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

Thanksgiving Food for Thought: The Parable of the Turkey

November 27, 2020

Once upon a time, a turkey hatched in the dead of winter. He lived in a nice warm coop, had plentiful corn and seeds to eat, and spent much of his poult-hood playing with all of the other little turkeys.

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Coronavirus Update: November 25, 2020 [Video]

November 25, 2020

Today, I'd like to provide an update on the coronavirus, including the economic and market implications. On the medical front, we’ve seen significant improvements. Case growth has shown signs of topping, indicating the third wave may be about to crest. Further, three vaccines were announced as effective and safe in the past two weeks. While the pandemic is still in force and there is a potential risk from Thanksgiving gatherings, the trends may be starting to reverse.

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Are We Seeing Cracks in the Consumer Economy?

November 24, 2020

This weekly update is appearing a couple of days early, due to Thanksgiving. We will go back to the regular Thursday schedule next week. I hope everyone has a terrific holiday. As always, I am grateful for all of you my friends and readers.

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Is the Recession About to End?

November 20, 2020

Right now, the headlines are dominated by pandemic news, with the number of new cases continuing to hit all-time highs. But there is also growing worry that in addition to the tragic medical damage, we might see the economic recovery roll over as well. While this is a legitimate fear, the data is showing something different—that we may well be close to the end of the recession and back into a sustainable expansion.

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Markets Rally on Vaccine News

November 19, 2020

As expected, the medical news continues to get worse. New infections hit all-time highs last week as the third wave of the pandemic has accelerated around the country. Case growth in many states remains at levels that threaten health care systems.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: November 2020

November 18, 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: November 2020

November 17, 2020

My colleague Sam Millette, senior investment research analyst on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, plays a key role in putting together the Economic and Market Risk Factor Updates. We are now working on updating the format, and you will see some changes this month and in coming months. Thanks for the great work, Sam!

The economy showed continued growth in October; however, the indicators we track in this piece showed varied results. Despite the mixed nature of the reports, the continued signs of economic growth during the month were encouraging, given the uncertainty created by rising coronavirus case counts and the election. The October jobs report was a highlight, as both the number of new jobs added and the unemployment rate came in better than expected. Business and consumer confidence, however, declined slightly during the month, though they still remain well off the lows. Overall, this was a month that showed continued improvement, as well as the ongoing risk the pandemic represents to the recovery as we head into the end of the year.

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