Could Atomic Habits Help You Reach Your Goals in 2020?

January 17, 2020

Brad here. There is a lot that goes in to investing. One of the underappreciated problems, though, is simply how to be most effective with the limited time and energy we have. Today’s post from Chris Stuart, a senior analyst in Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research group, looks at how we can do better at everything over time, which certainly applies to investing. I found his thoughts to be both interesting and helpful. I think you will, too.

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Repo Market Update

January 16, 2020

Brad here. When interest rates in the overnight lending market (known as the repo market) spiked in September, there was a real fear that it was a sign of something much worse. Commonwealth has been following this development closely, and recently we’ve been receiving another wave of questions. Nick Follett, manager of fixed income on our Investment Management and Research team, is here to explain what has happened since the spike and whether the risks are still real. Spoiler alert—they are not. Over to you, Nick!

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Monthly Market Risk Update: January 2020

January 15, 2020

My colleague Sam Millette, senior investment research analyst on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, has helped me put together this month’s Market Risk Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

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Economic Risk Factor Update: January 2020

January 14, 2020

My colleague Sam Millette, senior investment research analyst on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, has helped me put together this month’s Economic Risk Factor Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam!

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Monday Update: Service Sector Confidence Improves

January 13, 2020

Last week was relatively quiet on the economic update front, with only three major data releases. The reports on international trade and service sector confidence beat expectations, but December jobs didn’t meet the number forecasted. This week will be packed with news, as more than a half dozen important releases are scheduled.

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Value Is Growth, and Growth Is Value?

January 10, 2020

Brad here. One of the major discussions we have internally is how to allocate investments, with one of the biggest open questions being whether growth or value will do better going forward. Here is a detailed discussion of that by Chris Fasciano, a portfolio manager on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team. Our internal asset management team stewards more than $7 billion in client assets, and this is a rare chance to pull back the curtain and listen to the discussion. Over to you, Chris!

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Inflation Versus Wage Growth

January 9, 2020

Last week, a reader had an interesting question in response to the Homer Simpson economic video. He wondered, given the number of jobs that Homer Simpson has had and how compensation has changed over time, is there a good analysis of income versus inflation? I didn’t know of any such analysis, so I decided to come up with one. Since much of the analysis around this question is less than clear (to be frank), I also decided to use it as a primer on how to read through economic statistics. As always, caveat emptor!

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Looking Back at the Markets in December and Ahead to January 2020

January 8, 2020

As I do every month, it’s time to take a look back at what happened in the previous one and what it could mean going forward. With the start of a new year, we have a lot to cover.

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Investing in an Election Year

January 7, 2020

Brad here. Today, Rob Swanke, an analyst with Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, shares his insights. Enjoy!

It’s 2020, the beginning of a presidential election year. As the months unfold, the election will likely become the primary market risk to worry about for many people. Democratic primary voting will begin in February with the Iowa caucuses, but only 4 percent of the delegates will be chosen that month. The party’s direction won’t begin to unfold until March 3, when 34 percent of the delegates will be chosen by 14 states. But we still won’t have clarity at that point, as delegates are distributed proportionally for each state by the Democratic Party. With several candidates polling in the double digits, a lot of uncertainty regarding the Democratic nominee may exist right up to the July convention. Although the bull market has lasted more than a decade, will valuations keep moving higher in this uncertain political climate?

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Monday Update: Consumer and Manufacturer Confidence Fall

January 6, 2020

Last week, we saw both consumer and manufacturer confidence fall unexpectedly in December, despite minutes from the Fed’s December meeting showing central bankers are satisfied with the current economic expansion. This week marks a return to normal for economic updates following two holiday-shortened weeks. We’ll be focusing on international trade, service sector confidence, and the December jobs report.

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What Would a War with Iran Mean for the Markets?

January 3, 2020

The news this morning that a top Iranian commander was killed in a U.S. drone strike sent global markets reeling. According to news reports, Iran is now vowing to retaliate, which means terrorism and cyberattacks are likely. Here in the U.S., apparently, Congress was not notified of the strike ahead of time. The heightened risk factors we must now consider include increased domestic political dysfunction, a rising risk of military action (either by us or against us in an already troubled area), and a probable disruption of the oil markets.

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Market Thoughts for January 2020 [Video]

January 2, 2020

We closed out the year and the decade on a burst of strength. December was a great month, and it capped a great 2019. U.S. markets were up more than 2 percent and, in some cases, considerably more than that. For the year, they were up more than 20 percent. International markets also had a strong year. In December, job growth came in much better than expected, continuing a trend that has more and more people joining the labor force. For the ninth month in a row, both income and spending went up. The housing sector did very well, and there’s a lot of confidence baked into that. So, December was a great handoff to 2020.

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