13 Feb 2018

Stock Market Correction: The Early Autopsy

While I think it’s far too early to say that the correction is over, the sharp rallies over the past two days are welcome signals that suggest the forced selling that characterized last week’s sharp daily losses may be over. My view of the recent market selloff has two components.  First, as I outlined on last Monday, February 5th (click here for the article), I believe that the initial cause… Read More

6 Feb 2018

Market Summary: Extended Analysis

The S&P 500 lost more than four percent, the largest single day loss for the index since August, 2011.  The losses started out modestly through lunchtime, but accelerated sharply in the early afternoon. At one point, as seen in the Bloomberg screenshot below, the S&P 500 spiked higher, but then lost back everything that was earned in the final hour or so of trading. Although we don’t know exactly what… Read More

5 Feb 2018

What the Heck Just Happened?

What the heck happened?  Stocks were rolling along, picking up steam even, when all of a sudden, out of the blue, ‘POW!’, the index hit a wall. In reality though, while the move lower was a surprise, it wasn’t really all that surprising.  It’s true that I couldn’t have told you the week before that stocks would have fallen sharply last week, but a move like this really isn’t out… Read More

31 Jan 2018

Tax Reform’s Impact on the Value of Muni’s

The new 2018 tax laws are already having a major impact on investment portfolios. Lower tax rates, especially the decline in corporate rates, has boosted optimism for economic growth and higher wages which has manifested itself in higher stock multiples and higher prices. The opposite has happened with interest rates. Higher growth and wages would be expected to bring higher inflation too. Increased inflation expectations along with an expectation for… Read More

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29 Jan 2018

The Market’s Next Phase

Almost a year ago to the day, I wrote an article that discussed a well-known quote from a famous investor, Sir John Templeton.  He said that ‘Bull markets are born on pessimism, grown on skepticism, mature on optimism and die in euphoria.’ Clearly, the bull market that we’ve enjoyed for the last nine years was born in the pessimism of the 2008 global financial crisis.  The rally grew on optimism and… Read More

16 Jan 2018

New Tax Law, New Tax Strategies

One of the key elements of the new tax law is that it nearly doubles the standard deduction from $12,700 to $24,000 for joint filers (for simplicity, I’m not addressing individuals or heads of households, although the same concepts apply). Historically, about 70 percent of people used the standard deduction and that number is expected to jump to 90 percent under the new law. For the 20 percent that will… Read More

9 Jan 2018

Portfolio Insights

We are pleased to provide a digital copy of Portfolio Insights, our quarterly newsletter. Table of Contents: Stock Market Summary Bond Market Review The New Tax Laws and You What is Bitcoin, Anyway? The Big Picture & Fast Facts Click here to read the issue:  2017 Q4 Portfolio Insights

8 Jan 2018

Recession Risk in 2018 is Greater Than You Think

Last Thursday night, I attended a Financial Planning Association (FPA) meeting here in Chesterfield presented by William Emmons, an economist from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. His presentation, titled Recession Risk in 2018 is Greater Than You Think, was fascinating.  Despite what people say about government workers and folks from the Federal Reserve, I thought Mr. Emmons was smart, fair and thoughtful – important traits for an economist. Mr. Emmons… Read More

2 Jan 2018

My Prediction for 2018

One thing that you can count on at the start of every new year is a fresh set of predictions from those of us in the investment business. Last year, one of the most widely discussed and accepted views for 2017 was that the dollar would continue to gain strength, as it had for the previous three years.  Instead, our currency lost about 10 percent, widely defying the consensus views…. Read More