Musings on Monaco

May 17, 2019

I just returned from spending the past week in Monaco on a Commonwealth conference trip. It was a stellar experience, per usual—our conference planners are the best of the best. Also per usual, getting out of my comfortable home environment has prompted a new level of reflection in me. In this case, I’ve been musing over affluence, income distribution, and what it means to be wealthy.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

What Lies Ahead for the Economy and Markets?

May 16, 2019

Thus far, it has been an eventful year. Markets were up substantially, pulled back sharply, and then bounced again. The economy was slow going into the year, picked up during the first quarter, and now may be slowing again. The political story has included the Mueller report, a China trade deal and then trade war, and Brexit (now postponed). Like I said, it has been an eventful year—and it is only May.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

What Will the Tariffs Mean for the Economy?

May 15, 2019

Yesterday, we talked about the effects of the tariffs on the stock market and why those effects—even though they are real—are likely to be limited. Today, I want to discuss what actually happened with the tariffs, what they mean for the economy, and where this situation is likely to go. The conclusions from yesterday on the stock market remain the same, but this discussion will provide valuable context for what might happen in the future. So, let’s start with what happened.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Should We Ignore Recent Market Volatility?

May 14, 2019

After yesterday’s terrible performance—with U.S. stock markets down more than 2 percent—worries are starting to rise. Combined with last week’s declines, it looks like we may be seeing the end of the bull market. So, is it time to panic?

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Monday Update: Inflation Under Control, Trade Balance Stops Improving

May 13, 2019

Last week’s data was focused on prices, although we also got an update on the trade balance. This week is a busy one, including looks at retail sales, consumer confidence, and the housing sector.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Monthly Market Risk Update: May 2019

May 10, 2019

It’s time for our monthly look at market risk factors. Just as with the economy, there are several key factors that matter for the market in determining both the risk level and the immediacy of the risk. Although stocks have largely recovered from their recent pullback, given valuations and recent market behavior, it is useful to keep an eye on these factors.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Economic Risk Factor Update: May 2019

May 9, 2019

After a difficult quarter, April’s data showed signs of meaningful improvement. Job growth bounced back, easing a major concern. Plus, consumer confidence improved, which should help growth going forward. On the other hand, business confidence dipped further, and the yield curve remains close to a risk level.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Is the Latest Market Pullback Just Noise?

May 8, 2019

When we see sharp drawdowns in the stock market like we have over the past couple of days, it’s natural to worry it might be the start of something much worse. Indeed, it could be. Odds are, however, that this will be a brief pullback followed by a rebound.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

A Look Back at the Markets in April and Ahead to May 2019

May 7, 2019

April was the month that everything turned around . . . we hope. Job growth kicked back to very high levels, taking the unemployment rate to a 50-year low. Consumer confidence rebounded in a big way. And, perhaps as a consequence, retail spending also came in well above expectations. On top of all that good news, economic growth came in well above expectations for the first quarter—even as the Fed stepped back from its hawkish stance, leaving interest rates unchanged and likely to remain that way.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Monday Update: Strong Job Growth and Consumer Confidence

May 6, 2019

Last week was a very busy one for economic data, with a number of key reports. This week’s data is focused around prices, but there will also be an update on the trade balance.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Two Cheers (Not Three) for the Jobs Report

May 3, 2019

On the face of it, this morning’s strong jobs number should elicit a full three cheers. Job growth came in at 263,000. This result was up from last month’s downwardly revised 189,000 and well above the expected 190,000. Looks like a home run, right? In fact, when you dig into the details, the news (while still good) is not nearly as good as the headline suggests. That is why I am subtracting a full cheer from the headline.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Market Thoughts for May 2019 [Video]

May 2, 2019

April was another great month for the financial markets, as U.S., emerging, and developed markets were all in the green. Although there were concerns about a slowdown at the end of last month, first-quarter economic growth actually came in well above expectations. Plus, consumer spending picked up, consumer confidence bounced back, and business investment came in stronger than expected.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Investors: Sell in May and Go Away?

May 1, 2019

Today we will take a look at an old investing adage: “sell in May and go away.” It is supposed to reflect the idea that market returns over the summer and fall are worse than those in the winter and spring. Under this theory, you should sell all your stocks in May and then buy them back in November.

Continue reading → Leave a comment

Subscribe via E-mail

Upcoming Appearances

Tune into Bloomberg Radio's Bloomberg Businessweek on Wednesday, May 22, at 3:45 P.M. to hear Brad talk about the markets. Stream the show live at, listen through SiriusXM 119, or download Bloomberg's app, Bloomberg Radio+. 


Crash-Test Investing
Commonwealth Independent Advisor

Hot Topics

Have a Question?

New Call-to-action




The information on this website is intended for informational/educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice, a solicitation, or a recommendation to buy or sell any security or investment product. Please contact your financial professional for more information specific to your situation.

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.  

Third party links are provided to you as a courtesy. We make no representation as to the completeness or accuracy of information provided at these websites. Information on such sites, including third party links contained within, should not be construed as an endorsement or adoption by Commonwealth of any kind. You should consult with a financial advisor regarding your specific situation.


Please review our Terms of Use

Commonwealth Financial Network®