30 Mar 2020

A Breath of Fresh Air

Stocks rallied in response to the fiscal and monetary policy response from the government. On the monetary side, the Federal Reserve announced that they would provide ‘unlimited’ quantitative easing (QE), and announced new facilities to support credit markets. The Fed had recently committed to buying $500 billion in Treasury bonds and $200 billion in mortgage-backed securities, and said that it would continue in the amounts needed to support smooth market… Read More

9 Mar 2020

Markets Testing Your Mettle

As I noted here last week, despite the market turmoil, it is important to remember that we planned for this.  We have prolonged periods of market stress built into our financial plans. It’s also moments like this when we can see whether we’ve accurately assessed your risk tolerance.  Every client has an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) that estimates how much an allocation could lose over certain periods. Importantly, we don’t include… Read More

2 Mar 2020

We Planned for This

The selloff was mostly driven by concerns about the spread of the coronavirus outside of China.  Although the World Health Organization (WHO) said that it was not yet a pandemic, it increased its risk assessment from ‘high’ to ‘very high.’ Although the bond market received less media attention, the results were equally dramatic.  For reference, the yield on the 10-year US Treasury on January 31st was 1.51 percent.  On Friday,… Read More

18 Mar 2019

Risk & Volatility

Using the words ‘risk’ and ‘volatility’ interchangeably is one of the bad habits of many financial professionals, myself included.  When pressed, we know better, but we make this mistake all of the time nonetheless. Merriam-Webster has four definitions of risk as a noun, two of which are applicable here: ‘the possibility of loss or injury,’ and ‘the chance that an investment (such as a stock or commodity) will lose value.’ Volatility, according to Merriam-Webster,… Read More

17 Dec 2018

What’s Driving the Market Lower?

Stocks are suffering for two basic reasons: slowing global growth and tightening central bank policy.  While both of these rationales are true, they’re also very generic. Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to look at the big sectors driving the market performance and try to describe what’s happening in each one for a little more granularity. There are 11 sectors, and I won’t be discussing all of them, because… Read More

9 Apr 2018

Tariffs, Profits and Global Growth

Concerns about a trade war flared back up again last week.  The US released a list of proposed tariffs on some $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.  The 25 percent levies reach broadly, including medicine, aviation, semiconductors and consumer goods like dishwashers, snow plows and motorcycles. Beijing was quick to respond with reciprocal tariffs, announcing $50 billion on 106 products including soybeans, automobiles, chemicals and aircraft.  Some analysts pointed out… Read More

20 Feb 2018

The Dip Was Bought

Last week’s Daily Insight was a little long and a little technical, so today I am going to keep it short and sweet. The market appears to have shifted back into rally mode with concerns about inflation, rising bonds yields or volatility, seemingly falling by the wayside.  At this point, this correction seems a lot like the last two, although as I said last week, it’s a little too early… Read More

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

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