Appearance on CNBC Worldwide Exchange, August 27, 2014

August 27, 2014

What do I think about the S&P 500's break above 2,000? Hear what I discussed with CNBC Worldwide Exchange in an interview today, August 27.

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Why I’m Not Terribly Excited About the S&P 500’s Latest Record

August 27, 2014

The S&P 500 has set another record, closing above 2,000 for the first time yesterday. Hooray.

I want to be excited, I really do. But I just can’t get there, and I don’t seem to be alone. The press has noted it, without much fanfare. The market itself doesn’t seem all that jazzed.

Why the ennui? I suspect it’s because this may not be a real rally, but one driven by low volumes, senior staff on vacation, and other less-than-exciting factors. After Labor Day, we should get a better look at what investors really think.

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How Does the Market React to Rate Changes? Maybe Not the Way You’d Expect

August 26, 2014

Looking into the relationship between interest rates and stock market valuations, I’ve found two very interesting points that have a direct bearing on our investments.

First, the valuation metric you use matters. As you may remember, I prefer a cyclically adjusted price/earnings ratio, or Shiller P/E, over a P/E based on only 12 months of data. When you compare the relationships with interest rates, among other factors, it’s very clear that the Shiller P/E has the better economic foundation; not only is it more intuitively sensible, it’s also a better analytical tool.

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Market Crashes: What Are the Warning Signs?

August 25, 2014

As we discussed last week, market crashes (defined as drops of 30 percent or more) have become more common recently, while the smaller declines known as bear markets (drops of about 20 percent) have become less so. With two major crashes in the past 10 years, it seems like a good idea to examine some of the factors that preceded them.

Are there any warning signs that we should be keeping an eye out for?

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Is Crash Risk Higher Now?

August 22, 2014

Yesterday, we talked about the latest prediction of doomthis time, a 67-percent decline in the stock market in the next 18 to 24 months. Unlike most doom-saying, which isn’t supported by any actual data (the collapse of the dollar, for example), arguments for a significant market decline are based on a number of very real facts, many of which I’ve discussed in the past.

I've never really examined the situation of a crash itself, however. What would a crash mean, and how would it likely play out?

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Demographics and Stock Market Valuations

August 21, 2014

Yesterday, I received a question from Joe Esposito that touches on some very relevant demographic-related issues:

“How do you feel about Harry Dent's prediction of a Dow 5,500 and the next big crash starting within the next 24 months or so? Just curious on your take regarding his demographic viewpoints and positioning with booms and busts. (Highs are higher and busts will be lower than that last.) Thoughts?”

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With Employment Data, the Devil’s in the Details

August 20, 2014

When I speak to groups in various parts of the country, I often hear that things there don’t reflect the national employment averages and trends I talk about. This usually leads to some interesting discussions about why that might be the case.

The problem with looking at region-specific trends is the lack of research in that area. So I was glad to discover a recent report by Deloitte University Press that breaks out some numbers on a regional basis, with interesting results.

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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. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly into an index.

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