How a Border Tax Could Backfire on the U.S. Economy
In the past couple of days, I’ve led a pretty optimistic quarterly call for investors, given a couple of pretty optimistic TV interviews, and written some fairly optimistic pieces here on the blog. Although I stand by all of my statements, it occurs to me that, for someone known as Eeyore, I’ve displayed an unusual amount of optimism lately. Time for a reality check.
Q4 Earnings: Expect to Beat Expectations?
The key driver of the stock market, over the long term, is earnings. In the short term as well, earnings can be the primary driver of market performance. So, each quarter, it makes sense to review whether earnings are doing well or poorly, and why.
Monthly Market Risk Update: January 2017
ust as I do with the economy, I review the market each month for warning signs of trouble in the near future. Although valuations are now high—a noted risk factor in past bear markets—markets can stay expensive (or get much more expensive) for years and years, which doesn’t give us much to go on timing-wise.
Symptoms, Diseases, and the Fed
This week, someone asked me about the excess reserves held by the banking system and what the Federal Reserve is likely to do about it. As it turned out, what he really wanted to know was whether inflation is likely to take off and which signals might alert us if the economy and markets are about to roll over.
Market Thoughts for January 2017
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, discusses the markets and economy for December. Last month was all about confidence: for the consumer, for business, and in the stock market. U.S. markets finished strong for the month, in large part due to the post-election rally. Consumer confidence moved to its highest level since 2001, employment grew, and business confidence reached a level we haven’t seen since before the financial crisis. Given such strong results, what should we keep an eye on as we start 2017? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
The Boston Tea Party and Democracy Today
It was 243 years ago today that a group of Massachusetts Bay colonists threw the Boston Tea Party, protesting a law they did not like by dumping tea from British ships into the harbor. This, of course, led to further British laws and colonial unrest—and eventually to where we sit today, in the United States of America instead of Greater Britain.
Dow 20,000 in Sight
I remember when the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 10,000, both going up and going down. It was a lot more fun going up, especially the first time. The index is now approaching double that level—Dow 20,000. If we get there, it should be exciting.
Market Thoughts for December 2016
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, discusses the market reaction to November’s election upset. Everyone thought markets would sell off after a Trump victory, and they did for a few hours before rallying strongly. Although the reaction around the world has been less favorable, U.S. fundamentals are sound, and with the uncertainty of the election behind us, the economy and markets are free to do even better. Nothing’s guaranteed, but as headwinds turn to tailwinds, we may see even more acceleration. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Should I Invest Outside the U.S.?
With U.S. stocks surging to new highs and trouble brewing elsewhere in the world (the failed Italian referendum and resignation of Matteo Renzi, not to mention the continued decline in the Chinese currency), I’ve been getting questions about whether investors should just stay here in the USA.
The Trump Bounce and the Monthly Market Risk Update: November 2016
Although many were predicting a significant pullback on Mr. Trump’s election, we, in fact, got a fairly significant advance. What’s up with that? I suspect there are several reasons.
Election Surprise: For the Economy, Maybe Just Another Bump in the Road
Throughout the campaign, much of the media coverage on both sides has verged on the apocalyptic, and, indeed, there may be substantial challenges as a new administration comes into power. But the reality is that the sun will continue to come up each day, and the country will move on.
Market Thoughts for November 2016
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, discusses October tricks and treats for financial markets and the economy. As expected, it was a tough month for markets, as uncertainty surrounding the upcoming election and the future of interest rates continued to rattle investors. Still, fundamentals remain solid, and we were treated to rising business and consumer confidence, as well as strong economic growth. Is it possible that the trickiest part of the quarter is behind us? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
What Does the Election Mean for Your Portfolio?
There’s no escaping coverage of the presidential election—what it means, whom to vote for, whom not to vote for. Many of us are deeply engaged in the process and passionately committed to one of the candidates.
Market Thoughts for October 2016
Brad McMillan, Commonwealth’s CIO, discusses the markets and economy for September. It was a volatile month, with markets dropping only to bounce back at month-end. Large companies in the S&P 500 were down slightly, while smaller companies and those outside of the U.S. did well. There was also a larger-than-expected pullback in the service sector, yet consumer confidence reached a nine-year high. Given such mixed news, should we be concerned about where the economy is going? Stay tuned to find out. Follow Brad at blog.commonwealth.com/independent-market-observer.
Outlook for October and the Fourth Quarter
Fundamentals Vs. Policy: It’s All About Growth
What Will the Fed Do?
Market Thoughts for September 2016
Stocks: Partying Like It’s 1999
Market Thoughts for August 2016
Looking at Future Stock Returns
U.S. Financial Markets: Strength Amid Global Turmoil
The Market’s New High Score
Market Thoughts for July 2016
Will Brexit Crash the Stock Market?
Brexit After All
I woke up early this morning to check the results of the British referendum on leaving the European Union. Against expectations, the Leave vote won a convincing victory, defying the polls and the prediction markets. There’s no doubt the world has changed, significantly. There is considerable doubt about what that actually means and—more immediately—what to do about it.