Hong Kong Protests: Why They Matter for Investors

August 30, 2019

Brad here. Today's post on what the Hong Kong protests could mean for global investors is by Anu Gaggar, international analyst at Commonwealth. Take it away, Anu!

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Is Consumer Confidence More Fragile Than It Looks?

August 29, 2019

Yesterday, we discussed business confidence and concluded that it is better than the headlines suggest. Today, we are going to look at the even more important level of consumer confidence—and whether it may be considerably weaker than it appears.

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On the Brink? How to Monitor Business Confidence for Recession Risk

August 28, 2019

Yesterday, I talked about what I am keeping an eye on, business and consumer confidence, and why I think they are important. Today and tomorrow, I want to talk about how I plan to do that.

Business confidence is leading the headlines right now. With the trade war and the general economic slowdown around the world, U.S. business is reported to be suffering. That seems to be true, but is that suffering bad enough to affect the economy as a whole?

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Why I’m Watching Business, Consumer Confidence

August 27, 2019

All right, going on vacation was a mistake. The market started dropping just before we left and has recovered upon our return. Sorry about that. Now that I am back, though, we can be confident that the market will keep rising. Right? Right?

Maybe not, but the real issue here is not whether the market will keep rising—that is a consequence, not a cause—but whether confidence, which has kept the economy expanding and the market rising, will persist.

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Monday Update: Mixed Housing Sales and Fed Minutes Punctuate Slow Week

August 26, 2019

Last week was relatively quiet, with the only economic updates being housing sales data and the release of the minutes from the Fed’s July meeting. This week will be much busier, with updates covering durable goods orders, consumer confidence, and consumer income and spending.

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Appearance on Yahoo Finance's YFi AM, August 23, 2019 [Video]

August 23, 2019

Do I think the Fed has been clear it's not going to react to headlines? I discussed this and more today on Yahoo Finance’s YFi AM.

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What Do Q2 Earnings Results Mean for Stocks?

August 23, 2019

Brad here. Today's post features a dive into second-quarter earnings season. It was written by Jim McAllister, director, equity research, on our Investment Management and Research team. Take it away, Jim.

Earnings season tends to generate a lot of headlines at both the individual stock level and the broad index level. During this most recent earnings season, those headlines have been telling conflicting stories. On the positive side, we have heard that the vast majority of companies in the S&P 500 are beating earnings expectations. But other sources are more bearish, claiming the S&P 500 has officially entered an earnings recession. What’s really going on?

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Appearance on CNBC’s The Exchange, August 22, 2019 [Video]

August 22, 2019

This afternoon I appeared on CNBC’s The Exchange to discuss the Fed and rate cuts. Listen in to learn more.

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The Target-Date Fund: A One-Stop Shopping 401(k) Investment

August 22, 2019

Brad here. Today's post was written by Michael Geraci, a supervisor on our Retirement Consulting Investment Services team. Take it away, Michael. 

Evaluating your 401(k) plan can be a brutal and daunting process. It may leave you with many questions about the investments available to you and how to best manage your account. It may even deter some from participating in the plan altogether. Fortunately, there are ways to help simplify the process. The first step? Understanding one of the most commonly used investment options within 401(k) plans: the target-date fund, or TDF.

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Appearance on Yahoo Finance Live: The Final Round, August 21, 2019 [Video]

August 21, 2019

Earlier today, I appeared on Yahoo Finance Live: The Final Round to discuss the economy, including consumer spending. Listen in to learn more.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: August 2019

August 21, 2019

Starting this week, my colleague Sam Millette, senior investment research analyst on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, will be helping me with the Monthly Market Risk Update posts. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

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 remain close to all-time highs, the recent volatility is a reminder that, given valuations and recent market behavior, it is useful to keep an eye on these factors.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: August 2019

August 20, 2019

Starting this week, my colleague Sam Millette, senior investment research analyst on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, will be helping me with the Economic Risk Factor Update posts. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

The economic data released last month was mixed, with improvements in consumer confidence offset by declining business sentiment. Job creation continued to be solid, but there are signs of a slowdown. The yield curve remains inverted despite the rate cut made at the Fed’s July meeting. Although we are not yet at immediate risk levels, there are certain areas of the economy that should be watched closely going forward.

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Monday Update: Retail Sales Pop in July

August 19, 2019

Despite last week’s market volatility, the economic data releases showed a growing economy, with better-than-expected retail sales growth highlighting the continued strength of the American consumer. This will be a quieter week, with only a few major updates set to be released.

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My Portfolio Isn’t Beating the Market: Should It?

August 16, 2019

Brad here. Today's post features an interesting discussion on how to measure portfolio performance. It was written by Brian Glazer, a senior investment consultant on our Investment Consulting Services team. Take it away, Brian.

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More Market Turbulence: No Surprise Here

August 15, 2019

Yesterday, we saw the largest stock market drop of the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 800 points (over 3 percent), an even bigger decline than we saw earlier this month. Plus, we are on track for the worst week of the year. It is a tough time for markets, and investors are worried. But should they be?

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Playing the Long Game: Investor Expectations Vs. Results

August 14, 2019

Brad here. Today's post on playing the long game of investing (and golf) comes to you from Mick Comiskey, an investment risk analyst on our Investment Management and Research team. Take it away, Mick. 

In many aspects of life, if your expectations exceed the range of possibilities, you will be disappointed. This axiom is devastatingly true when it comes to investing—and infuriatingly true in the game of golf. The extended bull market in the U.S. has led to a widening gap between investor and advisor market expectations. A similar gap exists between the weekend golfer playing friends for lunch and the PGA Tour pro playing for a casual million dollars.

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Don’t Miss the Green: Inflation and Your Portfolio

August 13, 2019

Brad here. Today's look at inflation and your portfolio is brought to you by Rob Swanke, a fixed income analyst on our Investment Management and Research team. Take it away, Rob.

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Monday Update: Focus on Consumers and Housing

August 12, 2019

Last week was relatively quiet on the economic update front, with only two major data releases. This figures to be a much busier week, with a focus on consumers and housing.

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Measuring the Market Fear Factor

August 9, 2019

Brad here. Today’s post is brought to you by Andrew Kitchings, a portfolio manager on our Investment Management and Research team. Over to you, Andrew.

Much of the media coverage surrounding markets relates to emotions. When the market rises, we read about the excitement. When the market declines, we hear how investors are worried. This commentary can be very evocative, but it is not very useful. What does it even mean when the market is “scared”?

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Could Facebook’s Libra Be a Game Changer?

August 8, 2019

Brad here. Today’s post comes from Chris Stuart, a senior investment research analyst on our Investment Management and Research team. Over to you, Chris.

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Inverted Yield Curve: What Does It Mean for Bonds?

August 7, 2019

Brad here. Today, we have a detailed look at what an inverted yield curve might mean for bonds from one of our great investment analysts, Nicholas Follett. Enjoy!

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Markets Drop on Trade War Fears

August 6, 2019

The past week has been a tough one for stock investors. The S&P peaked on July 26, and it has dropped every day since then for a total decline of almost 6 percent (as of the close of August 3). This is a large and fast drop that has understandably rattled investors, who wonder why the sudden pullback—and whether it will continue.

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Monday Update: Highlight on the Fed

August 5, 2019

Last week was packed with updates that covered broad sectors of the economy. This will be a much quieter week, with only two major economic reports scheduled for release.

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A Look Back at the Markets in July and Ahead to August 2019

August 2, 2019

In July, U.S. markets were up overall, between 1 percent and 2 percent, and bonds also had gains as interest rates declined. Although international markets were down slightly, by about 1 percent or so, they remained above their long-term trend lines. From a financial perspective, July wasn’t a great month, but it was a pretty good one for investors.

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Appearance on CNBC's Nightly Business Report, August 1, 2019 [Video]

August 2, 2019

Yesterday, I appeared on CNBC's Nightly Business Report (my segment starts at 6:08) to discuss the market and my expectations for the month of August. Listen in to learn more.

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Market Thoughts for August 2019 [Video]

August 1, 2019

July was a mixed month, with some good news and some bad. U.S. markets rose and fixed income went up, but emerging markets pulled back. In the U.S., second-quarter growth beat expectations, buoyed by the consumer. People were willing and able to spend, a trend that is likely to continue. Earnings also went up, another positive surprise. Still, risks remain, including the threat of Brexit under Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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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.

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