of the constituents of the Consumer Price Index can help us design portfolios that seek to better defend against inflation. The core building blocks of such portfolios are commodities, Real Estate Investment Trusts and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.
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 Dividend Taxation and Stock Returns by Team of Neuberger Berman
With bond yields declining globally, stocks with high dividends have become increasingly popular as income seekers face a narrowing set of investment choices. The increased demand has caused dividend-paying stocks to outperform broader markets over the past few years, but as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts looms ever larger heading into year-end, investors are concerned that these stocks might grow less attractive. We explore the potential impact of higher taxes on dividend-paying stocks and how investors should be positioned in the months ahead.
2012-08-08 Cash Flow is King by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors
In today's yield starved environment, investors continue to seek secure sources of income with the potential for growth. Energy infrastructure master limited partnerships (MLPs) have become increasingly attractive not only for their above average current yield, but for their low risk profile and ability to generate predictable cash flows backed by, in many instances, long-term tariff based contracts.
2012-08-06 Diamonds in the Rough by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO
The demand for most high-quality, income-producing assets continues to exceed supply due to a weaker growth outlook and aggressive policy action by global central banks. Yet we are still finding numerous opportunities globally through our bottom-up research that targets areas around the world where fundamentals are supportive and the outlook remains constructive.
2012-08-03 Is Buy-and-Hold Dead? by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
If one searches in Google for Does buy-and-hold work?, more than 191 million results will appear.If one searches for Is buy-and-hold dead?, more than 81 million results will appear.However, if one searches for Successful buy-and-hold strategies, only about 9 million results will appear.Its pretty clear that the investing world believes that buy-and-hold strategies are basically dead and gone.
2012-08-03 2nd Quarter Small Cap Newsletter by Team of 1492 Capital Management
The stock market posted a strong start for the year but quickly surrendered most of its gains as the macro environment (European debt concerns and China’s slowing economy) caused near-panic selling pressure until the last week of the quarter.
2012-08-01 Real Estate Portfolio Construction for Individual Investors by Casey Frazier of Versus Capital Management
Commercial real estate is an asset class that includes many different strategies and approaches. Investors segment real estate investments into a few categories. This segmentation is done by several key factors including income profile, leverage, operational risk and potential returns. The most important segmentation is core versus non-core, or properties with stable income versus properties that have unstable or no income.
2012-07-27 Equity Implications for a Modest-Return World by Andrew Pyne of PIMCO
With equities likely to see modest returns over the secular horizon, we believe that capturing alpha will be critical for investors seeking to meet target portfolio returns. Equity valuations appear reasonable, but volatility is likely to remain elevated amid slowing global economic growth and macroeconomic risks. As macro events drive markets, the probability of fundamental mispricing increases, providing opportunity for active managers to add value.
2012-07-24 High Yield and Low Risk: Finding the Best Closed-End Funds by Geoff Considine (Article)
Yield-starved investors have ventured into exotic - and often risky - assets, including hedge funds, non-traded REITs and private placements. But an asset class that has been around since 1893 offers a compelling combination of low risk and high income. A carefully selected portfolio of closed-end funds (CEFs) will yield 8% with less volatility than the S&P 500.
2012-07-24 Investment Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
The headlines in Europe were dominated by political uncertainty and prospects for a prolonged recession, amid signs of deteriorating economic conditions around the globe. The U.S. economy decelerated, as the positive effects of the mild winter wore off and both hiring and spending slowed. Treasury yields fell to all-time lows and oil prices plummeted roughly 30% from their February peak.
2012-07-24 Litman Gregory Mid-Year Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory
High debt levels in developed countries create headwinds that are likely to hamper global economic growth in the years ahead. Europe's debt woes raise the risk of a damaging financial crisis, and global stock markets reflected these concerns in the second quarter. Why are we discussing this now? It is partly a reflection on having reached a quarter of a century in business and thinking about how we have conducted our business.
2012-07-23 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.
2012-07-18 Taking Short Cuts to Higher Returns with AQRs Capital Antti Ilmanen by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs
On November 2-3 of 2011 the CFA Institute and CFA France sponsored the Fourth Annual European Investment Conference in Paris, France. Antti Ilmanen, Ph.D. was one of the presenters. The title of his Presentation was Understanding Expected Returns. This months letter is based on this presentation as it appeared in the June 2012 publication CFA Institute Conference Proceedings Quarterly.
2012-07-12 How Low Can We Go? by Jim Carroll of LongRun Capital Management
Interest rates on US Treasury notes hit a record low yield of 1.44% at the beginning of June before moving back up into a range between 1.56% and 1.68% for the rest of the month. Ask yourself why you would voluntarily loan money to our government for ten years at these interest rates. Crazy right?
2012-07-10 A Mid-Year Client Letter: Wisdom from Three Wall Street Veterans by Dan Richards (Article)
Here is a template for a letter to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the past 90 days and the outlook for the period ahead.
2012-07-03 Don't Get Emotional by Michael Nairne (Article)
With the developed world mired in slow growth and the eurozone teetering on the brink of disintegration, to many investors the future seems bleak. Some are so disheartened they are abandoning the stock market as a hopeless endeavor. Yet, one of the abiding tenets of investing is that investor sentiment is rarely predictive of the future.
2012-07-03 Gleanings by Jeffrey Saut, Art Huprich, Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research
With this Gleanings report, we begin a monthly chart presentation and discussion, which attempts to pull together the separate disciplines of Economics, Fundamentals, Technical analysis, and Quantitative analysis. The report contains what we think are currently some of the most important charts. We will have an overview and then highlight some of the key near-term variables that we believe could have a measurable effect on where the various markets are going.
2012-06-25 Perspective; or where you stand is a function of where you sit! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
Perspective is the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance. And last Thursday the stock markets perspective changed abruptly. The day started out well enough with an opening 20-point pop to the upside, but from there the Dow Dive commenced. The causa proxima for the dive was more softening economic reports from China and Germany followed by a lame Philly Fed report, which saw that index accelerate its swoon from Mays -5.8 reading to -16.6.
2012-06-21 Cohen & Steers Closed-End Fund Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the closed-end fund market as of May 31, 2012. For the month, the total return of the Morningstar U.S. All Taxable ex-Foreign Equity Closed-End Fund Index was 4.4 percent based on market-price and 4.6 percent on a net-asset-value (NAV) basis. Year to date, the index had a market-price total return of 5.1 percent and a NAV return of 2.6 percent.
2012-06-19 Cohen & Steers U.S. Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the U.S. real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. The FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index had a total return of 4.5% for the month, compared with a 6.0% return for the S&P 500 Index. Year to date, the indexes returned +8.8% and +5.2%, respectively.
2012-06-19 Cohen & Steers European Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the European real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. For the month, the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Europe Real Estate Index had a total return of 7.5% (in U.S. dollars, net of dividend withholding taxes). By comparison, U.S. REITs had a total return of 4.5%, as measured by the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index. Year to date, the indexes had total returns of +3.0% and +8.8%, respectively.
2012-06-18 Mood by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
M-O-O-D: That is the important word right here. And, what a difference a few weeks makes for last week the markets seemed to switch from the glass being half-empty to half-full leaving Mr. Market in a more forgiving mood. Importantly, market mood frequently sets the near-term trend. If the mood is positive, all things are possible; if it is negative, little is.
2012-06-18 Cohen & Steers Preferred Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the preferred securities market as of May 31, 2012. For the month, the BofA Merrill Lynch Fixed Rate Preferred Index had a total return of 0.3% and the BofA Merrill Lynch Capital Securities Index returned 0.7%. Year to date, the indexes had total returns of +6.9% and +7.7%, respectively.
2012-06-18 Why Inflation Could Rise Over the Long Term by Mihir Worah of PIMCO
In developed markets, there is a serious debt problem, and inflation is one of the only "solutions" we see as likely to occur. We see a secular rise in global commodities prices, with some cyclical dips as the middle class expands in merging markets in the years ahead, consuming more commodities. Structuring portfolios in an attempt to guard against high inflation should be a central element of any investment strategy.
2012-06-15 Cohen & Steers Global Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the global real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index had a total return of 6.4% for the month (net of dividend withholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. Year to date, the index returned +7.9%.
2012-06-15 Cohen & Steers International Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for theinternational real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed ex-U.S. Real Estate Index had a total return of 8.0% for the month (net of dividendwithholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. By comparison, U.S. REITs returned 4.5% for the month, as measured by the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index. Year to date, the indexes returned +7.3% and +8.8%, respectively.
2012-06-13 U.S. Commercial Real Estate: A Technical Affair by John Murray of PIMCO
We believe attractive investment opportunities will arise in sectors of CRE that haven't yet caught the eye of technicals-driven capital. Demand for CMBS arguably comes from a lack of alternatives as opposed to any sort of inherent belief in rental fundamentals. Fickle technical factors are not the only headwinds: Deleveraging, regulatory uncertainty and weak fundamentals add further pressure.
2012-06-12 The Problems with Trying to Benchmark Unconstrained Portfolios by Ken Solow (Article)
Benchmarking unconstrained, 'go-anywhere' managers is difficult. Common methods to determine an appropriate benchmark - such as an ex-post regression of how the fund was invested - can obscure the actions of the manager. Is the only solution to simply select an arbitrary benchmark and proceed accordingly?
2012-06-08 Monthly Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory
Global stock markets dropped sharply in May amid renewed macroeconomic fears. Large-cap U.S. stocks fell 6%, while small and mid-cap stocks lost 6.6% and 6.7%, respectively. Domestic stocks are still well in positive territory for the year, with returns ranging from just over 5% for large-caps to 3.4% for small-caps. Foreign markets fell further, as questions over the stability of the eurozone dominated headlines. Both developed and emerging-markets were down 11% for the month and in negative territory year-to-date (down 3.3% and 0.4%, respectively).
2012-06-05 Finding the Best Dividend Fund by Geoff Considine (Article)
Assets are flowing into dividend-stock funds. But many experts are warning that those investors are setting themselves up for significant losses. Using an objective methodology that assesses tradeoff between yield and risk, we can determine those funds that investors should prefer - and a few they should avoid.
2012-05-29 What Does a Dividend Tax Hike Mean for Dividend-paying Stocks? by Steve Chun (Article)
The Bush tax cuts are due to expire at the end of this year, but owners of dividend-paying stocks need not be afraid. Historically, changes in tax regimes have had little effect on the value of the aggregate stock market. Historical data show that even vulnerable asset sub-classes - high-yield stocks, for example - have not lost value long-term as a result of similar tax increases.
2012-05-25 Loss Capacity Drives 401(k) Investment Default Evaluation by Stacy Schaus and Ying Gao of PIMCO
Based on our research, we believe retirement plan participants capacity for loss may be much lower than many investment default options accept as tolerable. Regardless of asset allocation structure, an investment default option should maximize the likelihood that each plan participant will meet his or her retirement income needs. One of the keys to meeting a set income replacement goal is to understand how much plan participants can afford to lose at every age as they approach retirement.
2012-05-21 I Should Have?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
The brilliant Lee Cooperman, captain of hedge fund Omega Advisors, quoted Joe Rosenberg on CNBC last week, You can have cheap equity prices, or you can have good news, but you cant have both! Clearly, we currently have bad news, which in my opinion has resulted in cheap equity prices. Playing to that quote, my father always told me, Good things tend to happen to cheap stocks. As stated, the real question is, If we get a rally from this oversold condition is it the start of a new up leg, or is it just a compression rally that will be brief followed by still lower prices?
2012-05-18 Real Assets by Team of Cohen & Steers
Chinas economic growth is a key theme that drives our outlook for real asset categories. As the worlds dominant consumer of most commodities, China is the largest importer of iron ore, producer of steel and consumer of copper. About 65% of the worlds soybean production is imported to the region. Thus, we were encouraged by central bank easing in response to the first-quarter slowdown, as it seems to have orchestrated a soft landing. Should there be further policy actions, it could spur opportunities in a number of natural resource categories.
2012-05-18 U.S. Real Estate Securities Review & Outlook for April 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
We have a generally favorable view of key office markets, including life sciences, technology and media, as well as NY offices broadly. We have decreased our allocation to apartments based on valuations and the prospects for more direct and indirect (housing rentals) competition. We continue to favor prime retail owners, while staying cautious toward health care properties, suburban offices and secondary retail.
2012-05-18 European Real Estate Securities April 2012 Reivew & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
Valuations for many listed real estate companies have reached levels that are likely too low on a relative basis. We continue to closely monitor macroeconomic developments, and remain focused on companies that we think are best positioned to shield themselves from the adverse effects of deleveraging. Specifically, we generally favor high-quality companies with strong balance sheets and relatively low cash flow multiples. We continue to like London offices and the Berlin residential market.
2012-05-18 Global Real Estate Securities April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
North America fundamentals are on a slow but positive trajectory. European economic challenges keep us focused on high-quality names. Policy easing trends likely to benefit Asia Pacific.
2012-05-18 International Real Estate Securities April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
European economic challenges keep us focused on high-quality names. Policy easing trends likely to benefit Asia Pacific.
2012-05-18 Preferred Securities Review & Outlook for April 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Barring meaningful erosion in the economic backdrop, preferreds can continue to deliver attractive total returns due to generally improving credit fundamentals and historically wide credit spreads. In addition, favorable technicals should continue to support the asset class, as investor appetite for income is likely to remain strong and the overall size of the market could shrink as banks retire issues that may lose Tier 1 capital status. Preferreds offer an average yield close to 7%, which is significantly higher than other investment-grade alternatives such as corporate bonds and Treasurys.
2012-05-18 Closed-End Funds April 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
Given various risks to the domestic and global economies and generally modest inflation, monetary policy in the US will remain accommodative. With borrowing rates likely to remain low for an extended period, the yield advantage of leveraged closed-end funds will continue to draw investor interest. As a result, we see potential for the broad closed-end fund market to maintain historically narrow discounts, or even at times trade at premiums to NAV.
2012-05-15 Balance, Grasshopper by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
The stock market has been consolidating its huge gains from the October 4 undercut low for roughly three months in a ~75 point range (1350-1420). That consolidation has allowed the markets internal energy to be rebuilt and the oversold condition to be worked off. Because of that process, I continue to think the odds that we will see a move below the 1320-1340 zone remain pretty dim. Accordingly, I suspect the stock market is going to put in an intermediate bottom probably this week.
2012-05-14 Dont Paint Yourself into a Corner with Overly Defensive Strategies by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein
Popular strategies for hedging against deflation and hyperinflation are likely to be disastrous if the economic outlook grows more benign as we expect. With the economic and policy outlook still uncertain, investors fear two contradictory but equally negative possible outcomes: deflation/deleveraging on the one hand and hyperinflation/currency devaluations on the other. As a result, instruments that can deliver protection in one or the other of these scenarios have enjoyed substantial inflows. Many investors have snapped up Treasuries, REITs and high-dividend-yielding stocks for insulation.
2012-05-14 Adaptive Asset Allocation: A True Revolution in Portfolio Management by Adam Butler and Mike Philbrick of Butler, Philbrick, Gordillo & Associates
Modern Portfolio Theory has been derided by practitioners, academics, and the media over the past ten years because the dominant application of the theory, Strategic Asset Allocation, has delivered poor performance and high volatility since the millennial technology crash. Strategic Asset Allocation probably deserves the negative press it receives, but the mathematical identity described by Markowitz in his 1967 paper is axiomatic in the same way Pythagoras' equations describe the properties of right triangles, or Schrodinger's equations describe the positional probabilities of electrons.
2012-05-10 Staying Bullish by Herbert Abramson and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management
We believe we are in a new bull market, and bull markets thrive on climbing that proverbial wall of worry. Bullish sentiment is low and bearish sentiment high. Anxious retail investors, having suffered two ugly bear markets since 2000, continue to shun stocks, with money flowing out of mutual equity funds now for more than 5 consecutive years. The public is hugely underinvested. Cash on the sidelines is enormous. The fuel to ultimately power stocks higher as confidence returns.
2012-05-09 Going Global Can Pay Dividends by Brad Kinkelaar, Cliff Remily and Raji Manasseh of PIMCO
In todays low yield environment, many investors now include dividend-oriented equities in their portfolios in an effort to reach their income goals. U.S. investors with home market bias risk severely limiting their income potential because in the U.S., dividend payout ratios are on the decline, taxes are potentially on the rise, and valuations in sectors that typically offer attractive dividends are near historical highs. In our view, global equities can provide more attractive dividend income opportunities and offer potential for additional benefits, including diversification
2012-05-08 Richard Bernstein: US Assets will Outperform over the Next Decade by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Prior to founding the firm that now bears his name, Richard Bernstein was the chief investment strategist at Merrill Lynch & Co. In this interview, he discusses why he expects US assets - both equities and fixed income - to be the outperformers among global markets over the next decade.
2012-05-01 Why MLPs Belong in Your Portfolio by Geoff Considine (Article)
One would think that an asset class yielding 7% and carrying less volatility than do equities would be popular with investors. Yet, despite those attributes, master limited partnerships (MLPs) remain unknown or ignored by large numbers of investors. The case for MLPs is compelling, so it's time for a deep examination of the special properties of this asset class.
2012-04-27 TIPS for Value Investors: Whos Afraid of Negative Yields? by Jeremie Banet and Mihir Worah of PIMCO
Why wasnt the recent TIPS auction a blockbuster among Main Street investors? We believe they were frightened away by the -1.08% real yield. We would argue that the negative real yields that are explicit in TIPS also represent the implicit discount rate for ALL financial assets in the U.S. Moving away from TIPS into nominal yield is a bet on inflation being less than 2% for the next five years and less than 2.25% for the next 10 years a pretty bold bet!
2012-04-26 The Newlyweds Dilemma by John West of Research Affiliates
Before marriage, men and women enjoy a lot more free time. Married life represents a huge shift in their habits and schedules. Similarly, a new world of lower expected returns signals a major break from mainstream investment approaches. This months Fundamentals examines how investors can position their portfolios for the future.
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 Preferred Securities First Quarter 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
Preferred securities continue to offer a compelling total return proposition. Treasury yields are at or near historic lows, and the Federal Reserve appears committed to holding interest rates steady for the foreseeable future. At the same time, with preferred yields near 7%, the yield spread between preferred securities and Treasuries remains far wider than its long-term average, and few other investments offer as much income.
2012-04-20 U.S. Real Estate Securities Review and Outlook, First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
We have a very favorable view of specific office markets, including life sciences, technology and media, as well as New York offices broadly. We also continue to like prime retail and self storage owners, which are seeing very strong fundamentals. In contrast, we remain cautious toward health care properties and secondary retail. We have also reduced our allocation to apartment REITs on the margin following their strong run in 2011.
2012-04-20 European Real Estate Securities Investment Reivew & Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Europes attempt to rein in its fiscal imbalances has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the continent, marked by more severe contraction in the southern region. The recent LTRO facilities have prevented a severe credit crunch and collapse of the EU banking system. However, we take the view that this three-year program merely buys time to sort out the overleveraged balance sheets of most EU banks; it does not solve the long-term solvency crisis facing Greece and possibly Portugal.
2012-04-20 International Real Estate Securities Investment Review & Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Europes attempt to rein in its fiscal imbalances has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the continent, marked by more severe contraction in the southern region. The recent LTRO facilities have prevented a severe credit crunch and collapse of the EU banking system. However, we take the view that this three-year program merely buys time to sort out the overleveraged balance sheets of most EU banks. It does not solve the long-term solvency crisis facing Greece and possibly Portugal.
2012-04-20 Global Real Estate Securities Investment Review and Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
We are encouraged by the recent trend of U.S. economic data showing measured improvement, although our expectation for GDP growth in 2012 remains modest at around 2%. With funding costs likely to remain low and demand showing signs of strengthening, we believe U.S. real estate fundamentals will continue to gradually improve in 2012, driven by growing demand from tenants and the scarcity of new supply in most markets. We believe these fundamentals will help support growth in asset values and dividend distributions for the U.S. public real estate sector.
2012-04-19 Price and Waistline Stability Prove Elusive as Inflation Creeps Up by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management
The long-time trends are firmly in support of consistent price inflation during the history of the US. Inflation is a natural inclination for people, businesses, politicians and central banks. Given the Feds ultra-easy monetary policy aimed at creating inflation, we will eventually see it. Higher inflation requires investors to rethink where they invest. Cash and fixed income do little to cope with inflation and actually can be losers if held at times of higher than normal inflation rates. We think investors should take advantage of current bargains in real estate and equity asset prices.
2012-04-17 The Rebalancing Problem by Michael Nairne (Article)
Selling winning asset classes to buy losers runs counter to human nature. But doing so with discipline can increase the potential return of a portfolio while critically maintaining its risk profile. The rebalancing premium is an important and often overlooked addition to returns of properly managed portfolios.
2012-04-10 Allocating to Real Assets: Why Diversification Matters by Cohen & Steers (Article)
One way to extend the long-term purchasing power of a traditional stock and bond portfolio is through an allocation to real assets. But individually, categories like commodities, natural resource equities and REITs can be volatile. Cohen & Steers meets the challenge with a focus on broad asset-class diversification.
2012-04-06 A Generational Shift in the Making by Rick Palacios of John Burns Real Estate
The housing market is carving out a bottom and renters are slowly starting to purchase homes again. The percentage of apartment REIT renters moving out to purchase a home rose last quarter.
2012-04-03 A Q1 Letter to Clients: Bernanke, Buffett and Siegel on the Prospects Ahead by Dan Richards (Article)
Here is a template for a letter to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients a summary of what's happened in the past 90 days and the outlook for the period ahead.
2012-03-27 Housing Boom? Not Yet by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog
Despite some recent signs the US housing market may be stabilizing, Russ explains why he doesnt expect a strong housing rebound in the near term and doesnt advocate aggressively leveraging to housing-related investments.
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 Preferred Securities - February 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
We are encouraged by the trajectory of U.S. economic data and credit trends, as well as positive developments in Europe that have somewhat brightened the outlook for risk assets. However, we are closely monitoring various macro risks that could weigh on the global economic recovery, including a recession in Europe, high oil prices and slowing growth in China. Our portfolio remains more heavily weighted towards domestic issuers and is somewhat conservative relative to credit. That said, we continue to add to certain European issues and other higher-beta securities.
2012-03-23 International Real Estate Securities- Investment Review & Outlook - February 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers
International real estate securities added to their year-to-date gains in February, although the pace of the rally moderated. Most markets in Europe and Asia Pacific continued to benefit from the retreat of macro risk concerns. Europes difficult grapple with its fiscal crises has made for a negative macroeconomic backdrop, and we expect a moderate recession as a base-case scenario for the region. Given this environment, we seek to invest in companies that are best able to shield themselves from the most adverse effects of slowing economies and a general deleveraging.
2012-03-23 U.S. Real Estate Securities - February 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
We are encouraged by the recent trend of U.S. economic data showing measured improvement, including solid employment gains, as well as positive developments in Europe that have somewhat brightened the outlook for risk assets globally. With funding costs likely to remain low and demand showing signs of strengthening, we believe U.S. real estate fundamentals will continue to gradually improve in 2012, supported by a scarcity of new supply in most markets.
2012-03-23 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.
2012-03-21 The Scarcity of Income: A Hobsons Choice by Alan Dorsey, Juliana Hadas and Leah Modigliani of Neuberger Berman
The post-global financial crisis environment has resulted in rock-bottom yields for U.S. Treasuries and other sovereign debt deemed to be either liquid or low risk. This situation leaves income seekers in some markets with a negative real yield (inflation adjusted), which could become more manifest during periods of rising interest rates in eventually recovering global economies. Alternatively, these investors may want to consider migrating a portion of their asset allocation to less senior income-producing securities.
2012-03-15 Market Update: A Real Recovery, or a False Start? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton
The Dow has hit its highest level in years, loan rates are at record lows and the U.S. economy appears to be gaining momentum. Even the housing market is starting to look inviting. But is this a real recovery -- or a false start like last year's? Wharton's Jeremy Siegel and Scott Richard think the economy is showing signs of a true rebound, and predict that stocks should do well in the next 12 months. But bonds, they warn, are in dangerous waters, and economic growth will be in jeopardy if oil prices keep rising and the European credit crisis worsens. (Video with transcript)
2012-03-09 Earning Real Income With Real Estate by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
The oldest mantra about investing in real estate holds that the key to success is location, location, location. While there is always the chance that real estate investments will produce capital gains (or losses), we believe a better reason to consider real estate investments is for income, income, income. That's especially true in today's ultra low rate environment. While the words "real estate" conjure images of the woeful state of the residential real estate market, the commercial real estate market is in much better fundamental shape.
2012-03-05 Choosing the Right REIT Can Benefit Diversification by Team of American Century Investments
The quest for consistently high risk-adjusted return is an arduous, never-ending journey. This outline introduces the basics of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). That REITs can serve as a useful portfolio diversifier can easily be made apparent. The next issue becomes which type of REIT? The emphasis of this write-up is on identifying the different types of REITs. Outfitted with this information, investors can make better REIT choices, aiding portfolio diversification now and into the future.
2012-02-24 Global Real Estate Securities - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
We are encouraged by the recent trend of U.S. economic data showing measured improvement, including steady employment gains. With funding costs remaining low and demand showing signs of strengthening, we believe U.S. real estate fundamentals will continue to gradually improve in 2012. Importantly, new supply remains scarce in most sectors, due in large part to banks continued reluctance to finance speculative development projects.
2012-02-24 International Real Estate Securities - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
International real estate securities rallied along with stocks broadly in January amid an easing of macro risk concerns. Positive developments in Europe significantly reduced the risk of a liquidity crisis, while data from China suggested the country was successfully navigating a soft landing to its economy. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy continued to show evidence of modest yet self-sustaining growth.
2012-02-22 European Real Estate Securities by Team of Cohen & Steers
Recent initiatives to address the sovereign credit crisis appear to be having a meaningfully positive effect on credit conditions across Europe. Importantly, the ECBs long-term repurchase program has given banks vital breathing room to recapitalize. While we are cautiously optimistic, we remain vigilant to the potential risks and have a keen eye on Greece, which is engaged in ongoing negotiations with international lenders.
2012-02-21 David Rosenberg: "Searching for Certainty in a Sea of Uncertainty" by Katie Southwick (Article)
David Rosenberg is known for his bearish outlook, and he has not yet seen anything in recent economic news that persuades him to change his tune. Contrary to prevailing "bullish complacency" and the widespread belief that central banking systems "have the answers to the ongoing global debt deleveraging cycle," in the United States Rosenberg sees monumental deficits, flat growth, an underlying trend of deflation, and current fiscal policies that will limit future flexibility. In other words, trouble remains on the horizon.
2012-02-21 U.S. Real Estate Securities - January 2012 Review & Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers
We are encouraged by the recent trend of U.S. economic data including steady employment gains. With funding costs likely to remain low and demand showing signs of strengthening, U.S. real estate fundamentals will continue to gradually improve. New supply remains scarce in most sectors, due in large part to banks continued reluctance to finance speculative development projects.The positive trajectory, however, is not without potential dangers. Economic growth remains at risk to global macro concerns, and our global investment team continues to closely monitor developments in Europe and China.
2012-02-14 ‘The Greatest Anomaly in Finance' by Geoff Considine (Article)
If I told you that there is an easy-to-exploit market anomaly that has enabled investors to consistently and substantially outperform the market with less risk for more than four decades, your first instinct might be to roll your eyes. After all, the unending quest to improve returns while lowering risk has yielded countless methods with initial promise that subsequently collapse under further scrutiny.
2012-02-07 Inflection Point: The Start of a New Cycle in Real Estate? by Joel Beam, Ian Goltra, and Michael McGowan of Forward Management
Commercial real estate markets appear to be entering an extended cycle of recovery. The recovery is expected to play out unevenly across U.S. and international markets, with the first wave focused on knowledge-based, gateway cities and technology corridors. Commercial real estate is currently inexpensive by historical standards. Unlike residential markets, commercial real estate markets appear healthy, with rising liquidity and transaction levels. Institutional and private-equity funds are ratcheting up their real estate commitments, seeking 6.5%-8% returns in line with historical averages.
2012-02-02 2011: The US Year by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors
The market generally proves the consensus wrong, and 2011 certainly adhered to that historical precedent because the consensus "must owns" at the beginning of 2011 generally underperformed during the year. What is somewhat startling to us, however, is that conviction has yet to be shaken. The consensus continues to favor commodities, emerging markets, and "any-bond-but-treasuries".
2012-01-27 Europe Investment Commentary - Full Year 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Our global macro outlook has turned positive given the shift toward monetary easing as well as U.S. economic data steadily improving growth. However, Europes central role in fiscal crises has made for a difficult backdrop in the region. We have begun to envision a recession in Europe as a base-case scenario. Given this, we seek to invest in companies that are best able to shield themselves from the most adverse effects of a slowing economy. Broadly speaking, opportunities to invest in companies with good balance sheets that are trading at meaningful discounts to their property values.
2012-01-27 Global Real Estate Securities Investment Commentary - Full Year 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Our macro outlook has turned more positive given the global shift toward monetary easing as well as U.S. economic data confirming steadily improving growth. However, we expect the fiscal crisis plaguing Europe to remain an overhang, as the region is likely heading into recession, making a long-term resolution increasingly difficult. Despite these challenges, we believe fundamentals for global real estate securities will continue to improve broadly, with the lack of new supply coupling with growing demand and effective expense reduction to generate meaningful cash flow growth.
2012-01-27 International Real Estate Investment Commentary - Full Year 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
We remain materially underweight Europe and Japan, and overweight Asia Pacific (ex-Japan). We have selective allocations to well-established companies in emerging markets whose business models are positioned to benefit from secular growth in consumer spending among emerging middle classes. We are overweight high-quality retail and offices in major city centers globally, where tenant demand has been more resilient and supply more constrained. Finally, we have allocations in property sectors and geographies where stronger cyclical recovery is emerging as a driver of outsized cash flow growth.
2012-01-25 U.S. Real Estate Securities Investment Commentary - December 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
We expect GDP growth of between 1% and 2% in 2012, with modest but steady gains in employment. This should support continued gradual improvement in real estate fundamentals, given low new supply in most sectors. In this environment, we seek to identity markets with above-average employment (and income) trends. And in an election year that should present opportunities and risks, we will monitor how the results might affect employment in the financial and health care industries, and the Washington, D.C. market generally.
2012-01-13 Investing in 2012: Same Issues, More Extreme Valuations by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds
When all was said and done, 2011 turned out to be the metaphorical equivalent of a roller coaster ride.There were quiet positives: The addition of 1.6 million jobs with the unemployment rate falling from 9.4% to 8.5%, a gradual improvement in light vehicle sales, the demise of Bin Laden and gathering economic momentum as the year drew to a close. There were scary negatives: soaring oil prices in reaction to the Arab Spring the human and economic toll of the Japanese tsunami the inability of Europe to deal with its complicated debt issue and the inability of Washington to deal with simpler one.
2012-01-10 Gundlach on the Key Risk for Bond Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Watch out if you own a bond fund that underperformed its benchmark by 2% or more last year, as most did. Rather than put their careers at risk by suffering a second year of poor performance, those fund managers will turn to indexation, according to DoubleLine’s Jeffrey Gundlach. And since the Barclay’s Aggregate Index holds nearly 35% of its assets in Treasury bonds with near-zero yields, its investors will endure poor returns.
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.
2012-01-05 U.S. Dollar & Currencies: Review and Outlook by Axel Merk and Kieran Osborne of Merk Funds
In 2012, policy makers around the world may be driven by the realization that the theme of 2011 was not a Euro-specific crisis, but simply another stage in a global financial crisis. Central bankers may ramp up their printing presses in an effort to limit contagion concerns. As such, the currency markets may be the purest way to take a view on the mania of policy makers. Market movements may continue to be largely driven by political rhetoric. We dont believe this trend will abate over the foreseeable future, especially given the likely leadership changes throughout several G-7 nations.
2012-01-04 Fundamentals March on Despite Global Risks in 2012 by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management
The two primary drivers of market performancefundamentals and global risksacted in opposition in 2011. It is critical to understand the hierarchy of influence of these drivers in order to understand the current market and to forecast its future direction. Although spikes in global risk may make headlines and cause temporary shocks to investor confidence, the markets path ultimately comes down to the strength of the underlying fundamentals. We expect 2012 will mark the third consecutive year that fundamentals relentlessly march forward despite ample global risks.
2011-12-23 U.S. Real Estate Securities - November 2011 by Team of Cohen & Steers
Europe appears headed for recession, which would have at least some negative effect on the U.S. economy. However, that is a scenario we have incorporated into our models, and we continue to expect slow but steady domestic growth with gradually improving fundamentals for U.S. commercial real estate. Our estimates of net asset value are largely conservative. While transactional information has been relatively light, it has provided confirmation to our numbers. We believe acquisition activity could pick up as 2012 progresses, especially as REITs ability to raise capital remains in force.
2011-12-23 European Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers
Our global macro view has turned more positive given the recent shift toward monetary easing in Asia Pacific and emerging markets, as well as U.S. economic data confirming slow but positive growth. However, we expect Europe to struggle in the intermediate term as austerity measures introduced by a variety of governments continue to hinder growth.
2011-12-23 Global Real Estate Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers
Our macro outlook has turned more positive given the recent shift toward monetary easing in Asia Pacific and emerging markets, as well as U.S. economic data confirming slow but positive growth. However, Europe is likely to remain an overhang, as the region appears to be heading into recession, making a resolution to its debt crisis considerably more difficult.
2011-12-23 International Real Estate Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers
Our macro outlook has turned more positive given the recent shift toward monetary easing in Asia Pacific and emerging markets, as well as U.S. economic data confirming slow but positive growth. However, Europe is likely to remain an overhang, as the region appears to be heading into recession, making a resolution to its debt crisis considerably more difficult.
2011-12-23 Closed End Funds Investment Commentary by Team of Cohen & Steers
With interest rates likely to remain near historical lows for an extended period, we believe that attractive spreads should continue to benefit the income-generating potential of leveraged closed-end funds. As for new closed-end fund issuances, we believe the IPO window will remain open, but not to the degree that could pressure pricing in the secondary market or impede discount narrowing as investors bid for above-average income.
2011-12-16 Striking Portfolio Balance with Gold Stocks by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Back on August 22, I wrote that gold was due for a correction and that it would be a non-event to see a 10 percent drop in gold. I wrote, This would actually be a healthy development for markets by shaking out the short-term speculators. This mornings gold price of $1,590 is about 15 percent from the high, which is a little greater than predicted, but a non-event just the same. I believe the long-term story remains on solid ground.
2011-12-06 Why Shiller and Soros May Be Wrong about Farmland Investing by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Earlier this year, Yale's Robert Shiller identified farmland as an asset class in the early stage of bubble formation. George Soros, Jim Grant and Jim Rogers have espoused similarly bullish views. But advisors - even those managing the assets of very wealthy clients - shouldn't bet the farm on these expert forecasts just yet.
2011-11-28 REITs: A Market Update by Arthur Hurley of Columbia Management
The Real Estate Investment Trust market experienced significant volatility during the third quarter with three different +/-15% moves. Global macro events continue to impact the REIT market, and the issues during the summer within the credit markets reminded investors that 2008 was not that long ago. With that said, earnings reported during the third quarter were generally in line or better than expected and most management teams had positive commentary with cautiously optimistic outlooks.
2011-11-10 Alternative Investments in Focus by Team of American Century Investments
We recently conducted a survey of financial professionals to better understand their view and use of alternative investments. Alternative investments are defined as those outside the traditional big three of cash, bonds, and stocks. These alternatives include commodities, real estate, and inflation-linked securities, among many others. Alternatives have surged in popularity in recent years, as investors and their advisors seek out new and potentially more effective ways to diversify and reduce risk in traditional balanced stock, bond, and cash portfolios.
2011-11-08 Bill Gross' Revised Paradigm: The New Normal Minus by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Following the financial crisis of 2008, PIMCO articulated its 'new normal' forecast of slow growth and mediocre capital market returns. Appending the even drearier modifier 'minus' to that outlook, Bill Gross said that expectations now appear worse than even he previously feared. Gross was pessimistic in both the near and long terms, and he startled the audience with his premonition that 'capitalism is at risk.'
2011-11-01 The Questions to Ask about Non-Traded REITs by Robert P. Seawright (Article)
The attraction of high yields comes at the expense of higher risk, a time-worn lesson that should be an ongoing focus for investors in non-traded REITs.
2011-10-26 The Long ViewBuilding The 3-D Shelter by Robert Arnott of Research Affiliates
The third quarter was harsh not only for stocks but for asset classes that provide valuable protection against inflation. Our view is that, in the long run, the combination of rising debts and deficits and aging demographics will create a 3-D hurricane affecting capital markets. In this issue of Fundamentals, we look at how investors can start erecting inflation shelters to protect themselves from the coming storm.
2011-10-21 Asia Pacific Real Estate Securities by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers
Asia Pacific real estate securities declined sharply in the third quarter, a negative and volatile period for stocks broadly. Markets were roiled by reduced global growth expectations and intensified European sovereign debt concerns. Economic growth throughout most of Asia Pacific remains relatively strong, driven in large part by demand from China. The regions property markets have encountered policy headwinds, but the outlook for slower global growth has eased inflationary concerns.
2011-10-21 European Real Estate by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers
European real estate securities fell sharply in the risk-averse environment that defined the third quarter. The region underperformed North America and Asia Pacific, which also had double-digit declines amid slowing global growth and concerns regarding Europes unresolved sovereign debt problem. We believe the European financial system is in need of substantial equity recapitalization. Until banks are able to achieve this, corporate financing in Europe, combined with austerity measures introduced by a variety of governments, is likely to remain restrictive.
2011-10-20 U.S. Real Estate Securities by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the U.S. real estate securities market as of September 30, 2011. The FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index had a total return of 14.7% for the quarter, compared with a 13.9% return for the S&P 500 Index. Year to date, the indexes had total returns of 6.0% and 8.7%, respectively. From a sector perspective, we believe apartment REITs will continue to benefit from positive market fundamentals despite a weak job market. We remain underweight in office REITs, but continue to see attractive opportunities in urban markets.
2011-10-20 Preferred Securities by Bill Scapell of Cohen & Steers
This is our review and outlook for the preferred securities market as of September 30, 2011. For the quarter, the BofA Merrill Lynch Fixed Rate Preferred Index had a total return of 3.1% and the BofA Merrill Lynch Capital Securities Index returned 6.2%. Year to date, the indexes had total returns of +2.1% and 2.4%. In general, we prefer nonfinancial sectors, such as utilities, pipelines, real estate, telecommunications and media. That said, we are also seeing new opportunities in U.S. bank trust preferred securities, many of which reached attractive levels following the recent selloff.
2011-10-20 International Real Estate by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the international real estate securities markets as of September 30, 2011. International real estate securities fell sharply in the third quarter, along with equities broadly, as risk factors escalated. All major regions had double-digit declines amid slowing growth in the U.S. and China and intensified concerns regarding Europes sovereign debt problem.
2011-10-20 Global Real Estate by Global Real Estate Team of Cohen & Steers
We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the global real estate securities market as of September 30, 2011. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index had a total return of 17.4% for the quarter (net of dividend withholding taxes) in U.S. dollars, and 12.7% for the year to date. Global real estate securities fell sharply in the third quarter, along with equities broadly, as risk factors escalated. All major regions had double-digit declines amid slowing growth in the U.S. and China and intensified concerns regarding Europes sovereign debt problem.
2011-10-11 Managed Futures are not a New Asset Class by Michael Kitces (Article)
The focus on finding investments that have a low correlation to equities has grown to such an obsession that we're willing to name anything that has a low correlation as 'a new asset class.' While some alternatives truly have their own investment characteristics unique from stocks and bonds, other alternatives - like managed futures - simply represent an active manager buying and selling existing asset classes.
2011-10-07 The Hunt for (Sustainable) Yield by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
In any low-rate environment, it is easy to be seduced by any investment that can deliver high yields. But to achieve a consistent total return, you need to carefully weigh the risks and focus on investments that can deliver attractive yields that are sustainable, while also providing the potential for higher income in the future. Our answer thus far has been a combination of sources. Given the current miniscule yield environment, we expect these higher-quality asset classes to move the income-generation meter at least a little for client portfolios without exposing them to inordinate risk.
2011-10-07 Can Markets Find the Road Back to Positive Territory? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
Can markets find the road back to positive territory? This week, wed like to point out three reasons investors should consider remaining in equities or reassessing whether to sit on the sidelines: 1. Investor sentiment is signaling the market is overextended to the downside. 2. Stocks are trading well below historical valuation trends. 3. S&P 500 dividend yields are higher than the 10-year Treasury yield.
2011-09-16 Perfect Storm Creates Tidal Wave of Gold Demand by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
In the East, gold is not only celebrated, acquired, worn or displayed during holidays or special occasions; it is seen as an everyday symbol of wealth. Increases in demand from China and India have driven a 7.5 percent increase in demand for gold jewelry during the first half of the year despite a 25 percent increase in the price, according to a report released this week from GFMS. However, much of Indias potential gold demand remains untapped.
2011-09-08 Bleak Outlook? MLPs May Help Cushion Against Market Volatility by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors
Professional investors spend a lot of time studying probabilities. That is because, just as the direction of the recent Hurricane Irene featured a "cone of uncertainty," the financial markets often change course without warning and can wreak havoc on investor portfolios. Alternative investments, including Master Limited Partnerships, may help limit damage from the inevitable financial storms that investors may face. In today's uncertain economy and volatile markets, MLPs - while not immune - can provide attractive yields and relatively low correlation to the stock and bond markets.
2011-09-06 Byron Wien Reflects on His List of Surprises by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)
Byron Wien is a senior managing director and vice chairman of Blackstone Advisory Partners, the largest alternative investment firm in the world with $140 billion under management. Each year, for the last 26 years, he has published a list of 10 'surprises' investors should expect in the capital markets and the economy. In this interview, he reflects on his list for 2011 and what see sees ahead.
2011-09-06 Five Strategies for a Sideways Market by Kane Cotton, CFA and Jonathan Scheid, CFA (Article)
If this slow growth environment coupled with asset price volatility continues for (to steal a quote from Fed Chairman Bernanke) 'an extended period,' what additional portfolio strategies might aid the overall risk/return profile of investor portfolios? More specifically, how do you manage investments in a sideways market?
2011-09-03 How to Find Opportunities from Blood, Debt & Fears by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
For the long-term investor, the risk/reward profile for owning stocks appears positively skewed. Equity investors have suffered through one of the most difficult decadesrivaling even the Great Depressionwhile bond investors have enjoyed a 30-year bull market. Long-term mean reversion is a powerful tool that investors can use to help them attain their long-term goals.
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.
2011-08-05 Advisor Alert - Placing This Week's Selloff Into Context by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors
The major market indices were lower this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 5.75 percent. The S&P 500 Stock Index decreased 7.19 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 8.13 percent. Barra Growth outperformed Barra Value as Barra Value finished 7.53 percent lower while Barra Growth decreased 6.88 percent. The Russell 2000 closed the week with a loss of 10.34 percent. The Hang Seng Composite Index finished lower by 6.80 percent, Taiwan fell 9.15 percent, and the KOSPI declined 8.88 percent. The 10-year Treasury bond yield closed 24 basis points lower at 2.56 percent.
2011-08-02 Improving on the Ultimate Income Portfolio by Geoff Considine (Article)
The Ultimate Income Portfolio, which was published in this newsletter July 6 of last year, has delivered the risk-adjusted returns that I projected. Here's a detailed look at how last year's portfolio performed and several ways it can be improved in today's environment.
2011-07-25 Name That Tune?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
Last week saw the U.S. Dollar Index decline by ~2.6% and gold tag a new all-time high of $1610.70. The real star of the week, however, was Sugars Surge of 7.87%. I cant imagine the President would want to go down in history as the Captain whose watch saw America lose its AAA status. Accordingly, I would continue to cautiously favor the upside, on a risk-adjusted basis, for if the debt ceiling is not raised we see another downside "hit." And this morning it looks like another hit, at least on a short-term basis, as our elected leaders continue to talk to the wind.
2011-07-21 Sector Insights - Focus: Materials & Processing by James R. Margard, Peter M. Musser and Carlee J. Price of Rainier Funds
There has been a trend in the last decade for companies to increase in size through M&As, with a focus on removing competition, growing larger, and cutting costs to achieve economies of scale. In businesses that are commodity-oriented, scale is vital to success. This consolidation is occurring in part because it is becoming increasingly difficult to add economic value in this sector of the market. An agricultural revolution is underway, which is advantageous to many companies in the agricultural chain. Demand in the emerging world in particular is providing opportunities to grow revenues.
2011-07-19 Are There Any Rungs Left on the Housing Ladder? by Rod S. Dubitsky of PIMCO
Headwinds to housing demand, and thus the overall market, could last for years. It appears that limited mortgage availability and vulnerable consumer health are restraining demand. Also weighing on the market is regulatory uncertainty over the future structure of mortgage finance and the resolution of foreclosure overhang. We believe the housing market, considered to be a key driver of the economic recovery, will generally remain weak for the foreseeable future.
2011-07-12 Inflation Field Manual: A Guide for a Changing World by American Century Investments (Article)
This client-approved executive summary by Senior PM Robert Gahagan and Senior PM William Martine, CFA examines the competing forces at work that will affect inflation for the months and years to come. It also provides an analysis of inflation-hedging assets in different market environments, and suggests strategies for protecting a portfolio from inflation risk.
2011-07-07 Exit Interview: FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair by Team of Institutional Risk Analyst
This week in The Institutional Risk Analyst, we feature a conversation with FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair as she nears the end of her term. Bair has been in and out of public service for three decades, including working for Congress, the Treasury and lastly the FDIC. She spoke to IRA co-founder Chris Whalen before the July 4th break.
2011-07-06 IRA Ins and Outs by Kevin Feldman of iShares Blog
Which investments should you keep inside an IRA and which outside? Consider these guidelines. In general, I try to put tax inefficient investments in my IRA. It’s probably easier to describe tax efficient investments than it is to do the opposite. Two good examples of tax efficient investments are municipal bonds and most index ETFs. In the case of municipal bonds, you generally avoid paying federal income tax on the income and in some cases avoid paying state tax as well. In the case of most USequity index ETFs, they have had a good track record of paying minimal capital gains distributions.
2011-06-20 Sector Insights Focus: Financials by James R. Margard, Mark H. Dawson, Andrea L. Durbin of Rainier Funds
The upheaval in the global financial system has made investing in financials quite challenging as of late, Rainier positioned itself well for the crisis. Because of our emphasis on financial strength and sustainability, we were able to avoid the major financial institutions that were most exposed to toxic assets and had taken on excessive credit risk. As the economy has moved into recovery mode, the financial sector hasn’t gotten any easier. Some of the biggest winners in the sector recently have been distressed institutions that aren’t projected to have positive earnings in the next year.
2011-06-01 An Investment in Infrastructure by Team of Columbia Management
Neglecting infrastructure can have tragic consequences. Think about the I-35 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, levees breaking in Missouri or the San Bruno gas pipeline explosion. These and many other examples illustrate the type of destruction that can occur if the country’s aging infrastructure is not addressed. At the same time, demand for new infrastructure is growing exponentially in emerging markets. Data highlighting the scale of construction, transport, logistics and communications development are so large they render relevant context difficult to comprehend.
2011-05-24 How to Build a Low-Risk High-Income Portfolio by Geoff Considine (Article)
Prominent investors, including Bill Gross and Warren Buffett, now say that the yields on long-term government debt do not justify the risks. But is this perception correct? I offer a way to answer that question - and to construct a low-risk high-income portfolio - using the prices of put options to derive the true risk levels of various asset classes.
2011-05-10 Inflation Field Manual: A Guide for a Changing World by American Century Investments (Article)
We examine the competing forces at work that will affect inflation. On the one hand, a whole host of factors are currently constraining inflation. On the other hand, US monetary and fiscal policies and a number of global economic imbalances suggest an environment of high and rising inflation. The outcome of this debate is important for financial assets, whose performance turns on the difference between expected and actual inflation-it is when inflation surprises to the upside that stocks and nominal bonds typically underperform and inflation-protected assets do best.
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.
2011-04-27 The Impact of Interest Rates on Real Estate Securities by Team of Forward Management
How interest rate movements impact real estate securities is a complex but topical matter. After studying the historical performance of these securities, our findings indicate that: Not all interest rates move together. Real estate securities have had surprisingly low correlations to interest rates. More often than not, real estate securities have generated positive performance during periods of rising interest rates. These observations indicate that credit quality, yield spreads and underlying fundamentals play an equal or more important role in investment returns than interest rates alone.
2011-04-12 Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me by Michael Lewitt (Article)
"The budget crisis is a crisis of leadership," writes Michael Lewitt in the latest issue of the HCM Market letter. "There is no intellectual mystery involved in cutting the budget - entitlement spending must be reduced through the adoption of tighter eligibility standards... The markets will also have to evaluate whether Congress and the Obama administration can make any meaningful progress on budget reform, which will mean tackling the entitlement issue. The failure to rein in federal deficits remains a profound threat to the dollar and interest rates."
2011-03-26 How Capture Ratios can Help you Prepare for the Next Downturn by Isbitts of Rob Isbitts
Alpha and Beta tell us a lot, but they also lead us to an even more useful measure of performance and manager acumen, which allows you and your client to better understand the range of possibilities they are bound to experience in different types of market environments. That is what we call “Capture Ratio,” and that special topic is what we’ll focus on here.
2011-03-22 Backgammon as a model for stock investing by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group
So if we couldn’t predict either the Libyan civil war or the Japan earthquake, how did we “know” that the two year rally in US stocks would falter? Quick answer is that we didn’t “know” anything. But we do have a good sense of when stocks are fairly or over-valued. Consider the game of backgammon, which comprises a board, 15 pieces per side, and dice. For a given configuration of the pieces and a given roll of the dice, there is only 1, or possibly 2 or 3 optimal moves that a player can make. It is so simple that if two experienced players played 100 times each to win about 50 games.
2011-02-28 Oil that is by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research
“Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea,” Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen) got rich in the hit series The Beverly Hillbillies by discovering oil on his property. Similarly, investors have become enriched recently by owning oil stocks. Verily, crude oil has surged from ~$84 per barrel in mid-February into last week’s peak of $103.41 with an ascent for most oil stocks. As stated in Friday’s verbal strategy comments, “Libya is particularly troubling because I think there is a fifty-fifty chance that Gaddafi, rather than cede power, will begin blowing up Libyan oil pipelines – it’s either me or chaos.”
2011-02-19 Let Yourself Feel Good Again by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners
The stock market has continued to perform exceedingly well so far in 2011 and is now up roughly 7% year to date. While an oil spill or European contagion type event could always disrupt the progression, the stock market, S&P 500 profit levels, and leading economic indicators are all pointing to a similar conclusion. The economy is likely to graduate from its recovery phase to an outright expansion sometime this year. It's time to start letting yourself feel good again.
2011-01-31 Market Ripe for Correction by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The stock market headed into this post-Egypt action terribly overbought and a correction was overdue. It is incredibly ironic that 18 months ago, President Obama gave his first foreign policy speech at the University of Cairo (the Investor’s Business Daily dubs it the “ill-conceived Muslim outreach speech” in today’s editorial), and now, Egypt is burning. Oil, gold and TIPS should be on anyone’s “buy list” if the turmoil does spread within the Arab world.
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.
2011-01-18 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)
A number of readers respond to Nancy Opiela's article, Tactical Asset Allocation and Market Timing: What's the Difference?, and one reader responds to Michael Lewitt's article, The Wages of Growth. Both articles appeared last week.
2011-01-10 Time To Come Out From Under The Covers by Charles Lieberman (Article)
I suspect 2011 will continue to produce its ups and downs (much like the past few years). The European debt crisis is still a big issue. The US Municipal debt (particularly in Illinois) issue is lingering. Congress is still Congress. When and if these issues present themselves and the markets react, we could view those situations as continued buying opportunities since the underlying fundamentals of stocks improve. However, long term investors should not wait for dips to begin investing, but rather start a systematic plan of redistributing cash back into the market.
2011-01-10 Global Instability by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
With inflation in China over 5%, Chinese policymakers are going to spend 2011 in restraint mode. Count on it. We are in the throes of a global currency war and late last week we saw Brazil move aggressively to rein in the real’s strength by imposing reserve requirements on domestic banks’ foreign exchange positions. We have food prices surging and this is very likely going to cause social strife in the emerging market world - India, China and Indonesia come to mind. The Eurozone sovereign debt situation is looking increasingly tenuous.
2011-01-05 What The Bulls May Be Ignoring ... At Their Peril ... Plus Some Ideas For 2011 by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The bullish case is pretty well established right now and there is no sense repeating them but what may be ignored are these half-dozen. Nothing of course says that the market can’t keep going up over the near-term. risks, I list. Just as the onus was on the double-dippers last summer given the sentiment and market action, the onus now is clearly on the V-shaped enthusiasts.
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
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.
2010-12-14 The Case for Dividend-paying Stocks by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
Despite all the noise that the Democratic left is making, the tax bill is going to pass very soon. There is a tangible positive effect here from the tax bill and pertains to dividends. Under the deal, the top tax rate on dividends will stay at 15%. If most of the spasm in the bond market is behind us, one would have to think that a focus on dividend growth is going to have some payoff with the taxation uncertainty put to bed. The U.S. nonfarm nonfinancial corporate sector is sitting on $1.93 trillion of cash/equivalents, which is at a 51-year high representing 7.4% share of total assets.
2010-12-13 Perception versus Reality by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
I've been a secular bond bull and am not yet changing my view of the fixed-income market, but the perception that the economy will grow vigorously is now extremely strong. I think it will only grow about 2% next year and that core inflation will continue declining. These are the primary downside risks: 1. The U.S. Treasury market becomes unglued. 2. Further sharp increases in energy prices. 3. Renewed fiscal problems in Europe. 4. Bad inflation news out of emerging markets. 5. U.S. state & local cutbacks become more severe. 6. Latest down-leg in home prices accelerates.
2010-12-07 Looking at the Tax Compromise Measures by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The just-announced comprise tax measures along with the Fed’s pump-priming, have pretty well extinguished double-dip risks, notwithstanding the myriad of other headwinds. This amounts to a new stimulus measure. If the U.S. government opts for a series of fiscal measures that could end up adding as much as $750 billion to the existing large public debt burden, the fixed-income market is not exactly going to like it. Elsewhere, EU finance ministers ruled out an immediate aid package for Portugal or Spain (putting the onus on the ECB to restore calm).
2010-12-03 Fundamentals and the Stock Market by Matthew Rubin of Neuberger Berman
Is continued discomfort in the stock market justified? It can be argued that the economy is relatively weak, and with high unemployment, the weak housing market and a new focus on fiscal restraint, few expect rapid expansion anytime soon — not exactly a bullish sign for an asset class that is supposed to benefit from expansion. However, from a number of vantage points, stocks are displaying what we consider attractive characteristics that suggest the benefits of maintaining substantial exposure to equities in the current environment.
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.
2010-11-20 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.
2010-11-09 Navigating Post-Financial Meltdown Reviews by Dan Richards (Article)
Recently, an advisor emailed me asking for suggestions on how to deal with clients who sold some or all of their portfolio near the 2008 lows. More specifically, he wanted to know if it's worthwhile educating these clients on where they would be had they not sold out.
2010-10-12 How Not To Get Screwed by the Bond Bubble by Isbitts of Emerald Asset Advisors
Bond funds, particularly those that invest in U.S. Treasury securities and other types of bonds at the low end of the risk spectrum, have seen piles of new cash in 2010. Whether it is through long-short funds, arbitrage, multi-strategy or 'equity surrogates' like convertibles and REITs, however, it is possible to create a portfolio with a low standard deviation without having to be trapped by a low fixed rate and the threat of rising bond prices.
2010-10-07 Global Market Commentary by Monty Guild and Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management
Inflation, which has heated up in countries like Brazil, India, Indonesia and many others, will eventually make its way to the U.S. and Europe. Attractive areas for investment include Chinese consumer stocks and currencies, stocks and bonds of growing countries in Asia and Latin America, U.S. stocks and gold. The Japanese yen is a short. Japan's quantitative easing, when combined with the QE going on elsewhere, provides a strong impetus for price increases in commodities, gold and stocks.
2010-09-27 Are 401(K) Investors Fighting Yesterday's War? by Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates
It is time for investors and their advisors to look forward, not backward, in their 401(k) investment planning. Inflation is the biggest single enemy to long-term investors. A portfolio of real return assets balanced with a stock- and bond-heavy 401(k) fund menu is the best way to build a portfolio for an uncertain future. To do this, one needs to include inflation hedges before inflation strikes and when they are least costly.
2010-09-23 Was it really a Lost Decade? by Kevin D. Mahn of Hennion & Walsh
Many have claimed that the decade of the 2000s was a lost decade for stock investors. When you look at the returns of the S&P 500 index over the decade, it is hard to challenge the validity of this claim. For the period of December 31, 1999 through December 31, 2009, the S&P 500 index had an annualized simple price return of -2.72 percent. A look at returns in categories beyond U.S. large-caps, however, including emerging markets, bonds, and U.S. mid-caps and small-caps, reveals that other types of investments actually had positive returns.
2010-09-20 Gold Breaks Out – Again; Investment Strategy in a Deflationary Environment by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
What is amazing is that there are just about as many naysayers about gold out there as there are bond bears. Until the investment elite catches on, the odds of these two asset classes continuing as relative outperformers are quite high because no bull market ends until the masses fall in love with the asset or security in question. What makes the gold story so interesting is that bullion has so many different correlations - with inflation, with the dollar, with interest rates, with political uncertainty - and it also has different faces.
2010-09-20 Stay in the Pocket by John Petrides (Article)
Those with a long-term investment time horizon should be considering stocks right now, due to the market's long-term capital appreciation potential. With regard to fixed income, investors should first consider active management versus passive (bond funds), and should consider income sources from other areas, such as REITs and MLPs, rather than just bonds for income, as well as diversifying their holdings among corporate, high yield, convertible and floating rate bonds.
2010-09-07 The Free Lunch Illustrated by Michael Nairne (Article)
One of the most remarkable discoveries in modern finance is the ability to improve the expected return of a portfolio while simultaneously reducing its risk. In this guest contribution, which advisors can share with clients, Michael Nairne explains that the proverbial "free lunch" does exist, its exploitation requires a focus not only on the returns and volatility of the assets in the portfolio but on the degree of covariance between those assets.
2010-08-20 The Bear Market in Housing Starts is Still Far From Over by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
With the homeownership rate still at 67 percent versus the pre-bubble norm of 64 percent, and with lending requirements more stringent, including a new emphasis on down payments, you can forget a revival in housing demand anytime soon. Instead, demand will shift toward the old room at Ma and Pa\'s, the basement guest room at the in-laws or space in the rental sector. Indeed, demand for apartments may actually do well in this environment. The critical question, however, is: \'Have the builders done enough cutting?\'
2010-08-19 The Bond Bubble Debate: 'One Rosie' Takes on 'Two Jeremies' by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
What we have on our hands is a powerful demographic appetite for yield at a time when income is under-represented on boomer balance sheets. The two most significant determinants of the trend in long-term bond yields - Fed policy and inflation - continue to flash 'green' at a time when the yield curve is still historically steep and destined to flatten. Finally, the central bank has already assured us that short-term rates will remain at rock-bottom levels for as long as the eye can see. David Rosenberg also comments on growing acceptance of frugality by retailers.
2010-08-17 Cerulli Survey Results: New Themes in Advisors’ Portfolio Strategies by Bing Waldert (Article)
New ideas, such as tactical asset allocation and the use of alternatives, have seen some uptake even before the market crisis, particularly within large institutions, but they are receiving increased attention as solutions for risk-averse clients. This article examines some of the evolutions, using data from a Cerulli Associates survey of Advisor Perspectives readers conducted in June and July of 2010.
2010-08-17 GSEs to Lose Tens of Millions Tomorrow by John Burns of John Burns Real Estate Consulting
While officials are gearing up for the August 17 meeting on government-sponsored enterprise reform, the GSEs are losing millions of dollars every hour. Why? Because home prices are falling again. John Burns has a solution to boost housing demand, limit supply, and help GSEs navigate through the remainder of the crisis.
2010-07-30 Inflation in 2010 and Beyond? Practical Considerations for Institutional Asset Allocation by Michael Katz and Christopher Palazzolo of AQR Capital Management
Traditional institutional portfolios with risk characteristics similar to a 60/40 stocks/bonds allocation are not well-positioned for unexpected inflation. Stocks are not effective inflation hedges, particularly in the short and medium term. Meanwhile, traditional institutional allocations resemble a 'bet' on low inflation. A risk-based approach to strategic asset allocation, however, may generate more balanced performance across both inflationary and deflationary periods.
2010-07-20 Martin Leibowitz’ Failed Defense of the Endowment Model by Michael Edesess (Article)
The latest book from Martin Leibowitz, one of the most respected thinkers in the investment industry, attempts to justify the endowment model of investing. As Michael Edesess writes in this review, Leibowitz's defense is highly problematic, and that should concern any advisor utilizing a Yale-like strategy.
2010-07-09 Challenging Your Own View by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
A big part of the 'income theme' has been this dramatic move in the disinflation process towards eventual price stability, and perhaps even deflation. Indeed, the Fed (except for some of the regional bank presidents) is taking the deflation risk so seriously, the Washington Post ran an article on methods the central bank is contemplating to head it off – ranging from even more direct rhetoric in the press statement to reinforce the message that rates will stay near zero indefinitely, to cutting rates charged on bank reserves, to expanding quantitative easing.
2010-07-06 The Ultimate Income Portfolio by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)
Conventional approaches to constructing income-oriented portfolios use either bonds or high-yield stocks. In this article, Geoff Considine explores a compelling alternative to that approach: a carefully selected model high-yield portfolio consisting primarily of low-beta, high-dividend stocks, against which the investor sells call options.
2010-07-01 Bonding with the Bond by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The U.S. long bond yield is edging lower with each and every passing day, and now stands below 3.90%. It could ultimately reach 1.9%. The most important driver of bond yields is inflation expectations – more important that fiscal policies or other variables. Core inflation will head lower. As for the equity market, the news, unfortunately, is not good. The S&P 500 has broken below the key line of support for the past five months of 1,040.
2010-06-29 Timber as an Asset Class: If a Tree Falls in the Forest, Should you Buy It? by Charlie Curnow (Article)
"If the sun shines and it rains, the trees grow about on schedule," wrote Jeremy Grantham, chairman of Boston-based investment firm GMO, in his quarterly newsletter in April 2007. Grantham's enthusiasm for timber, which remains true to this day, may be excessive, despite the fact that, on the surface, historical data seems to support his optimism. If a tree falls in the forest, should you buy it?
2010-06-29 Inflation Protection Investment Strategies by Vern Sumnicht (Article)
The value of the dollar is sure to erode, and investors will be left to grapple with the inflationary consequences. As Vern Sumnicht shows in this guest contribution, recent policies suggest steep inflation may be just around the corner. Fortunately, investors have some options to bolster their portfolios against the threat of inflation.
2010-05-20 An Emerging Conundrum by John West of Research Affiliates
Emerging economies have nearly doubled relative to the developed world since the mid-1990s. Despite this growth, however, emerging financial markets have performed relatively poorly over the long term as measured by the traditional indices. This gap between emerging market economic and stock market performance is a direct result of the return drag from capitalization weighting. Often, one, two, or at most a handful of stocks dominate local emerging markets. Not once have these large capitalization stocks collectively outperformed the rest of the market over a five-year period.
2010-05-18 Jeremy Grantham Guarantees Gold will Crash by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeremy Grantham, the investor celebrated for his ability to spot and exploit bubbles in asset classes, guaranteed yesterday that the current bull market in gold will end. His proof? He bought some - for his own account - at the end of last week. That comment was tongue-in-cheek, but he went on to identify two asset classes likely to go into bubble territory.
2010-05-07 The Big Picture, the Investment Landscape, and Our Portfolio Strategy by Team of Litman Gregory
Debt reached binge levels during the past decade. Money to reduce the debt will have to come from somewhere, and much of it will come from reduced spending. Spending cuts could produce a sluggish economy, possibly for many years to come. There are some positives that could contribute to a better outcome, however, including continued strength from emerging economies. Domestically, we could see stimulus spending, low rates, and inventory rebuilding create a virtuous circle in which businesses with strong balance sheets add jobs, and consumer and business confidence builds and feeds on itself.
2010-04-16 Deflation Pressures Mounting - And What To Do With It by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The economy may be doing better, but it could take years to absorb all the slack evident in the labor, product and housing markets. Deflation remains the primary trend, notwithstanding the bounce in commodity prices, which will surely act as a significant margin squeeze for retailers. There is no shortage of complaints that the disinflation trend is being skewed by lower rents. Rent matters a lot in the consumption basket, and the fact that it is deflating is a sign of stress in both labor markets and the housing market.
2010-03-30 Not a Lost Decade for Diversified, Balanced Portfolios by Joni L. Clark, CFA, CFP (Article)
Did the last ten years really demolish the foundations of Modern Portfolio Theory and classic investing principles? How did portfolios that stuck to the principles of effective diversification and buy-and-hold investing actually perform during the so-called "Lost Decade?" The answers to both questions is an unqualified "no," writes Joni Clark of Loring Ward in this guest contribution, based on her analysis of a DFA-based strategy.
2010-03-29 Market Thoughts by David A. Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff
The market is overvalued by more than 25 percent, but is also extremely overbought after going 24 sessions without a decline of 1 percent or more. Eighty-nine percent of the stocks on the S&P 500 are now trading above their 50-day moving averages, and the Dow has advanced in 17 of the last 24 days. This suggests that the prop desks at the five large banks are all selling securities, with leverage, to each other. There is no sign of any other major buyer, including the Fed. This provides reason for caution, because the banks could decide to switch direction at any time.
2010-03-23 Game On! by Lance Paddock (Article)
Advisor Lance Paddock comments on the exchange between Wealthcare's Dave Loeper and SCM's Roger Schreiner. Paddock lauds Loeper's focus on managing assets based on client goals, but says Schreiner's challenge is nonetheless fair, and urges Loeper to accept Schreiner's terms.
2010-03-02 Asset Allocation for Grantham’s Seven Lean Years by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)
Followers of Jeremy Grantham know his consistently accurate long-term forecasts well, as well as his ability to identify and avoid asset bubbles and steer clients into high-performing asset classes. Grantham's prescience is remarkable but not irreplicable. Geoff Considine shows that his Monte Carlo simulations nearly match Grantham's forecasts, and he reviews the implications for asset allocations.
2010-03-02 Asset Allocation Perspective by Scott Wittman, CFA (Article)
Scott Wittman, Chief Investment Officer for American Century Investments, provides his quarterly review of macro-economic factors and trends which influence the tactical weighting decisions for American Century's asset allocation funds. In the article, Wittman reviews and comments on recent events, trends and expected short-term future changes in monetary, fiscal, industrial, trade, regulatory, political and financial macro economic factors. We thank them for their sponsorship. This is sponsored content.
2010-03-01 Lessons from the 'Naughties' by Rob Arnott of Research Affiliates
Sizeable real returns will be difficult in this decade, as they were in the last. Almost all asset classes are priced richly relative to historical norms. We can tilt the odds back in our favor, however, by tactically altering our portfolio risk based on measures as simple as yields and yield spreads. The surest path to success marries tactical asset allocation with a more efficient beta, such as the Fundamental Index methodology, and a full toolkit of alternative markets.
2010-02-18 The Ultimate Buy-and-Hold Strategy: 2010 update by Paul Merriman of Merriman
An investor's choice of assets if far more important than the times he decides to buy or sell those assets. In a nutshell, the ultimate buy-and-hold strategy is this: Use no-load funds to create a sophisticated asset allocation model with worldwide equity di-versification by adding value stocks, small company stocks and real estate funds to a traditional large-cap growth stock portfolio.
2010-01-28 Monthly Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory
When the dust settled on one of the most eventful and upended years in memory, investors had generous gains in stocks and certain segments of the bond market to salve the wounds of a disastrous 2008 a
2010-01-26 Diversification Really Does Pay Off by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)
The last decade severely tested investors' belief in the value of diversification and strategic asset allocation, leading some in the financial media to assert that diversification and asset allocation failed and were worthless during the crash of 2007-2008. Now is an ideal moment to look back and assess the carnage.
2010-01-26 The Potemkin Market by Michael Lewitt (Article)
We are again privileged to publish the current issue of Michael Lewitt's newsletter, titled The Potemkin Market. Lewitt updates his forecast for the S&P 500, criticizes the current financial reform efforts and the ongoing GSE bailout and Fed Chairman Bernanke. Lewitt argues that risk is overpriced in many segments of the market.
2010-01-19 A Market for Contrarians by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Along with Steve Leuthold, Rob Arnott, Doug Kass and DoubleLine co-founder Joe Galligan were among the speakers at Fortigent's conference. These three speakers' bearish sentiment extended across a wide range of asset classes, opening lots of possibilities for those who prefer contrarian bets.
2010-01-14 Domestic REITs by Team of Litman Gregory
At current valuations, we believe REITs are overvalued. We think REIT investors are anticipating a quick and meaningful rebound in cash flows/dividends. Our dividend growth assumption over the next ye
2010-01-08 4th Quarter Commentary - Investing Proactively Without Predictions by Team of Partnervest Advisory Services
\"\'If you’re going to predict,\' an anonymous economist famously quipped, \'predict often.\' 2009 by all accounts was a good year. The S&P500 gained 23.4%. Emerging ma
2009-11-24 Interview: Brian McMahon of Thornburg Investments by Robert Huebscher (Article)
We speak with Brian McMahon, CEO and CIO of Thornburg Investment Management about the Thornburg Income Builder Fund (TIBAX) and the challenges of finding income-producing securities in today's markets.
2009-09-08 Are REITs Now Undervalued? by Geoff Considine, Ph.D. (Article)
The last couple of years have been rough for real estate, but there was a time not too long ago when it seemed that this was a 'special' asset class, with REITs providing valuable diversification benefits and consistently high returns. Do today's low valuations represent an opportunity to buy? Can investors expect a return to low correlations for REITs with the major equity market indexes?
2009-08-25 The New Normal and Asset Allocation Merriman’s Response by Larry Katz, CFA (Article)
Larry Katz, Director of Research at Merriman, Inc., responds to Geoff Considine's article two weeks ago, What the New Normal Means for Asset Allocation. He has multiple objections concerning much of Considine's logic, and would not recommend his alternative portfolio to their clients.
2009-05-19 David Swensen's Ascent by Mebane Faber (Article)
Mebane Faber provides an excerpt from his new book, The Ivy Portfolio, on the ascent of David Swensen and the development of the tools employed to manage Yale's endowment. Faber shows the data Swensen used to determine Yale's aggressive allocation to alternative asset classes.