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

Coronavirus Update: September 18, 2020 [Video]

September 18, 2020

Today, I'd like to provide an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. This week, we had some mixed news on the medical front. Although the pandemic remains under control, case counts have started to rise again, as post-Labor Day infections begin to register and as schools and universities reopen. Still, case growth remains well below July and August levels, and the positive test rate has continued to decline and is now around the recommended 5 percent level.

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Economic Recovery on Track, But Some Signs of Weakness

September 17, 2020

The past week has seen the case growth rate remain low. But there are signs that the case count may be rising, as post-Labor Day infections start to register and as schools and universities reopen. While the pandemic remains under control, the steady improvement in both the case growth rate and case growth itself has paused and may be starting to falter. While the control measures are still working, conditions are changing.

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Is the Market Too Complacent?

September 16, 2020

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about how no one seems to be worrying about the federal deficit, I was having a conversation with a reporter this morning and found myself expanding on other things the market seems to have forgotten about. Yes, we have the pandemic and the U.S. recovery on the radar, but not the deficit. And once you start thinking about it, there are other issues out there that were rattling markets only last year. What about the pending hard Brexit, for example? What about the U.S.-China trade conflict and deals? What about the continued weakness of the energy sector? What about the rising pandemic costs in emerging markets? What about the growing conflict between Greece and Turkey (two NATO countries) in the eastern Mediterranean? And so on, and so on.

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What About the Federal Deficit?

September 15, 2020

Recently, the number of questions I’ve been getting has been greater than usual. People are getting scared. It is not just about the pandemic, as that seems to be and is, at the moment, moving under control. Rather, people are worried about the election (and what that means for their portfolios), about the value of the dollar (and what that means for their portfolios), and about inflation (and what that means for their portfolios). The first concern comes up every four years, and the second and third are perennials, which appear whenever things look a bit dicey. No surprises here. But what is surprising is what’s missing: the questions about the federal deficit. This kind of uncertainty typically generates questions about what the deficit, and the debt, mean. Not this time.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: September 2020

September 11, 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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Signs of a Slowdown in the Economic Recovery?

September 10, 2020

The past week has seen continued improvement, with the case growth rate down to new lows and case growth below 30,000 per day for the first time since June 21. The pandemic remains under control, and things are still getting better. The control measures are working.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: September 2020

September 9, 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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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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