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

Follow us on
 Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn  RSS Feed

    Last 14 days

Most Popular Articles


Most Popular Commentaries

    Last 12 Months

Most Popular Articles


Most Popular Commentaries

More on Related Themes


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

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

2014-04-17 What to Make of the Rebound in Emerging Market Equities by Dara White of Columbia Management

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

2014-04-17 Investors Ignore Frightful Geopolitics by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

When the former Soviet Union collapsed almost 25 years ago, most global strategic forecasters assumed that the U.S. would adapt pragmatically to her new status of sole world superpower. Instead she has pursued a variety of misguided nation-building adventures and has largely shrunk from her primary responsibility of neutralizing the ambitions of petty dictators around the world. From this perspective, America's multi-generational expenditures on military personnel and equipment has become more of a stealth economic stimulus program rather than an insurance policy for global stability.

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

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

2014-04-16 An Uncomfortable Discussion by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Income inequality is a touchy subject. It’s hard to have a polite conversation, but like it or not, we are going to have a discussion this year. I will not take a position here (this is largely a political question). Rather, I will try to illustrate what the data say and to present the different points of view.

2014-04-16 A Classic Barometer by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Investors seem a bit too eager to tout emerging market equities. Much as they did with technology stocks during the early-2000s, investors today are looking for the best re-entry point. Data clearly do not support anymore the notion that emerging markets are a superior growth story, yet investors seem to be ignoring the classic warnings signs for fear of missing out. One such classic warning sign is the slope of the yield curve. Historically, steeper yield curves have been reliable forecasters of stronger overall nominal economic growth and stronger profits growth.

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

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

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

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

2014-04-15 Approaching a Pause? A Market Review by Rick Vollaro of Pinnacle Advisory Group

First quarter market performance was as whippy and volatile as the weather. Unusually cold temperatures in the U.S. not only froze much of the country’s population, but it also wreaked havoc on the quality of economic data, and kept markets on edge regarding how investors should be positioned. Geopolitical issues also rose from the ashes as various emerging markets had currency issues and Russia showed poor sportsmanship and invaded the Ukraine shortly after the conclusion of the Olympic Games.

2014-04-15 Beta Earthquake by Ben Hunt of Salient Partners

One of the things I like to keep my eye on when I’m puzzling out what’s going on in the market are the specific company factors that loosely define concepts like Momentum and Value. I do this because any sort of big market move, like we’ve seen over the past week, is inherently over-determined and over-explained. That is, there are dozens of "reasons" trotted out by the financial media and various experts, ALL of which are probably right to a certain degree.

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

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

2014-04-14 We’re Shuffling the Cards on Our European Play by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Did you know that over the last year the Greek stock market is up roughly 45 percent? The country that many believed would never recover from a six-year recession is now making astounding strides, recently being added to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index at the end of 2013.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-04-10 The March Employment Report by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Last week began with a speech by Janet Yellen. The Fed Chair was not expected to say much of consequence, but instead, she continued to emphasize the large amount of slack in the labor market and the Fed’s strong commitment to reduce it. The clear implication is that short-term interest rates are not going up anytime soon. This message may have been meant to counter misconceptions taken away from her recent press conference.

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

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

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

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

2014-04-09 How High-Frequency Trading Benefits Most Investors by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-04-03 Q2 fixed income outlook — Hitting for the cycle by Gene Tannuzzo of Columbia Management

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

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

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

2014-04-03 And That\'s The Quarter That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

After a nightmare than was January, the quarter actually turned out pretty well (except in the Ukraine).

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

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

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

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

2014-04-01 The Changing Face of Global Risk by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The world’s economic, financial, and geopolitical risks are shifting. But, as in the run-up to the global financial crisis in 2008, investors seem unable to estimate, price, and hedge tail risks properly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-03-26 Understanding Gold Cost of Carry in Various Currencies by Ade Odunsi of AdvisorShares

Under normal market conditions, the term structure for the price of gold for delivery at increasing maturities (the term structure) exhibits an upward sloping curve. In futures market terminology the term structure is said to be in contango and implies that the price of gold for spot delivery is lower than the price of gold for future delivery.

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

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

2014-03-26 Housing Booming, Busting and Muddling Along by John Burns of John Burns Real Estate Consulting

Housing is local again! Our consultants and clients see vastly different housing markets all across the country. I categorize them into three groups (booming, busting, and muddling) in this article and provide anecdotes from our team members---- but it is really more complicated than that.

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

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

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

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

2014-03-24 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

For those of us that have been around for awhile, we have come to recognize that each Federal Reserve Board Chairman has had a unique way of speaking and a unique personality. Remember the "Volcker Rules"? How about "Greenspan-speak"? Well, last week we had a chance to take a measure of the person, and her language, who currently presides over monetary policy, Fed Chair Janet Yellen. And while a snapshot is not necessarily a truism of the embodiment of the whole, there were a few takeaways, not the least of which was the market's (once again) overreaction to what was being said.

2014-03-24 Is the Fed Supporting the Equity Markets? by Tom Riegert of Hatteras Funds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-03-17 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

What's another 200 point down day (Dow) when you're having fun? The violent and excessive overreactions of the week prior were added to by Asia and Europe on Thursday/Friday past, just for good measure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-03-11 U.S. Economy: The Mild Kingdom by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

"Animal spirits" remain caged as business spending lags. What will it take to unleash them?

2014-03-10 M&A: A New Rx for Specialty Pharma by Janus Equity Team of Janus Capital Group

Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity is heating up among specialty pharmaceutical companies and potentially creating a once-in-a-generation investment opportunity in an industry that is quickly consolidating.

2014-03-10 Positive Payroll Report Offsets Geopolitical Concerns by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities increased 1.1% last week after somewhat volatile trading due to heightened tension in Ukraine. Although the crisis dominated headlines, the market relegated the major geopolitical issue to the back burner. The broader macro narrative did not change, as concerns about dampened growth momentum continued to be pacified by the distortion from adverse weather.

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

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

2014-03-10 With Fed in Charge, 5-Year Bull Run Poised to Continue by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy and gradual improvement in the economy are two big reasons the stock market can keep moving higher, says Kristina Hooper. Will it be reflected in this week’s consumer sentiment and spending data?

2014-03-10 How Much Slack Is in the U.S. Economy? The Inflation Jury Should Decide by Jeremie Banet of PIMCO

The unemployment rate may not be a reliable indicator of output slack in the U.S. economy. We’ll know (with a lag) if the economy has reached the end of the cyclical downturn when inflation picks up. The Fed will have to choose between risking a hawkish mistake or being behind the curve, waiting to see inflation actually increase. We expect it will choose the latter.

2014-03-09 The Problem with Keynesianism by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Keynes himself would appreciate the irony that he has become the defunct economist under whose influence the academic and bureaucratic classes now toil, slaves to what has become as much a religious belief system as it is an economic theory. Men and women who display an appropriate amount of skepticism on all manner of other topics indiscriminately funnel a wide assortment of facts and data through the filter of Keynesianism without ever questioning its basic assumptions. And then some of them go on to prescribe government policies that have profound effects upon the citizens of their nations.

2014-03-07 Cold War: Thoughts on Ukraine Based on a Month Spent in Latvia by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners

I have been intensely more interested in the situation developing in Ukraine over the past few months than those that circled Greece, a country of similar size, or Libya and the Arab Spring a few years ago. For the most part, I've taken geopolitical flare-ups in stride in terms of their potential impact to the stock market and the economy. In general, this approach has been the right one.

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

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

2014-03-07 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 135.5, up from 131.8 last week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place rose to 1.8 from last week's 1.7.

2014-03-06 Money Managers Aren't Paid to Forecast; They're Paid to Adapt by Chris Puplava of PFS Group

It seems we can't go a week without someone predicting the end of the world and stirring up everyone's fears of a market meltdown. These apocalyptic warnings are becoming routine and the sad thing is that it does cause the squeamish individual investor to run for the hills and liquidate their investment portfolio.

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

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

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

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

2014-03-04 A Century of Policy Mistakes by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

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

2014-03-03 The Long Road Back by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Five years ago, the economy appeared to be in freefall. Monetary policy and fiscal stimulus helped to halt the downslide, but a full economic recovery was still expected to take years. This wasn’t your father’s recession that we went through; it was your grandfather’s depression. We have made progress, but we still has very long way to go.

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

Whereas the "micro" details of ascribing corporate valuations are litigated every day through securities' trading on global bourses, there is very little "macro" disagreement that we are at a critical global inflection where recovery and purchasing power either expand or remain less than satisfactory. If it doesn't happen now, after all the intervention, debate, austerity and fiscal changes, it is not likely to take root at all.

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

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

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

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

2014-03-01 Black Swans and Endogenous Uncertainty by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

John is in Florida and feeling a bit under the weather, so this week we’re bringing back one of his most popular letters, from December 2007. In the letter he discusses the work of Professor Graciela Chichilnisky of Columbia University, one of whose key insights is that the greater the number of connections within an economic network, the more the system is at risk. Given the current macroeconomic environment, it is important to remind ourselves of how complacent we were back in 2007 and how it all fell apart so quickly, just as John outlined in this rather prescient piece.

2014-02-28 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.8, down from 123.3 last week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place slipped to 1.7 from last week's 2.5 .

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

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

2014-02-28 Hide and Seek by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

Hide and seek. A game investors played as children but should not forget these days. Currently, investors need to hide safely to protect from some unfavourable developments in an environment that could hurt them.

2014-02-28 What Areas of the Market Will Remain in the Limelight? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The current bull market has been five years in the making. Since the bottom on March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 Index has grown an incredible 174 percent. With this spectacular performance, investors are asking if U.S. companies will stay in the limelight or if it is time to draw the curtain on equities.

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

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

2014-02-27 Trading Secrets: The Godot Recovery by Tad Rivelle of TCW Asset Management

With this recovery, prosperity has always been just around the corner. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. True, the massive fiscal and edgy new monetary measures enacted in the wake of the 2008 crisis kept the economy’s heart beating. The Fed deftly executed its role of lender as last resort, and for this we should all be grateful. What has become steadily less clear is why, five years after the crisis, the Fed remains committed to its zero rate policy. Are artificially low rates truly the secret sauce that takes a weak recovery and makes it strong?

2014-02-26 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 EM and the Fragile Five: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff by Blaise Antin, David Loevinger, Anisha Ambardar of TCW Asset Management

The shift in capital flows triggered by former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s tapering remarks in May 2013 set off a cascade of market events that continues to this day. His comments also birthed a cottage industry of emerging market doomsayers, who now predict regularly: 1) the end of growth in emerging markets (EM), given that it was, in their view, all a mirage fueled by carry and leverage; and 2) a wave of defaults of the kind last seen in the 1990s that threaten to bring down not only emerging but developed markets as well.

2014-02-26 Gaps, Not Growth by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

Monetary policy is primarily about "gaps" not growth: the Fed is trying to reduce spare capacity in the economy, not bring about a rapid expansion per se.

2014-02-26 Weather-Beaten by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Harsh winter weather often shows through in the economic data. Large seasonal adjustment can magnify that impact. Snowstorms happen every year, of course – the key is whether they are worse than usual. This year, bad weather has been relatively widespread, affecting many areas of the country and much of the economic data for December, January, and February. None of the bad weather has had a significant impact on the longer-term outlook and investors have begun to take the economic news with an appropriate grain of salt.

2014-02-25 Time to Worry About Europe Again? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The European sovereign debt crisis has all but faded from investors’ minds since ECB President Mario Draghi’s famous pronouncement on July 26, 2012 that he would do “whatever it takes” to save the monetary union. Since that time, equity markets in Europe rallied sharply as accumulated risk aversion fell away.

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

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

2014-02-25 How to Profit from the Yellen Fed by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Janet Yellen might have the most powerful job in the world, as the Federal Reserve (Fed) she now chairs controls what may be the world’s most powerful printing press. We take a closer look at what her reign might mean for investors’ portfolios.

2014-02-24 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

In the four and one-half year market recovery since the "Great Recession" there has been a remarkable transformation in the construction and analysis of corporate earnings. This is something that gives me pause for concern.

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

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

2014-02-23 The Worst Ten-Letter Word by John Mauldin of Mauldin Economics

A new word is achieving ubiquity. The word has always been with us and at times has been a beacon to attract the friends of liberty and opportunity. But now I’m afraid it is beginning to be used as a justification for social and economic policies that will limit the expansion of both liberty and opportunity. The word? Inequality.

2014-02-21 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Retail Sales by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

With yesterday's release of the January Consumer Price Index, we can now calculate Real Retail Sales for the underlying sales data released on February 13th. Nominal Retail Sales had fallen 0.4% month-over-month, the second month of contraction, and are up only 0.3% year-over-year. When we adjust for inflation, January sales were down 0.6% MoM. The YoY change was a fractional 0.1% growth. Real sales are down 0.9% from their all-time high in November.

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

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

2014-02-20 Lack Of Slack - Why Aggregate Unemployment May Be Masking Wage And Inflation Pressures by Anthony Wile of J.P. Morgan Funds

A historically large number of long-term unemployed, representing 36% of joblessness, have kept the unemployment rate elevated which could be distorting the traditional tradeoff between inflation and unemployment dynamics.

2014-02-20 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

We’re back, baby. (Well, at least, for a week.) Janet Yellen made her case to become the most revered Fed Chair (anyone even remember Maestro Greenspan?) by merely reiterating Dr. B’s prior remarks about the economy and the bond buying program. Investors felt the love this Valentine’s week as they shook off the past negativity and took the Dow to its best daily showing and back above the 16k level. Can Cupid (and Yellen) continue to work his (her) magic after Prez day and beyond?

2014-02-20 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.2, unchanged from last week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place slipped to 2.5 from last week's 3.2 (a downward revision from 3.3).

2014-02-19 US Savings Rate Falling Again - Here Comes \"MyRA\" by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we weave together several different topics that are all connected in one way or another. We begin with the US savings rate which is trending lower once again. From 1975 to 2007, the savings rate fell to an all-time low of 2.4%. While it jumped up briefly after the 2008 financial crisis, it is now moving lower yet again.

2014-02-19 Interest Rate Outlook - \"Old Normal\" by Jerry Paul, Zach Jonson of ICON Advisers, Inc.

Contrary to a popular belief that interest rates are destined to rise significantly, at ICON we believe we may be re-entering the "old normal" where the U.S. Treasury 10-year yield remains between 2%-4% for an extended period of time. As can be seen in the following chart of interest rates since 1871, with a few exceptions this is where interest rates traded prior to the mid-1960s. From this perspective, the late 1970s appear to be unusual and the decline of the last 32 years is simply a return to normal, where rates can remain for many years in a setting of slower growth and low inflation.

2014-02-18 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

The new thinking amongst market analysts is that one must respond to every news flash, every short-term nuance, any variable that creates a daily ripple in prices or attitude, or risk having your portfolio drift in obscurity and underperformance. The new "keeping up with the Jones’" demands that we stay tuned to business news programming 24/7 to see if we’re conforming to expectations.

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

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

2014-02-18 Topping Patterns and the Proper Cause for Optimism by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

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

2014-02-15 The Economic Singularity by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Today, let’s think about central banks and liquidity traps and see if we agree that central bankers are driving the car from the back seat based upon a fundamentally flawed theory of how the world works. That theory helped produce the wreck that was the Great Recession and will have its fingerprints all over the next one.

2014-02-14 Does a Down January Dog the Rest of the Year? Probably by Peter Nielsen of Saturna Capital

The bottom line for investors is that a negative January tends to herald lower (though not necessarily negative) returns for the subsequent 11 months.

2014-02-14 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.2, unchanged from last week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place slipped to 3.3 from last week’s 4.2. Last weekend, ECRI posted a new publicly available commentary on the company’s website: Failure to Launch. The brief text concludes with this remark: It is now quite clear that the economy is decelerating, not accelerating, with growth in ECRI’s Weekly Coincident Index ... falling rapidly.

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

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

2014-02-14 Weather Related? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen & Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

The recent slowdown in economic data appears to be largely weather related and we believe decent growth will reassert itself. Stocks have bounced after a weak start to the year, but the threat of a further pullback remains, although our longer-term optimism has not been dented. Likewise, we believe Europe offers some attractive investment opportunities but we’re in a wait-and-see mode with Japan. Finally, we don’t see EM turmoil becoming overly contagious, but we are watching that situation closely.

2014-02-14 These Gold Charts Will Make Your Heart Beat Faster by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So while gold may correct over the next several months as the metal enters its seasonally weak period of the year, this looks promising for gold investors.

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

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

2014-02-12 Grey Owl Capital’s Third Quarter Letter by of Grey Owl Capital Management

2013 was a banner year for the US stock market. Despite equities’ meager fourteen-year record of accomplishment, investors, broadly speaking, are limited to short-term memory. Last year’s performance was enough to generate significant enthusiasm for stocks. We continue to believe, the current environment warrants a more balanced approach.

2014-02-12 Why Quantitative Easing Didn’t Work by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

IN THIS ISSUE: 1. Why Fed’s Quantitative Easing (QE) Didn’t Work 2. Velocity of Money Plunged During Financial Crisis 3. Should Bernanke & Company Have Done More? 4. QE Was a Huge, Dangerous Experiment That Failed 5. Fed Begins to “Taper” QE Purchases in January 6. Conclusions – What Happens Next?

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

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

2014-02-09 Global Economic Overview - December 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

The global economic outlook has turned brighter as several major economies are improving. Both business and consumer sentiment have become healthier across most regions, as the policy uncertainties that plagued several countries last year have faded. The U.S. economy is expected to accelerate further in 2014, while Europe and Japan are also likely to see faster growth.

2014-02-07 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.2, down from last week’s downward revision from 133.7. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place slipped to 4.2 from last week’s 4.3.

2014-02-07 Over-Stimulated, Over-Priced by Neeraj Chaudhary of Euro Pacific Capital

At the end of 2013 Wall Street appeared to be convinced that the markets were enjoying the best of all possible worlds. In an interview with CNBC on Dec. 31 famed finance professor Jeremy Siegel stated that stocks would build on the great gains of 2013 with an additional 27% increase this year. So far 2014 hasn’t gone according to script. In contrast to the prevailing optimism I maintain a high degree of skepticism regarding the current rally in U.S. stocks. But opinions are cheap. To back up my gut feeling, here are six very diverse indicators that suggest U.S. stocks are overvalued.

2014-02-07 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review - 4Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

The club of emerging European economies expanded, as Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) moved Greece from developed to the status of an emerging economy. The majority of the countries covered in this review, including the new entrant, had something to look up to in the New Year.

2014-02-07 Investment Principles and Habits: Contrarian Value Investing in a Liquidity-Driven Environment by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

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

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

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

2014-02-06 Health Care Holds Promise by Team of Janus Capital Group

Last year was a strong year for health care investing, as the sector was a top performer in a number of indices. Even after such a strong run, we believe the sector will continue to provide a shot in the arm for equity portfolios.

2014-02-06 Beyond the Mall: Why Consumers Matter by Ted Baszler of Heartland Advisors

The bottom line is, more people are working now than were a few years ago, pumping income into the economy. At the same time that employment and real wages have been staging a moderate comeback, the housing market has continued to hold firm, and equity markets have posted impressive returns. Record-high levels of personal net worth have prompted more discretionary spending. Periods of greater spending also are associated with higher levels of equity ownership, which can push P/Es higher.

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

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

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

Some Bumps along the Road of Global Recovery

2014-02-05 This Just In: The Secular Bear Market May Be About to Resume. by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

In our 2012 book, Investing in the Second Lost Decade we laid out the case for the secular bear market in equities lasting at least through the end of the decade. Since then prices of most averages have moved to all-time highs. It’s time to throw in the towel on the secular bear market for stocks...right?

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

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

2014-02-04 Investors Should Focus on Wages, Not Jobs by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

This Friday investors receive the first official labor market report of 2014. Following a highly disappointing jobs figure in December, many market participants hope to see a rebound - particularly one that will help justify the Fed’s decision last week to continue tapering its asset purchases.

2014-02-04 Challenging the Consensus by Niels Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Investors are overwhelmingly bearish on bonds going into 2014. In this month’s Absolute Return Letter we challenge that view and look at various reasons why the bond market may surprise most people and deliver a positive return this year.

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

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

2014-02-03 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.

2014-02-03 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor’s "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1824.35. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 1782.59. For the earnings, see the table below created from Standard & Poor’s latest earnings spreadsheet.

2014-01-31 A Toast- To the Decade by Rick Lear of Sloan Wealth Management

This is the most common question the members of the Sloan Wealth Management (SWM) Portfolio Management Team fielded this holiday season. This common quandary is in the context of the (2010, 2011, 2012 and now 2013) bull-run in the stock market, but we can’t help but visualize the numerous parallels to an actual party. If you have read our previous year-end letters you know we were among the first to arrive at the party and have no plans of leaving any time soon - as this decade remains enticing.

2014-01-31 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.8, unchanged at one decimal place from last week’s downward revision from 133.9. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) at one decimal place rose to 4.3, up from last week’s 4.2.

2014-01-31 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Personal Income Less Transfer Payments by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The December month-over-month Real Personal Income less Transfer Payments came in at a disappointing -0.21% (-0.2% rounded to one decimal). The year-over-year change is -2.47% (rounded to -2.5%). However, the YoY metric is radically skewed by the December 2012 end-of-year tax-planning strategy whereby income was captured in 2012 to avoided expected tax increases.

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

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

2014-01-30 High Yield in 2014: Where Can You Look for Upside in a \'Medium Yield\' Market? by Andrew Jessop, Hozef Arif of PIMCO

Default rates and credit losses in high yield markets remain below their long-term averages, and we believe default rates will remain low in 2014 and 2015 as well. Investors should consider positioning for better convexity via exposure to sectors with favorable industry dynamics and positive event risk from M&A or equity offerings, potential upside from price recovery in high quality bonds trading below par and exposure to select new supply from former investment grade companies.

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

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

2014-01-29 The Future in Focus: Trade Could Aid an Aging America by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Goods and services sourced from overseas could help the United States alleviate the effects of future labor shortages - if lawmakers can resist protectionist impulses.

2014-01-28 Emerging Market Issues Weigh on U.S. Equities by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished lower last week as the S&P 500 declined 2.6% and suffered the largest weekly pullback since June of 2012. U.S. stocks are down approximately 3.0% both year to date and from all-time highs. In 2014, lack of direction in the market has been a focus, and the waning influence of macroeconomic news caused a notable shift late last week.

2014-01-28 Surviving Austerity by Andrew Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

With the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index having posted a 30% gain, it’s easy to assume that U.S. stocks easily led the world in 2013. (There is more on what is behind this rally in the latest version of the Euro Pacific Capital Newsletter). But as it turns out, the stimulus-loving U.S. markets had plenty of company. Surprisingly, this includes countries supposedly saddled by the scourge of austerity.

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

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

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

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

2014-01-27 America\'s False Dawn by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

Financial markets and the so-called Davos consensus are in broad agreement that something close to a classic cyclical revival in the US economy may finally be at hand. But, while the celebration may seem warranted at first glance, the champagne should be kept on ice.

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

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

2014-01-25 Five Things To Ponder: Valuations, Triggers & Inequality by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

I was thinking about valuations, profits and what could cause a real correction in the markets. That is the premise behind today’s "Things To Ponder" for your weekend homework.

2014-01-25 Forecast 2014: The CAPEs of Hope by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

As we will see in the pages ahead, buy-and-hold investors are clearly sailing in dangerous waters, where the strong, cold current of deleveraging converges with the warm, fast rush of quantitative easing. Not only does this clash of forces create the potential for epic storms and fateful accidents, it dramatically increases the chances for sudden loss as rogue waves crash unwary investment vehicles against the underwater demographic reef!

2014-01-24 Fundamentals Suggest Yen Could Strengthen in 2014 by Team of GaveKal Capital

We’ve noted on several occasions over the past few weeks the fact that trader positioning and sentiment towards the yen is pushing the most extreme negative levels in a decade.

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

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

2014-01-24 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.9, down from last week’s 134.3. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place rose to 4.2, up from last week’s 3.5.

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

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

2014-01-23 Economic Growth is Likely to Improve in 2014 by Derek Hamilton of Ivy Funds Investment Management

We believe a global economic upturn is likely in 2014, although the overall growth rate will remain sluggish. We think developed countries will show the largest improvement, which in turn will help support growth rates in emerging markets.

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

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

2014-01-23 A Problem with the Numbers - Unemployment and the Fed\'s Timetable by Anthony Wile of J.P. Morgan Funds

Given a potentially inaccurate assessment of labor force participation, the Federal Reserve may be missing the mark on their current economic projections, which increases the potential for policy error going forward. Assuming the natural rate of unemployment is at the low end of Fed projections, the Fed can lower forward guidance thresholds without spurring an acceleration in inflation.

2014-01-22 In the Spirit of Martin Luther King: Reflections on Income Inequality by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Last night my wife and I were looking for something to stream on Netflix, and I remembered that The Butler was available on Red Box (which has a vending machine about a 90-second walk from our residence).

2014-01-22 Commodities Remain a Source of Frustration by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The environment following the global financial crisis has been a challenging one for asset allocators, as long held relationships shifted and traditional idioms were turned on their head. As we detailed last week in "The Diversification Obituary," investors have seen little work in their portfolios other than US stocks, while supposed diversifiers have offered little more than muted beta and unusually high correlations.

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

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

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

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

2014-01-21 Stocks 2014: Investing for Growth - The Power and Protection of High Compounding Earnings Growth by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

As I become more mature (translate: gotten older), my investment philosophy has slowly evolved into a more conservative posture. When I was a younger investor I felt I had time on my side, and therefore, was willing to take on greater risk as long as I believed that greater rewards could follow. In other words, if I made a mistake by investing in an aggressive and more risky growth stock that went badly, I felt I had adequate time to overcome or recover my losses. Consequently, as a younger investor I relished a good growth stock.

2014-01-21 Weighing the Week Ahead: More \"Experts\" Predicting a Market Top by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Most potential stock investors have been bruised by events over the last decade. They are receptive to a message of fear, and many pundits are happy to satisfy their urges. Calling for a major market turn can be very profitable for the pundit. This is true even if the prediction is very early and the pundit never signals when to shift back.

2014-01-21 Achieving Escape Velocity by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

While the prospect of faster global GDP growth in 2014 is good news, it is too early to celebrate. Indeed, there is a risk that, by tempting policymakers into complacency, this year’s economic upturn could even end up being counterproductive.

2014-01-18 Forecast 2014: \'Mark Twain!\' by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The surface of the market waters looks smooth, but the data above suggest caution as we proceed. Perhaps slowing the engine and taking more frequent soundings (or putting in closer stops!) might be in order. The cry should be "Mark twain!" Let’s steam ahead but take more frequent readings and know that a course correction may soon be necessary.

2014-01-17 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Retail Sales and Industrial Production by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

With yesterday’s release of December’s CPI, we can now calculate Real Retail Sales for December. Month-over-month real sales came in at -0.07% (-0.1% rounded to one decimal). This indicator is now fractionally off its all-time high set the previous month. Although real December sales were a bit disappointing, this indicator rose 3.57% year-over-year, and it was positive for nine of the 12 months.

2014-01-17 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 134.5, up from last week’s 133.4 (an upward revision from 133.0). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place rose to 3.7, up from last week’s 2.5.

2014-01-17 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The U.S. budget deal reduces policy uncertainty. The fiscal state of the states is better, but challenges remain. Meeting the new cast at the Fed.

2014-01-16 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

In late December just before Christmas, the Postal Regulatory Commission delivered an unwanted present in the form of a "temporary" three cent rate hike for first class mail effective January 26th. It seems that the Post Office decided it lost $2.8 billion as a result of the Great Recession and convinced the Commission that it needed to make this loss go away. Well, in reality, the Post Office asked for a permanent hike, but was only given the opportunity to make up the loss and then have the rate go back down. We shall see.

2014-01-16 Stocks for 2014: Something for Everyone: Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

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

2014-01-15 Fed Tapering -- Shades of 1937? by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

In the press conference immediately following the December 17-18, 2013 FOMC meeting, Fed Chairman Bernanke indicated that it was the FOMC’s current plan to have terminated Federal Reserve outright securities purchases by the end of 2014, commencing with a $10 billion reduction in securities purchases immediately after the December 2013 FOMC meeting and then continuing to taper its purchases by about $10 billion after each 2014 FOMC meeting. Of course, this tapering plan is subject to modification in either direction depending on forthcoming economic and financial market developments.

2014-01-14 Market Outlook by Scotty George of Alexander Capital

The stock market’s valuation expansion has left a bittersweet taste in the mouths of some who believe that this historic sequence of "new highs" is simply smoke and mirrors and accelerated expectations. Indeed, while the wealth effect is improving the lot of many, it is also exacerbating the gap between "reality" and "perceived-reality".

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

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

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

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

2014-01-13 Demographic Trends in the 50-and-Older Work Force by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

In my earlier update on demographic trends in employment, I included a chart illustrating the growth (or shrinkage) in six age cohorts since the turn of the century. In this commentary we’ll zoom in on the age 50 and older Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR).

2014-01-13 Stocks Rise Modestly in First Full Week of Trading by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished mostly higher for the first full week of the year, with the S&P 500 gaining approximately 0.6%. There were no meaningful directional drivers behind the price action, which is a dynamic that has been prevalent so far in 2014.

2014-01-12 Forecast 2014: The Killer Ds by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We’ll continue our three-part 2014 forecast series this week by looking at the significant economic macrotrends that have to be understood, as always, as the context for any short-term forecast. These are the forces that are going to inexorably shift and shape our portfolios and businesses. Each of the nine macrotrends I’ll mention deserves its own book (and I’ve written books about two of them and numerous letters on most of them), but we’ll pause to gaze briefly at each as we scan the horizon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-01-10 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 133.0, up from last week’s 133.0. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place came in at 2.5, up from last week’s 1.9.

2014-01-10 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Today\'s Strange Nonfarm Payrolls in Context by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The January Employment Report gives us a look at the December Nonfarm Employment along with extensive revisions back to January 2009. The big stunner today was the meager 74K new jobs in December against expectations of around 196K. This sucker punch from the Establishment Data was accompanied by the equally stunning news that the unemployment rate declined from 7.0-6.7%. The two numbers, of course, are from two completely different surveys - the jobs number from the Establishment Survey of business and government and the unemployment rate from the Household Survey of the general population.

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

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

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

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

2014-01-09 The Price Action of Stocks Trumps Fundamentals by Robert Mark of Castle Investment Management

Perhaps the best argument that one can make for stocks is that many hold doubts about the continuing bull market. The reasons for these doubts are understandable, as the economic recovery has been anemic and growth has slowed significantly - likely leading to lower profits in the future. As a result, corporations have aggressively cut costs, increased productivity and preserved cash - pushing profit margins to historically high levels.

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

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

2014-01-08 Ready For Lift-Off? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

While some had expected a quick recovery from the recession, that was never likely to be the case. Recessions that are caused by financial crises are different from the usual downturns - they are more severe, they last longer, and the recoveries take a long time. The economy has been in recovery mode for the last four and a half years, but finally appears to be poised for an acceleration in 2014.

2014-01-08 I\'m Back by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Well, I’m back after roughly a two-week hiatus where I didn’t do very many strategy calls, or strategy reports. I did, however, pen a letter regarding my forecast for 2014 dated 12/30/13. And for those who, like me, kicked back over the past two weeks to spend time with family and rejoice in the holidays, and did not read anything, I urge you to peruse my "2014" report.

2014-01-07 More Jobs to Turn Up the Taper Dial - But Not Yet by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The job market is a focal point for the Fed and early signs point toward further progress in reducing unemployment. But don’t expect central bankers to speed up the tapering process until there’s more evidence of a turnaround, writes Kristina Hooper.

2014-01-07 A Healing Economy by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The quarter continued the theme of the year, with U.S. equities continuing their dramatic performance. For the quarter, the Dow was up 9.6%, the S&P 9.9%, and the NASDAQ 10.7%. The year’s returns substantially exceeded last year"s "expert predictions" and much of this year’s punditry with the Dow up 26.5%, S&P up 29.6%, and NASDAQ up 38.3%.

2014-01-06 Market Valuation Overview: Yet More Expensive by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a summary of the four market valuation indicators I update during the first days of the month.

2014-01-06 Reflections on 2013: What\'s Important, What\'s Not, and What\'s Ahead by Mike Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

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

2014-01-06 Weighing the Week Ahead: Will \"Good News\" be Good for Markets? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Suppose you knew -- right now, at the start of the week -- that the payroll employment report would show an extreme number. With 200K jobs expected, suppose it were to be 350K? Or 50K? If you had advance information from Mr. Beeks would you even know what to do?

2014-01-06 The Great Malaise Drags On by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Maybe the global economy will perform a little better in 2014 than it did in 2013, or maybe not. Seen in the broader context of the continuing Great Malaise, both years will come to be regarded as a time of wasted opportunities.

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

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

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

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

2014-01-03 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.9, up from last week’s 131.9. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place came in at 1.8, unchanged from last week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2014-01-02 Is the Stock Market Cheap? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Here is a new update of a popular market valuation method using the most recent Standard & Poor’s "as reported" earnings and earnings estimates and the index monthly averages of daily closes for the past month, which is 1807.78. The ratios in parentheses use the monthly close of 1848.36.

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

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

2013-12-30 Weighing the Week Ahead: How Should Investors Judge the Prospects for 2014? by Jeff Miller of New Arc Investments

Sometimes the calendar of news and events makes it easy to predict what will grab our attention in the week ahead. In the last few weeks leading up to the Fed tapering announcement, I highlighted the following.

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

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

2013-12-27 Gary Shilling: Review and Forecast by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

It’s that time of year again, when we begin to think of what the next one will bring. I will be doing my annual forecast issue next week, but my friend Gary Shilling has already done his and has graciously allowed me to use a shortened version of his letter as this week’s Thoughts from the Frontline. So without any further ado, let’s jump right to Gary’s look at where we are and where we’re going.

2013-12-27 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.9, up from last week’s 130.9. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, slipped to 1.9, down from 2.1 last week.

2013-12-27 2013: Looking Back at the Year of the Bull by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Will stocks continue to climb in 2014? Odds are "very good," finds BCA Research. According to historical data going back to 1870, there were 30 times when annual returns in domestic stocks climbed more than 25 percent. Of these, 23 experienced an additional increase, resulting in a mean of 12 percent, says BCA. Thinking back to January 2013, investors had a very different frame of mind. While we recently talked about the year’s biggest stories in U.S. energy and gold, today, we recap our popular commentaries focused on the domestic market.

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

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

2013-12-26 Does the CAPE Still Work? by William Hester of Hussman Funds

We feel no particular obligation defend the CAPE ratio. It has a strong long-term relationship to subsequent 10-year market returns. And it’s only one of numerous valuation indicators that we use in our work - many which are considerably more reliable.

2013-12-24 And That\'s The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

vestors thanked Bernanke this week for what they perceived as an early holiday present. While no one knew how they would react once the Fed began to taper its bond purchases, many surprised analysts by lifting stocks to one of the best showings of the year (and a new record on the Dow). And now that that uncertainty is out of the way, let the vacations begin.

2013-12-24 A Spoonful of Sugar by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The press has framed Ben Bernanke’s valedictory press conference last week in heroic terms. It’s as if a veteran quarterback engineered a stunning come-from-behind drive in his final game, and graciously bowed out of the game with the ball sitting on the opponent’s one-yard line. In reality, Bernanke has merely completed a five-yard pass from his own end zone, and has left Janet Yellen to come off the bench down by three touchdowns, with no credible deep threats, and very little time left on the clock.

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

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

2013-12-24 Is 2% Growth The New Normal For Consumption? by Team of GaveKal Capital

From 1960 to November 2007 (the 2007-2009 recession started December 2007 according to NBER), real personal consumption expenditures grew at just about 3.5% trend growth. In this recovery, consumption as only mustered a growth rate just above 2%. Is this another permanent downshift in consumption growth or will consumption ratchet back up? Something we will be keeping an eye on.

2013-12-21 What Has QE Wrought? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Now that we have begun tapering, we will soon see lots of analysis about whether QE has been effective. What will the stock market do? The US economy seems to be moving in the right direction, but the Fed has forecast Nirvana (seriously) - do we dare hope they can finally get a forecast right? Or have they jinxed us?

2013-12-20 Staying Power by Kapish Bhutani of Diamond Hill Investments

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

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

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

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

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

2013-12-20 Looking Beyond the Initial Fed Taper by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Can the Fed be believed or trusted? Pioneer’s Sam Wardwell analyzes the tension between data dependency and forward guidance in Fed policy.

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

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

2013-12-18 Australia Inc. by Adam Bowe, Robert Mead of PIMCO

In 2013, real growth in business investment in Australia outside the mining sector slowed to almost zero, in part due to the high exchange rate. While some sectors of the economy such as housing appear to be improving, we continue to expect sub-trend growth in 2014 due to the subdued outlook for business investment. The RBA will most likely have to keep interest rates low for an extended period to ease the transition away from mining-assisted growth and encourage a weaker exchange rate.

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

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

2013-12-17 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Dan Richards’ article, How Service Screw-ups Can Create Happier Clients, and a reader responds to Patrick McVeigh’s article, Low Demand Will Depress Oil Prices, both of which appeared last week.

2013-12-17 Five Strategies for a Rising-Rate Environment Revisited by Kane Cotton, CFA and Jonathan Scheid, CFA (Article)

In June 2010, we recommended five strategies for a rising-rate environment, acknowledging that we had no idea when or how abruptly rates would rise. Indeed, rates fell since we wrote that article. But they are on the rise again. After reviewing how our original five strategies performed, we’ll now present our revised recommendations for investing as rates increase.

2013-12-17 The 2014 Geopolitical Outlook by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

As is our custom, we close out the current year with our outlook for the next one. This report is less a series of predictions as it is a list of potential geopolitical issues that we believe will dominate the international situation in the upcoming year. It is not designed to be exhaustive; instead, it focuses on the "big picture" conditions that we believe will affect policy and markets going forward. They are listed in order of importance.

2013-12-17 Rare Washington Compromise Plus Rising Consumer Debt Equals Modestly Higher 2014 GDP by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ explains the two reasons why the U.S. economic growth picture looks a little rosier in 2014.

2013-12-16 The Coming Retreat in Corporate Earnings by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The problem is not simply that earnings are likely to retreat deeply over the next few years. Rather, the problem is that investors have embedded the assumption of permanently elevated profit margins into stock prices, leaving the market about 80-100% above levels that would provide investors with historically adequate long-term returns. An equivalent way to say this is that stocks are currently at levels that we estimate will provide roughly zero nominal total returns over the next 7-10 years, with historically adequate long-term returns thereafter.

2013-12-16 A Much Better Dilemma by Mike Amey of PIMCO

While the UK economy is likely to avoid reverting to growth levels of recent years, it must transition into a more durable recovery involving business investment, higher productivity and stronger real wages. However, headwinds for domestic demand look significant and the banking system appears to favour secured lending to consumers over businesses. We believe that much of the rise in bond yields is already behind us. With clearer value in shorter bonds, our preference lies in short and intermediate gilts.

2013-12-16 2014 Investment Outlook: Economic Growth Should Broaden by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

For the first time in several years, we approach the new year without big clouds on the horizon. In the United States, accommodative monetary policy has healed many of the wounds from the 2008-2009 crisis.

2013-12-16 Settling In by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

An improving outlook for U.S. housing will be constructive for consumer spending, confidence and jobs. There are many ways to invest directly and indirectly in companies that should benefit from higher housing prices, a pickup in home repairs and remodeling, and residential investment spending. We continue to favor select investments in homebuilders, building materials, appliance manufacturers, lumber, home improvement, banks, title insurance, mortgage origination and servicing, and non-Agency mortgage-backed securities.

2013-12-13 The Impact of the Great Recession and Federal Reserve Accommodation on Households by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

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

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

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

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

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

2013-12-13 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.4, down from last week’s 132.7 (adjusted from 132.8). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, slipped to 2.8, down from 2.9 last week.

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

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

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

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

2013-12-12 Stay the Course or Take an Unconstrained Approach to Bonds by Matthew Pasts of BTS Asset Management

BTS Asset Management contends that today’s bond market environment calls for an unconstrained approach to bonds with the ability to move between bond asset classes based on economic indicators and market opportunities. The potential discrepancy in results among bond asset classes may be more pronounced than we have seen in the past 30 years which creates opportunity for a more tactical approach. Now may be the time for an unconstrained approach to the bond market.

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

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

2013-12-12 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook: Synchronized Optimism by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

In the U.S., the abatement of fiscal policy tightening combined with steady improvements in labor market demand and higher asset valuations is likely to drive an increase in real growth. The eurozone should finally emerge from recession in 2014, and Japan is likely to continue to grow with the continued assistance of extraordinarily expansive policies. In China, external demand will likely improve, but domestic demand will likely slow somewhat.

2013-12-11 A Week To Remember in Muni Land! Detroit and Illinois and Must Read Employment Data by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

What a week! Illinois passed pension legislation (I would have lost that bet) and Detroit can proceed with its bankruptcy. On the former, let’s see if the long-overdue pension fix survives legal challenges from unions and helps Chicago address its pension issue. Perhaps those contemplating the legal challenge will look to Judge Steven Rhodes’ opinion in the Detroit bankruptcy case to find that he believes pension obligations are no different than any other contractual obligation.

2013-12-10 Fiscal Policy and Monetary Policy - Update by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Market participants expected the November Employment Report to be the deciding factor on whether the Federal Reserve would begin to slow its rate of asset purchases this month. However, officials aren’t going to react to any one piece of data. The best argument for tapering is that it has to start sometime. However, the key factors that delayed the tapering in September and October are still with us to some extent.

2013-12-10 Best Consumed Below Zero? by Bill O'Grady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we will turn our attention to Denmark to study its decision to undertake the below-zero rate, the specifics of the situation that prompted it and the effects of the negative rate on financial conditions and the broader economy. We will then briefly look at the possibility of a below-zero rate policy for the ECB and, most importantly, the geopolitical ramifications of the decision by the world’s second largest currency block to ease into unknown consequences of negative rates to stimulate the economy.

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

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

2013-12-09 Fed Creating More Financial Market Uncertainty by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Although the U.S. stock market continues to hit new nominal highs on a nearly daily basis, the U.S. economy bumps along at a lackluster pace. This disconnect has been achieved by a massive Fed experiment in monetary stimulation.

2013-12-09 Improving Economic Data Imply Further Global Recovery by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished last week in barely negative territory, ending the positive streak for the market. Economic data concerning the post-government shutdown climate has improved. Employment data beat estimates and increased by 203,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.0%, also surpassing expectations.

2013-12-09 Debt Crisis Recovery: Bell Curves and Balance Sheets by John Greenwood of Invesco Blog

This three-part series examines the life cycle of a debt crisis and looks at where the US, UK and eurozone are in the recovery process. This first post explains the phases of a debt crisis. Part 2 will look at where the US stands in the deleveraging process, while Part 3 will focus on why the UK and eurozone lag the US in balance-sheet repair.

2013-12-09 Pessimists Get Desperate by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Payrolls keep growing. Economic data stays positive. The stock market makes new highs. It’s been consistent for nearly five years. And so has the pessimism. In fact, the pouting pundits of pessimism get more determined each month, trying to prove that things are really bad out there.

2013-12-07 Interview with Steve Forbes by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

For whatever reason, Steve Forbes seems to bring out the passion in me. When I think about what central bank policies are doing to savers and investors, how we are screwing around with the pension system, circumventing rational market expectations because of an untested economic theory held by a relatively small number of academics, I get a little exercised. And Steve gives me the freedom to do it.

2013-12-06 Like a Shakespearean Script by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

Shakespearean plays follow a pattern. The underlying plots and storylines change from play to play, but the five-act construction is a common overlap. Market cycles tend to follow a similar pattern cycle after cycle. Like the different plots in various Shakespearean plays, the catalysts that begin and end each cycle, and the events during the cycle are always different. However, market cycles seem to follow a script and, so far, this cycle seems to be following the script almost perfectly.

2013-12-06 Resource Investors Who Use this Strategy Have Seen Significant Gains by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

When playing Blackjack, the house has the edge in winning...unless you know how to count cards, a strategy proven to increase a player’s chances. But did you know you can apply this concept to the market as well?

2013-12-06 Gold: Currency or Commodity? by Anthony Wile of J.P. Morgan Funds

Despite gold traditionally serving as a safe haven asset, investors should be wary of fear-inflated investments given the potential for improving global growth.

2013-12-06 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.8, up from last week’s 132.3. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, rose to 2.9, up from 2.6 last week.

2013-12-05 Gimme Three Steps...on the Path of Deleveraging by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Debt (and Fed policy) continue to be my biggest longer-term concerns; even with the progress made over the past few years by the household sector. The budget deficit is plunging; and that’s great news, but more is needed to bring overall debt growth down to more reasonable levels. The solutions stool is three-legged: spending, revenues...and growth!

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

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

2013-12-04 An Agenda to Save the Euro by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

It has been three years since the outbreak of the euro crisis, and only an inveterate optimist would say that the worst is definitely over. It is not, and it won’t be unless and until the eurozone’s structure is fundamentally reformed.

2013-12-04 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - Q3 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

The second half of 2013 has posed significant challenges to growth in major Emerging Asia Pacific economies. Almost all emerging Asia Pacific economies showed signs of strain arising from stubborn inflation, higher interest rates, slower consumer spending and lukewarm exports.

2013-12-04 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

For the 7th year in a row, the US Postal Service lost money. After setting a record loss last year of $15.9 billion, it pared the losses to $5 billion in the current year. The USPS showed its first growth in revenue since 2008, rising 1.2% to $66 billion. In no surprise, the USPS asked Congress for help. Wonder how that is going to work out for them?

2013-12-03 Jeremy Siegel - The Market is 10% to 15% Undervalued by Robert Huebscher (Article)

According to Wharton’s Jeremy Siegel, ’the fair market value for the stocks today is 10% to 15% higher, and that might even be on the conservative side.’

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

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

2013-12-03 Turning Over Rocks by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

The S&P 500 is at a record high and we believe the markets generally are fully valued. Corporate revenue growth is anemic, profit margins are stretched, and the prospect of earnings rising meaningfully is not high. And, the outlook for the U.S. and global economy is still uncertain. Market psychology is at a level suggesting the market is overbought. Margin debt is at record levels and the current popularity of stocks by retail investors at market highs is in itself a red flag.

2013-12-03 Secular Bull or Secular Bear? by Leo Cesna of Relevant Investments

Applying statistical control limits to Dr. Shiller’s CAPE Index reveals where the S&P 500 is likely headed.

2013-12-02 Economic Cycle Update: Evidence Suggesting Slow Growth Reigns by Team of Manning & Napier

Since the start of the current recovery, we have made the case that the economy would grow at a slower pace compared to most other expansions in recent memory. The consumer factored prominently in this outlook as they embarked on a long overdue period of balance sheet repair. Corporations would have little reason to invest if consumer growth was weak and large fiscal deficits would limit the ability of the federal government to contribute to growth.

2013-12-02 China\'s Great Leap by Equity Investment Team of Janus Capital Group

China’s government just announced it would take a big step back...and let its economy take a giant leap forward. We believe China’s proposed economic reforms will transform the economy and should allay investors’ main concerns about Chinese markets. In Janus’ latest Equity Monthly, our equity team offers its perspective on China’s Great Leap.

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

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

2013-11-29 Back to Housing Bubbles by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

What we are witnessing in many countries looks like a slow-motion replay of the last housing-market train wreck. And, like last time, the bigger the bubbles become, the nastier the collision with reality will be.

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

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

2013-11-27 Global Economic Overview - October 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Global economic trends continue to see gradual improvement, though the progress has become less steady. The developed economies remain the major drivers of global growth, but data from some of the regions have not met expectations.

2013-11-26 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Bob Veres’ article, Why Deficits Don’t Matter, which appeared on October 29, and a reader responds to Robert Huebscher’s article, Reflections on a Week in Cuba, which appeared on November 12.

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

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

2013-11-25 Solving the Income Puzzle by Christopher Remington, Michael Cirami, Kathleen Gaffney, Scott Page of Eaton Vance

Income needs may be as high as they’ve ever been, while the yield potential from many traditional investment classes has dwindled to generational lows. Investors who remain in high-priced, low-yielding core bond strategies could experience loss of principal (and mounting retirement shortfalls) if interest rates revert toward their mean. We advocate creating an integrated, multi-pronged income plan that may offer yield potential that meets investor needs, while managing key risks found in the typical core fixed-income allocation.

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

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

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

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

2013-11-25 Permanently Depressed? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

One of the main economic debates of the last few years has been whether weakness is cyclical or structural. If the downturn is due to a temporary (albeit, severe) shortfall in domestic demand, then growth should pick up sharply at some point as the economy returns to its potential. If it’s structural, fiscal and monetary policy can do little to help. Opinions differ, but while the consensus may see the sluggish economy as reflecting mostly cyclical forces, cyclical weakness is more likely to become structural the longer it lasts.

2013-11-22 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Retail Sales by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The underlying sales data were stronger than expected, and the disinflationary October headline CPI boosted the number higher. in light of the general pessimism over the government shutdown and congressional face-off on debt ceiling, the October numbers are indeed surprising.

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

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

2013-11-22 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.2, up from last week’s 131.0 (revised from 131.1). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, rose to 2.4, up from 2.2 last week.

2013-11-21 The Missing Ingredient of the Economic Recovery (Hint: It's Not Jobs) by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Despite an improving labor market, household spending isn’t picking up enough to fuel a faster U.S. recovery. This missing ingredient of the economic recovery is to blame, says Russ.

2013-11-21 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review Q3 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies were back on their feet during the second quarter of 2013 as economic growth gained momentum, inflation fell mildly and exports climbed strongly. Most developed countries in the region such as Japan, Australia, and New Zealand reported a sharp positive swing in consumer and business confidence. Predominantly expansionary monetary and fiscal policies also helped keep the pace of economic recovery.

2013-11-21 US Stocks for a Baby Boom by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

As contrarians, we at Smead Capital Management frequently get questions about stocks like Gannett (GCI), Bank of America (BAC) and eBay (EBAY). To understand how excited we are to own these common stocks you need to understand how a long-duration common stock portfolio would benefit from the coming baby boom in the developed world. Thanks to wonderful research from The Bank Credit Analyst (BCA), we can understand the demographics of developed nations like the US. BCA concluded that a "baby boom" is coming in the US and in other developed nations.

2013-11-20 Yellen: “Farther To Go” by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Janet Yellen gave a balanced assessment of how monetary policy will be conducted during her tenure as Fed chair. However, the financial markets perceived a “dovish” tilt. She stressed that conditions in the labor market are still far from normal and noted that inflation has been running below the Fed’s goal of 2% “and is expected to do so for some time.” However, Yellen noted that there were risks of removing support too late as well as too soon. QE3 can’t go on forever.

2013-11-19 A Glimpse of a Yellen-Led Fed by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Kristina Hooper highlights some key takeaways from incoming Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s testimony before the Senate last week, including when the Fed is likely to taper its bond-buying program.

2013-11-18 The ECB Rate Cut - Too Little and Too Late by John Greenwood of Invesco Blog

The decision of the European Central Bank (ECB) last week to cut its main refinancing rate from 0.5% to 0.25% and the marginal lending facility from 1.00% to 0.75% is too little and too late -- and virtually irrelevant to financial markets. The decision came after published data showed the eurozone headline consumer price index slowing to 0.7% year-on-year in October. Of course the equity markets rallied temporarily in a knee-jerk reaction to the ECB’s move, but by the end of the day most of the gains were lost.

2013-11-16 Gliding to Year End? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Although we remain optimistic, the path to year-end may have some potholes. US stocks are among the more attractive investment options available, but there is the risk of a pullback in the near term should sentiment conditions continue to be elevated. There is also a risk of a melt-up in stocks given recent momentum. Europe is dealing with falling inflation and weak growth, although expectations are low, leaving investment opportunities somewhat attractive. Both Japan and China appear to be at a crossroads and we are watching political and monetary developments carefully.

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

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

2013-11-15 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Industrial Production by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Official recession calls are the responsibility of the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee, which is understandably vague about the specific indicators on which they base their decisions. This committee statement is about as close as they get to identifying their method.

2013-11-15 Keep Your Eyes on Bonds by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Last month, Americans were transfixed by the amateur theatrics undertaken by the Washington political establishment in connection with the debt ceiling crisis. The bad faith, poor tactics and wholesale avoidance of reality were offered by all players in very large doses. When the Republican leadership finally capitulated (thereby bringing down the curtain on the tawdry production), it soon became apparent that sound and fury had signified nothing except another exercise in can kicking.

2013-11-15 Dressed to the Nines with Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

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

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

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

2013-11-15 Are You Prepared for Economic Recovery? by Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson of Hartford Funds

Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson discusses how many portfolios are out of balance today and explains why investors should consider increasing their equity exposure.

2013-11-14 The Secret of the Euro\'s Survival by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Despite fiscal strains and political controversy, the common currency still enjoys broad support among member nations. Here’s why.

2013-11-13 Accenture: Continuing To Deliver A Growth Story by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

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

2013-11-13 When Flexibility Meets Opportunity in the European Commercial Real Estate Market by Laurent Luccioni of PIMCO

The pace of asset sales by European banks has been slower than many anticipated due to the fragile economic, political and regulatory environment across the continent. A complex CRE landscape and the pervasive effects of cognitive bias, capital rigidity and the unintended consequences of regulation mean mispricing can occur frequently. Unlocking value in this environment requires a flexible approach to investing across the capital structure and the resources to source, underwrite, structure, service and operate commercial real estate assets.

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

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

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

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

2013-11-12 Big Ideas on Gold and Resources in the Big Easy by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

For nearly four decades, curious investors have made their way to the Big Easy for a taste of New Orleans and several helpings of advice and perspective at the New Orleans Investment Conference.

2013-11-12 Dream to Outperform the Market by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

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

2013-11-12 Will 39% Hike in Minimum Wage Tank The Economy? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

President Obama called for a whopping 39% increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour last Thursday. There is already a bill working its way through in the Senate to do the same thing. If this legislation passes, the minimum wage will be increased 95 cents each year for the next three years starting this year, to bring it to $10.10 by 2015.

2013-11-11 Tech in the Time of Twitter: From Growth to Value Play by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

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

2013-11-11 That Was the Week That Was?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

That Was the Week That Was, informally TWTWTW or TW3, was a satirical comedy program on BBC television in 1962 and 1963. It was devised, produced, and directed by Ned Sherrin and presented by David Frost. An American version by the same name aired on NBC from 1964 to 1965, also featuring David Frost. And last week was just such a week for me.

2013-11-10 What Would Yellen Do? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In advance of this week’s confirmation hearings for Federal Reserve Board Chairperson-nominee Janet Yellen, let’s pretend we are prepping our favorite Banking Committee senator for his or her few questions. What would you like to know? In this week’s letter I offer a few questions of my own.

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

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

2013-11-08 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.0, down from last week’s 131.4 (revised from 131.5). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, rose to 1.8, up from 1.7 last week.

2013-11-08 Government Shutdown Doesn't Shut Down Markets in October by Karen Cavanaugh of ING Investment Management

The stage was set for an October selloff, but markets treated investors to another round of across-the-board gains. Headlines comparing today’s equity market with 1999 are way off; the current rally has been driven by solid corporate fundamentals, and the market remains compellingly valued. Global economic growth remains sluggish, and eventual Fed tapering is likely to introduce volatility into markets worldwide.

2013-11-08 Janet Yellen\'s Mission Impossible by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

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

2013-11-08 Big Ideas in the Big Easy by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

This is likely a contrarian view to the folks in the White House, but I think investors benefit from being contrarian and thinking differently. In preparation for my presentations in New Orleans as well as for the Metals & Minerals Investment Conference in San Francisco and the Mines and Money in London in a few weeks, I’ve been pulling together this kind of research that we can all put to use now.

2013-11-07 Gold: Hold It or Fold It? by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Precious Metals

It’s starting to feel like we are part of a giant poker game against the US government, whose hand is the true condition of the American economy. The government has become so good at bluffing that most people feel compelled to watch how the biggest players in the game react to determine their own investment strategy.

2013-11-07 Global Forecast: Synchronized Growth - So Long as Governments Behave by Andrew Pease of Russell Investments

Russell Investments released its Q4 Strategists’ Outlook and Barometer report, a quarterly update to its Annual Global Outlook which helps inform the short to medium term asset allocations in Russell’s multi-asset strategies and portfolios.

2013-11-07 Putting Macro Trends in Context: What do They Mean to a Bottom-Up Investor? by Will Nasgovitz of Heartland Advisors

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

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

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

2013-11-06 Tighter Fiscal Policy Not Helping by Scott Brown of Raymond James

We are now more than five years into the economic expansion, but to many Americans, it still feels like a recession. Many of the headwinds that restrained the recovery early on, such as housing and state and local government, have turned to modest tailwinds, and monetary policy remains highly accommodative. The biggest restraint on growth this year has been fiscal policy. There is a near-term focus on a long-term budget deal, but an agreement seems rather unlikely. Sequester spending cuts set for mid-January should be a more important consideration for lawmakers.

2013-11-06 Sergeant Friday Questions a Treasury Spokeswoman -- Just the Facts, Ma\'am by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

Sergeant Friday: What has been the behavior of total federal outlays in the past five fiscal years? Treasury Spokeswoman: As shown in Chart 1, the year-over-year change in federal outlays ballooned to 17.9% in FY 2009 because of the sharp increase in income security expenditures (e.g., unemployment insurance benefits, food stamps) due to the most severe recession since the early 1930s, TARP expenditures to recapitalize our financial system and a fiscal stimulus program.

2013-11-05 The Saudi Tribulation by Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

In this report, we will discuss the basic history of U.S. and Saudi relations, focusing on the historical commonality of goals between the two nations. We will detail how the aims of the two nations have diverged since the Cold War ended and use this to examine America’s evolving plans for the Middle East. We will discuss how the evolution of U.S. policy is affecting Saudi Arabia and the pressures these changes are bringing to the kingdom. As always, we will conclude with market ramifications.

2013-11-05 Even Economists Get Stuck Looking in the Rearview Mirror by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Will the US economy grow in an above-average way in the next ten to twenty years or do we need to resign ourselves to an era of anemic economic growth? Two pieces of information came out this week, adding to existing information on the subject and speak to this core debate in the US stock market. The first piece was called “Slowing to a Crawl” by Jonathan Laing from Barron’s.

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

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

2013-11-04 Why Wealth Taxes Are Not Enough by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

The IMF is right on grounds of both fairness and efficiency to raise the idea of temporary wealth taxes in many countries. But, as appealing as such taxes may seem at first sight, a closer look reveals that the revenues are lower, and the costs higher, than calculations used to promote them would imply.

2013-11-04 What Price for Growth? by Equity Investment Team of Janus Capital Group

Cloud computing and social media are bringing a level of disruption and innovation not seen in the technology sector since the dot-com era. The troubling aspect is that valuations for many of these companies seem just as stretched as Internet stocks were back then. We think investors may be paying too much for the growth inherent in these companies.

2013-11-01 Bank Reform: Europe's Slow and Steady Progress Continues by Monty Guild, Tony Danaher of Guild Investment Management

When Spain’s real estate bubble burst in 2008, the country went into a recession. The country was returning to growth in 2010, just in time to be taken down by the continent’s emerging banking and sovereign debt crisis.

2013-11-01 Where Do Profits Go from Here? Up. Here's Why. by Joseph Tanious, Anthony Wile of J.P. Morgan Funds

After record-setting earnings in the first two quarters of 2013, the S&P 500 is on track to hit another historic high in profits for 3Q13. If this occurs, the first three quarters of this year will have been the most profitable ever in the 56-year history of the S&P 500. Future earnings growth through margin expansion seems unlikely, as an improving labor market and higher interest rates will most likely squeeze margins. However, stable revenue growth, share buybacks and the additional use of debt financing should support modest earnings gains in the year ahead.

2013-11-01 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.5, up from last week’s 131.1. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, dropped to 1.7, down from 2.0 last week.

2013-11-01 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices saw a robust recovery in September as investor concerns about slower capital inflows to these markets faded after the U.S. Federal Reserve unexpectedly decided to delay the tapering of bond purchases.

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

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

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

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

2013-10-29 Why Deficits Don’t Matter by Bob Veres (Article)

Stephanie Kelton, Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri/Kansas City, believes that the root of our deficit problems can be found in a fundamental misunderstanding – shared by Democrats, Republicans and mainstream voters alike – about the government’s balance sheet. She argues, plausibly, that the whole idea that we should control the deficit at all is costing our nation trillions of dollars in lost output. The result is lost income, savings, wealth and prosperity.

2013-10-28 How Real Estate Impacts the US Economy by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Despite appreciating more than 10% over the past year, home prices still look reasonable and housing affordable. However, while there is little risk of another housing bubble, a significant pickup in interest rates could dampen housing activity and by extension, the recovery.

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

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

2013-10-28 Jobs, Jobs, Jobs by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Following an extended delay, investors were disappointed (sort of) to learn that the September payroll report was another dud. The headline figure was below expectations, but investors were largely comforted by knowing this likely extended QE3 further into the future.

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

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

2013-10-25 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.1, up from last week’s 130.3 (revised from 130.4). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, dropped to 2.0, down from 2.7 (a downward revision from 2.8).

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

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

2013-10-24 Glory Days: Could They Come Back for US Equities? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

A "great rotation" may not be underway by individual investors; even amid record-breaking outflows from bond funds this summer. But fund flow data do show some shift in preferences and highlight the sensitivity of investors to any rise in longer-term interest rates. A more interesting place to look is at the fiduciary community; that has decidedly shifted its attention away from traditional equities (and fixed income) over the past decade.

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

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

2013-10-23 Can Kicked Down the Road Once Again... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Donkeys 1, Elephants 0, Congress -535. The can was kicked down the road once again. We would all like to think that Congress will avoid another last minute battle in early 2014, but unfortunately we can’t put it past the current list of non-negotiators. The only thing that is certain in the future is that it will be many election cycles before a member of Congress makes it into the World Series of U.S. Presidential ballots.

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

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

2013-10-23 Cirque du Ben by Liam Molloy, Charlie Mas of Galway Investment Strategy

The Cirque du Ben will soon be leaving town for good. Some have cheered while others have watched in horror waiting for the disaster, but all were treated to a high wire act unlike any other Fed chairman has ever performed. Fed chairmen are often defined by the consequences of the previous performer. Bernanke had a couple of tough acts to follow in Volcker and Greenspan. Volcker had to guide an economy out of stagflation while Greenspan presided over 9/11, two recessions, and a full market crash in 1987. By the end of his his show, Greenspan had an oversized influence on policy.

2013-10-23 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review - 3Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

In its latest World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) further trimmed its forecast for global growth. The Washington-based lender said expansion will be driven more by developed economies as emerging markets grapple with slowing growth and a tighter global financial scenario as interest rates hint of trending higher in advanced economies such as the United States. However, a reading of economic tea leaves for the Euro-zone and economies such as Russia, Turkey, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic offers room for optimism.

2013-10-22 Recession-Proof Your Marketing by Kristen Luke (Article)

The choices you make and actions you take today will influence how your business fares following the next market crash. Here are two marketing strategies you can implement now to prepare for the future.

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

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

2013-10-22 After the Minimalist Debt Ceiling Deal: The Good & Bad News by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Last week, investors cheered that Washington finally reached a last-minute debt ceiling deal. But despite their big sigh of relief, the debt ceiling deal wasn’t all good news. Russ provides a quick look at the good, the bad and the investing implications of the compromise.

2013-10-22 A by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

State and local government revenues have finally started growing again. The resultant boost to spending and hiring should aid the economy.

2013-10-22 The Boys Are Back in Town by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

The boys are indeed back in town as Washington D.C. opened its doors for business as usual last week following a contentious debt ceiling debate and a 16-day shutdown of the government. This outcome had been anticipated in these letters for often-stated reasons, and just like when the ”fiscal cliff” was averted, I now expect the media to turn its focus to the next Armageddon.

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

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

2013-10-21 A Last Minute Deal Averts Default - For Awhile by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

With the deadline for the United States to avoid defaulting on its debt fast approaching, Congress reached another late night compromise to reopen the government and raise the nation’s debt limit. The deal also called for yet another bipartisan committee to try to set a budget for future government spending. Before discussing what that committee is likely to do, let’s compare the predictions I’ve been making since early this year against the reality of what ultimately occurred.

2013-10-21 Puerto Rico - What do you think of? by David Lieberman (Article)

The name should conjure up images of beautiful beaches, warm weather, and Old San Juan. But, for U.S. investors, it is increasingly conjuring up images of debt run amuck. Make no mistake, Puerto Rico has massive amounts of debt; nearly $70 billion, and that excludes their unfunded pension liabilities.

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

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

2013-10-21 Fourth Quarter Investment Outlook by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

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

2013-10-21 Europe Turning a Corner? by Brandon Odenath of J.P. Morgan Funds

Since late last year, investors have seen periods of strong outperformance by assets from the most impacted parts of Europe, leaving many observers wondering if Europe is turning a corner. Intervention by the ECB and the ability of those liquidity injections to stop the bleeding in the economy has helped. The reduction of austerity and drag coming from fiscal policy should be the key to faster economic growth.

2013-10-18 United States Debt Default Averted - For Now by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

The US Senate passed H.R. 2775 Continuing Appropriation Act, 2014 Wednesday afternoon 81 votes to 18. The House of Representatives passed the bill around 10PM Wednesday night 285 to 144, and the bill was signed into law by President Obama at 12:30 AM Thursday morning. 100% of Democratic Representatives voted for the bill, but only 37% of Republican Representatives in what is widely regarded as a disastrous outcome for the Republican strategy of shutting down the government in order to “defund ObamaCare.”

2013-10-18 Connecting the DOTs: The Role of North America's Emerging Markets' in Achieving Energy Independence by John Devir of PIMCO

The midstream energy sector is likely to grow more quickly than the overall U.S. economy over the next several years, creating the potential for attractive investment opportunities. North Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas, or the “DOTs” for short, stand to disproportionally benefit from strong growth in onshore U.S. oil and gas shale development. PIMCO’s approach is to identify and invest in the companies, including pipeline operating companies, favorably positioned to benefit from prolific oil production.

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

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

2013-10-18 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 130.4, down from last week’s 130.3 (revised from 130.4). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, dropped to 2.8, down from 3.6 (a downward revision from 3.9).

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

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

2013-10-18 Trying to Stop a Bull Market Has Risks by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

U.S. stocks have been on a tear. The S&P 500 Index has climbed a surprising 20 percent so far this year, as a global synchronized recovery takes shape and funds flow back to equities. As I often say, investors take risks when they try to stop a bull run, and plenty of data suggest you might regret taking that action this year.

2013-10-18 In Other News by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

It will take some time to gauge the full impact of the government shutdown and data is likely to be somewhat skewed over the next couple of months. However, sitting on the sidelines isn\’t a great option and stocks still appear to us to be the best place to invest money for the longer term. International growth, although not robust, appears to be more supportive as we head into 2014 than it has since the financial crisis, and we favor developed over emerging markets for the time being.

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

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

2013-10-17 Some Encouraging News, but Further Uncertainties by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Financial market participants welcomed signs that leaders in Washington were at least willing to talk to each other. However, it remains unclear what sort of agreement will be reached. A temporary extension of the debt ceiling sidesteps a near-term financial catastrophe, but does not remove uncertainty completely.

2013-10-17 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

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

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

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

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

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

2013-10-15 A Degree in Debt: Student Loans and the Economy by Team of Manning & Napier

Recent times have drawn concerns about student loan debt and rising delinquencies. Anecdotes of unfortunate individuals struggling financially to cope with massive student loans raise fears of broader risks to the US economy and financial markets.

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

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

2013-10-14 House Republicans Determined to Burn Country to the Ground (In Order to Save It!) by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

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

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

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

2013-10-14 A Look at “Stale Data” (Not Due to Gov't Shutdown) and Housing by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

I am confident that some type of deal will be reached to avert a default. And, let’s keep in mind that, according to the CBO, the 10/17 deadline is really just a deadline to start making decisions about what to pay with the remaining $30 or so billion as they project another one or two weeks before the “day of reckoning” when there is only enough money to pay about 70% of the government’s bills which bills to pay.

2013-10-12 A Special Note on Potential Government Debt Default by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

We find it incredible that the government is, once again, on the verge of a default on US debt. Although we doubt that the US will actually default, it is unfathomable that elected officials would even consider such an event. Worse yet, some officials apparently believe that a default might benefit the US.

2013-10-12 Debt Ceiling Delusions by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The popular take on the current debt ceiling stand-off is that the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party has a delusional belief that it can hit the brakes on new debt creation without bringing on an economic catastrophe. While Republicans are indeed kidding themselves if they believe that their actions will not unleash deep economic turmoil, there are much deeper and more significant delusions on the other side of the aisle.

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

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

2013-10-11 The Fed's Surprise and Yellen's Challenge by Mohamed A. El-Erian of Project Syndicate

To ask what Janet L. Yellen, the nominee to succeed Ben Bernanke as Chair of the Federal Reserve, has in store for US monetary policy is to pose the wrong question. The real issue is the decline of the Fed’s policy effectiveness.

2013-10-11 Flying Blind: Forecasting with No Data or Endgame by Diane Swonk of Mesirow Financial

Everything from the government shutdown to posturing regarding the lifting of the debt ceiling has heightened uncertainty about the economic outlook. Consumer and business confidence have fallen since the threat of a shutdown emerged, while the reality has taken a toll on communities where a large number of federal workers have been furloughed. Everyone, from cab drivers to restaurant owners, small retailers and (largely) defense manufacturers, were affected in the early days of the partial shutdown of government agencies.

2013-10-10 Frustrating the Most People by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

A venerable sage once said, "The markets do whatever they have to do to frustrate the most people." For the long-duration investor, this means that you need to look at what people are invested in to determine where the frustration will come from. Thanks to the Associated Press, we know what the masses have done with their investments in the last five years.

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

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

2013-10-10 Economic and Market Overview: Third Quarter 2013 by Team of Envestnet

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

2013-10-09 Five Years in Limbo by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

The US financial system may be more stable than it was five years ago, but that is a low bar it was teetering on the edge of a precipice. Those in government and the financial sector who congratulate themselves on banks’ return to profitability and mild regulatory improvements should focus on what still needs to be done.

2013-10-08 Forecasting Bond Returns and Evaluating Bond Funds by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

While past performance is not a guarantee of future alpha, it sure is a hint – the skills needed to generate alpha in a given market are likely to be as valuable in one period as in another. This principle is the basis of selecting active managers. How can we adapt it to bond funds, given the larger market forces at work?

2013-10-08 The Market May Be Signaling a Return to a More Typical Recovery by Whitney George of The Royce Funds

Despite the Fed’s indecision about whether or not to taper, we see evidence that business activity is normalizing and the global economy is getting healthier. Co-CIO, Managing Director, and Portfolio Manager Whitney George talks about how economically sensitive sectors have begun to benefit from rising rates in the small-cap rally, how recent news coming out of China has affected certain portfolio investments, where he is currently seeing long-term opportunities, and stocks in which he has high confidence.

2013-10-07 Ted Williams, Ford F-150\'s, and Market Valuations by Robert Mark of Castle Investment Management

In late 2008 Lehman Brothers had just collapsed, AIG needed help from the US government and markets around the world were in a tailspin. Today, five short years later, we find it strange how the strength of the stock market defies a climate of declining earnings. With another quarter of corporate results behind us, equities continue to rally despite corporate earnings offering no material support, with many companies actually talking down their future growth prospects.

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

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

2013-10-07 Charles Wheelan’s Tips for Separating Economic Truth from Fiction by Jeff Briskin (Article)

The world of numerical obfuscation is a topic covered in an informative and surprisingly entertaining ‘statistics primer’ by economist Charles Wheelan. In a recent conversation with Wheelan, we discussed his book and the lessons it offers to financial advisors, whose decision-making processes are influenced by the seemingly endless stream of economic and market data posted every day.

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

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

2013-10-04 Nowhere to Hide: Navigating Rising Rate Risk in High-Yield Markets by Gibson Smith, Colleen Denzler of Janus Capital Group

Over the past few years, investors have flocked to high-yield credit, many believing it a good way to mitigate their interest rate risk as well as capture additional yield. However, they may not realize the level of rate risk that has followed them. High-yield indices, negatively correlated to five-year Treasury bond yields over the past 15 years, have been positively correlated for the past year.

2013-10-04 Are Investors Paying More Attention to Quality Small-Caps? by Francis Gannon of The Royce Funds

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

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

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

2013-10-04 How Markets May Deal with D.C. Dysfunction by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

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

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

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

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

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

2013-10-04 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 132.1, down from last week’s 132.9. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) to one decimal place, remains unchanged at 4.8% (with last week’s number revised downward from 4.9).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2013-10-02 Quarterly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Many of us bear emotional scars from the excesses of a debt-driven, casino-like mid-2000 decade. The last recession was punctuated by lost jobs, lowering wages, diminishing portfolio valuations, putrid returns on cash savings, and a total decimation of confidence in the so-called “Titans” who drove the Wall Street bus during that period.

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

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

2013-10-01 Bracing for a Beltway Bombshell by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

With Washington mired in a fiscal gridlock, investors need to be prepared for short-term volatility. But buying on the dip and boosting exposure to risk assets can keep their long-term goals from getting jammed up, says Kristina Hooper.

2013-10-01 The Eight Principles of Value Investing by Scott Clemons and Michael Kim (Article)

In any environment, but especially one characterized by uncertainty, eight principles of investing are critical. These bedrock beliefs help guide our thinking at the levels of asset allocation, security selection and identification of the third-party managers we engage to help manage our clients’ assets.

2013-09-30 The Eurozone's Calm Before the Storm by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

A little more than a year ago, in the summer of 2012, the eurozone, faced with growing fears of a Greek exit and unsustainably high borrowing costs for Italy and Spain, appeared to be on the brink of collapse. Today, that risk has diminished significantly but the factors that fueled it remain largely unaddressed.

2013-09-30 Shutdown: A Good Thing? by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

It looks like House and Senate won’t come to a budget agreement by midnight and, as a result, the federal government is going to partially shut down starting Tuesday morning.

2013-09-30 Investing in a Fairly Valued World by Herb Abramson, RJ Steinhoff, Randall Abramson, Anthony Visano, Jeff Sayer of Trapeze Asset Management

For several years we have been arguing that global equity markets are undervalued and represent the best investment alternative given growing corporate profits (S&P 500 Index earnings have nearly doubled in the last five years), a favorable monetary backdrop and a recovering economy.

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

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

2013-09-27 Decomposing Today's Record Profit Margins by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Again, the popular perception is that this cycle’s record margins stem from dramatic strides in corporate efficiency, driven in good part by the outsourcing of manufacturing/assembly operations to lower labor cost countries. But most margin expansion since the 1990s is attributable to a couple of other players -- specifically, the “Bond Bulls and the Bookkeepers” (we know, it sounds like a cheap romance novel).

2013-09-27 Illinois and California: Similar Challenges, Different Approaches by Joseph Rosenblum, Neene Jenkins, John Ceffalio of AllianceBernstein

Every state faces challenges when it comes to balancing the books, but not every state is equally effective at tackling them. The responses of California and Illinois to post-2008 difficulties show how different the approaches can beand how much is at stake.

2013-09-27 Calculating A Stock's Fair Value Based On Future Growth Expectations: Part 2A by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In part one of this two-part series I focused primarily on calculating the intrinsic value of a common stock based on an analysis and review of historical information and data. Although I strongly believe that there is much that investors can learn by studying the past, I even more strongly believe that since we can only invest in the future, that it is also implicit that we embrace a rational method of forecasting.

2013-09-27 3 Reasons the Labor Market Will Continue to Frustrate the Fed by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The Fed’s decision to delay tapering is an implicit acknowledgment that the labor market is far from healed. Russ explains why the labor market is likely to continue to frustrate the Fed and gives two implications for investors.

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

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

2013-09-27 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Merkel’s win is unlikely to lead to any changes in the Eurozone. Extra lift from exports is not guaranteed. Robust growth is a challenge in India, Brazil and Indonesia.

2013-09-27 You Never Know by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

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

2013-09-26 One Trick Pony: Whipping the GDP Donkey into a Stallion by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia

The difficulty since 2012 has been that if you are not significantly overweight US equities, then your returns are less than stellar. Employing a diversified, risk-averse investment strategy in 2013 has in hindsight been the wrong thing to do, given that every other asset class is negative year-to-date, while US stocks are up double digits. The combination of the Fed’s Zero Interest Rate Policy and the artificial bubble in Treasury bonds has forced conservative investors into riskier positions in order to find risk-adjusted returns.

2013-09-26 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for Europe: Near-Term Recovery, Long-Term Risks by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

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

2013-09-25 How To Calculate The Intrinsic Value Of Your Common Stocks: Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

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

2013-09-25 Thank You! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Thank you Franklin Templeton for allowing me to speak at your world headquarters in San Mateo, California last week. I had the privilege of meeting John Templeton on a number of occasions and it is heartwarming to see your organization carrying on with Sir John’s impeccable traditions. Thanks to all the portfolio managers (PMs) that met with me in the San Francisco Bay area, as we swapped ideas and renewed friendships.

2013-09-25 Misplaced Budget Priorities by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The Federal Open Market Committee delayed the initial reduction in the pace of its asset purchases, citing concern about the recent tightening of financial conditions (higher long-term interest rates). However, Bernanke also noted uncertainty in fiscal policy. He recognized the improvement in economic activity and labor market conditions since the Fed began QE3, which was achieved in spite of a federal fiscal retrenchment. He also suggested that the debates on the government’s spending and borrowing authorities may create downside risks.

2013-09-24 The U.S. Deficit Shrank, but Will It Come Back Bigger Than Ever? by Team of Knowledge@Wharton

The U.S. deficit has fallen to its lowest level since 2008. Experts weigh in on how this will affect upcoming budget negotiations.

2013-09-24 The Brazil Conundrum by Bill OGrady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

The last decade has been exceptionally good for emerging markets. Never before have so many countries grown so rapidly, and at the same time. The average growth rate from 2003 to 2012 was 13.1% for emerging markets, while the long-term average stands at 5.0%. This growth rate was partly due to mean reversion after sluggish growth periods in the 80s and 90s, when the average growth rate for the group stood at 3.5%.

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

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

2013-09-23 The Euro Tug-of-War by Thomas Kressin of PIMCO

Faced with lingering economic stagnation, record unemployment and continued political strife in the region, the common consensus for a depreciation of the euro seems only natural and very much required to counter the weak cyclical position of the eurozone. The rising current account surplus in combination with net long-term capital inflows point to a stronger euro that could stay with us for an extended period; such a development could potentially undermine the fragile social consensus to continue with the necessary structural and fiscal reforms.

2013-09-23 Happy Anniversary? Perspectives on the Financial Crisis Five Years Later by Nanette Abuhoff Jacobson of Hartford Funds

Since 2008, there’s been slow but steady improvement in the global economypolicy makers’ unconventional tools have helped stabilize financial markets and bought time for economies to rebalance. Expectations are too low for developed-market growth and inflation, in our view. As such, we think this environment will be positive for developed-equity marketsparticularly in Europe and Japan.

2013-09-23 Aberdeen Global Investment Outlook: September 2013 by Mike Turner of Aberdeen Asset Management

The point of maximum policy accommodation may now be in sight: Markets volatile as investors forced to contemplate U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) exit strategy. Slowing growth in China is putting pressure on Asian and emerging markets to develop domestic led demand. This time really could be different for Japan - however reflating the economy was never going to be easy.

2013-09-21 Rich City, Poor City by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

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

2013-09-21 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Global deleveraging has a long way to go. Fiscal drama and the economy. Funding for economic statistics needs to be enhanced

2013-09-21 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

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

2013-09-21 Fifty Shades of Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Unlike many commodities, there are many shades to gold, such as the Love Trade’s buying gold for loved ones and the Fear Trade’s purchasing gold as a store of value. An additional “shade” investors need to be aware of is how the Fed interprets the recovery of the U.S. economy.

2013-09-20 Will Europe's Improving Economy Push Interest Rates Higher by Giordano Lombardo of Pioneer Investments

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased in the second quarter after six straight declines. Data expectations were on the optimistic side, but investors appeared to become more confident before the release, thanks to encouraging evidence from supposedly reliable forward-looking indicators.

2013-09-20 Companies Can Do More to Unlock Shareholder Value by Kurt Feuerman of AllianceBernstein

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

2013-09-20 Growth and Rising Stars by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

While developed market growth in several regions is picking up cyclically from low levels, overall global economic growth should remain subdued over the next several years. We believe credit spread tightening and rating upgrades are most likely for specific companies in industries and areas with strong growth. We see these "rising star" companies in the U.S. and European auto sector, the gaming, energy and chemical industries and in sectors tied to the U.S. housing market.

2013-09-20 Investment Bulletin: Emerging Markets Equity by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

Since the start of the year to date, the portfolio has whupped the index by over 1,100 basis points, with a real gain against an index loss. Overall, the developed market (DM) index easily outperformed that for emerging markets (EM). This is expected to continue at the index level, partially because of weaker earnings growth and for political/social reasons. Analysts crank out studies on their companies, yet few look up from their spreadsheets to take a wider view encompassing politics and real people.

2013-09-20 Investment Bulletin: Global Income Strategy by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

The Global Income equity strategy is unconstrained by geography, sector or stock, and is committed to achieving the target yield based on the opening NAV at the beginning of each financial year of 4.5%, payable in equal quarterly dividends with any excess paid out at the end of the year. It may only invest in companies with an historic dividend yield of at least 2.5% based on the price at the date of purchase. There is a bar on using derivatives or options to achieve the target yield and it must invest in a company on its merits rather than rotational dividend stripping.

2013-09-19 The Taper That Wasn\'t by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The Fed’s failure today to announce some sort of tapering of its QE program, despite the consensus of an overwhelming percentage of economists who expected action, once again reveals the degree to which mainstream analysts have overestimated the strength of our current economy. The Fed understands, as the market seems not to, that the current "recovery" could not survive without continuation of massive monetary stimulus.

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

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

2013-09-18 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Depending upon where you reside, or on which side of the issues you fall, it was a good week last week. We averted a military strike on Syria by the U.S., at least temporarily; we had reasonable adjustments to economic growth statistics; and most made some money in their portfolios. While cyclical dynamics are relatively benign, the broader secular outlook continues to build a solid foundation for recovery.

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

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

2013-09-16 Europe's Fragile Recovery by Tucker Scott of Franklin Templeton Investments

Investors have tentatively begun to buy into the European recovery story, but remain fearful of the region’s fragility. A few bits of upbeat economic data recently have provided grounds for optimism, and the European Central Bank’s continued commitment to holding the Eurozone together has boosted confidence. Tucker Scott, portfolio manager forTempleton Foreign Fund, still sees a few economic roadblocks in Europe but also plenty of progress. He shares where he’s finding signs of strength and investment opportunities.

2013-09-16 Investing in Puerto Rico: What Investors Should Know by Stephanie Larosiliere of Invesco Blog

In recent quarters, investors have been on high alert about Puerto Rico’s ailing financial situation. The concern was sparked by the US territory’s ongoing recession, which has been characterized by high unemployment, $70 billion of total debt and a consecutive streak of annual budget deficits. Compounding investors’ fears were Detroit’s recent bankruptcy filing and June’s massive sell-off in the municipal bond market, which may have caused some weakness in Puerto Rico’s debt.

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

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

2013-09-13 Invest In Stocks With A Margin of Safety To Reduce Risk And Enhance Returns by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Of all of the many sound investing principles that legendary teacher and investor Ben Graham put forward, he believed that his concept of “margin of safety” was the most important of all. This investment lesson was so deeply ingrained into the mind of Ben Graham’s most famous student, Warren Buffett, that he created his two most important rules of sound investing. Rule number one: Never lose money. Rule number two: Never forget rule number one. Clearly, both of these renowned sages understood the importance of minimizing risk, especially when investing in equities.

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

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

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

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

2013-09-11 Absolute Return Letter: A Case of Broken BRICS? by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

EM currencies, stocks and bonds have struggled since the Fed signalled its intent to change course in late May. This has seemingly triggered an exodus of speculative capital from emerging markets but, as is always the case, there is more to the story than that. EM countries (ex. China) no longer run a current account surplus with the rest of the world, and this hurts global liquidity. It is not yet a re-run of the 1997-98 Asian crisis, but it has the potential to become one with all sorts of consequences for bond yields in developed markets, currency wars, etc.

2013-09-10 Capital Spending: A Double-Edged Sword by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Rising business outlays on equipment and technology will likely contribute to a subpar pace of hiringand help boost corporate profit margins.

2013-09-10 Oil Has Too Many Plumbers by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We’ve never quite understood why most sensible people don’t apply the same economic logic to investing that they do to any other business. Take plumbing for example. If your town has 10 main plumbing companies and 10 more move into town, your economic mind tells you that the added competition will drive down profits. On the other hand, if five of the plumbing companies go out of business, profits should rise over time.

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

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

2013-09-09 Moving On - Five Years After Lehman by John Petrides (Article)

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the Lehman Brothers failure and the start of worst financial crisis in American history since the Great Depression, and yet to some investors, it seems like only yesterday. Investors still hold onto that period of volatility as if it will happen again tomorrow, paralyzing and confusing their investment decisions. Consequently, many investors have watched from the sidelines as the stock market has recovered solidly year after year.

2013-09-09 Equities Advance Despite Concerns Over Weak Employment and Growth by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities moved higher last week, with the S&P 500 advancing 1.40%.1 In the face of another disappointing employment report, positive recovery expectations provided tailwinds. Key manufacturing and service sector data surprised to the upside, and improved corporate confidence was highlighted by merger and acquisition activity. Developments outside the U.S. supported recovery and reform, and emerging market fears lessened. A potential U.S. military strike on Syria was an overhang as President Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval raised concerns about other looming battles.

2013-09-09 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

The Syrian war crisis has prompted another “moment in time” for the markets to reflect and digest both the near-term and long term consequences of our response from a political and economic perspective. What’s most worrisome is the precedent of previous actions the U.S. has taken in global conflicts, and the potential catalysts for negative consequences for the markets.

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

Stocks finished higher last week, but August was a down month as worries about monetary policy including who will lead the Federal Reserve next year, along with the confusion surrounding the Obama administration’s Syria decisions have put a damper on things for now.

2013-09-09 Market Technicals Signal Trouble Ahead by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Bear market enthusiasts have so far been disappointed in September after the sudden market rally last week. With equities up more than 1% on the month, many bears pointed to the historically poor performance of equity markets during this month as a reason to remain cautious. Bear enthusiasts need not fear, as markets appear to be converging toward an inflection point right around the Fed meeting in the middle of the month.

2013-09-07 Unrealistic Expectations by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Two well-respected analysts of pension funds have produced reports this summer suggesting that pensions are now underfunded by more than $4 trillion and possibly more than $5 trillion. I would like to tell you that the underfunding is all the bad news, but when you probe deeper into the problems facing pension funds, it just gets worse.

2013-09-06 The Growth Mirage by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Despite disappointing economic data, there continues to be widespread expectations of a period of stronger economic growth just ahead. This growth mirage draws thirsty investors and increases the likelihood that interest rates will continue rising over the near-term.

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

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

2013-09-06 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Nonfarm Employment by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

I’ve now updated this commentary to include today’s release of the August Nonfarm Employment data. As the adjacent thumbnail illustrates, the trend in this indicator has been ever upward, but at a frustratingly slow pace. Today’s announcement of only 169K new jobs was below forecasts. Moreover, the nonfarm jobs number for July was revised downward from 188K to 172K and the June number was revised downward from 162K to 104K for a combined decline of 74K from last month’s report.

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

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

2013-09-05 Seventh Inning Stretch by William Gross of PIMCO

They say that reality is whatever you wish it to be and I suppose that could be true. Just wish it, as Jiminy Cricket used to say, and it will come true. Reality’s relativity came to mind the other day as I was opening a box of Cracker Jacks for an afternoon snack. That’s right I said Cracker Jacks! I can’t count the number of people who have told me during the seventh inning stretch at a baseball game to make sure I sing Cracker Jack (without the S) because that’s what the song says. I care not. No one ever says buy me some “potato chip” or some “pea

2013-09-04 How Strong is the Job Market? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

A year ago, as the Fed was about to embark on its third large-scale asset purchase program (QE3), the policy focus shifted to the labor market. In announcing QE3, the Federal Open Market Committee indicated that purchases would continue “if the outlook for the labor market does not improve substantially.” A year later, how much improvement have we seen?

2013-09-03 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

For those in college during the 60s the time of “sex, drugs, and rock ’n roll” it’s hard to believe that marijuana has become legal. It is currently legal in some form in about 20 states and more are considering it, at least for medical purposes. Even Florida has strong proponents for the medical use of marijuana. There are always people who are trying to take advantage of the situation and this is no exception.

2013-09-03 Momentum in Europe by Janus Equity Investment Team of Janus Capital Group

We think now is a good time to be investing in Europe. European equity valuations are at the lowest level in more than 40 years, by some measures, and we are seeing green shoots in the region’s downtrodden economy. Meanwhile, European companies in several industries have right-sized their cost structures or refocused their businesses, setting them up to be more competitive on a global scale.

2013-09-03 As Uncertainty Abounds in September, Sideways Consolidation Continues by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Global equities struggled last week, with the S&P 500 declining -1.39%.1 Volatility rose from geopolitical uncertainty over the military strike in Syria.2 Oil prices spiked with concerns about escalation and tension but retreated due to dampened international support and expectations that a military campaign would be short-lived. The U.S. Treasury announced its borrowing capacity will be exhausted by mid-October, exposing contentious fiscal battles. Reports mentioned former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers may be leading the succession race for Fed Chairman.

2013-08-31 How Do I Hate Thee? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

I will list a number of reasons why I hate this market and then suggest a few reasons why that should get you excited. We will look at some charts, and I’ll briefly comment on them. No deep dives this week, just a survey of the general landscape.

2013-08-30 Beware the Dangerous Stretch for Yield by Ashish Shah of AllianceBernstein

The US Federal Reserve talked in early summer about tapering its quantitative easing plan and raising interest ratesin part to stop investors from chasing yield into the arms of riskier loans. In the high-yield market, however, the conversation had exactly the opposite effect.

2013-08-30 Look for these European Stocks to Exert a Lot of Horsepower by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article, “Emerging Europe is a Haven in Selloff,” highlighting the region’s recent success in “rising above the storm” that other developing markets have not been able to avoid. Dark clouds have been swirling around emerging markets, with the MSCI Emerging Markets Index falling about 12 percent on a year-to-date basis.

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

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

2013-08-29 Monthly Investment Commentary by Litman Gregory Research Team of Litman Gregory

U.S. stocks resumed their positive streak in July (after a slightly negative June). Large-cap stocks rose in three out of the four weeks and were up 5% for the month. Smaller companies generally outperformed their larger-cap counterparts. After Federal Reserve comments regarding the timing of its stimulus withdrawal upset markets in May and June (particularly the bond market), investors seemed to take comfort in the Fed’s more recent comments. Among other points, Chairman Bernanke reiterated that a decision to taper bond purchases is different from raising the federal funds rate

2013-08-29 Earnings: Just Good Enough by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Corporate profits aren’t exactly setting the world on fire, but the rate of growth should be sufficient to support further equity market gains.

2013-08-28 On Tapering, All Signs Point to “Maybe” by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Investors looking to the July 30-31 Fed policy meeting minutes for clear clues on future moves were left disappointed. Nearly all senior Fed officials expect that a reduction in the pace of asset sales is likely to be warranted by the end of the year. However, they appear evenly divided on whether that will be sooner (September) or later (December). The economic data remained mixed, suggesting that the decision will be a close call.

2013-08-28 Forrest Gump Stock Market by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

After watching "Forrest Gump" for about the thirtieth time recently, I realized that the US economy and US stock market share a great deal in common with Forrest. In this missive, we will be reminded of the journey of a true American folk hero and of the journey back from the abyss the US economy and stock market have made since early in 2009.

2013-08-28 America is Turning Into a \"Part-Time Nation\" by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Part-time work accounted for a whopping 77% of the jobs the US economy created from January through July, according to household survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Last year during the same time period, part-time jobs were only 53% of the total versus 47% full-time jobs. This trend toward part-time, low paying jobs is accelerating rapidly.

2013-08-27 The Price Clients Pay for Worst-Case Forecasts by Bob Veres (Article)

Clients and the world at large give inordinate attention to downside scenarios, and nobody is calling our attention to the much larger upside of our business and investment landscape. The human brain amplifies this effect, because it is hardwired to notice threats much more than opportunities. I recently spoke with Dennis Stearns – an advisor who happens to be an expert in scenario planning – about the role planners need to play to counteract media-driven negativity.

2013-08-27 Greece Highlights Germany\'s EU Dilemma by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

On August 11th, German media got hold of and published an internal Bundesbank report which maintained that Greece would likely need further relaxation of the terms of its rescue bailouts. The report contained revelations that could be deeply embarrassing to the government of Angela Merkel that has maintained forcefully that German taxpayers would face no further commitments. The revelations could potentially be a potent weapon for her political opposition in the upcoming election. More broadly, the revelations reveal a wide gap between economic reality and the sunny face of EU optimism.

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.

2013-08-25 France: On the Edge of the Periphery by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Charles de Gaulle said that "France cannot be France without greatness." The current path that France is on will not take it to renewed greatness but rather to insolvency and turmoil. Is France destined to be grouped with its Mediterranean peripheral cousins, or to be seen as part of the solid North Atlantic core? The world is far better off with a great France, but France can achieve greatness only by its own actions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

2013-08-23 Embrace Bottom Up by Herbert and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

With all the conflicting macro news, some good, some not, and with the S&P 500 and the Dow at new highs while many sectors languish, it is preferable to focus on the little picture not the big one. The big one may currently be more unpredictable than the small one, being bottom up investment in undervalued securities. Those may currently be less popular, but we value investors are naturally driven to buy investments low, that are neglected and unpopular, with the view of selling them high when their popularity is enhanced. Buy low and sell high. Not buy high and sell higher as is now in vogue.

2013-08-23 Buckle Up by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Caution is warranted near-term. For investors that have a solid strategy of dollar-cost averaging into the market, we don’t recommend deviating from that path. However, for investors who are more tactical, better entry points are likely yet to come. Longer-term, we remain bullish on US equities and prefer developed international markets over emerging markets.

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

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

2013-08-23 The Next Big Challenge to Investors: Duration by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

Many investors have been conditioned to accept that the economy will be in the rehabilitation ward for the foreseeable future, rates will remain low, and monetary stimulus unending. We believe this is an increasingly dangerous mindset and the next great risk for bond investors is coming into view: the return of higher interest rates. We look at the “refuge” subsectors those areas of the fixed income market that investors may believe provide “safe haven” from the gathering storm.

2013-08-22 Active ETF Market Share Update & Weekly Market Review by AdvisorShares Research of AdvisorShares

Last week, total AUM in all active ETFs fell by over $60.5 million. AUM in the “Global Bond” category fell by nearly $89 million both because of falling values for ETFs in the category and redemptions in certain ETFs. The “Foreign Bond” category had another bad week, ending almost $36 million below where it began. As in previous weeks, assets in “Short Term Bond” active ETFs increased, this time by almost $36.5 million.

2013-08-21 The Danger of Duration: The Damage Potential of Rising Rates by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

The Federal Reserve’s initial goals from “The Great Monetary Experiment” are accomplished. Investors could now face the threat of rising bond yields.

2013-08-20 Part-Timers and the Labor Market by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Over the past few weeks we keep getting the same two questions about the labor market. Basically, investors want to know whether the labor market is really improving if so many of the jobs are going to part-timers and if the more expansive definition of the unemployment rate (the one that includes discouraged workers and part-timers who want to work full-time) is about double the regular unemployment rate.

2013-08-20 A Lot Of Action In What Was Expected To Be A Quiet Week by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Most of the U.S. economic data released last week was rather ho-hum, consistent with continuing slow growth, but markets weren’t boring. Maybe markets are thin because it’s August, but the U.S. Treasury market had one of its worst weeks in a long time, and the selling spilled over into the U.S. stock market.

2013-08-20 August Monthly Investment Bulletins by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

For the first seven months of the year the portfolio rose by 25.2% vs. 19.3% for the index. During the month, the 6.4% gain was 150 basis points ahead. Three trends continued: the gradual increase in fund flows into equity markets relative to other asset classes, slightly improving economic data across most developed countries, and a mild deterioration in many developing nations.

2013-08-19 Equity Fatigue Continues with Headwinds from Bond Sell-off by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities finished lower for the second straight week as the S&P 500 declined 2.04%, narrowly escaping its worst week of the year. A specific catalyst behind the pullback was not identified by us or market analysts.

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

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

2013-08-19 Consumers: Wallets Open, but Not Too Wide by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

U.S. consumer spending is likely to remain on a slow, but steady, growth trajectory, boosting overall economic growth.

2013-08-17 Signs of the Top by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The investment media seems obsessed with the question of whether the Fed will taper. The real question should be not about "tapering" but about credibility. What happens when fundamentals become the narrative as opposed to what the central bank is doing? What happens if the Federal Reserve throws a liquidity party and nobody comes? Today we look at some of the fundamentals. The market is in fact overvalued, but that doesn’t mean it can’t become more overvalued. Is this August 1987 or August 1999?

2013-08-16 The Telecommunications Services Sector Untethered and Poised to Grow by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Suffice it to say that the Telecommunications Services sector of today is not your grandfather’s Telecommunications Services sector. The explosion, and rapidly becoming ubiquitous implementation, of wireless technologies have been disruptive and game changing. As a result, the very nature of the established stalwarts within this industry have gone through an extraordinary metamorphosis.

2013-08-16 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

The speculation about Fed leadership has gone too far. Eurozone growth should be placed in perspective. The velocity of money may turn around soon.

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

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

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

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

2013-08-15 China and the Outlook for Financial Crises by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

China’s elevated and rising debt levels appear to be one of the largest risks to the global economy today. Although it is difficult to gauge when the risks in that country could manifest as a crisis, investors should act with the knowledge that the margin of safety in the global investment environment continues to decrease.

2013-08-13 Envisioning the Planning Firm of the Future by Bob Veres (Article)

Virtually all advisors operate with a value proposition built on bettering their clients’ financial future through management of their assets. But trends in the workforce and capital markets will force advisors to rethink those assumptions and, if Richie Lee is right, the planning firm of the future will adapt a four-factor service model that places much greater emphasis on helping clients maximize their human capital.

2013-08-13 China Struggles to Fight the Trend by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Prior to the global financial crisis, decoupling’ was the word du jour. In the years since the crisis began, however, decoupling has vanished from the everyday lexicon. In recent weeks, the financial media noticed a new form of decoupling, one that shows improving growth prospects in the developed world but slower growth in developing economies. Rightly or otherwise, much of that slowdown is pinned on China and recent data continues to suggest a slower pace of growth than investors became accustomed to in prior decades.

2013-08-13 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review Q2 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Many developed economies in the Asia Pacific region rebounded during the second quarter of 2013 to post a healthy set of growth and inflation numbers. Turning on the monetary spigots during the past one year provided a major fillip to many developed Asian economies. Countries that fumbled in the wake of natural disasters in the recent past, showed marked improvement. Even those countries that were said to be suffering from structural deficiencies, too, responded well to the monetary medicine administered by their various central banks.

2013-08-13 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

When the Fed talks, people listen (and it doesn’t even have to be Bernanke). This week, a few key policymakers (not named Bernanke) expressed their views that the bond buying program may begin to be tapered this year, perhaps as early as the September meeting. Some investors used the opportunity to sell stocks and book some profits, though news from China eased certain concerns that the global economy was on shaky ground.

2013-08-13 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Despite the market’s jittery, almost daily, responses to the Federal Reserve’s inferences about “taking their foot off the pedal”, the reality is that secular changes, like the kind considered, occur very slowly and give us enough time to prepare for, and analyze, the consequences real and imagined.Most importantly, we need to see significant changes in data, and perception of that data, over the long term in order to corroborate the Fed’s decision.

2013-08-13 Dog Days of Summer Are Upon Us by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Hopefully you are reading this from the beach, because there is so little news happening in the markets that those of us in the office are about to start making news up to justify stock price movements. But while news and volumes are at August lows, here are some thoughts that might ring a bell to help you to either make some money or to set down your smartphone and get back to the water.

2013-08-13 China's Government Can't Stop the Bust by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

On a recent trip to Europe we participated in a forum in Milan of five stock picking organizations. Two were from Brazil, one was from Malaysia and one was picking stocks inside China via the Shanghai Stock Exchange. We believe what they said was an enticement to investors for the purpose of getting them excited about stocks in their country. To us, this reveals a great deal about where prices in emerging stock markets and commodities are headed over the next five to seven years.

2013-08-13 Europe\'s Queasy Status Quo by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The eurozone’s weaker members continue to falter, but the currency union will likely hang together. Make no mistake, though: Europe remains at the edge of crisis.

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

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

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

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

2013-08-09 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The global productivity "bust" is largely cyclical. The Bank of England tries forward guidance. Will low labor force participation keep the Fed from tapering?

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

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

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

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

2013-08-09 The Calm Before the Storm? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Record highs in US equities have resulted thus far in only modestly elevated investor sentiment and it appears retail investors are returning to the market, which could fuel further gains. However, volatility is likely to increase with political and Fed issues on the horizon. Europe remains attractive, along with Japan, but we are watching the potential consumption tax increase closely, while China’s valuations are improved but concerns remain.

2013-08-08 Not an Entry Point for U.S. Stocks by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

My long-term view of U.S. equities remains bullish, but a number of indicators, as well as near-term macro challenges, point to a pause in the run-up of that asset class.

2013-08-08 Bond Wars by William Gross of PIMCO

Adaptation is tantamount to survival in the physical world. So argued Darwin, at least, and I am not one to argue with most science and its interpretation of natural laws. Adaptation has been critical as well for the survival of countries during wartime, incidents of which I am drawn to like a bear to honey, especially when they concern WWI. Stick with me for a few paragraphs on this the following is not likely to be boring and almost certainly should be instructive.

2013-08-08 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 Looking Farther Down the Road by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover, Mike Czekaj of Broadleaf Partners

The stock market has continued to do very well over the summer months, reaching new, all-time highs and proving to even the most stubborn of skeptics that Great Recessions can become Great Recoveries for those with the appropriate time horizon. While our industry spends a great deal of time and effort focused on relative performance results compared to appropriate benchmarks, the greatest value any financial advisor or money manager can provide is usually addressed far less often; simply keeping you in the game.

2013-08-08 Is The Financial Crisis Over For Financial Stocks? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The cause of the financial crisis of 2007 -2008, also known as the Great Recession of 2008, is attributed to many different theories. However, one of the most common theories is an easy money regulatory environment that led to an abundance of subprime loans, which in turn inflated real estate prices to bubble levels. Additionally, many blame the Financial sector, predominantly the money center banks, for exploiting the lax lending requirements with reckless and greedy behavior.

2013-08-08 The Role of Confidence by Howard Marks of Oaktree Capital

The so-called wealth effect plays an important and well recognized part in the functioning of an economy. When assets appreciate in value, the owners translate their increased wealth into increased spending. While at first glance this is unsurprising, it should be noted that this is true even if the appreciation is unrealized, and thus the increased wealth exists solely on paper. The relationship can be stated as follows: the richer people feel, the more they spend. Changes in confidence have an impact on behavior similar to the wealth effect. That’s what this memo is about.

2013-08-07 Adapt or Die... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Bond king Bill Grosss $261.7 billion Total Return Fund at Pacific Investment Management Co. suffered a $7.5 billion net outflow last month, according to data from fund tracker Morningstar Inc. on Friday. It is the third straight monthly outflow for the Fund, on the heels of nearly $10 billion in redemptions in June. Clients have yanked $15.6 billion from Gross’s Fund in 2013 through July. Jeffrey Gundlach’s $37.9 billion DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund suffered $580 million net outflow in July, according to Morningstar.

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

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

2013-08-06 We Shale Rise by Janus Equity Investment team of Janus Capital Group

The U.S. oil and gas boom largely underpinned the country’s economic recovery, but this is only the beginning. Don’t underestimate what cheap oil and natural gas means for the U.S. economy, or how long this advantage could last.

2013-08-06 Politicizing the Economy by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

If we were put in charge of the world, if we had complete control of fiscal and monetary policy, we would change things.

2013-08-05 Can It Get Any Better Than This? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

What in the world is going on?! As I write this letter from the Maine woods, the S&P 500 has just cleared 1,700 for the first time. The German DAX continues to set all-time highs above 8,400. The United Kingdom’s FTSE 100 is quickly approaching its 1999 record high of 6,930, and its mid-cap cousin, the FTSE 250, just broke through to its all-time level above 15,000. And last but not least, Japan’s Nikkei 225 is extending its gains once more, toward 14,500.

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

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

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

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

2013-08-01 Lack of US Economic Growth May Slow Fed Tapering by Kevin Mahn of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management

While we are encouraged that the U.S. economy has been growing, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, for 15 consecutive quarters starting in the third quarter of 2009, we are concerned that the growth rate has been below that of previous economic recoveries and the economy appears to be stalling and struggling to get back above a 2% growth rate thus far in 2013.

2013-08-01 Fed in Watch-and-Wait Mode by Team of Northern Trust

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) today held unchanged its current asset purchase program of $85 billion per month. The Federal Reserve avoided providing new nuances to existing forward guidance and re-issued the June policy statement with minor modifications to reflect recent economic developments.

2013-07-30 Detroit A Guest Commentary and Noise from DC by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

This week I bring you a guest commentary from a friend and colleague, Josh Laurito. His blog post, “Why Detroit’s Bankruptcy is a Bigger Deal Than You Think” may rankle a few of you and cause others to challenge Josh’s points. That is what he does so well he thinks outside of the box and offers context not necessarily shared by folks who are all munis, all the time. It is precisely these reasons that I encourage you to read on. In my years of knowing Josh, I have always found his thinking and approach to be insightful and, at times, a bit different.

2013-07-30 As Finances Mend, Will Consumers Spend? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The Federal Reserve recently released first quarter data on household finances. These show continued and welcome improvement. Stronger balance sheets reflect improved real estate prices, rising stock prices, and continued higher rates of household saving.

2013-07-30 The U.S. Energy Revolution by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

In March 1971, the Texas Railroad Commission (TRC), which allocated oil production for the state of Texas, announced that producers in the state would be allowed a “full allocation.” This was the first time the TRC had allowed Texas producers to supply an unlimited amount of crude oil since WWII.

2013-07-30 Who Let the Ferrari Out of the Garage? by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

With just three trading days left in the month, July is in the running for the title of least volatile month of the year, with the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index averaging moves of just 0.39% this month through Thursday’s close. That is lower than the 0.41% and 0.42% averages of January and March, respectively, when stocks were grinding slowly, but steadily higher.

2013-07-30 Royal Babies and Economic Growth by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

On a recent business trip to Europe, we noticedanecdotallya lack of hope in the economic future of Europe. There is a good reason for the lack of hope. Hope, we believe, comes in the form of new life. When all of the austerity being practiced in developed nations around the world is pretty much done, something else needs to happen for economic growth to take hold. At Smead Capital Management, we believe developed economies need rebirth and the birth last week of a son to the Royal family is a watershed event.

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

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

2013-07-29 Lessons from Detroit by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Detroit’s bankruptcy is a stark reminder that full faith and credit bonds of municipal jurisdictions can fail, despite their theoretically unlimited taxing authority. Full faith and credit bonds backed by taxing authority were always considered safer than special purposes bonds, with a specific, but limited source of funding. But full faith bonds also depend on willingness to pay, which sometimes runs short before the taxing ability.

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

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

2013-07-26 The View From Here by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Despite the advance of college savings accounts, many families are ill-prepared to pay for school.

2013-07-26 Investors Now a Concern by John Burns of John Burns Real Estate Consulting

During the downturn and early stages of recovery, we were huge proponents of investors taking advantage of overcorrected home prices to make great investments while also helping the housing market recover. Mission accomplished.

2013-07-26 Attention 3-D Shoppers by John West of Research Affiliates

Why do retail shoppers love a sale while capital markets flee from falling prices? Investors should consider starting to fill their shopping carts while inflation hedges are cheap....

2013-07-26 For A Healthier Portfolio - Look Here by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The Health Care sector is comprised of many diverse companies, as can be seen from the list of subsectors provided below. Historically the Health Care sector has been comprised of a significant number of companies with above-average growth rates of earnings. Consequently, a majority of the companies comprising the Health Care sector could be thought of as growth stocks over dividend growth stocks.

2013-07-26 Wedding Bells in Romania by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

I was invited to attend the wedding of one of our Romanian staff in June, and I jumped at the opportunity to celebrate with the happy couple, visit a different part of Romania, and talk to locals about life there. The celebration represented a microcosm of the juxtaposition of old and new in Romania, and this is similar for investors there as progress continues toward market reform.

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

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

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

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

2013-07-25 The Damage Potential of Rising Rates by Michael Temple of Pioneer Investments

The initial goals of the Federal Reserve’s “Great Monetary Experiment” to keep rates low, create negative real yields, spur consumption and cushion the budgetary consequences of fiscal stimulus have largely been accomplished. Investors could now face the threat of rising bond yields. Various bull and bear scenarios might ensue. What are they and what could trigger them? What are the risks to portfolios?

2013-07-24 Average Gas Price Could Hit $4 by Labor Day... Or Not by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

With the recent jump in gasoline prices, several energy analysts are forecasting that prices at the pump will top $4 a gallon (national average) later this summer. On the other hand, some analysts feel that gas prices will only go up another 5-10 cents a gallon just ahead, and then move lower in the fall. Of course, no one knows for sure. Today, we’ll take a look at what’s driving gas prices higher.

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

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

2013-07-24 Bursting of the Bond Bubble by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

Our April newsletter focused on the extreme overvaluation in the bond market. I argued that money market funds (or cash) were likely to outperform bonds and bond funds over the next decade. In May I applied the same logic to US stock prices and the inherent fallacy in the prevailing TINA (“there is no alternative” to stocks) hypothesis. Although stocks are likely to outperform bonds over the next decade, both asset classes remain seriously overvalued. In a world of overvalued assets, zero return looks much better than large potential losses even when that means foregoing transitory

2013-07-23 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review Q2 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Trimming its forecast for global growth, the International Monetary Fund’s mid-year assessment of the world economy highlighted the slowdown in emerging economies such as Russia and recessionary conditions in the Euro-zone. Still, the recent surge in factory production and rise in new orders brought a whiff of optimism to emerging European markets such as Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, which have been reeling under a prolonged downturn due to weak demand from the Euro-zone.

2013-07-23 More Summer Storms? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

don’t know about your part of the country but I think this summer has been the wettest in some time around Detroit. We have had soooo much rain. Our Great Lakes began the year well below their long-term average depth. After months of rain, all of the Great Lakes are now above their levels from last year, and nearby Lake Ontario has gained ten inches in height in just the last month. Ontario is 11″ higher than one year ago and 5″ ABOVE the century average. Yet its previous below average condition had existed for years and had been worsening quite a change!

2013-07-23 You Thought It Was Hot Outside... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

You thought it was hot outside? Wait until you see the weekly cash inflows into U.S. Equities... Funds that hold only U.S. stocks gained $15.58 billion in new cash, the most since June 2008. ETFs that hold domestic equities attracted $12.45 billion of those gains.

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

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

2013-07-22 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review Q2 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Moderate growth is anticipated in Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) region as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) notes that economic expansion in the oil exporting countries has slowed down due to subdued global oil demand. While oil importing countries are expected to make a slight recovery, nations in transition are facing complex socio-political issues, which could further delay their recovery.

2013-07-22 More Plow Horse in Q2 by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Forecasting economic growth for the second quarter of the year is always precarious. The reason is that the initial report on the second quarter is when the government goes back and makes revisions to GDP for the past several years. This time around, it’s particularly iffy because the government for the very first time is going to start accounting in GDP for the value of R&D spending by companies.

2013-07-22 Can China Give Credit Where It's Due? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

June was a rough month for China’s economy and its financial markets. Old concerns about sustainable growth came to the fore, as reports surfaced and resurfaced, recounting liquidity shortages, misdirected and excessive credit growth, gyrating interest rates, and signs of weakness in manufacturing. Commentators and analysts alike voiced fears of a Chinese collapse on a par with America’s subprime crisis. For the second time in as many years, several in the global financial community have prophesized a “hard” landing for China’s economy.

2013-07-20 Any Bonds Today? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Given the acknowledged limitations of the CPI, we nevertheless use it in myriad ways. It governs cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security beneficiaries, government employees, and many labor union members. CPI is baked into the general cake, even though we know it is an imperfect fit in almost every situation.

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

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

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

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

2013-07-19 7 Things Investors Should Know Now by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Can stocks move higher? What are the best opportunities now in stocks and fixed income? Russ answers these questions and others in an update to his mid-year outlook.

2013-07-19 Are Blue-Chip Consumer Staples Worth Today's Premium Valuations? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The Consumer Staples sector consists of companies that provide essential products. In other words, Consumer Staples are products that people cannot or are unwilling to do without. As a result of the essential nature of Consumer Staples, there are several attributes that distinguish this sector from most others. First of all, the essential nature of the products that Consumer Staples’ companies produce, are for the most part, non-cyclical. Second, Consumer Staples tend to be very insensitive to economic cycles.

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

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

2013-07-19 Opportunity in Europe by Team of Neuberger Berman

A striking feature of this year’s global stock market rally is that international markets have significantly trailed U.S. stocks. Nevertheless, Neuberger Berman’s Asset Allocation Committee (AAC) recently made the contrarian call of upgrading its view for international developed markets, particularly Europe. In this Strategic Spotlight, we provide an update on the European economy and lay out some reasons for optimism despite the dour growth outlook.

2013-07-19 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.2, up slightly from last week’s 130.1 (revised from 130.2). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 4.5% from 4.3% last week (revised from 4.6%).

2013-07-18 The Death of Disasterism by Steven Vincent of BullBear Trading

From late 2012 I have been gradually layering and developing the thesis that a secular bull market started in November of 2012 (with a possible revised start date of June 2012), ending the sideways secular bear market that started in 2000. Here are the basic components of that thesis through the last report.

2013-07-17 Second Quarter 2013 Newsletter by Steve Wenstrup, Jim Tillar of Tillar-Wenstrup

We wrote after the strong first quarter to expect volatility to increase with stocks remaining the preferred asset class and that is largely what happened in the second quarter. Almost all risk assets wobbled after the Federal Reserve (Fed) hinted at a possible tapering of quantitative easing later this year. Regardless, most domestic stocks did well in the quarter.

2013-07-17 Canadian Secular View: Into Darkness? by Ed Devlin of PIMCO

Many investors are buying Canadian federal government bonds, shorting Canadian bank stocks and selling Canadian dollars in anticipation of a prolonged downturn. While significant risks are clearly facing the Canadian economy, our baseline forecast does not justify positioning our portfolios for a prolonged Canadian downturn.

2013-07-16 Hedge Funds Can Advertise...But Should They? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

In April 2012, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was signed into law. The legislation eased a number of regulatory burdens on small businesses and private industry in a bid to boost job growth. The bill made additional headlines for lifting an 80-year ban on solicitation for private placements, the restriction that prevented hedge funds from advertising their wares to the general public.

2013-07-16 Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy July by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

For the first half of the year, the 17.7% gain by the portfolio was 390 basis points better than the index; during June, market panic over potential changes in Fed policy resulted in a 3.0% fall in the index, with the portfolio down by a similar amount. US bond funds suffered a record $58 billion outflow during the month, 2%of their assets.

2013-07-16 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.

2013-07-16 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

After having had a tremendous first half of the year, what direction might the market take into the next few quarters? On the one hand, trend analysis has indeed turned “positive” and would suggest that the throttle is in full “go” mode. However, we know from historical and economic analysis that markets cannot sustain linear acceleration indefinitely, and that even the most robust trend is susceptible either to linear reversion or cyclical unraveling.

2013-07-16 Arc of a Diver: The Budget Deficit\'s Plunge by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The budget deficit has been cut by more than halffrom over 10% of GDP to less than 5% today. June saw a budget surplus! The health of the private sector (given its deleveraging since 2007) more than offsets the drag from public sector deleveraging.

2013-07-15 Rock-A-Bye Baby by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

I’ve always thought that singing “Rock-a-bye baby” offers a bizarre lesson to our young, encouraging them to be lulled gently to sleep by describing a scene that should have them wide-eyed with terror.

2013-07-12 Welcome Back Greece to the High-Potential World of Emerging Markets by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

In June, major international equity index provider MSCI confirmed Greece’s sojourn among the ranks of “developed markets” would end later this year as it will become the first-ever country to lose its “developed market” status in the MSCI universe. Interestingly, Greece was classified as emerging when I started with the Templeton Emerging Markets Group in 1987, and while the recent news might conjure up images of a significant turn for the worse for the country’s economic fortunes, MSCI’s explanation for Greece’s reclassification was actually mor

2013-07-12 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

ECRI posts its proprietary indicators on a one-week delayed basis to the general public, but last year the company switched its focus to a version of the Big Four Economic Indicators I’ve been tracking for the past year. In recent months, however, those indicators have slipped below the fold, replaced by the mixed bag of whatever Indicator du Jour might look recessionary, as in the "Yo-Yo Years" commentary.

2013-07-12 Making Sense of the Bond Market by Phelps McIlvaine of Saturna Capital

The great challenge for investors and advisers today is to forecast where interest rates and bond prices will be once the influence of radical central bank intervention dissipates. Measures of inflation expectations are declining, and deflation remains the dominant influence on interest rates. In assessing whether to trim bond allocations, it is important to revisit the reasons for selecting a particular asset allocation before modifying or abandoning it.

2013-07-11 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company

While the economic trends of the past couple of years continue, we’ve just seen an important change in interest rates and the bond markets.

2013-07-11 The Taper by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

If SNL’s Emily Litella worked on Wall Street, she’d probably be asking “What’s all this hubbub about the Fed’s tapir? After all, it’s a fine animal that never hurt anyone on Wall Street.” It would then be pointed out to her that the word was “taper” and not “tapir”. She would politely end her commentary with her famous “Never mind.”

2013-07-10 Market Perspectives Q2 2013: Fed Fears by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

Investors have been hypersensitive to the inevitable reversal of the Federal Reserve’s bond purchasing economic stimulus program known as QE3. Signs of sustainable economic recovery have been closely monitored as a harbinger of a likely end of the program.

2013-07-10 3 Risks that Could Derail the Market Rally by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Stocks can withstand moderate rate increases, as we saw last Friday when they rallied despite a sell-off in bonds. But Russ K warns that they may not withstand these three other scenarios.

2013-07-09 So the Bulls Returned... by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

So the Bulls returned to Equities on a holiday shortened week with plenty of news and data to outrun. The Egyptians threw out their President and the Portuguese gave a thumbs down to their government. But dovish comments out of Draghi/ECB, strong data out of Japan, and a 3rd strong month of Non-Farm Payroll growth pushed the Russell 2000 to all-time highs as the rest of the market jumped into its slipstream.

2013-07-09 The Fed\'s Bind: Tapering, Timetables and Turmoil by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

There are striking parallels between the dramatic recent sell-off in U.S. Treasuries and the Great Bond Crash of 1994. But the summer of volatility now facing financial markets is no doomsday scenario. Instead, it puts the U.S. Federal Reserve in a bind. Higher interest rates will reduce housing affordability, which is especially troublesome since housing is the primary locomotive of U.S. economic growth.

2013-07-09 The G8: Sorry, Maybe Next Time by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

While the recent gathering of the Group of 8 industrialized nations addressed worthy topics such as Syria and tax avoidance, it failed to tackle essential economic and fiscal issues.

2013-07-08 Absolute Return Letter: Much Ado about Nothing by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

A 300 bps rise in bond yields across the term structure would, according to their calculations, do substantial damage to financial institutions’ balance sheets. Holders of U.S. Treasuries alone would lose in excess of $1 trillion on such a move in rates, equal to 8% of U.S. GDP. Other countries would fare even worse. Losses on JGBs would equal 35% of the Japanese GDP, effectively wiping out its banking industry in the process. Holders of U.K. bonds wouldn’t do much better, losing the equivalent of 25% of U.K. GDP.

2013-07-08 Deflationary Boom? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Taken together, the financial markets have priced a wide range of assets on the assumption that the U.S. is on the verge of a deflationary boom. Most likely, part of this scenario is wrong.

2013-07-05 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 130.4, down slightly from last week’s 130.6. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) fell to 5.3% from 5.8% last week.

2013-07-05 The Asian Giant Stampeding into Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

In this environment, gold should remain attractive. However, as the West flees the precious metal, another set of gold buyers has come forward with the aim to preserve wealth. Take a look at the chart below which shows total gold production compared to the gold deliveries on the COMEX and the Shanghai Gold Exchange.

2013-07-03 “Taper Tantrum” Grips Muni Market by Rafael Costas of Franklin Templeton Investments

The markets have been in fits since mid-May, when Federal Ben Bernanke planted the seed that the central bank’s prolonged asset buying program would start winding down. Many investors were gripped with irrational panic, a so-called “taper tantrum” that roiled equity and fixed income markets. Rafael Costas, senior vice president and co-director of our municipal bond department, believes the early summer swoon sweeping the muni markets is unfounded and should be temporary, but the core reason for investing in the sector remains solid: long-term tax-free income potential.

2013-07-02 Finding Value In The Materials Sector Is A Material Thing by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This is the third in a series of articles designed to find value in today’s stock market environment. However, it is the second of 10 articles covering the 10 major general sectors. In my first article, I laid the foundation that represents the two primary underlying ideas supporting the need to publish such a treatise. First and foremost, that it is not a stock market; rather it is a market of stocks. Second, that regardless of the level of the general market, there will always be overvalued, undervalued and fairly valued individual stocks to be found.

2013-07-01 The Golden Cycle by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The New York Times had the definitive take on the vicious sell off in gold. To summarize one of their articles: Two years ago gold bugs ran wild as the price of gold rose nearly six times. But since cresting two years ago it has steadily declined, almost by half, putting the gold bugs in flight. The most recent advisory from a leading Wall Street firm suggests that the price will continue to drift downward, and may ultimately settle 40% below current levels.

2013-07-01 All of the Above by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Market internals remain broken here. That may change, and it might even change soon. Until it does, we would be inclined to tread carefully, because this may be the highest level investors will see on the S&P 500 for quite some time. Choosing between potential catalysts - credit strains in China, the risk of disappointing earnings, or economic weakness, the incoming data is consistent with one conclusion: all of the above.

2013-06-28 Labor Force Myth Sends the Wrong Signal on U.S. Growth Prospects by Brandon Odenath of J.P. Morgan Funds

We’ve seen the pundits on TV and read their op edsthe drop in the labor force participation rate is proof that unemployment is falling because many of the unemployed have simply given up the search for work. The inference of course, suggests that the economy is in much worse shape than falling unemployment rates would indicate.

2013-06-28 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

Small businesses may hold the key to better economic growth. Chinese officials are trying to curb financial excess. There are a number of ways to reach 7% U.S. unemployment.

2013-06-28 The New, Old Normal by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We believe the recent volatility will be relatively short lived and provides an opportunity for investors who need to adjust their portfolios to do sowith long-term goals in mind. The risks associated with fixed income have been illustrated over the past couple of weeks and rising yields have caused equity volatility and a pullback. But we remain optimistic about US equities as well as developed international markets; particularly relative to emerging markets.

2013-06-27 Currency Wars: A Case for the U.S. Dollar by Gibson Smith, Chris Diaz of Janus Capital Group

In recent years, the U.S. dollar has tended to lose value when the global economy improves, as investors are more willing to take risks. We believe that pattern has changed and that the U.S. dollar will outperform the Japanese yen, the euro and the British pound over the medium term, even if the global economy continues to improve. In our view, current conditions justify a material deviation in currency exposure compared with certain global fixed income benchmarks, such as the Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index.

2013-06-27 De-Risking Revisited by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The prices of a wide range of risky assets have been rising, despite sluggish GDP growth worldwide. This discrepancy portends a new period of asset-price volatility one that could mark the beginning of a broader de-risking cycle for financial markets.

2013-06-26 The QE Lemon Has Been Squeezed Dry by Tad Rivelle of TCW Asset Management

We’ve just witnessed the dress rehearsal for the end of the Fed’s Quantitative Easing (QE). Markets that had learned to stop worrying and love the financial repression have been given reasons to fear the interest rate cycle. For five years we have lived with a central bank that has used, or abused, a zero rate policy and QE to effectuate the Great Risk-On trade to cure the ills of the Great Recession.

2013-06-26 The Fed\'s Dirty Little Secret: QE Does Not Work by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today I hope to dispel the myth that the Fed’s massive quantitative easing (QE) policy has driven long-term interest rates lower. I will argue that the opposite is true and demonstrate that the yield on the 10-year Treasury note has actually risen during QE-1, QE-2 and QE-3. This flies in the face of most market commentators.

2013-06-24 Tidbits, Employment and Quotes to Make You Say... by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

The Fed roiled the markets this week announcing the end of QE may be near if A few things to consider: we’ve heard this before, the “if” is a big “if” (see below for some insightful quotes from John Mauldin) and, remember QE was the extraordinary measure taken by the Fed after dropping rates no longer accomplished the Fed’s goals. This month, the Fed noted that the “downside risks to the outlook for the economy and labor market [has] diminished since last fall” while in May they noted that they “continued to see downside risks to the econ

2013-06-21 The Fear Factor in US Equities by Grant Bowers of Franklin Templeton Investments

Fear is a powerful motivator. Whether it’s a saber-toothed tiger or investment risks, it’s hard to stay calm when confronted with a perceived threat. Fear of a 2008 2009 downturn repeat, even in spite of strong performance in the US equity market in the first half of the year, has kept many investors sidelined. Grant Bowers believes fear itself could be the biggest issue holding back many investors right now, noting that in his view, short-term volatility aside, the recent US market rally is based on supportive fundamentals which he thinks should have staying power.

2013-06-21 Finding Great Value In The Energy Sector by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This will be the second in a series of articles designed to find value in today’s stock market environment. However, it will be the first of 10 articles covering the 10 major general sectors. In my first article, I laid the foundation that represents the two primary underlying ideas supporting the need to publish such a treatise. First and foremost, that it is not a stock market; rather it is a market of stocks. Second, that regardless of the level of the general market, there will always be overvalued, undervalued and fairly valued individual stocks to be found.

2013-06-21 ECRI Recession Watch: Weekly Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Ultimately my opinion remains unchanged: The ECRI’s credibility depends on major downward revisions to the key economic indicators -- especially the July annual revisions to GDP -- that will be sufficient to validate their early recession call. Of course, the July revisions will be quite controversial this year, with some major accounting changes and revisions in annual GDP back to 1929. So if we don’t get the downward revisions to support ECRI, they can always question the accounting changes in the revision process.

2013-06-21 Tapering the Taper Talk by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

As usual the Federal Reserve media reaction machine has fallen for a poorly executed head fake. It has been fooled by this move many times in the past and for its efforts it has tackled nothing but air. Yet right on cue, it took the bait once more. Somehow the takeaway from Wednesday’s release of the June Fed statement and the Bernanke press conference is that the Central bank is likely to begin scaling back, or "tapering," it’s $85 billion per month quantitative easing program sometime later this year, and that the program may be completely wound down by the middle of next year.

2013-06-21 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

Today, the relative health of banks around the world goes a long way toward explaining differences in economic fortunes. As policy-makers seek ways to improve growth, addressing structural issues in their financial systems may be more effective than monetary or fiscal stimulus.

2013-06-21 Austerity is a Four-Letter French Word by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The France that I see as I look out from the bullet train today is far different from the France I see when I survey the economic data. Going from Marseilles to Paris, the countryside is magnificent. The farms are laid out as if by a landscape artist this is not the hurly-burly no-nonsense look of the Texas landscape. The mountains and forests that we glide through are glorious. It is a weekend of special music all over France, and last night in Marseilles the stages were alive and the crowds out in force.

2013-06-21 Un-Addiction by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

It appears that the Un-Addiction process has begun. This marks a significant shift for the world of investments. Volatility is on the rise. Interest rates are rising / normalizing. In such a fragile economy, it seems prudent to consider that the risks of economic recession are somewhat higher, even if they are still not the base case. As always, please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or questions.

2013-06-19 Emerging Markets: Reasons for Optimism by Team of Janus Capital Group

Emerging market equities are lagging developed markets this year. However, the underperformance creates an opportunity in our view, and does little to change our long-term outlook for emerging markets, where we believe some of the strongest growth opportunities lie.

2013-06-19 Changes in our Asset Allocation by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

We believe that valuations in publicly traded securities are stretched, and, although we have seen a move higher in interest rates and stocks have sold off from their high levels, investors are faced with choices that offer generally lower expected returns based on historic measures of return. Today, with the S&P 500 hitting 1650 and the yield on the 10 year US Treasury Note moving abruptly from 1.70% to 2.15%, there are generally two schools of thought on the minds of investors.

2013-06-18 Promise to Be Irresponsible by Jeremie Banet, Mihir Worah of PIMCO

We believe the recent rise in real rates and fall in inflation expectations could jeopardize the U.S. economic recovery. We also believe these are a direct result of uncertainty about the Federal Reserve’s ultimate goal. Low real yields accompanied by sufficient nominal growth are the necessary prescription for a still ailing economy.

2013-06-18 Newsletter June 2013 by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

Do you remember hiding under the sheets listening to radio when your parents thought you were asleep? If so, I have an unbelievable collection of all the old-time radio shows we listened to when we were kids, if you have about six months’ spare time. Find your favorite, click on it, and it lists literally hundreds of episodes you can re-live.

2013-06-18 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stock prices came under pressure last week over the strength of the Japanese Yen versus the dollar which led to a large decline in stock prices there as well as the misplaced fears domestically that the Federal Reserve Board will pull forward its timetable for “tapering” its quantitative easing policy.

2013-06-17 Keynesian Model Blew It Again by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

If there’s one economic conclusion we can make from recent data, it’s that the Keynesian model has failed - again.

2013-06-17 Sloppy Markets Continue by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Last week the S&P 500 declined 0.97%,1 while many global equity averages fell for the fourth week in a row. Early in the week, discussion of tapering by the Federal Reserve was a big headwind, as discomfort over a slower pace of policy accommodation rippled through global markets. Thursday’s rally was driven by thoughts that tapering fears may be overdone. Markets were also helped by better employment and consumption data.

2013-06-17 On the Radar: Bernanke\'s Balancing Act by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

A recent analysis in this space made the case for equities. Pointing to the continued flood of liquidity from the Federal Reserve and still-attractive stock valuations, I argued that the rally would continue, despite the subpar economic recovery and continued policy muddles in Washington and Europe. In this column, I will take up one of those fundamental, longer-term considerations: Fed policy. The columns that follow will discuss two other major issues: fiscal policy and energy.

2013-06-15 Economists Are (Still) Clueless by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The economic forecasts of mainstream economists are quite positive, if not enirely optimistic, reflecting the current data. Should we not take heart from that? Alas, no. This week we look at some of our recent musings on that topic, triggered by a letter from a very serious economist who took umbrage when I wrote disparagingly about economists and forecasting a couple months ago.

2013-06-14 Searching For Value And Finding It In Today's Market - Sector By Sector by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

“I think the market is overvalued now,” is a common refrain that I’m hearing from most of the individual investors I have recently been coming in contact with. Consequently, many of these same investors are also currently eschewing investing in common stocks because of that fear. Although I do not agree that the market is currently overvalued, I believe I understand why so many people think it is. Individual investors currently believe the market is overvalued because of two common fallacies that at first blush appear to be logical.

2013-06-14 The Sustainability of Managed Futures Returns by Robert Keck of 6800 Capital

Many investors have begun to question the efficacy of an investment in managed futures given the most recent two years of negative performance for the industry as a whole at a time when U.S. equity prices have been achieving multi‐year highs. The concern is not so much the magnitude of the losses incurred by the managed futures industry during this period; in many cases they are relatively small in comparison to the size of the drawdowns experienced by many other asset classes such as equities, real estate, fixed income, etc., during peak periods of market stress.

2013-06-14 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

Six years ago, in 2007, the trustees of Social Security projected that Social Security would run out of money, i.e., have a negative balance, in the year 2041. At the end of last month the trustees updated this projection and indicated that the trust fund backing the payment of Social Security would be zero by 2033. A zero trust fund does not mean the payment of Social Security benefits would also go to zero, but would drop to 77% of their originally promised levels through 2087. Is any of this getting Congress’s attention? (Source: Social Security Trustees)

2013-06-14 ECRI Recession Watch: New Update by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 131.3, up slightly from last week’s 131.0 (revised from 130.9). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose to 6.6% from 6.4% last week (revised from 6.3%).... Two weeks ago the company took a new approach to its recession call in its most recent publicly available commentary on the ECRI website: What Wealth Effect? More...

2013-06-14 Changing Picture by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We could be in the beginning stages of an adjustment toward a more "normal" monetary policy environment, with attendant volatility. This once again illustrates the importance of diversification and focusing on long-term goals when investing. We continue to believe the US equity markets are an attractive place for assets and recommend buying on pullbacks to the extent that you need to add to equity exposure. Additionally, continue to exercise caution around fixed income allocations and focus more on the developed markets vs. EM.

2013-06-13 The Instability of Stability by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Hyman Minsky’s scholarship holds valuable lessons for the current dynamic in the economy. The Fed, via QE, continues to induce speculative buying in the Treasury market, which is having the effect of destabilizing a number of asset classes.

2013-06-11 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 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A number of readers responded to Adam Kanzer’s article, Exposing False Claims about Socially Responsible Investing, which appeared last week. Kanzer’s article was in response to Adam Apt’s article, Measuring the Cost of Socially Responsible Investing, which appeared the week before. Several readers responded to other articles as well.

2013-06-11 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The last few weeks have seen volatility emerge as concerns about the Fed’s policy of quantitative easing and the timing of changing it have taken center stage.

2013-06-11 May Flowers Bring Best Equity Market Since 1997 as Bonds Wilt by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

The S&P 500 has opened 2013 with its best year-through-May return since 1997. U.S. Treasury prices, in contrast, plunged last month on talks of Fed “tapering”. Don’t expect the reflation in bond yields to continue in the near term, as the Fed continues to struggle in its current war against deflation. Fundamental business activity not quantitative easing is the wellspring of sustained economic growth, creating lasting sales and profits. For investors, the two biggest self-defeating fears continue to be 1) the fear of buying equities and 2) the fear of buying bonds.

2013-06-11 Crushing the Middle Class by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Like a carefully memorized religious incantation, politicians and central bankers continually stress how their stimulus policies are designed to promote the interests and prosperity of the middle class. Cynical observers may note that this brave political stance may have something to do with gaining the support of the vast majority of voters who identify themselves as "middle class." However, the cumulative effect of their economic programs has achieved the opposite.

2013-06-10 China: As Growth Slows, the Need for Reform Grows by John Greenwood of Invesco

The world is closely monitoring the status of China’s economic growth rate. The country’s economy began to rapidly grow in the late 1970s, and it had been growing at about 9% or 10% per year, until the global downturn of 2008 and 2009. During the global financial crisis, the economy slowed abruptly. Since then, it has not been able to get back to that 10% growth rate.

2013-06-10 2009 vs. 2013 by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the most strongly held beliefs of investors here is the notion that it is inappropriate to “Fight the Fed” reflecting the view that Federal Reserve easing is sufficient to keep stocks not only elevated, but rising. What’s baffling about this is that the last two 50% market declines both the 2001-2002 plunge and the 2008-2009 plunge occurred in environments of aggressive, persistent Federal Reserve easing.

2013-06-10 What\'s Capping Capital Spending? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Now that housing has at last begun to make a contribution to the economic recovery, the pace of capital spending seems to have ebbed. To some extent, the slowed pace of such spending reasonably reflects the economy’s still-more-than-ample production capacity. Reasonable as this seems, the slowdown does come as a disappointing change from the unusually strong growth earlier in the recovery. Now, looking forward, the prospect is for this slowed growth to continue, for a while at least.

2013-06-07 Filling in the 2Q13 Picture and Looking Ahead by Scott Brown of Raymond James

We’re now two-thirds of the way through 2Q13. However, the second quarter economic picture is still sketchy. We have some data for April, which is subject to revision. Figures for May will begin arriving this week. Despite the cloudy near-term economic picture, the financial markets are looking ahead to better growth in the second half of the year.

2013-06-07 Own These World's Leading Brands And Never Fear A Recession Again by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

If you were to take the essence of most people’s beliefs and understanding about investing in common stocks, or the stock market for that matter, and turn it into a movie, I believe it would have to be labeled under the category science fiction. In other words, in my experience, most of what people believe about common stocks or the stock market is predicated more on opinion than on fact. But even more importantly, it is predicated on opinions that are driven by strong emotional responses.

2013-06-07 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The change at the top of the Bank of England comes at a delicate time. The May U.S. employment report will not sway the Fed either way. Eurozone and China PMI reports - interpret with caution.

2013-06-07 As Economy Heats Up, Will Commodities? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Don’t wait for the Fed to officially raise rates, as research shows that investors get the most benefit from materials and energy stocks by getting in now

2013-06-06 The REAL Great Rotation by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The phrase "Great Rotation" has come to mean a sizeable shift in asset allocation from bonds to stocks. We, too, believe that stocks are likely to secularly outperform bonds, but we don’t think that is the "great rotation" about which investors should be concerned.

2013-06-06 The Risk of Government Policies and the Rationing of Retirement by Jason Hsu of Research Affiliates

In late April, a group of leading economists and investment practitioners assembled in La Jolla, California, for Research Affiliates’ 2013 Advisory Panel. Our theme this year touched on two topics that have been front-and-center in recent public debates: the risk of government intervention and the potential rationing of retirement.

2013-06-06 A Longer Time Horizon Can Be an Advantage for Value Investors by Mark Cooper of PIMCO

We believe that given challenging prospects for attractive investment returns, the value premium could become even more important in the years ahead. Even in an uncertain environment like we are currently experiencing, we believe the merit in owning equities for the long term is unchanged: We want to participate as an owner in a growing, profitable business.

2013-06-06 More Than a Feeling by Team of AdvisorShares

Tangible signs of fundamental weakness are appearing everywhere, yet financial market participants are simply choosing to ignore these signs. There remains a significant disconnect between the real economy and financial markets. Read this paper by Peritus Asset Management to learn how to navigate the weak fundamental picture in what they believe to be the beginning of a 15-20 year positive technical backdrop, which will put yield generating assets, such as high yield bonds, in the sweet spot.

2013-06-06 Inflation Is Still the Lesser Evil by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

The world’s major central banks continue to express concern about inflationary spillover from their recession-fighting efforts. That is a mistake: given the political, social, and economic risks of continued slow growth, policymakers should encourage a sustained burst of moderate inflation.

2013-06-05 Certainty, Rates and the Year Ahead by Peritus Asset Management of AdvisorShares

The government tells us not to worry, as the Federal Reserve comes to rescue with QE-Forever. Certainty with fiscal policy doesn’t seem to change the demand equation and cheapened money doesn’t do anything if demand isn’t present. Treasury rates remain at 0% for the foreseeable future making yield hard to find. Read this position paper by Peritus Asset Management scrutinizing how all this has come to pass and what indicators are foretelling the near future effects on the high yield asset class.

2013-06-05 Driving with the Doors Off, Part II by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover, Mike Czekaj of Broadleaf Partners

About ten months ago, I wrote about my new bulldozer-yellow Jeep Wrangler, comparing the sensation of Driving with the Doors Off to investing in the New Normal, or as I like to call it, a “slow growth for as far as the eyes can see” environment. While the pavement had always been a mere twelve inches beneath my feet, Driving with The Doors Off made the experience far more real, far more alive, and far more aware of the risks that had always been there. In the New Normal it feels like we are always and everywhere just one small pothole away from the next economic disaster.

2013-06-04 Woody Brock’s Challenge to Krugman and the Keynesians by Bob Veres (Article)

A polarizing choice confronts policymakers. Either they side with Paul Krugman and the Keynesians, and advocate for aggressive fiscal measures to stimulate America’s economic growth rate, or they align themselves with the so-called austerians, who argue that budget cutbacks are necessary to eliminate deficits. A third option is rarely discussed. Its most outspoken proponent, Horace “Woody” Brock, says that America should continue to borrow, but spend wisely – and develop new policy instruments that would eliminate asset bubbles and stimulate economic activity.

2013-06-04 An Advisor’s Perspective on Prophets and Profits by Gary Moore (Article)

More than 30 years on Wall Street have proven to me that many advisors could do more business – and do more good for our clients, profession and the world – if we considered the moral views of investors, whether we agree with those views or not.

2013-06-04 Stocks: How Long Will the Bull Run? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Conditions appear favorable for the next 12 to 24 months. What could change the market’s prospects in the longer term? Here’s a look.

2013-06-03 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Recent history has shown us that when investors feel “prosperous” their spending habits become more robust. Sometimes they even throw caution to the wind and splurge on discretionary purchases they previously sought to avoid or postpone. Such is the nature of a rapidly changing landscape that what previously had been a vulnerability now becomes a necessity. The impact of financial decision-making can have a manic effect upon virtually any part of the world. This is why crises become epidemics, and cures become panacea.

2013-06-03 US Balance Sheet Repair: More Difficult This Time by John Greenwood of Invesco

In most developed economies, the post-war years since 1945 saw sustained business cycle expansions alternating with shorter recessions. At the end of each expansion, authorities dealt with inflation by raising interest rates and slowing credit growth. When inflation subsided, interest rates were lowered again.

2013-06-03 Following the Fed to 50% Flops by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

One of the most strongly held beliefs of investors here is the notion that it is inappropriate to “Fight the Fed” reflecting the view that Federal Reserve easing is sufficient to keep stocks not only elevated, but rising. What’s baffling about this is that the last two 50% market declines both the 2001-2002 plunge and the 2008-2009 plunge occurred in environments of aggressive, persistent Federal Reserve easing.

2013-06-01 Central Bankers Gone Wild by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

For the last two weeks we have focused on the problems facing Japan, and such is the importance of Japan to the world economy that this week we will once again turn to the Land of the Rising Sun. I will try to summarize the situation facing the Japanese. This is critical to understand, because they are determined to share their problems with the world, and we will have no choice but to deal with them. Japan is going to affect your economy and your investments, no matter where you live; Japan is that important.

2013-05-31 This Is What Real Bubbles Look Like by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

With the stock market currently doing so well, numerous articles are popping up playing the bubble card. Personally, I don’t believe we are anywhere near bubble levels for equities, at least in the general sense. I do think there are certain stocks that are currently overvalued, but very few that I would describe as dangerously so. To me, the true definition of a bubble is when prices have become so ludicrously high, that the dangers of a catastrophic loss large enough to be considered almost permanent become imminent or at least quite obvious.

2013-05-31 Japan: Gauging the Stimulus Response by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The Japanese patient seems to be responding well to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attentions. Equities have rallied strongly. The yen, as the government desires, has retreated from export-crushing highs. The economy has shown signs of a genuine cyclical pickup. The good news has buoyed spirits in Japan. It will likely continue for a while longer, too. But the picture for the country is not yet all joy, because Abe’s policies fail to address the country’s significant, longer-term, fundamental problems.

2013-05-31 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Personal Income Less Transfer Payments by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

I’ve now updated this commentary to include April Real Personal Income less Transfer Payments. As I’ve discussed before, the adjacent thumbnail shows the major spike in incomes triggered by pulling early 2013 income forward in November and December (bonuses, dividends, etc.) to manage the tax risks of the Fiscal Cliff. At this point we’ve recovered from the post-strategy dip, so the trend going forward will give a more realistic sense of where this indicator is heading.

2013-05-31 The Most Important (and Widely Ignored) Economic Number by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While economic numbers like GDP or the monthly non-farm payroll report typically garner the headlines, Russ explains why investors should pay more attention to and may want to alter their assumptions based on -- the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI).

2013-05-30 Are We There Yet? by Vitaliy Katsenelson of Investment Management Associates

I started writing my first book, Active Value Investing: Making Money in Range-Bound Markets, in 2005; finished it in 2007; and published the second, an abridged version of the first (The Little Book of Sideways Markets), in 2010. In both books I made the case that there is a very high probability that we are in the midst of a secular sideways market a market that goes up and down, with a lot of cyclical volatility, but ends up going nowhere for a long time.

2013-05-30 Perfect by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

Normally, May is a perfect time to visit New York City. The snow is gone, spring is in the air, Broadway readies for its Tony celebration, and people just seem friendlier. While there were plenty of friendly vibes from the populace when I visited on company business last week, and it is a super season on Broadway (“Motown” and “Kinky Boots” look to lead the list of new musicals they were terrific), the weather was abysmal cold and very rainy. They even had snow in parts of New York as the weekend began.

2013-05-30 Has the Fat Lady Started to Sing on the Housing Market? by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

As decision makers we are continually looking for clues from economic activity in order to adjust portfolios. The beauty of following business cycle sequences is the value from anticipating financial market leadership changes. A major beneficiary of this four year old business recovery has been housing and housing related stocks.

2013-05-29 Is This the End of the World As We Know It? by Massimo Tosato of Schroders Investment Management

After five turbulent years of decline and unrelenting economic doom there are signs that change could be afoot.

2013-05-29 Filling the Hole We Have Dug by Adam Bowe, Robert Mead of PIMCO

Mining investment contributed more than 60% of the growth in Australia’s GDP in 2012. The expected decline in mining investment will likely leave a significant economic hole in the short term that needs to be filled. PIMCO expects easier monetary policy will be needed to support other sources of domestic growth, such as non-mining business investment, household consumption and housing construction.

2013-05-28 Economic Climate Change & the Long-Term View on Yields by Sponsored Content from Loomis Sayles (Article)

Will rates rise? It’s a logical question. US Treasury yields have been in a secular downward trend since the 1980s and almost frozen at historic lows for the last several months. While recent cyclical improvements suggest the US economy is heating up, we do not expect interest rates to start soaring to record highs. The interest rate environment will eventually undergo climate change, but the process will be gradual. There are secular headwinds cooling rates, and we expect them to persist for years to come.

2013-05-28 Is Austerity a Bad Idea? by Michael Edesess (Article)

There are strong arguments for and against both austerity and Keynesianism. However, some recent writings should make us remember to question the terms of the argument itself. While evidence-based economics is important, it can also mislead.

2013-05-28 Europe's Crossroads: The End of the Muddle Through? by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

The eurozone may be nearing a critical junction, owing to its weak growth, weak institutions, debt dynamics and domestic and cross-border political challenges. The German government may take a more active leadership role after its national election, but it is more likely it will continue with piecemeal measures. Considering the current low yield environment and ample central bank liquidity, it is important to focus on absolute yield levels and returns, and consider global alternatives such as emerging market securities and currency exposure.

2013-05-28 The Puzzle Is Complex: Education Funding, Assessed Values and Housing Prices by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

While many look to Memorial Day as the official beginning of summer, we hope all took time to reflect on the true meaning of Memorial Day as a time to thank, recognize and remember those that have, are and stand ready to defend our country and all we stand for. I, for one, am incredibly grateful to the men and women that serve our country and put their lives on the line to defend our freedom, democracy and way of life.

2013-05-28 Eurozone: Why a Breakup Is Still in the Cards by John Greenwood of Invesco

I was recently asked whether I still hold the view that the eurozone will fragment, or whether I have moved from that position. Simply put, I am sticking with my position. I think that eventually one or more smaller countries will defect from the eurozone. Cyprus came close to it, and I think Greece may still exit.

2013-05-28 Rock, Paper, Scissors by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

There’s a sort of rock-paper-scissors relationship to financial indicators. Trend following factors typically trump valuations alone, while overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndromes trump trend-following and monetary considerations. Monetary factors tend to be most effective as confirmation of other measures, particularly of trend-following factors, but only in the absence of overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndromes.

2013-05-28 Taking Stock by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. and global equities were under pressure last week, with all major U.S. indices lower for only the fourth time this year. With discussion of the Fed tapering its stimulus, market uncertainty gained momentum. The S&P 500 was down 1.0% for the week.1 We consider the market pullback technical in nature since the mention of a Fed quantitative easing exit likely created a natural point to take profits after the recent rally.

2013-05-24 Recession Watch: ECRIs Weekly Leading Indicator Up Slightly by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

TheWeekly Leading Index(WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is at 130.6, up slightly from last weeks 130.1 (a downward revision from 130.2). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) dropped to 6.8% from 7.0% last week.

2013-05-24 Bifurcation Blues by Herbert and Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

Bifurcation. A very technical sounding word. It merely means “a division into two parts”, which is what we are witnessing in many areas related to investment, both macro and micro. And it is exhibiting to value investors those areas to avoid and the most attractive to embrace. And giving rise to a wide range of disparate opinions among economic and investment professionals as to what outcomes are likely. Needless to say, we have our own strong views.

2013-05-24 Ten High Yield Market Takeaways by Mark Hudoff of Hotchkis & WIley

Mark Hudoff, portfolio manager of the Hotchkis & Wiley High Yield strategy, shares his thoughts on the current opportunities and challenges in the high yield marketplace.

2013-05-24 Remarkable Resilience by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

We saw how the prospect of a sooner pullback in purchases in bonds by the Fed rattled the market both in the US and globally, but the picture, to us, has not changed to any great degree. A very gradual pullback, not even going to zero, in quantitative easing due to an improved economic situation doesn’t spell disaster to us. We continue to urge investors to pay attention to both sides of the risk equation when making decisions and to keep the longer-term perspective in mind. Short-term swings are inevitable, but should not be the basis for sound decision making.

2013-05-23 The Labor Force Participation Puzzle by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

Slow growth and mediocre job creation have been common themes used to describe the U.S. economy in recent years, as both the labor market and broader economy failed to produce the snap-back rebound many expected following the deep recession seen in 2008 & 2009. Despite that lackluster growth, the unemployment rate has now fallen to 7.5% after peaking at 10% in October of 2009, a much faster decline than expected, given average employment growth of less than 125,000 per month.

2013-05-23 QE from 35,000 Feet by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Quantitative easing has benefited from global macro events and appears likely to continue for the rest of the year. Markets, though, will continue to anticipate how the current policies will eventually be unwound.

2013-05-23 ING Fixed Income Perspectives May 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

How do you like them apples? By pointing out some Excel blunders in the data of Harvard economists Reinhart and Rogoff, a UMass-Amherst grad student appears to have gotten their number and in the process discredited their seminal work touting the merits of austerity. Though Good Will Hunting fans may be amused to see a couple of Harvardians get their comeuppance, you don’t need the titular character’s wicked smarts to deduce that harsh government spending cuts may not be the best way to pick up your economy.

2013-05-22 How to Turn the ECB Straggler into a Central Bank Pacemaker by Myles Bradshaw of PIMCO

In our opinion, the ECB will be most effective if it can design a programme that helps banks deleverage more quickly to stimulate growth in the real economy. To have a meaningful impact on Europe’s broken transmission mechanism, any ECB programme needs to not only lower the cost of credit, but also be regionally tailored or big enough to be effective. Long-term investors should remain focused on the quality of issuers’ balance sheets rather than simply taking more risk because of lower prospective returns.

2013-05-22 A Whiff of Confidence by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

The single biggest on-going survey of consumer confidence in the United States is conducted by Rasmussen, who survey 500 consumers every night on their views of the U.S. economy and their personal finances. Since October 2007, there has not been a single month in which the index produced by this survey has exceeded 100. However, since the start of May it has averaged well above this level.

2013-05-22 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Four times a charm. Despite lackluster earnings and economic data that raises some concerns, investors continue to play the game of “how high can we go” and stocks climbed for the fourth straight week With 15k (Dow) and 1600 (S&P) well in the rearview mirror, investors seem to have their targets set on bigger and better things. Some bullish comments by a hedge manager; a solid consumer sentiment reading; a reason for the Fed to hold off on tapering its bond buying stimulusand it’s off to the races for equities (again).

2013-05-22 Where is inflation headed? What will it mean for investors? by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Slow economic growth and long-term headwinds should keep inflation contained. Low inflation should help support equity markets and high yield bonds, but may be a negative for gold prices. The inflation environment should also help prevent interest rates from rising too fast.

2013-05-22 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Once again stock prices moved higher last week despite mostly poor economic data and a background in Washington DC of multiple scandals. The latter begging the question as to whether substantive policy actions are now off the table for the year.

2013-05-21 Federal Spending, the Deficit and Debt Ceiling by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

As our regular readers know, we have a level of concern with regard to the budget deficit, the debt ceiling and all things related thereto. And, while many of us have concerns regarding maintenance of the tax-exemption for muni debt and the tax-deductibility of muni fixed income interest, this week we are approaching the world from a slightly different angle. The focus: how reliant are States and counties on the Federal Government and who is most reliant.

2013-05-21 (Yawn)...As Equities Advance Another 2% by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities advanced again last week, with the S&P 500 increasing 2.1%. Global stocks are reaching new highs in this cycle and the U.S. market is at an all-time high. Bonds were hurt in the move, dragging credit down, while commodities fell slightly on weaker manufacturing data. The unrelenting equity rally and an environment without positive news about earnings and the economy is making many investors uncomfortable.

2013-05-21 Developed Europe: Regional Economic Review 1Q 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

After withdrawing into the background in late 2012, the Euro-zone sovereign debt crisis resurfaced in the first quarter with the Italian elections and Cyprus’ banking crisis. In late February, Italy’s national elections resulted in a fractured mandate, and Italians voted out the incumbent, the main architect of the country’s austerity and reforms agenda.

2013-05-21 Are Equity Investors Pushing the Gas Pedal Too Hard? by Norman Boersma of Franklin Templeton Investments

Whatever previous reticence investors may have had about equities last year seems to have evaporated and, with remarkable speed, turned into fear over having missed the equity rally. Some major market averages have accelerated at a pace some say is reckless, so as we head toward the mid-point of the year, Norm Boersma, CFA, chief investment officer of Templeton Global Equity Group, takes a look at reasons investors might continue to push the gas pedalor tap the brakes.

2013-05-21 General Electric Looks Like It's Becoming The Shareholder-Friendly Company It Once Was by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

General Electric (GE) was once revered as one of the bluest of all blue-chip companies in the world. During its glory days, GE was respected as an industrial conglomerate that manufactured some of the world’s best jet engines, locomotives, appliances and even the highly regarded General Electric light bulb. However, as best I can determine, the roots of General Electric’s ultimate demise were established in 1930 when the company, responding to the great depression, formed GE Finance in order to help their customers finance GE appliances over time.

2013-05-20 Abenomics for Europe by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The devaluation of the Japanese yen may lead EU policymakers to implement measures that will help the economic situation in the single currency zone.

2013-05-20 A European Vacation from Austerity? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Recession-wracked governments in the eurozone are rethinking fiscal constraints.

2013-05-20 Not in Kansas Anymore by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Knowing where you are doesn’t mean that you’re leaving, but you should still know where you are.

2013-05-20 Still Bullish by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Like Rip Van Winkle, imagine you went to sleep on October 9, 2007 and didn’t wake up until yesterday. On 10/9/2007, equities were at record highs: 14,165 for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and 1,565 for the S&P 500.

2013-05-18 All Japan, All the Time by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week we again focus on Japan. Their stock market has been on a tear, and their economy grew 3.5% last quarter. Is Abenomics really the answer to all their problems? Is it just a matter of turning the monetary dial a little higher and voila, there is growth? Why doesn’t everyone try that? And what would happen if they did?

2013-05-17 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

Predictions of an American manufacturing renaissance may be premature. Does the Fed have to worry about deflation? The U.S. fiscal deficit is narrowing rapidly.

2013-05-17 Recession Watch: ECRI\'s Weekly Leading Indicator Declines by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Essentially ECRI is sticking to its call that a recession began in mid-2012, although the company calls it a "mild" recession, which is quite a shift from their original stance 19 months ago: "...if you think this is a bad economy, you haven’t seen anything yet."

2013-05-16 The Dow Hits All-Time Highs, But The Truth Is It Remains Cheaply Valued by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The Dow Jones industrial average sits above 15,000, an all-time high. But don’t be fooled, this doesn’t mean that stocks are expensive. I understand that it seems logical to assume that

2013-05-15 And That\\\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Fiscal Cliff. Sequester. Different names for similar budgetary issues that both basically resulted in games of Congressional “kick the can.” Now in a stroke of luck for non-compromising politicos, the budget deficit is shrinking as higher payroll taxes and paybacks from previously bailed out entities (thanks Fan) have enhanced government revenues since the beginning of the year.

2013-05-15 Consumers: The Great Sobriety by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Americans have cut debt, boosted savings, and held spending in checkall of which should aid the economy.

2013-05-14 Nouriel Roubini: Four Reasons Investors Should be Worried by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Despite a modest recovery from the nadir of the financial crisis, the global economy still faces tail risks, according to Nouriel Roubini. Roubini’s forecast is not as gloomy as the one that earned the moniker “Doctor Doom,” when he correctly predicted the housing market collapse and the ensuing global recession. But, in a talk May 1, he identified today’s biggest danger points in Europe, the U.S., China and geopolitics which he said threaten to destabilize the global economy.

2013-05-14 Mohamed El-Erian: The Three-Speed Global Economy by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The global economy is operating at three distinct speeds, according to Mohamed El-Erian, and investors need to understand the implications of the divergent paths that key countries are following. Japan and most European countries are going backward, he said, and could continue in that direction for decades. The U.S. is “healing,” but not quickly enough to get to “escape velocity.” Certain emerging markets, meanwhile, are adapting technology and innovation and are growing rapidly.

2013-05-14 Housing Finally Breaks Free by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Housing, which for so many years represented everything bad about the credit crisis, is finally beginning to have its day back in the sun. Trends in housing markets around the country are improving, to the benefit of the overall economy. It appears that trend is set to continue.

2013-05-14 The Budget Deficit by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The Monthly Treasury Statement showed a large budget surplus for April. Some of that may prove to be temporary. Income was pulled forward into 2012 ahead of expected tax increases in 2013 and that was reflected in higher tax payments in April. Some of it is payback from the bailouts of a few years ago (for example, earnings from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). However, much of the improvement reflects a rebound from a severe recession. Tax revenues are recovering and recession-related expenses are trending lower.

2013-05-13 Skills, Education, and Employment by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

It is graduation time, and this morning finds me swimming in a sea of fresh young faces as a young friend graduates, along with a thousand classmates. But to what? I concluded my final formal education efforts in late 1974, in the midst of a stagflationary recession, so it was not the best of times to be looking for work. It turned out that I had a far different future ahead of me than I envisioned then. But I would trade places with any of those kids who graduated today, as my vision of the next 40 years is actually very optimistic.

2013-05-13 Investment Bulletin: Global Equity Strategy by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

Equity markets remained strong and the portfolio continued to outperform well, with a monthly gain of 3.2% vs 0.6% for the index. After two decades of policy torpor, Japan’s government has rapidly adopted a trio of policies to kick start the economy: monetary and fiscal stimulus, plus a weak yen. This is shock and awe’ relative to GDP, being far greater than any experiment in any developed country since the Second World War.

2013-05-13 Closing Arguments: Nothing Further, Your Honor by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Nothing further, your honor. I am resting my case.

2013-05-13 Uncomfortable With the Debate of Our Times by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

A relatively weak first quarter earnings season is winding down, while major stock market indices are reaching all-time highs. This doesn’t quite add up, does it? Overall, corporate profits advanced at an anemic 2.5% in the first quarter, well below the long-term average of 7%. Worse over, revenues were actually flat in the first quarter, below expectations in most cases. On top of that, most companies that have reported earnings have also lowered estimates for the remainder of the year.

2013-05-10 A Tale of Two Markets: Equity Bulls and Bond Bears by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Surging equity markets absent an accompanying rate rally is a red flag, as Treasury yields remain well below “normal”. While investors’ renewed enthusiasm for equities is warranted, they must be careful to avoid the “folly of gaming diversification”. Corporate earnings have impressed, though revenue has struggled due in part to a moribund Europe. Divergent markets mean investors should stay broadly diversified in equities and real bonds not near-cash and ever alert to the fundamentals.

2013-05-10 2013 US Financial Markets: Part 2 - The TINA Hypothesis by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

Contrary to the “Bernanke Illusion” (money market funds are a zero return investment), history indicates that money market funds are likely to provide investors with returns approximating inflation over the next decade. As I pointed out in our last letter, the markets are pricing in inflation levels significantly higher than the prospective total returns of 10 year TBonds. The small additional return achieved by corporate bonds or US stocks (at current prices) is unlikely to compensate a buy and hold investor with sufficient gains to justify the interim risks.

2013-05-10 Recession Watch: ECRI\'s Weekly Leading Indicator Continues to Show Improvement by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Essentially ECRI is sticking to its call that a recession began in mid-2012, although the company calls it a "mild" recession, which is quite a shift from their original stance 19 months ago: "...if you think this is a bad economy, you haven’t seen anything yet."

2013-05-10 Earnings: Why Capex Will Be the New Driver of Business Growth by Ron Sloan of Invesco

This is the second in a three-part series on the economy, earnings and equities. The first post examined the US Federal Reserve’s gross domestic product (GDP) goals. Here, we discuss how those GDP goals set the stage for businesses to increase their capital expenditures.

2013-05-10 Countries Should Be Careful Not to Overstimulate Their Housing Markets by Team of Northern Trust

Countries should be careful not to overstimulate their housing markets. Credit extension is improving, but remains modest.

2013-05-08 Are Investors Breathing a Sigh of Relief? by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Last week U.S. equities delivered another gain as the S&P 500 increased by 2.0%.1 On Friday, the U.S. jobs report offered relief from fears of an accelerating weakness caused by prior softness during this time in each of the last three years. However, the full set of economic data for the week supports our view of a slower second quarter in a post-sequestration environment.

2013-05-08 US Economy Should be \"Good Enough\" for Stocks by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

The April employment report confirms that the US is on a slow-but-positive course of economic growth. This environment should be conducive to further gains in equity prices. Europe, in contrast, continues to struggle and investors should approach that region with caution.

2013-05-08 Screaming “Bear Market Rally\" by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

In the summer of 2009, I was a regular guest on CNBC shows like “Larry Kudlow”. We believe we were invited to participate in those panel discussions because we were the token “bull” in the conversation and I am obnoxious enough to state my piece against significant mental and verbal opposition. The US stock market had bottomed in March of 2009 and rallied explosively into the late spring and early summer. What reminded me of this is the news coverage and expert reaction to the recent collapse in commodity prices, especially gold and corn.

2013-05-08 6.7 Million “Missing Workers” Where Did They Go? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we will touch several bases. We begin with last Friday’s unemployment report which was hailed by the mainstream media, but had a lot of bad news to go with the good. From there we look at the estimated 6.7 million “missing workers” in this economy and ponder if they’re permanently gone from the employment rolls.

2013-05-07 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

The trend is your friend (and the current trend is a “friend with benefits” for investors). After a record-setting first quarter for stocks, analysts were skeptical that the “party” would continue. And yet, the Dow Jones enjoyed a fifth straight month of gains in April, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq one-upped the Blue Chips with six month winning streaks.

2013-05-07 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Financial markets got the news they wanted last week as Europe cut interest rates, while here at home the Federal Reserve hinted they might do even more when it comes to money printing. To top it off, Friday’s employment report showed improvement from March although the details caused most to discount the excitement.

2013-05-07 Central Banks Steal the Spotlight Once Again by Chris Maxey, Brian Payne of Fortigent

Central banks around the world continue to provide increased stimulus to their respective economies. Increased conviction over pro-stimulus policies comes in light of recent flaws found in the Reinhart, Rogoff January 2010 paper, which suggested that government debt of more than 90% of GDP is detrimental to economic growth. The latest week brought another round of news in the world of central banking, although it seems the number of options left on the table is running short. What central bankers hope for now is that economies will finally enter recovery mode.

2013-05-07 Bail-Ins, Bernanke, and Buyouts: Assessing Key Event Risks for Fixed-Income Investors by Team of Hartford Funds

While the eventual shift to less accommodative central-bank policy and a rise in global interest rates are perhaps the greatest focuses of concern today for bond investors, other risks also merit scrutiny. European sovereign debt worries have resurfaced as the tiny nation of Cyprus, representing just 0.3% of euro-area gross domestic product (GDP), joined the list of bailout recipients. Recent rhetoric from the Fed has prompted investors to consider the impact of an eventual winding down of its asset purchases.

2013-05-07 Quarterly Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

In his April 2013 commentary, PIMCO’s Bill Gross wrote, “PIMCO’s epoch1, Berkshire Hathaway’s epoch, Peter Lynch’s epoch, all occurred or have occurred within an epoch of credit expansion What if an epoch changes? What if perpetual credit expansion and its fertilization of asset prices and returns are substantially altered? What if a future epoch favors lower than index carry or continual bouts of 2008 Lehmanesque volatility ?”

2013-05-06 Aligning Market Exposure With the Expected Return/Risk Profile by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Some risks and market conditions are more rewarding than others. My objectives for this week’s comment are very specific. First, to demonstrate using a very simple model that investment returns do indeed vary systematically with market conditions. Second, to demonstrate that overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions have historically dominated trend-following measures when they have emerged. Third, to demonstrate the impact of accepting investment exposure in proportion to the return/risk profile that is associated with a given set of market conditions.

2013-05-06 That Was the Week That Was by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Informally the TV show, “That Was The Week That Was,” is referred to as TW3and was a satirical comedy program first aired in the early 1960s. The program was considered a lampooning of the establishment. At the time it was considered a radical departure from legitimate television, but it set the stage for many more such radical departures. I revisit TW3 this morning because I have had so many requests for a formal repartee of a number of last week’s Morning Tacks woven into a more formal strategy letter.

2013-05-06 Beyond the Headlines: Job Growth, Exports and Housing by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

Congress has done something for the American public. FAA, sequester, flight delays we can fix that! While I would usually take a cynical swipe at Congress (something like, “did they act because they, too, were impacted by their own stubbornness”), I’ll let well enough alone and simply pass on a heartfelt thanks. Perhaps this is the start of something. I hear they are working closely on immigration reform and an exemption for Congress and their staff from the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Ok, so two of three initiatives garnering bi-partisan support are purely self-ser

2013-05-03 Pring Turner Approach to Business Cycle Investing by Team of AdvisorShares

Like the seasons of the year, the environment for bonds, stocks, and commodities progress in a repeatable and sequential fashion. A gardener understands it is difficult to plant in the winter because nothing grows. The same is true for the financial seasons in the business cycle, where investors can use knowledge of the sequence to create a financial market roadmap. This paper from Pring Turner Capital Group, one of our valued sub-advisors, takes you through the six-stages of the business cycle.

2013-05-03 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Nonfarm Employment by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

I’ve now updated this commentary to include April Nonfarm Employment, which included the prior month revision. As the adjacent thumbnail illustrates, this indicator has trended upward in a relatively smooth trajectory over the past 13 months.

2013-05-03 Job Creation May Be More Robust Than Official Statistics Suggest. by Team of Northern Trust

Job creation may be more robust than official statistics suggest; U.S. employment situation; Central bank meetings

2013-05-02 “Twin Peaks” Target Achieved, What\'s Left? by Doug Ramsey of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Pithy sound bites aren’t our forte. So when we came up with the “Twin Peaks” idea (last decade’s S&P 500 highs of 1527 and 1565) a few months back, we hoped we’d stumbled on a market theme that might last a while. That wish was dashed on March 28th, when the S&P 500 exceeded its October 2007 peak of 1565.15.

2013-05-02 Gold Recovers Amidst Uncertainty by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The selloff in gold that captured the world’s attention in mid-April has revealed some truths about how the market trades and the sentiments of many of the investors who have piled into the trade over the past few years. While the correction does highlight a higher degree of uncertainty than many of the most ardent gold advocates had anticipated, it does not represent the historic "end of an era" reversal that the many in the media have so gleefully suggested. In many ways, the market has shown a resiliency that its detractors do not understand.

2013-05-01 Emerging Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

Major emerging Asia Pacific economies, which picked up growth momentum during the latter half of 2012, struggled to carry forward the economic pace during the initial months of 2013. China, India, and Indonesia, some of the most populous countries in the region and in the world, faced significant headwinds to growth as key engines of the economy investment, consumption, and exports came under strain.

2013-05-01 Likely Rate Cut from the European Central Bank Will Be No Magic Wand by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

Disappointing April data suggest that the ECB is set to cut the refinancing rate at Thursday’s Council meeting. This is likely to have limited economic impact but could encourage expectations of more creative policy action later, helping to take some upward pressure off the euro.

2013-04-30 Is the U.S. Housing Recovery Built to Last? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The sector’s comeback will continue, but the pace will likely moderate. Here’s why.

2013-04-30 The U.S. Economy A Gain in GDP? by Marie Schofield of Columbia Management

The advance estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis last Friday showed that the U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.5% in the first quarter, below expectations of an increase of 3.0%. Despite the decent first quarter advance, year-over-year gains in nominal and real GDP are largely unchanged from the prior quarter at 3.4% and 1.8%, respectively. While growth rates at this slow pace in these measures have typically heralded recessions, they appear stable but also underscore a critical problemthe failure to generate escape velocity.

2013-04-30 Stockman to America: Sinners, Repent! by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

In a massive volume that melds economic history and social criticism, the former Reagan administration budget director David Stockman has documented countless ways in which America went astray over the last century. Most notably, he decried the corruption of free-market capitalism by those seeking effortless profits at the public’s expense. This is the source of his book’s title, The Great Deformation.

2013-04-30 1Q13 GDP Growth and Beyond by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The initial estimate of real GDP growth for the first quarter was lower than expected. Details were mixed, and surprising relative to what was anticipated at the start of the quarter. Government remained a drag on overall GDP growth, which is a major difference between the current recovery and rebounds from previous recessions. The first quarter figures don’t tell us much about the pace of growth in the current quarter and beyond, but most economist have lowered their GDP forecasts for 2Q13.

2013-04-29 New Highs Bring New Worries by Richard Golod of Invesco

The sustainability of the rallies in US and Japanese equities this year so far is looking uncertain amid slowing year-over-year earnings growth and mixed global economic signals. European and emerging market shares have traded lower year to date and seem likely to continue lagging in the near term. However, on balance, I remain optimistic about global equities, seeking yield opportunities and investments with an actively managed, more selective approach.

2013-04-29 Employment Trending the Right Way and the DC Two-Step by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

Spring is in the air and it has nothing to do with the lovely weather we are experiencing here on the east coast. Congress both houses have done something for the American public. FAA, sequester, flight delays we can fix that! While I would usually take a cynical swipe at Congress (something like, “did they act because they, too, were impacted by their own stubbornness”), I’ll let well enough alone and simply pass on a heartfelt thanks. Perhaps this is the start of something.

2013-04-29 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

After facing subdued economic conditions for the most part of 2012, developed Asia Pacific economies started 2013 on a cautious note. While most countries opined that downside risk to GDP growth declined substantially, challenges to growth arose from a recessionary scenario in key developed economies, especially from the European Union.

2013-04-29 Economic Slowdown Has Not Weakened Share Prices by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities rebounded last week as the S&P 500 increased by nearly 1.8%,1 despite continued weak economic data. We believe recent data is not yet weak enough to change forecasts. The relative stability of data and forecasts - supported by stimulative monetary policies, an improving U.S. housing market and fading political polarization in the U.S. and Europe - sends a message of reasonably low volatility and manageable downside risks.

2013-04-29 When Rich Valuations Meet Poor Economic Data by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Given the full set of market conditions that we observe, including the persistent overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndrome that has developed in recent months, our concerns about stocks are not dependent on the direction of the economy over the coming quarters. An economic downturn would simply add immediacy to those concerns.

2013-04-27 The Cashless Society by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

A cashless future might be farther off than we either fear or hope. Not only is it farther away than some think, we are actually seeing an increase in the use of cash all over the world (and this is not just a US phenomenon). We will look at some interesting factoids that make for thought-provoking discussions, but when we couple them with research on the rise of the unreported economy (aka the underground economy) and the number of people who get some form of government assistance, we may find problematic consequences resulting from hidden incentives that work in unintended ways.

2013-04-26 An Update on the Global Business Cycle by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Understanding where we are in the an important aspect of investing, as the behavior of asset classes may vary throughout that cycle. Recent data indicate that the U.S. remains in its fourth year of expansion, but payroll and retail numbers have disappointed. Outside the U.S., Europe continues to be mired in recession while China’s growth rebound recently has appeared to sputter. In this edition of Strategic Spotlight, we review what these developments mean for the global business cycle and how to position portfolios accordingly.

2013-04-26 Recession Watch: ECRI\'s Weekly Leading Indicator Rises Again by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Essentially ECRI is sticking to its call that a recession began in mid-2012, although the company now calls it a "mild" recession, which is quite a shift from their original stance 18 months ago: "...if you think this is a bad economy, you haven’t seen anything yet."

2013-04-26 Many Of My Dividend Growth Stocks Have Become Overvalued, What Do I Do Now? by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

To me, there’s almost nothing better than finding a great company that I truly want to own at a fair valuation, or better yet, undervalued. In the long run, it has been my experience that this usually leads to outsized future returns, especially if you buy stocks when they are undervalued at the time. But there is quite often a side effect that can prove very disconcerting. Once an undervalued stock starts moving to the upside, momentum will often carry it above what prudent fair valuation would dictate.

2013-04-26 No Escape by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Global economic growth has weakened, while the US economy hasn’t reached "escape velocity." US stocks have held up relatively well. With few other attractive alternatives, domestic equities appear to be the best house in a rough neighborhood. With the Fed committed to easing, housing improving, and valuations reasonable, the trend should continue. Risks remain and diversification and some hedging strategies are recommended.

2013-04-26 A Playbook for Investors: How to Shoot, Score, Win by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

So, in the competitive spirit of the NBA playoff season, I’ve gathered a series of plays that investors can use to shoot, score and win during this year’s market. I’m happy to say they include all the elements of an exciting game, including a comeback kid, an upset and an underdog.

2013-04-26 Financial Repression: Why It Matters by Shane Sheperd of Research Affiliates

Financial repression refers to a set of governmental policies that keep real interest rates low or negative, with the unstated intention of generating cheap funding for government spending. The ramifications of these policies will be measured in decades, not years.

2013-04-26 Like Baseball in the Snow by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover, Mike Czekaj of Broadleaf Partners

As has occurred in each of the last three years, the economy should continue to plug along, not as we might like it to be, but as we can reasonably expect. Growth scare or not, we suspect that the end of 2013 will show that continued progress lies ahead, but perhaps not exactly in the same pattern as it has thus far.

2013-04-25 Murkier Prospects for Merkel by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

An anxious German electorate may make it harder for the chancellor to continue her pro-cooperation approach to Europe’s fiscal crisis.

2013-04-25 The End of “Expansionary Austerity?” by Scott Brown of Raymond James

A few years ago, an economic paper by Harvard professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff helped fuel the push for austerity. It was met with some criticism from economists, but was widely embraced by the press and by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. The study has now been demonstrated to have had serious flaws, but will those in power fold? Or will they double down on bad economic policy?

2013-04-25 Surf's Up! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Last month I was reminded of “Surf’s Up!” while rereading said report from my departed friend Stan Salvigsen of Comstock Partners fame. While that is the organization Stan, Michael Aronstein, and Charles Minter formed in the late 1980s, Stan’s investment career actually began in 1964 as an analyst with the Value Line Investment Survey. Subsequently, he was an equity strategist at a succession of firms, including Dreyfus, Oppenheimer, C. J. Lawrence, and Merrill Lynch.

2013-04-25 Living in Lake Wobegon by Jim Goff of Janus Capital Group

Are we normal? For many quarters, I have counseled investors that we are going through extreme market conditions and that patience was the best strategy. As the panic fades in the rear-view mirror and the road ahead looks less bumpy, I stand by the advice. But I don’t need to repeat it.

2013-04-24 Will Abenomics' Ensure Japan's Revival? by Team of Thomas White International

According to a World Bank (WB) report, global growth in 2013 will remain sluggish as economic recovery in the developed nations is likely to be slow. Lower business and consumer confidence, government spending cuts, as well as high rates of unemployment may delay the recovery, the report says. The report has also noted that developing nations may experience slower growth due to structural and monetary policy challenges.

2013-04-23 Investment Risk is the Chance of Underperformance by C. Thomas Howard, PhD (Article)

The measures currently used within the investment industry to capture investment risk are really mostly measures of emotion. In order to deal with what is really important, let’s redefine investment risk as the chance of underperformance. As Warren Buffett has said, focus on the final outcome and not on the path travelled to get there.

2013-04-23 Ugly Week All Around Bombings, Explosions and Selloffs by John Buckingham of AFAM

It was a miserable week, what with the Boston bombings, lockdown and shootout, the horrific fertilizer plant explosion in Texas and the ricin-laden letters sent to elected officials providing vivid reminders that we still live in a dangerous world. True, the week ended about as well as it could as Friday night’s incredible drama in Watertown brought some closure in Boston and the come-from-behind victory for the Red Sox on Saturday was right out of Hollywooda three-run go-ahead home run after Neil Diamond leads Fenway Park in a rendition of Sweet Caroline!

2013-04-23 The Next Steps For the Euro: What Is Needed to Ensure Its Survival? by Keith Wade of Schroders Investment Management

The near term outlook for the Eurozone remains bleak, with the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts showing 2013 as another year of falling output for the region. Better growth is desperately needed and there is a case for more cyclical support through easier monetary policy, but there are also structural obstacles to stronger growth. Unless these are addressed, any pick-up in growth will ultimately flounder. In this Talking Point I look beyond the near term cyclical challenges and consider what the Eurozone needs to do to ensure its long term viability.

2013-04-22 Strategy for a Second Gear Economy by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

American investors could be forgiven for feeling just a little confused. One week after the stock market posted its strongest first-quarter gains since 1998, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the weakest monthly job growth in nine months. Real GDP growth was just 0.4% in the fourth quarter but appears to have been much stronger in the first. So is the economy getting stronger or weaker, how is the Federal Reserve likely to react to it and what, if anything, should investors do about it?

2013-04-22 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was established in 1992 to help Russia and former communist states such as Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic among others in their transition to market-based economies. In its January forecast, the London-headquartered bank sounded optimistic over the economic prospects of most of the countries covered in this review, which also include Turkey.

2013-04-22 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

The deadly bombings in Boston last week, along with a spate of senseless killings in Newtown and Aurora, should highlight for those consumed by economics and financial market statistics the fragility of life and a sense of perspective about helping those in need at their darkest hour. How noble that on the day of the U.S. equity market’s most damaging point collapse in years, our focus was on Boston and not on our wallets or portfolios.

2013-04-22 Housing Prices Are About to Surge by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Housing activity has improved dramatically over the past year, but the recovery is too weak to prevent home prices from surging. We anticipate that home prices will increase at a healthy double digit rate quite soon and this price rise is likely to be sustained until new single family home construction exceeds 1 million at an annual rate for at least a six month period of time, more than 60% above the current rate of new single family construction. Read More

2013-04-22 Guess What? Growth is Back! by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

The first quarter has come and gone and lots of data have been released. Still, there are pieces of data missing and these missing data points make forecasting GDP treacherous.

2013-04-20 Austerity is a Consequence, not a Punishment by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Austerity is a consequence, not a punishment. A country loses access to cheap borrowed money as a consequence of running up too much debt and losing the confidence of lenders that the debt can be repaid. Lenders don’t sit around in clubs and discuss how to “punish” a country by requiring austerity; they simply decide not to lend. Austerity is a result of a country’s trying to entice lenders into believing that the country will change and make an effort to restore confidence.

2013-04-19 Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Every so often we write an Investment Outlook with conclusions that prove to be both accurate and worth repeating. Such is the case with our prior outlook issued in January 2013. In it we stated that “At the risk of sounding complacent, we believe that the fundamental trends that produced such favorable results in 2012 are still in place and should support another good year in 2013. We are not blind to the challenges and uncertainties that still face us, nor do we believe that the year ahead will be devoid of volatility.

2013-04-19 Global Economic Overview - March 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Global economic trends turned softer during the month of March as indicators from Europe showed further declines and U.S. consumer sentiment moderated on labor market uncertainties, government spending cuts, and tax increases. Continuing weakness in European demand has somewhat dulled the export outlook for emerging economies, while government policies to prevent excessive asset price inflation have led to concerns about domestic consumption growth in these countries.

2013-04-19 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks moved up nicely last week despite poor economic data and a huge decline in precious metals and other commodities.

2013-04-19 The Pharaoh's Dream by Andrew Bosomworth of PIMCO

As yields on assets decline, central banks’ ultra-loose monetary policies are effectively forcing investors further out the concentric circles into lower quality, more illiquid sectors in search of positive yielding assets after deducting inflation. In order to achieve 6%-7% returns in the future, investors may be required to take on more risk. Allocating part of a portfolio away from “middle circle” asset classes into assets with higher return potential as well as assets offering liquidity is the right strategy in our opinion.

2013-04-19 Fed to End QE, Obama's Tax & Spend Budget by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today I tackle several topics, each of which could take up an entire E-Letter. But these topics are very important, and I want to address them today. The first is the minutes from the March 19-20 Fed Open Market Committee meeting that were released last Wednesday. Those minutes definitively confirm that the Fed is ready to chart an end to quantitative easing.

2013-04-19 \"America Has Faced the Unknown Since 1776,\" So Says Warren Buffett by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

So wrote Warren Buffett in his March 1, 2013 letter to Berkshire Hathaway Inc. stockholders. In the phrase before this quote, Mr. Buffett wrote: “Of course, the immediate future is uncertain ” And after this quote, he wrote: “It’s just that sometimes people focus on the myriad of uncertainties that always exist while at other times they ignore them (usually because the recent past has been uneventful).”

2013-04-19 Recession Watch: ECRI\'s Weekly Leading Indicator Rises by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Essentially ECRI is sticking to its call that a recession began in mid-2012, although the company now calls it a "mild" recession, which is quite a shift from their original stance 18 months ago: "...if you think this is a bad economy, you haven’t seen anything yet."

2013-04-19 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The world’s public debt is much larger than it may appear. The lines have been drawn in the U.S. budget debate. Rates of disability are affecting labor force participation.

2013-04-19 First Quarter Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

Looking ahead, significant uncertainty surrounds fiscal and monetary policy in terms of what policies will be adopted and their ultimate economic and financial market impacts. More broadly, still-high global debt levels pose an economic headwind. Against this backdrop, our outlook for stocks has not improved. If anything, given the sharp run-up in stock prices, we are getting closer to reducing our U.S. equity exposure further than we are to increasing it.

2013-04-18 Reversing Quantitative Easing by Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Advisors

The Fed is likely to lag the markets, as they do in most cycles. The markets will probably anticipate the Fed reversing QE. The Fed will surprise few investors. The Fed should reverse QE in a yield curve-neutral way, in our view. Steepening the curve risks perversely stimulating the economy by making carry trades and loan spreads more profitable. This cycle will probably end as do most cycles. The Fed will be behind the curve, play catch-up, tighten too much, invert the curve, and cause a recession. That end result, however, is probably quite far in the future.

2013-04-17 The Interest Rate Environment: Comparing High Yield Bonds and Bank Loans by Team of Hotchkis & Wiley

In its first quarter 2013 newsletter, "The Interest Rate Environment: Comparing High Yield Bonds and Bank Loans," Hotchkis & Wiley’s high yield team analyzes the behavior of the high yield market and the bank loan market in different interest rate environments to determine whether they can make sensible assumptions about the future.

2013-04-17 U.S. GDP: After Some First-Quarter Flurry, a Slowdown? by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investments

We had a little flush of activity in the first quarter, which we believe will lead to much better GDP potentially well over 3% than people anticipated in the beginning of the year. We look at this activity as a little bit of a catch-up, for a couple of reasons.

2013-04-17 Present and Emerging Risks to the Gold Trade by Amit Bhartia, Matt Seto of GMO

The notion of gold as a hedge against systemic risks is flawed. We believe that the concept of gold’s role as an insurance policy needs to be narrowed significantly.

2013-04-16 Michael Pettis - Can China Save Itself? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Most analysts predict China’s growth will slow; they disagree only as to the depth and timing of its eventual recession. A rare exception to that group is Michael Pettis. Pettis, who describes himself as a skeptic, believes China can rebalance its economy.

2013-04-16 Gold in the Crosshairs by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

In the opening years of the last decade, most mainstream investors sat on the sidelines while "tin hat" goldbugs rode the bull market from below $300 to just over $1,000 per ounce. But following the 2008 financial crisis, when gold held up better than stocks during the decline and made new record highs long before the Dow Jones fully recovered, Wall Street finally sat up and took notice.

2013-04-15 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Another dayAnother record. With last week’s poor unemployment releases suddenly a distant memory, investors looked forward (and not backward) and took the Dow Jones and S&P 500 back into record-setting territory with a four-day winning streak. By week’s end, however, some key earnings reports disappointed and analysts became more concerned about the state of the consumer (though there is clearly no consensus on that front either).

2013-04-15 Housing Is it Getting Better, A Second Look by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

This week we take a quick look at some of what is in the President’s budget and then focus on the housing market (the title harkens back to something we wrote a few months back). You may sense, as you read on, I’m a bit cranky this week. As you read through the housing section you’ll understand why.

2013-04-12 ECRI\'s Weekly Leading Indicator Shows a Small Improvement by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is now at 130.1, up from 129.1 last week (revised from 129.2). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) remains unchanged at 6.2%.

2013-04-12 Everyone Wants More Financial Stability, But at What Cost? by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

For all the good intentions, there is no guarantee that the rush to re-regulate will be successful. The next crisis may look nothing like the one just past, and the political will to take tough preventative steps during good times cannot be taken for granted.

2013-04-12 Assume a Perfect World by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Waiting for our forecasts to be wrong before we adopt a yet another “solution” based on a temporary fix of yet another forecast that turned out to be wrong is no way to run a railroad, unless you want your train running off a cliff. I applaud the recent attempts in DC to come to a solution on the deficits and budget, but where are the leaders who want to get real with those forecasts?

2013-04-11 Telling (Taper) Time by Tony Crescenzi of PIMCO

Investors need be alert for signs of progress in the many employment indicators the Fed is watching, and listen closely to what the Fed is saying to know when bond buying will be tapered. The failure to achieve “escape velocity” is why the Fed is using its printing press to purchase $85 billion of securities monthly. These purchases will continue, the Fed says “until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially.” The Fed has made progress toward achieving escape velocity but the progress must be sustained for the Fed to throttle back on its stimulus.

2013-04-10 Economic Slowdown Halts Equity Rally by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

The latest softness in economic indicators probably means that more consolidation in the equity markets is required before we can advance beyond the recent all-time highs. During March, nearly all of the activity for the S&P 500 was within 1% of 1550. Equities may move lower due to deteriorating technical conditions and the possibility of weak first quarter earnings reports.

2013-04-10 Looking for Warm Milk and a Blanket by Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital

Conspiracy theory economists would say that the Government fudged the data weaker so that it could help sell $60-70 billion in U.S. debt this week. Whatever the outcome, last week we had a perfect storm of high expectations for the data + very below average March weather + the payroll tax hike impact + the upcoming sequester worry. Economic data will move violently from month to month, but unfortunately last week, it was mostly in the WEAKER THAN EXPECTED direction and investors did not hesitate to bring pain on risk assets.

2013-04-10 High Yield and Bank Loan Outlook by Team of Guggenheim Partners

While leveraged credit is far from the bargain it was four years ago, discussions of a bubble are premature at this point. Although we have entered the advanced stages of the rally, historical precedent and the continuation of accommodative monetary policy suggest that spreads, particularly those of lower-rated bonds and bank loans, may tighten materially from current levels.

2013-04-09 John Hussman – Why Prospective Returns Are Low by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Monetary and fiscal policies have driven our economy into an unstable equilibrium, pushing investors into higher-yielding securities, according to John Hussman. But those higher yields are illusory, he said, because corporate profit margins are too high to be sustainable.

2013-04-09 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for Asia: How Leadership Changes Are Shaping Asia's Outlook by Q&A with Ramin Toloui, Tomoya Masanao and Robert Mead of PIMCO

For Asia, “slow but not slowing” global growth will likely keep external demand neutral, and policy developments will therefore help shape the economic outlook. In Japan, we see a significant boost to aggregate demand coming from the concerted monetary and fiscal expansion of the new Abe government. In China, concerns about inflation, housing market excesses, and long-term financial stability are prompting policy restraint that should keep growth below 8% this year.

2013-04-08 A Continuing Case for Dividends by Richard Skaggs of Loomis Sayles

The investment case for dividend-paying stocks is as strong as ever. Many dividend-paying stocks continue to boast yields comparable to or higher than US Treasurys, and the case for dividend growth in the years ahead remains favorable. Dividends have a long history as a significant component of total return, and investors will likely continue to press for rising payouts since corporate balance sheets are flush with cash. What should investors consider as they survey the universe of dividend-paying companies?

2013-04-08 The Theology of Inflation by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We begin this week with a simple pop quiz. Is inflation good or bad? Answer quickly. I’m sorry your answer is wrong. Or rather, we can’t know if your answer is right or wrong because we are not sure what is meant by the question. We may think we know and we may be right but we can’t be sure, because the word inflation has different meanings for different people in different places and different times. In fact, even the same people in the same place and time can’t agree on a precise definition.

2013-04-08 Taking Distortion at Face Value by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The U.S. stock market presently reflects two unstable features. One is that extraordinary monetary policy specifically quantitative easing has created an ocean of zero-interest money that someone has to hold at each point in time, and that provokes a speculative reach for yield. The other is that extraordinary fiscal policy, coupled with household savings near record lows, have joined to elevate profit margins more than 70% above their historical norm, as the deficit of one sector has to emerge as the surplus of another.

2013-04-08 Ben Bernanke, the Rodney Dangerfield of Fed Chairmen by Paul Kasriel of Econtrarian, LLC

First it was 2012 presidential candidate Rick Perry, who wanted to deal with Ben Bernanke’s money-printing “Texas style”. Then 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney indicated that Ben Bernanke had better have his personal effects packed up and ready to move out of his Fed office by January 21, 2013.

2013-04-05 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company, Inc.

For two years or more, we’ve been discussing Europe, China, and U.S. politics as drivers for the financial markets. These drivers continue.

2013-04-05 ECRI\'s Recession Indicators Decline from the Previous Week by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Today ECRI has added a new headline on the website, Employment Growth Hits New Low, based on data from today’s jobs report. Essentially ECRI is sticking to its call that a recession began in mid-2012, although the company now calls it a "mild" recession, which is quite a shift from their original stance 18 months ago: "...if you think this is a bad economy, you haven’t seen anything yet."

2013-04-05 Federal Judge Green-Lights Stockton Bankruptcy by Michael Brooks of AllianceBernstein

Stockton, California, made headlines last June when it filed for a Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Now, a federal judge has not only given his okay to proceed; he’s also thrown retiree pension benefits into the debate. The big question is whether these benefits can be cut. The outcome could be a groundbreaking decision that would encourage other municipalities to adopt this approachparticularly those with pension problems.

2013-04-05 Eye of the Beholder: Dissecting the Variety of Price-Earnings Ratios by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

There are many ways to value the stock market. Here, a look at several popular metrics, along with my view on the attractiveness of stocks.

2013-04-04 Sound Fundamentals but Fatigue in the Markets by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Although economic fundamentals continue to strengthen, the run-up in asset prices that has unfolded over the past half-year appears to be at risk of a temporary set-back.

2013-04-04 Absolute Return Letter: The Need for Wholesale Change by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees,Tricia Ward of Absolute Return Partners

The seeds of the next crisis have probably already been sown as a consequence of the lax monetary policy currently being pursued. Frustrated with the lack of direction from political leaders, most recently witnessed in the handling of the crisis in Cyprus which was a complete farce, central bankers from around the world are likely to demand change, but politicians will have to be pushed into a corner before they will respond to any such pressure. Hence nothing decisive will happen before the next major crisis erupts.

2013-04-04 Teachings from Recovered Markets by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

Domestic indices’ all-time record highs indicate that U.S. domestic equity markets have largely recovered from the 2008 Great Recession. It may have taken four years but it still seems a remarkable achievement given the Dow’s low of 6620 in March 2009. It is worth noting that prior highs were attained in an era with a poor savings rate and wide use of levered strategies. The last four years were widely characterized by a “low return” market mantra and fear of equities stoked by many doomsayers, pundits, and strategists who greeted every upturn with pessimism.

2013-04-03 First Quarter Recap by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

This past month marked the fourth anniversary of the global equity market bottom on March 9, 2009. U.S. stocks have clawed back all of the losses from the Great Recession and are near historical highs. Most other major markets are still well below their 2007 peaks, but have rebounded sharply since last June and look increasingly resilient. However, there is tremendous anxiety about the economic outlook, and many investors fear equities and other risk assets are floating on a sea of liquidity rather than solid fundamentals. We are more constructive and maintain a pro-growth investment stance.

2013-04-03 When Does The Great Recession Become the Great Rotation? by Gene Tannuzzo of Columbia Management

Given the strong flows into the bond market over the past few years, many pundits have pondered the beginning of the “Great Rotation” when bond investors begin to move money into the equity market. Investors fear that this shift could cause losses in bond funds as investors flee. Indeed since the start of the Great Recession in 2008, investors have plowed into bond funds as an alternative to equity volatility.

2013-04-03 Surprise! 2013 Rally Pales in Comparison to 2012 “Stealth” Rally by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Despite the hoopla over first quarter market performance, it paled in comparison to the first three months of 2012. Driven in part by an extremely accommodative Fed, the U.S. economy is gaining traction, but Europe continues to flounder. After their first negative print in three years during the third quarter, S&P 500 companies returned to positive earnings growth in the fourth. A broad, globally diversified portfolio is the best way to balance the desire for wealth accumulation with an appreciation of volatility.

2013-04-03 Why This Economic \"Recovery\" is So Weak by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

We start today with an excellent editorial I read last week written by Mort Zuckerman, Editor-In-Chief of U.S. News & World Report. My goal every week is to do a lot of reading and summarize what I’ve learned in these pages week in and week out. But every now and then I run across something so good that it just makes sense to reprint it in its entirety, even if it’s not my own work. Not many of my contemporaries are willing to do that, as they think it makes them look less scholarly. I don’t have that problem.

2013-04-02 Bernanke’s Motives Behind Quantitative Easing by Paul Franchi (Article)

We are at a turning point: away from one global monetary standard, to a yet-to-be-determined new form.

2013-04-02 A Q1 Letter to Clients: Why Warren Buffett is Bullish on Stocks by Dan Richards (Article)

Since 2008, I have posted templates to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the year that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead. This quarter’s letter draws on Warren Buffett’s most recent letter to shareholders, and why he is bullish on the US equity market.

2013-04-01 The Global Economy on the Fly by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

In a fragile global environment, has America become a beacon of hope? While the US is experiencing several positive economic trends, Europe continues to stagnate, and China will be vulnerable to a hard landing in 2014 unless its new leaders accelerate the pace of reform.

2013-04-01 U.S. Stock Market: Too Good to Be True? by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Funds

There is nothing worse than buying at the top of the market. Think back to the last two economic cycles. If you bought the US stock market or real estate in late 2007, you are way under on those purchases and that is after sweating it out for the last 5 years. Even with the 2009-2012 rebound, we have not seen real estate values or the Dow Index back to even. You have to ask yourself, how can this be?

2013-04-01 We Should Already Have Learned How This Will End by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The bear market losses that complete each market cycle have different catalysts. Some feature recession, some feature inflation, some feature credit events, but nearly all feature a spike in risk premiums from levels that have become both low and complacent. That’s the underlying risk that overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising-yield conditions have reliably identified over time.

2013-03-29 ECRI Recession Indicator: Unchanged from Last Week by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) to one decimal place is unchanged from last week. It is now at 129.7, the same as last week’s downward revision from 129.8. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) has risen fractionally to 6.6%, up from last week’s 6.3%. Those of us who regularly follow ECRI’s publicly available data and commentaries understand that there is no logical connection between ECRI’s proprietary indicators and their "pronounced, pervasive and persistent" recession call of September 2011.

2013-03-29 Market Resilience by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

After a stellar first quarter performance from US stock markets, which showed impressive resilience to continued headwinds, a pullback is certainly possible but we don’t suggest investors who need to add to allocations wait. In a relative world, the US stock market continues to look like an attractive place to invest, although there may also be opportunities in Japan and Europe as well. The upcoming earnings season could tell the story for the market over the next couple of months, but we continue to advocate a long-term point of view and maintaining a diversified portfolio.

2013-03-28 On the Fed, the Keystone Pipeline & the War On Jobs by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) met as scheduled last Tuesday and Wednesday to review monetary policy and its massive “quantitative easing” effort. The official policy statement released at the end of the meeting on Wednesday was little changed from those in previous months.

2013-03-27 What Happened to That Export-Led Recovery? by Mike Amey of PIMCO

With nearly 50% of the UK’s total exports going to Europe, an economic area constantly flirting with its own recession, it is no surprise to see that UK trade performance has been challenged.As the US continues to re-heal, and trade becomes more geographically diversified, we should see exports start to grow once more, albeit off a modest base. The easing in sterling is undoubtedly welcome and will improve prospects for exports, but it is unlikely to be a “game changer”.

2013-03-27 Mark Hulbert: Our Kindred Spirit by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Mark Hulbert and I started in the investment business in 1980. He chose to create a business out of analyzing the results and psychological implications of investment newsletter writers. At Smead Capital Management, we formed a business to analyze publicly-traded US common stocks through the prism of our eight proprietary criteria. We enjoy his unbiased third-party opinions on current circumstances and his consistently good historical perspective.

2013-03-26 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks were flat last week as investors were mesmerized by the goings on in Cypress and the European Union.

2013-03-26 The Stimulus Trap by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

For years we have been warned by Keynesian economists to fear the so-called "liquidity trap," an economic cul-de-sac that can suck down an economy like a tar pit swallowing a mastodon. They argue that economies grow because banks lend and consumers spend. But a "liquidity trap," they argue, convinces consumers not to consume and businesses not to borrow. The resulting combination of slack demand and falling prices creates a pernicious cycle that cannot be overcome by the ordinary forces that create growth, like savings or investment.

2013-03-26 The Real Worry in Europe (Hint: It's Not Cyprus) by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Investors have enjoyed six months of relative quiet in Europe, but the situation has flared up again over Cyprus. While many investors are wondering why they should care about such a tiny part of Europe, Russ says the answer is because it is indicative of a bigger concern.

2013-03-25 Cyprus Averts Disaster, but the Price is High by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

The European Union’s last-minute deal with Cyprus has headed off bankruptcy for now, but comes at a heavy price for uninsured bank depositors. Meanwhile, the move to impose losses on private creditors and growing complacency among policymakers could be storing up trouble for the future.

2013-03-25 The Hook by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

At the 2000 peak, Richard Russell observed "Every bull and bear market needs a hook.’ The hook in a bear market is whatever the bear serves to keep investors and traders thinking that everything is going to be all right. There is always a hook."

2013-03-25 Energy: Perilous Present, Promising Future by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

For oil and gas, an era of abundant supplies and lower prices awaits. But investors will have to weather a tricky geopolitical situation before it arrives.

2013-03-25 Cyprus Reminds Us of Threats and Improving Global Economy by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

Equity averages sagged slightly last week. Strength later in the week made up for earlier weakness as the equity rally paused for the Cyprus crisis. We (and the consensus) perceive Cyprus as mainly a local problem and believe it supports our view to remain cautious with Eurozone weightings.

2013-03-25 Still Bullish by Richard Golod of Invesco

Global equities (as measured by the MSCI All Country World Index) fell modestly in February amid reignited fears about the euro’s future, signs of distress in China’s economy and the looming sequester deadline in the US. Nevertheless, I believe the US, Japan and emerging markets may offer compelling opportunities, while Europe requires a more selective approach.

2013-03-22 Cyprus Lifts the Curtain by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

This week financial analysts, economists, politicians, and bank depositors from around the world were outraged that European leaders, more specifically the Germans, currently calling many of the shots in Brussels and Frankfurt, could be so politically reckless, economically ignorant, and emotionally callous as to violate the sanctity of bank deposits in order to fund a bailout of Cyprus.

2013-03-22 ECRI’s "Recession" Indicators: Unchanged from Last Week by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The only new ECRI-related news since last Friday’s update is a CBS Moneywatch commentary, Can the stock market rise while the economy stalls? ECRI liked the commentary well enough to reprint it on the company’s website. It basically reiterates Achuthan’s point in the "Yo-Yo Years" essay that it’s possible for the market to rise during a recession, citing three such instances (of the 15 recessions) since the Roaring Twenties.

2013-03-21 Will the Real Unemployed Please Raise Your Hands? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week’s letter will be a very short part of a book I am writing with Bill Dunkelberg (the Chief Economist of the National Federation of Independent Businesses) on the future of employment. It has taken longer to write than I initially anticipated, for a host of reasons, chief among which is that the future is not as obvious as I originally thought. Diving into the data has brought a few surprises.

2013-03-21 The Constancy of Dividends by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

The payout ratio on the S&P 500 Index currently hovers around 30% of the after-tax profits of companies in the indexat the low end of the last 100 years. In comparison, the capital appreciation portfolio here at Smead Capital Management has a payout ratio of 27%. This is important because most studies show that over 40% of the returns provided by common stocks come from dividends over long stretches of time. With those figures in mind, we reasoned that this is a good juncture to remind everyone about our vision of the next ten years as it pertains to dividends.

2013-03-21 Goldilocks Roars by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

Equity markets are producing supra-normal returns. To March 18th, the portfolio is up over 15% year-to-date, over 100 basis points ahead of the index. Many investors would be happy with such a gain over a full year rather than a mere twelve weeks, so are puzzled, the more so as respected pundits agree that the data makes for easy stories of rampant inflation, collapsing government credit and a prolonged global recession. Equity markets, however, are stubbornly refusing to follow the script.

2013-03-20 Is The Government Lying To Us About Inflation? Yes! by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped an unexpected 0.7% in February. This was above pre-report estimates and was the highest monthly reading since 2009. We should be very concerned, right? Let’s take a closer look.

2013-03-19 The Eurozone Crisis: Time for a Reset by Giles Conway-Gordon of Cogo Wolf Asset Management

The crisis in the Eurozone (EZ) has reached a dangerously unstable condition, politically, socially, financially and economically. Without a return to growth in the peripheral economies a disorderly outcome is becoming probable as the debtor countries approach the 100% debt-to-GDP default horizon. They will not return to growth while they share a currency with Germany. It is time for a reset.

2013-03-19 Rising Political Risk and Ongoing Economic Weakness Challenge a Difficult Journey to Recovery by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

Looking ahead, it will continue to be a very bumpy journey as we anticipate economic contraction in the eurozone by -0.75% to -1.25% over the next year, hampered by growing political risk and fiscal tightening. Although we expect the pace of contraction in the eurozone to diminish over 2013, the duration of the recession is likely to be longer than consensus forecasts.

2013-03-19 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks had a very quiet week with volumes reaching levels that one associates with holiday trading.

2013-03-19 A Tired Equity Market Crawls Higher by Bob Doll of Nuveen Asset Management

U.S. equities rose again last week as the S&P 500 increased 0.66%, with an overall gain for the year of 9.96%.1 The remarkable resilience of the U.S. economy against fiscal cliff headwinds has boosted equity investor sentiment. The U.S. macroeconomic outperformance has also helped U.S. equities outperform global counterparts. Investor preference toward the U.S. has largely been confirmed by rising flows into U.S. equities.

2013-03-19 Why Are Emerging Markets Struggling in 2013? by Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Despite one of the sharpest rallies in US equities in recent memory, emerging market equities have been left curiously behind in 2013. Through last Friday, the market segment was down 1.0%, compared to an S&P 500 index that was up 10.0%. This seems to violate the regime that investors have gotten used to over the past 10 years, whereby the emerging markets equity index served as a high beta proxy for the US equity market.

2013-03-19 Adios Hugo by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On the afternoon of March 5, the vice president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, announced that President Hugo Chavez, who had led the country since 1999, had died. His death did not come as a great surprise. He had been suffering from cancer for nearly two years. Last year, declaring himself “cured,” he ran for president and won a third term handily. However, by December, he needed additional treatment in Cuba. As he prepared for what proved to be the final round of therapy, he appointed Maduro as the leader of Venezuela in his absence.

2013-03-19 Things Could Get Bumpy But Hang in There? by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

The quality of the Fed’s Flow of Funds data is about as comprehensive a balance sheet assessment of corporate and private America as you could wish for. It’s also great for looking at trends rather than the hot spots over which the market frets. Here are some of the findings:

2013-03-18 Currencies: A 1970s Flashback? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Four decades ago, a currency war and significant Fed easing were followed by a bout of high inflation. Now investors are worried that history could repeat itself.

2013-03-18 5 Reasons to Still Like (but not Love) Stocks by David Kelly of JP Morgan Funds

While investors have been justifiably worried that the combination of the big tax hikes of January and the Sequester in March could lead to an economic slump, so far the numbers are reassuring.

2013-03-15 Emerging Markets Equity Commentary by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equities saw a moderate correction in February, broadly similar to the rest of the world. Prices reacted negatively to renewed concerns of a worsening European fiscal crisis as the results of the recent Italian elections turned out to be inconclusive.

2013-03-15 ECRI’s Recession Call: Proprietary Indicators Still Not Cooperating by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose in today’s update. It is now at 129.9 versus the previous week’s 129.5 (revised upward from 129.3). The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) has eased, now at 6.3, down from last week’s 6.4 (an upward revision from 6.2).

2013-03-15 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Industrial Production and Real Retail Sales by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

With the exception of Real Personal Income Less Transfer Payments (e.g., Social Security, Supplementary Security Income, workers compensation, etc.), the Big Four continue to show expansion. The seemingly bizarre income data is the result of the end-of-year strategy of early bonuses and moving forward of 2013 income to avoid higher taxes. We’ve seen this situation before in the 1990s. The PI anomaly is the reason the average for the Big Four (the gray line above) has shows contraction for the past two months.

2013-03-15 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Despite exceptionally easy monetary policy, inflation risk remains low. Record stock market levels are boosting consumer spending. U.S. capital spending is poised to be a bright spot this year.

2013-03-15 China\’s Next Stop by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Would it surprise you to discover that China is planning to add 800 miles to its subway system over the next two years? That’s the distance equivalent to building a network from Dallas to Chicago in less time than the U.S. Congress can resolve a budget!

2013-03-15 Finally!! Now What? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Surprise! We don’t know what’s going to happen in stocks over the next few weeks. But we are seeing an environment that we believe can foster further gains in the US as economic data remains generally positive, the Fed maintains its accommodative stance, and small progress is being made in the fiscal realm. Investors concerned about a pullback may want to hedge their portfolios, but maintain adequate exposure to equities.

2013-03-14 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

In the latest edition of his client newsletter, Harold Evensky highlights a number of interesting bits of news, including a must-see destination for your friends, your kids and your grandkids, some advice from Warren Buffett, a tip from Albert Einstein and the latest data on hedge fund performance.

2013-03-14 Global Currency Battles: A Waiting Disaster or a Win for All? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

To many, Japan’s recent moves to devalue the yen looked like the spark that could ignite a global currency war -- a series of competitive devaluations that, last century, helped plunge the world into the Great Depression. Until now, central bankers have been resisting the urge to politicize exchange rates. However, while currency skirmishes can be dangerous and require monitoring, they are also necessary for establishing equilibrium in markets and will help in the global economic recovery, some experts say.

2013-03-13 Some Stunning Demographic Trends in Employment by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

I spent much of yesterday reviewing the latest employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). They have a wealth of employment data, much of which stretches back to 1948. My focus was the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) with some specific attention to gender and age. The LFPR is a simple computation: You take the Civilian Labor Force and divide it by the Civilian Noninstitutional Population. The result is the participation rate expressed as a percent.

2013-03-12 Finally, a Jobs Report Worth Reading by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Surprisingly, the February employment report showed a labor market growing at a reasonably healthy rate. Concerns that the sequester would spill into the broader economy have yet to materialize and if recent trends hold, the economy may finally be approaching a point of robust and sustainable job growth.

2013-03-12 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks rose each day last week as the notion of a ho-hum global economy was reassuring to those who fear either a recession or a surge in economic activity.

2013-03-12 The Plow Horse is Trotting by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

In October 2012, we raised our recession odds from 10% to 25%. We saw an increase in uncertainty and fear over the election and the fiscal cliff as having the potential to cause a drop in velocity. Panics (falling velocity) are rare. As a result, our base case (75% odds) was for a 2.5% to 3% increase in real GDP for 2013. Real GDP increased just 0.1% in Q4, but now it appears the Plow Horse is starting to trot a little.

2013-03-12 U.S. Dominates World Markets for the Trifecta by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

While large-cap indices get all the headlines, mid and small caps have continued to excel. Frontier markets have picked up the slack as major emerging markets stumble. Global risks persist, though U.S. fundamentals appear solid. The move toward U.S. energy independence should soon result in a trade surplus, boosting GDP.

2013-03-12 Spring Thaw by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

The first thing you notice when you are landing at Detroit Metro Airport in the winter after two weeks in the Caribbean is whether or not there is snow on the ground. I am pleased to report that other than a few clumps left by the snow plows or swept by the wind into the empty furrows and fenced-in corners of a farmer's field, the six inches that covered everything when I left have largely disappeared.

2013-03-11 Two Myths and a Legend by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The present market euphoria appears to be driven by two myths and a legend. Make no mistake. When investors cannot possibly think of any reason why stocks could decline, and are convinced that universally recognized factors are sufficient to drive prices perpetually higher, euphoria is the proper term.

2013-03-11 The Job Market: Not As Strong As It Looks by Scott Brown of Raymond James

With headwinds fading, the U.S. economic recovery appeared poised to pick up more substantially in 2013. Unfortunately, fiscal policy is going in the wrong direction.

2013-03-08 Three Trends Will Shake American Businesses Out Of Paralysis by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

On-shoring, energy infrastructure reinvestment and plant replacement are three trends in the making that will shake American business out of paralysis. In the last "Bond Deer in the Headlights," I outlined the "Monetary Abolitionists" assertion that out-of-control government spending, made acceptable by historically low interest rates, was responsible for corporate paralysis in investing and hiring.

2013-03-08 Flying High by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover, Mike Czekaj of Broadleaf Partners

The media has made a spectacle out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaching new all-time highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 indices do not include the compounding effect of dividends paid by member companies. Any retiree will tell you that dividends represent a return of capital and useful income in the real economy. If you had reinvested those dividends back in the index as they were paid, the old time highs reached in October of 2007 likely would have been passed some time ago.

2013-03-08 ECRI "Recession" Update: Lakshman Achuthan Stands his Ground by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The big news this week is the ECRI's Chief Operating Officer and spokesman, Lakshman Achuthan, returned to the media circuit with interviews yesterday on Bloomberg, CNBC and Yahoo's Daily Ticker. In addition, ECRI has published a new commentary available to the general public.

2013-03-08 Labor Policy Needs to Help, Not Hinder Employment. by Team of Northern Trust

Labor policy needs to help, not hinder employment. The U.S. employment report surprised on the upside. Watch the shadows behind China's official credit measures

2013-03-07 Freewheeling? by Dimitri Balatsos of Tesseract Partners

Ignoring threatening clouds in the distant horizon, the financial markets are wrapped in a blanket of complacency. Consider the following. The Dow Jones Index has been flirting with the 2007 record peak. Implied stock market volatility, as measured by the VIX Index, is in the basement. Junk bond yields are at record lows, compressing spreads to within shouting distance of risk-free Treasuries. Securitization is back from the dead, while the drought in M&A activity is now getting plenty of rainfall.

2013-03-07 New Highs by Team of Janus Capital Group

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a new record high the first week of March, breaking its previous closing high reached in October of 2007. The new record is symbolic more than anything else, but it still has some positive implications for equity markets.

2013-03-07 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.

2013-03-06 A New Yen for Japan by Team of Janus Capital Group

In Japan, a little inflation could go quite a long way. After stepping down six years ago, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned in November with a platform promising to put an end to the deflationary cycles that have plagued Japan for decades.

2013-03-06 How Big a Problem will the Sequester be for the U.S. Economy? by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

Having dodged the fiscal cliff and postponed the debt ceiling deadline, Congress decided to let the spending sequesters happen. Will the result be to throw the economy into recession or cause an economic catastrophe? We don't think so, and neither does Congress.

2013-03-06 Liquidity Tiering for Higher Yields in the Tax-Free Market by Duane McAllister, John Bortizke of BMO Global Asset Management

In today's low-yield environment, investors need a fresh approach to managing their portfolios for higher income. Liquidity tiering provides a framework that can help you achieve both principal stability and yields sufficient to meet your goals.

2013-03-05 Japan: Brave New Policies from Japan? by Team of Thomas White International

Time to Shine Again: After two decades of failed policies and stagnant economic growth, Japan is embarking on a bolder monetary policy under its newly-elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

2013-03-05 Reflections on Sequester by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

Over the past several weeks, the notion of sequester, a plan of across the board spending cuts, has been dominating the news. The sequester was a program designed to never go into effect. In the dark days of 2011, when the debt ceiling debate threatened to cause the U.S. to default on its debt, the administration and the House GOP made a deal. In return for a higher debt ceiling, one high enough to ensure that it would not be hit before the 2012 presidential elections, a commission was tasked to make significant cuts to fiscal spending.

2013-03-05 Currencies: The Winds of War by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

In this conflict, the collateral damage could include asset bubbles and accelerating inflation.

2013-03-05 No Rest for the Wicked by Scott Brown of Raymond James

With headwinds fading, the U.S. economic recovery appeared poised to pick up more substantially in 2013. Unfortunately, fiscal policy is going in the wrong direction.

2013-03-04 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

The sky is falling. The sky is falling. It's the millennium all over again. (How did those fears work out?) With politicos unable to reach any agreement on the budget (taxes), the "dumb, arbitrary" spending cuts began to take effect to the tune of $85 billion this year. (So much for a military preparedness.) Though the impact on the economy will not be felt overnight, some areas will begin to suffer sooner than others and biz/consumer confidence could become an issue in the near future.

2013-03-04 Living in the Past: Investors Finally Putting Away the Rear-View Mirror? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

With a very strong January in the books for stocks, and hefty inflows into stock mutual funds, are we finally seeing the investor class become believers?

2013-03-04 The Sequester Cuts Take Effect: Now What Happens? by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

On March 1, the government spending cuts known as the "sequester" took effect without any action from Congress. Below I discuss what those cuts mean and what is likely to follow as Congress wrestles with additional deadlines. But before we get to the sequester, a number of you have asked for a understandable summary of the elements of the fiscal cliff compromise reached on New Year's Eve.

2013-03-04 Out On A Limb - An Investor's Guide to X-treme Monetary and Fiscal Conditions by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Massive policy responses, directed toward ineffective ends, are scarcely better than no policy response at all. A look at the current monetary and fiscal policy environment, as well as more effective policy initiatives, and why they make sense.

2013-03-04 Health Care Reform: A Q&A With Our Municipal Bond Experts by Shari Sikes, Art Schloss of Invesco

Health care reform took center stage in the last year as the Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA), affirming the constitutionality of portions of the law. The decision made it possible for major health care reform to proceed. This January, health care spending again was at the forefront during the fiscal cliff debate as a means to reduce government spending. Health care is poised to remain at the center of this discussion until a federal budget deal is reached.

2013-03-01 Wait for Your Pitch in Today's Market by John West of Research Affiliates

Great hitting in baseball depends in part on waiting for the right pitch. In today's market, most asset classescoming off their impressive 2012 recordare "high and outside" the valuations necessary for future big league returns. Patience is the name of the game today.

2013-03-01 ECRI "Recession" Update: Proprietary Indicators Slip Again by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

ECRI adamantly denied that the sharp decline of their indicators in 2010 marked the beginning of a recession. But in 2011, when their proprietary indicators were at levels higher than 2010, they made their recession call with stunning confidence bordering on arrogance.

2013-03-01 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Personal Income Less Transfer Payments by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

I've now updated this commentary to include the January Personal Income data, the red line in the chart below. As expected, the January brought the inevitable reversal of the dramatic advance in the November and December data, which was a result of moving income forward to manage the tax risk in anticipation of the Fiscal Cliff. The -4.7% decline in January essentially cancels the 1.4% rise in November and 3% rise in December.

2013-03-01 There Are More Sellers Than Buyers in the World Economy. by Team of Northern Trust

There are more sellers than buyers in the world economy. The recent Italian election may usher in renewed instability. US bank lending is finally expanding, but not everyone is happy about it.

2013-03-01 Critical Juncture? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Headwinds have reemerged and investor concern is heightened yet again. We still believe stocks can run further, but a pullback is more likely in the near-term. The sequestration is now in affect but that doesn't necessarily mean it's here to stay and more budget fights loom, particularly in advance of the potential government shutdown on March 27. Meanwhile, some members of the Fed are in favor of scaling back its quantitative easing (QE) program, rattling markets a bit.

2013-03-01 Greetings from Istanbul! by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

As I travel around Turkey, I am reminded how vital good government policies are to the health of a nation. Following a decade of fiscally responsible actions, Turkey is the picture of a growing prosperity. Perhaps Americas elected officials could take a tip from this vibrant country overseas.

2013-02-28 What Italy's Election Result May Mean for the Markets and Your Investment Portfolio? by Team of Thomas White International

Global equity and bond markets have reacted sharply to the outcome of Italy's elections on February 24-25. The poll result is inconclusive, with no clear winner. And apparently, Italians have voted against the austerity measures and reforms that are widely believed to have improved international confidence in Italy last year.

2013-02-27 "Abenomics" & the Weakening YenToo Far, Too Fast by Chun Wang of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management

Japan's new Prime Minster Shinzo Abe made more of an impact on the market than anyone else last month. In what the market has dubbed "Abenomics," Abe not only launched a new fiscal stimulus, but also pushed the Bank of Japan to raise its inflation target from 1% to 2% AND agree to a new open-ended QE program. The reluctance on the BoJ's part is clearly visible because the new open-ended QE will not start until 2014 and there is no commitment to asset purchases after 2014. Shortly afterwards, the BoJ governor said he would step down, a clear sign of disagreement.

2013-02-27 ING Fixed Income Perspectives February 2013 by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Despite its diminutive size, February has been a whirlwind. Eat and drink too much on Fat Tuesday, be reminded of our corporeal nature on Ash Wednesday, receive a sappy Hallmark card on Thursday, and cap it all off with a memorial for a bunch of ex-presidents on Monday. Unfortunately, the next several weeks don't appear to offer any relief from this calendar whiplash.

2013-02-27 The Great Migration by Herbert Abramson, Randall Abramson of Trapeze Asset Management

We are value investors dedicated to creating portfolios for clients, whether growth (equities), income or a balanced blend of both, of undervalued securities with meaningful upside potential and a margin of safety to guard against permanent loss. For us, the bottom-up factors are the most compelling, but we are also mindful that we need to take account of the top-down macro factors. We know how the Crash of ꞌ08 and the accompanying recession created havoc for investors, including us, no matter how undervalued stocks were.

2013-02-27 Singapore A Wise Owl Among Currency Snakes by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

As China enters the "Year of the Snake," Singapore stands as a beacon of sound currency in a world gone mad. China's renminbi remains pegged to the US dollar, while even steadfast Switzerland has followed the US, UK, EU, and Japan into an impoverishing strategy of currency debasement. Singapore, alone, has been able to sustain genuine economic growth in the context of a strong national currency.

2013-02-26 Looking For A Reason To Sell-Off by Christian W. Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Markets were looking for a reason to correct. Risk assets had outpaced themselves since mid November and in the first seven weeks the S&P[1] had outperformed the US Treasury 10-year note by 12% and the 30-year bond by 15%. The markets will lumber through the sequester and face the next test on the debt ceiling and first quarter results. Below the surface, the outlook is mildly optimistic. Why the qualifier? Because everything, in Europe, US and Japan, must be set in the context of the asset deflation and deleveraging going on and that will go on for some years.

2013-02-25 We Expect High-Yield Defaults to Remain Low by Jeff Skoglund of AllianceBernstein

High-yield bond defaults are historically low today, even for troubled companies. Despite the worries we hear in some corners about looming high-yield defaults, we think default rates will stay low for at least the next few years. In the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown, US companies did the responsible thing and got leaner, reducing head count and overhead costs aggressively. When the recovery gained traction, they held the line on expensesand profit margins are at historic highs today.

2013-02-22 Uncovering 'Diamonds in the Rough' in Today's Credit Markets by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

There are still good opportunities for yield and total return in the credit markets, but there has been a shift in where and how investors can find them. A "diamond in the rough" is a credit that is under-covered, or not actively followed or researched by many investors. At PIMCO, we identify these opportunities through our top-down and bottom-up investment process. We've identified a number of sectors that appear poised for above-average growth.

2013-02-22 ECRI "Recession" Update: Proprietary Indicators Slip Again by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

ECRI adamantly denied that the sharp decline of their indicators in 2010 marked the beginning of a recession. But in 2011, when their proprietary indicators were at levels higher than 2010, they made their recession call with stunning confidence bordering on arrogance...

2013-02-22 Central Banks Are Factoring Financial Stability into Their Decision Making by Team of Northern Trust

Central banks are factoring financial stability into their decision making. The FOMC is taking a critical look at its asset purchase strategy. Don't look now, but the sequester is coming.

2013-02-22 Is it Time to Review Your European Investment Strategy? by Team of Thomas White International

A sharp equity and bond market reaction is likely expected in response to the outcome of Italy's February 24-25 general elections, several media sources such as THE GLOBE AND MAIL have reported. While the poll result is uncertain, these reports indicate that in the event of a clear victory for Silvio Berlusconi's political party, buying interest in equities and lower-quality debt may be affected.

2013-02-21 Cracks Appear in the French Economic Model by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

Today's PMI data point to a deepening recession in France at a time when Germany is showing tentative signs of life. Is the euro crisis exposing the weaknesses of the French economic model?

2013-02-21 Fed Must Tune in to Changing US Economy by Joseph Carson of AllianceBernstein

With each passing month, more questions are being asked about the sluggish US economic recovery. Why has growth been subdued since the recession ended in mid-2009? What's changed in the economy? How long can loose monetary policies persist before promoting more inflation or creating a new bubble?

2013-02-20 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Tick Tick Tick. The President has plans for improving life in America. Tick Tick Tick. Republicans want to fix the middle class (and restricting taxes on the upper class may help). Tick Tick Tick. Earnings reports look good, but forecasts for the current quarter have been lowered. Tick Tick Tick. Weekly jobless claims keep falling, but major corporations are announcing layoffs. Tick Tick Tick. Sales figures show growth, but Wal-Mart and others are worried. Tick Tick Tick.

2013-02-20 Two New Country Views for a Two-Speed Global Economy by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The global economy is stuck in a two-speed regime: Developed markets like Europe, Japan and the United States are stalling, while China is re-accelerating. Russ explains what this divergent growth landscape means for his country outlooks.

2013-02-19 Alan Greenspan on the Market and the Global Economy by Adam Jared Apt (Article)

During his six-decade-long career in financial services, Alan Greenspan was a central figure in seminal events that drove investment markets, from the savings-and-loan crisis to the dot-com bubble to the housing crisis. Now, nearing 87, he rarely speaks in public. But he did so last week, offering his forecasts for the U.S. and European economies.

2013-02-19 The Pound Gets Pounded by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

As the global currency war intensifies, the majority of attention has been paid to the 17% fall of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar over the past few months. The implosion has given cover to the sad performance of another once mighty currency: the British pound sterling. But in many ways the travails of the pound is far more instructive to those pondering the fate of the U.S. currency.

2013-02-19 The Siren's Song of the Unfinished Half-Cycle by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

If there is one fatal siren's song of investing, it is the belief that an unfinished half of the market cycle will remain unfinished.

2013-02-19 Too Great Expectations by Richard Golod of Invesco

Global investors entered the year with newfound enthusiasm. Across the board, global equities traded higher in January, and retail money flows into global equities were the best in 17 years. Media reports about a "Great Rotation" from fixed income into equities are raising expectations about the possibility of a new secular bull market. However, I believe a little perspective is in order.

2013-02-19 On Competitive Devaluations by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Aggressive monetary policy moves in recent years have been accompanied by a growing fear of a currency war. In a currency war, or competitive devaluation, countries attempt to weaken their currencies to boost exports, but each devaluation leads to counter devaluations. That's not what's going on now. However, whether a country is purposely devaluing its currency or is merely pursuing accommodative monetary policy is irrelevant, the consequences are the same. The recent meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bankers highlights the lack of coherent policies to boost growth.

2013-02-16 Seeing the Forest by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Equity markets continue to be resilient and investor confidence is elevated in various sentiment indices, suggesting a near-term pullback is possible. But there are longer-term trends developing that give us hope that the US economy's expansion and market's rally are sustainable. Federal spending cuts via the "sequestration" appear sure to happen, but there will continue to be debates about the nature and size of the cuts. Similarly, questions are increasing as to the potential unwinding of current Fed policy with regard to timing and rapidity.

2013-02-16 When It Comes to Gold, Stick to the Facts by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

During short-term gold corrections, its much more important to focus on the facts, including the fact that gold is increasingly viewed as a currency. Rather than buying real estate, lumber or diamonds, central banks around the world are buying gold. According to the World Gold Council (WGC), over 2012, central bank demand totaled 534 tons, a level we have not seen in nearly 50 years.

2013-02-16 How To Remain Solvent Longer Than The Market Is Irrational by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

I believe it is extremely important that investors focus on the value of what they own more than they do on the day-to-day machinations of price volatility. However, I also believe, and even recognize, that very few investors are capable of ignoring volatile stock price movements. When the price of a stock that they own is rising or falling, especially when the swings are large and/or violent, it is very difficult for people to maintain a steady head and hand. Instead, emotions take over reason which often cause otherwise rational investors to make irrational decisions.

2013-02-16 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The recent energy dividend is not likely to last. Crafting a single monetary policy for Europe is challenging.

2013-02-15 Latest OECD Data Shows Global Economy in State of Flux by Steve Rumsey of Optimus Advisory Group

According to the OECD ("Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development"), the US economy managed to stage a leading indicator "rally" into the most favorable northeast quadrant. The red six month lagging tail on the graph clearly shows the economic leading indicators moving from expansion to slowdown, only to move back to the expansion quadrant in late 2012.

2013-02-15 International Equity Commentary January 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices sustained the uptrend in January, helped by data releases that supported the growing optimism over healthier global economic growth. Though the U.S. and U.K. economies declined unexpectedly during the fourth quarter of last year, the pace of growth improved in several Asian countries, including China, during the period.

2013-02-15 ECRI "Recession" Update: Propietary Indicators Take a Pause by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) slipped fractionally in today's update. It is now at 129.6 versus the previous week's 130.2.The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) also eased, now at 8.3, down from last week's 8.9. WLIg has been in expansion territory since August 10th of last year, but is is fractionally off its interim high set last week.

2013-02-13 Our Job: Whether; Market's Job: When by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Warren Buffett describes the stock market's purpose as being "a wonderfully efficient mechanism for transferring wealth from the impatient to the patient". We are reminded of this by a series of news reports and commentaries on subjects greatly influenced by basic economics. In today's missive, we consider what the law of supply and demand says about China, oil, and housing in the USA.

2013-02-13 Global Economic Overview January 2013 by Team of Thomas White International

Global economic trends continued the moderate positive momentum from earlier months and helped sustain investor sentiment in January. The unexpected decline in U.S. economic output for the fourth quarter of last year was mostly due to a sharp fall in government spending and a smaller inventory buildup, while consumer and business spending exceeded forecasts. Also, recent data suggest that U.S. labor market gains during last year were better than earlier estimates.

2013-02-13 The Economy: Worst Five Years Since the Depression by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

While the many facts and figures below are disappointing, even depressing, Americans need to know the truth about the real state of our economy and our union. Consider what follows as a rebuttal to President Obama's speech tonight. Feel free to forward this to as many people as you wish.

2013-02-12 Consumers Less Enthused to Bail Out the Economy by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Following recent recessions, it was commonplace to rely on American consumers to bail out the economy. The reliance on the American consumer was widely understood as the best remedy for an ailing economy. We are not as fortunate this time around and our dependence on consumers is one reason for the sluggish rate of recovery since 2008.

2013-02-12 Currency Wars? What Currency Wars? by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

There's much talk of currency wars right now. We think they're way overblown. The source of the problem lies with Japan, which has made explicit a strategy to lower the yen, increase domestic demand and increase inflation. It needs to do all three. The twenty year old balance sheet recession and deflation in Japan has been a costly error in targeting inflation and not much else.

2013-02-12 Fixed-Income Insights: When High Yield Loses Some Height by Zane Brown of Lord Abbett

If one sought an indication of how monetary policy and historically low interest rates can influence investor behavior, the high-yield bond market could provide some perspective. In 2012, investors' ongoing demand for income was reflected by the high-yield market's 15.6% return, the $32 billion that flowed into the asset class, andas several headlines pronouncedthe market's record-low yields of less than 6%.

2013-02-12 The Budget Outlook Why the Hysteria? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

President Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union Address on Tuesday evening. These speeches tend not to be of much significance for the financial markets, although the topics discussed may be important for certain industries (healthcare, energy, defense). Obama is expected to repeat his request that the sequester, due March 1, be postponed to next year. Doing so would not result in less deficit reduction. Such a move would have to be "paid for" through an increase in tax revenues and cuts in other forms of spending. However, it would limit the economic damage that would follow.

2013-02-11 Solving the Profitability Puzzle by Vadim Zlotnikov of AllianceBernstein

Companies around the world enjoyed especially high profit margins in late 2012. But can this trend be maintained or is profitability poised for a collapse that might threaten stocks this year?

2013-02-11 Shall We Dance? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

My impression is that the worst investment outcomes have typically followed appeals to the idea that "this time is different," and "you've got to dance as long as the music is playing."

2013-02-11 Stocks: Why "Risk On" Rules by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Investors appear to believe the equity market will muddle through its many challenges.

2013-02-11 There the Bears Go Again by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

The S&P 500 is up 6% since the start of the year and 12% from a year ago. On cue, the bears have started to claim this run-up in stocks is just plain crazy, based on unreasonable euphoria or "it's just technical." It cant possibly last because "the fundamentals are bad."

2013-02-11 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

With folks in the Northeast finally returning to normalcy following Superstorm Sandy's impact in October, a "potentially historic" blizzard threatened the region with predicted disruptions to businesses, schools, travel, etc. Though New England is expected to catch the brunt of the damage, forecasters are calling for up to 20 inches of snow in New York City. For now, NYSE Euronext does not anticipate anything but "business as usual" at the NY Stock Exchange as contingency plans are well in place.

2013-02-08 High-Yield Bonds: Tackling the Tough Questions by Ivan Rudolph-Shabinsky of AllianceBernstein

With high-yield bonds at record high prices and interest rates so low they're barely visible in some parts, investors have a lot of anxious questions. Our opinion: we think high-yield bonds still offer more income and fare better in rising rate environments than other bond types.

2013-02-08 World War C: Neosho Capital On The Currency War by Chris Richey of Neosho Capital

This summer, Brad Pitt will star in a new film called "World War Z", an action-horror film about a post-zombie apocalypse Earth, hence the "Z" in the title. Zombie films are not our cup of tea at Neosho (we thought the genre was dead), so it is debatable whether we will see this film, but one thing is clear to us, we are perched on the precipice of "World War C", where "C" stands for "currency".

2013-02-08 ECRI "Recession" Update: Leading Index Growth Sets Another Interim High by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

First a flashback for those of us who have followed ECRI's media appearances: we know that the company adamantly denied that the sharp decline of their indicators in 2010 marked the beginning of a recession. But in 2011, when their proprietary indicators were at levels higher than 2010, they made their recession call with stunning confidence bordering on arrogance...

2013-02-08 A Different Playbook by Equity Investment Team of Janus Capital Group

Asia's handset market is developing quite differently than in Europe or the U.S., creating an entirely different playing field for Apple and other handset makers. Major brands are being challenged by the rise of cheap, but very capable generic smartphones. If major brands cannot innovate above and beyond the new offerings of these emerging cheap smartphones, they will not be able to command the high prices, and corresponding high profit margins, that have underpinned their success.

2013-02-08 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

Immigration reform would help the US economy at many levels. There is much going on with the US labor force participation rate. Will leadership change usher in a new era at the Bank of Japan?

2013-02-07 Echoes of 2004 by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Rising equities and tightening credit spreads define the near-term investment outlook, but this is not the first time we have seen this cycle play out in recent memory.

2013-02-07 Investing in a Low-Growth World by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

This quarter I will review any new data that has come out on the topic of likely lower GDP growth. Then I will consider any investment implications that might come with lower GDP growth: counter intuitively, we find that investment returns are likely to be more or less unchanged a little lower only if lower growth brings with it less instability, hence less risk. Finally I will take a look at the reaction to last quarter's letter, specifically about my outlook for lower GDP growth.

2013-02-07 We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us by Ben Inker of GMO

If modern portfolio management has a single defining urge, it is almost certainly diversification. We look for diversifying assets, strategies, and managers. A thoughtful investor can argue against almost any asset class stocks, bonds, hedge funds, private equity, commodities, you name it but arguing against diversification is like arguing against indoor plumbing. I dont want to sound like I'm calling for a return to chamber pots and outhouses, so I'm not actually going to argue against diversification.

2013-02-06 GDP Report Tanks - Is A Recession Looming? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

We will cover a lot of ground today. We begin with a new report from Goldman Sachs which argues that the US economy will remain the strongest in the world for many more years. The report rebuts claims that America is a nation in decline. Quite the contrary, say Goldman analysts who claim that there is a growing"awarenessof the key economic, institutional, human capital and geopolitical advantages the U.S. enjoys over other economies."

2013-02-06 The Good, the Bad, and the Greek (Risks) by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Greece is a small country with large implications. Last week we began to explore what I learned from my recent trip to Greece. In this week's letter we will finish those observations and in particular look at some of the comments from my meetings with over 40 people: owners of small businesses and large ones, billionaires, taxi drivers, politicians, central bankers, investors, ex-patriots, wives, and mothers. I believe we can arrive at some small understanding of the problems Greece faces. Then we will consider the broader consequences for Europe.

2013-02-06 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Earnings have come in pretty well, but the news on the economy remains dreary despite the cheerleaders in the financial media.

2013-02-05 Comparing Advisors to Jim Cramer: Measuring your Professional Alpha by Bob Veres (Article)

Jim Cramer, Suze Orman and other so-called investment pundits and gurus are constantly telling consumers that they can do a great job of managing their portfolios on their own. Let's look at what the research has to say about the various investment performance benefits that advisors should be able to give their clients during the accumulation phase of their lives – excess returns above what do-it-yourself investors could obtain on their own. I call those excess returns 'professional alpha.'

2013-02-05 In Uncertain Environment, Jobs Grow Tepidly by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

For the 35th consecutive month, private payrolls registered positive growth. It was hardly the robust report economists would prefer, but the labor market continues to mend. However, there are still plenty of reasons to be concerned, especially with sequestration on the horizon.

2013-02-05 2012 Equity Market Market Year in Review by Natalie Trunow of Calvert Investment Management

Equities started the year strong as global inflation remained tame, and aggressive, accommodative monetary policy by central banks around the globe helped equity markets rally hard off their lows posted in the fall of 2011. Continuously improving U.S. economic data, strong corporate earnings, and policy steps toward mitigation of the sovereign debt crisis in Europe also provided support for the equity markets worldwide.

2013-02-05 Fourth Quarter 2012 Equity Market Review by Natalie Trunow of Calvert Investment Management

With the excitement of the QE3 announcement wearing off in the fourth quarter, market participants refocused on the less-than-stellar earnings season in the U.S. and uncertainties surrounding the U.S. presidential election and impending fiscal cliff, while the negative impact of Hurricane Sandy further dampened investor sentiment. Despite a double-dip recession in the eurozone, there was some progress on the European policy front and China's economy continued to show signs of stabilizing, which helped international stocks outperform their U.S. counterparts.

2013-02-05 Eurozone: Divorce, Italian Style? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The upcoming election may determine whether Italy continues its austerity and reform programs. The fate of the currency union may hang in the balance.

2013-02-04 Our Outlook: Very Bullish for the Stock Market by Team of Sadoff Investment Management

The combined readings of these breakouts, volume strength, significant pivots by a long list of financial stocks and improving commodity prices evidence major trend improvements. Restated, the underpinnings for both the economy and stock market evidence significant strengthening ahead.

2013-02-04 2013 Annual Forecast by Clyde Kendzierski of Financial Solutions Group

It's that time again. January will be over by the time you read this which means we are out of holiday excuses or "just ramping up for the new year" reasons for not getting back to work. Having said that, I'd like to offer my excuse for the Annual Forecast getting to you in February instead of the first week of the year. Hand over my heart, we started early this go-round.

2013-02-04 Shifting Sentiment? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Is investor sentiment shifting in favor of equities, which could help to continue the recent rally?

2013-02-04 What's the Best Asset Allocation When the Business Cycle Moves to Stage IV? by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

History shows that the business cycle, which has been with us since recorded economic history began, experiences a set series of chronological sequences. The calendar year progresses through seasons, one of which is literally ideally suited for making hay. The business cycle also has seasons or phases, where certain sectors of the economy fall in and out of favor. For investors, the key lies in the fact that the cyclical turning points of bonds, stocks and commodities are all part of the business cycle progression.

2013-02-04 Some Seasonal Blips by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

We had a week of big numbers last week of which GDP, Personal Income, Durable Goods, the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence, payrolls and the FOMC were the ones that had our attention. We went to print a little earlier this week, so missed the NFPs. But this is what came at us. First GDP. There's a spin to be told but here are the raw numbers with the center column the one that caught markets wrong-footed.

2013-02-04 A Reluctant Bear's Guide to the Universe by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In recent years, I've gained the reputation of a "perma-bear." The reality is that I'm quite a reluctant bear, in that I would greatly prefer market conditions and prospective returns to be different from what they are. There's no question that conditions and evidence will change, unless the stock market is to be bound for the next decade in what would ultimately be a low-single-digit horserace with near-zero interest rates. For my part, I think the likely shocks are larger, and the potential opportunities will be greater than investors seem to contemplate here.

2013-02-01 Q412 Portfolio Commentary by Jay Compson of Absolute Investment Advisers

While much of the fundamental picture has played out as we expected over the past 18-24 months, the financial markets appear to be concerned solely with the existence or non-existence of macro headlines and events. There seems to be a disconnect between market movements and fundamentals which means doing real work based on intellectual honesty and logic puts you at a disadvantage. Chasing momentum and profiting from central bank market manipulation appear to be the current winning strategies.

2013-02-01 Crystallization at Davos by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

The euphoria among my fellow Davos attendees was palpable, but short and long-term risks for the world's advanced economies, including competitive currency devaluation, remain concerning.

2013-02-01 Moving the Hurdles by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The ink of my weekly piece was not even dry last Friday, when the House announced that it would vote on a three-month delay in the debt ceiling showdown. Congress now has until May 19 to raise the debt ceiling. So, the most dangerous hurdle has been moved down the track. Other hurdles remain in place.

2013-02-01 ECRI "Recession" Update: Leading Index Growth Hits Another Interim High by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

ECRI posts its proprietary indicators on one-week delayed basis to the general public, but ECRI's Lakshman Achuthan has switched focus to his company's version of the Big Four Economic Indicators I've been tracking for the past several months. See, for example, this November 29thBloomberg video that ECRI continues to feature on their website. Achuthan pinpoints July as the business cycle peak, thus putting us in at the beginning of the eighth month of a recession.

2013-02-01 2013 Economic & Capital Market Outlook by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

It took our country 229 years to accumulate $8 trillion in federal debt. It only took the next eight years to double it to $16 trillion. History shows that when a country accumulates debt at this rapid pace, economic growth languishes. Not surprisingly, Congress is pursuing policies that attempt to inflate the economy. Five years after the Financial Crisis, we really havent fixed much. Instead, we've issued more debt in order to pay our bills and sustain a quality of life society cannot afford long term.

2013-02-01 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Nonfarm Employment by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Note from dshort: This commentary has been revised to include the latest Nonfarm Employment data released today.... Nonfarm Employment rose 0.12% in January, following 0.15% and 0.18% gains in December and November, respectively. The Year-over-year increase is 1.52%. Nonfarm employment has been the tortoise of the Big Four, slow and steady. The average MoM change over the past 12 months has been 0.13%, and the range has been 0.07% to 0.20% -- no contractions.

2013-02-01 The Biggest Loser by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

For the past few generations Switzerland has enjoyed some of the strongest economic fundamentals in the world. The country boasts a high savings rate, low taxes, strong exports, low debt-to-GDP, balanced government budgets, and prior to a few years ago one of the most responsible monetary policies in the world. These attributes made the Swiss franc one of the world's "safe haven" currencies. But in today's global economy, no good deed goes unpunished.

2013-02-01 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

Is the world engaged in a currency war? Januarys job report had some pleasant surprises, but more progress is needed. Purchasing managers surveys suggest growth in the US, retreat for Europe

2013-02-01 Look at the Bears! Look at the Bears! by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms and Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

Yes, the grumbling of bond bears is reverberating in Treasury yields, but that sound isnt the death knell of a grizzly; at this point, the closest ursine analogue is Boo-Boo Bear.

2013-01-31 Closed-End Fund Review: Fourth Quarter 2012 by Jeff Margolin of First Trust Advisors

Following a year (2011) when the average closed-end fund was up a respectable 5.37% on a share price total return basis, closed-end funds posted even better performance in 2012, with the average fund up 14.00% (according to Morningstar) on a share price total return basis. The strong performance was broad and deep with many categories posting double-digit total returns. There were many factors which contributed to the strong results posted in 2012 and while I have written and spoken about them before, I want to reiterate them here.

2013-01-31 Credit Supernova! by Bill Gross of PIMCO

They say that time is money. What they don't say is that money may be running out of time. There may be a natural evolution to our fractionally reserved credit system which characterizes modern global finance. Much like the universe, which began with a big bang nearly 14 billion years ago, but is expanding so rapidly that scientists predict it will all end in a "big freeze" trillions of years from now, our current monetary system seems to require perpetual expansion to maintain its existence.

2013-01-31 Q4 2012 Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

During the second half of 2012, central banks turned their massive and coordinated monetary intervention "up to eleven." This is the overwhelmingly dominant economic and market force today. Despite the long-term consequences (which are very real), we believe the central bankers commitment is steadfast. It has and will likely continue to mute both real economic and financial market volatility (at the expense of long-term growth). A deeper analysis of what has changed, our assessment of the impact, and our portfolio response follows.

2013-01-31 Signs of a Solid 2013 for Stocks by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Yield spreads versus bonds indicate that stock valuations have considerable upside.

2013-01-30 EU Financial Tax Portends Loss of Market Leadership by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Although it was barely noticed by the American press, on January 22nd, EU finance ministers approved a new "Financial Transactions Tax" (FTT) that has implications for market competitiveness around the world.

2013-01-30 U.S. Debt Crisis End-Game Looms in 3-5 Years by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last week, one of the most respected research groups in the world predicted that the US likely has only 3-5 years before the wheels fall off and the world is thrust into a major financial crisis, possibly even a depression. We'll talk about all of these things as we go along today. But before we go there, let's take a brief look at the economy before tomorrow's advance (first) estimate of 4Q GDP.

2013-01-29 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

The trend is your friend...so hopefully it will continue for a little (lot) longer. With the uncertainty of the fiscal cliff on the backburner (for now), investors seem to like what they are seeing from earnings season and in the economy. They continued to take stocks higher as the S&P 500 settled above 1500 for the first time in five years and is currently riding a eight session winning streak.

2013-01-29 Emerging Europe: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

As the 2012 year closed, the emerging economies of Europe joined their cousins in the developed world for their share of woes, and in particular, were impacted by the debt crisis in the Euro-zone, their primary trading partners. Though Russia, the biggest of these economies, finally managed to become a member of the World Trade Organization, the resource-dependent economy recorded slowing growth during the third quarter as both household consumption and state spending expanded at a slower pace.

2013-01-29 The Term Premium: Past and Present by Zach Pandl of Columbia Management

Of the many possible explanations for the historically low level of government bond yields, near-zero central bank policy rates should be at the top of the list. However, government bond yields also appear low for reasons beyond central bank policy rates. In particular, todays low rate environment also reflects a depressed "term premium," or the compensation investors receive for taking duration risk.

2013-01-28 Economic Insights: Signs of a Solid 2013 for Stocks by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Yield spreads versus bonds indicate that stock valuations have considerable upside. Earlier in this recovery, when earnings were growing very strongly, consensus concerns about equities cited the danger of an earnings slowdown. Those expressing this concern pointed out, that such a slowdown would occur inevitably as the recovery matured, especially with economic growth proceeding at such a subpar rate. What seems to have escaped notice is that the slowdown already occurred in 2012 and that the stock market offered good returns despite it.

2013-01-25 Americas: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

The outlook for most economies in the Americas region improved during the fourth quarter as domestic consumption growth was sustained and the anticipated revival in global demand has lifted the prospects for export growth this year. Partly helped by fiscal and monetary policy measures introduced since 2011, consumer demand has held up across most countries in the region.

2013-01-25 Cliff Dwellers by Stephen Taddie of Stellar Capital Management

In the ensuing days and weeks there will be plenty of opinions about what passed and what will continue to be negotiated in the drama known as the fiscal cliff. The spectacle of across-aisle dealings makes for a well rated "Reality" show (Fiscal Riff?), but poor ratings for both effectiveness and efficiency in governance. With US-centric issues in the forefront, the focus has been taken off the ongoing Euro Zone talks, which continue to plod along.

2013-01-25 ECRI "Recession" Update: Leading Index Growth Hits a New Interim High by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

For a few months, ECRI's indicators cooperated with their forecast, but that has not been the case in the second half of 2012 -- hence, I surmise, their switch to the traditional Big Four recession indicators. ECRI's December 7th article,The Tell-Tale Chart, makes clear their public focus on the Big Four.

2013-01-25 Opine Less, Think More by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, looks at investing from a broad perspective and goes over in detail some of the macro themes he is examining as he tries to help the reader make sense of what 2013 will bring. He discusses potential "black swans" that he has his eye on, the bounceback of American and European stock markets, the sometimes overlooked lack of a correlation between economic growth and stock market performance, what P/E ratios tell us both historically and in the present, and where valuations can go from here.

2013-01-25 Housing Is Off the Floor, But Faces Ceilings. by Team of Northern Trust

Housing is off the floor, but faces ceilings. The cost of housing could be a source of increased inflation. January's FOMC meeting should not break any new ground.

2013-01-25 Japan: Another Season of Downturn Abe? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The returning prime minister is trying to spark the moribund economy with the same old remediesbut bolder action is needed.

2013-01-24 Get Your Funk Out by Jim Goff of Janus Capital Group

I manage investment professionals for a living. When an analyst gives me the positives on one hand and the negatives on the other hand, but offers no conclusion, I want to cut one of those hands off. The best analysts understand all the issues but come to well-founded views.

2013-01-23 Ignore the GDP Headline by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Next week, Fourth Quarter Real GDP will be released. Our forecast of 0.9% annualized growth, if correct, will encourage the pessimists to continue fretting about the economy in the year ahead. But we will ignore that dour response. Beneath the surface of the report will be evidence that the plow horse economy is picking up some steam.

2013-01-23 Economic Backdrop Supports Stocks, Credit Sectors and Munis by Russ Koesterich of BlackRock Investment Management

Thanks to solid earnings, some decent (if mixed) economic news and indications that the debt ceiling debate may be delayed slightly, stocks posted additional gains last week, continuing their strong start to 2013. For the week, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 1.2% to 13,649, the S&P 500 index advanced 1.0% to 1,485 and the NASDAQ composite rose 0.3% to 3,134. Bonds have remained relatively steady, with the 10-year Us treasury closing the week at a yield of 1.84%, two one-hundredths lower than the previous Friday close.

2013-01-23 The Year of the American Consumer by Philip Tasho of TAMRO Capital

It was an above-average year for stock returns across the domestic market cap spectrum. Ultimately, unconventional and accommodative monetary policy trumped investor concerns over fiscal policy, the Presidential election and weakness overseas. The Federal Reserve (the Fed) entered uncharted waters when it announced open-ended quantitative easing through the ongoing purchasing of government securities. Importantly, other central banks globally waded in by mimicking the Fed in word if not deed and the global liquidity cycle continued apace.

2013-01-23 Is the European Crisis Over? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

The European sovereign debt crisis that first erupted in 2010 and stoked almost three years of intense market volatility has all but faded from the front pages. Overshadowed by domestic policy issues and European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi's pledge to do "whatever it takes" to save the Eurozone, fears that the monetary union would crumble and unleash a maelstrom of financial distress appear to have dissipated.

2013-01-23 It's What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts. by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

January is the time of year when strategists, economists, gurus, etc. all join in on the annual nonsense of predicting "What's going to happen in the markets for 2013?" For many, this ritual is an ego trip, yet as Benjamin Graham inferred forecasting where the markets will be a year from now is nothing more than rank speculation. Or as I have noted, "You might as well flip a lucky penny."

2013-01-23 Developed Asia Pacific: Regional Economic Review - 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies witnessed mixed economic fortunes during the fourth quarter of 2012. While the group's largest economy, Japan, suffered from stubborn deflation and slumping trade due to a bitter territorial dispute with China, Singapore and Hong Kong managed to fare better.

2013-01-22 Wally Weitz on Value Investing in the Post-Crisis Era by Robert Huebscher (Article)

As the president and founder of Weitz Funds, Wally Weitz has spent nearly three decades putting his instinct for opportunity to work for shareholders. Influenced by the value-investing model of Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett, Wally manages the Partners III Opportunity Fund (WPOPX), which has had an annual return of 10.85%, versus 6.23% for the S&P 500. In this interview, he discusses his investment methodology and how it has evolved since the financial crisis.

2013-01-22 2013 Investment Outlook by Jeremy Boynton of Laureate Wealth Management

I would like to focus this commentary on three trends which I believe will have a larger positive impact on the US economy going forward than the broader investment community expects.

2013-01-22 And That's The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Tragedy in Algeria brought another reminder about just how dangerous the world can be. Oil prices rose on the enhanced turmoil in the region as well as on news that supplies unexpectedly dropped in the recent gov report. Financials led earnings season in a mostly positive way, though several releases included reminders about the financial crisis and the greed factor of certain professionals. The favorable economic data was well received as S&P 500 index again hit a five-year high though even the optimists remain cautious as the budget negotiations yield little positive results.

2013-01-22 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company

2012 was a year of mixed results on the economic front, but generally good investment returns as measured by the S&P 500 Index. Some progress was made in Europe and China, and some clarification in direction was made in the U.S. We presented our thoughts on these topics at our December 6 seminar; an archive will be available on our website.

2013-01-22 Equities Set to Break Out of the Bear Trap by Catherine Wood of AllianceBernstein

In the face of significant uncertainties, US and global equities rallied in 2012 and at the start of the New Year. We think there might be more to come as stocks break out of the bear trap.

2013-01-22 Puppet Show by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

What's fascinating is that in the presence of what are not thin strings, but massive cables supporting the economy like a puppet, the only response that Wall Street can muster is "Hey! He's walking!" as if the puppet is capable of motion without being propped up to a nearly reckless extent.

2013-01-22 Year-End Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

Stocks shrugged off numerous worries to log a very good year in 2012, but can markets continue to climb? Certainly the worries remain. The most immediate has to do with the spending side of the fiscal cliff. The cliff deal made permanent the Bush tax cuts for all but high-income taxpayers but it did not address spending. So while the worst case of the cliff was avoided, the work is not nearly done. In this commentary we discuss our current assessment of the investment environment including a detailed look at what could go right, and tie it all back to our portfolio positioning.

2013-01-22 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week saw the markets continue to trade off of concerns over Apple, and just what might happen in Washington DC concerning the debt limit negotiations. Earnings season will hit high gear this week.

2013-01-18 Is the Euro "Dangerously High"? by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

Jean-Claude Juncker's view that the euro is "dangerously high" isn't shared by the European Central Bank (ECB). As long as this is the case, the single currency may continue to defy fundamentals and act as an unwelcome headwind for an economy still struggling to break out of recession.

2013-01-18 Middle East/Africa: Regional Economic Review 4Q 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

According to the International Monetary Fund's Regional Economic Outlook report, countries in the Middle East and North Africa region are expected to grow at different rates. Oil exporting nations are cashing in on high energy prices and production, and are projected to expand 6.6 percent in 2012 before tempering in 2013. On the other hand, oil importers such as Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia among others are expected to clock growth just over 2 percent as the slowdown in the world economy and political tensions continue to hinder expansion for some of these countries in transition.

2013-01-18 2013 International Outlook by Colin Moore of Columbia Management

We continue our outlook for 2013 with a review of select international economies and financial markets. Similar to the U.S. the road to recovery will be bumpy and we expect financial markets to continue being affected by macroeconomic uncertainties. While the overall environment remains uncertain, some of the significant headwinds in 2012, e.g. the Chinese leadership transition and a complete disintegration of the eurozone, are perhaps less concerning for markets than they were a year ago.

2013-01-18 ECRI's Public Indicators Continue to Undermine Their Insistance That We're in a Recession by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

For a few months, ECRI's indicators cooperated with their forecast, but that has not been the case in the second half of 2012 -- hence, I surmise, their switch to the traditional Big Four recession indicators. ECRI's December 7th article, The Tell-Tale Chart, makes clear their public focus on the Big Four.

2013-01-18 Equity Investment Outlook January 2013 by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Despite many headwinds and amid great uncertainty, both the U.S. economy and stock market enjoyed a rather good year in 2012. Real Gross Domestic Product ("GDP") grew around 2%, and the stock market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, returned 16%. At the risk of sounding complacent, we believe that the fundamental trends that produced such favorable results in 2012 are still in place and should support another good year in 2013.

2013-01-18 Are Central Banks Easing Off Prematurely? by Team of Northern Trust

Are central banks easing off prematurely? Washington is girding for another budget imbroglio; Inflation is contained, for now.

2013-01-18 Fixed Income Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

We continue to feel that the mismatch between yield and interest rate exposure means that investment grade bonds are less attractive compared with the non-investment grade universe, especially in shorter maturities. Treasury, investment grade corporate and high yield bonds have yields and effective durations that are virtually unchanged compared to levels three months ago. Yields on short-dated high yield paper have actually risen a bit and are still, in our opinion, the most attractive sector we look at in terms of interest rate risk.

2013-01-17 The Year Past, The Year Ahead by Michael Gomez of PIMCO

The multiyear run of performance by emerging market (EM) sovereign external debt has been remarkable but residual valuations look either just fair (investment grade) or expensive (high yield) versus other comparable credits. We still see abundant opportunities in EM local markets, while EM equities are poised to benefit from a relatively low starting point for both earnings and earnings expectations.

2013-01-17 Rehab: An Update on Housing Recovery by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The National Association of Home Builders' Housing Market Index has staged a record-breaking run higher. Home prices have been rising and are feeding into real mortgage rates, consumer confidence, household net worth...and pushing fence-sitters off the fence. Housing's contribution to job growth could push the unemployment rate down more quickly than many believe.

2013-01-16 Global Economic Overview - December 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

The global economic outlook brightened further in December, as economic data from most regions indicated sustained, though moderate, improvement in both domestic and external demand. Europe showed further signs of stabilization in the financial markets, as bond yields of the most troubled countries continued to decline in response to the earlier assurance by the European Central Bank (ECB) to buy unlimited quantities of sovereign bonds.

2013-01-16 Haka Politics and the Slow Crawl by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

In the last few months we have seen the rise of Haka politics. Familiar to any All Blacks fan, this is the ritualistic Maori war dance, full of noise, bluster and theater. But it rarely intimidates and most opponents sit it out with some amusement. So it is with the political interventions last year. We saw countless announcements and intentions from EU leaders and solemn pledges with little follow-through. And in the US we had a soporific election and a squalid squabble over the fiscal cliff that caught the public but not the market's attention.

2013-01-16 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Retail Sales and Industrial Production Both Rise by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The charts don't all show us the individual behavior of the Big Four leading up to the 2007 recession. To achieve that goal, I've plotted the same data using a "percent off high" technique. In other words, I show successive new highs as zero and the cumulative percent declines of months that aren't new highs. The advantage of this approach is that it helps us visualize declines more clearly and to compare the depth of declines for each indicator and across time (e.g., the short 2001 recession versus the Great Recession). Here is my own four-pack showing the indicators with this technique.

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 Forecast 2013: Unsustainability and Transition by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

As we begin a new year, we again indulge ourselves in the annual rite of forecasting the year ahead. This year I want to look out a little further than just one year in order to think about the changes that are soon going to be forced on the developed world. We are all going to have to make a very agile adaptation to a new economic environment (and it is one that I will welcome). The transition will offer both crisis and loss for those mired in the current system, which must evolve or perish, and opportunity for those who can see the necessity for change and take advantage of the evolution.

2013-01-15 Are Investors Buying into the Equity Story? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Last week we discussed the debate over active versus passive management. We believe active managers can add tremendous value in particular segments of the market, despite recent challenges. Outside of the active management discussion, many investors are deciding whether equities are a prudent place to allocate capital at this point in the market cycle. The first week of the year answered investors' opinions on that question loud and clear.

2013-01-15 Japan: Tip of the Spear by Bill O'Grady of Confluence Investment Management

On Sunday, December 16, 2012, Shinzo Abe, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), led his coalition to a decisive electoral victory in Japan. The LDP won 294 out of 480 seats and, with the additional 29 seats captured by its coalition partner, the New Komeito Party, will control the lower house in the Japanese Diet. Abe was named the new prime minister ten days later.

2013-01-15 New Year's Vantage Point: Christopher Molumphy by Christopher Molumphy of Franklin Templeton Investments

For a view on the U.S. and global fixed income market and potential opportunities therein, we turn to Christopher Molumphy, CFA, chief investment officer of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group.

2013-01-15 Inflation, Still Not Taking Off Anytime Soon by Scott Brown of Raymond James

A few years ago, amid exceptionally large federal budget deficit and extraordinarily accommodative Fed policy, a number of pundits warned of impending hyperinflation. Instead, inflation has stayed low. That hasn't stopped the inflation worrywarts. It's just a matter of time, they say. Inflation "has to show up at some point." That's not an argument. There are a number of reasons to expect inflation to stay low.

2013-01-15 It's Not What Happens That Matters by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Late in 2008 and in early 2009, a group of what we like to call "brilliant pessimists" hit the airwaves with their economic theories. The prognosticators' vision of the future was and is predicated on the history of similar situations and the mathematical realities of the huge debt overhang from the prior ten years of profligate economic behavior. They put very effective names on their visions like "new normal" and "seven lean years". They marketed their visions incredibly well to the point of shaming anyone who might disagree with their theories.

2013-01-15 The Year Past, The Year Ahead by Michael Gomez of PIMCO

While not immune to global economic headwinds, emerging market investments remain well positioned to outperform their developed world counterparts over time. The multiyear run of performance by emerging market (EM) sovereign external debt has been remarkable but residual valuations look either just fair (investment grade) or expensive (high yield) versus other comparable credits. We still see abundant opportunities in EM local markets, while EM equities are poised to benefit from a relatively low starting point for both earnings and earnings expectations.

2013-01-14 The More Things Change... by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

One crisis averted...another one on the way? Of course, but we're still positive on the US economy and stock market.

2013-01-14 Equity Market Review & Outlook by Richard Skaggs of Loomis Sayles

While the S&P 500 Index posted a slightly negative fourth-quarter return, the Index's 16.0% return for all of 2012 was notable in the face of a long list of global fundamental concerns. Midcap and small cap stocks performed better during the final three months of the year, posting gains of roughly 2.0%-3.0%. The fourth quarter outperformance of smaller stocks was enough to overtake the S&P 500 for the year, but just fractionally.

2013-01-14 Population Trends, The Labor Force and a Look at the Muni Index by Gregg Bienstock of Lumesis

We start this week with a look at the DIVER Muni Index and then jump into a discussion about population trends, employment and wages. If you get no further than this opening, the short of it is that you really need to look closely at the data and where things are getting better really and where things are perceived to be better. This is especially so as some pundits suggest the higher tax rate on the wealthy will be beneficial to muni-land as more wealthy people seek to offset the increased tax burden.

2013-01-14 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Another quiet week in early January as the earnings season is about to gear up.

2013-01-11 Thanks, Everybody...We'll be Right Back! by Colin Moore of Columbia Management

The Washington Comedy Club has taken a brief intermission and will be back in session shortly to resume the show. Please enjoy the facilities of this great country, free of charge, while you wait. Ignore the "Nero" character in the far corner playing the fiddle. Apparently, he isn't part of the show. Economic uncertainty emanating from fears of the U.S. fiscal cliff has been deferred but not avoided.

2013-01-11 Charting the U.S. Employment Situation by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

The continuing jobless claims relative to past measurements has been a chart we like to detail to show the more psychological impact of where we stand and the sentiment about the employment situation. As we have shown, the current level is just below the high points of past recessions (recessions denoted by gray rectangles). Although we are approaching the long-term average, currently 6.7% above the 30-year average, the negative sentiment is understandable.

2013-01-11 2013 Leveraged Credit Report: High Yield and Bank Loans by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Record high prices, historically low yields and gradually deteriorating fundamentals have tempered expectations for the leveraged credit market. Generating above-market returns in 2013 will require an even greater emphasis on fundamental credit analysis to unearth opportunities in attractively valued segments of the market, such as upper middle-market bank loans.

2013-01-11 New Year's Vantage Point: Norm Boersma by Norman Boersma of Franklin Templeton Investments

As we ring in a new year, it's a good time to gain some perspective on where we've been, and where we might be headed. Norm Boersma, CFA, chief investment officer of Templeton Global Equity Group, takes a look at the current headwinds facing the global equity markets, from fiscal imbalances to growth challengesand how market uncertainty can result in market mispricings.

2013-01-11 ECRI's Imaginary Recession: Now in Its Seventh Month by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose in the latest public data. It is now at 128.3 versus the previous week's 126.6 (which is an upward revision from 126.4). Likewise the WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose, now at 5.1, up from last week's 5.0. WLIg has been in expansion territory since August 24th, although it is off its 6.0 interim high on October 12th.

2013-01-11 Winter Quarterly Commentary by John Prichard of Knightsbridge Asset Management

While a last minute compromise may have been reached on taxes, it represents only a brief rest stop on a required road of repair. On the positive side, we should see less annual wrangling with tax rates having been made permanent, meaning they will not automatically change at some future date (but rather only when Congress feels like changing them), with many areas also sensibly indexed for inflation.

2013-01-11 Gold Strategy Investor Letter, Q4 2012 by John Hathaway of Tocqueville Asset Management

John Hathaway, manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), examines in his latest quarterly letter the macro factors affecting the price of gold and gold mining stocks. While such stocks have traded at a discount relative to historic norms, Hathaway remains bullish on gold and gold related equities, believing both could see new highs in 2013.

2013-01-11 Special Edition: The Outlook for 2013 by Team of Northern Trust

At this time of the year we typically get warm and generous wishes for the New Year and, of course, numerous questions about what our crystal ball has in store for 2013. While many economists publish their perspectives prior to January 1, we opted to wait in the hope of having a clear fiscal picture for the United States. A lot of good that did us...

2013-01-10 Market Perspectives Q4 2012: Politics vs. Economics by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The major news of the quarter was that a fiscal cliff deal passed in the final hours of the 112th Congress and was signed by President Obama. The deal averts tax increases on most Americans and prevents large indiscriminate cuts in spending in many government programs. It also averted, by nearly universal consensus among macroeconomists, tipping the American economy into recession with attendant global implications.

2013-01-09 Waiting for Godot by Sam Stewart of Wasatch Funds

Like the enigmatic title character in Waiting for Godot, clear signals of U.S. economic health remain much anticipated but elusive. The year 2012 saw consumers and businesses mimicking the Samuel Beckett play   - with optimists waiting for things to get better and pessimists waiting for things to get worse.

2013-01-08 2012: Resumption of the Stock Market Recovery by Ronald Surz (Article)

Let's take a close look at the details of what occurred in 2012 so we can assess the opportunities and prepare for the surprises that 2013 will bring. I'll give you my opinions, and you should form your own.

2013-01-08 The Good Without The Awful by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Generally speaking, the very best times to be long are when a market decline to reasonable or depressed valuations is followed by an early improvement in market internals (breadth, leadership, positive divergences, price-volume behavior, and so forth). This is a version of a general principle: bullish investors should look for uniformly positive trends to be coupled with an absence of particularly hostile features such as overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions. Put simply, we are looking for the good without the awful.

2013-01-08 Brave New Start to the Year by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Well that was fun. Negotiations went to the brink, we had politicians dropping the "F" bomb a few steps from the Oval Office, the Senate described as "sleep deprived octogenarians" by a congressman and an all around feeling that it was better than nothing. Welcome to the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which actually, er...raises taxes for everyone. That's right. No one in 2013 pays less than they paid in 2012. This is our best estimate of the fall out. It's definitely better than what was at risk back in November but it's still a net drag on the economy of around 1.0%.

2013-01-08 From Cliff to Ceiling: No Clear Signal for Investors by Libby Cantrill, Josh Thimons of PIMCO

We expect the last minute deal in the lame duck session to result in about 1.3% of GDP contraction, slightly less than our earlier prediction of about 1.5%. The compromise eliminated (or at least delayed) the possibility of the most damaging equity market outcomes. The deal failed to set up a framework for structural deficit reform in 2013. Almost immediately, Congress must address the debt ceiling, the sequester and the continuing resolution to keep the government funded.

2013-01-08 Why China Won't Crack by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

For the world's second largest economy, a hard landing scenario looks increasingly remote.

2013-01-07 Investments That May Keep Me Up at Night in 2013 by Charles Lieberman (Article)

The outlook for 2013 is quite improved compared with 2012. Domestic economic growth prospects are significantly less troublesome. The election is over. Europe has (painfully) slowly made progress in reducing its own budget problems. It is not all clear sailing, however. (It never is.) Europe remains a work in progress. All of the geopolitical risks of 2012, notably North Korea, Iran, and all of the rest of the Middle East, remain on the docket in 2013. And the battle over the U.S. budget will resume in the near future.

2013-01-07 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The stock market has started the New Year in fine shape, relieved that President Obama's threat to raise taxes to the moon on capital gains and dividends were thwarted with the deal agreed to on New Year's Day.

2013-01-06 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Welcome to a new beginning, a new yeara new optimistic investor, a new bipartisan Congress, (well, maybe not). The more things change, the more they stay the same. While investors embraced the budget deal (that is less of a deal than a procrastination), the pragmatists realize that very little has changed other than the "fiscal can" has been kicked down the road for two months. Stocks skyrocketed; bonds plunged; politicos bickered. Welcome to 2013.

2013-01-06 Partial Deal: Perspectives on the U.S. Fiscal Policy Agreement by Team of Janus Capital Group

The U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama have patched together a deal that avoided the January 1 fiscal cliff. However, Washington has postponed a full resolution of fiscal and tax issues, creating continued uncertainty that can be expected to weigh on business and consumer spending and potentially keep U.S. gross domestic product growth below 2% in 2013.

2013-01-04 Ring in the New by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

The "year of the dragon" in 2012 certainly didnt disappoint, as the global markets battled one financial dragon after another. From the Eurozone's sovereign debt crisis to persistently high unemployment in the U.S. and a mayday call from many who worried that China's growth rate was headed for a "hard landing," 2012 certainly was interesting. As we turn the calendar page to 2013, the Eurozone seems to be in less-critical condition and China's economic growth still appears to be flying but as of this writing, the U.S. debt problems still haven't been solved.

2013-01-04 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

As always I hope you will enjoy this issue, as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. Most important though I wish one and all a very happy, prosperous and healthy new year!

2013-01-03 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!We don't know what you did on Monday night to ring in 2013, but the U.S. Senate was in session as they were attempting to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff".At 2:07 a.m. on New Year's Day the Senate passed a bill, 89 to 8, which does a number of different things.Then late that same morning, the House also passed the bill.We are going to touch on a few of the highlights in this opening Bullet and promise to give a more detailed analysis in our mid-month Bullets.

2013-01-03 A Year on the Brink by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

The two main surprises in 2012 were the slowdown in emerging markets, which was slightly sharper and more widespread than anticipated, and Europe's embrace of some truly remarkable reforms though still far short of what is needed. Looking to 2013, the biggest global economic risks are there and in the US.

2013-01-03 The Political Economy of 2013 by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

Watching America's national leaders scramble in the closing days of 2012 to avoid a "fiscal cliff" that would plunge the economy into recession was yet another illustration of an inconvenient truth: messy politics remains a major driver of global economic developments. This will become even more evident worldwide in 2013.

2013-01-03 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Welcome to the end of 2012. Investors are hardly basking in the glow of a positive year for stocks. They are less than enthusiastic about the recovery in housing. They seem to be overlooking the actions of the Fed and the implications for the indefinite low rate environment. Two words remain firmly entrenched in the minds. FISCAL CLIFF. What say you (besides bickering and backstabbing)Prez O, Speaker Boehner, Senators McConnell and Reid? Time is running out and five straight down days proves that investors are growing more and more nervous. Happy New Year (I think).

2013-01-03 2013 Forecast: Good Economy, Challenged Markets by Douglas Cote, Karyn Cavanaugh of ING Investment Management

We enter 2013 bombarded by conflicting signals. While fundamentals have been mixed of late, longer-term themes our "tectonic shifts" like the energy revolution are gaining momentum and promising to make positive contributions sooner rather than later. And while salutary measures taken by policymakers have eased global risks and lessened fears of Armageddon, there is considerable work yet to be done.

2013-01-03 And That's the Quarter that Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Politics ruled the day over the past three months (and beyond) and unfortunately the trend may very well continue as the averted "fiscal cliff" was merely postponed for another two months. For now, investors are happy, but what will tomorrow bring? (That's a question for you, Prez Obama and Speaker Boehner.) Happy New Year

2013-01-03 The Deal is Done Observations on the Cliff, the Ceiling and Your Investments by Sam Wardwell of Pioneer Investments

I've been saying that December 31 was a media deadline, not a real deadline for a fiscal cliff resolution, since Congress could act retroactively.

2013-01-03 Taking Care of Business, DC-Style, to Avert the Fiscal Cliff by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

No "grand bargain," but Congress got a deal done at the 13th hour to avert the fiscal cliff. The next two months will bring more DC wrangling and likely market angst, but we believe the outlook has brightened for the economy and market in 2013. The "wall of worry" is alive and well.

2013-01-02 Somewhere Over the Rainbow by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We are 13 years into a secular bear market in the United States. The Nasdaq is still down 40% from its high, and the Dow and S&P 500 are essentially flat. European and Japanese equities have generally fared worse. The average secular bear market in the US has been about 11 years, with the shortest to date being four years and the longest 20. Are we at the beginning of a new bull market or another seven years of famine? What sorts of returns should we expect over the coming years from US equities?

2012-12-31 Brief Holiday Update by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Though our concerns still weigh heavily toward the defensive side, there are hints of progress toward the resolution of the lopsided market conditions we've seen.

2012-12-31 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Welcome to the end of 2012. Investors are hardly basking in the glow of a positive year for stocks. They are less than enthusiastic about the recovery in housing. They seem to be overlooking the actions of the Fed and the implications for the indefinite low rate environment. Two words remain firmly entrenched in the minds. FISCAL CLIFF. What say you (besides bickering and backstabbing)Prez O, Speaker Boehner, Senators McConnell and Reid? Time is running out and five straight down days proves that investors are growing more and more nervous. Happy New Year (I think).

2012-12-28 Capitol "Cliffhanger": Thriller or Chiller? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Whatever the outcome of the last-minute jockeying in Washington, meaningful fiscal reform remains unlikely.

2012-12-28 ECRI Update: Flunking Recession 101 by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose in the latest public data. It is now at 128.3 versus the previous week's 127.2. Likewise the WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose, now at 5.4, up from last week's 4.6. WLIg has been in expansion territory since August 24th, although it is off its 6.0 interim high on October 12th.

2012-12-28 Readers' Golden Nuggets Focused on Gold, Resources and Overcoming Negativity by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The past few days Ive been counting down the most popular commentaries over the past year. China, commodities and bond fund popularity were big hits; so were the Surprises in Gasoline, Oil and Resources Stock Prices. Here are the top four.

2012-12-27 The Ten Best Articles You Probably Missed by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Great articles don't always get the readership they deserve. We've posted the 10 most-widely read articles for the past year. Below are another 10 that you might have missed, but I believe merit reading.

2012-12-26 Gundlach's High-Conviction Investment Idea by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Count Jeffrey Gundlach among those who expect Japan's currency to collapse because it can't service its debt. Japan's challenges may parallel those that the US faces, and Gundlach feels strongly that they have created a compelling investment opportunity.

2012-12-26 Looking on the Bright Side by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

It is Christmas Eve and not the time for long letters just a brief note on why the fiscal cliff is not the End of All Things, and to point out a worthy cause led by some good friends of mine who are helping people who truly have no options in life. And we'll start things off with a movie review of sorts to launch us into a positive take on the year behind and the year ahead.

2012-12-26 Assessing ISG's "Ten for '12" by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

Earlier this year, we offered a forward-looking view of 10 macro themes that we anticipated for 2012. These ideas were meant not to be "surprises" but rather guideposts within the context of a longer-term strategic allocation. At year-end, we are pleased to note that seven of our 10 themes fully materialized. We provide a brief look below.

2012-12-26 Over The Cliff by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Leaders in Washington failed to reach an agreement on the fiscal cliff. What does that mean for the 2013 outlook?

2012-12-24 Aspirin for a Broken Femur by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The Federal Reserve under Bernanke is like a bad doctor facing a patient with a broken femur. Being both unable and unwilling to restructure the broken bone, he announces that he will keep shoving aspirin down the patient's throat until the bone heals.

2012-12-21 ECRI Update: The Recession Call Is Further Undermined by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

TheWeekly Leading Index(WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) slipped fractionally in the latest public data. It is now at 127.2 versus the previous week's 127.4. However, the WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) rose, now at 4.6, up from last week's 3.9. WLIg has been in expansion territory since August 24th, although it is off its high at 6.0 on October 12th.

2012-12-21 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Personal Incomes Improve Significantly By Doug Short by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The weight of these four in the decision process is sufficient rationale for the St. Louis FRED repository to feature achart four-packof these indicators along with the statement that "the charts plot four main economic indicators tracked by the NBER dating committee." Here are the four as identified in the Federal Reserve Economic Data repository. See the data specifics in the linkedPDF filewith details on the calculation of two of the indicators.

2012-12-20 2012 in Review by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

As we approach the New Year and contemplate the opportunities the investment landscape may offer in 2013, it helps to look back at the performance trends of 2012. Overall, the year-to-date period has seen impressive results from various risk assets, which is in line with the projections of our Asset Allocation Committee. However, ongoing concerns about volatility and Europe hampered the markets at times. Here, we provide a performance scorecard and consider potential developments in the year ahead.

2012-12-19 Imagine...a Better Future by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

After a weekend of sadness and reflection, I wanted to write something more optimistic we'll go back to the future to learn and unlearn.

2012-12-19 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook for Europe: Policy Developments Will Shape Growth Prospects and Risks by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

Policy developments in particular, the European Central Banks acceptance of its role as a lender of last resort have helped to normalize European financial markets but been insufficient to promote decent growth. Eurozone leaders recently laid out a long-term roadmap to achieve stability, but the plan faces great execution risk, technically and politically, and in cross-border coordination. We continue to take a cautious approach and underweight European credit risk and European financials in general, looking for specific opportunities rather than broad exposure.

2012-12-18 Jeremy Siegel on 'Dow 15,000' by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Jeremy Siegel was one of very few individuals to have correctly predicted the strong performance of the equity markets over the last year. The Wharton professor and author of the renowned book, Stocks for the Long Run, forecasts continued strong performance for the year ahead.

2012-12-18 Three Takeaways from the Fed by David Rosenberg (Article)

The equity market likes the prospect of more money printing and the Fed's more forceful efforts to reflate the economy, and stocks are a far better inflation hedge than bonds.

2012-12-18 What's Going Right? by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Discussions of the fiscal cliff are capturing investor's attention, largely at the expense of trends pointing in the right direction. Year-end is synonymous with future prognostications, but current indicators suggest there is reason to be optimistic about the turn of the calendar this holiday season.

2012-12-18 Energy Face-Off: North American Energy Independence vs. Canada's Export Plans by John Devir of PIMCO

President Obama's November 2011 postponement of a decision on whether to permit an oil pipeline from Canada's oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast caused a barrage of protests and negative press in Canada. Canada's new focus on building capacity to sell to Asia-Pacific could hinder U.S. ambitions of energy independence from overseas oil, since the U.S. imports roughly 30% of its crude oil from Canada. We see investor opportunities in rail transportation and pipeline systems that possess excess capacity.

2012-12-18 Central Bank Insurance by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Possibly, the question I am asked the most is, "What do you think about gold?" While I have written brief bits about the yellow metal, I cannot remember the last time I devoted a full e-letter to the subject of gold. Longtime readers know that I am a steady buyer of gold, but to my mind that is different from being bullish on gold. In this week's letter we will look at some recent research on gold and try to separate some of the myths surrounding gold from the rationale as to why you might want to own some of the "barbarous relic," as Keynes called it.

2012-12-17 Roach Motel Monetary Policy by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Monetary policy has become a roach motel easy enough to get into, but impossible to exit.

2012-12-17 I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

While last week, and this week, often see distortions in individual stock prices due to tax loss selling, Santa Claus tends to arrive the following week. Indeed, the last week of the year, into the first two days of January, has a pretty good track record on the upside with a rally coming about 65% of the time. As stated in previous missives, I expect the same Santa rally this year driven by a "staged in" solution to the fiscal cliff. Most readers know that I have lived in the D.C. Beltway and have a good working knowledge of how our system works.

2012-12-17 Cliff Concerns by Team of Janus Capital Group

As negotiations over the fiscal cliff go down to the wire, potential tax hikes and spending cuts threaten a number of industries. Our sector analysts share their insights on the key issues facing the industries they cover. While we are monitoring the fiscal cliff's impact on sectors and individual companies, our portfolio managers are not making major changes based on unpredictable political outcomes.

2012-12-17 2013: A Year in Global Emerging Markets by Allan Conway of Schroders Investment Management

We expect emerging market equities to deliver solid performance during 2013 and perform even better over the longer term. Emerging markets look extremely attractive in terms of valuations. We believe the Chinese economy has stabilised and will see a modest recovery next year and that tail risks in the developed world have been reduced for now by central bank policy.

2012-12-15 The Cost of Viewing the US as a Safe Haven by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Since exiting the recession in mid-2009, US stocks have significantly outperformed international markets. But can the United States still be viewed as a safe port in a storm? Russ K explains why it might be time for investors to consider raising their allocation to international stocks.

2012-12-14 2013: A Year in Global Equities by Virginie Maisonneuve of Schroders Investment Management

Global equities are very attractively valued and we are positive for their prospects in 2013 as the global economy normalises. Progress in Europe, the end of China's growth slowdown and continued momentum in the US economic recovery will support global equities. Longer-term investors must position themselves for a growth-saturated world in which sustainability and innovation will be even more important.

2012-12-14 ECRI Weekly Update: Walking the Recession Plank by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose in the latest public data to its highest level since early August of 2011. It is now at 127.7, up from a downwardly revised 126.7 in the previous week. See the WLI chart. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) also rose, now at 4.4 from last week's 3.5. WLIg has been in expansion territory since August 24th, although it is off its high at 6.0 on October 12th.

2012-12-14 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Industrial Product and Retail Sales Brighten the Picture by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

This morning I've added two more of the Big Four for November: Industrial Production from the Federal Reserve, the purple line in the chart below and Real Retail Sales, the green line.

2012-12-13 Decoupling From the Eurozone by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Recent positive data releases from the U.S. and Asia seem to indicate that global investors should not expect to be severely affected by the ongoing problems in the eurozone.

2012-12-13 Can The U.S. Afford Its National Credit Card? by Garritt Conover and Orhan Imer of Columbia Management

With U.S. national debt at all time highs and major Federal programs expiring within weeks, it is no surprise that the focus of investors following the election has quickly shifted back to the upcoming fiscal cliff. Fears of an insolvent government or a U.S. debt crisis have sparked heated debates regarding ways of tackling the budget deficit but just how imminent a threat does it pose?

2012-12-13 2012 in Review by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

As we approach the New Year and contemplate the opportunities the investment landscape may offer in 2013, it helps to look back at the performance trends of 2012. Overall, the year-to-date period has seen impressive results from various risk assets, which is in line with the projections of our Asset Allocation Committee. However, ongoing concerns about volatility and Europe hampered the markets at times. Here, we provide a performance scorecard and consider potential developments in the year ahead.

2012-12-13 3 Potential Scenarios for 2013 by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Despite getting lucky in 2012, many of the major risks that economies and markets faced this year remain. With the current environment in mind, Russ K shares his 3 potential scenarios for 2013 along with potential investment strategies for each.

2012-12-12 To QE Infinity, and Beyond! by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

The Federal Reserve made two big changes today, but changes that were mostly anticipated by the markets.

2012-12-11 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The stock market continues to have one eye on Washington DC and the other on the various global concerns of slowing growth and European disintegration. The net result was another quiet and slow week of trading.

2012-12-11 Fiscal Cliff-Hanger by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The recent economic data are consistent with a moderate pace of growth in the near term. The manufacturing sector is mixed, but generally weak, reflecting a global slowdown and an inventory correction. The consumer appears to be hanging in there. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that Hurricane Sandy did not have a significant impact on the November employment data. However, other economic indicators did reflect weather-related disruptions, which appear to have been only temporary. Meanwhile, the economy heads toward the fiscal cliff.

2012-12-10 Secular Bear Markets - Volatility Without Return by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

There is enormous risk, in my view, in the temptation to accept zero interest rates and low single-digit prospective market returns as an enduring characteristic of the financial markets while ignoring the unsustainable distortions that have produced this environment.

2012-12-10 Dwelling on a "Cliff" Deal by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

After the brinksmanship runs its course, Congress will jury-rig a fiscal compromise.

2012-12-10 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Economics is a science in a constant state of flux. While it is true that any science is defined by its immutable laws, few disciplines are as influenced by emotion and perception as the science of "money."

2012-12-10 Have the New Paper Clips Arrived, Enid? by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

If there's one economic stat that spans the economic/political spectrum, it's jobs. Last week's NFPs had a headline of 146,000, way above estimates, and an unemployment rate of 7.7%, the best since December 2008 and a comfortable one point below a year ago.

2012-12-08 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

What are the margins of monetary policy? The November job report showed only modest improvement. Japan continues to struggle, with a change of government on the horizon.

2012-12-07 ECRI Weekly Update: More Recession Flag Waving by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose slightly in the latest public data. It is now at 126.8, up from an upwardly revised 126.2 in the previous week. See the WLI chart in the Appendix below. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) also rose, now at 3.5 from last week's 3.4. WLIg has been in expansion territory since August 24th, althout it is off its high at 6.0 on October 12th.

2012-12-07 3 Implications of a Fiscal Cliff Tax Hike by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

From the outside, its hard to find much evidence that Washington is getting closer to a fiscal cliff deal. Perhaps there is more going on behind the scenes than the headlines suggest, but as of today it is hard to find much evidence that the odds of a deal have risen. As the potential for fiscal drag rises, it is worth reiterating why this is so dangerous. From my perspective, the biggest risk to the economy, and to financial markets, comes from the tax side of the equation.

2012-12-07 The Keynesian Depression by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Five years have passed since the beginning of the Great Recession. Growth is slow, joblessness is elevated, and the knock-on effects continue to drag down the global economy. The primary difference between today and the 1930s, when the U.S. experienced its last systemic crisis, has been the response by policymakers. Having the benefit of hindsight, policymakers acted swiftly to avoid the mistakes of the Great Depression by applying Keynesian solutions. Like the last depression, we are likely to live with the unintended consequences of the policy response for years to come.

2012-12-07 Saving for Retirement: Stage 1 by Team of Franklin Templeton

Most of us have certain expectations about our retirement. We may daydream of the golden years as a time to explore exotic locales, perfect a golf swing, or just relax. The reality is often quite different, particularly for those whove done more daydreaming than planning, or who have suffered setbacks to their portfolios in 2008-2009 and feel a sense of paralysis. Knowing where to begin can be confusing, and as with most things, overcoming inertia to take that first step certainly isnt easy.

2012-12-06 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks continued to bounce back from their post-election sell off. In fact for the entire month of November the popular averages were virtually unchanged. For the past week one can see from the charts above that the Dow Jones Industrial Average was flat and the NASDAQ Composite gained 1.5% as Apple starts to regain some of the ground it has lost since September.

2012-12-06 Questions and Answers Surrounding the Fiscal Cliff by Team of Northern Trust

There is no resolution yet to the US fiscal cliff. It is probably unfair to have expected one by now; the clock is too far from midnight. But as the negotiations continue, several questions have been raised that deserve some reflection. 1. The two sides seem to be making statements that reflect stark disagreement. Are talks failing? 2. Is our fiscal path a cliff, or a slope? 3. There is a proposal to limit the deductions claimed by high income taxpayers. How would these work, and what are the consequences? 4. The cliff has been in the news for a long time. Why isnt everyone prepared for it?

2012-12-06 Americas Hope Against Hope by Joseph E. Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

After a hard-fought campaign, it seems that not much has changed in American politics. The main cause for celebration is that America has avoided policies that would have pushed it closer to recession and increased inequality further.

2012-12-05 Market at Mercy of Fiscal Cliff Until Resolution by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Politics and the fiscal cliff are dominating market action and adding to the uncertainty factor. Sentiment is better, technicals are mixed and valuation is reasonable, but until we get past the cliff, fundamentals won't matter a lot. There are some coiled springs forming that could help offset any fiscal-cliff related contraction next year.

2012-12-05 Argentinas Trials & Trubulations by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Equity markets climbed higher for a second straight week, extending a rally that began November 16. For the week, the S&P 500 rose 0.6% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.2%. In the post-mortem on Q3 earnings season, much has been made of the first quarter of negative earnings growth in three years. However, analysis by Morgan Stanley reveals an even more disturbing picture of corporate America: just 10 companies in the S&P 500 delivered 88% of the indexs earnings growth. Of those 10, four accounted for more than half and Apple alone made up nearly one-fifth of the indexs growth.

2012-12-05 Resilient Markets Mask Greater Concerns in Real Economy by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Though equity markets have been calm, the real economy tells a different story. If our leaders in Washington arent able to arrive at a compromise, January 1 will mark the beginning of the countrys first scheduled recession, though third quarter corporate earnings suggest a global slowdown is evident. Dont be surprised to see a Christmas rally should Congress kick the fiscal can down the road and the Fed extend Operation Twist.

2012-12-04 The Big Picture by David Rosenberg (Article)

Our crystal ball says to stick with what works in an uncertain financial and economic climate - in other words, maintain a defensive and income-oriented investment strategy.

2012-12-04 And Thats The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Obama meets with the nations governors and speaks before the Business Roundtable to continue drumming up support for his budget deal. (Arent most governors counted among the countrys wealthy?) Expect the bickering and blame-placing to continue until finally a small deal is reached with the majority of the work tabled for later in 2013. (How will Moodys and S&P perceive that move?) The economic calendar heats up with critical news from labor and manufacturing and retailers share insight into the holiday shopping season thus far. And Europe is never far from the radar screen.

2012-12-04 Economics 101: Little Return without Risk by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

A tremendous amount of energy and effort has been expended in the US on behalf of wealthy investors to secure returns while reducing risk. Like any useful endeavor, it started out as a wise thing and reached its stride in the late 1990s as a way to deal with a massive asset misallocation. As Warren Buffett always says, What the wise man does at the beginning, the fool does at the end. It appears to us that the efforts to eliminate risk in the US capital markets have reached the foolish point.

2012-12-04 Strawberry Fields Forever? by Bill Gross of PIMCO

As John Lennon forewarned, it is getting harder to be someone, and harder to maintain the economic growth that investors have become accustomed to. The New Normal, like Strawberry Fields will take you down and lower your expectation of future asset returns. It may not last forever but it will be with us for a long, long time.

2012-12-04 High Uncertainty, Low Optimism by Francis Gannon of Royce Funds

In these uncertain times, we continue to follow our discipline and to identify those ideas that we believe will be the beneficiaries of potentially better economic times ahead. Many of the economic events that the markets feared would pull the U.S. economy into recession have already occurred, including the rapid slowdown in China and the recession in Europe. As the saying goes, bull markets climb a wall of worrysurprisingly , the Russell 2000 gained 12.35% year-to-date, 13.09% over the one-year, 13.85% over the past three years, and 8.71% over the past 10 years through the end of November.

2012-12-04 How to Build a Time Machine by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

With industrial production, capacity utilization, real disposable income, real personal consumption, real sales retail and food service sales, and real manufacturing and trade sales uniformly declining in their latest reports, coincident economic indicators having generally peaked in July are now following through on the weakness that weve persistently observed in leading economic measures. We continue to believe that the U.S. economy joined a global economic downturn during the third quarter of this year.

2012-12-03 Housing, GDP, Lumesis Muni Index & Federal $ to the States by Gregg L. Bienstock of Lumesis

While the media is fixated on the looming cliff and having everyone and their mother opine, information about the status of our economy is of as much importance. This week we take a look at housing prices, GDP, the Coincident Index, the DIVER Muni Index and how much of each States revenue comes from the Federal Government. We keep hearing how much better the housing market is. In this regard, we routinely remind our readers that better or worse depends on from where you start. Starting pre-recession to date, only Texas, Oklahoma and the Dakotas have seen positive housing price trends.

2012-12-01 The Significant Impact of U.S. Oil Production by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The Eagle Ford shale formation lies south of our headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, giving the U.S. Global investment team a firsthand, tacit perspective on the oil and gas industrys growing natural resources phenomenon. Weve witnessed how the oil activity is boosting the local economy with solid-paying jobs, a healthy housing market and strong consumer sentiment, as oil giants such as Schlumberger and Halliburton take a bigger stake in the area.

2012-12-01 Weekly Economic Commentary by Team of Northern Trust

Many nations are being reminded that when times are tough, so is budgeting. Americas energy picture is changing for the better. The EU took an "extend and pretend" strategy with Greece.

2012-12-01 The How Matters by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Market focus has clearly been on fiscal cliff negotiations. An agreement that averts the cliff would likely ignite a further near-term rally, but the ultimate solution and its components could have longer term consequences that may not be as market-friendly. US economic data has been impacted by Hurricane Sandy, but it appears modest growth is continuing; although business investment has fallen off. Housing continues to provide support and the Fed is staying the course. There are some signs of growth stabilization globally, notably in some of the emerging economies, including China.

2012-11-30 Fiscal Cliff Countdown: Templeton Perspectives by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

The U.S. "fiscal cliff" clock is ticking loudly, and so far U.S. politicians havent been able to cooperatively silence it. A sweeping roster of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes remain set to go into effect at year-end with what could be detrimental economic consequences.

2012-11-30 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

Last year the post office lost almost $15 billion. You would think that postal rates would be going up, and they are. Effective January 27, 2013, the price of a first class stamp will increase to 46 while a postcard will increase to 33. Both are a one penny increase. Does the post office really think this will make a difference? We hope you have a lot of those "forever" stamps.

2012-11-30 3 Reasons to Hold Off on Holiday Sales Celebrations by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Is the US consumer saying goodbye to the Great Recession and hello to a heady holiday season? Initial holiday sales results may paint a rosy picture, but Russ K explains why investors shouldn't be prematurely uncorking the New Year's champagne.

2012-11-30 ECRI Weekly Update: Beating the Recession Drum by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

TheWeekly Leading Index(WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose slightly in the latest public data. It is now at 126.3, up from 125.4 in the previous week. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) declined to 3.4, down from last week's 3.6. WLIg has been in expansion territory since August 17th, although it is now at a six-week low, with the high at 6.0 on October 12th.

2012-11-29 The 13th Labour of Hercules: Capital Preservation in the Age of Financial Repression by James Montier of GMO

James Montier, a member of GMO's asset allocation team, writes to institutional clients in a new white paper on the prospects for preserving and growing capital in a world of slowing growth. Defining financial repression loosely "as a policy that results in consistent negative real interest rates," Mr. Montier poses the question "how does a value investor respond to this? It certainly appears as if the assets one would normally associate with capital preservation are expensive. So can and/or should you substitute other assets such as equities into the role of safe-haven value store?"

2012-11-29 Sizing Up the Fiscal Cliff by Team of Neuberger Berman

As year-end approaches, the U.S. is inching closer to a potentially defining moment in its post-debt crisis economic recovery. A series of expiring tax cuts, spending reductions and new taxes equating to over $600 billion (or 4% of GDP), popularly known as the "fiscal cliff," are slated to take effect in early 2013.

2012-11-29 42 Days to the Fiscal Cliff! by Michael Martin of Financial Advantage

On the morning of the election, U.S. stocks sported a year‐to‐date return of 15%. Seven trading days later that figure had shrunk to 9.7%. What's going on?

2012-11-29 Ready for Takeoff by Team of Janus Capital Group

Rising fuel costs grounded airline stocks for much of the last two decades, but we think those costs were the impetus for significant structural changes that have positioned them to take off.

2012-11-28 On The Economy & Capitalism vs. Socialism by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we look at a Pew Research Center survey that polled Americans for their feelings about capitalism versus socialism. The survey included all races, different ages and various income groups. I think it's safe to say, this survey will SHOCK YOU!

2012-11-28 How Low Can They Go? by Mark Newlin of Mesirow Financial

Mesirow Financial's Fixed Income team provides insight that can help bond investors put in perspective the current low interest rate environment.

2012-11-28 November 2012 Monthly Investment Bulletin by Team of Bedlam Asset Management

Equities have rarely been so attractive yet any investor acting on the perceived wisdom of the last 50 years would scoff and keep selling: the bad news will worsen for economic activity, growth in credit, wages, consumption, employment and in several countries, political stability. Few indices are glaringly cheap as measured by Cyclically Adjusted Price to Earnings multiples (CAPE: chart p.4) with many expensive, especially in many emerging markets.

2012-11-27 Capital Formation and the Fiscal Cliff by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In today's economic environment, we often complain about volatility and uncertainty, but there is one thing I think we can be fairly certain of: taxes are going up. I constantly try to impress upon my kids, most of whom are now adults, that ideas and actions have consequences. In todays letter we will look at some of the consequences of an increase in taxes. Please note that this is different from arguing whether taxes should rise or fall. For all intents and purposes that debate is over

2012-11-27 Over the Cliff: Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles on the Looming Deficit Crises by Michael Skocpol (Article)

As President Obama and Congressional leaders hurtle Thelma-and-Louise-style toward a budgetary precipice, another deficit-tackling duo hit the road earlier this month to deliver a simple message: This all could have been avoided.

2012-11-27 A Critique of Grantham and Gordon: The Prospects for Long-term Growth by Laurence B. Siegel (Article)

The vigorous global economic growth of the last two centuries is over, according to Jeremy Grantham and Robert Gordon. That prediction, if correct, has profound and worrisome implications for investors. And the short-term trend is indeed disquieting: Growth has been close to zero over the last decade in advanced countries. But the most likely outcome is that per capita GDP growth going forward will approximate its U.S. historical average of 1.8%, and it will grow faster in developing markets.

2012-11-27 Congress Debates the Fiscal Cliff: What Happens to Estate Taxes? by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

The estate and gift tax exemptions are scheduled to fall and the estate tax rate to rise if Congress does not address them during the current lame duck session. This update discusses what is likely to happen this month and next year as Washington develops proposals for tax reform.

2012-11-27 Fixed Income Perspectives by Christine Hurtsellers, Matt Toms, Mike Mata of ING Investment Management

A wise American once said "Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid." A good example is when your pals in Washington are so busy pushing their partisan agendas that they lose sight of what could happen to the American economic Thunderbird if it goes all Thelma and Louise over the fiscal cliff. With the latest elections in the books, it remains to be seen if a Democratic president and acrimonious Republican House can put on their thinking caps to devise a way to delicately pump the brakes of fiscal restraint.

2012-11-26 Stuck in the Muddle with You by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Raising Keynes hasn't worked. What will finally lift the fog of uncertainty that bedevils the economy?

2012-11-26 Median Household Incomes: The "Real" Story by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The traditional source of household income data is the Census Bureau, which publishes annual household income data each September for the previous year. Sentier Research, an organization that focuses on income and demographics, offers a more up-to-date glimpse of household incomes by accessing the Census Bureau data and publishing monthly updates.

2012-11-26 Illegitimum Non Carborundum by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

In my opinion Richard Fisher said in plain English what Ben Bernanke is trying to say in a much more politically correct way hey Congress, get your act together because I have done just about all I can do on a monetary basis, so it is up to y'all to make the tough decisions on fiscal policy that need to be made to get this economy going again. Surprisingly, I think Congress, and the President, will rise to the occasion because if they don't, and the country falls off the "fiscal cliff" for an extended period of time, it most assuredly will put us back into a recession.

2012-11-26 Monetary and Fiscal Policy in Early 2013 by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The fiscal cliff refers to a substantial tightening of fiscal policy in 2013. Monetary policy cannot offset the cliffs negative effect on the economy. However, it would be surprising if a deal were not reached, if not by the end of this year, then in early 2013. Due to concerns about the long-term budget picture, some of the cliff is almost certain to get through.

2012-11-26 Buying Treasuries and Avoiding Stocks Not the Way to Go by John Buckingham of AFAM

While we know better than to make too much out of a low-volume rally, especially during a holiday-shortened trading week, it was interesting to hear what The Wall Street Journal had to say one week ago at this time. As the publication helped ready investors for the week ahead, one story advised folks to head toward the safety of U.S. Treasury securities: "Expect safe-haven Treasurys to draw demand at the expense of stocks in the coming weeks, bucking a seasonal trend that has often favored riskier assets."

2012-11-26 Fiscal Cliff: An Emerging Markets' View by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Now that the U.S. presidential election is over and President Barack Obama has been re-elected to serve a second four-year term, we're able to do what we always do after a major election or regime change, and that's examine the potential implications of policy changes on our investments. As our team sees it, there are two main factors for global investors to consider: the U.S. economy's future health, and President Obama's foreign policy stance toward key countries, particularly China.

2012-11-26 Overlooking Overvaluation by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Presently, on the basis of smooth fundamentals such as revenues, book values, dividends and cyclically-adjusted earnings, the S&P 500 is somewhere between 40-70% above pre-bubble valuation norms, depending on the measure. That's about the same point they reached at the beginning of the 1965-1982 secular bear period, as well as the 1987 peak.

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?

2012-11-26 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Investors breathed a sigh of relief (perhaps temporarily) and expressed thanks in the form of the strongest week in the market in several months (though on light volume). Domestically, housing data confirmed strength in the sector and retailers opened their doors earlier than usual with the hope that "if you open, they will come." Overseas, Europe's struggles continued, though manufacturing in China looked to be on the mend. Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the weekend; after all, next week starts the home stretch for the end of the year...(and the fiscal cliff).

2012-11-23 Five Amazing Global Consumer Trends by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Fifth Avenue no longer the worlds most expensive retail location. China set to be the second largest luxury market by 2017. Viva Macau is gaming capital of the world. Inexpensive Indian Aakash 2 could revolutionize tablet industry. Emerging market residents don't need a bank account to pay with their mobile wallet.

2012-11-23 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: Index Rises, Growth Diminishes by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose slightly in the latest public data (released Wednesday in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday). It is now at 125.7, up from 125.4 in the previous week. See the WLI chart in the Appendix below. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) declined to 3.8, down from last week's 4.3. WLIg has been in expansion territory for thirteen weeks, although it is now at a seven-week low, with the high at 6.0 on October 12th.

2012-11-22 Economic Update by Carl Tannenbaum and Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

A look beneath the surface reveals a housing sector still struggling with post-crisis transition. The Federal Reserve is intent on promoting a broader recovery in this area.

2012-11-21 ...'Til Debt (Limit) Do Us Part by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last week I discussed the "fiscal cliff" and the political battle that entails. If lawmakers cant come together for a solution before the end of the year, the economy is almost certainly headed for a recession or worse in 2013 and beyond. But there's a potentially even bigger battle coming up in the next couple of months.

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.

2012-11-20 Kyle Bass on the Next Big Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)

If economics could be studied in a laboratory, scientists might concoct something like the circumstances now unfolding in Japan – and policymakers should be paying close attention. According to Kyle Bass, Japan's currency – and its bond market – are about to collapse under the weight of the country's unsustainable fiscal deficit.

2012-11-20 President Obama’s Re-Election and the Impact on the U.S. Economy by Eaton Vance Distributors, Inc. (Article)

President Obama’s re-election resolves a major element of uncertainty that has hung over the political landscape. But what kind of impact will his victory have on the economy and the markets, especially with the House still in Republican control? We posed that question to a roundtable of five investment professionals from Eaton Vance Management, Hexavest and Richard Bernstein Advisors.

2012-11-20 Fix the Debt! by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

In the "normal" course of a U.S. election, investors typically breathe a sigh of relief when the results come in, with at least one layer of market uncertainty removed. This time around, the political squabbling hasn't ended with the close of the polls on November 6. The debate about the "fiscal cliff," a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes set to go into effect on January 1, 2013, has heightened. Market volatility since the election seems to have heightened, too.

2012-11-20 Companies Grapple With Pressure from All Sides by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

As we move closer to closing the books on another earnings cycle, it is time to look back at the hits and misses for the quarter. Unfortunately, this quarter brought more misses than investors have seen in quite some time, despite a greatly reduced bar. The outlook also leaves something to be desired, with companies cutting forward guidance and analysts ratcheting down estimates for the next two quarters.

2012-11-20 Where Will the Jobs Come From? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

For the last year, as I travel around, it seems a main topic of conversation is "Where will my kids find jobs?" It is a topic I am all too familiar with. Where indeed? Youth unemployment in the US is 17.1%. If you are in Europe the problem is even more pronounced. The basket case that is Greece has youth unemployment of 58%, and Spain is close at 55%. Portugal is at 36% and in Italy its 35%. France is over 25%. Is this just a cyclical symptom of the credit crisis?

2012-11-20 Bumpy End To The Year by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Europe would like to have America's problems. Here we have declining public spending, increasing receipts, falling debt to GDP ratios and unemployment 3% below the European average. This puts the Fiscal Cliff (and I was so hoping to avoid that clich) debate somewhat in context. It's serious enough to draw the attention of corporate CEOs, put a heavy dampener on business confidence, which we saw in the recent NFIB report, and postpone hiring plans and capital investment, which showed up in last week's Empire and Philly Fed surveys.

2012-11-20 Favoring France: The Newest Bright Spot in Europe by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Europe may be stabilizing, but it's not out of the woods yet. One bright spot on the continent? France. Russ explains why he would now overweight the country's equities.

2012-11-20 When is the Turkey Supposed to Arrive? by Jerry Wagner of Flexible Plan Investments

This Thanksgiving week historically has not been a turkey in the markets. Since 1950, stocks have advanced the day before and after the holiday 76% of the time. Yet, this year the turkey in the financial markets seems to have arrived early. Stocks as measured by the S&P 500 Index have fallen 5.1% since the Tuesday Election Day close.

2012-11-20 On the Road to Zero Growth by Jeremy Grantham of GMO

In a new quarterly letter to institutional clients, GMO chief investment strategist Jeremy Grantham makes the case that, "the U.S. GDP growth rate that we have become accustomed to for over a hundred years -- in excess of 3% a year -- is not just hiding behind temporary setbacks. It is gone forever." He cautions, "investors should be wary of a Fed whose policy is prefaced on the idea that 3% growth for the U.S. is normal."

2012-11-19 And That\'s the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Could it be signs of progress? While Obama and key congressional leaders didn't exactly emerge form budget meeting arm-in-arm and singing kumbaya, they did report some progress (dare I say "compromise"?) regarding spending cut and tax hikes (better known as "fiscal cliff"). Investors remain fearful as prior discussions were always derailed over partisan bickering and the S&P and other ratings agencies remain on call should they need to act on US credit. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of what many retailers hope is a successful holiday shopping season.

2012-11-19 Little Dutch Boy by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In the Mary Mapes Dodge book titled Hans Brinker, there is a fictional story within the story of a little Dutch boy who, on his way to school, notices a hole in the dyke. Having nothing else to fix the leak, he plugs the hole with his finger and stays there through the night until workers come to repair it. We are now into the fourth year of efforts to print trillions of little Dutch boys out of dollars and euros in order to stop a tide from crashing through a fundamentally damaged dyke. All of this has bought time, but no workers have arrived, and no real repairs have been done.

2012-11-19 Waiting for Godot by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Democratic and republican policymakers are actively negotiating over the fiscal cliff, as investors watch and wait with baited breath. They seem to be making progress, or so they suggest in their public comments. But until the situation is resolved, markets are likely to remain volatile. Other issues do seem to be moving towards resolution.

2012-11-19 Q3 2012 Market Commentary by Jon Sundt of Altegris

Decisive actions by central bankers altered the course of global markets in the third quarter of 2012 at least temporarily.

2012-11-19 The Year of Betting Conservatively by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

As consumers, firms, and investors become more cautious and risk-averse, the equity-market rally of the second half of 2012 has crested. And, given the seriousness of the downside risks to growth, the correction could be a bellwether of worse to come for the global economy and financial markets in 2013.

2012-11-19 Monetary and Fiscal Policy in Early 2013 by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The fiscal cliff refers to a substantial tightening of fiscal policy in 2013. Monetary policy cannot offset the cliff's negative effect on the economy. However, it would be surprising if a deal were not reached, if not by the end of this year, then in early 2013. Due to concerns about the long-term budget picture, some of the cliff is almost certain to get through.

2012-11-19 The Seeds of Higher Market Volatility Were Sown by Mike Temple of Pioneer Investments

A paradigm shift in financial markets has taken place since 2008 into a more volatile investment environment that will demand different ways of managing risk. In an ironic twist of intention, today's higher volatility is the consequence of attempts by central banks to engineer a less volatile economic environment.

2012-11-19 Will the "Cliff" Steal Christmas? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Probably not. Here's how a last-minute deal on spending cuts and tax hikes could work.

2012-11-17 Three Events That Sum Up the Week by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

India regained its title as the strongest performing market, overtaking the greater China area, as the country experienced a bounceback in demand due to improved sentiment during the festival season. The Federal Housing Administration reported that it has exhausted its reserves, possibly requiring a bailout from U.S. taxpayers for the first time ever in its nearly 80-year history. The global economic picture came into focus a little more this week with the announcement of Chinas new leadership.

2012-11-17 Microsoft Has Been A Better Business Than It Has A Stock, But That Is About To Change by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Microsoft, the business, has been a stellar performer. It is only because the stock was so in credibly overvalued a decade and a half ago that investor shareholders received such poor returns. We believe that the opposite circumstances exist today for the stock; however, the prospects for the business remain intact. Therefore, we believe Microsoft represents a compelling opportunity to invest in a high-quality blue-chip dividend growth stock at a very low valuation.

2012-11-16 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

With the elections behind us, we must now look ahead to the next six weeks of a Lame Duck Congress. Given the fact that the President was re-elected, the Republicans maintained control of the House, and the Democrats gained in the Senate, we know there will either be collaboration or chaos in Washington. The positioning has already started. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

2012-11-16 November Fundamentals by Chris Brightman of Research Affiliates

For the second half of the 20th century, U.S. gross domestic product growth averaged 3.3% per year. This growth was driven by a combination of rising population and employment rates and increased productivity. But all three of these factors are slowing or declining. What does this mean for future growth?

2012-11-16 Central Bankers Take Steps Where Politicians Fear to Tread by John Remmert of Franklin Templeton Investments

In the past few years, many global central banks have enacted various measures to stimulate their respective economiesin some cases without the support of fiscal measuresand sometimes to little effect. John Remmert, senior vice president and senior portfolio manager for Franklin Equity Group, shares his insights on why central banks have acted in some cases where politicians seemed fearful to tread.

2012-11-16 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: The Slippage Continues by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) declined again in the numbers released today. It is now at 125.4, down from its interim high of 127.6 set five weeks earlier. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) also declined, now at 4.4, down from last week's downard revision to 5.0. WLIg has been in expansion territory for twelve weeks, although it is now at a five-week low, with the revised high at 6.0 on October 12th.

2012-11-16 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Real Retail Sales and Industrial Production by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Official recession calls are the responsibility of the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee, which is understandably vague about the specific indicators on which they base their decisions. This committee statement is about as close as they get to identifying their method.

2012-11-15 3 Reasons Not to Flee Dividend Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

As the fiscal cliff approaches, investors are becoming wary of dividend stocks, unsettled by the potential for a near tripling of the tax on dividends. But Russ K explains why he remains comfortable with dividend paying stocks with one major exception.

2012-11-15 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Obviously, I am very discouraged with the outcome of the election. The main mistake Spencer and I made (and others including Gallup, Rasmussen, Pew, Rove, Morris, etc., etc.) in our pre-election analysis was to significantly underestimate the turnout rates among Democrats. The widely-held view that Democrats were unenthused and wouldn't turn out to vote, as suggested by numerous pollsters, was simply wrong. Obama won both the popular vote and the Electoral College comfortably.

2012-11-15 Nothing Changed by Doug MacKay, Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

Many events have transpired since our mid-September update, but not much has really changed. Economic growth should remain slow for as far as the eyes can see, as each region of the world struggles with its own version of the New Normal. Capitalistic animal spirits have gone the way of the modern American male and while not completely extinct, he's decidedly more metrosexual. Flannel has ceded ground to the skinny jean and ambition has given way to contentment. Save for the halls of America's top military brass, unbridled passion is simply no longer.

2012-11-14 Post-Election Impact by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company

The U.S. national election is over. Some of the uncertainty around taxes and regulations is now clarified. We're likely to get more of each. Attention has shifted to the "fiscal cliff." Much has been written and commented about the big picture, let's examine the impact to wage earners and retirees.

2012-11-14 Helplessly Hoping...That a Market Riot Isn't Needed for Fiscal Cliff Fix by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

A status-quo election puts the "fiscal cliff" front and center. The stock market's knee-jerk reaction was to sell; could further weakness light a fire under politicians? Good news has come from recent economic numbers, but sentiment will remain under pressure until the fiscal cliff is resolved.

2012-11-13 David Rosenberg on Obama's Victory by David Rosenberg (Article)

The election is behind us. The Fed has spent its last bullet. We are at an inflection point of the earnings and sales cycle. The fiscal cliff, the Chinese political transition and the spread of the euro zone recession to the north lie ahead.

2012-11-13 Voyages by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Anything short of drastic entitlement reform, serious cutbacks in defense spending, and serious tax reform that alters incentives away from speculation in favor of production will leave this country stuck on the dangerous path it is on today.

2012-11-13 Bank Loans: Looking Beyond Interest Rate Expectations by John Bell and Kevin Perry (Article)

Portfolio managers of Bank Loan Strategies, John Bell and Kevin Perry, outline the major advantages and risks of bank loan investing and the roles that a bank loan allocation can play in a fixed income portfolio.

2012-11-13 Europe: Opportunity of a Generation by David Marcus of Evermore Global Advisors

A difficult political and economic backdrop is masking exceptional opportunities in European markets for discerning, long-term oriented investors. Evermore believes that there is a generational opportunity to build significant wealth by selectively investing in catalyst-driven, deep value European securities, trading at depressed valuations.

2012-11-13 The Election by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

As most of you know I was in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Zurich, and Geneva during election week seeing institutional accounts and speaking at conferences. Of course the question on all the portfolio managers' (PMs) minds was about the election, the subsequent effect on the economy and the various markets, currencies, and the Fiscal Cliff.

2012-11-13 Addressing the Fiscal Cliff by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The 2012 election put a major uncertainty behind us. We now know that Barack Obama will remain president and that Congress will be split. However, a major uncertainty lies ahead with the fiscal cliff. The danger is that a deal wont be reached soon and may get tangled with efforts to raise the debt ceiling

2012-11-13 Leaning Left by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

President Obama won a second term as president by three percent of the popular vote, while sweeping the battleground states and winning the Electoral College. Meanwhile, Democrats gained two seats in the Senate and the GOP held onto a comfortable majority in the House.

2012-11-13 Four More Years... by Kate Schapiro of Sentinel Investments

Americans went to the polls this past Tuesday and re-elected President Obama to four more years in office. In addition, the partisan breakdown of Congress stayed roughly the same in both the House of Representatives (Republican majority) and Senate (Democratic majority). So after nearly two years and billions of dollars spent on campaigning, debating, polling, grand-standing and mudslinging, the leadership is unchanged. A good argument for campaign finance reform if ever there was one.

2012-11-13 Sequestration - What It Means for the Municipal Bond Market by Michael Taylor of Columbia Management

If Congress fails to quickly reach an agreement on deficit reductions, automatic cuts to federal discretionary spending (sequestration) are scheduled to take effect January 2, 2013. On September 14, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released its report detailing how it would implement sequestration, as required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Act). Designed to impact defense and non-defense (domestic) program budgets equally, most agencies are subject to cuts between 7% and 11% over the next decade. The exception is Medicare which is subject to a 2% cut.

2012-11-13 Argo and Ethel: America Has Never Been a "Rose Garden" by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We recently had the pleasure of seeing a movie, Argo, and a documentary on HBO, Ethel. Argo is the story of the rescue of the six Americans from the Canadian Ambassador's residence at the time of the Iranian takeover of the US Embassy in Teheran. Ethel is a documentary which tells the story of Ethel Kennedy, the wife of Senator Robert Kennedy. It was produced, directed and narrated by Ethel Kennedy's youngest daughter, Rory. I rate both of these films highly and believe they tell US investors something they need to be reminded of.

2012-11-13 Seeking Shelter from the Storm? Consider Mega Caps by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ Koesterich discusses how mega cap stocks are attractively valued and may be more resilient to the impact of the potential fiscal cliff.

2012-11-12 Extend and Pretend by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Now that President Obama has been re-elected, the media is finally free to focus on something besides the clueless undecided voters in Ohio, Florida, and Colorado. The brightest and shiniest object that has attracted its attention is the "fiscal cliff" that we are expected to drive over at the end of the year unless Congress and the President can agree to turn the wheel or apply the brakes.

2012-11-12 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

"Four more years...Four more years." While those words may be music to the ears of Obama supporters worldwide, investors seemed less than impressed (at least initially). A second Obama administration brings plenty of question marks about the global economy, the tax code, the regulatory environment, Corporate America, and, of course, the financial markets. Stocks plunged on the first day post-election, but many analysts believe that is less a statement about the Obama victory and more a concern that the "fiscal cliff" is now clearly atop the news headlines.

2012-11-12 Can Housing Save the U.S. Economy? by Stephen Sheehan of Columbia Management

After leading the U.S. out of the Great Recession, the manufacturing sector has recently begun to show signs of sputtering. Uncertainty surrounding the election and fiscal cliff in the U.S., decelerating growth in China and a perpetually weak Europe have led to a soft patch in the third quarter. This global hiccup has caused some U.S. companies to catch a cold, most notably those in heavy machinery, transportation, metals and mining, and general industrials.

2012-11-12 What If US Economic Growth Is Over? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

A new research paper argues that investors may be grossly overestimating how fast the United States is likely to expand in the coming decades. Could this be the case? Russ K weighs in.

2012-11-12 Lopsided Risks by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The recent sequence of overvalued, overbought, overbullish, technically exhausted setups followed by a clear technical breakdown is of greatest concern here, because we often observe that sequence at the beginning of deep and extended market losses.

2012-11-12 Fiscal Cliff, US Economy and Election Results - What Happens Next? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Housing, manufacturing, and post-Sandy rebuilding could help offset the drag from the fast-approaching "fiscal cliff," but for now, uncertainty is front and center.

2012-11-12 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The election results were no sooner determined when stocks started selling off. Hard to believe it is coincidence, but it is also hard to believe the markets were caught off guard either.

2012-11-09 Fiscal Cliff, US Economy and Election ResultsWhat Happens Next? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Even if the United States falls off the "fiscal cliff," the hit to the economy will probably be gradual. And while the fiscal cliff probably figured into the recent market pullback, it's not the only contributor. Resolution to this issue, the continuation of positive trends in housing and manufacturing, and fundamental tax reform could help give the economy a boost.

2012-11-09 Americas: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Economic trends in most countries across the Americas region saw a moderate recovery during the third quarter, though the pace of growth remains subdued. Slower global demand due to the ongoing European recession and the slower expansion in Asia continues to restrict exports from the Americas. At the same time, domestic consumption growth has been relatively more robust than expected and has helped most regional economies prevent a deeper slowdown.

2012-11-09 The Election Ends and the Lame Duck Begins by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

The election. Billions of dollars spent, thousands of negative advertisements aired, scalding campaign rhetoric, a bitterly polarized electorate -- and we ended up where we started: President Obama in the White House, a Democratic-led Senate, and a Republican-led House of Representatives. Four more years of the same divided government.

2012-11-09 With the Election Over, Get Ready for the Fiscal Cliff by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ Koesterich discusses how the close election could translate into more gridlock on the fiscal cliff, as well as longer-term tax and entitlement reforms.

2012-11-09 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: Off Its Interim High by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) declined in the numbers released today. It is now at 126.2, down from its interim high of 127.6 set four weeks earlier. The WLI annualized growth indicator (WLIg) also declined, now at 5.1, down from last week's 5.9. WLIg has now spent eleven consecutive weeks in expansion territory, although it is now at a five-week low.

2012-11-09 Looking Past the Election by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

The election results are in, removing at least one area of uncertainty from the equation. For the near term, economic data in the United States may take a back seat. Growth around the world appears soft, but some pockets are more encouraging than others.

2012-11-09 Two Policy Instruments, Two Labor Market Thresholds by Alan Levenson of T. Rowe Price

Despite understandable post-election focus on the resolution of the looming fiscal cliff, there is persistent interest in the conditions under which the FOMC will end the asset purchase program initiated in September ("QE3"). The economic projections and monetary policy expectations submitted for the September 12-13 FOMC meeting indicate that a consensus for rate hikes begins to build as the unemployment rate approaches 7.0%.

2012-11-09 A Portrait of Two Presidents by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

On Friday, President Obama addressed the two topics that have been on many equity investors minds since election night: the economy and the dreaded fiscal cliff. In his speech, he delivered his familiar plan to combine spending cuts with increasing revenue by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Thats how we did it in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton was president, says the president.

2012-11-09 Extend and Pretend by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Going over the fiscal cliff is not the problem, it is part of the solution. Our leaders should construct a cliff that is actually large enough to restore fiscal balance before a real disaster occurs. That disaster will take the form of a dollar and/or sovereign debt crisis that will make this fiscal cliff look like an ant hill.

2012-11-09 What If US Economic Growth Is Over? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

A new research paper argues that investors may be grossly overestimating how fast the United States is likely to expand in the coming decades. Could this be the case?

2012-11-08 Overcoming the Brake Light Shockwave by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Big democratic breakthroughs, say Egypt, Tunisia are halting and fall far short of the hopes they embodied. Technology is a race over mobility and brevity but hardly elicits the same wonder from years past. Governments are polarized. The US had almost no voting overlap in recent years so big ideas are on the wane. In Europe, the supra-national organizations like the EU are swift to talk and slow to act. No we're not reactionaries. We think all this is explained by the deepest drop in output in the post-war period and the slowest recovery.

2012-11-08 Make Way for Debt Mutualization in Europe by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

Hurdles and hold-ups are inevitable but recent policy developments in Europe indicate that the ECB and the Bundesbank are cooperating and greater federalization is likely.

2012-11-08 Obama Wins: What's Next? by Team of Janus Capital Group

U.S. President Barack Obama has been re-elected for another four years, while Democrats will continue to control the Senate and Republicans the House of Representatives. We believe this outcome was largely anticipated by the markets before Election Day. However, U.S. Treasury markets likely will gain and risk assets could decline as investors remain concerned about sluggish economic growth, the impact of the impending "fiscal cliff" and the effects of continued Federal Reserve (Fed) intervention.

2012-11-08 November Economic Update by Team of Cambridge Advisors

During the month of October, the S&P 500 traded within a 5% range. By the end of the month, stock returns for the S&P 500 reflected a loss of 1.8%. This decline is surprisingly low when you consider the stock market closed unexpectedly for two days and reopened after a major storm that caused extensive damage in highly populated areas along the East Coast. Treasury yields also did not significantly move during the month.

2012-11-08 A Delicate Balance by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who argues that balance is a bad thing, but in this time of austerity versus growth and political us-versus-them, you'd be equally hard-pressed to find agreement on how to achieve balance. Right now the U.S. economy is teetering on the edge of the much-publicized so-called "fiscal cliff," a one-two punch of automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to go into effect in 2013, and which threaten to tip the nation into recession.

2012-11-08 Japanese Carmakers Can Surmount Backlash from China Dispute by Takeo Aso, Atsushi Horikawa of AllianceBernstein

The territorial dispute between China and Japan is clouding the outlook for Japanese automakers. But we think that bilateral business pragmatism will eventually trump the current political tensions.

2012-11-08 Developed Europe: Economic Review 3rd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Amid signs of a deepening economic slowdown in Developed Europe, three key events brought some cheer to the beleaguered region, raising hopes of a lasting solution to its debt crisis. In early September, the European Central Bank (ECB) announced its new Outright Monetary Transactions scheme, which is in effect a commitment by the ECB to buy unlimited quantities of sovereign bonds with up to three years in maturity, providing the bond-issuing member country agrees to a reform agenda.

2012-11-07 October 2012 Monthly Commentary by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

A light flashed on in my car this morning, telling me that it was due for service. When I take it in, the mechanics will presumably check both the engine and the brakes before deciding on exactly what it is that I need to repair, replace or adjust. For investors, after nine months of ups and downs in markets, an investment strategy checkup is in order.

2012-11-07 Job Market Improves, But Is It Enough? by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The economy plays a critical role in voter decisions. However, historically, it's been more about the direction than the level. The October Employment Report was stronger than anticipated, suggesting that we're doing significantly better than just treading water in the labor market. However, we have a lot of ground to make up and the pace is not especially strong. Regardless of Tuesday's election outcome, the data suggest that the ground may be set for further improvement in 2013.

2012-11-07 Forecasts & Trends by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Last Friday's unemployment report for October had the headline rate rising from 7.8% to 7.9%, in line with expectations. However, the pleasant surprise was that the economy created 171,000 new jobs last month, well above the pre-report consensus of 125,000 and above the average monthly increase of 157,000 jobs this year. That's the good news.

2012-11-07 October Surprise by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Third quarter earnings growth for S&P 500 companies is at risk of being negative for the first time in three years. While the presidential election is important, Congress will ultimately control spending and tax legislation. Monetary stimulus alone is both inadequate and unsustainable; pro-growth taxation, spending and regulatory policy is key to our economic revival.

2012-11-07 Report Raises Questions About Central Bank Gold Holdings by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

For years I have cautioned that changes in the ownership of gold held in the vaults of key central banks around the globe may not have been accurately reported. A report issued last month in Germany has once again brought these issues to the fore. In today's environment of rampant money creation and questioning of central bank activities, such uncertainty is bound to spark the curiosity of an increasing number of investors.

2012-11-06 Lacy Hunt on Our Economic Future by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Last week I spoke with Lacy Hunt, an unequivocal advocate of deficit reduction. Hunt defended – as persuasively as few others can – the need to address our fiscal imbalances. But equally respected economists are advocating for the other extreme, and he shares some common ground with them.

2012-11-06 ClearBridge Advisors - Market Commentary Q312 by Harry “Hersh” Cohen (Article)

Vibrant end demand is missing, as consumers have neither the wherewithal nor the will to spend as they did in prior periods.

2012-11-06 David Rosenberg on Hurricane Sandy: Missing the Boat by David Rosenberg (Article)

As I read and digest reports estimating the damage from the devastating storm, I sense that there are far too many economists who are relying too heavily on past major hurricanes as they draw their conclusions from the current experience with Sandy.

2012-11-06 The Absolute Return Letter: The Era of Kakistocracy by Neils Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

We are now five years into a crisis that just doesn't want to go away. Paraphrasing Charles Gave of GaveKal who wrote a supremely succinct paper on this topic only last week, policy makers continue to tamper with interest rates, foreign exchange rates and asset prices in general. They continue to permit deposit-taking banks to operate like casinos. They issue new debt to pay for expenditures when we are already drowning in debt. They just don't seem to get it. Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same experiment over and over again, expecting a different result.

2012-11-06 Same Old Samba for Brazil by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The old saw for the last 80-plus years puts Brazil perpetually on the verge of becoming the next economic powerhouse, but never quite making it. It is easy to see the potential. The nation is large; rich in natural resources and arable land; has a sizable, active population; and has well-developed trade relations in the Americas, with Europe, and with Africa. Brazil has failed to realize its potential less for economic reasons than because of misguided government policies.

2012-11-05 Stream of Anecdotes by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Analysts who interpret economic data as a stream of unconnected anecdotes are likely to find recent data encouraging, and will easily dismiss any concern about a U.S. recession on that basis. For our part, the internals of the economic picture new orders, backlogs, real income growth, and even the employment components of prominent economic surveys continue to deteriorate. Based on dozens of economic variables and methods that account for leading/lagging relationships (e.g. unobserved components estimates) our view remains that the U.S. economy has already entered a recession.

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.

2012-11-05 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

A storm shortened trading week saw virtually no movement in the popularly followed stock market indices.

2012-11-05 China Forges Ahead by Team of Janus Capital Group

Economic headwinds loom on the horizon as we approach 2013, including a sovereign debt crisis in Europe and pending fiscal cliff in the U.S., but we think you can cross China off your list of worries. Economic data pointing to a slowdown in China has troubled investors. Many even question the reliability of that data, and suggest things could be worse than reported.

2012-11-05 Election Matters, But Stocks are Cheap by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Tomorrow's election may be the most important one for economic policy of our generation. Years from now, we may look back at the choice Americans make as an inflection point leading toward either more economic freedom or less, with major effects on long-term economic growth and living standards.

2012-11-02 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: Still Jogging in Place by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) slipped fractionally in the numbers released today. It is now at 126.6, down from last week's 126.7 (revised from 126.8). Likewise, the WLI growth indicator (WLIg) slipped slightly, now at 5.9, down from last week's 6.0. WLIg has now spent ten consecutive weeks in expansion territory, although it is off its interim high of 6.1. But for the past six weeks the WLI has been jogging in place in a narrow range (126.2 to 126.7).

2012-11-02 Who Will Lead America Over the Next Four Years? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

If President Obama is reelected, it could be a negative for certain energy companies involved in natural gas fracking, says International Strategy & Investment (ISI). Conversely, a Governor Mitt Romney win could be significant for energy companies. In its Romney Portfolio ISIs rationale is that Romney and the GOP will try to do more to promote traditional forms of energy, including offshore drilling, approving the Keystone pipeline, and exploiting the nations coal resources.

2012-11-02 Blind Faith by Steven Romick of First Pacific Advisors

Although we cannot impose our will on this administration as to Mr. Bernankes continued role at the Fed, we would at least like to make our case for a Fed chairman more aware (at least publicly) of the unintended consequences of ultra easy monetary policy, and one with less hubris.

2012-11-02 High Yield is Looking Expensive by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

High yield has enjoyed a rally over the last several months. Russ explains why it may be a good time to reexamine your exposure to the asset class.

2012-11-01 A Value Recovery Is Long Overdue by Sharon Fay of AllianceBernstein

It's been a long, hard slog for value stocks lately. I'd say we're long overdue for a value recovery. But what would it take?

2012-10-30 Weekly Update: Commentary and Statistics by Team of ING Investment Management

U.S. equity markets fell back into decline during the week, as earnings reports and more specifically, forward outlooks inspired investor caution. Meanwhile, a potential "Frankenstorm" has the East Coast on edge for the coming week.

2012-10-30 Bond Market Primer by Kendall Anderson of Anderson Griggs

For years, our tag line "Common Sense Portfolio Management for Intelligent Investors" has served us well. There are times, though, that "Common Sense" can steer us in the wrong direction. Take driving. When a teenager sits behind the wheel of a car for their very first attempt at driving they know, from years of watching Mom and Dad drive, that when they want the car to go to the right, they turn the steering wheel to the right. Even someone who has never driven an automobile knows this. It is common sense.

2012-10-29 The Quest for Certainty by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The last two weeks we have been looking at the problems with models. First we touched on what I called the Economic Singularity. In physics a singularity is where the mathematical models no longer work. For example, models based on the physics of relativity no longer work if one gets too close to a black hole. If we think of too much debt as a black hole of sorts, we may understand why economic models no longer work. Last week, in "The Perils of Fiscal Cliff," we looked at the use of fiscal multipliers by economists in order to argue for or against governmental economic policies.

2012-10-29 A Moderate Recovery More Of The Same by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The advance estimate of 3Q 12 GDP growth was not far from expectations. Consumer spending growth was moderately strong, while business fixed investment was a bit weak. The details suggest that some of the headwinds may be abating, although risks are tilted to the downside.

2012-10-29 Distinction Without a Difference by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In recent weeks, market conditions have fallen into a cluster of historical instances that have been associated with average market losses approaching -50% at an annualized rate. Of course, such conditions don't generally persist for more than several weeks the general outcome is a hard initial decline and then a transition to a less severe average rate of market weakness (the word "average" is important as the individual outcomes certainly aren't uniformly negative on a week-to-week basis).

2012-10-29 Velocity, Uncertainty & the Economy by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Recently we lifted our recession odds to 25% from 10%. For some, this was worrisome. In recent weeks we've been asked, "If you guys get a little bearish on the economy, after being bullish for so long, shouldn't I get really nervous?" Our answer to this question is "no."

2012-10-29 Waiting for Treasuries to Reverse Course by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

In the years since the global financial crisis, investors have funneled money into fixed income securities. This year alone, more than $260 billion found its way into fixed income mutual funds. In an environment desperate for yield-oriented solutions, such demand is not surprising. What might be considered surprising, however, is investors' willingness to embrace such yield with extraordinary risk attached.

2012-10-26 October 2012: Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

Equity and other "risk" assets rallied in the third quarter in anticipation of further monetary easing by central banks around the world. The prospect of increased liquidity from the central banks appears to have focused investor attention, at least temporarily, away from the generally softer economic data that continue to emerge from Europe and Asia.

2012-10-26 Of Irish and Fiscal Cliffs by Team of Franklin Templeton Investments

Dr. Michael Hasenstab, Templeton Global Bond Fund portfolio manager and co-director of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group's International Bond Department, doesn't prescribe legislative answers, but he can relate the fiscal challenges the U.S. faces to the experiences of a country with its own dramatic cliffs: Ireland.

2012-10-26 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: Running in Place by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose fractionally in the numbers released today. It is now at 126.8, up from last week's 126.6 (revised from 126.7). However, the WLI growth indicator (WLIg) slipped slightly in expansion territory, not at 6.0, down from last week's 6.1. WLIg has now spent nine consecutive weeks of in expansion territory. But essentially the WLI has been running in place for the past five weeks.

2012-10-26 Weekly Economic Commentary by Carl Tannenbaum, Asha Bangalore and James Pressler of Northern Trust

Fiscal policy is a matter of multiplication. US GDP growth accelerated in the third quarter, but remains less than ideal. Recent reports out of China reassured the markets, but underlying trends are not so promising.

2012-10-25 October 2012 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz Wealth Management

Oh the joys of driving to a baseball game; sitting in endless traffic four miles from the stadium, inching past full lot after full lot, or not finding your car when it's time to go home (was it D-4 or 404 Green?). Now you can streamline your parking experience with ParkWhiz, a Chicago-based company that's recently gone national. This and other missives from Harold Evensky.

2012-10-25 Do the US Elections Matter for Investors? by Frank Caruso, Robert Brown of AllianceBernstein

Frank Caruso and Robert Brown Pundits across the political spectrum say the health of the US economy and stock market hangs in the balance of this year's presidential election. We found that when it comes to driving the stock market, politics actually takes a back seat.

2012-10-23 ECB Bond Buying Is a Double-Edged Sword by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi's promise to do "whatever it takes to preserve the euro" and create a new bond-purchase program has been positive for market sentiment. But the program also carries real dangers if it breaks the fragile consensus on the board of the ECB and eases the pressure on governments to create a "genuine" economic and monetary union.

2012-10-23 There's New Hope for US Recovery as Early Cyclical Sectors Rebound by Joseph Carson of AllianceBernstein

Something is changing in the US economic recovery. Housing and autos are finally starting to wake up from a recession-induced slumber, and the timing couldn't be better.

2012-10-23 The Perils of the Fiscal Cliff by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

In today's letter we'll peek over the Fiscal Cliff and see what economic models can tell us about government spending. And if we have time we'll quickly look at an interesting study that uses economics to predict the outcome of this US presidential election.

2012-10-23 The GDP Outlook by Scott Brown of Raymond James

On Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis will release the advance estimate of third quarter GDP growth. Theres always a lot of uncertainty in the advance estimate. The BEA will have to make assumptions about inventories, foreign trade, and a few other missing components. However, the report should continue to show the U.S. economy in recovery mode.

2012-10-23 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks remained sluggish last week as earnings guidance more than last quarter's reports put a damper on stock prices. In addition, the European summit was a failure and investors remain hesitant before the November elections.

2012-10-22 The Data-Generating Process by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

For anyone who works to infer information from a broad range of evidence, one of the important aspects of the job is to think carefully about the structure of the data what is sometimes called the "data-generating process." Data doesn't just drop from the sky or out of a computer. It is generated by some process, and for any sort of data, it is critical to understand how that process works. In the financial markets, the data-generating process is often very misunderstood.

2012-10-22 The "Fiscal Cliff" and the Election by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The fiscal cliff looms large. It should. Unless Washington does something, the 2013 budget will face a sudden and automatic fiscal restraint. The shock would almost certainly drive this economy's already enfeebled recovery into recession. It is an alarming prospect, to be sure, but still, likelihoods suggest that even this partisan Congress will steer clear of such a "cliff."

2012-10-22 More Plow Horse by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

If we see any theme in the third quarter, it was that the consumer had growing purchasing power while businesses temporarily pulled back from investing in plant and equipment. Usually, that kind of retreat in business investment would have us more concerned. Almost every time machinery orders are down 10% from the year before, like they are now, we are near recession. But we think many companies are temporarily waiting until after the election to decide what to do.

2012-10-22 Eggs Are Not Enough: The Truth About Diversification by Feifei Li of Research Affiliates

We learn in finance theory that diversification simply means not putting all your eggs in one basket. Simple as the idea is, most investors do not hold portfolios that are even close to being truly diversified. Two reasons make this sensible objective difficult to achieve. First, most investors are not disciplined enough to implement diversification. To illustrate my point, pause and check whether you are willing to reduce equities when the trailing 12-month return on stocks is 20+ percentage points higher than bonds?

2012-10-22 Politics, Cliff Watching Take Priority in the Short-Term by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

The US elections are only two weeks away, and the recent polls show a very tight race. There are significant differences, both perceived and real, in the policies of the two candidates and the impact they might have on financial markets.

2012-10-22 More traction...Just Look Through the Earnings by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Last week saw an important debate on how the US has fared in the post recession recovery. The short answer is, "not well" if measured by a return to GDP growth trends or per capita income. But the counter, as explained by Reinhart and Rogoff, is "faster than you would expect." We're in the second camp.

2012-10-22 The Little Country That Could by Bill O'Grady, Kaisa Stucke of Confluence Investment Management

In this geopolitical report we will take a brief look at Estonia's history, its economy after the break-up of the Soviet Union, its remarkable economic growth in the 1990s and early 2000s, and the ensuing downturn in 2008. The country stands out for choosing a different path to deal with the recession than many other European countries.

2012-10-19 Fall Quarterly Commentary by John Prichard of Knightsbridge Asset Management

It was a busy quarter for central bankers. A surprise statement during July by European Central Bank President, Mario Draghi, moved markets: "Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the Euro... and believe me, it will be enough." These words sparked an immediate and sharp turnaround in European bond yields (down) and world equities. Not to be outdone, Fed Chairman Bernanke announced QE3 on September 13th, promising to continue purchasing bonds, thereby increasing the money supply, until employment conditions improve.

2012-10-19 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Company

In his latest quarterly letter, Ron Muhlenkamp, president and portfolio manager of the Muhlenkamp Fund, re-examines Europe, China, and U.S. Politics as the major drivers of the markets. On September 7, 2012, Muhlenkamp published a Market Commentary, headlined "Threat of European Banking Crisis Recedes." In it, he discusses the Outright Monetary Transactions program, introduced by the European Central Bank. Mr. Muhlenkamp thinks this program makes credible the ECB's promise to do all it can to keep the Eurozone together.

2012-10-19 Muddling Down the Middle by Josh Thimons of PIMCO

PIMCO expects that the debate over the fiscal cliff will end in fiscal consolidation, but not a fiscal catastrophe. Unfortunately, while the Fed's monetary policy actions have been, by and large, successful in achieving its intermediate-term goal of increasing asset valuations, they have not been effective in influencing real economic outcomes. Our forecast for the drag on GDP from the fiscal cliff in the coming year is roughly negative 1.5%. Improvement in the housing market will only fill a small part in that hole.

2012-10-19 Cyclical and Turnaround Stocks: There Is A Lot Of Value In This Market: Part 5 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This article represents the final installment in our "There Is A Lot of Value In This Market" series. In some ways, this article represents prima fascia evidence supporting some of our main hypotheses. First of all, this article will clearly support the notion that not all common stock are the same, and therefore, they should all not be painted with the same broad brush stroke (generalities or opinions).

2012-10-19 ECRI Weekly Leading Index: Index Slips, But Growth Rises by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index of the Economic Cycle Research Institute declined in the numbers released today. It is now at 126.7, down from last week's 127.6 (revised from 127.7). However, the WLI growth indicator rose further in expansion territory to 6.1, up from last week's 5.7. WLIg has now posted sixteen consecutive weeks of improvement and is at its highest level since May 20, 2011. The divergence between the WLI and its growth derivative is probably attributable to apparent anomaly in the BLS's weekly unemployment data over the past two weeks.

2012-10-18 Quarterly Review and Outlook - Third Quarter 2012 by Hoisington and Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

Entering the final quarter of the year, domestic and global economic conditions are extremely fragile. Across the globe, countries are in outright recession, and in some instances where aggregate growth is holding above the zero line, manufacturing sectors are contracting. The only issue left to determine is the degree of the downturn underway.

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.

2012-10-18 As Global Growth Falters, Consider Emerging Markets by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Global growth this year is forecast to lag that of both 2011 and 2010, and the outlook for 2013 isn't much better. These sobering forecasts are bolstering Russ K's view that investors should consider being overweight emerging market stocks.

2012-10-18 Triskaidekaphobia1 \tris-kī-dek-ə-fō-bē-ə\ n: Fear of the Number 13 by Gene Tannuzzo of Columbia Management

In May of this year, the Congressional Budget Office published a paper outlining the tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to be automatically implemented on January 1, 2013 under current law. The paper illustrates the real risk of recession if Congress fails to address this looming "fiscal cliff" before year end. The markets are telling us not to worry about the fiscal cliff. Are the markets right, or should investors be more concerned that 13, as in 2013, could be an unlucky number for the U.S. economy?

2012-10-17 Emerging Europe: Third Quarter 2012 Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

In its recent economic assessment, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said it expects growth to slow down during the year in member countries such as Russia, Poland, Hungary, and Turkey as the effects of the Euro-zone crisis spills over. The bank said many of these countries have already seen lower growth, but Russia especially is affected by falling commodity prices. Striking a similar note, the International Monetary Fund in its World Economic Outlook said emerging economies of the world are at risk should the developed economies experience a continued slowdown.

2012-10-17 Q3 Investor Letter by Team of HORAN Capital Advisors

At the beginning of the third quarter, investors following the "sell in May" strategy felt vindicated as the S&P 500 Index declined over 9.0% from May 1st to June 4th. The June 4th date turned out to be the intra-year market low and the equity rally was almost uninhibited throughout the remainder of the third quarter. We have been experiencing mixed global economic data over the past several months and in response, the Federal Reserve announced a third round of quantitative easing. While the market initially responded favorably, it ultimately declined through the end of the quarter.

2012-10-17 Rise Up: US Soft Patch Appears to be Ending by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

By definition, inflection points are characterized by maximum weakness. Many US economic readings are again suggesting notable signs of life. Will the improvement be enough to offset the "fiscal cliff"?

2012-10-16 Stiglitz vs. Bremmer: What’s Next for the Global Economy? by Ben Huebscher (Article)

On October 3rd, the same night Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were clashing in their first debate, two equally polarized men met in New York City's Kaufmann Concert Hall to discuss the future of economics, both here and abroad.

2012-10-16 The New World of Credit by Michael Lewitt, Editor, The Credit Strategist (Article)

In an era in which economies are driven by the creation of fiat money by central banks, and where the base of hard money is dwarfed by the volume of outstanding debt, every form of capital is tied to credit. In 1919, William Butler Yeats famously wrote that 'the center cannot hold.' A century later, there is no center.

2012-10-16 Inflation: Washington is Blind to Main Street's Biggest Concern by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Journalists, politicians and economists all seem to agree that the biggest economic issue currently worrying voters is unemployment. It follows then that most believe that the deciding factor in the presidential race will be the ability of each candidate to convince the public that his policies will create jobs. It seems that everyone got this memo...except the voters.

2012-10-16 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Updated Real Retail Sales and Industrial Production by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The latest updates to the Big Four was today's release of the September Industrial Production, which rose 0.4 percent over the previous month following a 1.4 percent decline the month before. Yesterday the Census Bureau's Retail Sales number was released, and with today's release of the Consumer Price Index we can calculate Real Retail Sales. The latest 0.6% increase gives us a strong three-month upward trend after four months of flat or contracting data. Both indicators beat analysts' expectations.

2012-10-15 Equity Market Review & Outlook by Richard Skaggs of Loomis Sayles

Global equity markets performed well in the third quarter after posting modest losses in the second quarter. The soft second quarter, which followed back-to-back double-digit quarterly gains, proved to be a pause rather than a signal that the equity bull market was ending. Though defensive sectors garnered favor in the second quarter, economically sensitive sectors have generally led performance this year, with technology, financials and consumer discretionary topping the list year to date.

2012-10-15 Lender of Last Resort Move Crucial to Regional Stability by Andrew Balls of PIMCO

While the ECB's engagement as a lender of last resort is crucial, Europe's big four governments must provide political commitments supportive of ECB policy to counter the lingering threat of a Greek exit, address convertibility risk, and build a more stable union. However, this will require sustained growth. Faced with capital flights from the periphery and lowered credit ratings, the key challenge remains crowding-in private and foreign official investors to buy peripheral sovereign debt.

2012-10-15 Seven Varieties of Deflation by A. Gary Shilling of Gary Shilling & Associates

Inflation in the U.S. has historically been a wartime phenomenon, including not only shooting wars but also the Cold War and the War on Poverty. That's when the federal government vastly overspends its income on top of a robust private economyobviously not the case today when government stimulus isn't even offsetting private sector weakness. Deflation reigns in peacetime, and I think it is again, with the end of the Iraq engagement and as the unwinding of Afghanistan expenditures further reduce military spending.

2012-10-15 Passed Pawns by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

I've long been fascinated by the parallels between Chess and finance. Years ago, I asked Tsagaan Battsetseg, a highly ranked world chess champion, what runs through her mind most frequently during matches. She answered with two questions "What is the opportunity?" and "What is threatened?" At present, I remain convinced that the key opportunity lies in closing down exposure to risk.

2012-10-15 Economic Singularity by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

There is considerable disagreement throughout the world on what policies to pursue in the face of rising deficits and economies that are barely growing or at stall speed. Both sides look at the same set of realities and yet draw drastically different conclusions. Both sides marshal arguments based on rigorous mathematical models "proving" the correctness of their favorite solution, and both sides can point to counterfactuals that show the other side to be insincere or just plain wrong.

2012-10-15 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Though investors seemed to overlook the negative earnings projections for the third quarter, the initial releases finally brought out the sellers. While the naysayers had been drowned out by the optimism of the Fed moves, the early results and management warnings prompted investors to sell (and sell and sell) as the major equity indexes each plunged over 2% in what was considered the worst week since June. Heck even a "cheery" Joe Biden couldn't save the markets this week.

2012-10-15 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

Some recent research by InvesTech Research shows that the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average can indicate who will win the White House. James Stack, President of InvesTech recently released a study that showed in elections since 1900 90% of the time the Dow has correctly predicted the outcome of the election based on its returns from Labor Day until Election Day. If the Dow posts a positive return during this time period, the party in power keeps the White House and if the return is negative, they do not

2012-10-15 The New Investment World is Not Near, It's Here by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The recent pace and magnitude of economic change has left many investors disoriented, to say the least. Russ K explains why this new environment is unlikely to change any time soon, which may have implications for investors' current and long-term strategies.

2012-10-12 Blue-Chip Dividend Aristocrats - There is a Lot of Value in this Market: Part 4 by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

This is the fourth in a series of articles designed to counter a pervasive attitude that common stocks are expensive today. Furthermore, we would agree with those that contend that we have been in a stealth bull market for the last 18 months or more. However, would also contend that stocks were so cheap prior to this stealth bull-run that even though they have risen, there are still many stocks that remain fairly priced and even many that are undervalued. Blue-chip Dividend Aristocrats represent one of the best examples of our thesis.

2012-10-12 The Fiscal Cliff and Your Portfolio by Travis Fairchild, Patrick O'Shaughnessy of O'Shaughnessy Asset Management

Whether or not we find ourselves staring over the fiscal cliff come January 1 is still very much in question, but investors are understandably concerned with what the resultant tax increases may mean for their portfolio values and dividend income. If Congress is unable to reach a compromise between now and January 2013, President Bush's 2003 tax cuts will expire and tax rates on income, dividends, and capital gains will increase by significant margins.

2012-10-12 ECRI Weekly Leading Indicators: Time to Recant the Recession Call? by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) made a strong advance in the numbers released today. It is now at 127.7, up from last week's 126.2 (revised from 126.3). See the WLI chart below. The WLI growth indicator (WLIg) now marks its eighth week in expansion territory at 5.7, up from last week's 4.6. WLIg has now posted fifteenth consecutive weeks of improvement and is at its highest level since May 27, 2011.

2012-10-12 Teetering on the Edge? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Concerns about a possible US recession remain elevated in light of the pending "fiscal cliff," resulting in some lackluster stock market action. The fiscal cliff and uncertainty around tax and regulatory policy appear to be influencing business decisions to the detriment of economic growth. While worst-case scenarios for Europe may have been taken off the table by the ECB, Spain's reluctance to ask for aid is causing consternation. And although we see continued weak growth in China, signs indicate the global slowdown may be turning around.

2012-10-12 U.S. Economic and Interest Rate Outlook - October 2012 by By Carl Tannenbaum and Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

Budget negotiations in the US and Europe are attempting to balance austerity, prosperity, and posterity. US exports and imports are showing the strains of sluggish conditions overseas. Our updated economic forecast reflects some "cliff" effects, but not a renewed recession.

2012-10-12 The Golub Group Commentary by Team of The Golub Group

High-quality businesses that have the ability to pay and increase their dividends are even more attractive in this low yield environment and the valuations of these businesses are cheap on an historic basis and relative basis to the alternatives.

2012-10-11 The New TIPping Point by Jeremie Banet, Rahul Seksaria, Mihir Worah of PIMCO

The Federal Reserve's QE3 program combined with more aggressive communication are likely to have implications for Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS).

2012-10-11 Macro View: China in Transition by Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners

With nominal growth rates falling faster than expected, the possibility of a hard landing for China country's economy appear to be increasing. More importantly, however, there is more to this situation than is immediately observable.

2012-10-10 Munis and Tax Reform: Tempest in a Teapot or Taxmageddon? by Team of Neuberger Berman

We've heard increased dialogue recently about the future of the tax exemption for municipal bond income. While it has long been commonly thought that taxing municipal bond income would result in higher borrowing costs to governments potentially impairing their ability to operate the current political landscape, upcoming election and looming "fiscal cliff" have opened for debate the prospect of changes to longstanding provisions of the U.S. tax code.

2012-10-10 Third Quarter Surge Caps 12-Month Relentless Risk Rally by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

Despite the rally of the past year, equity markets still look cheap. Weakening manufacturing data suggest the 12-quarter streak of positive earnings growth may come to an end in the third quarter. Housing has turned the corner, providing consumers with cause for confidence. Though fundamentals have wavered a bit, we are constructively bullish on risky assets, as "successful investing demands a choice between prudent risk control and outright risk avoidance".

2012-10-09 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks advanced last week as the impact of the Fed's monetary easing combined with some better economic data persuaded traders to continue to buy.

2012-10-09 This Fortress built by Nature for Herself by Dennis Gibb of Sweetwater Investments

It has been some time since I have taken keyboard in hand in any attempt to inform anyone of my thoughts on the world of investing. I am taking the time to write now because we are embarked on some events that are, in my humble opinion, truly historic. As these events play out the United States may not be a fortress built by nature for herself. So hang on this could get rough and as usual it will be opinionated with a different perspective.

2012-10-09 Median Household Income Growth: Deflating the American Dream by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

What is the single best indicator of the American Dream? Many would point to household income growth. My study of the Census Bureau's data shows a 600.7% growth in median household incomes from 1967 through 2011. The ride has been bumpy, but it equates to a 4.5% annualized growth rate. Sounds impressive, but if you adjust for inflation using the Census Bureau's method, that nominal 600.7% total growth shrinks to 19.0%, a "real" annualized growth rate of 0.4%.

2012-10-09 High Yield and Equities Mind the (Equity) Gap by Hozef Arif of PIMCO

High yield bonds returned 12% through September, even as corporate defaults continued to rise, albeit gradually. While the default rate is an important market metric, it has been a lagging indicator of high yield bond total return performance. Investors should closely monitor equity markets for signals on where high yield spreads may go.

2012-10-09 Global Investment Outlook by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Global growth remains positive but momentum is lacking. Central bank action has eased tensions. Markets are calmer but future direction is uncertain

2012-10-08 Number Five by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Examine the points in history that the Shiller P/E has been above 18, the S&P 500 has been within 2% of a 4-year high, 60% above a 4-year low, and more than 8% above its 52-week average, advisory bulls have exceeded 45%, with bears less than 27%, and the 10-year Treasury yield has been above its level of 20-weeks prior. While there are numerous similar ways to define an "overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising-yields" syndrome, there are five small clusters of this one in the post-war record.

2012-10-08 The Great Debate by John Petrides (Article)

The first of three presidential debates kicked off last week with each candidate portraying the core fundamentals of their respective party, neither of which backed down from their beliefs. As the candidates continue to jockey for sound bites, a debate among investors continues to rage: What will happen to the market after the election?

2012-10-08 The Unemployment Surprise by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The unemployment number surprisingly dropped to 7.8% last Friday, and the shoot-from-the-hip crowd came out in force. To say that the jobs report was met with skepticism would be a serious understatement. The response that got the most immediate airplay was ex-GE CEO Jack Welch (who knows a few things about making a number say what you want it to say) tweeting, "Unbelievable job numbers ... these Chicago guys will do anything ... can't debate so change numbers."

2012-10-05 Economic Recovery and Debt Reduction: Faster, Please! by Chris Molumphy of Franklin Templeton Investments

It's tough to be patient in an age of instantaneous communications and instant gratification. We all want immediate answers to our questions and quick fixes to our problems. When it comes to real world tangles like the global economy, though, Chris Molumphy, CIO of Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group, reminds us that patience, not a magic pill, is the order of the day when it comes to European and U.S. struggles to cure their economic ailments. He's realistic about these problemsbut isn't waiting to act where he does spot investment opportunities.

2012-10-05 ECRI Weekly Leading Indicators: Mixed Signals in Latest Data by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) slipped fractionally after eight consecutive weeks of growth. It is now at 126.3, down from last week's 126.6 (revised from 126.7). See the WLI chart below. However, the WLI growth indicator (WLIg) now marks its seventh week in expansion territory at 4.7, up from last week's 3.8. WLIg has now posted fourteen consecutive weeks of improvement and is at its highest level since June 3, 2011.

2012-10-05 Market Respite by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

In a period of looming macroeconomic risks and great investor uncertainty the quarter resulted in solid gains in most global equity markets. The Dow was up 4.3%, the S&P 500 5.8% and the NASDAQ 6.2% for the quarter. Year-to-date the Dow was up 10%, the S&P 14.5% and the NASDAQ 19.6%. The news internationally was encouraging though mixed with European indices up 8% for the quarter and 11.8% for the year while Pacific indices were up 2% for the quarter and 7.4% for the year.

2012-10-05 How Helicopter Ben Helps Jobs and, Inadvertently, Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

The world's central bank leaders continue to spike the monetary punch bowl, with investors imbibing on gold once again. This flurry of gold buying prompts many curious investors and doubting media to ask me two questions: 1) How can demand for gold and gold stocks continue; and 2) How high can the precious metal go? To answer these questions, we need to look at the intentions behind the economic and political decision-making across several developed countries, analyze the causes, the effects, and the possible ramifications.

2012-10-04 Monetary Mystification by Joseph Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

Central banks on both sides of the Atlantic took extraordinary monetary-policy measures in September, sending stock markets soaring. But politicians and markets in both Europe and America are mistaken if they believe that monetary policy can restore economic growth and boost employment.

2012-10-04 Median Household Incomes: The Grim Reality by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Last month I posted a pair of commentaries on median household incomes based on latest annual data released by the Census Bureau. The first looked at the distribution of household incomes by quintile and the top 5 percent. The second examined median household incomes by age bracket. More recently Sentier Research, an organization that focuses on income and demographics, published a fascinating report on median household incomes. The data in their report differs from the Census Bureau's data in three key respects.

2012-10-04 Market Dimensions by James Damschroder of Gravity Capital Partners

An interesting and perhaps volatile fourth quarter is upon us. We have elections and the fiscal cliff straight ahead. Markets dislike uncertainly, making asset prices potentially marginally lower.

2012-10-03 Understanding How "Debt Deleveraging" Works by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

For many years, I have warned that our massive explosion in federal debt (up 50% just since Obama took office) would one day stifle economic growth. Obviously economic growth is currently stifled, what with the weakest post-recession recovery in decades. But the question remains as to whether our massive national debt and trillion-dollar budget deficits are the main reason for the disappointing recovery.

2012-10-03 Don't Bring Me Down: Not Swayed by Pessimism at BCA Conference by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

We present highlights, key takeaways and perspective on the recent BCA Research Investment Conference. The eurozone crisis and China's slowdown remain risks, but are somewhat offset by optimism about US markets. Politics will remain a force underpinning uncertainty and volatility.

2012-10-02 Confronting the Unemployment Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Policymakers seeking a path to economic recovery must first answer one crucial question: Is our persistently high unemployment structural or cyclical? If it's cyclical, then monetary and fiscal measures designed to boost consumer spending will restore the US to full employment in due course. But if we face a structural problem, then quick fixes won't work until we correct deeper imbalances that have left 12.5 million Americans without jobs.

2012-10-02 Lessons from Scandinavia by Kaisa Stucke, Bill OGrady of Confluence Investment Management

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Scandinavian nations suffered through balance sheet recessions. Commentators have suggested that U.S. policymakers could use the Scandinavian response to their crises as a roadmap for resolving the current U.S. situation. As part of our own analysis, we have studied several earlier events to understand the underlying similarities and differences to develop insights into the current event.

2012-10-02 The 2010, 2011, 2012 Corrections Were P/E Multiple Related; Earnings Were Sound by George Bijak of GB Capital

We had nasty stock market corrections in the middle of 2010, 2011 and 2012 caused by political uncertainty about Europe's debt. In times of market declines it is good to remind ourselves the difference between a correction and a bear market.

2012-10-01 Leap of Faith by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Both the economy and the financial markets will do fine in the longer-term, but to imagine that there will not first be major challenges and disruptions is a leap of faith and a leap over a century of economic and financial history that screams otherwise.

2012-10-01 U.S. Economy Prints 32-month Low: Recession Risks Escalate by Dwaine van Vuuren of RecessionALERT.com

It's been 4 months since the 3rd "Summer Swoon" in this expansion when many commentators were trotting out recession scares and imminent collapses in the stock market. Since then the SP-500 has risen over 9%, peaking at 12% gains some weeks back. There is now an interesting divergence developing between the leading data (stock market, money supply, credit spreads etc.) that is implying positive expansion ahead and the co-incident data that is implying a drift toward possible recession.

2012-10-01 More Pieces of the Puzzle by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Recent economic data have been mixed. Consumer attitude measures have improved, but manufacturing figures have softened. On balance, the numbers are consistent with more of the same: a positive, but lackluster-to-moderate pace of growth.

2012-10-01 Recession Risk Rising by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein, Strider Elass of First Trust Advisors

Economic forecasting was relatively easy from the end of World War II until the middle of the prior decade. Most of the time, you could just focus on monetary policy. But then came the last recession, which had nothing to do with the Fed being too tight. Instead, falling home prices and mark-to-market rules rendered some major banks under- capitalized. A pure financial panic ensued, the likes of which we had not seen for 100 years. But what if this was not a one-time event?

2012-10-01 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks finally fell back last week. Weak economic data combined with concerns over Apple's new phone release hurt investor confidence.

2012-09-29 Uncertainty and Risk in the Suicide Pool by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

Investors in the stock market, especially professionals, are obsessed with risk, your humble analyst included. We try to measure risk in any number of ways, looking for an edge to improve our returns. Not only do we try to determine probable outcomes, we also look for the 'fat tail' events, those things that can happen which are low in probability but will have a large impact on our returns.

2012-09-28 Falling Off the Fiscal Cliff? by Libby Cantrill, Josh Thimons of PIMCO

When we look at how the fiscal debate is likely to play out, rather than how it should play out, our base case is the fiscal cliff will likely be resolved in a short-term deal before the end of the year, making what was a cliff more like fiscal black diamond still dangerous, but not likely to land the economy in a body cast.

2012-09-28 The Danger of Safety by Owen Murray of Horizon Advisors

Investors have become cautious and anxious following the bear market of the past twelve years and the recent bouts of extreme volatility. We examine risks and opportunities in light of the difficult market environment in our special report The Danger of Safety."

2012-09-28 Gold Glitters by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Just a few weeks ago, Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, announced that he would do anything required to bailout the weakest members of the Eurozone and in so doing prevent the euro currency from dissolution. Two weeks ago, as signs of recession increased, Fed Chairman Bernanke announced he would do anything required to stimulate the U.S. economy, real estate, and the financial markets. But the biggest winners thus far that may have resulted from these newly communicated intentions are not the euro or the broad stock markets but rather gold and gold-related investments.

2012-09-28 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Updated Real Personal Income Less Transfer Payments by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Official recession calls are the responsibility of the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee, which is understandably vague about the specific indicators on which they base their decisions. This committee statement is about as close as they get to identifying their method. There is, however, a general belief that there are four big indicators that the committee weighs heavily in their cycle identification process.

2012-09-28 ECRI Weekly Leading Index Growth at Highest Level Since June 2011 by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose for the eighth consecutive week, now at 126.7, up from last week's 125.3 (revised from 124.7). See the WLI chart below. The WLI growth indicator (WLIg) now marks its sixth week in expansion territory at 3.8 (up from last week's 2.7). It has now posted thirteen consecutive weeks of improvement and is at its highest level since June 10, 2011.

2012-09-28 Growth Stocks: There is a Lot of Value in this Market Part 2 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In part one of this series we introduced the notion that in all markets whether bear or bull, there will always exist individual stocks that are fairly valued, overvalued or undervalued. In this same vein we argued that it's a market of stocks, not a stock market. To put this into context, we are simply suggesting that the discerning investor can always find bargains if they are willing to look and do their homework. However, we should also add that bargains can come from many different types of equities.

2012-09-28 The Housing Market: For Real or Fakeout? by Jeffrey Dow Jones of Jones & Company

Most of you guys know that I bought a new house last summer. I spent two years looking at properties with the lovely (and patient!) Mrs. Concord, and eventually we found one that had what we each were looking for. My #1 criteria was value. Not price, but value.

2012-09-28 Look Out Below! The Fiscal Cliff Steepens by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Despite the recent happy headlines, most measures of US economic activity point to slower growth, which makes the threat of the fiscal cliff pushing the US economy into a recession even greater. Russ K explains how investors can prepare.

2012-09-27 Its the (REAL, not the financial) economy, stupid! by Kane Cotton of Bellatore Financial, Inc.

The Fed is relying on the wealth effect. It can't directly bring down unemployment (i.e., part of the "real" economy), so it is focusing on the areas that it can affect, the financial economy and asset prices. Since both PCE and Core CPI inflation measures have been fairly low and are unlikely to become uncomfortably high in the near term due to the slack labor market, low capacity utilization and stagnant incomes, the Fed is again taking aim at asset prices.

2012-09-27 Congress Adjourns Until November: Election and Lame Duck Session Update by Andy Friedman of The Washington Update

Well over a year ago, I predicted that President Obama has the better chance of recapturing the Independent vote and winning the 2012 presidential election. I continue to hold that view.

2012-09-25 Jim Bianco – Markets Will Benefit From Disastrous Fed Policy by Robert Huebscher (Article)

The Fed's quantitative easing policy will be 'disastrous,' according to Jim Bianco, but prices for riskier assets will rise over the near term as a result. In remarks last week, Bianco, the head of the Chicago-based economic research firm that bears his name, also gave the US economy a near-failing grade of C-, and warned that inflation will be 'problematic.'

2012-09-25 Investing in a Resource-Constrained World by Richard Vodra, JD, CFP (Article)

The potential consequences of stagnant oil production and climate change for society are written about frequently, but here is a simpler question that is important to our community: How are these and related facts likely to affect investment returns going forward? How can we even frame such questions usefully?

2012-09-24 Eating the Future by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Every security on Earth works like this. The higher the price you pay for a given set of expected future cash flows, the lower your prospective future rate of return. Higher prices essentially take from future prospective returns and add to past returns. Conversely, lower prices take from past returns and add to future prospective returns.

2012-09-24 If youre a partisan Republican, skip this commentary by David Edwards of Heron Financial

In June after stocks slumped over concerns about Europe, we wrote "US stocks however, were a good value a month ago and a better value today. With the weak hands forced out by the recent 10% pullback, we are moving forward with investments in stocks." With two and half months remaining in the year, our "buying panic" forecast is starting to look prescient.

2012-09-24 Some Parting of the Clouds by Charles Lieberman (Article)

The ongoing rally in the equity market and corresponding rise in Treasury yields mirror the slow improvement in financial market conditions in Europe and moderate gains in domestic economic data. This still leaves more progress to be made on both fronts, but uncertainty remains elevated over the fiscal cliff, the threat of military conflict in the Middle East, the upcoming election, and tax policy.

2012-09-24 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

The stock market was flat on low volume last week. In other words little of consequence happened. Oil prices fell back somewhat after rumors that a release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve were floated by our government in an attempt to influence the market of yet another asset class. One wonders where the stock market, interest rates and the price of commodities would be if the government both at home and elsewhere was not manipulating prices to the extent they do.

2012-09-24 Alice in Euroland by Giles Conway-Gordon of Cogo Wolf Asset Management

If you have a taste for make-believe, fantasy and unreason the shifts and contortions of the European elite in the face of the Eurozone (EZ) crisis, culminating in the latest plan for the European Central Bank (ECB) to purchase unlimited quantities of the bonds of EZ members in financial difficulties, have left you spoilt for choice over the last few months.

2012-09-22 QE Infinity: Unintended Consequences by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

Last Monday an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, penned by five PhDs in economics, among them a former Secretary of the Treasury and an almost-guaranteed Nobel laureate (and most of them former members of the President's Council of Economic Advisors) minced no words in excoriating the current QE policy. We will look at that op-ed in detail below. The point is that there are grave reservations about the current policy among some very serious policy makers.

2012-09-21 Growth for the Long Run by Jonathan Coleman, Brian Demain, Nick Thompson of Janus Capital Group

"I skate to where the puck is going, not where its been." Wayne Gretzky. Many investors would love to be as successful as The Great One when it comes to their portfolios. Yet investors are often heavily influenced by the past, losing sight of where they need to be going. This seems to be especially true today: mistrust of equities is running high after a decade of disappointing returns and excessive volatility.

2012-09-21 ECRI Weekly Leading Index Growth at Highest Level Since July 2011 by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose for the seventh consecutive week, now at 125.4, up from last week's 124.7 (revised from 124.9). See the WLI chart below. The WLI growth indicator (WLIg) now marks its fifth week in expansion territory at 2.7 (up from last week's 1.9). It has now posted twelve consecutive weeks of improvement and is at its highest level since July 29, 2011.

2012-09-20 QE n+1 What The Fed Is Really Up To by JJ Abodeely of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

As I survey the news stories and other analysis on the Feds recent announcement, most fall short of describing what the Fed is really up to. Here is a hint: it's not really about employment. It's not really about "price stability" or really about growth either.

2012-09-19 Us and Them: Household Sector Deleveraging vs. Public Sector Leveraging by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The eruption of the financial crisis in 2008 unleashed a household deleveraging cycle, triggering unprecedented Fed easing and now QE∞. Next up, government sector deleveraging.

2012-09-19 Bank Loans: Looking Beyond Interest Rate Expectations by John Bell, Kevin Perry of Loomis Sayles

Fixed income investors may be stymied by the current mix of interest rate projections and global macroeconomic news. Interest rates remain near historical lows, and investors continue to move between risky assets and relative safe havens like Treasurys based on the latest market headlines. We believe that bank loans can be a compelling addition to fixed income portfolios in this environment and, more importantly, over the long term.

2012-09-19 Power Struggles and Progress in Romania by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Bordering the Black Sea in Southeastern Europe, Romania offers visitors a variety of beautiful and dramatic landscapes concentrated in a relatively small land area, including modern cities and medieval villages, sweeping mountain vistas, broad plains and sandy beaches. Romania may also be one of the more attractive investment destinations in emerging Europe today, but its political environment has been characterized by some power struggles as dramatic as its scenic views.

2012-09-18 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week the stock market got all it wanted from the Central Banks of Europe and here at home. The money presses have been put on full power. The result was a continuation of the stock market rally along with commodities while bonds suffered a setback as investors swapped out.

2012-09-18 Fed Delivers another Big Dose of QE by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

Yesterday, the Fed delivered the much anticipated dose of Quantitative Easing (QE) announcing that it would continue to buy U.S. Agency Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS) in an effort to further drive growth in the U.S. economy and decrease the ranks of the unemployed. The monthly purchase rate of $40 billion will be in addition to the already $10 billion that is being reinvested from QE 1&2 in mortgage-backed securities. This new money balance sheet expansion by the Fed accompanies additional guidance that the Fed would stay low on interest rates likely until mid-year 2015.

2012-09-17 Charlie Dreifus on the Global Economy and Its Impact on Stocks by Charlie Dreifus of The Royce Funds

Portfolio Manager Charlie Dreifus examines the data from Europe, China, and the U.S. and discusses how it may affect domestic stock prices.

2012-09-17 Global Overview: August 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Signs of emerging political consensus in Europe over supporting further action by the European Central Bank (ECB) and a closer banking union helped sustain investor sentiment during the month of August. Germany and select other countries that were skeptical of open ended policy measures by the ECB now appear to be scaling down their opposition.

2012-09-17 "QE" Stands for Quality Employment by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The Fed's expansive and open-ended quantitative easing program centers on building up a depleted workforce and quickening the pace of the housing recovery, but higher inflation and tight credit could play the role of spoiler. Buying mortgage-backed securities and pushing interest rates lower is designed to boost the housing sector, help loosen lending standards, stimulate corporate spending and increase foreign demand for U.S. products. This is a tall order and there are many "ifs" in this scenario, but the flexibility and breadth of QE3 increases the likelihood of its effectiveness.

2012-09-17 A Fed Fueled Rally by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

The week was overshadowed by policy actions from the Federal Reserve, which led to a 2.2% gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a 1.9% increase in the S&P 500 Index.

2012-09-15 The Direction of the Compromise by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

I think this election has the potential to be one of those rare times, at least in terms of economic outcomes. In Thoughts from the Frontline we cover economics and investments, money and finance. We only rarely stray into the political world, and then only glancingly. Today, we cross that gray line, but at a somewhat different angle, as we look at the economic consequences of the political decision that will come with the choices we make in November in the US.

2012-09-14 ECRI Defends Its Recession Call by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index of the Economic Cycle Research Institute rose for the 6th consecutive week, now at 124.9 from last week's 124.1. The WLI growth indicator now marks its fourth week in expansion territory at 2.1. It has now posted eleven consecutive weeks of improvement. The big news is yesterday's Bloomberg TV interview, in which Lakshman Achuthan, ECRI's COO, reasserted his company's recession call made a year ago on September 21st and his belief that the recession has already begun.

2012-09-14 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Updated Industrial Production and Real Retail Sales by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Official recession calls are the responsibility of the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee, which is understandably vague about the specific indicators on which they base their decisions. This committee statement is about as close as they get to identifying their method. There is, however, a general belief that there are four big indicators that the committee weighs heavily in their cycle identification process. They are: Industrial Production, Real Income, Employment and Real Retail Sales.

2012-09-14 Weaker Growth Helps Shift Germanys Approach to Sovereign-Debt Crisis by Darren Williams of AllianceBernstein

Recent German data show clearly that the sovereign-debt crisis is starting to bite. This might help explain why the government has given a green light to the European Central Banks (ECBs) new sovereign-bond purchase program. It may also indicate a more lenient approach to Greeceat least for the time being.

2012-09-14 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

It is a heads I wintails you lose - scenario for American farmers. Everyone has heard about the drought throughout the U.S. being the worst since the 50s. However, dont feel too badly for the farmers as their net income will hit a record $122 billion this year. How can that possibly be, given all of the crops drying up? Easy. Since the supply is down and demand remains the same, the price has jumped dramatically and has offset the loss of yield per acre.

2012-09-14 Australias Second-largest Export It Isnt Coal by Adam Bowe of PIMCO

With growth in China now moderating, and the price of commodities and Australias terms of trade now declining, many investors are questioning how the Australian dollar has managed to remain well-supported. The explanation lies mainly in the changing structure of the funding of the current account deficit. Going forward this will likely have important implications for monetary policy in Australia if the decline in national income growth is not offset by a similar decline in the Australian dollar.

2012-09-14 All In by Bob Rodriguez of First Pacific Advisors

2013 is a critical moment in time. If a material and timely fiscal restructuring does not take place by next September, I fear and believe that it will not occur before 2017. Unfortunately, if this were to occur, my 2009 warning of a crisis of equal or greater magnitude than the Great Recession by 2017 would be a more likely outcome. My worst fear is that fiscal gridlock continues, coupled with the policies of this activist Fed Chairman. Todays Fed actions add to my anxieties. ALL IN may be a good strategy for poker but not for this economy.

2012-09-14 Dont Be the Equivalent of a Stock Market Racist by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Common stocks are very different and come in all assortments, sizes, shapes and flavors. Consequently, we encourage investors to think more specifically and rely more on the precise characteristics of the individual company or companies they are contemplating. Worrying about the general state of the economy or the stock market, or their future direction, is not only an exercise in futility, but an unnecessary exercise as well.

2012-09-14 Central Banks Take Center Stage by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Accommodative central banks have traditionally been good for equities and stocks have responded positively to recent action. However, each market reaction to US Fed action has been shorter in length and challenges persist. Although recent economic data has been beating relatively low expectations, it is still not meeting the Fed's hopes. We appreciate the sentiment of wanting to stimulate growth, but the Fed's power is limited. It's down the street in Washington where the real power to stimulate growth lies.

2012-09-13 Back to the Future: What's at Stake for the Economy in the Obama-Romney Contest by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

To hear the two candidates tell it, the U.S. presidential election offers a dramatic choice on the economy: Vote for me, each says, if you want a robust recovery; pick my opponent, and we'll plunge back into recession. But given the huge problems the country currently faces, the future -- no matter who wins in November -- will look much like the present, according to several Wharton faculty.

2012-09-13 Fiddling at the Fire by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Worldwide, political leaders are putting off the economic reforms needed to avoid a painful, if not catastrophic, endgame. But, as everyone kicks the can down the road, the can is getting heavier and, in the major emerging markets and advanced economies alike, is quickly approaching a brick wall.

2012-09-12 Will America Be Greece in Four Years? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The US national debt topped $16 trillion last week, and it was almost as if no one paid attention. At the rate we are going, the national debt will top $20 trillion just four years from now in 2016. In my August 21 E-Letter, I pointed out just how mind-boggling a trillion dollars is. Lets revisit that analogy of a trillion in terms of time.

2012-09-12 PIMCO Cyclical Outlook: Building Rickety Bridges to Uncertain Outcomes by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

Without structural change aided by well-planned fiscal policy, we are afraid the nominal bridges of monetary policy will fail to reach their desired outcomes. The probability of a deflationary left-tail outcome emanating from the eurozone has declined substantially in the short run, yet outright economic growth in the eurozone will remain elusive in 2013.The much-publicized "fiscal cliff" is set to hit the U.S. economy on January 1, 2013, and could reduce U.S.

2012-09-12 Equity Monthly: Drought Aftermath by Team of Janus Capital Group

Ramifications of this summer's once-in-a-generation drought in the United States stretch much farther than Midwestern farms. The drought's impact will be felt most in emerging markets, and how leaders in those countries choose to interpret higher food prices in the context of overall inflation will merit close watching in the next 12 months. While rising food prices will pinch consumer budgets and wreak havoc on input costs for food service companies, we also see some investment opportunities tied to the drought.

2012-09-12 Is Europe Fixed? Not Even Close! by Fred Copper of Columbia Management

Euro Area (EA) equities have rallied 16% since European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi made his now famous July 26 pronouncement that "Within our mandate, the ECB is ready to do whatever it takes to preserve the euro. And believe me, it will be enough." Does this mean the EA is fixed? Not even close.

2012-09-12 Investing is Like Duck Hunting by Pamela Rosenau of HighTower Advisors

The discussion of additional monetary easing by the Federal Reserve has been the topic du jour in recent weeks. As a result of potential additional monetary stimulus, the US dollar has experienced a decline. Also, after a weaker than expected jobs report last week, US treasuries initially rallied given an increased expectation of Fed action. However, as pointed out by the market commentators at Sober Look, the Treasury curve has begun to steepen with the "30-year bond and other longer dated treasuries steadily selling off."

2012-09-11 Ponzi Games by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Whatever schemes the European Central Bank may cook up over the next few months will only prove short-term liquidity relief to what are long-term insolvency problems. Like any Ponzi scheme, the last money in is going to be hurt the worst when the charade comes to an end. In the meantime, investors proceed at their own risk.

2012-09-11 Ready, Set, Fed! Weak Jobs Report Raises QE3 Odds by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Russ says the US Federal Reserve Open Market Committee has more reason to consider quantitative easing at this week's meeting, after the latest payroll report suggests the US economic recovery is likely to remain weak into the end of the year.

2012-09-11 Fed Preview: Time to Forge Ahead by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

I got home at about 8 one evening last week, and it looked like a bomb had gone off inside my house. The shrapnel included empty pop cans, open bags of snacks, and scores of used napkins. The sink was filled with dirty dishes, and laundry (clean, or dirty?) was strewn about the floor. No one was home, leading me to suspect that the explosion had done them all in.

2012-09-11 US Stock Market Sentiment in a World of Wide Asset Allocation by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Our long-time readers are aware that we are stingy when it comes to trading and big believers of keeping trading costs low at Smead Capital Management. Despite these natural inclinations, we do try to keep the pulse of sentiment in the US stock market.

2012-09-10 Better Policy, Better Recovery by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Politicians always shift the blame. So, hearing them say that "no one" could have cleaned up the so-called mess and fixed the economy in just a few years is not surprising. What else do you say when after three years of recovery the unemployment rate is still at 8.1% -- down only 1.9 points since the peak almost three years ago and real economic growth has averaged a tepid 2.2% for three years of economic recovery?

2012-09-10 Late-Stage, High-Risk by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

The market conditions we observe at present are very familiar from the standpoint of historical data, matching those that have appeared prior to the most violent market declines on record (e.g. 1973-74, 1987, 2000-2002, 2007-2009).

2012-09-10 Performance Anxiety?! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

In last week's verbal strategy comments I suggested participants study the chart pattern of the S&P 500 (SPX/1437.92) and then think about what it would feel like if you were an underinvested portfolio manager (PM), or even worse a hedge fund that is massively short of stocks betting on a big decline. The concurrent performance anxiety would be legend because not only would you have performance risk, but also bonus risk and ultimately job risk.

2012-09-10 Will Greece Set Sail from the Euro? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Despite a chorus of voices calling for Athens to exit the currency union, the potential consequences would likely be unpalatable for the rest of Europe.

2012-09-10 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Does a powerful upcycle necessarily have to be followed by a downcycle? Well, yes, if one believes in the notion of parabolic quantitative market theory. Given that you can't fill up a phenomenon greater than 100%, nor empty it more than zero, what happens when you reach a statistical "saturation point", when the laws of probability no longer engender positive outcomes?

2012-09-08 Debt Be Not Proud by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

The unemployment numbers came out yesterday, and the drums for more quantitative easing are beating ever louder. The numbers were not all that good, but certainly not disastrous. But any reason will do, if what you want is more stimulus to boost the markets ever higher. Today we will look first at the employment numbers, because deeper within the data is a real story. Then we look at how effective any monetary stimulus is likely to be.

2012-09-07 The ECB: No Rest for the Weary by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

The economic picture in Europe is worsening, exposing flaws in the foundation of the euro compact. The European Central Bank is trying its best, but remains hindered by its charter. European policy makers should focus on stabilizing the situation first, and seeking retribution later.

2012-09-07 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Updated Nonfarm Employment by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Official recession calls are the responsibility of the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee, which is understandably vague about the specific indicators on which they base their decisions. This committee statement is about as close as they get to identifying their method.

2012-09-07 Economic Data Continues to Undermine ECRI's Recession Call by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose for the fifth consecutive week, now at 123.7 from last week's 123.5 (revised from 123.6). See the WLI chart below. The WLI growth indicator (WLIg) is in its second week in expansion territory at 1.0 (up from last week's 0.5). It has now posted ten consecutive weeks of improvement.

2012-09-07 The Federal Reserves Next Move: QE3? Perspectives on U.S. monetary policy by Team of Janus Capital Group

We believe the Fed will take additional action by mid-September to stimulate the economy, probably through a third round of quantitative easing. U.S. economic growth remains well below potential and is slowing, and the Fed is not meeting its dual mandate to ensure price stability and full employment. We recently reduced our 2012 GDP growth estimate to between 1.5% and 1.7%.

2012-09-07 Recent Speech Given by Lacy Hunt, Ph.D. by Lacy H. Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

The most sensible recognition of budget policy came from David Hume, one of the greatest minds of mankind. In his 1752 paper Of Public Finance, Hume advocated running budget surpluses in good times so that they could be used in time of war or other emergencies. Such a recommendation would, of course, prevent policies that would send countries barreling toward the bang point. Countries would have to live inside their means most of the time, but in emergency situations would have the resources to respond.

2012-09-06 September 12th Looms Large for Germany by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The German economy is undoubtedly the powerhouse of Europe. As a result, an understanding of the developments within Germany can offer a strong indication of the path that the rest of Europe is likely to take. Until recently, Germany stood as a bastion of sound money against those Keynesian led regimes in the developed nations that favor continual currency debasement as an economic panacea.

2012-09-06 September: A Rough Month for the Markets? by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

September is often a bad month for the stock markets, historically speaking, and this year it could be especially turbulent. In addition to all the uncertainty about the weak US economy, there is uncertainty about what the Fed may do just ahead and what, if anything, will be done to address Europe's recession and debt crisis. In addition, there is the looming presidential election which no doubt will go hyperbolic this month.

2012-09-05 The Lending Lindy by Bill Gross of PIMCO

Our entire finance-based monetary system led by banks but typified by insurance companies, investment management firms and hedge funds as well is based on an acceptable level of carry and the expectation of earning it. In a New Normal economy where lenders dance to the Blue Danube instead of the Lindy, how should we move our own feet? Carefully, I suppose, and with recognition that historic returns are just that historic.

2012-09-05 Profit Motive: If Earnings/Margins Are Peaking, What About Stocks? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Earnings growth has peaked, but don't necessarily assume the same about margins. Present pace of earnings growth has historically been accompanied by decent market performance. Margins are increasingly driven by domestic and foreign earnings, but peaking margins have historically been accompanied by strong market performance.

2012-09-05 September Economic Update by Justin Anderson of Cambridge Advisors

August was characterized by relatively low volatility as stocks continued to grind higher and bond yields traded in a fairly narrow range. The economy saw little change as the slow growth theme continued. European officials mostly took the month off so the sovereign debt crisis fell off the radar for the month. Politics have dominated the headlines, but a close race hasn't provided an impetus for investors to make significant portfolio changes.

2012-09-04 Back-to-School Letter to the US Congress by Mohamed El-Erian of Project Syndicate

What if members of the US Congress, now returning from their summer recess, were to receive a "back to school" memorandum from concerned citizens? At a minimum, it should call on Congress and the president to converge on a multi-prong, multi-year policy initiative that makes simultaneous advances in six critical areas.

2012-09-04 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

At one time during the dotcom craze, the NASDAQ closed over 5000, but, as it tumbled downward, it last crossed the 3000 mark on December 11, 2000; that is until it crossed that mark on March 13, 2012, or 11.25 years later. My, how the times have changed! The income tax was introduced in the U.S. in 1913. This means that when we file our taxes on April 15, 2013 for the year 2012, it will be the 100th year that income taxes have been paid.

2012-09-04 The Federal Budget Outlook and the Election by Scott Brown of Raymond James

With one month remaining in the fiscal year, the federal government appears to be on track to record a deficit of about $1.130 trillion, down from $1.296 trillion in FY11 and $1.294 trillion in FY10. Such large deficits can't continue indefinitely and this year's election should, in part, be about how, and how fast, the deficit will be trimmed in the years ahead. However, it's important to look at where the deficit came from.

2012-09-04 Civility by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

Webster's defines "civility" as: civilized conduct; especially: courtesy, politeness. But, there was no civility last Friday afternoon. The place, CNBC; the time 3:05 p.m.; the anchors Michelle Caruso-Cabrera and Bill Griffith; the show "Closing Bell"; the guests were myself, Bill Spiropoulos, Lee Munson, and Matt McCormick. The interview started off well enough with each interviewee responding to the anchors' questions.

2012-09-04 Still No Recession in Sight by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Real GDP in the US has grown 2.3% in the past year, a mediocre rate of growth, little different than its 2.2% average since mid-2009, when the recovery officially began. It's what we call the Plow Horse economy and we expect it to continue plodding along, at least through this fall.

2012-09-04 An Upgrade of UK Equities by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

With UK economic growth showing signs of stabilization, the downside of investing in the region now appears more balanced versus the potential benefits. Russ believes it's time to upgrade equities from the United Kingdom to a neutral status.

2012-09-04 All QE, All the Time by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

In a week of relatively light trading to wrap up the summer, equity markets trickled lower, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.5% and the S&P 500 Index fell 0.3%. It was a mixed week of economic data in the U.S., but markets were clearly locked in on Ben Bernanke's speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. News on housing seems to confirm that a bottom is in place, while manufacturing data continues to move in all different directions.

2012-09-01 The Consequences of Easy Monetary Policy by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We heard from Bernanke today with his Jackson Hole speech. Not quite the fireworks of his speech ten years ago, but it does offer us a chance to contrast his thinking with that of another Federal Reserve official who just published a paper on the Dallas Federal Reserve website. Bernanke laid out the rationalization for his policy of ever more quantitative easing. But how effective is it?

2012-08-31 ECRI's Embarrassing Recession Call by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose for the fourth consecutive week, now at 123.6 from last week's 123.3. See the WLI chart below. The WLI growth indicator (WLIg) has risen into expansion territory at 0.6 after nine consecutive weeks of improvement.

2012-08-31 While Everyone Worried About Europe by Robert Horrocks of Matthews Asia

We all do it. We all refer to Asia as an export-driven economy. It's one of those seemingly useful bits of shorthand. Unfortunately, I believe it has come to do more harm than good. Along with "emerging economies," I would like to banish the phrase to the ranks of outlawed jargon.

2012-08-30 Opportunity Cost: Emotions by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

Emotions may be keeping your clients in cash, putting their long-term goals at risk. Taking a snapshot of headlines and it is not hard to discern where investors' predispositions lay.

2012-08-29 China is Okay by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

Concern is growing that China's economy could be headed for a hard landing. The Chinese stock market has fallen 20% over the past year, to levels last seen in 2009. Continued softness in recent data from purchasing managers sentiment and industrial output to retail sales and exports has heightened the anxiety. Long the global economy's most powerful engine, China, many now fear, is running out of fuel.

2012-08-28 Who’s Fooling Whom? by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Equity markets are exhibiting a remarkable degree of complacency. The VIX is currently at extremely low levels and it can maintain those levels for a long period of time. The worse things get in terms of the economic data, the higher the market goes on hopes of central bank stimulus. At this rate, the Dow will peak just as the world is coming to an end!

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 Are Markets Nearing a Crossroads? by Chris Maxey of Fortigent

A relatively quiet, end-of-summer week resulted in modest losses for equity markets. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.9% and the S&P 500 index lost 0.5%. There were limited amounts of economic data for the market to digest last week, but plenty of other headlines kept participants active. It was a decent week overall for economic data, as reflected by the continued recovery in the Citigroup Economic Surprise Index.

2012-08-28 Curious Repetition by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Greece had a bond payment in the middle of the week that was paid with no drama and then announced that it had enough cash to finance its needs through October. However, it is using cash set aside to recapitalize banks in order to meet general obligations. The bond buying proposals are still priced into the market.

2012-08-28 Policymakers Hold the Key to Confidence by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.9% to 13,158, the S&P 500 Index slid 0.5% to 1,411 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.2% to close the week at 3,070. As August draws toward a close, US equities have hit four-year highs, corporate bond yields touched multi-year lows and many risk assets can look back on a pretty good summer. But despite plenty of investment and central bank activity, we continue to see a shortage of economic and financial market confidence.

2012-08-27 The Trend is Your Fickle Friend by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Typically, the best that can be achieved with popular moving-average crossover systems is a moderate reduction in drawdown risk, but zero or negative incremental long-term return versus a buy-and-hold.

2012-08-27 Inside the Feds Head by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

Now more than ever, investors are getting a glimpse into the minds of policy makers. While economic forecasts remain foggy, recent FOMC minutes reveal why the Fed is sharpening its tools and which ones it is likely to use.

2012-08-27 Copeland White Paper I: Dividends and Tax Rates by David McGonigle of Copeland Capital Management

As it stands today, barring a political compromise, the highest tax rate payable on dividends will jump from 15.0% to 43.4% for the 2013 tax year. That sets up two important questions for investors in dividend-oriented strategies.

2012-08-27 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

When Ben Bernanke talks...investors listen, Republican moans, Romney belittles, and markets react. For now, the jury is still out about any upcoming stimulus move as the policymakers appear far from consensus. Housing continued its rebounding ways, though manufacturing again raised concerns. Europe still appears to be in disarray as Greece takes direction (and a scolding) from its stronger brethren. Stocks ended their nice winning streak, though closed the week on a high note.

2012-08-27 FPA Crescent: Steve Romick's Semi-Annual Report by Steven Romick of FPA Fund

FPA Crescent Fund has released its Semi-Annual report on the state of the fund and its investments. The piece also delves into portfolio manager Steve Romick's market outlook and thoughts regarding the fund's positioning moving forward.

2012-08-25 Boomers are Breaking the Deal by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

We look at the trends in employment as well as take note of a signpost we passed on the way to finding out that we cant pay for all the future entitlements we have been promised.

2012-08-24 Is a Japan-Style "Lost Decade" Ahead for the US? by Sharon Fay of AllianceBernstein

The laborious pace of the US recovery has inevitably fostered comparisons with Japan. But we find several reasons why a protracted slump like Japan's is unlikely, as my colleague Gerry Paul argues. After five years of tepid growth, investors can be forgiven for wondering if the US is headed for a decades-long slump like Japan's.

2012-08-24 Three Generations on One Fast Train by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest commentary on China, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, writes about the overall complexity of China and the vastly different attitudes and life experiences of the last three generations of its population, as well as some of the challenges facing the country and its economy today.

2012-08-24 Economic Data Continues to Refute ECRI's Recession Call by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose slightly to 123.3 from last week's 123.0 (an upward revision from 122.8). See the WLI chart below. The WLI growth indicator (WLIg) is at -0.1, less negative than the -0.4 for last week, which is an upward revision from the previously reported -0.6.

2012-08-23 The Emerging Story in Europe by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

There's a unique and often overlooked story coming out of some of Europe's emerging markets that interests me more. While much of developed Europe is still struggling to get its fiscal house in order, much of emerging Europe already has. Some of the emerging markets in Europe deserve to be a greater part of the European story, and in my view, can offer compelling investment opportunities at attractive valuations.

2012-08-23 No Recession Now - But When? by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

There have been a few calls as of late (Hussman, ECRI, Shilling) stating that we are currently in the next recession. Then there is everyone else. While the "optimistic" outlook is always more enjoyable to listen to - the problem is that the current "no recession" view is primarily predicated on current quarter growth rates looked at in isolation. These data points are then extrapolated into continuous future economic expansion.

2012-08-23 'Japanification' by Scott Mather, Dirk Jeschke of PIMCO

The same dark forces that Japan has been battling could continue to infect the developed world. During Japan's banking crisis deflationary expectations became embedded in the economy early on, preventing real short-term rates from remaining negative and thereby clogging monetary transmission. One of the chief explanations for the outbreak of deflation in Japan was the difference in the structure of the labor market.

2012-08-22 Relative Value by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Everyone wants to wait for the perfect time to buy into the stock market or into any major investment market. They want to enter at historically cheap prices or at "absolute values". We at Smead Capital Management believe that these people are kidding themselves and everybody else. At the time of historical lows and "absolute value" those same folks are too mortified to pull the trigger and always come up with the reason that "it's different this time". Inertia rules the day.

2012-08-22 Mistrust Fuels Continued Gold Demand by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

In the face of growing fears of a renewed global plunge into economic depression and a climate of low apparent price inflation, investors might expect commodities and precious metals to be falling in price. Instead, gold continues to hover around a relatively high $1,640 an ounce and silver at $29. At the same time, central banks - including those of the ever more important China, Russia and India - continue aggressively to buy gold.

2012-08-21 U.S. Equities After the Earnings Season: Is There Still an Opportunity? by Joseph Tanious of J.P. Morgan Funds

Now in its fourth year of recovery following the financial crisis, the S&P 500 is once again testing the 1400 level, having rallied over 100% from its March 2009 lows. Meanwhile, earnings have hit an all-time high, but it is becoming clear that earnings growth is slowing. All of this has occurred against a backdrop of global economic uncertainty, unprecedented central bank action, and the most polarized U.S. political landscape we have ever seen.

2012-08-20 The Outlook for Inflation and Fed Policy by Scott Brown of Raymond James

The odds of further accommodation from the Federal Reserve have decreased significantly in the last few weeks, as the level of fear has diminished. The financial markets now expect most of the fiscal cliff to be avoided. In Europe, leaders will still have to act against the region's crisis, but theyve also continued to express a strong resolve "to do whatever it takes" to keep the eurozone intact. Perhaps more importantly, U.S. economic data reports have generally improved.

2012-08-20 And That's the Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Once upon a time, Facebook and Groupon were prospective Wall Street darlings. Now both they are pushing all-time lows with analysts questioning their overall revenue models. For now, they are in the minority, as some decent earnings numbers and economic data brought back the "bulls" (at least those who arent on vacation) and sent the major indexes higher (again). Europe still has plenty of issues; the jury is still out on the Fed's next moves; and the campaign season is heating up.

2012-08-20 The Basis For Fear by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Last week, I wrote about how stocks are cheap historically and also with respect to other asset classes, such as bonds. This week, I want to focus on the reasons for this. Stocks are not cheap by accident. Investor concerns over Europe, renewed recession in the U.S., the fiscal cliff and the huge budget deficits provide ample reason for caution. However, not all of these concerns are well placed and some of the issues can be resolved favorably.

2012-08-20 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stock prices have been supported by strong profits permitting buybacks and rising dividends as well as the absence of negative news from Europe. In fact, with all the leaders there taking vacations it has allowed rumors and leaks of possible steps, which have produced lower borrowing costs in Spain and Italy. This has allowed for a reflex rally there that has served as a catalyst for the continued rally in our domestic markets.

2012-08-17 Evaluating the Wisdom of Buying Gold by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

At the end of January 2008, I posted a discussion about how the book The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki could explain gold's price climb. The book's premise was basically that "large groups of people are smarter than an elite few." Even before the height of the global crisis, there was a "wise crowd" of investors who had been buying gold as a safe haven from currency risks and the trillions of dollars invested in derivatives, and as a way to recycle petrodollars.

2012-08-17 Disconnected Markets Confound Investors by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The current environment for investors is perhaps one of the most confusing that many have ever encountered. Unpredictable markets now appear to take no clue whatsoever from underlying economic data, and maxims long cherished by traditional money managers are being abandoned in favor of seemingly illogical choices. While such an environment is enough to encourage many to cash out completely, we believe that investors should remain focused on the fundamentals.

2012-08-17 Fiscal Cliffhanger by Brian Horrigan of Loomis Sayles

In the famous 1955 movie Rebel Without a Cause, troubled high school student Jim Stark (played by James Dean) winds up playing a game of chicken with his classmates. The US economy is at risk of driving, so to speak, over a "fiscal cliff" starting January 1, 2013, an event that threatens to wreck the economy. There are fewer than five months to avoid going over this cliff.

2012-08-17 Press Play by Liam Molloy, Bethany Carlson of Galway Investment Strategy

The Treasury has doled out approximately $10.5 billion on excess bank reserves over the last four years. The emergency Fed policy of paying 25 basis points on excess reserves was enacted on October 6, 2008 to incentivize banks to hold them in the midst of the financial crisis. It worked. But the policy also introduced another headwind to velocity of money.

2012-08-17 ECRI Weekly Leading Index Continues to Undermine ECRI's Recession Call by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index of the Economic Cycle Research Institute rose slightly to 122.8 from last week's 122.5. See the WLI chart below. The WLI growth indicator is at -0.6, less negative than the -1.1 for last week, which is an upward revision from the previously reported -1.3. As of today, the ECRI website continues to feature Lakshman Achuthan's July 10th Bloomberg TV interview, in which he reaffirmed his company's recession call and stated that we're already in a recession.

2012-08-16 The ECB Is Too Tight Absolutely and Relatively by Scott Mather, Dirk Jeschke of PIMCO

Looking at measures of the quantity of money and its transmission into the real economy reveals that ECB policy is quite tight. Growth hardly stands a chance under this scenario. Relatively tight monetary policy would perhaps be understandable if the eurozone were threatened by inflation. However, inflation is low and falling in the Eurozone. The ECB may be playing a game of chicken with European policymakers. If true, this is a dangerous strategy.

2012-08-16 Markets Holding Up Despite Volatility by Ken Taubes of Pioneer Investments

Despite a steady stream of negative headlines and high volatility, markets are holding up pretty well. The broadest measure of the stock market, the S&P 500 Index, is up nearly 13% year-todate through today, August 13, 2012. The NASDAQ is up almost 17%. High yield bonds are up almost 9.7% while investment grade corporate bonds have gained over 7%. Even Europe has managed 7.5%, as measured by the FTSE Eurofirst 300 Index in dollar terms.

2012-08-16 The Chinese Hangover: As Infrastructure Spending Drops, So Does Demand for Chinese Steel by Raja Mukherji of PIMCO

The Chinese steel industry today shows many signs of serious economic difficulties brought about by the unprecedented size and speed of industry expansion. However, as the country's focus shifts away from public investments and toward tax cuts, it will be difficult for China to absorb this overabundance of domestically produced steel. Ripple effects of this oversupply may include softening iron ore prices, a possible drop in the Australian dollar, and potentially weaker global steel prices.

2012-08-16 Searching for a Fiscal Ladder by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

As America begins to cool down after a long hot summer, the economy remains sluggish. Economic growth in the first half of the year is estimated to be less than 2%, reflecting continued business and consumer caution, tight lending standards and a shrinking government sector. This pace of growth, in turn, has produced a monthly average of just over 100,000 new jobs since February, leaving the unemployment rate marooned above 8%. For investors, however, the picture is not that bad.

2012-08-15 ProVise Bullets by Ray Ferrara of ProVise Management Group

There are bears out there who are extremely disappointed that the U.S. has not entered another recession over the past three plus years. Certainly, the 18 months of downturn in the markets that began in October of 2007 and culminated in March 2009 gave them a lot to cheer about. But, since then, they have looked everywhere possible to come up with bad news.

2012-08-15 De, In, or Stag?" by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

So far, key data has been unable to answer conclusively whether we are in deflation, stagflation, or targeted inflation. I wrote several weeks ago that I saw no empirical statistics indicating inflation. I was partly right...and partly wrong. Indeed, I had been early in identifying targeted inflation in tuition, foodstuffs, energy and healthcare. These demographic price hikes are systemic, and mostly driven by consumer demand or ecological/climatological influences.

2012-08-14 An Imperfect Storm by Janus (Article)

Changing regulations have drained liquidity from the corporate bond markets, as growth in bond ETFs is distorting a shrinking market. These converging forces are likely to result in a more volatile environment, but we see opportunity for managers able to understand the fundamental risk and reward.

2012-08-14 Blind Faith by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Central banks are facing political and practical obstacles that will render it very difficult for them to deliver anything more than anodyne words and actions as summer moves into the always dangerous August holiday season. IPhones should be kept on alert at the beach through Labor Day.

2012-08-14 Maybe This Time is Different by Andrew Redleaf of Whitebox Advisors

This Time Is Different, the catchy title of the popular book by economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, has also become a catchphrase summing up the world-weary wisdom of our time. Reinhart and Rogoff, in recounting eight hundred years of financial follies and investment bubbles, gleefully point out that in every case experts offered plausible arguments for dispensing with traditional rules of valuation, i.e., "this time it's different."

2012-08-14 Careful With That Beehive, Eugene by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

When you move a beehive, you must move it more than three miles or not less than three feet. Anything else confuses the bees. Markets can be the same. And that's why President Draghi's comments reverberate still after two weeks. No one seems to understand what he meant.

2012-08-14 Oil: Does Supply and Demand Matter? by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We believe the long-term demand for oil will be greatly influenced by where the world gets its best future growth. As the chart below shows, the US has cut by 50% the amount of energy which is required to generate each dollar of Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

2012-08-14 India: Good Growth, Bad Growth by Sunil Asnani of Matthews Asia

It goes without saying that areas of growth attract investors. But in a blind chase for growth, it is easy to forget that only growth accompanied by economic profits creates value. This month Sunil Asnani takes a look at some of the once-celebrated, top-down investment ideas that did not live up to expectations, comparing them to some less exciting ideas that actually did deliver.

2012-08-13 Thinking about Treasuries? 2 Reasons to Think Again by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The Fed will soon own more long-term Treasuries than the entire private sector. Russ explains the implications of this milestone for US long-dated debt and shows investors where to look for more attractive alternatives.

2012-08-13 Which Way Will the Pendulum Swing for Gold? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

One of the most fascinating aspects when watching a sporting event like the Olympics is the historical statistics highlighting the tremendous advances in athleticism over the years. In the spirit of the events this summer, BTN Research compared gold's advancement from the beginning of the games in Beijing to the London Olympics.

2012-08-13 Begging for Trouble by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Investors remain so addicted to the temporary high of monetary intervention that they are practically begging to be shot, mauled by dogs, and diced by a Veg-O-Matic so they can get their next fix of pain-killers.

2012-08-13 Double Dip? Doubtful by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The flow of economic news is hardly encouraging. Jobs growth remains disappointing. Recent readings on consumer spending and business activity show weakness as well. If the picture of the housing market has improved a bit, it still hardly portrays strength. Talk of an imminent recessionary dip has become common, for the third time now in as many years. While some recent economic reports have been discouraging, underlying fundamentals do not point to a return to recession.

2012-08-13 The Romney-Ryan Achilles Heel by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

When Mitt Romney chose Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate he guaranteed that the 2012 presidential race will be about two opposing economic philosophies. It will be clear to voters which side the candidates are on and, as a result, this election could determine the direction of the American economy for decades to come.

2012-08-13 Stocks Look Poised for Continued Gains by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Although investor attention seems focused on a number of well-known downside risks (including the European debt crisis, hesitant US economic growth and the pending US fiscal cliff), stocks have continued to climb higher and last week notched their fifth consecutive week of gains.

2012-08-11 And Then There Is Disaster C by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

I have contended for some time that Europe is faced with two choices: Disaster A, which is the break-up of the eurozone, or Disaster B, which is the creation of a fiscal union, which keeps the euro more or less intact. Over the last few months I have come to realize that there is indeed a third option, which now looks increasingly possible. European leaders might do nothing more than deal with the problem immediately in front of them, moving from crisis to crisis in a slow-motion drift toward fiscal union.

2012-08-10 Schwab Sector Views: Cautiously Cautious by Brad Sorensen of Charles Schwab

We remain slightly defensive with our sector recommendations but admit that we're a bit concerned over doing so. While we certainly believe this is the appropriate positioning given the continued elevated uncertainty in the market, combined with sluggish economic data, we also acknowledge that some defensive areas appear extended and the possibility of a near-term cyclically-based rally exists.

2012-08-10 ECRI Recession Call: Weekly Leading Index Improves, Growth Index Little Changed by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose slightly to 122.5 from last week's 122.1 (a tiny revision from the previously reported 122.2). See the WLI chart below. At one decimal place, the WLI growth indicator (WLIg) is unchanged at -1.3 as reported in Friday's public release of the data through August 3. At two decimal places, WLIg is slightly less negative at -1.28 compared to last week's -1.35.

2012-08-10 2012 2Q Economic - Capital Market Summary by Greg Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

The single biggest driver for the economy and investment returns is the deleveraging process which we are currently struggling through. Arguably, we have successfully transferred debt from the financial sector to the U.S. government through the Fed's QE programs. As we move through the long process of reducing debt, economic growth inevitably moderates as resources are applied to debt reduction rather than fixed investment and consumption within the economy. As a result, expected returns on financial assets are lower.

2012-08-10 Citius, Altius, Fortius by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Countries across the globe seek faster, higher, stronger growth. Central banks in the United States and Europe are both seeking new ways to stimulate economic activity. Recent news from the housing market has been encouraging, but the race to recovery is likely to be a marathon, not a sprint. Headwinds blowing from Europe and China will continue to present significant downside risks to U.S. economic growth.

2012-08-09 Reconnaissance: Strategy Notes by Douglas Clark Johnson of Codexa Capital

India's massive power failure was a gift to both investment bankers and asset managers. There will likely be a surge in infrastructure-related financing and investment activity directed at South Asia. We also look at sovereign wealth fund transparency; the UAE funds rank comparatively well. Our allocation guidelines for North Africa focus on Morocco, where we believe we will see sustained gains for both portfolio and direct investors once the European situation stabilizes.

2012-08-08 Monthly Product Commentary: International Equity - July 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

International equities made modest gains during the month of July on repeated assurances from European policymakers that they will explore all possible steps to prevent a collapse of the monetary union and arrest further economic decline. Developed markets in Europe's Nordic region and the Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, as well as select emerging markets in Asia ended with healthy gains for the month.

2012-08-07 The Not So Super Hero by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The past week provided clear lessons not just in how central bankers have a limited ability to positively influence the economy but also how they are limited in their capacity to deliver the shortsighted policy actions that investors currently crave. The developments should provide new reasons for investors and economy watchers to abandon their faith in central bankers as super heroes capable of saving the economy.

2012-08-07 A Plane on the Tarmac by David Kelly of JP Morgan Funds

A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a plane on the tarmac at La Guardia. We had pulled away from the gate, but the pilot had just come over in the intercom to let us know that we were number 35 in line for takeoff. Since we were going nowhere fast, I took out my laptop and tried to think of an analogy to describe the current state of the American economy. Then I realized that I was sitting in one.

2012-08-06 Japan's Tax Hike Could Prove Costly by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Japan has been here before, and the outcome was far from pleasant. Yet it seems the wheels are in motion. The country will double its national sales tax, from 5% to 10%. Justified as a way to help the country deal with its precarious fiscal situation, the move has raised serious concerns. This kind of a tax hike, applied for much the same reason, has been widely blamed for the country's destructive late-1990s' recession.

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.

2012-08-06 Are Stocks Too Expensive Now? by Seth Masters of AllianceBernstein

Not in our view. Although we recognize that the US and global economies continue to be scarred by the credit crunch that began in 2008, we think stock prices already discount the risks. Investors today have good reason to worry about stocks. Europe, the US and emerging markets are facing real problems todayand economic recoveries after financial crises almost always take longer than recoveries after ordinary downturns.

2012-08-06 Why the Long Face? by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

Back in early 2009, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Business teamed up to create the Financial Trust Index. The latest readings from July 2012 show that just 21% of Americans trust the financial system and only 15% trust the stock market. For many, this negativity is understandable.

2012-08-06 Job Outlook: Not Great, But Not Terrible by Scott Brown of Raymond James

Nonfarm payrolls rose more than expected in July, reducing fears that the economy may be headed back into recession. One shouldn't put too much weight on any one particular month, especially July. However, the figures are consistent with the broad range of data suggesting moderate growth over the near term - not especially strong, but not terribly weak either.

2012-08-06 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Markets are so fixated on anecdotal and factual imagery like jobs' reports and sentiment meters that they are experiencing mania and panic over the least things. While reaction to hype tends to lead to price exaggerations, I also see a "so what?" response to data that sometimes borders on boredom. I prefer to believe that analytics can be useful in cutting through the ambient noise, to place an identity upon sectors' trends and their probability of trend maintenance.

2012-08-05 2012 Outlook: Signposts for the Second Half by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Continued slow global growth or a recession? Russ offers some signs investors can watch for to help determine which scenario is likely to play out in 2012.

2012-08-05 Erasers by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

Moderate losses may be a necessary feature of risk-taking, but deep losses are erasers. A typical bear market erases over half of the preceding bull market advance. It is easy to forget - particularly during late-stage bull markets - how strongly this impacts full-cycle returns.

2012-08-03 GDP Report: "Good News" - You've Got to be Kidding! by Gary Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

We dissect last Fridays controversial 2Q GDP report, which most found disappointing but some in the mainstream media found encouraging (ie at least were not in a recession). From there, well discuss the Feds latest monetary policy meeting that ends tomorrow. The stock markets rallied strongly last week, partly on perceived good news from Europe, and partly because of renewed expectations that the GDP report would be weak enough to move the Fed to enact QE3.

2012-08-03 2nd Quarter Small Cap Newsletter by Team of 1492 Capital Management

The stock market posted a strong start for the year but quickly surrendered most of its gains as the macro environment (European debt concerns and China’s slowing economy) caused near-panic selling pressure until the last week of the quarter.

2012-08-03 ECRI Recession Call: Weekly Leading Index Slips But Growth Index Improves by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) slipped to 122.2 from last week's 122.7 (a tiny revision from the previously reported 122.8). See the WLI chart below. However, the WLI growth indicator (WLIg) improved, now at -1.3 as reported in Friday's public release of the data through July 27, an improvement over the previous week's -1.7, which was an upward revision from -2.3.

2012-08-03 The Big Four Economic Indicators: Updated Nonfarm Employment by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Official recession calls are the responsibility of the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee, which is understandably vague about the specific indicators on which they base their decisions. This committee statement is about as close as they get to identifying their method.

2012-08-03 A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Recession by Martin Pring of Pring Turner Capital Group

Every day it seems the media are filled with forecasts of dyer economic times ahead based on troubles in Europe, Asia, and the Fiscal Cliff. The list goes on. Indeed the latest unemployment and GDP numbers, reflect a declining growth rate that is on the verge of going negative. Consequently, a number of commentators have used a projection of these trends to forecast an imminent recession. This is typical of crowd behavior, which has a strong tendency to extrapolate the recent past.

2012-08-03 Hedging Against (and Profiting From) A Prospective Decline In The U.S. Dollar by Team of Emerald Asset Advisors

The U.S. dollar has remained the world's reserve currency due to several factors: 1. Its large circulation (roughly $1.1 trillion); 2. The denomination of many transactions (especially commodities such as oil and other natural resources) being in USD; 3. The stability of its political system; and 4. The lack of any other viable options. However, that may not always be the case.

2012-08-03 Time to Row, or Sail? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Earnings are a topic of great debate. At any given time, you can hear someone on TV talking about how "cheap" the market is, while the person on the next channel goes on about how expensive the market is. Today we look at the cycle of earnings, rather than a specific point in time. Let me give you a little preview. In terms of time, this earnings cycle is already longer than average, and in terms of magnitude it is projected to go to all-time highs.

2012-08-02 Two Inflection Points by Andrew Redleaf of Whitebox Advisors

I'm generally happiest, professionally, when I have at least one strong investment conviction. Currently I have two. I want to be long large-cap equities and short small-cap equities. And I want to be long cheap options on natural gas, mostly by owning E&P (exploration and production) firms that have become attractively cheap with the collapse of gas prices.

2012-08-02 Mythbusting: How Elections Affect Markets by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Elections do matter for the markets, but not necessarily for the reasons that investors tend to believe. Ahead of the next presidential election, Russ debunks some common myths surrounding markets and elections.

2012-08-01 Whither Global Stocks? Be Sure to Track This Data by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Sometimes, either weak economic numbers or strong economic numbers can point to a surge in US and global equities. This could be one of those weeks. Russ has his eye on two important economic reports that are being released this week, and he explains why weak data may be positive for global equities.

2012-08-01 The Big Four Economic Indicators: What They're Telling Us About the Economy by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Official recession calls are the responsibility of the NBER Business Cycle Dating Committee, which is understandably vague about the specific indicators on which they base their decisions. This committee statement is about as close as they get to identifying their method. There is, however, a general understanding that there are four big indicators that the committee weighs heavily in their cycle identification process.

2012-08-01 Housing: Good Vibrations by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

It's time for an update to January's report on housing, and the news continues to get better. Household formations are key. Household formations are moving higher but housing completions aren't keeping pace. Real mortgage rates plunge into negative territory. Key housing market index indicates continued sales (and pricing) recovery.

2012-08-01 Italy - The Next Chapter in the Eurozone Debt Crisis by Greg Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

After recently returning from Italy and France and analyzing the economic data coming out of Italy, we have a higher conviction that Italy will be stuck in a severe recession and has an elevated probability of requiring a bailout. Our main theme, which is similar to our view of the United States, is that Italy has too much public debt and is lacking the political will to make the necessary expense cuts and stimulate its economy to successfully navigate the deleveraging that is required.

2012-08-01 China's Growing Pains by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton Investments

Many feel that China is the engine for the world economy and that if it slows down, we may be doomed to a recession or even a depression. Yes, China's growth is decelerating from the double-digits of recent years; various forecasters are predicting a possible GDP growth range of 7-8% this year. However, I think it's important to emphasize that would still represent an impressive pace, and remember that China isn't the world economy's only locomotive.

2012-07-31 Expect Headwinds for Stocks If Hoisington is Right about Bonds by Keith C. Goddard, CFA (Article)

Might today's historically low interest rates in the U.S. persist for years to come? The latest Quarterly Review and Outlook from Hoisington Investment Management forces readers to consider that possibility, refuting the reversion-to-the-mean mindset that causes many people to expect higher interest rates in the not-too-distant future. If the Hoisington model for the economy turns out to be right, the implications for the stock market are unfavorable.

2012-07-31 Beyond the Ultimate Death Cross by Georg Vrba, P.E. (Article)

Last week, I showed why the 'ultimate death cross' is not a bearish signal. But the methodology behind that signal - what's known as a 'golden-cross trigger' - can indeed offer a reliable guide to investors. And one can do even better with a simple improvement to the trigger that I have devised.

2012-07-31 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to Bob Veres' article, Why Are Advisory Fees Lower Than They Have To Be?, which was published on July 10.

2012-07-31 Uncertainty Reigns Supreme by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

With the first half of the year in the rearview mirror, investors might be lulled into thinking the most active period of the year is also in the rearview. Fast forward to year-end, though, and investors may beg for a return to the sanguine days of early 2012. A range of events in the coming months will likely dictate market optimism for 2012, 2013 and possibly beyond.

2012-07-31 An ECB Rally by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

We remain dependent on European statements but what a difference a year makes. This time last year we saw softening economic data and increasingly poor news coming out of Europe. But then we had a diffident ECB president who had just finished a round of rate increases as Europe slumped. This time we have combative words from Mario Draghi to support the euro, apparently at all costs.

2012-07-30 No Such Thing as Risk? by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

In the face of present enthusiasm over central bank interventions, one almost wonders why nations across the world and throughout recorded history have ever had to deal with economic recessions or fluctuations in the financial markets.

2012-07-30 Right Down the Middle by Michael Kayes of Willingdon Wealth Management

A tenuous moment occurs in our household every time we get down to the last piece of dessert. My kids fight over it, and I'm right there with them. When I was a kid, my mom had the perfect solution to this age old dilemma. She would allow the first child to cut the dessert and the other to choose which half they wanted. The interconnectedness between the process and the final outcome ensured fairness. A truly cooperative attitude like this seems nowhere to be found in our world today.

2012-07-30 Turkey: 'Sick Man of Europe' No Longer by Team of Thomas White International

Despite the invasion of modern retail formats such as supermarkets, corner stores still account for 40 percent of retail sales in Turkey. Since the mid-19th century, Turkey has carried the unfortunate moniker 'Sick man of Europe'. Though still not considered in the same league as the BRICS countries, Turkey has enjoyed healthy economic growth over the last decade.

2012-07-30 The Euro's Survival Requires German Engineering by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

As Europe's paymaster, Berlin faces a tricky task: promoting austerity among economically stressed peripheral nations but not too much. In Europe's seemingly endless debt negotiations, Berlin would seem to hold all the cards. It is, after all, Europe's largest economy, its most powerful, and its most financially sound. But in reality, Berlins options are highly constrained and require a remarkably delicate policy balance.

2012-07-30 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks bounced last week on the heels of earnings which were not so bad, and perhaps more importantly, indications that the European Central Bank was ready to take the plunge as lender of last resort.

2012-07-30 Legends of the Fall 2012 by Nicholas Field of Schroder Investment Management

Are there any lessons from history for global stock markets, including emerging markets? Despite strong economic fundamentals, emerging stock markets have been negatively impacted by the global financial crisis and the European crisis. The outcome for all stock markets, including emerging markets, significantly depends on how these problems are resolved. In this context can previous crises, including the 1930's, give us any clues regarding timing?

2012-07-30 Austerity: Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't! by Fred Copper of Columbia Management

This glib depiction could be applied to most of the developed world. Much of the world's attention is on the debt imbalances within Europe, but too narrow a focus will miss the fact that aggregate debt levels for the region as a whole are still disturbingly high. The same is certainly true of Japan, and to a lesser extent the U.S.

2012-07-30 The Central Bank by John Petrides (Article)

Global markets responded favorably last week to comments from Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, saying that he would do whatever it takes to save the euro (this reminded me of Fed Chairman Bernanke's comments in February 2009, when the Fed started its asset purchase program, and markets responded favorably soon after). Although the world awaits more details as to what Mr. Draghi's comments entail, equity markets rallied, and the yields on Spanish and Italian bonds came in.

2012-07-30 Looking Past Weak Data; Awaiting Policy Responses by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Although last week featured some lackluster economic and earnings news, investors continued to focus their attention on the growing possibility of additional monetary policy action, particularly from Europe. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 2.0% to 13,075, the S&P 500 Index advanced 1.7% to 1,385 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.1% to 2,958.

2012-07-28 Gambling in the House? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

The problem that gave rise to the LIBOR scandal is the lack of transparency. Why would banks want to reveal how much profit they are making? The last thing banks want is transparency. This week I offer a different take on LIBOR, one which may annoy a few readers, but which I hope provokes some thinking about how we should organize our financial world.

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.

2012-07-27 Demographic Headwinds for Housing by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific

Boomer demographics and postponement of marriage on account of student debt and poor finances are two of the key reasons that I long-ago stated the housing recovery would be slow for a decade. Declining birthrates now show that is indeed what is happening.

2012-07-27 ECRI Recession Call: Weekly Leading Index Improves by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose to 122.8 from last week's 121.8 (a tiny revision from the previously reported 121.9). See the WLI chart below. The WLI growth indicator (WLIg) also improved, now at -1.6 as reported in Friday's public release of the data through July 20, an improvement over the previous week's -2.3.

2012-07-27 FOMC Preview: Christening QE III by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Look for the Federal Reserve to embark on a new round of quantitative easing next week.

2012-07-27 Bringing it Back Home by Philip Tasho of TAMRO Capital

Our financial system has been cleaned up and recapitalized; consumers have paid down debt and seem to be looking to buy houses again. A large part of the improvement in the domestic economy is centered on the housing revival. It is not rapid - again, its a slow recovery - but at least we seem to be moving forward.

2012-07-25 Top Line Growth Stalling Amid Global Weakness by Chris Maxey, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

At this juncture, positive catalysts seem few and far between. According to FactSet, 18 of 22 companies have already guided lower for the third quarter. Analysts are also ratcheting down forecasts quickly, with flat earnings growth expected in Q3. While growth is expected to pick back up in the fourth quarter, analysts have not cut those estimates aggressively yet. If the economic picture does not improve in the next few months, expect a pattern of downgrades to follow suit.

2012-07-25 If You Own Utility Stocks, Consider Selling The Overvalued Ones - Part 1 by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Recently, I've come across several discussions by dividend growth investors as to whether the utility sector is overvalued or not today. Therefore, I decided to look into the sectors relative valuation as a whole to see what I could find. The only way to efficiently conduct this kind of research is to rely on a broad statistical array utilizing traditional valuation metrics. However, before I report my findings there are some caveats and clarifications that I feel are very appropriate.

2012-07-25 One More Dance by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO

We are witnessing a synchronized slowdown worldwide that is beginning to affect corporate profits. The most likely right-tail event is the Federal Reserve launching another round of quantitative easing. We dont believe liquidity alone can engineer sustainable, real economic growth in the context of a secular deleveraging cycle. But we acknowledge that equity portfolios would likely benefit should the Fed keep the music playing a little longer.

2012-07-24 The Ultimate Death Cross - False Harbinger of Doom by Georg Vrba, P.E. (Article)

Skeptics and devotees of technical analysis took notice last week when Albert Edwards, the closely followed investment strategist at Societe Generale, warned the S&P 500 was 'on the verge of an ultimate death cross,' foretelling imminent major losses for the stock market. Edwards' sense of doom is misguided. An ultimate death cross is mathematically impossible unless the S&P were to suffer an immediate and precipitous decline. Moreover, the signal would provide a positive outlook, if it were to occur.

2012-07-24 The Upside of Low Interest Rates for Pension Plans: Issuing Debt to Fund Pension Liabilities by Jared Gross, Seth Ruthen of PIMCO

Issuing debt allows a sponsor to de-risk without waiting for market events or cash contributions to reach the level of funding that triggers a shift in asset allocation. There are a number of ways in which a sponsor may benefit from replacing inefficient debt (in the form of a pension deficit) with the tax and accounting advantages of marketable debt.

2012-07-24 Markets Likely to Continue Moving Unevenly by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Notwithstanding a pullback on Friday, stocks managed to post gains last week despite a generally negative tone to the economic data. In some ways, the recent trend of relatively weak data has actually been beneficial for stocks in that it has been boosting hopes for additional policy stimulus around the world. For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.4% to 12,822, the S&P 500 Index advanced 0.4% to 1,362 and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.6% to 2,925.

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 Economic Review: Developed Europe Second Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Europe remained on tenterhooks for the greater part of the April-June quarter, but ended the period on a high note. At their Brussels summit on June 28-29, European leaders chalked out two crucial policies. They decided that the monetary unions permanent bailout fund or European Stability Mechanism (ESM) would be allowed to provide capital to ailing banks directly rather than through the governments of the countries in which they are located.

2012-07-23 Europe Flares As Summer Heat Continues by John Nyaradi of Wall Street Sector Selector

Summer heat covers the nation as Europe's debt crisis flares again. Last weeks economic reports brought spots of sunshine to the housing market with the NAHB Home Builder Index rising, along with a strong June Housing Starts report.Equity markets were rallying most of the week in response to relatively positive earnings reports and hopes for more easing by Dr. Bernanke and the Federal Reserve.

2012-07-23 Slow in Q2, But No Recession by Brian Wesbury, Bob Stein of First Trust Advisors

We estimate real GDP grew at only a 0.9% annual rate in Q2. The Plow Horse Economy hit a tough spot, but it hasn't hit the wall. In Q1-2011, real GDP grew at just 0.4% at an annual rate, but then accelerated again. In other words, this is not the end of the world. It's not a recession.

2012-07-23 China's Economy - A Great Wall of Worry? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The population of China bears seems to keep growing. This already large colony of doomsayers can point to any number of legitimate troubles facing China today, and they glibly do so, from slowing exports growth to an aging population, from real estate excesses to a moribund consumer sector. Bears think China is in for a "hard landing," but their pessimism is overdone. Here's why.

2012-07-23 How Can the Market Possibly Do Well? by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Investors remain rightfully concerned that our leaders have been unable to address major domestic and international issues. Domestic growth is sluggish, job growth is weak, unemployment remains high, the fiscal cliff looms at the end of the year and our politicians can't agree on the time of day. Moreover, none of this is likely to become clarified until after the election, if then.

2012-07-23 Spain's Molasses Jeopardizing Eurozone? by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

Spanish 10-year government bond yields are trading near 7.5% as Spain's central government is expected to bail out its regions and in return may ask for a bailout itself. Guarantees don't make a system safer, quite the opposite: everything is safe until the guarantor itself is deemed unsafe.

2012-07-22 Extraordinary Strains by John Hussman of Hussman Funds

A broad array of observable evidence suggests extraordinary strains in Europe, and abrupt though expected deterioration in U.S. economic activity. The Federal Reserve certainly has policy options, but those options have no material transmission mechanism to the real economy.

2012-07-21 The Lion in the Grass by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave

Today we'll explore a few things we can see and then try to foresee a few things that are not so obvious. This is a condensation of a speech I gave earlier this afternoon in Singapore for OCBC Bank, called "The Lion in the Grass." The simple premise is that it is not the lions we can see that are the problem; but rather, in trying to avoid them, it is often the lions hidden in the grass that we stumble upon that become the unwelcome surprise.

2012-07-20 What's Behind the Risk-On/Risk-Off US Economy? by Joseph Carson of Alliance Bernstein

The US economic recovery is progressing in fits and starts. Short-lived risk-on periods, when companies and consumers invest more, seem to constantly give way to risk-off periods, with anxiety and fear restraining economic activity. I think the choppy growth trends may have been triggered by a big change to business behavior since the financial crisis of 2008.

2012-07-20 Long Journey, Map Provided by John Gilbert of GR-NEAM

It is almost four years since the Lehman bankruptcy. In the periods of economic contraction that were typical of the postwar period, the clouds would be parting by now. Income growth would have resumed and necessary balance sheet repair would be more or less complete. By any standard, the current episode is a balance sheet recession of historic proportion. Previous downturns were initiated by central bank rate increases, which occurred this time as well.

2012-07-20 July 2012 Newsletter by Harold Evensky of Evensky & Katz

FRANK SINATRA FAN? Mena chided me for starting my last NewsLetter on a negative note so I thought Id repent this time and start with something more positive. Even if youre not a Sinatra fan, this lovely and moving piece of music by Andre Rieu," a renowned Dutch violinist, conductor and composer, and his orchestra is a tribute to Frank Sinatra with My Way on his Stradivarius violin at Radio City Music Hall New York.

2012-07-20 ECRI Recession Call: Weekly Leading Index Declines by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) slipped to 121.9 from last week's 122.9, a downward revision from 123.2. See the WLI chart below. The WLI growth indicator (WLIg) rose fractionally, now at -2.3 as reported in Friday's public release of the data through July 13, an improvement over the previous week's -2.7 (a downward revision from -2.2).

2012-07-20 How Fast is Slow? China\'s Recent Slowdown in Perspective by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

In his latest piece, Francois Sicart, Founder and Chairman of Tocqueville Asset Management, examines China and its perceived economic slow down. Mr. Sicart suspects that this slowdown has several causes, each of which could be considered more or less normal in isolation, but their concurrent timing certainly has aggravated the feeling of withdrawal from the usual state of affairs.

2012-07-20 Quarterly Letter by Ron Muhlenkamp of Muhlenkamp & Co.

Overall, on the negative side, European debt and banking problems, slowing Chinese growth, and U.S. fiscal challenges keep us cautious. On the positive side, dramatic shifts in energy production and use in the U.S. provide us some very interesting investment opportunities. We expect the summer and fall to remain volatile as Europe continues working through its problems and the U.S. political debate heats up in advance of the elections.

2012-07-20 No Armageddon, but Consequences by Michael Hasenstab of Franklin Templeton

In a time of severe stress and crisis, its easy to come to the conclusion that Armageddon is upon us. Those who believe the European Union is going to split up and Chinas growth will come to a screeching halt are probably building bunkers and sharpening their survival skills right about now. Hasenstab isnt in panic mode. In fact, hes optimistic the eurozone will survive, and that no, China wont move back into the feudal age.

2012-07-20 The Fiscal Cliff: 4 Reasons To Be Concerned by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The bottom line: If were still stuck at an impasse come fall, investors should consider positioning their portfolios for a higher probability of a recession in 2013 by implementing five strategies that I outline below.

2012-07-20 America's Competitive Spirit by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

We believe there are many great American companies to invest in. We like those that are growing their top line revenues and paying robust dividends. Currently 47 percent of the S&P 500 stocks pay a dividend yielding more than a 10-year Treasury, demonstrating the resiliency and strength of American enterprises.

2012-07-19 The Big Four Economic Indicators: What They're Telling Us about a Recession by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The ongoing debate about an impending recession in the US grew more conspicuous last week when ECRI's Lakshman Achuthan not only reiterated his company's recession call, but also went so far as to declare that we're already in a recession. There is, however, a general assumption that there are four big indicators that the committee weighs heavily in their cycle identification process. They are Industrial Production, Real Income, Employment, Real Retail Sales.

2012-07-19 Quarterly Review and Outlook by Hoisington and Hunt of Hoisington Investment Management

Long-term Treasury bond yields are an excellent barometer of economic activity. If business conditions are better than normal and improving, exerting upward pressure on inflation, long-term interest rates will be high and rising. In contrary situations, long yields are likely to be low and falling.

2012-07-19 Equity Investment Outlook by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

In the politically correct atmosphere that permeates many of our college campuses, the euro-centric view of world history is regarded as hopelessly anachronistic, small-minded and possibly even racist. In the last year, they have become hopelessly euro-centric, rising or falling in concert with the news coming from the eurozone. A few years ago the markets focused on growth in emerging markets. Today, they focus on problems in the developed world.

2012-07-19 Developed Asia Pacific: Economic Review 2nd Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Developed Asia Pacific economies experienced significant headwinds during the second quarter of 2012. While optimism about business conditions in the Euro-zone helped sustain export growth during the first quarter of 2012, significant challenges from the Euro-zone hampered both investor and consumer sentiment in most developed Asian economies during the second quarter.

2012-07-18 Peaks and Valleys by Carl Tannenbaum of Northern Trust

Second quarter economic activity disappointed on many fronts. The drama in Europe has taken its toll on exports, markets, and confidence. The 2012 election is starting to take shape, amid the approach of a huge fiscal "cliff" at the national and local level. The negativity and uncertainty which often surround Presidential campaigns may hinder economic and market performance. This months special focus is on the Fed's recent Survey of Consumer Finances, and what it means for our economy.

2012-07-17 Breaking Bad by Michael Lewitt (Article)

With our largest business and government institutions committing every conceivable act of legal or moral anomie, we have every right to ask who is going to protect the rest of us from those who have been entrusted with so much power and influence. The institutions that were supposed to be the lifeblood of our economy are the same institutions that inflicted the greatest harm on society. When the family has to be protected from the man who is supposed to protect the family, the family is in serious trouble.

2012-07-17 Game of Thrones by Cliff Draughn of Excelsia Investment Advisors

An economy consists of a gazillion simple transactions, all working together; and our economy used to be grounded is such factors such as supply and demand, growth, and imports and exports. But today the economy is driven by the political rhetoric of our elected officials as it relates to regulations, taxes, and anticipation of QE3. We are in global slowdown mode, and to understand how we should invest we need to better understand what deleveraging will mean over the coming couple years.

2012-07-17 Dependence Day by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The Fourth of July week brought unwelcome birthday gifts to the United States in the form of poor domestic jobs data and similarly gloomy information from other major economies. Amidst the heat and festivities, it has become difficult to deny that the economy is deteriorating. Politicians appear helpless, thrashing about for a solution and blaming everything and everyone but themselves.

2012-07-17 Global Slowdown: Preparing for a Recession by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While Russ believes that the most likely scenario for the global economy in 2012 is continued slow growth, he explains what's behind the recent global slowdown and what investors may want to consider doing if it grows worse.

2012-07-17 Cognitive Dissonance by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James

At the race track if too many participants bet on the same horse, the betting odds on that horse go down and if he wins the payout is small. Popularity reduces the reward. Similarly in the stock market if too many participants put their money on the same stock, and it becomes a market favorite, driving the price ever higher, the upside potential is diminished. Popularity reduces the potential reward.

2012-07-17 Impact of ETF Growth on Active Managers by Dmitriy Katsnelson, Ryan Davis of Fortigent

A paradigm shift away from active management has been in place for more than a decade. Active mutual funds held more than 19 times the amount of assets than passive strategies before the SPDR SPY ETF was launched in 1993. As seen below, they have gradually lost market share to passive vehicles, particularly in US Equities.

2012-07-17 Is a U.S. Recession Looming? by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

There are many indicators that we look for that tends to define cyclical market bottoms and give us signs of an upturn. Recent investor lack of volume and record high cash balances can also point to a change toward higher market valuations. Every day I hear about the relative cheap valuations of U.S. equities. We know that valuations can stay depressed for years, even decades. Why would we be thinking that a potential melt-up might be about ready to happen?

2012-07-17 U.S. Equities - So Far So Volatile by Robert McConnaughey of Columbia Management

The premise of our 2012 equity market outlook was very modest economic growth in an overall environment fraught with risks, predominantly brought on by the dangerously high debt loads facing the developed world. Within that environment, we have advocated a two-pronged focus.

2012-07-16 High Yield and Bank Loan Outlook - July 2012 Sector Report by Team of Guggenheim Partners

After a strong first quarter for high yield bonds and bank loans, the mixed performance of the second quarter has conjured up memories of 2011s volatility. While the lack of clarity in Europe and the looming U.S. fiscal cliff will continue to weigh on the economy, the current macro-induced price dislocations present attractive long-term opportunities for investors with patient capital.

2012-07-16 The Third Law of Randomness by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Proper investing doesn't rule out randomness and unpredictability, particularly when it comes to individual events. It instead diversifies against randomness both across holdings at each point in time, and across time by repeatedly acting on the basis of averages instead of individual forecasts.

2012-07-16 2nd Quarter 2012 Newsletter by Jim Tillar, Steve Wenstrup of Tillar-Wenstrup

Stock markets retreated in the second quarter of 2012 but the damaged was minor due to a rally in June. After falling almost -9% by June 4th the S&P 500 ended the quarter off by only -2.75%. Our emphasis of Blue Chip stocks helped our performance during the quarter. Small and mid-cap stocks did a little worse, down around -4%, but the real damage continued to be European and emerging market stocks, falling by about -8% and -10%, respectively. The All World Index (ex US) fell over 16%.

2012-07-16 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

A strong day last Friday salvaged the week for stocks despite continuing evidence of a global slowdown related to the sovereign debt crisis which shows no sign of improving in Europe. It was kind of a quiet week from the European leaders. There werent any concrete developments, of course, just a few confusing new twists and turns. The most important one is that Germanys highest court must now rule as to whether it is constitutional to agree to what was supposedly agreed to previously.

2012-07-16 The Surprising U.S. Consumer by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Pessimists take note: Despite lackluster jobs data, the consumer is in better shape than many think. Amid the country's diverse economic problems, it is easy to look at the dark side of everything. However much material there is on that unattractive side of the ledger, people should not lose sight of the positive developments. Especially where the American consumer is concerned, matters, if still far from universally robust, have improved markedly during the last four years.

2012-07-16 Stocks Are Really Cheap by Brian Wesbury, Robert Stein, Strider Elass of First Trust Advisors

America's equity markets have rallied sharply since last October, with the S&P 500 up 22%. Nonetheless, the stock market has been stuck in a range for 18 months, with the Dow Jones Industrial's Average trading between 10,650 and 13,280, well below the October 2007 high of 14,165. Financial markets have priced in all kinds of bad things a fiscal cliff, slower earnings growth, a potential recession, and big government. But, we think these markets are overly pessimistic.

2012-07-16 We Are All Alone by John Nyaradi of Wall Street Sector Selector

Global markets seem to be pricing in a new round of quantitative easing from the Federal Reserve. Dr. Bernanke and his colleagues will likely comply sometime between now and December. However, even with more quantitative easing, investors cant count on the Federal Reserve to rescue the stock market and their portfolios. We are on our own, and here's why.

2012-07-14 The Beginning of the Endgame by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

For the last year I have been writing that it is not clear that Europe (with the probable exception of Greece) will in fact break up. The forces that would see a strong fiscal union are quite powerful. In today's letter, I will try to bring you up to date on some insights I have had in the 18 months since Jonathan Tepper and I did the final edits on our book, The Endgame.

2012-07-13 Two Tens for a Five by Dave Baccile of Sextant Investment Advisors

Going into the Summit, very little progress was anticipated thanks to clearly crafted statements from Merkel and other northern ministers. But apparently some fast talking from Monti and other leaders, such as the new French President Francois Hollande, resulted in some new concessions by Merkel. However, additional money did not find its way "South" and the concessions, while potentially significant, do not come close to solving the debt issues facing the European Union.

2012-07-13 UK Perspectives: The Labour Market's Mixed Blessings by Mike Amey of PIMCO

Although UK unemployment has held at a much lower level than in previous recessions, employment among workers under 25 has fallen significantly since 2008. There is already a whiff of stagflation about the UK economy, and we need to take steps to support youth employment before we end up with longer-term unemployed. In this environment, UK investors should seek inflation protection and exposure to countries and companies without stressed balance sheets or secular growth challenges.

2012-07-13 Bond Investing - Its the Short Side, Stupid by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

As you are probably aware, I am an avowed political junkie but this article isnt about politics. Instead, I want to borrow a phrase from the 1992 presidential election as an analogy to highlight what I believe bond investors should be concentrating on right now - the short side.

2012-07-13 End Game: What Happens to Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities if There's a Eurozone Exit by Rod Dubitsky of PIMCO

An exit would substantially affect euro-denominated RMBS mortgage collateral. Currency redenomination and devaluation would likely wipe out the entire available credit enhancement for most deals. Losses of redenominated loans could overwhelm credit support, even for well-performing deals.

2012-07-13 ECRI Recession Call: Weekly Leading Index Improves Yet Again by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) again rose fractionally, now at 123.2 from last week's 121.9. The WLI growth indicator (WLIg) rose fractionally, now at -2.2 as reported in Friday's public release of the data through July 6, an improvement over the previous week's -2.8 (a slight upward revision from -2.9).

2012-07-13 Muddling Through, But for How Long? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Equity markets rebounded from their lows, but the move has been less than enthusiastic and convincing. Earnings season is upon us and corporate commentary and outlooks may take the focus away from the macro world, at least for a time. Muddling through is what's occurring in the US economy. But how long before a break is made, both in the economy and the markets? Any progress made at the most recent EU Summit appears to have been short-lived and any credible long-term solutions remain elusive. Additionally, Chinese growth continues to slow and concerns over a "hard landing" are growing.

2012-07-12 Email Comments From John Hussman Regarding the Start of a Recession and ECRI Track Record by Mike of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

In view of the ongoing "recession has started" and "there is no recession" debate, I'm cross-posting below a commentary that Mish Shedlock alerted me to a few minutes ago in an email. He received a nice email from John Hussman regarding his post earlier in the day 'Case for US and Global Recession Right Here, Right Now; Recognizing the Limits of Madness; Permabears?'

2012-07-12 Equity Market Review & Outlook by Richard Skaggs of Loomis Sayles

Following back-to-back double-digit quarterly gains, US stocks took a breather in the second quarter, with the S&P 500 Index declining 2.8%. It could have been worse. At the quarters low point in early June, the Index had declined 10.0% from the first-quarter close. June was a strong month for stock performance, leading to a welcome recovery from the early quarter decline. However, positive returns from the first quarter prevented the Index from becoming negative on a year-to-date basis.

2012-07-12 Bond Market Review & Outlook by James Balfour of Loomis Sayles

The liquidity-driven rush into riskier assets that dominated the first quarter faded during the second quarter. The European sovereign debt and banking crisis was once again the primary catalyst, but softer economic data in the US and China also fed negative investor sentiment. Global liquidity suffered following the end of the European Central Banks (ECBs) long-term refinancing operation (LTRO).

2012-07-12 The View From the Fiscal Cliff by Chris Molumphy of Franklin Templeton Investments

Six months into 2012, investors whose New Years resolutions included a vow to hold strong through market dismay may be finding that the eurozone crisis and slowing global growth are testing their resolve. As we move into the second half of the year, sluggish growth and continued market uncertainty seem likely to be ongoing scenarios for the U.S., as the nation faces a fall presidential election and teeters on the edge of a precarious-sounding fiscal cliff.

2012-07-10 Recession is Not Imminent by Dwaine van Vuuren (Article)

Perma-bears are bombarding us with alarm bells, sounding the doom of the US economy. We find ourselves in yet another 'summer slowdown scare,' for the third year running. In 2010 and 2011, the purported slowdowns turned out to be soft landings. Investors who ran to the sidelines stared in disbelief as the stock market roared ahead, leaving them behind. We are likely in the same position now.

2012-07-10 No Jobs Rebound in June by Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Equity markets started the third quarter in negative fashion, with a poor government jobs report sparking the decline. Following an astoundingly poor May jobs report, market participants were hopeful that June would bring about at least a normalization of labor data. Thursdays ADP employment report increased optimism that May was an anomalous reading.

2012-07-10 Swimming with Black Swans: The Volatile Decade Ahead by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

So long smooth sailing. Russ Koesterich explains why he expects the rest of this decade to be characterized by more market volatility and why seemingly out-of-the-ordinary Black Swan events could become more frequent.

2012-07-10 Is Higher Inflation on the Horizon? by Orhan Imer of Columbia Management

For nearly two decades inflation in the U.S. has been fairly contained except for a few periods of moderate acceleration around peak levels of economic activity. More recently, headline inflation as measured by the year-over-year change in the CPI-U (Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers) declined from 3.9% in September 2011 to 1.7% in May 2012 driven primarily by the slowdown in the U.S. economy and the sharp drop in energy and commodity prices.

2012-07-10 Investors fret about Europe, but US stocks up 8.6% on the year by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

Investors have flooded back to European and US stocks on the surprise announcement that a single Eurozone wide agency, somewhat akin to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), will be established to backstop European banks directly, rather than lending through the respective governments of troubled banks.

2012-07-10 The Real Fiscal Cliff by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

The media is now fixated on an apparently new feature dominating the economic landscape: a "fiscal cliff" from which the United States will fall in January 2013. They see the danger arising from the simultaneous implementation of the $2 trillion in automatic spending cuts (spread over 10 years) agreed to in last year's debt ceiling vote and the expiration of the Bush era tax cuts.

2012-07-10 Investing and the Euro Crisis by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

In the summer of 2012, the Euro Zone crisis continues to dominate financial markets as it has done over each of the past two summers. While the solution to the problem remains relatively straightforward, it requires a level of economic understanding, political courage and communication among policymakers that has been absent thus far. Without this, the crisis is likely to lurch forward with only a very slow and painful resolution.

2012-07-10 Is a U.S. Recession Looming? by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

In the third quarter of 2011 the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) called for a 100% chance of a U.S. recession. They have a stellar track record of calling U.S. economic cycles. What we noted that the ECRI estimated the severity of any slowdown to be shallow and fairly short-lived. Most recessions in the U.S. are over even before they are positively identified.

2012-07-09 What if the Fed Throws a QE3 and Nobody Comes? by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

When we look around the globe, we find that the impact of quantitative easing is rarely much greater than the market decline that preceded it. Investors seem to be putting an enormous amount of faith in a policy that does little but help stocks recover the losses of the prior 6 month period, with scant evidence of any durable effects on the real economy.

2012-07-09 Economic Insights: U.S. Exports: A Lower Gear, but Still Cruising by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

The growth of exports at times has added as much as two percentage points to the overall pace of the economys expansion and is a major reason why American manufacturing has staged a comeback in recent years - a renaissance some have called it. But of late, with the dollar rising against both the euro and the yen, and with growth overseas slowing or, in Europes case, falling, questions have arisen about the sustainability of U.S. export strength.

2012-07-09 Equity Investing in a Lower-Return, Volatile World by Charles Lahr, Brad Kinkelaar, Maria (Masha) Gordon of PIMCO

Company balance sheets in developed markets are generally in good health and many are well positioned to generate growth even in difficult times. We expect growth to moderate in emerging markets, although still outpace the trajectory in the developed world. Certain companies may temporarily face lower capacity utilization. A focus on quality is invaluable. We define quality by clean balance sheets, high operating margins and access to high-growth markets with barriers to entry.

2012-07-09 Mixed Picture for the Consumer, ISM Numbers Weak Data on Factory and Service Sectors by John Buckingham of AFAM

While the major market averages ended in the red, though only modestly so, there was plenty of volatility in a holiday-shortened trading week that was replete with the release of quite a few economic statistics.

2012-07-09 Disappointing, but Not Terrible by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Job growth has slowed to a disappointing pace over the past three months, insufficient to bring down unemployment, but not so weak that recession is much of a threat. This mediocre performance also leaves the Fed in a quandary, neither making an obvious case to leave policy unchanged or a clear case to implement yet another form of policy accommodation.

2012-07-09 Level Best by Richard Clarida of PIMCO

Craving instant information gratification, many of us spend much time trying to forecast and analyze short-term changes in economic data. Looking at the trends in the levels of economic data over a period of five to seven years provides refreshing insight and perspective on the economy that are often distorted by the daily data noise. Specifically, trends in the Consumer Price Index, the U.S. Dollar Index and real GDP reveal important insights about the economy, markets and policy.

2012-07-09 Germany Loses to Italy, Again by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

June was not a particularly good month for Germany. First, she suffered a loss to Italy in the semi-finals of the European Cup soccer tournament. Then, she suffered a more significant blow when Italy's Prime Minister, Mario Monti, extracted important concessions from German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the European Summit. A loss on the soccer pitch can put a dent in the national ego. But a loss on the field of finance can be far more serious.

2012-07-09 Unemployment a Secular Problem by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Last Fridays employment report was a Rorschach test for economists. (You know, show an inkblot and find the obsession.) Its not a surprise that the response to the report was pessimistic. We heard all kinds of rhetoric, including a new one - Zombie Economy.

2012-07-06 Eurozone Slowly Inching Forward by Investment Strategy Group of Neuberger Berman

The European Union (EU) summit last week in Brussels surprisingly yielded some promising outcomes. EU leaders agreed to important short-term measures that can ease the recapitalization of banks but structural issues, such as increasing banking and fiscal integration in the euro area, remain unresolved. Without longer-term measures, the volatile nature of the debt crisis, as evidenced by the Greek elections on June 17, will continue to impact confidence.

2012-07-06 ECRI Recession Call: Weekly Leading Index Again Improves by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Click to viewThe Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) again rose fractionally, now at 121.9 from last week's 121.7 (which was a slight upward revision from 121.5). See the WLI chart below. The WLI growth indicator (WLIg) rose fractionally, now at -2.9 as reported in Friday's public release of the data through June 29, an improvement over the previous week's -3.6.

2012-07-06 Market Perspectives Q2 2012: A Long Road Ahead by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The most important economic news in the quarter occurred in the last two business days. Investors were losing patience with seemingly endless and ineffectual eurozone summitry. But the resolutions by the four major eurozone members at the end of the quarter were different. The agreements allow recapitalization of Spanish banks and purchase of Italian sovereign bonds. The proposals appear to effectively address short- and long-term problems in the eurozone economies.

2012-07-06 Mid-Year 2012 Economic Update by Team of Horizon Advisors

The questions we hear most often from our clients have to do with the Eurozone, U.S. politics, and closely related, the so-called fiscal cliff. We thought we would approach each of these in turn.

2012-07-06 Are You Limited by Linear Thinking? by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Dont be limited by linear thinking in your portfolio. As an alternative to low yielding Treasury bonds, consider resources stocks that pay dividends. Weve found that most materials, utilities and energy stocks in the S&P 500 Index pay a dividend higher than the 10-year Treasury: Materials and utilities companies yield an average of 2.3 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively, while energy stocks pay an average yield of 2.2 percent. Nonlinear thinkers have historically benefited from the inclusion of natural resources as part of a balanced portfolio.

2012-07-05 Looking for Bubbles by Niels Jensen, Nick Rees, Tricia Ward, Thomas Wittenborg of Absolute Return Partners

This month's Absolute Return Letter picks up on the question we left hanging in the air back in May - is Asia a potential re-run of Europe? Although policy rates appear to be dangerously low, and thus encouraging further borrowing, Asia has come a long way since 1997 and there is no immediate risk of a financial meltdown. Australian property prices and commodity prices - in particular crude oil prices - are more likely 'credit event' candidates in our opinion.

2012-07-05 Math, History and Psychology - Part 2 by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Last week we wrote about the math of common stock investing and the effectiveness of mathematical discipline to portfolio management. This week we will focus on history and the importance of that academic discipline to us as common stock portfolio managers here at Smead Capital Management (SCM).

2012-07-05 Focus on the Fed: Interest Rates and the "Dual Mandate" by Team of American Century Investments

When creating the Federal Reserve (the Fed), Congress set out some vitally important objectives for monetary policymaximum employment and stable prices. We use this issue of Chart of the Week to provide some context around the Feds sometimes competing policy goals in its dual mandate, as well as simplify and summarize the inflation and jobs data informing Fed interest rate policy in a single graphic.

2012-07-03 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 Letter to the Editor by Various (Article)

A reader responds to John Hussman's commentary, Enter, the Blindside Recession, which appeared on June 25.

2012-07-03 10 Predictions for 2012: Mid-Year Update by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

At the midway point of 2012, it seems an opportune time to review the predictions we made at the beginning of the year. Although much could change, at this point it appears that the majority of our predictions are on track.

2012-07-03 After the EU Summit a Host of Unresolved Questions by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Last weeks European summit went better than it might have, according to Russ, but it fell far short of solving the regions structural issues. Here he outlines the big questions facing the European Union and why the regions crisis will drag on.

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.

2012-07-03 Jump: Market Rallies Sharply on EU Summit News by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

Friday's sharp rally on better European news is followed by weaker economic news this week, keeping debate alive about what the market's priced in. When markets expect nothing and get something it can be a recipe for a rally. Investors of every ilk have de-risked, unleashing a scramble last Friday. The US economy is at stall speed, but still looks better than much of the world.

2012-07-03 Of Mice and Men by Michael Shamosh of Corby Asset Management

We have all spent our share of time at amusement parks. We always marvel at the degree of engineering required to subject the human body to stresses not present in our ordinary day. Those screams mean something. Investing is often described as similar to riding a roller coaster, where the rapid ups and downs can subject ones emotional framework to feelings of exhilaration, fear, and pain. We liken it to a ride called the Wild Mouse, one you might have spent some time on in your youth.

2012-07-03 Let's Twist Again by Daniel Kurland of Corby Asset Management

Ben Bernanke must be nostalgic for his childhood. On June 19th in the summer of 1961, when Chairman Bernanke was only 8 years old, Chubby Checker released his smash hit, Lets Twist Again. Chairman Bernanke, citing decreased inflationary concerns and heightened employment weakness, announced that Operation Twist, which had been set to expire at the end of June, would be extended until the end of the year.

2012-07-02 Anatomy of a Bear by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The unusually bad outcomes of similar historical precedents help to convey why we retain such a durable sense of doom, even after last weeks scorching risk on advance. A moderate continuation of constructive market action would likely be sufficient to move us to soften our presently hard defense by retreating from a staggered strike option hedge. At present, conditions remain aligned with those that have preceded some of the most negative consequences in market history.

2012-07-02 Weekly Commentary and Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks were mixed last week as the news from Europe remains difficult, while here at home the Fed told us things were not going well but decided to do very little about it (maybe because they cannot).

2012-07-02 U.S. Economic Outlook: Potential for Growth, Vulnerability to Policy Mistakes by Saumil Parikh of PIMCO

There are very early signs of improvement in the housing market. Another plus is the shift in U.S. energy supply from imported oil to domestic oil and natural gas. The U.S. economy still faces significant headwinds from over-indebtedness, large imbalances, growing inequality and policy incrementalism. In our view, investors need to consider the implications of rising forward tax rates and that price inflation will play a greater role in generating nominal GDP growth than in the past.

2012-07-02 This film is rated "R" by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

This is not your fathers stock market. Nor really is it yours, the one you envisioned two decades ago. Instead we may have leveraged, in a literal sense, all the financial details to our heirs. The bad news is that we have become marginalized. Our goals and expectations have been sequestered, postponed, for another time.

2012-07-02 Economic Insights: U.S. Exports - A Lower Gear, but Still Cruising by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Amid a rising dollar and sluggish global economies, exports should continue to bolster U.S. growth, although the pace will slow. Exports have remained one of the few consistent bright spots in this otherwise subpar economic recovery. The growth of exports at times has added as much as two percentage points to the overall pace of the economys expansion and is a major reason why American manufacturing has staged a comeback in recent yearsa renaissance some have called it.

2012-07-02 The Virtue of Necessity by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

The call for this week: In my opinion, last week the Commodity Index bottomed and the Dollar Index topped. If so, recession fears should abate in the months ahead. Moreover, if a recession was really on the horizon "junk" bond yields would be rising on worries of increased defaults and that is not happening with the iShare High Yield Fund (HYG/$91.29) attempting to make a new reaction high (i.e., lower yields).

2012-06-29 Step Two - Going Backward - Election More Important Than Ever by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

In one of the least likely outcomes in Supreme Court history, Chief Justice Roberts, who was widely considered a conservative voice on the Court, proved to be the swing vote in one of the largest expansions of US government involvement in the economy ever.

2012-06-29 ECRI Recession Call: Weekly Leading Index Up Fractionally by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Click to viewThe Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose fractionally to 121.5 from last week's 121.2 (a slight downward revision from 121.3). See the chart below. However, the WLI growth indicator (WLIg) declined fractionally, now at -3.6 as reported in Friday's public release of the data through June 22, down from the previous week's -3.5.

2012-06-29 U.S. Inflation Update: More Long-Term Threat than Near-Term by Team of American Century Investments

During the week of June 11-15, the U.S. governments Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported declines in May prices received by U.S. producers for their goods, as well as lower May prices paid by U.S. consumers. These May declines in the BLSs Producer Price Index (PPI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI) were largely the result of declining energy prices, particularly those for gasoline.

2012-06-29 Fat Tails by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Stocks have moved modestly higher and may now be in a relatively large trading range. US economic growth remains sluggish and is drifting dangerously close to stall speed. Policymakers in Europe appeared to make some progress in the most recent summit, but much is left to be done and time is running out. Meanwhile, global growth is slowing and central banks are attempting to stem the decline.

2012-06-29 Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch... by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

With worries about Europe and the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act behind us, we can go back to looking at the economy. At issue is whether recent signs of slowing were an illusion or more real. In particular, the June job market figures will be critical.

2012-06-29 Unmasking the Asian Giant by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

China is far from perfect: While actors can perfect their lines and use masks to captivate an audience, smart investors know better to use a wealth of information across numerous sources to guide investment decisions. Weigh the evidence and judge for yourself. As my friend, Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald recently said in an interview, A powerful China is coming, and we have two choices. Either we're at the table, or we're on the menu. To him this means, Good news from China is good news for the U.S.; bad news from the Chinese economy is bad news here.

2012-06-28 European Leaders Play With Fire by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

The world economy today stands at the doorstep of great change. A gathering crisis looms in Europe, splitting the Continent into two competing blocs. While leaders there face off against one another in a high stakes game of chicken, the rest of the world powerlessly watches the train wreck slowly unfold.

2012-06-27 The Great American Mirage by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

In September 1998, during the depths of the Asian financial crisis, the US Federal Reserves then-chairman, Alan Greenspan, had a simple message: the US is not an oasis of prosperity in an otherwise struggling world. Greenspans point is even closer to the mark today than it was back then.

2012-06-26 A Top Analyst: North America Heading to Energy Independence by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Ed Morse, a managing director of Citigroup Global Markets, said last week that by the end of this decade the US and Canada will have a surplus of oil, leaving it with 'no room for imports.' But the longer-term picture is far less certain, as extraction moves from conventional wells to newer sources, such as deepwater fields and shale-based oil.

2012-06-25 Enter, the Blindside Recession by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The joint evidence suggests that the U.S. economy has entered a recession that will eventually be marked as having started presently. In recent months, our measures of leading economic pressures have indicated the likelihood of an oncoming U.S. recession.

2012-06-25 The Fiscal Cliff -Thelma and Louise Remake Unlikely by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Unlike the cinematic outlaws, Congress will likely avoid a year-end plunge into the chasm of economic peril. The CBO report identifies eight elements of this looming fiscal drag: five automatic tax hikes and three automatic spending cuts. It estimates their total impact for fiscal 2013 at $607 billion, or some 4.0% of the countrys gross domestic product (GDP), and enough to turn positive growth negative.

2012-06-25 12 Reasons US Recession Has Arrived (Or Will Shortly) by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

I am amused by the Shadow Weekly Leading Index Project, which claims the probability of recession is 31%. I think it is much higher. When the NBER, the official arbiter of recessions, finally backdates the recession, May or June of 2012

2012-06-25 Market Breadth Pretty Good, Save for Thursday by John Buckingham of AFAM

It would have been a nice week if it wasnt for the big plunge on Thursday as that days 250-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average interrupted a solid stretch in which market breadth had been quite favorable. In fact, the other four days last week saw more advancing stocks than declining stocks, looking at the New York Composite Daily Breadth statistics from this weekends Barrons Magazine.

2012-06-23 Daddy's Home by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

This week we will look at the recent action of the Fed and use that as a springboard to think about how effective Fed policy can be in an age of deleveraging. And we simply must look at Europe.

2012-06-22 Abandon the Panic, Not the Eurozone by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

I truly believe it pays to be an optimist in life. As a long-term investor, its practically part of the job description. You can fearfully view a crisis as a time of loss and peril, or you can choose to view it as a time of opportunity with potential for positive change. The Eurozone crisis has triggered a ripple effect across global markets, and many investors are expressing pessimism about the economic health and sustainability of the region. Me? Im an optimist.

2012-06-22 ECRI Recession Call: Weekly Leading Index Slips Again by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) slipped to 121.3 from last week's 121.8 (a slight downward revision from 121.9). See the chart below. The WLI growth indicator (WLIg) also declined, now at -3.5 as reported in Friday's public release of the data through June 15, down from the previous week's -3.0.

2012-06-22 Dont Expect A Double Dip This Year by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Renewed fears of a US double dip are making the rounds. While Russ gives four reasons why the United States is not likely to tip back into recession this year, he has a word of caution about a risk looming over 2013.

2012-06-21 Will Quantitative Easing Lead to Higher Inflation? by Keith Wade, James Bilson of Schroder Investment Management

In certain circles, talk of Quantitative Easing (QE) immediately triggers thoughts of Weimar Germany and Zimbabwe. The only beneficiaries of turning to the printing presses, it is suggested, will be wheelbarrow salesmen. Whilst extreme inflation seems an exceptionally low risk event, there are legitimate concerns over the impact of the huge expansion of the monetary base on future inflation. In this Talking Point, we examine the key signals to watch out for in assessing future inflation risks.

2012-06-20 WSJ Economists' 10-Year Yield Forecasts: The Growing Spread by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal posted the results of its June Survey of economists. In the past my main interest in these forecasts has been the GDP estimates. But today my attention is fixed on the estimates for 10-year yields. The various Federal Reserve strategies in recent years (ZIRP, QE1, QE2 and Operation Twist) have focused on lowering interest rates, for which the 10-year note yield is an interesting "tell".

2012-06-20 The World Needs Another Greek Hero by Joseph Giulitto of Trust Company of America

Hesiod wrote a few years ago- A spirit of competition, of good conflict that tends to reduce the problems of scarcity. (Hesiod was in favor of the rule of law and the dispensation of justice to provide stability and order within society. He spoke out against corrupt methods of wealth acquisition and denounced robbery.700BC) A very telling tale with eerie significance to current events.

2012-06-19 Likelihood Ratios and their use in Recession Indicators by Georg Vrba, P.E. (Article)

In medicine, likelihood ratios improve patient outcomes and refine drug regimens by assessing the reliability of common diagnostic tests. In finance, likelihood ratios can quantify the reliability of an economic indicator such as one designed to identify recessions.

2012-06-19 Will Policy Response Follow Policy Rumor? by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

The past two weeks have been better for stocks, with the major indices up in consecutive weeks for the first time in more than a month. Europe remains stuck in a cruel cycle of recession, a banking system in need of life support, frozen policymakers, too much debt and a downward confidence spiral. In the United States, economic growth slowed this spring (likely due to poor weather and the earlier spike in gasoline prices), but remains intact.

2012-06-19 Consumers Remain Perplexed by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Consumers have long been the cog behind the American economic engine. After suffering a terrible fate in 2008, there was a long, slow build to post-recession normalcy. Consumer balance sheets are in a better place, but remain tenuous and suggest there continues to be a long distance to travel before we can once again depend on the American consumer to be the buyer of last resort.

2012-06-19 Down and Out in Wenzhou by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

Much like in the US in 2006, the Chinese government officials and the worldwide media need to believe that what is going on in Wenzhou is not the first domino in a series of dominos which fall over the next two years. The Chinese economy and its miracle of the last 30 years were originally driven by the competitive advantage of cheap labor.

2012-06-19 Achilles Last Stand: Greeks Vote in Favor of Euro by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The June 17 Greek elections favored the pro-bailout party and allow for a likely coalition to be formed probably the least-tumultuous outcome. However, kicking the can further down the road doesn't solve the eurozone's structural problems, nor does it stem contagion. Next on investors' radar is this week's Federal Reserve meeting, where additional easing is expected.

2012-06-19 Is China Running Out of Steam? by Matthew Rubin, Ing-Chea Ang, Justin Gaines of Neuberger Berman

The Chinese growth story is especially impressive. At a time when many economies have struggled, China has continued to expand rapidly, helped by its dominant position in manufacturing, growing middle class and, after the 2008 credit crisis, its successful injections of capital and stimulus to ward off recession. Nevertheless, recent data have suggested that the Chinese expansion is now slowing more quickly than most investors expected.

2012-06-19 Cohen & Steers European Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the European real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. For the month, the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Europe Real Estate Index had a total return of 7.5% (in U.S. dollars, net of dividend withholding taxes). By comparison, U.S. REITs had a total return of 4.5%, as measured by the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index. Year to date, the indexes had total returns of +3.0% and +8.8%, respectively.

2012-06-19 Shocking Fed Survey on Consumer Finances by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we focus on a new Fed study which found that Americans net worth plunged almost 39% in the period from 2007 to 2010. That period included the so-called Great Recession, a financial crisis and a severe bear market in stocks. There are lots of interesting statistics to look at in this new Fed study.

2012-06-18 A Brief Primer on the European Crisis by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Europe has repeatedly been successful at addressing its recurring liquidity crises with the help of other central banks, but its still an open question whether they can durably solve the solvency crisis without more disruption and more restructuring of both government debt and troubled banks. In my view, the hope for an easy solution is misplaced, and the likelihood of recurring disruptions from Europe will remain high.

2012-06-15 Equity Prices Reflect Concerns over Global Growth Slowdown by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices corrected in May on heightened worries over a further global growth slowdown as the European fiscal crisis worsened. Political consensus on ways to address Europes fiscal problems dissipated after political parties opposed to austerity measures gained popularity in countries such as France and Greece earlier this year. However, Germany and select other countries continued to insist that structural reforms agreed as part of last years pact should be adhered to.

2012-06-15 A Global Perfect Storm by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

Dark, lowering financial and economic clouds are, it seems, rolling in from every direction: the eurozone, the United States, China, and elsewhere. Indeed, the global economy in 2013 could be a very difficult environment in which to find shelter. For starters, the eurozone crisis is worsening, as the euro remains too strong, front-loaded fiscal austerity deepens recession in many member countries, and a credit crunch in the periphery and high oil prices undermine prospects of recovery.

2012-06-15 ECRI Recession Call: Weekly Leading Index Up Slightly, But Growth Index Declines by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) rose fractionally to 121.9 from last week's 121.3 (a downward revision from 122.3). See the chart below. However, the WLI growth indicator (WLIg) slipped, now at -3.0 as reported in Friday's public release of the data through June 8, down from the previous week's -2.2 (a sizable downward revision from -0.7).

2012-06-15 Schwab Market Perspective: Time for Action by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

With escalated uncertainty, sitting back can be an easy choice, but we believe investors and policymakers alike need to take action. Equities bounced off of what appeared to be oversold conditions but although the US economy appears to be holding its own, a renewed sustainable uptrend may be hard to come by until some substantive policy actions are taken around the globe. The time for decisive action in the eurozone appears to be quickly approaching as short-term solutions are no longer satiating the market.

2012-06-15 Cohen & Steers Global Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for the global real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate Index had a total return of 6.4% for the month (net of dividend withholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. Year to date, the index returned +7.9%.

2012-06-15 Cohen & Steers International Real Estate Securities Strategy by Team of Cohen & Steers

We would like to share with you our review and outlook for theinternational real estate securities market as of May 31, 2012. The FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed ex-U.S. Real Estate Index had a total return of 8.0% for the month (net of dividendwithholding taxes) in U.S. dollars. By comparison, U.S. REITs returned 4.5% for the month, as measured by the FTSE NAREIT Equity REIT Index. Year to date, the indexes returned +7.3% and +8.8%, respectively.

2012-06-14 Out of Order by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

I was invited to testify about the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) policy in the apartment lending market. Although this was a fairly narrow issue, I told the congressmen the same thing I did last year when I was invited by a different subcommittee to testify about job creation: government programs don't solve problems, they just create new ones. While I thank the Committee for inviting me, I believe the congressmen may have gotten more than they bargained for.

2012-06-14 Chart of the Week: Growth Dichotomys Diminished Influence by Team of American Century Investments

Despite weaker-than-expected U.S. employment data for May (released June 1) and other signs of slow economic growth, the Fixed Income Macro Strategy Team at American Century Investments does not believe the U.S. economy is headed toward another recession (though the marginal possibility of recession has increased). Rather, the team believes the economy remains on a sub-par recovery/slow (1-3%) growth path, with headwinds.

2012-06-13 Three Years and Counting by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO

In addition to muted economic growth, record low interest rates, and sustained high unemployment, extraordinary equity market volatility has been a repeated feature of the past three years. As heightened volatility persists, many equity investors remain on the sidelines. We think a better investment approach is to invest globally, across asset classes, reflecting the likelihood of the various outcomes. We believe managing against downside shocks is enormously beneficial to compounding attractive returns over the long term.

2012-06-13 The by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Today we revisit the subject of the so-called fiscal cliff that our country faces at the end of this year if a Lame Duck Congress fails to pass a number of new laws by December 31. (I last wrote about this subject on March 27.) Some analysts are arguing that nothing really bad will happen if the Lame Duck Congress fails to get the job done. I disagree and I will tell you why below.

2012-06-13 The Tip of the Iceberg For Dividend Stocks by Team of Columbia Management

Post-crisis equity investors seek to lower portfolio volatility. Dividend stocks have provided higher returns with less risk compared with non-dividend payers. Baby boomers are retiring now with much smaller nest eggs than they had anticipated. They need reliable sources of income and growth. Cash-rich companies are in a position to pay and potentially grow dividends, while dividend payout ratios are historically low. Active managers leverage in-depth research to uncover promising opportunities among companies likely to initiate or raise dividends.

2012-06-12 Kingdoms of the Blind by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Recent events offer a rare illustration of the combined effects of the failure of monetary, fiscal and regulatory policy to coordinate a meaningful response. Rising budget deficits, record low interest rates, J.P. Morgan's proprietary trading blunder and the botched Facebook IPO process speak to abject policy failures in virtually every aspect of finance. It's not even a question of not having learned our lessons; our collective policy intelligence actually appears to have diminished.

2012-06-12 Letters to the Editor by Various (Article)

A number of readers respond to our article, Can Krugman Fix Our Economy?, which appeared on May 29.

2012-06-12 Modern Day Fairy Tale of 3 Economic Wizards (Except It's True) by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

Once upon a time (today), in a land not so far away (USA), there lived a trio of economic wizards (economists), whose names shall remain anonymous (Paul Krugman, Greg Mankiw, Ben Bernanke). A fourth wizard, Murry Rothbard, is no longer among the living but resides in the netherworld. The above wizards seldom agree with each other because they come from competing schools of wizardry. (1) Keynesian School of Fiscal Voodoo and Witchcraft (2) Monetarist School of Monetary Voodoo and Witchcraft (3) Austrian School of Sound Money, Sound Economic Principles and Common Sense.

2012-06-12 Weekly Market Commentary by Scotty George of du Pasquier Asset Management

Each week produces a newer round in global woes, this past being highlighted by Spain and a verbal, if not political, battle over whether austerity trumps spending. We will not know how the debate concludes, but we can see its effects. Manufacturing slowed and consumer confidence went with it. The unknown consequences of a global economic paralysis is, nevertheless, having specific impact upon our markets. Most notably, the stock market is morphing into a roller coaster ride.

2012-06-12 Bemis Co Inc - Attractive Value, Yield and Growth by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Bemis Co Inc (BMS) has achieved a moderate record of long-term earnings growth in a semi-cyclical fashion. However, even though earnings growth had faltered slightly during our last two recessions, the company remained highly profitable. We believe the company appears reasonably valued at its current quotation. This article looks at Bemis Co Inc, a Dividend Champion, through the lens of the F.A.S.T. Graphs Fundamentals Analyzer Software Tool. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, the reader will be provided the essential fundamentals at a glance expressed vividly in pictures.

2012-06-11 Looking Over the U.S. Fiscal Cliff by Team of Neuberger Berman

Absent congressional intervention prior to year-end, over $600 billion (about 4% of U.S. GDP) of fiscal tightening is scheduled to take effect in the United States in early 2013. Dubbed the fiscal cliff by those in the financial community, the negative impact on growth caused by expiring spending and tax provisions has the potential to derail the ongoing recovery and, according to some observers, even tip the U.S. economy back into recession.

2012-06-11 The Heart of the Matter by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The ongoing debate about the economy continues along largely partisan lines, with conservatives arguing that taxes just aren't low enough, and the economy should be freed of regulations, while liberals argue that the economy needs larger government programs and grand stimulus initiatives. Lost in this debate is any recognition of the problem that lies at the heart of the matter: a warped financial system, both in the U.S. and globally, that directs scarce capital to speculative and unproductive uses, and refuses to restructure debt once that debt has gone bad.

2012-06-11 China Toes a Delicate Balance by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Markets posted their best returns of 2012 last week as investors anticipated additional policy action from global central banks. A series of events during the week heightened optimism that central banks would once again step in to support financial markets. In a Wednesday release, the European Central Bank did not cut its policy rate, but ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank was ready to act in response to the deteriorating state of the Eurozone.

2012-06-11 Bertha and Casey by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Markets braced last week for a bailout on Spain which came this weekend. Its banking sector is in wretched condition and joins other European banks at 25 year lows in share price. The official downgrades came long after the stock market had voted with its feet. European leaders had little to add to the debate. There's some talk of a twin track: some European countries pressing on to further integration, some coping with contraction and austerity on their own.

2012-06-09 A Dysfunctional Nation by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

European leaders launched the euro project in the last century as an experiment to see whether political hope could become economic reality. What they have done is create one of the most dysfunctional economic systems in history. And the distortions inherent in that system are now playing out in an increasingly dysfunctional social order. Today we look at some rather disturbing recent events and wonder about the actual costs of that experiment. What type of "therapy" will be needed to treat the dysfunctional family that Europe has become?

2012-06-08 The Global Debt Crisis by Greg Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

The Financial Crisis of 2008 represented a turning point for the capital markets, financial regulation and global central bank policies. For the twenty years leading up to the Financial Crisis, accommodative monetary policies of the developed countries resulted in prosperity, higher wages, increased asset prices and an overall higher standard of living. However, this false sense of perpetual prosperity resulted in unbalanced social service and pension benefits that are now more difficult to rationalize in the economic environment following the Financial Crisis.

2012-06-08 Monthly Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

Global stock markets dropped sharply in May amid renewed macroeconomic fears. Large-cap U.S. stocks fell 6%, while small and mid-cap stocks lost 6.6% and 6.7%, respectively. Domestic stocks are still well in positive territory for the year, with returns ranging from just over 5% for large-caps to 3.4% for small-caps. Foreign markets fell further, as questions over the stability of the eurozone dominated headlines. Both developed and emerging-markets were down 11% for the month and in negative territory year-to-date (down 3.3% and 0.4%, respectively).

2012-06-08 Damn the Torpedoes by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Given what most economists now know, few would actively argue that Greece's entrance into the Eurozone back in 2001 was a good idea. Much has been written about how the fundamental misfit between Greece's economy and currency gave birth to a deeply flawed system that was destined to run off the rails.xThe same "damn the torpedoes" mentality dominates economic thinking with respect to the U.S. economy as well.

2012-06-08 The US Economy Sitting On The Threshold Of A New Golden Age: Part One by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In the past, Ive written numerous articles positing a long-term optimistic outlook for both our economy and the attractive future growth prospects of our great American businesses. Even though I hate to forecast the market in general, I have even presented evidence indicating that the general market as represented by the S&P 500 is currently reasonably priced and even slightly undervalued. My most recent contribution can be found here.

2012-06-08 ECRI Recession Call Update: Weekly Leading Index Declines Further by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) dropped to 121.6 from last week's 122.3 (a downward revision from 122.4). See the chart below. The WLI growth indicator (WLIg) also slipped, now at -2.0 as reported in Friday's public release of the data through June 1, down from the previous week's -0.7 (a downward revision from -0.6). The ECRI numbers are extremely close to the RecessionAlert estimates, posted yesterday, which anticipated 121.9 and -1.9% for the WLI and WLIg metrics.

2012-06-07 Spain & Weak US Economy Dominate Markets by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Stock markets around the world have been pummeled in recent weeks amidst the growing reality that were in a global recession, especially in Europe. Fears that the US will also fall into recession have intensified, particularly in light of last weeks very disappointing economic reports. At the same time, the European debt crisis has once again raised its ugly head, this time with the spotlight on Spain. Spains own Prime Minister has admitted that the country is in a state of emergency, and money is gushing out of Spanish banks.

2012-06-07 The Specter of Default: How Safe Are U.S. Treasuries? by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Just how solid are U.S. Treasury bonds, long considered a "riskless" investment? Is a default possible? Desirable? Unthinkable? And what are the options for reducing the annual government deficits that cause the country's debt to grow? Those and other questions were the subject of a recent Wharton conference titled, "Is U.S. Government Debt Different?" The conference was set up in the wake of last summer's debt-ceiling showdown in Washington, which highlighted the risk of a default on government bonds.

2012-06-07 May Rout Leads to June Rally by David Edwards of Heron Financial Group

We got three exogenous events in May: Greek credit crisis resumed, with Greece likely to exit the Eurozone this summer. JP Morgan Chase lost $3 billion on Credit Default Swap trading. The FaceBook FacePlant. And on June 1st, the Labor department reported a minimal gain in jobs, which has economists worried anew about the United States returning to recession.

2012-06-06 Our House: Is the United States the Best House in a Bad Neighborhood? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

I won't try to put lipstick on the pig that was last Friday's May jobs report, but I will try a little lip gloss. Somewhat lost in the mire of the dire reaction to the report were several other more-positive readings on the economy. That's testament to the likelihood that there are many more drivers to today's malaise than just jobs growth, or lack thereof. It seems clear we're in the midst of the third consecutive mid-year economic slowdown, driven by similar forces, most dominantly the eurozone debt crisis.

2012-06-06 Economic Insights: Japan - Glimmers Amid the Gloom by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Japan still looks troubled. To be sure, the economy recorded a surprisingly strong 4.1% annualized real gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the first quarter. Much of that growth, though, was due to government spending. Otherwise, the flow of news still points to the same tepid growth that has troubled Japan for more than 20 years now. Four of the last six quarters have shown real declines, including last years fourth quarter. This once-powerful exporter faces a deficit on its balance of international payments, while spring data releases show industrial production in decline.

2012-06-05 The Father of Efficient Markets: Is Warren Buffett Smart or Lucky? by Dan Richards (Article)

Eugene Fama is generally regarded the father of modern finance. His research has expanded upon the capital asset pricing model to identify the value and small-capitalization contributions to risk. Dan Richards spoke with him on May 1, the day before his guest talk at the CFA Institute annual meeting. This is the transcript of the interview.

2012-06-05 When OK is Good Enough by Team of BondWave Advisors

The US economy continues to grow, but in recent months manufacturing and employment indicators have remained positive but have been flagging. While there might not be a lot to get excited about economically here in the US, OK is better than elsewhere, like Europe. We discuss the situation in the US and Europe and provide a commentary of the US Treasury, Corporate and Municipal bond markets.

2012-06-05 Perennial May Euro Crisis Hits U.S. and Global Markets by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

For the third straight year, a Euro-crisis hit markets in May. Investors are fearful and looking for a plan of action. A good plan should defend against bear markets but not overreact to normal volatility. Earnings growth remains positive the U.S. is slowly but surely moving forward. Ample rewards await those who stay focused on long-term goals. For the third straight year a euro crisis hit markets in the month of May.

2012-06-04 After Disappointing Jobs Data, Now What? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Stocks tumbled Friday after particularly disappointing May jobs data. Russ provides his take on what the report means for the US economy and stocks going forward. First, the implications for the economy: As jobs numbers tend to lag broader economic activity, the report doesnt in itself suggest that the United States is slipping back into recession. In addition, its worth calling out that according to the new data, the United States created only 69,000 net new jobs in May, less than half of what economists were expecting and the slowest rate of net new job creation in a year.

2012-06-04 It's All Relative by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Equities have pulled back and are flirting with correction (-10%) territory. We believed this was a needed process, and remain modestly optimistic that economic data will rebound and the market will eventually resume its move higher over the next several months. The Federal Reserve has made clear that it stands ready to act should the US economy deteriorate, or the European debt crisis escalate, but we remain skeptical. The more important issue in our view is how the coming "fiscal cliff" is addressed.

2012-06-04 Run of the Mill by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The awful behavior of the market in recent weeks is very run-of-the-mill in terms of how similarly unfavorable conditions have usually been resolved historically, and there is no evidence that this awful prospective course has changed much. Investors should expect no easy solutions to the fiscal and global challenges ahead. They should instead expect market valuations that adequately reflect the fact that there are no easy solutions. In my view, those valuations remain miles below present market levels.

2012-06-04 My Best Investment Advice - Watch Your Fellow Investors And Do The Opposite by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

In my opinion, the recent selloff in stocks defies commonsense and logic, but in truth and fact it usually does. In other words, its not uncommon to see investors selling at precisely the time they should be buying and vice versa. Moreover, when investor pessimism is at a high, like it is today, stocks become cheap causing people to panic and sell. Now when I review the data, I get optimistic and immediately began to suspect that all this pessimism is creating a great long-term opportunity for investors with a more optimistic view of the future.

2012-06-04 Investors Position for a Synchronized Global Slowdown by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

The insufficient job creation, stagnant earnings and alarming long-term unemployment highlighted by Mays disheartening jobs report underscore Americas persistent unemployment crisis. The numbers also speak to a synchronized slowdown that is now taking hold of the global economy a phenomenon that is being signaled by virtually every other data release out of Europe, the U.S. and emerging countries.

2012-06-04 More Muddling Along by Charles Lieberman (Article)

It appears that economic growth has slowed a bit once again, although a relapse into recession seems fairly unlikely. Consumer spending, business investment and a recovery in housing should support growth at a moderate pace. Europe remains a dark cloud hanging over better prospects. Budget deficits at the sovereign level and bank capital needs at the corporate level must be resolved before markets can breathe easily. So volatility in our markets is likely to continue. Since we can exert very little control over Europe, policymakers here must remain focused on maintaining growth domestically.

2012-06-04 Speeding Up the Plow Horse by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

We call it a Plow Horse Economyit aint gonna win the Belmont, but it aint gonna keel over and die, either. And there is nothing in the latest data or market action that changes our mind; the economy is not in recession and we highly doubt it will fall into one anytime soon.

2012-06-04 Tomorrows Europe by Andrew Balls, Andrew Bosomworth, Mike Amey of PIMCO

Our secular view is that the status quo is not an option for the eurozone. In the near term, we believe it is more likely than not that Greece will exit the eurozone. While a Greek exit would likely be messy and volatile, our baseline view is that a smaller union will persist. To be sustainable, it will have to be underpinned by much stronger fiscal union, greater support for the banking system, and mutualization of debt to mitigate cross-border capital flight risks.

2012-06-04 4 Reasons Europe is a Major Risk for US Stocks by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Some investors have argued that events in Europe are having a disproportionate impact on US stocks. Their logic: the US is in the midst of a recovery, albeit a fairly anemic one, that is unlikely to be derailed by Europes travails. Its true that the US economy is doing much better than Europes, and especially southern Europes. But from my perspective, the trajectory of the US economy and the US stock market are very much tied to eurozone events. Here are four reasons why US investors should not underestimate the potential impact of events in Europe.

2012-06-04 Job Recap/How Big of an Impact from Europe? by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Job growth has slowed. However, its unclear exactly why or even, despite all the hand-wringing on Friday, whether its something to worry about. A European recession would have a moderate impact on U.S. exports, but there are some positives. There are a number of other possible explanations for the recent slowdown in (seasonally adjusted) job growth.Firms may be reluctant to hire for a number of reasons: political uncertainty, fiscal policy uncertainty, higher gasoline prices, and worries about the fallout from Europe.

2012-06-04 Alternative Mutual Funds See Continued Growth by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis of Fortigent

During an especially difficult week, global equity markets were deep in the red, as the S&P 500 Index lost 3.2% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 3.3%. There was no shortage of disappointing data during the course of the past week, ranging from weakness in the ISM manufacturing survey to an underwhelming May labor market report. It was such a bad week, in fact, that Bespoke Investment Group found that 18 of the 21 economic indicators released in the U.S. fell short of expectations.

2012-06-04 The Sky Is Falling - Again by Scott Colyer of Advisors Asset Management

Last week provided a very scary end to May in both the equity and bond markets. The 10-year Treasury set a new historic low yield and the equity markets ended the week giving back all of its year-to-date gains. European fiscal and banking issues continue to overshadow the slow recovery of the U.S. economy. Of current note, the EU and ECB are trying to successfully deal with the need to recapitalize the banks of Spain. On top of this rosy news, the U.S. economy continued to show a slowdown which was indicated by a much lower than expected job creation for May.

2012-06-04 Negatives Intensify, but Panic Isn't Warranted by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

For some time, we have been suggesting that the US economy had been holding up relatively well compared to the rest of the world. While we are not changing that view, last weeks data (particularly Mays employment report) provided a negative jolt and pushed stock prices down sharply. Our summary view of the US economy is that while the United States appears to have entered another slowdown phase with the data growing more disappointing in recent weeks, the case for a renewed recession still looks flimsy.

2012-06-02 Economic Reality Bites by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

Many people became convinced that data releases earlier this year indicated that "recovery" in the U.S. was imminent. But as I have been saying for months, this evidence would ultimately be shown to be as reliable as sightings of Bigfoot. Lots of people claim to say they have seen it, some even produce plaster footprints, but in the end all we have is a guy in an ape suit. The economic recovery, that has been discussed so loudly and often in recent months, will be shown to be similarly mythical.

2012-06-02 ECRI Recession Call Update: Another Weekly Leading Index Decline by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) dropped to 122.4 from last week's 123.0 (a slight downward revision of 123.1). The WLI growth indicator also slipped, now at -0.6 as reported in Friday's public release of the data through May 25, down from the previous week's 0.1. The latest data release to the general public continues to command focus in the wake of Lakshman Achuthan repeated reaffirmation of ECRI's recession call in live interviews around the major business networks on May 9th.

2012-06-02 First Deflation, Then Inflation. But the Timing? by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

One of the more frequent questions I am asked in meetings or after a speech is whether I think we will have inflation or deflation. My ready answer is, Yes. Then I stop, which I must admit is rather fun, as the person who asked tries to digest the answer. And while my answer is flippant, its also the truth, as I do expect both outcomes. So the follow-up question (after the obligatory chuckle from the rest of the group) is for a few more specifics. And the answer is that I expect we will first see deflation and then inflation, but the key is the timing.

2012-06-01 Austerity and Debt Realism by Kenneth Rogoff of Project Syndicate

With many of todays advanced economies near or approaching the 90%-of-GDP level that loosely marks high-debt periods, expanding todays already large deficits is a risky proposition, not the cost-free strategy that many advocate. On the contrary, the impact of prolonged high debt levels on long-term growth is likely to be profound.

2012-06-01 Our Take on Todays Payroll Numbers by Doug MacKay of Broadleaf Partners

This mornings payroll numbers were disappointing, a fact that is being reflected in the performance of todays stock market, now down nearly 2%. Total non-farm payrolls were expected to show a gain of 150K, but increased only 69K, while the total unemployment rate edged up to 8.2% from 8.1% previously. While still in positive territory, the numbers just werent encouraging in the face of so much global uncertainty coming out of Europe and China. A client sent us a short email exclaiming Yikes and then asked us if the world was coming to an end. This was our unedited response.

2012-05-30 CBO Warns of Recession in 2013 by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has calculated the expected negative effects on the US economy if the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year. Their numbers just released last week are eye-opening! To give us some perspective, US Gross Domestic Product rose by 2.2% (annual rate) in the 1Q of this year.

2012-05-30 Beyond Short-Term Risks, Stocks Are Growing More Attractive by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Given our view that the European debt crisis should remain reasonably well contained and our belief that the US recovery remains on track, our outlook for risk assets continues to be a positive one. The combination of the rising equity risk premium, falling stock prices, improving corporate arnings and lower Treasury yields means that stocks have become quite cheap relative to bonds. Assuming that the world is not headed for a renewed deflationary spiral, there is little doubt in our view that stocks are poised to provide superior long-term returns over bonds given their current levels.

2012-05-29 Can Krugman Fix Our Economy? by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Our economy faces depression-like conditions, according to Paul Krugman, in its alarmingly high unemployment rate. It needn’t be that way, though, Krugman says – a few simple steps could quickly solve our problems.

2012-05-29 AND THATS THE WEEK THAT WAS by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

When something seems too good to be true For years, investors had (im)patiently awaited the Facebook IPO and a chance to own a piece of the new new thing. Zuckerberg and Co. liked the control and were already wealthy; however, inevitably, they would be selling a piece of the pie to would-be buyers willing to invest, despite a complete lack of understanding of its revenue model. (When has that stopped investors before?) Every new random offering brought more anticipation about Facebooks which finally went public on May 18th.

2012-05-29 The Bargains in Europe's Great Oversell by Bob Veres (Article)

When was the last time we saw negative headlines drive valuations as low as they have in Europe? Evermore's David Marcus, who succeeded Michael Price as manager of the Mutual European Fund, says this period of obsession with Greek debt, bank restructuring and single-digit P/Es may be known as The Great Oversell.

2012-05-29 Asia Exposed by Stephen Roach of Project Syndicate

For the second time in less than four years, Asia is being hit with a major external demand shock. This time it is from Europe, with financial and trade linkages leaving Asia highly vulnerable to a raging sovereign-debt crisis that threatens to turn a mild recession into something far worse. There are no oases of prosperity in a crisis-prone globalized world. That is equally true for Asia, the worlds fastest-growing region.

2012-05-29 The Reality of the Situation by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

If one steps back from the trees to observe the forest, the reality of the situation is that Europe is already largely in recession, the global economy is slipping quickly toward the same outcome, and in my view, the U.S. is also entering a recession that will ultimately be dated as beginning in May or June of 2012 (i.e. now). The economic headwinds already in place are likely to make any meaningful budget progress virtually impossible in the Eurozone, and without meaningful budget progress, the likelihood of continued bailouts to peripheral European states is slim.

2012-05-29 Being There by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

The call for this week: I am out of the country seeing institutional accounts, so these may be the only strategy comments for the week. In my absence the stock market will likely resolve its near-term directionality because the "selling stampede" is now 18 sessions long and such stampedes tend not to last for more than 17 to 25 sessions. Despite the decline, by my work there has been no Dow Theory "sell signal," although there are some Wall Street wags who are using very short-term pivot points and believe otherwise.

2012-05-29 What is the "Fiscal Cliff"? by Andy Friedman of Washington Update

In recent months, a new phrase has entered the national lexicon, a phrase that is likely to reverberate with increasing intensity in the months ahead. That phrase is fiscal cliff. The fiscal cliff refers to the abrupt slowdown in the economy that could occur in 2013 if taxes rise and government spending falls as currently scheduled. The fiscal cliff has a number of components. Among them are: expiration of the Bush tax cuts, expiration of the payroll tax cut, new health care reform taxes, and spending cuts.

2012-05-29 Unraveling the Mess in Europe by Charles Lieberman (Article)

There is considerable nonsense written about the European debt crisis. Greece must balance its books, whether they remain inside the Euro or not. There are major benefits and costs to both remaining inside the Euro and to exiting. There is no silver bullet that will solve their problems easily. More broadly, banks need to be recapitalized all across Europe. This has not been done as yet, perhaps for political reasons, which only compounds the economic problems and allows them to fester. It seems like the Europeans are working towards solutions, but painfully slowly.

2012-05-29 Europe Is Near Term Driver of Market Movements by John Buckingham of AFAM

Plenty of uncertainty surrounds developments in Europe, so Ive chosen to pen this Memorial Day version of our Market Commentary on Monday afternoon rather than the usual Sunday evening. Of course, had the U.S. stock markets been open today, we might have seen a modest advance, given that the equity futures were suggesting that gains of some 40 or 50 Dow Jones Industrial Average points would be in the cards when trading resumes.

2012-05-29 Amid Uncertainty, What is an Investor to Do? by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Markets rebounded last week after a two-week slide. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.7% and 0.7%, respectively, in a choppy trading period. Discussion of a potential Greek exit from the Eurozone rattled investors, while economic data in the US was modestly positive.

2012-05-26 ECRI Recession Call Update: Weekly Leading Index Declines Again by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) dropped to 123.1 from a slight downward revision of 124.4 (see the fifth chart below). The WLI growth indicator also slipped, now at 0.1 as reported in Friday's public release of the data through May 18, down from the previous week's 0.4. The latest data release to the general public continues to command focus in the wake of Lakshman Achuthan repeated reaffirmation of ECRI's recession call in live interviews around the major business networks on May 9th.

2012-05-26 Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We need to tear our gaze away from Europe and look around at what is happening in the rest of the world. There is about to be an eerily near-simultaneous ending to the quantitative easing by the four major central banks while global growth is slowing down. And so, while the future of Europe is up for grabs, the true danger to global markets and growth may be elsewhere.

2012-05-25 Sysco - Building A Case For A Return To Growth by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Sysco Corp is an extremely high quality powerful franchise that is positioning itself for long-term future growth. Currently, the company controls about 17 % of the $225 billion North American food service distribution market. Since this industry is currently experiencing stress, it seems only logical that Sysco is best positioned among its peers to survive and prosper. On the other hand, many of its smaller local and regional competitors may not.

2012-05-24 Blue-Chip Dividend Growth Stocks Todays Strong Option For Retirement Portfolios - Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

There is a confluence of factors that are painting a very odd picture of current investor behavior. Common sense and a careful analysis of the market dynamics between equities and bonds today would indicate that investors should be acting in the exact opposite manner than they are. Interest rates are hovering at a 100-year low, which creates two problems for investors. First, there is not enough return from bonds to fund a retirees income needs or to fight inflation. Second, investing in bonds with interest rates so low makes it riskier to own bonds today than it has been in over a century.

2012-05-24 Europe's Tragedy Nears the End of Act One, but the Drama Continues by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

What a difference a year can make. When a group of European Union experts met at a workshop in Italy's Tuscan hills in the spring of 2011, the center of attention was Greece and its ever-growing sovereign debt crisis. Could it, should it, default on debt repayments? And what would happen then? The delegates wondered whether the result might be a meltdown not just of the Greek economy but of Europe as a whole.

2012-05-24 The Real Crash by Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital

I first came to national attention back in 2008 and 2009 when the housing and credit markets imploded. I became known as the guy that other market "experts" laughed at when I warned of trouble brewing in the seemingly indestructible American economy. After the wheels ground to a halt in mid-2008, people noticed that my bookCrash Proof, originally released in early 2007, read like a detailed preview of many of the events that eventually unfolded.

2012-05-24 Through the Economic Lens: 2012 Looks More Like 2010 by Robert Stein of Astor Asset Management

The recent selloff in the market, with nervous investors made all the more so because of the medias obsession with financial issues in Europe, is renewing talk about bear markets and recessions as people head for cover. In the midst of their misguided fears of a contagion effect, there is also concern about the fiscal cliff, spending cuts and higher tax rates that, at this point, will take effect on January 1. (Funny how that sounds like it would be a good idea for our debt problem.)

2012-05-23 Is Quantitative Easing the Silver Bullet to Economic Recovery? by Joseph Giulitto of Trust Company of America

I saw this quote recently while researching another topic. I found it to be appropriate to capture the challenge that professional money managers have in finding investments appropriate for the current domestic economic and geopolitical environment. The rules (that apply to what makes an investment good or bad) that have been established over the previous 40 years of investing are no longer relevant, and those investments that typically would struggle during a massive global recession have been successful in achieving a rising valuation.

2012-05-23 Greece Poised to Default & Exit the Euro by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Weve all heard horror stories about the global financial crisis that could unfold if tiny Greece defaults on its debts later this year. There are genuine fears that if Greece defaults, that leaves the door open to similar defaults by Portugal, Ireland and possibly even Spain. Some fear, in this nightmare scenario, that even Italy could default (although I doubt it). Will the ECB pony up even more taxpayer money for Greece this time around? Most agree that this will be decided largely by Germany.

2012-05-23 Global Investment Outlook by Mike Turner of Aberdeen Asset Management

Investors continue to focus on the global macroeconomic backdrop, which is still relatively positive despite slightly disappointing data recently. There are signs that some of the imbalances within the Eurozone are starting to ease as competitiveness is improving in some of the peripheral countries and this is beginning to be reflected in trade figures. Looking further ahead, we feel that global consumption should be supported by falling headline inflation.

2012-05-22 David Rosenberg - I am not a Permabear by Robert Huebscher (Article)

While most sell-side analysts are correctly classified as permabulls, Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg has been branded as the opposite - a permabear. He rejects that label. He recently said he's indeed bullish - on bonds and income - and has been so for quite a while.

2012-05-22 Investing Through a Bumpy Ride by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

Its been a tough quarter so far. The U.S. economy is still growing, but not at a sufficient pace to excite anyone. Meanwhile, investors have had plenty to worry about including a fiscal cliff in the United States, a slowdown in China and, right now most ominously, further turmoil in Europe. Despite plenty to worry about, the realities of a U.S. economic recovery, very conservative allocations and relatively attractive valuations suggest that investors should still consider adding stocks and other risky assets to their portfolios.

2012-05-22 Were Off to See the Wizard by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

In October of 2010 we explained in a missive called The Wizard of Oz that investors had put too much confidence in the ability of a group of Chinese National, US-educated economists to manage the China economy. Thanks to the writing of Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in The Telegraph on May 13th of 2012, we can see just how successful the Wizard has been in perpetuating the myth that China can be the first major world economy to defy business cycles.

2012-05-22 Weekly Commentary and Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week saw the worst week for stocks of the year, caused by the continued fears over the impending break-up of the European Monetary Union as well as the colossal flop of the IPO of Facebook, and the burgeoning horror at the trading losses at JP Morgan. Sad to say that the fears of the past several months, as expressed in these weekly commentaries, seem to be materializing. The circus act known as Europe is back in recession, as political leadership is simply not possible given the pressures of seventeen sovereign nations.

2012-05-21 Liquidation Syndrome by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Presently, the market remains richly valued on normalized earnings, and is coming off of a speculative peak with an abrupt and persistent initial decline. All of this reflects what might be called a "liquidation syndrome" that is selective for awful drops that began in 1969, 1972, 1987, 2000, 2007, and the more moderate but still steep losses in 1998, 2010, and 2011.

2012-05-21 Global Shipping: Any Port in a Storm? by Sai Devabhaktuni and Gregory Kennedy of PIMCO

With the exception of LNG tankers, all three major shipping categories have been suffering from a supply glut. This, combined with higher fuel costs, has led many shipping companies into financial distress. Although banks have worked with ship owners through this down cycle, they have also pulled back from financing the industry. We believe downside risks are likely minimized in the shipping industry for new lenders and investors. Vessel values are depressed by rates that are sometimes below owners' operating costs and by an oversupplied market that suppresses secondary market values.

2012-05-21 Facebook IPO Not a Flop; Underwriters Priced it Right by John Buckingham of AFAM

he social media giant ended its first day of trading up a measly 23 cents, or 0.6% from its $38 offering price, and technical difficulties at Nasdaq delayed the opening of trading and impacted market activity throughout the day, I give kudos to the underwriters for actually pricing the deal as best they could to match the relatively limited supply to the unprecedented demand. Certainly, Facebook could eventually grow into its lofty valuation, but it is eye-opening to think the disappointing first day of trading still left the company with a $100 billion+ market capitalization.

2012-05-21 And Thats The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Dell (5/22), HP (5/23) and Costco (5/24) release earnings next week, but no one seems to care much these days. The Greek crisis and ongoing EU contagion will weigh on investors as G8 leaders head to Camp David to debate fiscal responsibility. (Any opportunities to compromise, Germany?) Talks of harsh financial regs continue to heat up in the aftermath of JP Morgan. Did you guys cash-out of any Facebook (as a hedge), Mr. Dimon?

2012-05-19 Dr. Frankensteins Europe by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

We explore the options that the eurozone faces in order to stay together, and what it all means for some of the countries involved. While I have written for a very long time about the probability of Greece exiting the eurozone, the actuality is fraught with risk, not just for Europe but for the world economy. What happens in the next few months will impact us all for a very long time. Indeed, this is one of those years, as Lenin noted, when decades happen.

2012-05-18 Blue-Chip Dividend Growth Stocks Todays Strong Option For Retirement Portfolios - Part 1 by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

There are many pundits and prognosticators that never weary of attempting to convince investors on how risky it is to invest in equities, even high-quality dividend blue-chip paying equities. Invariably, they will always point to volatility as the evidence supporting their thesis that stocks are too risky of an investment for retirees. I believe this is a great travesty that is prominently promogulated upon an unwary investing public. The inevitable interruptions in the business cycle have conditioned people into believing that stocks are riskier than they really are, at least in my opinion.

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.

2012-05-17 Our Fixed Income Insights on Yield Traps by Team of American Century Investments

From a fixed income perspective, we explain why aggressive yield-enhancing strategiesresulting from this extended period of historically low U.S. interest rates and yieldscan threaten the potentially valuable long-term portfolio benefits from holding fixed income positions. In particular, chasing yieldand stumbling into yield trapscan derail the important volatility reduction and diversification benefits offered by carefully selected and well-managed fixed income holdings.

2012-05-17 Greece Must Exit by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The Greek euro tragedy is reaching its final act: it is clear that either this year or next, Greece is highly likely to default on its debt and exit the eurozone.Like a doomed marriage, it is better to have rules for the inevitable breakup that make separation less costly to both sides.

2012-05-16 Germany Faces Political Isolation by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

One month ago it appeared that Germany held the whip hand in its titanic struggle against those seeking to cure all economic ills with the snake oil of currency debasement. Now, it appears that the ground beneath its feet is being swept away in a flood of popular unrest and political exploitation. The recent elections in Europe, which highlight both the strong grass roots revolt against Germanic demands in Greece and France show that the cause of sound money and fiscal prudence to be a lonely and difficult endeavor.

2012-05-16 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

If you listened carefully to the CEOs during their earnings announcements, they were tepidly upbeat but upbeat nonetheless, as they looked forward into the remainder of the year. On a day-to-day basis the markets will be driven by the headlines and emotions. We encourage you to refrain from getting caught up in that fray. At the end of the day it will be about an economy that moves forward creating jobs and not one built on the back of debt.

2012-05-15 An Attack on Paul Krugman by Michael Edesess (Article)

A foundational principle of modern economics is that the creation of credit leads to economic growth. That precept underlies need for quantitative easing, and it is central to the question of what role monetary policy can and should play in stimulating a faster recovery from the Great Recession. It is also the subject of a debate between one of the world's most prominent economic scholars, Paul Krugman, and a feisty Australian economist, Steve Keen.

2012-05-15 Dividends: A Timeless Component of Equity Return by Loomis Sayles & Company, L.P. (Article)

With interest rates at historic lows and many dividend-paying stocks boasting yields comparable to or higher than US Treasurys, it is no wonder that dividends have recently been at the forefront of many investors' minds. But dividends have a long history as a significant component of total return, and today's buzz is just the most recent chapter.

2012-05-15 Austerity Its All In The Timing by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

One problem with designing fiscal stimulus is determining how rapidly to move back toward fiscal balance. The U.S. economy has already faced some degree of austerity. According to the National Income and Product Accounts, government consumption and investment subtracted 0.6 percentage point from GDP growth over the last six quarters, where in normal times, it would have added about 0.3 percentage point (consistent with population growth). Real GDP averaged 1.8% growth over the last six quarters. It would have been nearly a full percentage point higher if not for the contraction in government.

2012-05-15 Ponzi's Children by Michael Lewitt (Article)

Europe, whose economic condition is nothing less than terminal, is about to receive what physicians refer to as a 'zetz' of morphine in the form of M. Hollande. A 'zetz' is the final dose that doctors give to dying patients to hasten their passage to the afterlife. In Europe's case, however, the medicine is not going to be painless, and its administration is not based on mercy but on resentment and stupidity.

2012-05-15 Cummins Inc: Gear Up Your Dividend Portfolio For Strong Growth With A Dividend Kicker by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

The recent pull-back in Cummins' stock price has created an excellent opportunity for prudent investors seeking growth and income an opportunity to achieve above-average long-term results. The company has little debt on their balance sheet, the potential for strong growth and a recent history of increasing their dividend consistent with their earnings growth. A quick glance at their historical earnings and price correlated graph show that anytime the company could be purchased at a PE ratio below 14, like it is today, represents an excellent long-term buying opportunity.

2012-05-15 Earnings Seasons Recap: Is Corporate Strength Fading? by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis of Fortigent

Strength in the corporate sector since the recession ended has been well documented. In the face of general economic malaise, record profits have been achieved through aggressive cost-cutting and low financing costs. This phenomenon has been one of the major pillars propping up the markets (with the other being central bank policy). Now with Q1 earnings season all but over, it is not unreasonable to question whether that corporate strength is fading. Initial impressions of first quarter earnings season were very favorable after the first big wave of earnings releases.

2012-05-15 Searching for Big Foot by Anwiti Bahuguna of Columbia Management

For the past few years, the sovereign bond markets have pushed peripheral European countries to reduce public debt. This has meant adopting austerity measures whereby government budgets are slashed and taxes are raised. Such measures meet investors approval. However, the immediate impact of such efforts is less economic growth which is intolerable to the people in Europe. The path to sustainable growth is complicated and requires long-term investments. We believe despite decades of research on the topic, academic efforts have not found a clear answer. Perhaps finding Big Foot will be easier.

2012-05-15 Sex, Money and Largesse: The Hidden Depression by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

"Sex" and "Money" are probably two of the most powerful words in the English language. First, those two words got you to look at this article. They also sell products, books and services from "How To Have Better Sex" to "How To Make More Money" ostensibly so you can have more of the former. Unfortunately, they are also the two primary causes of divorce in the country today.

2012-05-14 Dancing at the Edge of a Cliff by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Our recession concerns remain intact, as do our separate concerns about extreme stock market risk. I've emphasized that our estimate of prospective market return/risk in stocks has slipped into the most negative 0.5% of historical data. Last week that estimate actually deteriorated, but I am reluctant to make comments on such a small sample, as the only more negative estimate in post-Depression history was on September 16, 2000. Even in the conditions that match the worst 2% of our return/risk estimates, the market has lost an average of 20-25% just in the following 6-month period.

2012-05-14 Economic Insights: Consumer SpendingBack in the Black by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Since late 2011, measures of consumption show acceleration in virtually all categories. In one sense, this is good news for the economy, as it will push the pace of overall growth and, ultimately, prompt more hiring, which in itself will reinforce spending growth. But this new trend raises longer-term concerns. More liberal consumer spending can only take the economy so far. Because heightened levels of consumption will limit households abilities to make needed improvements in their finances, any effort to boost outlays too far too fast would only threaten pinched finances at a later date.

2012-05-14 Time to Face Reality by Charles Lieberman (Article)

European markets remain in turmoil, even as these governments prefer to keep their heads buried in the sand. Sooner or later, reality intrudes. Greece and Spain are in the vanguard of being forced out of their fantasy world and a second default, following closely on the first, now appears likely. Greece is small enough so its problems will impinge little on markets, if Spain can handle its bank issues sensibly. Europe's attention will soon shift towards protecting Spain.

2012-05-14 The Bull Market Has Not Yet Reached Its Highs by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

It has been the case for some time, but recent events serve as a reminder that the primary risk to the global economy and markets is the ongoing debt crisis in Europe. Confidence over policymakers' ability to deal with the crisis took a hit recently given that the election results in Greece and France signal a shift away from governments' willingness to move forward with unpopular austerity measures. The resulting political uncertainty and investor confusion has put downward pressure on stocks and other risk assets. Unfortunately, the reality is there is no quick fix for Europe's problems.

2012-05-14 And Thats The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Europe is never too far away from the headlines and investors surely will be watching 1) Greece to see if its internal politicos can get along to forge a coalition and 2) France to see if its new Prez can make nice with German Chancellor Merkel. Retailers take center-stage next week as Home Depot, JC Penney, Target, Wal-Mart, and Gap all post earnings. Additionally, retail sales heads a hectic week on the economic calendar, though investors must remember that declining energy prices should help in the months to come.

2012-05-14 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stocks have endured a rough couple of weeks as it has finally become obvious to everyone that the socalled recovery in the US has been a mirage while the difficulties in Europe have never been addressed. The latter problem is due to the flawed structure of the European Monetary Union, while our problem has to do with an incorrect mixture of policy choices from Washington and in many of our larger states such as California and Illinois. Last week saw a decline of 1.7% for the Dow Jones and .76% for the NASDAQ Composite. These declines were very modest compared to the carnage in Europe and Asia.

2012-05-12 Waving the White Flag by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Europe has embarked on a program that will require multiple trillions of euros of freshly minted money in order to maintain the eurozone. But the alternative, European leaders agree, is even worse. Today we will look at the recent German shift in policy, why it was so predictable, and what it means. This is a Ponzi scheme that makes Madoff look like a small-time street hustler.

2012-05-11 Spring Quarterly Commentary by John G. Prichard of Knightsbridge Asset Management

U.S. GDP rose at a disappointing 2.2% annual rate during the first quarter of 2012; so far this recovery has been too weak to reduce relative government debt levels through growth. A step toward austerity is next years fiscal cliff which features automatic spending cuts and tax increases. We have been told one-third of the entire tax code is expiring at the end of this year, with payroll, income, capital gain and dividend tax burdens all set to increase. Simultaneously, automatic cuts to defense and other discretionary areas of the Federal budget are set to take effect.

2012-05-11 ECRI Update: Reaffirming the Recession Call ... Again by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) growth indicator of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is now at 0.1 as reported in todays public release of the data through May 4. This is essentially unchanged from last week. However, the underlying WLI again rose fractionally from an adjusted 124.6 to 125.4 (see the fourth chart below). The big news this week, however, is not the weekly data update but ECRI's latest reaffirmation of its recession call in a Bloomberg interview with ECRIs Lakshman Achuthan earlier this week. Ive embedded a link to the nine-minute video on the Bloomberg website.

2012-05-11 Charting Crude by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

Crude and gasoline have been in the press a great deal recently. Headlines touting the potential recession being exacerbated by high prices of crude and gasoline have also been met with statements about the need to regulate the speculators who are the ones to blame. We have mentioned our view on this several times over the last few weeks. Last week we mentioned a chart pattern corresponding with a negative backdrop that could push crude down in the short run. Consider the move in the Crude over the last five days.

2012-05-11 Here We Go Again....or Not? by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Softer economic data has prompted concerns that the market may be headed for a summer swoonsimilar to the previous two years. We believe the backdrop is decidedly different (and better) this time around but investor and business confidence will continue to be important. Some appear to be hoping for weaker data in order to spur the Fed to enact QE3. We believe the bar is much higher and that the Fed should look to return to a more normal monetary stance. Complicating the overall picture and the Feds job is the coming "fiscal cliff" out of Washington at the end of this year.

2012-05-11 Looking to China to Fire Up its Economy by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Following on the heels of renewed concern over Europes debt situation, China released its monthly economic data. Fixed asset investment, industrial production and retail sales all rose in April, yet growth was not as strong as analysts anticipated. Weak is the word to describe Chinas April figures, says CLSAs Andy Rothman in his Sinology Report. But China wants the ability to manage a stable decline to promote medium-to-long-term structural reforms as well as avoid a hard landing, says CEBM.

2012-05-11 The US: Stuck in the Slow Lane How Long? by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

A slow growth world does not necessarily mean the death of equities or the absence of opportunities. It does, however, suggest that investors need to have realistic expectations for the US economy, and for most of the developed world. Slower growth, lower interest rates and lower multiples are arguably consequences of higher public debt. And this may be an issue were still contending with in two decades time.

2012-05-10 Speed Up Your Portfolio Performance With Comcast by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Comcast has been a very consistent growth stock since 2004. However, as we previously stated, overvaluation kept shareholders from earning the returns that Comcasts excellent operating achievements deserved. However, valuation became aligned with earnings in late 2008, and the company instituted a dividend in calendar year 2008. Today the combination of above-average past and expected future growth with an above market and potentially growing yield, position the company for attractive future returns.

2012-05-10 I Question, Therefore I Am by Francois Sicart of Tocqueville Asset Management

Historically, the attraction of value investing has been that, by purchasing stocks whose price does not incorporate a large hope premium over intrinsic value, the downside would be muted. Conversely, the potential for the premium to increase should investors perceptions change would promise worthwhile returns even in the absence of spectacular growth by the company. These assumptions suffered a severe setback in 2007-2009, when practically all stocks were caught into the same panic-driven downward spiral. But it does not entirely negate their validity.

2012-05-10 International Equity: Monthly Product Commentary April 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

International equity prices remained subdued during the month of April as concerns over the European fiscal crisis continued to cloud market sentiment. Accordingly, price declines were the greatest in Europe while select markets in Asia and Latin America outperformed. As expected, the economies of both the U.K. and Spain contracted during the first quarter, and underscored the mild recession the region is facing at the moment. Bond yields of some of the troubled countries such as Spain and Italy have increased in recent weeks, and investor response to new bond issues remains lukewarm.

2012-05-10 Emerging Markets Equity: Monthly Product Commentary April 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging market equity prices were subdued for the second successive month in April as renewed concerns over the European fiscal crisis dulled the outlook for exports from some of the leading emerging economies. The moderate correction in energy and other commodity prices also dampened the optimism over economic growth in some of the leading resource exporting countries. Among the major emerging markets, Brazil declined the most followed by India and Taiwan. Most emerging markets in Europe also underperformed during the month.

2012-05-10 Global Overview: April 2012 The European crisis continues to cloud global outlook by Team of Thomas White International

Global equity prices corrected marginally for the second successive month, while energy and other commodity prices have also moderated in recent weeks. However, led by the U.S., China, and India, global factory output continued to expand in April. Consumer demand remains healthy in most major economies, except Europe, and data from Japan suggests that a healthy recovery is underway as expected. In its updated forecasts, the IMF has increased its global GDP growth expectations for the current year to 3.5 percent from 3.3 percent earlier.

2012-05-10 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 Pacific Basin Market Overview - April 2012 by Team of Nomura Asset Management

In April, risk-averse sentiment prevailed throughout the global financial markets amid fresh concerns about the prospects for European sovereign debt. Recent economic indicators have presented mixed signals, with signs that the Western economies are at a standstill together with a recovery for Asian industrial countries. Our outlook for global economic growth remains reasonably optimistic, and financial markets in the near future will be highly dependent on monetary policy. In the developed economies, we believe the authorities will probably take additional easing measures.

2012-05-09 Will The Bond Mania End Ugly? by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

Mass migrations of the investment public from one asset class to another have often ended very badly. We can all remember the late 2000-2002 bear market in stocks when the S&P 500 plunged almost 50% and the Nasdaq over 70%. Investors had been in a mania for stocks during the late 1990s. I believe what were seeing today qualifies as a mania for Treasury bonds. Im not predicting that the current bond bubble will end the way the dot.com mania ended, but it wont take a huge increase in interest rates to put a lot of bond fund investors who came late to the party underwater.

2012-05-09 Economic Update by Team of Cambridge Advisors

More money has flowed out of stock funds and into bond funds consistently over the past three years even though stock returns have outpaced bond returns and forward looking bond fund returns are expected to be low and possibly negative. This movement reflects investor aversion to the inherent risk in stocks. Bond investments tend to provide some stability to a portfolio when stock prices decline.

2012-05-08 Q2 Outlook: "Sell in May" May Not Work This Year by OppenheimerFunds (Article)

Chief Economist Jerry Webman explains why he believes the U.S. economic recovery is real and CIO Art Steinmetz talks about how stocks are as cheap compared to bonds as they have been in decades.

2012-05-08 Mohamed El-Erian and David McWilliams: The Key to Resolving Europe's Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Dealing with a crisis requires three things, according to Jack Welch, General Electric's former CEO. Define your reality - not as you would like it to be, but as it is. Do something about it. Then, third, acknowledge that the crisis wasn't half as difficult as you thought it was. Germany is the key player in Europe's crisis today, and it is still struggling to accurately define its reality.

2012-05-08 Jobs: Tale from Two Continents by Komal Sri-Kumar of TCW Asset Management

As in the case of Europe, the U.S. unemployment situation is likely to get worse in coming months because few moves toward meaningful structural changes in the labor market (e.g., training for the unemployed to improve skills), or fiscal shifts to aid hiring (e.g., targeted employment tax-credits) are likely to be implemented before the November presidential elections. We may have to wait for a reelected President Obama, or President Romney, to move in this direction in 2013.

2012-05-08 Why Be Scared Of A Hat by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

Markets tend to overreact and the last few weeks in France were no exception. Equities fell around 9% on the expectation of a change in government. On close look, the Hollande manifesto is modest...a change in retirement age here, a year difference to a balanced budget, a non-descript growth pledge, tax banks more, reduce immigration. Markets also have notoriously short memories: socialist (i.e. left of center) governments are good for markets. Stocks rose vigorously in the years after leftist governments took control of France in 1981, Sweden in 1998, the UK in 1997, the US in 1992.

2012-05-08 Use Snail Mail to Place Your FedEx Order by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

After suffering from shrinking earnings during the great recession, FedEx (FDX) appears on track to once again deliver the goods profitably. However, the market seems to have already recognized the current opportunity and pushed valuation to the outer limits of fair value. Therefore, FedEx may be an investment that requires patience. Aggressive investors could take a position here, but more conservative investors may want to wait for a more attractive entry point.

2012-05-08 Dont Fight the Last War Lessons from the Battlefields of Risk Management by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

Investors often behave as if they operate in a world of logic and certainty even when that is not the case. For that reason, history is littered with investors who have failed miserably. In this month's Absolute Return Letter we look at many of the pitfalls facing risk managers and we take a stab at where the next big crisis is going to surface. Our conclusion may surprise a few readers.

2012-05-08 A New Economic Era: The Usual Rules No Longer Apply by Dawn Bennett of Bennett Group Financial Services

Against this backdrop of economic woes in the U.S. and Europe, business activity in Asia and Latin America is on the rise. The developing economies and emerging markets are where we see the better metrics, not in the US, Europe or Japan. One needs to look at the BRIC countries connection to commodities growth, and understand how they are getting on top of inflation. We believe China will lead the emerging markets in 2012. They will lean towards easing so their consumers will not be hurt by the less than healthy European export business as well as the weaknesses in the exports to the U.S.

2012-05-07 Economic Insights: Earnings GrowthIs It Enough? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

After two-plus years of exceeding expectations, earnings this year seem poised to reflect the plodding nature of this economic recovery. In 2010 and 2011, even as the real economy managed only a paltry 2.4% average annual rate of expansion, the earnings of S&P 500 companies soared, rising more than 47% in 2010 and almost 20% in 2011. This year, the slow fundamentals will surely assert themselves. There is nothing ominous in the pattern. It is, after all, well-established historically that earnings should come into line with slower-growing revenues in this, the third year of economic recovery.

2012-05-07 Q1 2012 Letter by Team of Grey Owl Capital Management

The overall equity markets strong first quarter rally was narrowly focused and, from our perspective, fragile. Cutting to the chase, we think both stocks and bonds are expensive. During the quarter, we used opportunities presented by Mr. Market to trim some of our lower quality positions and to add starter positions in a few high quality businesses. We also added to our short-term, high-yield fixed income holdings, sources of return that we expect to show less volatility but results equal to or better than the broad equity market indices.

2012-05-07 Mixed Data and Patience is a Virtue by John Buckingham of AFAM

The labor report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that nonfarm payroll employment rose by 115,000 in April, and that the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1%. The improvement in the jobless rate came about only because 342,000 folks left the workforce, so there was little cause for cheer, even though the rate stood at 9.0% in April 2011 and 9.9% in April 2010. Employment increased in professional and business services, retail trade and health care, but declined in transportation and warehousing, while the private sector added 130,000 jobs and government payrolls fell by 15,000.

2012-05-07 After Austerity by Joseph E. Stiglitz of Project Syndicate

So many economies are vulnerable to natural disasters earthquakes, floods, typhoons, hurricanes, tsunamis that adding a man-made disaster is all the more tragic. The pain that Europe, especially its poor and young, is suffering as a result of its leaders willful ignorance of the lessons of the past is entirely unnecessary.

2012-05-07 Unbalanced Risk by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

Maybe our present concerns won't amount to as much downside as we expect. But if investors were to choose a point to test the hypothesis that this time will be different and risk will be well-rewarded, I hardly think a worse moment could be found.

2012-05-07 The Labor Market Outlook by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

The April Employment Report disappointed stock market participants. However, it really wasnt a bad report. Private-sector job growth has been moderately strong this year. The Household Survey data suggest that the economic expansion has been strong enough to absorb the growth in the working-age population, but not enough to take up much of the labor market slack that was generated during the downturn. These figures tell us nothing about where the labor market is headed. Job growth over the next six months will have important implications for investors and for the November election.

2012-05-05 Late Bull Stampede Turns Bears Into April Fools by Douglas Cote of ING Investment Management

April should have derailed the market, but it didnt; a temporary pullback was the best the bears could muster. The bears normally make money by betting against the crowded trade; by being on the sidelines, the bears now are the crowded trade and in foolish fashion. The bulls, meanwhile, find themselves in the odd position of being seen as contrarians, even though fundamentals are setting records and equity market performance over the last two quarters has been spectacular. Let the stampede continue!

2012-05-05 A Graphic Presentation by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The job market is still in a deep hole. At April's rate of job gains, it would take well over three years to return to December 2007's employment level, without adjusting for population growth; at the average rate of the last six months, it would take about two years. Earnings are weak, and the strongest sectors aren't those of which economic miracles are spun. QE3 looks like more of a possibility than it did a few days ago.

2012-05-04 Bullish on America by Andrew J. Redleaf of Whitebox Advisors

Todays crisis has nothing to do with the shadow banking system or any other sort of shadow. Todays crisis is all out in the bright sunshine and remarkably straightforward. The supposed danger is that some major economic power (i.e., not Greece) will become unable to access credit markets. Spanish or Italian or French bonds will decline so steeply as to imperil the banks that own them or appear to do so, causing a run on global financial institutions as severe as 2008s.

2012-05-04 Southern Co: A Solid Dividend Choice Worth Waiting For by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

We believe that Southern Company represents an extremely high-quality option for the investors seeking a high level of current income with an opportunity to grow moderately. However, we believe the current valuation is a little extended. Although Southern Co's current stock price is currently within our corridor of value, it is at the high end. Therefore, we would be more comfortable in recommending Southern Company if the PE ratio were a couple of points lower. On the other hand, Southern Company is an extremely high-quality and stable utility that may be worth waiting for.

2012-05-04 Apple is a WantGlobal Resources are Needs by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

Investors seem to be overlooking the fact that Apples products are wants, not needs. Millions of consumers want an iPad and many want a computer, yet, every single person in the world needs global resources. We need companies to grow our food; we need oil, natural gas and coal to fuel our cities. And so do the other 7 billion people on the planet. To outperform the S&P 500 over the long term, we believe investors should overweight their portfolio to the global products and services that people need, not want.

2012-05-04 Back In by Mark Kiesel of PIMCO

U.S. housing may be a decent place to put money over the next several years due to improved absolute and relative valuations. U.S. housing fundamentals have improved significantly, led by lower prices, record low mortgage rates, improving inventory and delinquency trends and a gradually improving labor market, which in combination are helping homebuyer confidence and potential demand. While the outlook for U.S. housing has improved, several headwinds remain, including tight credit, potential supply from the shadow inventory and weak household formation due to a subpar economic recovery.

2012-05-04 ECRI Weekly Leading Indicator: Third Consecutive Decline by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) growth indicator of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is now at 0.0 as reported in today's public release of the data through April 27. This is the third consecutive week-over-week decline since January 6th. However, the underlying WLI again rose fractionally from an adjusted 124.0 to 124.7.

2012-05-04 Watchful Waiting by Tony Crescenzi, Ben Emons, Andrew Bosomworth and Lupin Rahman of PIMCO

Today, the Federal Reserve itself faces an unusually uncertain period because it lacks a complete understanding of the potential side effects of its unconventional policy actions; in particular the elongated timeline of its zero interest rate policy and its massive money printing. What matters in shaping market expectations about inflation and deflation are the credibility of fiscal policy, the prospect for real economic growth and the central banks commitment to step back from the punch bowl.

2012-05-03 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Last week was a seesaw affair, with the macro news being a negative, while corporate earnings served to support stock prices. The charts above illustrate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.4% last week as the blue chips reported pretty good earnings and outlooks. The NASDAQ Composite though fell .36%, mainly because of concerns and some confusion developing in the shares of Apple, which reports tomorrow evening.

2012-05-03 Weekly Commentary & Outlook by Tom McIntyre of McIntyre, Freedman & Flynn

Stock prices rallied here in America last week as discouraging (but predictable) economic news at home along with the worsening situation in Europe were more than offset by positive earnings from Apple, dividend increases, and buybacks from countless other corporate names. As the charts above illustrate, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.5% and the NASDAQ Composite which is heavily influenced by the price of Apple improved by 2.3% last week.

2012-05-03 And Thats The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Earnings season continues (with the likes of Humana, AIG, Kraft), though investors may shift gears to focus on the economy next week as the new month brings key releases from manufacturing and labor. The recent jobless claims release has cast some doubt on the employment picture and last months lower-than-expected nonfarm additions have worried some analysts for the past month. (At least, it should look better than the picture in Spain?)

2012-05-03 Renewed Eurozone Concern as Liquidity Injections Dont Solve Solvency Woes by Thomas D. Higgins of Standish Mellon Asset Management

As investors recognize that the ECB's long-term refinancing operation is doing nothing to address the regions underlying solvency problems. Resolving those problems through monetary policy is complicated by the large disparities in economic growth and inflation across the eurozones economies, rendering both loosening and tightening inappropriate for certain parts of the region. As a result, Standish remains cautious about the European economic outlook and fears that renewed uncertainty over Europes fiscal stability could lead to another bout of global financial market volatility.

2012-05-03 A Troika of Problems by Team of BondWave Advisors

The troika of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Union (EU), and European Central Bank (ECB) has continued to prescribe austerity. But at the end of what is now a lengthy cycle of agreements and ever-increasing austerity measures, the debt still remains significant and much of the region has either been plunged into recession or is heading that way. We discuss these ongoing problems and provide additional insight on the US Treasury, Corporate and Municipal Bond Markets.

2012-05-03 Likely Triggers of the Next Recession by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

The conjecture about the next recession has raged ever since the end of the last one. Will it be in 2012 or 2013 or, if you believe the many mainstream economists' estimates, never? Historically speaking, recessions have occurred on average of about every 6-8 years regardless of monetary or fiscal policies, the strength of the economy or global peace - they occurred nonetheless. There is really no argument whether there will be a recession in our future. The only question is the timing and cause of it. The latter point is the most important. Recessions do not just happen. They need a push.

2012-05-02 Newsflash: The Dividend Aristocrats Found The Lost Decade by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Volatility can only hurt you if you react to it. And you should not react to it unless there is a real fundamental deterioration with the fundamentals of the businesses you own. If fundamentals are strong and price falls, then buy more if you can, or hold if you cant buy more. The very best companies can remain profitable even during our most severe economic challenges. Consequently, when you can find these companies on sale, regardless of what caused it, I believe you should consider optimistically investing in them. It sure beats taking losses that you dont need to absorb.

2012-05-02 Chinas Landing Pattern by Mark Mobius of Franklin Templeton

Our main investment themes in general have been focused on consumers and commodities. It is our belief that Chinese consumers are likely to continue gaining clout, and Chinese macroeconomic policy has increasingly been moving from an export-based model to one fueled by domestic demand. We also expect that demand for hard and soft commodities should remain strong as China and many other emerging markets industrialize, gain wealth and increase spending on infrastructure, which tends to tilt the balance between supply and demand in favor of producers.

2012-05-02 Digbys Umbrella and a Dinner to Remember by Christian Thwaites of Sentinel Investments

The US economy is on a painfully slow road. It is recovering. Jobs numbers are better, even though some hiring in the first quarter may have been brought forward by mild weather. Production, manufacturing and exports, all signs of regained competitiveness in the US, are showing steady improvements. And the government sector is contracting. Not on purpose mind you, but jumping off a cliff and letting inertia do the work result in the same end. Above all of this, we have a Fed using every monetary policy at their disposal to try and promote growth and employment.

2012-05-01 Q2 Outlook: by OppenheimerFunds (Article)

Chief Economist Jerry Webman explains why he believes the U.S. economic recovery is real and CIO Art Steinmetz talks about how stocks are as cheap compared to bonds as they have been in decades.

2012-05-01 Another Story of Too Much Debt: Investing During Unsustainable Economic Conditions by Brian McAuley (Article)

US-based investors cannot ignore the macro environment, and therefore must consider the consequences of our increasing indebtedness and its impact on capital markets. We can gain valuable insights into our fiscal problems from the housing bubble and the European sovereign debt crisis - lessons which every value investor should heed.

2012-05-01 A Wake-up Call on the Economy by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Economic statistics seem at times to have their own ebb and flow, sometimes overstating and sometimes understating the underlying fundamentals. Sadly, these often meaningless data variations can create false feelings about economic possibilitiesenthusiasm, when the statistical flow leans toward the strong side, or despair, when it leans on the soft side. Investors, in particular, succumb to such swings in attitude, but, to a lesser extent, so do businesspeople. So, it was with a string of insupportably good numbers late in 2011 and earlier this year.

2012-05-01 Does Quality Matter? by Jeremy Javidi of Columbia Management

Most investors take comfort in investing in high quality companies. There are several attributes that define quality including strong balance sheets and cash flows. Having a strong balance sheet allows a company to redeploy capital towards growth opportunities rather than debt reductions. We believe that these attributes persist in the market over the market cycle and are virtuous in the pursuit of higher returns. However, recently we asked, where has quality gone? Often an initial snap back in the market after a bear market favors companies with weaker balance sheets.

2012-04-30 Release the Kraken by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

The problem for the stock market is that the 13-year journey of underperforming T-bills - with wicked collapses and break-even recoveries - is most probably not over.

2012-04-30 ProVise Bullets by Team of ProVise Management Group

What part of leadership are our elected officials in Washington not getting? Last month the Supreme Court heard the case regarding the Affordable Care Act and a ruling is likely to happen sometime in late June. Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules, healthcare reform is a topic which is here to stay. First of all it is estimated that by 2020 healthcare will account for one in every nine jobs in the U.S., adding 4.2 million jobs during this decade. As the Baby Boomers move into retirement there will be a need for an ever-increasing number of physicians, nurses, home health aides, etc.

2012-04-30 Housing Recovery Now Underway by Charles Lieberman (Article)

Many focused on the slower than expected pace of growth in first quarter GDP, but the stronger rise in housing activity merited little more than passing mention. However, housing construction is gathering steam, as inventories are now severely depressed and demographic trends require a resumption in new construction. Autos were another significant contributor to growth. We expect both sectors to continue as key sources of demand in the ongoing expansion.

2012-04-30 Dissecting the US Q1 GDP by Monty Agarwal of MA Capital Management

4 years after facing a massive recession, the unemployment rate is still stuck above 8% and the economic growth is starting to slow. Many of my colleagues in the hedge fund circles are calling for a return to negative growth or recession in the US by the end of 2012. This does not bode well for the retail investor, who after missing the Q1 rally has decided to jump back into the markets only to see the rally dissipate.

2012-04-30 Here We Go Again by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

We are not saying the negative data is meaningless. Its not. But some of the reaction is, once again, overdone. Debating the worry-warts has become a full-time job and we cant prove them wrong until the future becomes the present. So, lets look back to last year when we said in a few months we will be looking back at recent reports as just statistical noise. Sounded good then, so lets not mess with success. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

2012-04-27 Managed Futures and Macro: Q1 2012 Market Commentary by Jon Sundt of Altegris Investments

With Eurozone concerns receding and the macroeconomic picture showing strength, the market outlook at the end of Q1 is notably brighter than at the end of last year. Reduced correlations, lower volatility and the prospect of less government intervention have led some players to hope for a return to a new old period in which fundamentals drive the markets. If that theme does indeed prove to be sustainable, we expect that: a) more managed futures managers, would profit from stronger trends; and b) more circumspect global macro managers may take advantage of increasingly bullish positioning.

2012-04-27 High Yield and Bank Loan Outlook April 2012 Sector Report by Team of Guggenheim Partners

The leveraged credit market began the year strong with yields across the credit spectrum approaching historical lows. Investors should realize that it is no longer early in the credit market rally. We are coming into the seventh inning stretch and it is getting tougher to find opportunities. It is also important to watch for signs of overheating and to remain focused on fundamental credit work and security selection. As we look ahead, we continue to see room for further price appreciation as investor demand should remain robust, while new issue supply wanes from its record first quarter pace.

2012-04-27 Happy (Third) Anniversary: Now What? by Jon Quigley of Advanced Investment Partners

During the trading day on March 6th, 2009, the S&P 500 Index hit its intraday bottom of 666.79. In the ensuing three years the Index has advanced over 100%. Along the way, weve witnessed the collapse of some of the older and more hallowed names in the financial industry buh-bye Lehman Brothers, so long Merrill), endured the most severe recession in at least 25 years, suffered through incredible spates of market volatility, and gathered a few gray hairs (or lost some hair) along the way.

2012-04-27 Roller Coaster Returns by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen, and Michelle Gibley of Charles Schwab

Despite an earnings season that has been much better than expected so far, investors appear to be again focusing on more macro concerns. Europe and China are dominant concerns but US growth sustainability is also being questioned. We remain optimistic on the ultimate direction of the stock market. The Fed meeting provided no changes but did show a slightly more hawkish tilt in their economic forecasts. Meanwhile, the US government continues to play a dangerous game of chicken as election season is already in high gear and the so-called "fiscal cliff" looms.

2012-04-27 Sell in May and Go Away? Not this Year by Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors

One catchy investing maxim thats popular this time of year is sell in May and go away, the notion that investors should cash in their investments and take the summer off. We believe its a much better market this year. After following a similar trajectory as the previous year from October to the beginning of March, improving economic data pushed the S&P 500 over 3 percent higher in March 2012 after trending sideways during the same time period last year.

2012-04-27 ECRI Weekly Leading Indicator: The Growth Index Slips Again by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) growth indicator of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is now at 0.6 as reported in today's public release of the data through April 20. This is the second consecutive week-over-week decline since January 6th. However, the underlying WLI rose fractionally from an adjusted 123.8 to 124.1.

2012-04-26 Dividends: A Timeless Component of Equity Return by Richard Skaggs of Loomis Sayles

With interest rates at historic lows and many dividend-paying stocks boasting yields comparable to or higher than US Treasurys, it is no wonder that dividends have recently been at the forefront of many investors minds. But dividends have a long history as a significant component of total return, and todays buzz is just the most recent chapter. Stripping away the noise, what should investors consider as they survey the universe of dividend paying companies? We believe dividend payments are poised to grow in 2012, likely faster than earningsper-share growth.

2012-04-26 Why Eurozone Woes are Creating Headwinds for Global Firms by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Europe is in crisis -- and that has major implications for multinational firms with significant operations in the region. In fact, while much is written about the race by corporations to penetrate emerging markets like China and Brazil, the reality is that the investment by multinationals in Europe dwarfs the assets they have in those fast-growing economies. And the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, along with weak economic growth, is sparking changes in how these firms operate -- altering everything from manufacturing strategies to marketing to financial maneuvers.

2012-04-26 The Global Fiscal & Monetary Policy Shift Moves Markets by George Bijak of GB Capital

The powerful macro forces that drive global economy and move stock markets have changed direction post the peak of the Global Financial Crisis. Governments are tightening their Fiscal Policies and Central Banks are expending their Balance Sheets (also known as quantitative easing or money printing) as part of globally synchronized deleveraging process. The two opposing forces pull the global economy in different directions. The fiscal cuts are slowing economic growth but are counter-balanced by a stimulative nature of the Central Banks easing.

2012-04-25 Developed Europe: Economic Review 1st Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

The first quarter of 2012 witnessed several comforting developments in Europe. Greece fulfilled the pre-condition for securing its second bailout by convincing its private creditors to accept a 53.5 percent write-off on its debt. The deal eased concerns about a disorderly default by Greece on its sovereign debt. Following up on the liquidity-infusing program it introduced late last year, the ECB carried out another round of its Long-Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO), this time handing out to about 800 banks a total of 529.5 billion in 3-year loans at a very low interest rate of 1 percent.

2012-04-25 Is The Economic Recovery Stalling? by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The US economic recovery is facing some stiff headwinds. Those include high gasoline prices, the recession and higher interest rates in Europe and the recent disappointing unemployment numbers in the US, just to name a few. The apparent slowdown in the recovery recently is in part due to the unusually warm winter, which served to pull economic activity forward in January and February, thus making March and April so far look softer. Some in the mainstream media concluded that we dont have a problem with the economy. Maybe so, but the recovery has had an uneasy feeling about it recently.

2012-04-24 Bruce Greenwald on Structural Imbalances in the Economy by Eric Uhlfelder (Article)

Bruce Greenwald likes to say that he is constituted to disagree with everybody about everything, and he was true to his word at the recent Hyman P. Minksy Conference in New York. Taking immediate exception with the virtually unanimous characterization of the economic crisis as a balance-sheet recession, Greenwald, a professor of finance at Columbia University, argued that, far from being unusual, balance-sheet recessions can in fact be found at the heart of almost all business cycles.

2012-04-24 Chinas Growing Pains by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Among all the fears discussed in the financial community these days, worries over Chinas expansion loom large. The government in Beijing has revised down its growth expectations to 78% a year from the former breakneck pace of 1012%. Private groups, such as the American Chamber of Commerce in China, have made similar downward adjustments in their expectations. Though there is good reason to anticipate a slowdown in the pace of Chinese growth, it would be a mistake to exaggerate the risks, and especially to do so by drawing easy parallels to Americas real estate debacle.

2012-04-24 And Thats The Week That Was by Ron Brounes of Brounes & Associates

Dr. Bernanke and friends get together again to set monetary policy and will discuss oil and gas prices and the effect on inflation as well the newfound labor slowdown. Still, no one expects any additional stimulus moves at this time and the policymakers should reiterate their intent to keep the funds rate at near-zero percent well into 2014. The future of Europe remains atop the headlines as France holds crucial national elections and the IMF convenes for its semi-annual soiree.

2012-04-23 Emerging Asia Pacific: Economic Review 1st Quarter 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

Emerging Asia Pacific economies, which reported dismal economic numbers during the fourth quarter of 2011, recovered some lost ground during the first quarter of 2012. Export-led growth in many Asian countries, which had come under pressure during the last months of 2011, witnessed slight improvements in 2012 thanks to receding fears about a sovereign debt crisis in the EU and a stronger-than-expected recovery in the U.S. China, the regions largest economy, however, signaled that it will accept a slightly lower growth rate of around 7.5 percent over the coming years.

2012-04-23 Middle East/Africa First Quarter 2012 Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

While the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region continues to weigh the impact of the tumultuous Arab Spring uprisings, the area is facing against another challenge yet again. In addition to the existing domestic instability, a strained external environment (the Euro debt crisis) is proving to be a major threat to the regions trade, tourism, remittances and other exports receipts. According to the World Banks Global Economic Prospects report, the economic recovery seen in Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia in late 2011 is likely to stall in 2012.

2012-04-23 Fewer Workers: A Drag on US Growth by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

The March non-farm payroll report left investors disappointed by the low level of job creation. Yet the number in the report that may prove the most relevant over the long term was largely ignored the proportion of the US population currently in the labor force, a number now at 63.8% and close to a thirty-year low. Over the long term, a countrys economic growth is determined by the rate of increase in the labor force and productivity growth. If fewer people are working growth slows. This is exactly what has happened over the past dozen or so years in the United States.

2012-04-23 Blowin in the Wind by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

Recent economic data have been mixed, but generally consistent with moderate economic growth. The recovery continues, but has failed to gather much steam and remains relatively fragile. Were on our way, but weve a long way to go. Over the last year, the economy has faced a number of headwinds, capping the pace of improvement. Those headwinds appear to be lessening to some extent although there are uncertainties, particularly as one looks to 2013.

2012-04-23 Run, Don't Walk by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

One way to gauge your speculative exposure is to ask the simple question - what portion of your portfolio do you expect (or even hope) to sell before the next major market downturn ensues? Almost by definition, that portion of your portfolio is speculative in the sense that you do not intend to carry it through the full market cycle, and instead expect to sell it to someone else at a better price before the cycle completes. With respect to those speculative holdings, and when to part with them, my own view is straightforward. Run, don't walk.

2012-04-23 A Seesaw of Surprises by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

It was a week full of surprisesboth good and bad. Corporate profits in the United States have come in stronger than expected. U.S. consumers are spending more money than anticipated. But continued housing weakness, higher-than-expected jobless claims and deeper disruptions in Europes debt crisis have raised some eyebrows. Adding to uncertainty are the events in the Netherlandsone of only a few AAA-rated lenders in Europeas its government rejected a fiscal austerity plan and now is in jeopardy of collapsing. Here is how to put such a mixed bag in perspective.

2012-04-23 Global Policy Remains a Critical Catalyst by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

The economic backdrop continues to be mixed, but the overall trend continues to be one in which the US economy appears to be growing slowly. One interesting pattern that has emerged is that the US household sector has been picking up at the same time that the industrial side has been weakening. While an improving household sector is critical to ensuring long-term growth, there are some caveats to this trend. First, households have been dipping into their savings to boost spending, which is clearly not sustainable. Additionally, some of the growth may have been "borrowed" from summer quarter.

2012-04-23 The Plow Horse Economy by Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein of First Trust Advisors

Like a plow horse, the US economy just puts one hoof after the other. It aint gonna win any races, but it aint gonna keel over and die either. After slogging through the mud last year, and slowing down to just 1.2% annualized growth in the first three quarters of 2011, things have improved. In the fourth quarter last year, real GDP grew a solid, work-horse-like, 3%. We expect that continued in the first quarter of 2012. If anything, other indicators suggest real GDP growth might be even stronger. Nonfarm payrolls rose 635,000 in Q1, the largest gain since 2006.

2012-04-21 A Little Bull's Eye Investing by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Bull's Eye Investing was the book that really helped establish this letter. It dealt with a host of investing ideas, secular market cycles, value investing, alternative investing, and more. I have taken that material, updated it, and written a new book, part of the Little Book series done by Wiley, called The Little Book of Bull's Eye Investing Finding Value, Generating Absolute Returns, and Controlling Risk in Turbulent Markets. I have waited to announce this one until it is off the presses and being shipped. Here is the introduction and part of the first chapter of the book.

2012-04-20 Currency Wars: Gambling With Other Peoples Money by Axel Merk of Merk Funds

If running out of your own money wasnt bad enough, policy makers are increasingly spending other peoples money to bail their country out. At the upcoming G-20 meeting, finance ministers from around the world will contemplate an increase to the resources of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). At stake for politicians is whether they can continue to do what they know best to play politics. In contrast, at stake for investors may be whether currencies will retain their function as a store of value.

2012-04-20 Small Cap Outlook 1Q12 by 1492 Investment Team of 1492 Capital Management

While weve seen the markets advance nicely, we think the market could gain more than 25% this year as the U.S. economy continues to move ahead and the rest of the world is in stimulus mode. Most importantly, there are still plenty of bears calling for recession, despite an ongoing barrage of better economic statistics. No doubt the remainder of the year will give the stock market plenty to ponder like the U.S. Presidential election, ongoing European debt crisis fallout and concerns about Chinas economic growth. Read on to understand why were so bullish on the U.S. stock market.

2012-04-20 Monthly Investment Commentary by Team of Litman Gregory

Stocks and other risk assets surged in the first quarter, continuing the strong run that began in the fourth quarter of last year. In each of the past two quarters, domestic stocks gained about 12%, marking one the strongest runs over the October-March span going back to the 1920s. Developed foreign stocks increased nearly 12% in the quarter, emerging-markets stocks gained 14, small-cap U.S. stocks were up 12%, high-yield bonds rose 5%, and emerging-markets local-currency bonds added 8%.

2012-04-20 Whats Ahead for the Fed? by Team of Neuberger Berman

Although growth could slow from here, we do not believe economic conditions will deteriorate enough to provoke further accommodative measures from the Fed. The Fed may be on hold for the time being, but we also believe that Bernanke is acutely aware of the potential consequences of reversing monetary policy too quickly. As a result, interest rates may stay lower for longer. In this type of yield-constrained environment, we continue to favor segments like high yield fixed income and emerging market debt, which both offer attractive sources of income and upside potential.

2012-04-20 Equity Investment Outlook April 2012 by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

We think stocks are reasonably priced on an absolute basis and extremely attractive relative to bonds. Bonds have performed well over the past three decades, but with interest rates at record lows, there is not much room for bonds to continue outpacing stocks on a total return basis. Meanwhile, companies are steadily increasing dividends. Even Apple recently instituted a dividend. For some time, investors have been lowering their exposure to U.S. equities. We believe this trend should reverse, especially once interest rates start to rise and bond market returns turn negative.

2012-04-20 Fixed Income Investment Outlook April 2012 by Team of Osterweis Capital Management

The Feds easy money policy will likely not reverse in the near term, but may do so before 2014, if economic growth strengthens meaningfully; some inflation is also acceptable to the alternative deflation. We are seeing some economic strength in the U.S., which is translating into higher equity prices (and hopefully higher capital gains). We are still generally avoiding exposure to interest rate risk found in Treasuries and investment grade bonds. We believe the easy money has been made there and we are not currently being compensated for the risk of rising interest rates.

2012-04-20 ECRI Weekly Leading Indicator: The Growth Index Slip by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) growth indicator of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is now at 1.2 as reported in today's public release of the data through April 13. This is the first week-over-week decline since January 6th, over three months ago. The underlying WLI contracted more dramatically from an adjusted 125.9 to 123.9 (see the fourth chart below). This is the largest decline, in percentage terms, since August 19th of last year.

2012-04-20 Car Sales, Gasoline and Demographics by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

The Great Recession is over, yet gasoline sales have not rebounded. Is this an indication another recession is on the horizon? That the recession never ended? Something else?

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 Closed End Funds First Quarter 2012 Review and Outlook by Team of Cohen & Steers

. With borrowing rates likely to remain low for an extended period, we believe the yield advantage of leveraged closed-end funds will continue to draw investor interest. As a result, we see potential for the broad closed-end fund market to trade at even narrower discounts or even premiums to NAV. In addition, the recent success of new issues should allow the closed-end fund IPO window to remain open in 2012. At the present pace, we do not believe new supply will pressure pricing in the secondary market or impede discount narrowing.

2012-04-20 Global Real Estate Securities Investment Review and Outlook First Quarter 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

We are encouraged by the recent trend of U.S. economic data showing measured improvement, although our expectation for GDP growth in 2012 remains modest at around 2%. With funding costs likely to remain low and demand showing signs of strengthening, we believe U.S. real estate fundamentals will continue to gradually improve in 2012, driven by growing demand from tenants and the scarcity of new supply in most markets. We believe these fundamentals will help support growth in asset values and dividend distributions for the U.S. public real estate sector.

2012-04-20 U.S. Large Cap Value Investment Commentary as of March 31, 2012 by Team of Cohen & Steers

Valuations are still attractive, in our view, if somewhat less so than at the beginning of the year, and volatility has subsided. We expect to see an increase in dividend payers; Apple has opened the door for other technology companies, a sector that has had a relatively low proportion of dividend-paying companies. We are also seeing solid dividend increases among industrials companies.

2012-04-19 Current Conditions Cater to Our Rigorous Muni Investment Process by Team of American Century Investments

The last four years have been a remarkable period in municipal bond (muni) market history. The 2008 Financial Crisis and the Great Recession transformed the high-grade U.S. muni market and how people invest in it. What was once a relatively homogenous bond sector in terms of its credit quality and ratings became much more heterogeneous. Under these conditions, we believe experienced professional credit research and portfolio management are now crucial to investment success. This article outlines our muni investment processes.

2012-04-19 Huge Dilemma: Do You Protect Your Job or Your Clients' Money? by Mike "Mish" Shedlock of Sitka Pacific Capital Management

I feel like a broken record. Jeremy Grantham, John Hussman, and Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live surely feel the same way. I have been preaching the "low returns for a decade" concept for quite some time. It is very tough preaching caution, when caution is routinely tossed to the winds. Yet history has proven time and time again, that such times are precisely when caution is warranted, even though timing the precise moment is simply impossible.

2012-04-19 What to Do With the Daily Data Divulge? by Matt Lloyd of Advisors Asset Management

Simply ignoring the immense amount of data would be foolhardy and we must use more corroborating data and scrutinizing the data among trends and the volatile monthly data. This has given rise to the more artistic aspect of viewing the markets than how we may have in the past. This is why ones prediction for the markets may differ completely from another while looking at the exact same data. As such, the importance of the rationale for why one may feel a certain way about the markets is as important as the actual conclusion.

2012-04-18 Stock Picking in a World of Profit Margin Mean Reversion by Bill Smead of Smead Capital Management

We feel investors should avoid capital intensive companies which are tied to commodities or emerging markets. As interest rates rise and capital becomes dear, those who eat capital lose and those with strong balance sheets and who generate high and consistent free cash flow, should win. As Buffet, Grantham, Hutchinson and Stein pointed out, someone loses in the reversion to the mean of profit margins when compared to GDP. Lastly, dont be fooled by those who are bearish on the stock market because of their belief in profit margin reversion.

2012-04-18 Balancing Perception, Reality, Equities and Fixed Income by Team of Franklin Templeton

Never underestimate the power of perception to influence peoples fiscal behavior. Perception is such a significant influence, in fact, that economic tea-leaf readers have developed a myriad of surveys and indicators to monitor individuals perceptions of the investing environment because perceptions canand domove markets. When sentiment is negative, investors tend to shift out of assets they perceive as risky and into assets they perceive as safe. Ed Perks, portfolio manager of Franklin Balanced Fund and Franklin Income Fund, is well aware of the role perception plays in the markets.

2012-04-18 European Debt Crisis Never Went Away by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

US stocks are having a big day today, with the Dow up just over 200 points. But there are problems lurking in Europe that could be quite negative for global equities over the next several weeks. There are fears that Spain and perhaps Italy will need more bailout loans in the weeks just ahead. Thats our topic for today. In December and January the ECB took the unprecedented step of loaning apprx. 1 trillion euros to European money center banks in an effort to buy some time for the banks to recapitalize. The loans had three year maturities, and the interest rate was an incredibly low 1%.

2012-04-18 Quirky Tales and Waves of Change by Doug MacKay and Bill Hoover of Broadleaf Partners

While almost all commodities (ag, chemicals, and energy) have tended to move up and down together in price, oil has always beat to a different drummer, likely as a function of the ebb and flow of geopolitical concerns and the physical location of most known reserves. I would guess, however, if natural gas is in such abundance domestically, it could very well be the case around the globe. The prospect for $200 oil might be as remote as NASDAQ 5000.

2012-04-18 Monthly Product Commentary: Emerging Markets Equity March 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

After gaining during the first two months of the year, emerging market equity prices saw a moderate correction in March and underperformed the developed markets. There are renewed concerns that domestic consumption growth in some of the larger emerging economies could be lower than currently expected, and could restrict aggregate economic growth in the coming quarters. Signs of the European fiscal crisis worsening again have also dampened investor sentiment as further economic weakness in the Euro-zone would cloud the export prospects of several emerging economies, especially China.

2012-04-18 Monthly Product Commentary: International Equity March 2012 by Team of Thomas White International

After the robust gains during the first two months of the year, international equity markets corrected marginally during March as the markets waited for further economic data and trends from first quarter earnings announcements. Emerging markets underperformed on renewed concerns that domestic consumption growth in some of the larger emerging economies could be lower than current expectations. The lack of investor interest for a new issue of Spanish bonds drew renewed attention to the European fiscal crisis.

2012-04-17 The Unemployment Rate: A Coincident Recession Indicator by Georg Vrba, P.E. and Dwaine van Vuuren (Article)

For what is considered to be a lagging indicator of the economy, the unemployment rate provides surprisingly good signals for the beginnings and ends of recessions. We have developed a model that uses unemployment figures to produce these signals and to determine the probability of when a recession may start.

2012-04-17 Emerging Europe: First Quarter 2012 Economic Review by Team of Thomas White International

In an interim review published in February, the European Commission reduced its growth outlook for most of the non-euro member states in the European Unions eastern periphery. The commission said while Hungarys economy is expected to contract, the Czech economy is likely to stagnate during the year. However, the agency singled out Poland for special praise. The EC said the Polish economy will continue to expand during the year. The commission said investment spending will be the driver of growth in Poland, while a weak zloty will encourage exports.

2012-04-17 Is China Serious about Currency Reform? by Milton Ezrati of Lord Abbett

Chinas central bank governor, Zhou Xiaochuan, made comments that drew less attention than they deserve. First, he suggested that market forces would play a bigger role in setting the value of Chinas currency, the yuan. He also mused that the yuan should rise further against the dollar and on foreign exchange markets generally. An announcement by the People's Bank of China relating to increased flexibility in the trading band of the currency would appear to confirm Zhou's intent. There is room for two responses to this new Chinese positioning, one cynical and the other much more positive.

2012-04-17 Question for the ECB: What Now? by Fred Copper of Columbia Management

The ECB tipped its hand last week in terms of which direction it is likely to go. Board member Benoit Coeure indicated the ECB could step in and buy Spanish bonds. It is unlikely to be a sustainable solution. It wouldnt be surprising to see renewed stresses emanating from the peripheral sovereign debt markets. There is a limit to how much the ECB is going to be able to do in this situation. Ultimately, the real burden is going to have to be borne by politicians through substantial fiscal adjustments.

2012-04-17 Asia-Pacific Portfolio Committee on PIMCOs Cyclical Outlook by Robert Mead, Tomoya Masanao and Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

We do not expect to see aggressively expansionary policy to combat the incremental economic slowdown in China. We believe that most countries in emerging Asia will continue to put their currency appreciation on hold, as inflation is expected to remain subdued over the cyclical horizon. We are concerned about the sustainability of Japans economic growth beyond 2012, as the governments reconstruction spending will fade in 2013. Relatively speaking, Australia is indeed a beneficiary of higher commodity prices as a result of the strong demand for coal, iron ore and liquid natural gas.

2012-04-17 10 More Years of Low Returns by Lance Roberts of Streettalk Live

Ten more years of low returns in the stock market. If you are one of the millions of baby boomers headed into retirement-start saving more and spending less because the stock market won't bail you out. I will explain why this is the likely future ahead for investors. In this weekends newsletter I wrote that "If you put all of your money into cash today and dont look at the market for another decade you will be better off..."I realize that this statement is equivalent to heresy where Wall Street is concerned but there is one reason behind my apparent madness - the power of reversion.

2012-04-17 The Elusive Equilibrium: How Financial Markets Shape Global Rebalancing by Ramin Toloui of PIMCO

The mental and organizational infrastructure in the asset management industry has been built for a world with a sharp dichotomy between developed countries and emerging markets. Effective portfolio management requires an integrated approach that eschews the traditional dichotomy between developed and emerging markets. Emerging markets account for about 36% of global output and 68% of global GDP growth, but only represent about 4% of the equity portfolios of U.S. investors. We believe the representation in bond portfolios is even lower.

2012-04-17 After the Speed Bump... by Robert Stein of Astor Asset Management

Slow down: Speed bump. After that, accelerate with care. Thats the essence of our near-term economic outlook. Although a tapping of the brakes is likely, there is virtually no danger of going off the road. The economic engine, having finally gained some sustainable momentum, will probably keep moving at a slow and steady pace, with a general upward trend overall for the rest of the year.

2012-04-16 The Time Between Too Early and Too Late: Monthly Commentary by David Kelly of J.P. Morgan Funds

After three years of market gains, a record year for corporate profits, and in the midst of solid monthly job gains, it is difficult to argue that it is still too early to get back to a more balanced approach to long-term investing. But some may now argue that it is too late and that perhaps the market has run too far. However, while there is always the risk of a correction, it is hard to see why March 2012 should represent a market peak.

2012-04-16 Kasriels Parting Thoughts Recent Federal Budgetary Trends: Facts, Not Opinions by Paul Kasriel and Asha Bangalore of Northern Trust

The federal budget deficit reached its widest gap on a 12-month moving total basis in February 2010 at $1.478 trillion. Although remaining at astronomical levels, the budget deficit has been trending lower and stood at $1.246 trillion in March 2012. The year-over-year growth in the 12-month moving total of federal outlays peaked at 19.7% in July 2009. In March 2012, the year-over-year change in the 12-month moving total of federal outlays was minus 1.1%. The median growth in the year-over-year moving total of federal outlays from December 1955 through March 2012 is 6.6%.

2012-04-16 No... Stop... Dont by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

In the classic version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Gene Wilder watches one child after another ignoring every cautionary warning, with predictably bad consequences. His deadpan appeals become increasingly halfhearted and emotionless because he knows they won't listen anyway.

2012-04-16 What the Return of Market Volatility Tells Us by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

Signals of a challenging outlook are much louder in European bond markets. Last week, yields on peripheral government securities went from flashing orange to again flashing red, with Spanish risk spreads near or at record levels. All this speaks to the unsettling situation of markets that remain highly dependent on policymakers who, themselves, are stuck in the muddled middle: unable to deliver sustainable outcomes or to exit from their market interventions. This is the unfortunate reality of an "unusually uncertain" outlook, blunt policy tools, and a rather dysfunctional political context.

2012-04-14 The War for Spain by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

The inflection point that I thought the ECB had pushed down the road for at least a year with their recent 1 trillion LTRO is now rushing toward us much faster than Draghi had in mind when he launched his massive funding operation. So, we must pay attention to what Spain has done this week which, to my surprise, seems to have escaped the attention of the major media. It may be considered a tipping point when the crisis is analyzed by some future historian. And then we'll get back to some additional details on the US employment situation, starting with a few rather shocking data points.

2012-04-13 Groundhog Year by Rick Lear of Sloan Wealth Management

This week the titles were again of debt crisis in Europe. But Europe was not the only recurring item. Many other aspects seemed strikingly familiarlike they just happened last year.and the year before. This year, The EM guys still like Emerging Markets, the folks taking TARP money are still on the front page of paper, the guys selling proprietary products still have charts to support their products, trouble in Middle East, North Koreans may have nuclear weapons, the bond guys still like bonds, the stock guys still like stocks, perm-a-bears still gloomy and Washington still a mess.

2012-04-13 Europes Short Vacation by Nouriel Roubini of Project Syndicate

The honeymoon for the ECB's new president Mario Draghi has turned out to be brief. The trouble is that the eurozone has an austerity strategy, but no growth strategy and, without that, all it really has is a recession strategy that makes austerity self-defeating, because, if output continues to contract, deficit and debt ratios will continue to rise to unsustainable levels.

2012-04-13 ECRI Weekly Leading Indicator: The Growth Index Continues to Improve by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) growth indicator of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is now at 1.4 as reported in today's public release of the data through April 6. This is the thirteenth consecutive week of improving data for the Growth Index and the highest reading since August 5th of last year. However, underlying WLI contracted slightly, decreasing from an adjusted 126.3 to 125.7

2012-04-13 The Next Error by John Gilbert of GR-NEAM

The escalating frenzy for yield may in fact prolong the trying process of deleveraging by tacitly supporting bad investment decisions, and underpricing of risk. The relentless destruction of private capital in real terms is policymakers' answer to reducing leverage in nominal terms. If central banks err in the direction of ease, as the Fed will signal if it ignores the Taylor Rule for a time, poor long-term investments are likely to do well for a transitory period. The eventual reckoning can be suppressed, but only for a time.

2012-04-13 Recent Federal Budgetary Trends: Facts, Not Opinions by Paul Kasriel of Northern Trust

The federal budget deficit reached its widest gap on a 12-month moving total basis in February 2010 at $1.478 trillion. Although remaining at astronomical levels, the budget deficit has been trending lower and stood at $1.246 trillion in March 2012.

2012-04-12 Jobs Data a Reminder of the Slow, Fitful US Recovery by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

While last Fridays disappointing monthly jobs report doesnt herald the end of the US recovery, its a reminder of the recoverys fragility and that improvement in the US economy will most likely continue to be slow and characterized by fits and starts. When you view the jobs data in a context of longer than one month, there is evidence that the US labor market has improved since last year. However, its improving from a very low base at an agonizingly slow pace. There is also some evidence that the labor market has structural problems that may prove to be a drag on growth for some time.

2012-04-12 Evolution, Impact and Limitations of Unusual Central Bank Policy Activism by Mohamed A. El-Erian of PIMCO

I will speak in a central bank and to central bankers about the role of their institutions particularly the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank in todays highly complex, perplexing and historically unusual policymaking environment. I will go further and try to link actions to motivations. And, when it comes to implications, I will attempt to put forward questions and hypotheses that, I believe, are critical for the future of the U.S. and global economies but for which I, like others, have only partial answers.

2012-04-12 Newtonian Profits by Neel Kashkari of PIMCO

Today many equity investors are asking whether corporate profit margins can stay strong. Stock prices today are anchored on strong profits, hence investors intense focus on the sustainability of those profits. If they fall, stock prices are likely to follow. No doubt individual companies and sectors will face margin pressure. But for the equity market as a whole, our central scenario is for corporate margins to remain strong in the near future. We are buying individual companies we like based on our analysis of their own fundamentals in the context of the economic environment they are in.

2012-04-12 Global Investment Outlook - March 2012 by Team of Aberdeen Asset Management

Global economic growth sustains its momentum for now. Fiscal policy remains a global focus. Further monetary policy accommodation should support markets. Recent positive momentum within the U.S. economy is driving the global economic recovery, overwhelming the negative sentiment emanating from peripheral Europe. Real incomes, boosted by employment growth and easing inflation, are showing signs of turning positive in the U.S., feeding through to the broader economy.

2012-04-12 Equity Market Review & Outlook by Richard Skaggs of Loomis Sayles

Looking out to year-end, Congress and the White House will be required to act on a long list of expiring tax measures and a debt ceiling increase is necessary as well. As we saw in 2011, compromise is very difficult to achieve and the elections introduce another level of uncertainty. However, the markets current attractive valuation builds in some of these risks. Beyond our shores, there is always the possibility of disappointment in Chinas growth trajectory, and further serious challenges with weaker members of the euro zone should be anticipated.

2012-04-12 Volatility Is Not Risk by Chuck Carnevale of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Rogers blog dealt with his feelings about a recurring theme in Barrons over the weekend referencing peoples complacency for risk. The first part of his writing dealt with the risks associated with the utilization of puts. On this subject, Roger and I are in agreement. However, the second part of his blog talked about what he felt was the great risk of using dividend paying equities as an alternative investment choice. The following analysis utilizing the F.A.S.T. Graphs earnings and price correlated research tool illuminates the important parts that I feel Roger left out.

2012-04-11 Carlisle Companies Inc.: Accelerated Earnings Potential and a Growing Dividend by Team of F.A.S.T. Graphs

Carlisle Companies Inc. appears to be poised for accelerated earnings and dividend growth. Even though this company offers a below-market current yield, it is a Dividend Champion with 25 years of raising their dividend. On the other hand, the accelerated expected earnings growth should lead to a rapidly increasing future growth yield that could reward shareholders that are more concerned with future income than current. Investors seeking above-average capital appreciation, coupled with a dividend that could grow at above market rates might want to look deeper into Carlisle Companies Inc.

2012-04-11 Will Baby Boomers Wreck the Market? (The Sequel) by Gary D. Halbert of Halbert Wealth Management

The basic premise behind the idea that Baby Boomers might lay waste to the stock market makes sense intuitively. The idea is that as Boomers retire, they will shift assets away from stocks to less risky alternatives such as bonds, annuities, CDs, etc. and begin living on the interest. All of this selling activity, the story goes, will put downward pressure on stock prices and lead to a major selloff.

2012-04-10 Paul Kasriel's Parting Thoughts on the Economy by Robert Huebscher (Article)

Paul Kasriel, the chief economist at Northern Trust, will retire at the end of this month. In this interview, he explains why he is optimistic about the prospects for the US economy and why supposed headwinds - from the price of oil to the housing market - pose much less of a threat than most people believe.

2012-04-10 Super Macro - A Fundamental Timing Model by Theodore Wong (Article)

Rather than endure losses in bear markets - as passive investors must - I have shown that a simple trend-following model dramatically improves results, most recently in an Advisor Perspectives article last month. Now it's time to extend my approach by showing how this methodology can be applied to fundamental indicators to further improve performance.

2012-04-10 Jobs 'Stunner' Not Much of a Surprise by Kristina Hooper of Allianz Global Investors

The number of new jobs created last month was downright disappointing, but maybe it should not have come as such a surprise. Job growth and improvements in the unemployment rate had been moving at a faster clip than modest economic expansion could support, a phenomenon that seemed to defy history and economic theory. Okun's Law suggests that the job market will be depressed for some time because GDP growth has been less than robust. The pullback we are seeing is not cause for alarm, however. The economy is growing and jobs are being created, but there will be fits and starts along the way.

2012-04-10 China Experiencing Growing Pains by Chris Maxey and Ryan Davis of Fortigent

For most of the past two years, investors have been pre-occupied with the fiscal catastrophe in Europe and with good reason. However, the relative health of the worlds second largest economy arguably deserves more headline space. A year ago, Chinas stock market led the broader emerging markets down due to pervasive inflation concerns. Official figures reached as high as 6.5%, and some reports of pork and other food price inflation reached double-digit levels. Chinese authorities were forced to slow down the pace of their economy by raising bank reserve ratios and key lending rates.

2012-04-09 How high is up? by Scott Brown of du Pasquier Asset Management

Europe hopes the latest (bailout and reg) moves will help it get its act together. (Good luck with that.) China applies the brakes. Labor looks strong, but can it continue? The Fed debates the need for more stimulus (without any consensus). Facebook moves closer to IPO (and investors beg to participate). The world lectures Iran and finally takes harsh measures (stand by to help Saudi). Investors hope to keep the mo going for another quarter, while being tempted to take profits along the way. Can we finally start focusing on Obama vs. Romney?

2012-04-09 How high is up? by Scott Brown of du Pasquier Asset Management

Although performance in our portfolios was good during the first quarter, it is likely that my defensiveness might be costing us during the current rally. Right now, my allocations reflect a lack of conviction that the rally can sustain, so while cash is king is a handy catchphrase, in our case it is our best defense against the kind of draw-down that ruins portfolios. Our methodology is not to have one or more security rupture the probability of continued portfolio progress, point A to point B. In that sense, we successfully continued our steady climb in valuation appreciation.

2012-04-09 Is the Fed Promoting Recovery or Merely Desperation? by John P. Hussman of Hussman Funds

What we've observed in the employment figures is not recovery, but desperation. Having starved savers of interest income, and having repeatedly subjected investors to Fed-induced financial bubbles that create volatility without durable returns, the Fed has successfully provoked job growth of the obligatory, low-wage variety. Over the past year, the majority of this growth has been in the 55-and-over cohort, while growth has turned down among other workers. All of this reflects not health, but despair, and explains why real disposable income has grown by only 0.3% over the past year.

2012-04-09 The Outlook for Earnings by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

The stock market has risen nicely this year, partly on improving economic data, but are such gains justified by the earnings outlook? The level of the S&P 500 Index does not appear to be out of line with earnings expectations, but there may be some pressure on profits over the longer term. As the election approaches, we may hear more about class warfare. Its unclear what role the distribution of income will take in this years election, but investors should pay attention.

2012-04-09 Still, Plenty Good by Charles Lieberman (Article)

March payroll employment was disappointing, although economic gains cannot be expected to move in a smooth ascending growth curve. Economic trends remain solid. There is little reason to expect monetary policy to change, although the latest figures reinforce the Fed's concern that job growth is insufficient to reduce unemployment as much and as quickly as they would prefer. So, there's every reason to expect policy to remain highly accommodative. A few months ago, this employment report would have been taken as good news. That it is now disappointing is a good measure of how far we've come.

2012-04-09 The Global Debt Crisis by Gregory Hahn of Winthrop Capital Management

A major part of our investment thesis is that the developed countries in the world have too much debt relative to the size and historical growth rates of their economy. However, the costs of continued borrowing have risen as the amount of debt has increased. Furthermore, the economies of these developed countries are growing too slowly for revenues to offset the burden of increased expenditures. We expect that these countries will have significant difficulty reducing their debt burdens through continued stimulus initiatives as they attempt to inflate their economies.

2012-04-09 An Update on U.S. Manufacturing by Team of Neuberger Berman

On April 2, the Institute for Supply Management reported that the ISM Manufacturing Index had increased to 53.4 in March from 52.4 in February, slightly ahead of consensus forecasts. Although this often-watched indicator has flirted with contraction territory (below 50) at different points throughout the economic recovery, it has now expanded for 32 consecutive months since August 2009 and continues to point to strengthening economic growth. Here, we discuss our expectations for the manufacturing sector and its potential impact on financial markets.

2012-04-07 It's All About Jobs by John Mauldin of Millennium Wave Advisors

Friday's employment numbers were decidedly soft, but the unemployment rate went down anyway, and that is about the best you can say. And this being a holiday weekend, it provides us an opportunity to look deep into the employment numbers, while we put off thinking about Spain for at least a week. And who knew that being an unmarried Asian-American in the US was a risk for unemployment? Plus a few other interesting items will make for an interesting letter.

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.

2012-04-06 ECRI Weekly Leading Indicator Growth Is Now Positive by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives (dshort.com)

The Weekly Leading Index (WLI) growth indicator of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) is now at 1.0 as reported in today's public release of the data through March 30. This is the twelfth consecutive week of improving data for the Growth Index and the first postive reading since August 12th of last year. The underlying WLI also improved, increasing from an adjusted 125.8 to 126.5 (see the fourth chart below).

2012-04-05 You Cant Handle the Truth by Niels C. Jensen of Absolute Return Partners

The UK may not be facing the same set of challenges as many other European countries but that does not mean that the next few years will be plain sailing for the British. Households are overextended, banks are highly leveraged and the pension model is deeply flawed. Meanwhile, the British government, obsessed with keeping the coveted AAA rating, is pursuing a fiscal policy which is well intended but entirely inappropriate.

2012-04-05 BRICS Plan for the Future by John Browne of Euro Pacific Capital

Last week, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa met in New Delhi for their fourth annual "BRICS" summit. The meeting brought together five countries that together represent 43% of the world's population and 18% of the world's GDP. When the gathering concluded on March 29, the coalition subtly issued its latest challenge to the increasingly desperate bankers and politicians of the West. They announced more definitive plans to establish a BRICS-focused development bank, to be solely funded by the BRICS countries themselves.

2012-04-05 Calm After the Storm by Richard Michaud of New Frontier Advisors

The Fed has announced that it stands ready to promote economic growth with all the tools at its disposal. The Fed policy of low interest rates and cheap credit may still be needed to help the job market heal for some time to come. However, the inevitability of a rise in interest rates at a foreseeable point may encourage investors to avoid fixed income securities. The financial reality is that markets clear and prices depend on buyers as well as sellers. Time horizons and global forces are always considerations. The importance of diversification is always prudent for long-term investors.

2012-04-04 Economic Update by Richard Hoey of Dreyfus

We believe that a full-scale global recession is unlikely, assuming that there is no major oil price spike from a disruption of the flow of Middle East oil. We believe that a key cause of global economic expansion will be the easy monetary policy prevailing in many regions and countries worldwide. We expect a global growth recession in 2012, with declining economic activity in Southern Europe, an economic stall or temporary declines in the U.K. and much of Northern Europe, a moderate slowdown in emerging markets and a U.S. expansion at a near-trend pace in 2012, somewhat faster than last year.

2012-04-03 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.

2012-04-03 The Easy Money Saloon by Michael Lewitt (Article)

When two of the world's soundest central banks (Israel and Switzerland) start investing their reserves in stocks (the Bank of Israel is run by the highly respected Stanley Fischer for God's sake!), one has to wonder what the world is coming to. Apparently the global saloon is expanding its boundaries. No doubt we will soon hear the ECB is merging with the London Stock Exchange.

2012-04-03 Proceed with Caution in the Hunt for High Yield by Russ Koesterich of iShares Blog

Given high yield credits recent rally and surge of inflows, Im now getting a lot of questions about whether or not the asset class still looks appealing. While high yield provides an attractive pickup in yield and Im maintaining my neutral view of the sector, I believe the easy money has probably already been made and the asset class no longer looks cheap. As such, over high yield, I prefer investment grade credit and municipals.

2012-04-03 Have We Reached the End of the Rally? by Bob Doll of BlackRock Investment Management

Our overall view about the markets is that improvements in the global economic outlook, continued easy financial conditions and slowly improving investor risk appetites are all reasons that stock prices should continue to crawl higher. Markets have, however, paused somewhat in their rally over the last several weeks. This can be attributed to the fact that prices had risen so far so quickly and that markets were overdue for a period of consolidation or correction, but it is also important to emphasize that we will need to see further evidence of economic improvement for gains to continue.

2012-04-03 Comfortably Numb: Have Investors Become Too Complacent? by Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab

The market has had its best first-quarter start in 14 years! But with the rally has come elevated optimism, a contrarian indicator. The market may be vulnerable in the short term, but we think optimism longer-term remains warranted. Let's get right to the point: It was the best first quarter for the stock market since 1998. The total return of the S&P 500 index was 12.6% for the quarter; up nearly 30% from the October 3, 2011 low. What was particularly notable about the surge since then has been the attendant plunge in volatility.

2012-04-03 Christine Lagarde: Emerging Market Nations Will Get More Power in the IMF by Team of Knowledge @ Wharton

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, sees no alternative to the strict austerity policies being imposed on many peripheral European countries, says the double dip recessions in Italy and Ireland just announced come as no surprise, and notes that IMF reforms will shift 6% of current quotas to dynamic emerging and developing countries. Lagarde's comments came in an exclusive interview with Knowledge@Wharton and media partner ParisTech Review late last week, as BRIC countries demanded more voting power in return for the larger financial contributions being requested by the IMF.

2012-04-02 Shrugging Off Bad News! by Jeffrey Saut of Raymond James Equity Research

March came in like a bear, but went out like a bull, capping the best first quarter since 1998. For the quarter the SPX gained 11.99% for its 10th best start of the year ever. For me it was almost like dj vu as I recalled the best first quarter of my lifetime, which was 1975s surge of 21.59%. Why dj vu? Well, it is because I began writing strategy In November of 1974 with the line, I believe now is the time to accumulate stocks. At the time the Dow was trading below 600, having fallen from its March high of 891 for a 34% decline.

2012-04-02 Better News On Consumer Spending, But ... by Scott Brown of Raymond James Equity Research

The monthly report on personal income and spending rarely gets much interest from the financial markets. However, the spending figures are a direc