How Alternative Data Can Lend Clarity Amid Uncertainty
Unusual times require more than the usual sources of information to assess the investing backdrop. Jeff Shen discusses how alternative data is making a difference today.
Investing Without a Parachute
In a post-coronavirus investment world, Jeff argues that investors should be rethinking the role of fixed income in portfolio construction and ask themselves if they are at risk of investing without a parachute?
Why We Are Warming up to Europe
Elga lays out two main reasons to be optimistic on Europe – and European assets.
Don’t Miss the Rise of the “Value” Phoenix
Recent underperformance has led some to declare the death of value investing, but don’t be so quick to dismiss it.
Today’s Portfolios “Can’t Get No Satisfaction” From Yesterday’s Instruments
Rick Rieder, Russ Brownback and Trevor Slaven contend that in the tug-of-war between the considerable economic damage stemming from the coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns, and the fiscal and monetary policy responses put in place, the latter factor is being underestimated by markets. Further, the instruments used by investors in previous years won’t be what’s required for the time ahead.
How Green Is Your Bond
Get the ins and outs of green bonds in this two-part series. Let’s start with the basics.
The Race to Zero
Emily presents key takeaways on the exercise of green bond impact reporting.
Seeking Yield? Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One (Income) Basket
Looking to generate income from your nest egg? Make sure you don’t get it all from just one basket. Karen explains two funds designed to provide income that aren’t over reliant on any one source.
The Role of Private Markets in Portfolios
What kind of role does private markets play in building a resilient portfolio in the post-Covid world? Mike explains.
Revisiting the Monetary Policy Endgame
Rick Rieder, Russ Brownback and Navin Saigal contend that if a negative monetary policy endgame is to be avoided, particularly in the face of recent economic declines, it will likely be technological advances of a profound kind that get us there.
The U.S. Consumer Is Bowed, Not Broken
Russ discusses why consumption has held up, and how the pandemic has accelerated long-term trends.
What’s Next in the Policy Revolution?
We have witnessed nothing short of a revolution in macroeconomic policy in recent months. Jean shares his take on what to focus on next.
Building Resilience: What It Means for Retirement Savings
As the economic fallout from COVID-19 threatens peoples’ livelihoods and erodes their short-term savings, it follows that their long-term financial security is also at-risk. What does it all mean for retirement savings and what steps can we take to build a more resilient system?
Trending now: Treasury ETFs
In 2020, many investors have shifted the focus of their fixed income portfolios from the return ON principal, to the return OF principal. Karen highlights how the desire for stability is driving investors to tap into U.S. Treasury markets with ETFs.
Dual Threats: COVID and Climate Change
The pandemic has intensified existing stresses on U.S. state and municipal economies – with implications for investors.
There’s High-Quality Opportunity in Fixed Income Spread Assets Today
Rick Rieder and Jacob Caplain contend that with profound uncertainties still present in the economy and markets, and the dislocations witnessed in many market segments in the past couple months, investors don’t need to resort to lower-quality assets. In fact, to achieve potentially attractive returns, higher-quality spread assets can serve quite well.
The Coronavirus and Our Long-Term Asset Views
How has the coronavirus shock changed medium-term fundamentals? And how does that change our long-term asset views?
Why Technology Is Proving Surprisingly Defensive
Russ highlights the surprising resilience of technology stocks this year.
The Physics of Economic and Financial Distress
Rick Rieder, Russ Brownback and Trevor Slaven contend that even as markets were rocked by uncertainty as the coronavirus lockdowns began, the seeds of stability were sown in the massive fiscal and monetary policy response. The key is to know how to manage through this period for the long haul.
Watch for Three Policy Shifts in China to Cushion Virus Impact
Ben Powell writes that China may change policy at the delayed National People’s Congress in three key areas: the GDP target, household registration reform, and – crucially for markets – fiscal stimulus.
Watch for Three Policy Shifts in China to Cushion Virus Impact
Ben Powell writes that China may change policy at the delayed National People’s Congress in three key areas: the GDP target, household registration reform, and – crucially for markets – fiscal stimulus.
Three Reasons to Like Chinese Stocks
Russ explains why Chinese equities should still be a core holding.
Current Opportunities in the Tips Market
David Rogal and Bob Miller contend that the TIPS market dislocations witnessed in recent months have resulted in opportunities that investors would be remiss to ignore.
How the Pandemic Changes Our Long-Term Asset Views
Vivek explains why we see a need and opportunity to adjust strategic portfolios in the wake of the pandemic.
5 Ways the World Could Change: An Investor Watchlist
The global coronavirus outbreak has changed everyday life in profound ways ― and will likely reshape the future as well. Tony DeSpirito identifies five areas of change that could have implications for investors.
Gauging the Coronavirus Shock’s Economic Impact
How do we gauge the impact on global economy from the pandemic? Jean shares his thoughts.
Stock Market Winners May Keep Winning
Russ discusses the surprising strength in momentum stocks, and why it may continue.
Caution: Emerging Market Local Debt
Scott explains why we have downgraded emerging market local debt to neutral even as its valuation has cheapened.
Discount Double Check in CEFs
Closed-end funds are currently trading at a discount as equity markets have dropped. Here’s where to spot opportunities.
Stay Calm and Remember Why You Own Bonds
It’s easy to get sidetracked by the ups and downs of the market, but before you act, now may be a good time to review why you own bonds in the first place.
Two Reasons for Favoring U.S. Stocks
We favor U.S. stocks to their other developed market peers over the next six to 12 months. Why? The U.S. policy response to the coronavirus shock has been decisive and comprehensive, and has exceeded the scale of policy action in other major developed economies. We expect more to come.
Wall Street’s Believe It or Not
Rick Rieder, Russ Brownback and Trevor Slaven contend that even as markets are gripped with the trauma of wild swings, and continued uncertainties, the seeds of future investment opportunity are being sown.
3 Observations Amid the COVID-19 Crisis
These are unusual times, to say the least. Few in the financial industry have seen a global pandemic and widespread economic shutdown, and we must approach our outlooks with a dose of humility.
Why We Are Warming up on Credit
Scott explains how the extraordinary outbreak-fighting policy action – and recent market turbulence – has changed our view on credit.
Building Timeless Portfolios
Minimum volatility strategies are one way to seek more equity stability, which may help investors stay in the markets over the long run.
How a Global Pandemic Could Accelerate the ESG Imperative
The coronavirus crisis will change the world in many ways. Tony DeSpirito discusses its potential impact on ESG investing and how it may hasten an important trend for active investors.
What’s Needed Now: Patience and Perspective
Russ discusses the importance of keeping perspective as we face an unprecedented crisis.
Seeing Beyond Short-Term Turmoil: Ideas for Stock Investors
Financial markets, and the world, are in unprecedented times. Tony DeSpirito offers some perspective along with ideas for preparing for the eventual return to “normal".
Why We Favor Re-Balancing Portfolios
Mike explains why it may be prudent re-balancing your portfolio – outside the usual calendar – after the recent market turbulence.
Fed Chair Powell’s Mario Moment…
BlackRock’s CIO of Global Fixed Income and Head of the Global Allocation Team weighs in on recent Federal Reserve policy moves and what they might mean for markets.
In the Search for Income, Consider Municipal Closed-End Funds
Municipal closed-end funds (“CEFs”) currently offer high levels of tax advantaged income and can often be purchased at a discount to their current net asset value.
Why It’s Not 2008 Again
A déjà vu of 2008 in markets lately? Mike explains why we think the coronavirus shock should not spark a 2008-style crisis.
What Do I Do With My Portfolio Now? Three Things to Consider
Corrections are normal but that doesn't mean they feel good. How to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Wanted: Policy Action
A decisive and coordinated policy action is key to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. Mike explains why.
The Real Deal With Emerging Markets
Emerging markets give many investors cold feet. On our latest podcast, EM equity pro Gordon Fraser discusses whether now may be time to warm up to the elusive asset class.
How the Coronavirus Outbreak Changes Our Views
Mike shares how we are updating views on global growth and asset allocation as the coronavirus spreads across the world.
Where We Stand on Factors
The coronavirus outbreak has altered market dynamics since late January – including in the space of equity style factors. One example, Quality has posted more muted gains after strong outperformance in late 2019. We stand by our tactical views on factors for now, including a modest overweight on quality.
3 Reasons to Stick with Tech Stocks
Technology shares are once again leaving everything else in the dust. Year-to-date, the MSCI Information Technology sector, led by U.S. tech, is beating the broader market by over 5% and is ahead of laggards, notably energy, by nearly 20%.
Coronavirus Testing Our Global Outlook
Mike explains how our global outlook has evolved with the developing coronavirus outbreak.
How Disruption Is Changing the Growth vs. Value Debate
Which is better: growth or value? It’s an age-old investor question. Tony DeSpirito discusses its modern-day implications in a world of widespread disruption.
The Economics of Social Unrest
Catherine explains the economic and political constraints leaders face in responding to the recent wave of global protests.
Why Bonds Are Still a Good Hedge
As Russ explains, bond yields may be low, but are still critical as an insurance policy against equity risk.
Coronavirus Risks Weigh on Markets
The coronavirus outbreak that started in China has sent jitters across global financial markets amid fears of a hit to the global economy. We think it is too early to assess the eventual impact on the economy yet see potential downside risks posed by the outbreak – with its unknown magnitude and duration. This underpins our view that U.S. Treasuries provide a source of portfolio resilience.
Fed’s Printing Press Favors Emerging Markets
Russ discusses the catalysts favoring Emerging Markets, beginning with the Federal Reserve.
8 Key Investment Themes for 2020
Rick Rieder, Russ Brownback and Trevor Slaven contend that eight major market influences are likely to dominate the investment environment in the year ahead and that the proper portfolio mix will be instrumental in delivering a successful outcome.
For 2020, Buy Early
After an astounding 2019, what’s in store for 2020? Russ discusses.
In 2020, the Critical Number to Know Is 1.8
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that contrary to the many year-end outlooks foreseeing either a recession or a rebound in 2020, the most likely path for the economy and markets is more moderate, which can be encapsulated in their theme of “1.8.”
What Boris Johnson’s Election Victory Means for UK Assets
We expect to see flows back into UK equity and credit now that some of the Brexit uncertainty has been removed.
Why Should You Read Our 2020 Global Outlook?
Jean highlights some key takeaways that may help you with next year’s investment decisions.
Sifting Through the Froth
Positive returns across asset classes in 2019 may limit tax loss selling in closed-end funds, but we see potential long term value in select sectors where investors can still buy assets at a discount.
Taking Stock of Our 2019 Views
We identified the protectionist push as a key market driver this year but we did not foresee the massive move down in global yields. Scott talks through our 2019 calls.
U.S. Consumers: Calm Surface, Revolution Below
As Russ explains, the evolution of the consumer, still a pillar of the markets, has major implications for investors.
What Matters More – Making Money or Not Losing It?
Redefining your lens on risk may help you win more by losing less.
Investors would do well to prepare for greater dispersion
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that – in contrast to the past decade of monetary policy lifting all economic boats at once – the years ahead are likely to be characterized by great dispersion between economies, industries and markets. Understanding that dynamic will be the name of the game for investment success.
Sustainable investing gains traction in fixed income
The stock market has been an early player in sustainable investing – while the fixed income market has lagged in data, tools and insights. But that’s changing fast, as we detail in a new publication: Sustainability: the bond that endures. New ESG indexes have created building blocks that can be used to bring sustainability into portfolios, even in asset classes such as emerging market (EM) debt that until recently lacked sustainable solutions.
A positive twist on geopolitical risk?
Markets hate uncertainty, and the type deriving from geopolitical unrest has been heightened this year. Jeff Shen discusses why there may be a silver lining on the horizon for investors.
Liquidity Trumps Uncertainty
Russ explains why monetary easing matters more than geopolitical risks for the markets right now.
Can Stocks Still Grind Higher? And 2 More Questions for Q4
It’s been a largely solid run for U.S. stocks in 2019. With the year now in its final quarter, Tony DeSpirito addresses three questions on investors’ minds.
The Restoration of Monetary Policy Equilibrium
Rick Rieder, Russ Brownback and Trevor Slaven contend that much of the recent criticism brought to bear against Fed policy makers is misguided, and in fact the central bank has done an admirable job of pivoting toward a pragmatic equilibrium in recent months.
Slowing Growth Demands the Right Style
Recent data show a slowing economy, but no recession. Russ discusses how to position a portfolio in this environment.
Looking for Cover
Covered call strategies in a closed-end fund may help long-term investors manage short-term volatility.
Takeaways from Our Q4 Outlook
The fourth quarter of 2019 kicked off with a market selloff and more evidence that a protectionist push is hitting the U.S. industrial sector. How are our asset views faring this year to date–and what are the key themes we see shaping markets in the months ahead?
A Growth Recovery Looming Ahead
Elga explains why we see a growth pickup looming on the horizon. Hint: Watch the transmission of financial conditions.
Toward Effective Economic Policy for the 21st Century
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback highlight their view that effective monetary and fiscal policy in the 21st Century needs to draw not only traditional economic theory, but also from the lessons of finance and other disciplines.
3 Ideas to Help You Achieve the Income You Need
Patrick Nolan offers his top tips to help your money deliver.
Why Stocks Can Shrug off Higher Rates
Interest rates rose last week, but the surge did not keep stocks from climbing. Russ explains why.
Where Is U.S. Economy Headed?
Elga explains why we could see lower growth and higher inflation ahead in the U.S. Hint: trade tensions.
Why Growth Remains Valuable
Russ describes the reasons why growth stocks can still outperform value.
Caught Between Uncertainty and Easy Money
Easier financial conditions have lessened the blow of greater political uncertainty. Can that continue?
The Monetary Policy Endgame
Rick Rieder highlights the economic policy state-of-play today, and where it may lead to should economic growth falter, productivity not materialize, and populism continue to thrive.
Should You Care About Negative Bond Yields?
In some parts of the world, bonds are yielding less than zero. Karen explains how that can happen, what it means for your portfolio and moves to consider.
The Pros and Cons of Currency Hedging
With the dollar remaining strong, Chris discusses whether it makes sense to hedge currencies for international investing.
Time to Stock up on Quality?
“Quality” stocks are said to offer a measure of portfolio stability ― a trait that becomes more valuable when markets are volatile and/or the business cycle is growing older. Both are true today. Tony DeSpirito offers his take on investing for quality.
Can a Growth Scare Benefit Tech Stocks?
Given the recent volatility, investors may be wary of tech. Not so fast, Russ explains.
5 Key Investment Themes for the Remainder of 2019
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback highlight the investment themes that they think will drive markets and dominate debate within the investment community over the next several months and beyond.
Why the Central Banks Backstop Is Working
Russ discusses how central banks once again have investors’ backs.
Europe at a Crossroads: The Time for Bolder Policy Action Is at Hand
Rick Rieder argues that anemic growth in Europe is a longstanding problem that today requires a bold solution. Institutionally, the ECB can offer potentially effective, if unconventional, help.
Are Investors Paying Too Big a Premium for Safety?
Following months of strong performance, Russ discusses why defensive sectors may be overpriced in the current environment.
The Case for European Equities
Despite structural regional challenges, Russ provides insight on several factors that support European equities.
The Trade War in the Context of Broader Themes
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that while most investors are focusing primarily on trade-related supply chain disruptions today, they need to continue to situate this turmoil in the more fundamental changes at play in technology and demographic trends.
The Pivot Favoring Emerging Markets
Russ explains why the suddenly easier central bank policies could be key for emerging markets.
The Risk of Too Little Inflation
Low inflation may sound appealing, but as Russ explains, it has drawbacks for investors.
Understanding Equity Hedges
With stocks on a rollercoaster ride this year, Russ discusses the various potential hedges that could smooth the ride.
A Glimpse at Our Midyear Outlook Debates
The firm’s senior decision makers debated the midyear market outlook last week in London. Jean shares the gist of our debates.
Why the Growth Premium Is Likely to Stay
Russ discusses why growth is likely to continue to outperform value for a while.
Technology and the Fight for the Cash Flows of the Future
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that there’s little benefit to “trading the news” today, as prices adjust instantly to highly-transparent information. Rather, investors would do well to follow long-term cash flows, of which the lion’s share is to be found in tech.
What Could Move the Markets Next?
Markets are not too expensive, or too cheap. As Russ explains, that offers a clue into what could cause the next move.
Why Volatility Could Be Worse
Russ discusses why volatility has not been more severe, even though growth has softened.
Why Stability May Be Enough for Cyclicals
Cyclicals rule. After getting trounced in Q4, year-to-date more cyclically oriented stocks and sectors have trounced “defensive”, less-cyclically exposed names. The trend has been even more pronounced during the past month.
With Oil at $65, Energy Stocks Look Cheap
Despite being up 25% from December 2018 lows, Russ discusses the factors that remain supportive of the energy sector.
Market Turbulence and Policy Reversal Shouldn’t Cow Investors
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that despite the market turbulence witnessed in the past several months, as well as a dramatic policy reversal, we find ourselves at a moment of remarkable economic stability. That fact, along with greater policy accommodation and capacity, argues for healthy and sensible risk taking.
Why Stocks Need the Fed Even More
With growth soft, financial conditions are key for investors, Russ explains.
What Stocks May Need: A Bit of Inflation
Russ discusses the divergence between rising stock prices and falling bond yields. What gives and can it continue?
The “Calm Premium”
The recent U.S. equity rally has coincided with a drop in volatility. But can that continue? Russ discusses.
An Inflation and Policy Backdrop Unlike What Many Expected Affords Opportunity
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that as the conventional wisdom in policy and investment circles surrounding prospects for growth and inflation have shifted in 2019, so too have investment opportunities.
Gold Holds up Even as Equities Rip
Russ explains the mystery of why gold is performing surprisingly well while stocks are rallying.
Stocks and Bonds Unlikely to Keep Rising Together
It’s not just stocks: bonds and commodities are up this year as well. Russ discusses whether than can continue.
Volatility Breeds Opportunity: Closed-End Fund Income Ideas at a Discount
Recent volatility has created opportunities to invest in high yielding leveraged credit closed-end funds trading at a discount to net asset value.
Why Energy Still Looks Cheap
Russ discusses why energy, despite rallying – and outperforming -- this year, still looks like a value.
Have Investors Shifted Market Sentiment Too Quickly?
Markets have bounced back from December’s selloff. Russ discusses whether investors have shifted sentiment too quickly.
Policy Evolution in 2019: The Ability to Invest Again
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that an evolving policy stance at the Fed is altering the risk/reward calculus for investors this year, although left-tail risks remain.
The Dollar: The Dog That Didn’t Bark
Russ discusses why the dollar has stabilized and what it means for markets.
Understanding the Fed’s Inflation Mandate and Why It Should Evolve
Rick Rieder argues that the Fed’s price stability mandate has been fulfilled and that today’s drivers of inflation…
Are you getting the best your 401(k) has to offer?
Your employer works behind the scenes to review and improve your retirement plan. But are you getting the benefit of their latest and greatest? Paul talks about how to use your employer’s recommendations to evaluate your own plan.
Monetary Policy in 2019, the Pause That Refreshes
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that slowing growth, peaking inflation and tightening financial conditions combine to make a strong case for a Fed policy rate hiking pause in early 2019.
3 Factors Supporting Emerging Markets
It may seem like a poor environment for EM stocks, but they outperformed in the recent volatility. Russ explains why.
Portfolio Reflections and Resolutions
A collection of insights our Portfolio Solutions team gathered from working with thousands of advisors on close to ten thousand investment models in the past twelve months.
Softer Economic Growth = More Defensive Portfolios
There are few signs of a recession, but slowing growth is having an impact. Russ explains why and what steps to take.
Why the Energy Stock Selloff May Be Overdone
Unless oil prices collapse, energy stocks now appear to be cheap, as Russ explains.
Why Valuation Alone Won’t Save Equities
After the October selloff, stocks got cheaper. But that might not be enough for a continued rebound, Russ suggests.
Why Higher Wages Reduce Inflation in the New Economy
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Rieder argues that wage growth doesn’t lead to higher inflation, and in fact may even hold a dampening impact on inflation over time, which has important implications for how to judge monetary policy today.
4 Potential Reasons for the Gold Rally
Russ discusses why gold, not a popular asset class until recently, has become so as a hedge.
Play Cautiously with Vulnerable Markets
Rieder and Brownback argue that monetary policy restrictiveness, fading fiscal stimulus, and growing economic uncertainties leave markets more vulnerable today, and these risks are not to be toyed with.
Earnings Are Not Enough: Stocks Need Easy Credit
Credit markets are still relatively supportive of stocks, but at the margins, less so. Russ discusses the implications.
For Now, Bonds Are Still Hedging Stocks
Russ takes a look at whether stocks and bonds will move in sync again and what to do if they will.
Adapting to Markets That Change at the Speed of Moore’s Law
Rieder and Brownback argue that today investors are confronted by massive shifts in the nature of the economy, alongside cyclical and policy uncertainties; making sense of it all is critically important.
Quality as a Hedge Against Rising Volatility
While momentum stocks have prevailed since 2016, is quality about to have its day? Possibly, if volatility continues to rise, as Russ discusses.
The Dollar Continues to Dominate
As Russ discusses, we remain in a strong dollar environment, which continues to have consequences for the market.
Wisdom of crowds: What can we learn from 8,000 people in 1974?
In a future of lower expected price appreciation, investors should focus on the second leg of returns: income. ETFs make it incredibly easy to capture diversified sources of higher-yielding assets.
Rising rates blog series: The double appeal of short-maturity bonds
As yields increase, short-maturity bond funds can offer both higher income potential and a cushion against interest rate risk. Karen explains the mechanics, in part three of her Rising Rates series.
The flattening to focus on
The flattening Treasury yield curve is getting a lot of attention, but there’s another flattening that is arguably of greater importance: the narrowing return gap between low- and high-risk assets. Jeff explains.
Why Are Markets Acting like Recession Is Looming?
Data shows a solid economy, yet markets are acting like recession is around the corner. Russ explains why.
Asia on Sale
As Russ notes, in a world with few bargains, one stands out: Asia.
Why Emerging Market Stocks Are Looking Cheap
As Russ explains, dismal performance of emerging markets this year has make them look like a bargain again.
Value Still Waiting for a Catalyst
Value continues to look cheap, however predicting when it will begin to outperform is challenging. Russ suggests one potential catalyst: an unexpected acceleration in nominal economic growth.
As Qe-Era Ends, Income Trumps Total Return
Rieder and Brownback argue that as we depart the era of QE, where rising tides lifted all boats, the income component of total return becomes ever more vital to investor prospects.
Why Gold May be Looking Cheap
Russ describes the signs that gold, notoriously difficult to assess, is starting to look cheap.
Why the Dollar Was Key to the 1st Half
As Russ explains the key to asset returns in the first half of 2018 was the dollar, not interest rates.
Why Energy Stocks Look Cheap
Russ discusses why the energy sector still looks attractive, despite having struggled recently.
2 Reasons Why Volatility Can Remain Low
Russ discusses why economic conditions (for now) support low volatility in the markets.
Markets Currently Display Myriad Moving Parts
Rieder and Brownback argue that today’s investment environment, like a well-fought chess match, holds great complexity; understanding it is vital for investors.
Gold: The Dollar’s Doppelganger
Russ explains why gold is not working as an effective equity hedge, despite higher volatility.
Money Is Still Cheap Enough to Support Stocks
Is the era of easy financial conditions over? Not yet, says Russ.
3 Reasons to Stick with Emerging Markets
Emerging market stocks and bonds are having a rough year, but Russ argues against abandoning the asset class.
It’s All About the Multiples
Earnings are strong, markets less so. As Russ explains, investors are paying attention to valuations and the economy.
The Return of Relative Value to Defensive Stocks
For most of the post-crisis period, defensive stocks have been expensive. Russ suggests that may have changed.
Focus on the right 3% yield
The 3% U.S. 10-year government bond yield isn’t the right yield to focus on. Richard explains why.
At Cycle Turn, Fed Can Follow Two Possible Paths
Rieder and Brownback discuss how cyclical turning points result in market friction, even with solid growth, presenting the Fed with two potential paths.
Why U.S. Stocks May Still Not Be "Cheap Enough"
Prospects for a trade war are having an impact on markets, but for bargain hunters, stocks are still expensive. Russ suggests looking outside the U.S.
No, Washington Is Not to Blame for the Volatility
Many are pointing a finger at Washington for the recent spike in volatility. But, as Russ explains, the catalysts lie elsewhere.
For Stocks, What Consumers Say Outweighs What They Do
Russ discusses why stocks can still thrive when consumers are confident, but frugal.
Navigating the New Volatility Regime
Rick and Russ on the new volatility regime, why risk is being misapprehended, and how to navigate these new challenges.
The Problem for Stocks: Fewer Positive Surprises
Markets are a function of reality meeting expectations. Russ discusses why the expectations are outpacing the reality.
Why Volatility May Be a Bigger Threat Than Rates
Russ discusses why investors should worry less about higher interest rates and more about the volatility resulting from tighter financial conditions.
Yes, Rates and Stocks Can Rise Together…. for Now
Think rising interest rates and higher stock prices are like oil and water? Think again, says Russ, at least for the time being.
After the Selloff, What’s Changed? Not Much
Russ reviews the landscape after the selloff and discusses how little has actually changed.
Mind your P’s and F’s: Don’t confuse leveraged ETPs with ETFs
As the recent market volatility made clear, there’s a big difference between plain vanilla ETFs and leveraged products making big bets with big risks.
For Emerging Markets, It’s Really the “Economy Stupid”
Russ discusses why the case for emerging market stocks right now simply rests on concept of solid global growth.
Greater Clarity on Markets Demands a Flexible Approach
Rick and Russ argue that the recently enacted U.S. tax cut and an evolving monetary policy backdrop provides both greater clarity on expected increases in volatility and underscores the need to remain flexible and opportunistic in allocation.
3 Vital Economic Themes for 2018
Amid the seemingly endless noise that poses as news, Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback focus in on three of the most critical themes that investors need to consider for 2018.
Low Spreads + Low Inflation = Low Volatility
Russ discusses why the real economy and financial market conditions offer more clues about volatility than political noise.
Why Continued Calm for Stocks Depends on Credit Markets
Can markets repeat the outstanding performance of 2017? Russ discusses why credit market conditions are likely to provide the key clues.
The Stage Is Set for More Volatility in 2018
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback examine the more volatile cyclical dynamics we’re likely to encounter in 2018, even as the secular risk-asset bull market remains in place.
Another Year, the Same Old Rate Paralysis
Long-term interest rates remain stuck in a range that has defined the last six years. Russ discusses why 2018 may see more of the same.
The Five Ws of Style Factors
Wondering how style factors work and how to use them? The five Ws tell the story of the value, momentum, quality, size and minimum volatility factors.
2017, the Acid Test for Active Bond Investing
Rick and Jacob examine why 2017 provides a seemingly unlikely source of evidence for the effectiveness of an active approach to fixed income.
Will Tax Cuts (Finally) Reawaken Value?
Value stocks are cheap, relative to growth, but have lacked a catalyst to rally. Russ discusses why tax cuts could be that spark.
Time to Trim, but Not Abandon Gold
Gold has performed surprisingly well this year. Russ discusses why that might not be the case going forward, and it may be time to pare positions.
Interest Rates: Not Going Back to “Normal” Anytime Soon
Interest rates are set to move higher, but as Russ explains, we are still a long ways away from the long-term average of 6% 10-year Treasury yields.
High Yield’s Diminishing Appeal
High yield bonds have been investor favorite the last year and a half. Russ discusses why that may not last.
Semester-End Policy Liquidity Can’t Be Crammed For
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback argue that while cramming for finals may have worked in college, it won’t with the winding down of the global central bank policy liquidity “semester.”
In Times of Eerie Calm, Don't Neglect Quality
Quality stocks may be out of favor in this environment, but Russ explains the important role they can play in a portfolio.
Energy and Financials: The Value Within Value
Value stocks have started to show signs of life. Russ discusses why energy and financial stocks are currently the best ways to play the theme.
A Song of Ice and Fire: Portfolio Hedging Edition
A downturn for stocks may not be top of mind these days, but one will happen eventually. To prepare for that, Russ discusses why the source of the selloff matters as much as the magnitude.
Reversals of Fortune: Emerging Markets and Japan
Russ discusses the reasons why Japan’s equity market may outperform emerging markets.
4 Reasons Why the Consumer (and the Economy) Are Still in Limbo
Consumer spending helps fuel the economy, but, as Russ explains, still sluggish spending continues to limit growth.
Market Lessons from the Gridiron
Rick Rieder and Russ Brownback, from the BlackRock Fundamental Fixed Income Team, look to the investment lessons that can be derived from Super Bowl 51 odds making, and particularly that when judged appropriately, prices can contain more valuable information than does “the news.”
The German Election and Markets
What might the German election mean for markets?
Generation Dove: The Fed's Norm for Nearly 20 Years
With the top two positions at the Federal Reserve soon to be open, Russ discusses how the easy money era goes back a long way.
One Critical Way Technology Is Transforming the Economic Landscape
Rick Rieder explains the economic implications of “the Amazon effect.”
2017 Winners Make Peculiar Bedfellows
Russ explores why both risky assets and traditional safe havens have performed well this year, and whether that can continue.
Value: Dead or just slumbering?
Value stocks have largely sat out the broader market rallies this year. Russ explains why, and what could spark a return to investor favor.
Biotech: Ignore the Noise
We believe biotech's long-term historical drivers, demographics and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity to secure patent protected drugs, may outlast near-term political headwinds and should lead investors to consider bio-pharma from a longer-term perspective. Biotech valuations also currently appear attractive relative to the broader market and look less crowded than other growth sectors. Over the short term we see potential opportunities in select individual biotech and pharma names.
Gold Shines as Washington Stumbles
Russ discusses the trend behind the surprising gold rally this year, and why the political drama in D.C. means it may continue.
Update on Japan
We see three factors that potentially support Japanese equities going forward: 1. Improving earnings outlook amid a strengthening domestic economy and synchronized global expansion. 2. Currently attractive equity valuations compared to developed market peers. 3. Continued monetary stimulus from the Bank of Japan and a potentially stable yen.
Why Rates Are Not Moving
Whatever happened to the increase in interest rates that was supposed to occur? Russ explains.
The Truth Buried in Weak Inflation Data
Rick explains what many interpreters of inflation data are missing.
Why Investors Are Ignoring Political Dysfunction—for Now
Russ discusses an enigma: Stocks continue to climb higher and volatility is at all-time lows while disarray reigns in Washington.
Dispelling 3 Myths About the Markets and Economy
Several myths have taken hold among market watchers lately. Rick seeks to dispel them.
Is High Yield Today More Resilient to Oil Volatility? Not at Any Price
High yield is not responding to the fall in oil prices like it’s 2016. Russ talks why the pain point is lower today than 18 months ago.
The Geekiest (and Most Important) Number Nobody Is Discussing
Russ explains why investors should pay more attention to the stock-bond correlation coefficient and understand its impact on investment portfolios.
More to Inflation Data Than Meets the Eye
It’s easy to fixate on headline inflation numbers that appear disappointing, but Rick explains why there’s more to the data than meets the eye.
Don't Fear the Commodity Slump—Yet
Should soft commodity prices portend slowing growth and concern investors?
Momentum May Be Running out of Momentum
Russ discusses why momentum, which has thrashed value this year, could struggle in the second half.
Into Thin Air
Stocks are getting expensive by traditional measures. Russ takes a look at what history tells us about what could happen next.
Factor Investing - a Time to Tilt
In my many conversations with investors and industry peers about factor investing, one topic seems to always come up: factor investing timing. I’ve had recent discussions on this topic with a central bank whose managers need to think about preserving capital and with a more nimble RIA team which explicitly wants to use timing to pursue incremental returns.
The Economic Side Effects of the Student Loan Crisis (in 3 Charts)
Rick Rieder explains the under-appreciated negative economic side effects of today’s student loan levels, with the help of three charts.
What's Behind the Tech Selloff
Russ discusses why many technology stocks have tumbled recently, without any obvious reason.
Don’t read too much into the dollar’s decline
Russ explains the different circumstances that have pushed the U.S. dollar downward and what the recent retreat means for your investments.
Keep Your Eyes on the Credit Markets, Not Washington
With political uncertainty on the rise in D.C., will market volatility spike? Russ discusses why the economy and credit markets matter more.
The Yield "Melt-Up" That Wasn't
Russ talks about why bond yields remain low this year, despite expectations of a rise.
A Mother’s Day gift for baby boomer moms
Mother’s Day is a good day to celebrate the moms in your life—and prepare for retirement. Anne explains.
Opportunities in today’s evolving fixed income market
Fixed income investing today is very different from several years ago, but this doesn’t mean there aren’t opportunities for generating returns. Rick explains.
What I learned at the Milken Conference
Russ discusses the important trends that emerged from a compelling conference of finance, business and political leaders.
Preventive Medicine: Playing Defense with Health Care
With risks abounding in the markets, Russ discusses the case for health care as a defensive sector.
The “reflation trade” that began in late 2016 has lost steam. Russ discusses what comes next.
Where the Fed Goes from Here
What does weaker-than-expected March jobs growth mean for the path of rate normalization? Rick Rieder weighs in.
Small Caps Looking for a Catalyst
Small cap stocks are faltering this year. Russ describes why and whether that will continue.
The Seesaw Relationship of Volatility and Momentum Stocks
Volatility is creeping back into the markets. Russ discusses why that holds some peril for momentum stocks.
Assumptions Not to Make After the March Fed Hike
With two more Fed hikes potentially on the horizon in 2017, Rick clears up a few wrong assumptions some market watchers are making about rate normalization.
To Hedge or Not to Hedge?
Although the value of a currency can impact your international holdings, Russ talks about when it makes sense to hedge that effect.
Are U.S. Banks Still Cheap?
Financial stocks have been rallying on the expectations of higher interest rates and less regulation. Russ discusses whether the good news has already been priced in.
Blending the Ingredients of a Portfolio
While most investors focus on potential returns in their portfolios, Russ discusses why risk and correlation are just as important.
Why Value Is Still a Value
The rally in value stocks may have stalled, but Russ discusses why the trend still has further to go.
Why a March Hike is on the Table
Rick Rieder shares three reasons why a March Fed rate increase is a possibility.
Volatility is low, but political uncertainty is high. Russ discusses what is causing this and whether it can continue.
Inflation Comes Skulking Back
Russ discusses the signs that inflation is rising faster than many expect, and what that means for your portfolio.
3 Telltale Signs the Japan Rally May Not Be Over
With U.S. stocks rallying, investors may be tempted to stick with a home country bias. Russ discusses why Japan is still worth a look.
2 Reasons the U.S. Economy Should Fare Better in 2017
Rick explains why there's a good chance U.S. growth will pick up from 2016.
If You Could Ask the New Administration for One Thing…
Investors have been bidding up stocks in anticipation of policy shifts by the new administration. Russ discusses the policy that matters most to investors.
Why Stock Market Tranquility is Unlikely to Last
Stock markets have been very quiet lately, but as we get ready to enter 2017, things may change. Here's why.
Inflation Is Not Dead Yet
Russ discusses four reasons why the rebound in inflation is likely to continue.
The Fed makes its move… now what?
With the Federal Reserve back in the spotlight, Rick Rieder discusses what investors should be focused on in 2017.
The Latest Risk for Stocks
Stocks have been helped by low rates and inflation. Russ suggests that may be changing.
The ECB Missed an Opportunity to Re-Rate European Growth
Rick Rieder makes the case for a policy that is bolder than what the ECB had announced last week.
Yes, the Bond Selloff Can Continue
Russ explains why the post-election selloff in bonds may be a longer-term, not temporary, phenomenon.
What a Trump Presidency Could Mean for Bond Markets Long Term
Bonds sold off after Donald Trump's surprise election win. What could the election results mean for bond markets over the long term? Rick Rieder weighs in.
Welcome to the New World of Reflation
In the post-election markets, investors are preparing for the potential for higher growth—and inflation. Russ discusses the implications for investors.
One Sign the Labor Market Has Recovered
Rick Rieder talks about the improving wage growth and a tight jobs market having a possible impact on the Federal Reserve's rate hike decision in December.
What the Election Outcome Could Mean for Markets and Policy
The BlackRock Investment Institute shares the implications of Donald Trump's unexpected election win.
How to Seek Income Now
As 2016 draws to a close and a Fed hike looms, where should investors hunt for yield now? Terry highlights the case for three income-yielding asset classes.
Why the Gold Rally Can Continue
Gold has rallied recently with the return of political uncertainty. But Russ points to another factor that suggests the gains can continue: inflation.
Are International Markets Back?
International stocks have started to outperform U.S. stocks. Russ explains what's behind the comeback and why it may continue.
Why Cash Has Become King Again
Often, high levels of cash in investors' portfolios represent excessive caution. Russ explains why this time is different.
Why Defensive Stocks Are Still Not Cheap
Despite underperforming recently, high yielding defensive stocks are still expensive. Russ sees better value elsewhere, namely technology.
The Two-Track U.S. Economy
Rick Rieder explains the multiple ways the U.S. economy is moving on two tracks, and what this means for monetary policy.
Why Bonds May No Longer Be Able to Save Stocks
Historically low bond yields have helped boost stocks in recent years. Russ discusses why this may no longer be enough.