The Independent Market Observer

Brad McMillan, CFA, CAIA, MAI

Brad McMillan, CFA®, CAIA, MAI, is chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network®, member FINRA/SIPC, the nation's largest privately held Registered Investment Adviser–independent broker/dealer. As CIO, Brad chairs the investment committee and is the primary spokesperson for Commonwealth’s investment divisions. Brad received his BA from Dartmouth College, an MS from MIT, and an MS from Boston College. He has worked as a real estate developer, consultant, and lender; as an investment analyst, manager, and consultant; and as a start-up executive. His professional qualifications include designated membership in the Appraisal Institute (MAI), the CFA Institute, and the CAIA Association. Brad speaks around the country on investment issues and writes for industry publications, as well as for this blog.
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Recent Posts

A Preview of Q4 2021 Earnings

January 13, 2022

We are just starting earnings season, when companies will be reporting how much money they made in the fourth quarter of last year. This is always an important time, as stock values depend crucially on how much money companies make. But this season will be especially important.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: January 2022

January 12, 2022

My colleague Sam Millette, manager, fixed income 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 2022

January 11, 2022

My colleague Sam Millette, manager, fixed income 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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Looking Under the Hood of the Latest Jobs Report

January 7, 2022

This morning’s jobs report came out, and we have all seen the data. Job growth is down, but the unemployment rate is also down. Hiring is weak, but more people have jobs. This makes perfect sense, not. What’s going on here?

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What's Ahead for the Markets and Economy in 2022?

January 6, 2022

After yesterday's monthly looking back/looking ahead post, I had a request to do the same thing for 2021 and 2022. While I haven’t taken this approach in the past, it seemed like a good idea to bring this format to the 2022 outlook in the context of 2021. So, let’s take a closer look.

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Looking Back at the Markets in December and Ahead to January 2022

January 5, 2022

December was a solid month for both the economy and the markets but a difficult month for medical news. The Omicron wave of the COVID-19 virus drove new case counts to all-time highs at year-end. Job growth kept improving, however, and consumer confidence and spending also continued to grow. Business confidence and investment remained strong, and the markets reacted to the positive news. The economic news continued to be strong through year-end, although we should note it was based on backward-looking data. The outlook for January is more mixed. The Omicron wave is likely to start showing up in the economic data. It’s quite possible it will also influence the markets.

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Market Thoughts for January 2022 [Video]

January 4, 2022

The year closed on a strong note, with the Dow and S&P showing gains. The Nasdaq struggled a bit, but it ended December in the green. On the medical front, the omicron variant drove COVID cases to new highs. Still, the economic data kept getting better. Consumer confidence numbers bounced back, and consumer spending kept growing. Further, business confidence and investment remain very high.

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Best Wishes for the New Year

December 31, 2021

As we close out the new year, it has been one to remember. Or, possibly, better to forget. In my own case, we had planned on having friends over for the evening. But, unfortunately, one was exposed to COVID, and then we found out late this morning that we had been exposed to COVID as well. This far, all the tests are negative—so wish us luck. But the risks are definitely on my mind at the moment.

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Merry Christmas to All

December 24, 2021

I’ve always loved Christmas, but I think I’ve lost much of the spirit as I’ve gotten older. Now that I have a young son—who enjoys baking cookies with his mom and eyeing presents under the tree, while struggling to behave under the eye of the “Elf on the Shelf"—I find myself recovering much of what I’ve lost. This is wonderful, but, as a father, I also find myself reaching deeper into the meaning of the holiday.

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Will Omicron Derail the Recovery?

December 10, 2021

It has been going on two months since we last took a detailed look at the pandemic. Of course, a lot has happened since then. Between the winter wave of Delta, the emergence of Omicron, and the rising hospitalizations putting regional health care systems at risk again, there is a concern as to whether we are entering a third pandemic. I don’t think so, at this point. But let’s take a detailed look at where we are now and at the real question going forward—how bad will this get?

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