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

Does Market Turbulence Make Sense?

February 26, 2021

We have had some turbulence in the market over the past couple of days. The bond market briefly seized up, with interest rates up by surprising amounts. This, in turn, shook the stock market, taking it down from the highs by about 4 percent for the S&P 500 and almost 8 percent for the Nasdaq. On top of all that, we have had events such as the ongoing GameStop show and the explosion of SPAC offerings. With everything that is going on, the recent pullback, and the signs of frenzy, is it time to worry? My take: not yet.

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Markets Hold Gains Despite Rising Rates

February 25, 2021

*I will be alternating the text and video versions of this update on a weekly basis. This week is text, next week will be video, and so forth. As always, thanks for reading and watching.

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Own the Future: Looking at a Growth Portfolio

February 24, 2021

I am sitting down with an advisor and a client this afternoon to discuss a portfolio. Usual enough. But in this case, the portfolio looks a bit different. It has a large number of individual stocks, most of which are in the tech space. Of course, it has done very well over the past year or more.

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What Do Higher Interest Rates Mean?

February 23, 2021

One of the most common types of questions I have gotten recently has been around interest rates. Rates are going up, and the concern has largely been whether this is a sign of pending inflation. As both my colleague Anu Gaggar and I have written recently, the answer is no, higher rates do not mean inflation is coming. They do mean several other things, however—some bad and some good.

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Coronavirus Update: February 19, 2021 [Video]

February 19, 2021

Today I'd like to provide an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. On the medical front, we appear to be well past the peak of the third wave, with daily infection rates and hospitalizations down. A more contagious variant of the virus could start another wave of infections, although there are no signs of that happening yet.

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Economic News Showing Surprising Strength

February 18, 2021

*Starting next week, February 25, I’ll be publishing my coronavirus update every other week.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: February 2021

February 12, 2021

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!

Markets took a breather in January, as month-end volatility led to a mixed month for major equity indices to start the year. This volatility caused the S&P 500 to decline by 1.01 percent during the month, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.95 percent. The Nasdaq Composite managed to record a 1.44 percent gain. While we have seen markets largely recover to start February, the month-end volatility is a good reminder of the risks markets continue to face.

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