The Economy Under President Trump

January 20, 2017

Today, America carried out the peaceful transition of power that is at the heart of our democracy—except that we don’t actually have a democracy but a republic. In a democracy, the people make the decisions. In a republic, they elect representatives who make the decisions for them. This is a subtle but important difference, and one that represents a very deliberate decision by the founders, who distrusted popular sentiment.

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Earnings, Valuations, and the Stock Market

January 19, 2017

In yesterday’s post, I discussed how corporate earnings will likely continue to improve, which should be good for the stock market on a fundamental basis. That’s not the whole story, however.

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Q4 Earnings: Expect to Beat Expectations?

January 18, 2017

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.

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Monday Update: Retail Spending Weaker Than Expected

January 17, 2017

After a strong start, 2017 slowed down considerably in terms of economic data. Last week’s news, which centered on the consumer, largely disappointed. Although it’s too early to get very concerned, the numbers suggest that higher confidence levels aren’t yet translating into actual growth.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: January 2017

January 13, 2017

Just as I do with the economy, I review the market each month for warning signs of trouble in the near future.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: January 2017

January 12, 2017

The news this month continues to be good, with more positive data almost across the board. This is the second month of reversal against the downtrend that developed in 2016, which suggests a real change of course. Although we need more data to be fully confident, the consistency of the positive reversal across multiple data sets and the magnitude of the positive surprises are very encouraging.

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Confidence: What Is It, Anyway?

January 11, 2017

Rereading some of my recent posts, it occurred to me that I’ve talked quite a bit about “confidence” (and the improvements thereof) without actually defining what I mean by it. Much of social science, and economics, is based on hand-waving, so when you have actual data, it makes sense to employ it.

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Upcoming Appearances

Tune in to CNBC Worldwide Exchange on Monday, January 23, at 5:50 A.M. ET to hear Brad talk about the markets. Check your local listings for availability.

Tune in to Bloomberg Radio's Bloomberg Advantage on Tuesday, February 7, at 3:45 P.M. ET to talk about the markets. You can stream the show live, listen through SiriusXM 119, or download their app.

I'm pleased to be speaking during a general session at the Barron's Top Independent Advisors Summit on Thursday, March 23, at 11:15 A.M. ET. For more information or to request an invitation, visit  

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Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. The S&P 500 Index is a broad-based measurement of changes in stock market conditions based on the average performance of 500 widely held common stocks. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly into an index.

The MSCI EAFE Index (Europe, Australasia, Far East) is a free float‐adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI EAFE Index consists of 21 developed market country indices.  


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