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

Economic Risk Factor Update: August 2023 [SlideShare]

August 16, 2023

My colleague Sam Millette, director, fixed income on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, helped me put together this month’s Economic Risk Factor Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam! Let’s take a closer look.

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What Mattered This Week? Mixed News on Inflation

August 11, 2023

Once again, this week was all about inflation—and the data was more mixed this time. Most of the news was good, as core inflation continued to tick down, while the monthly figures were in line with expectations. But the year-on-year headline number rose for the first time in months. It didn’t rise by a lot, only 0.2 percent. Still, that wasn’t a drop. It also raises the possibility that inflation could be bouncing back. Spoiler alert: I don’t think so.

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Is Inflation on Its Way Back Up?

August 10, 2023

This morning’s inflation data came in pretty much in line with expectations. Headline inflation was up 0.2 percent for the month and 3.2 percent for the year. Core inflation (excluding energy and food) was up 0.2 percent for the month and 4.7 percent for the year. So far, so good. At 0.2 percent per month, that would mean an annual inflation rate of between 2 percent and 3 percent. Pretty good, yes?

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Looking Back at the Markets in July and Ahead to August 2023

August 8, 2023

July was another good month for stocks across the board. The U.S. indices were up in the low single digits, while international markets also did well. Riskier investments like the Nasdaq and emerging markets did best. Fixed income, on the other hand, was much weaker for the month as interest rates rose and the Fed hiked base rates. Financial markets were clearly in a risk-on mode and benefited from riskier investments like tech stocks at the expense of more boring ones.

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What Mattered This Week? Jobs, Credit Downgrade, and Market Drop

August 4, 2023

There was really only one thing that mattered this week: the economy kept growing. I should probably also mention, of course, that the market took a hit. But, as we will see, that likely doesn’t matter. Let’s get into it.

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Market Thoughts for August 2023 [Video]

August 2, 2023

U.S. indices were up by low single digits in July, with the Nasdaq doing best as tech stocks continued to rally. International markets also did well, but fixed income was weaker. This market performance reflected the underlying economy. Strong job creation pushed consumer confidence up significantly, supporting income and spending growth. Inflation continued its decline, although the Fed raised rates again as expected.

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What Mattered This Week? Consumers, Economic Growth, and the Fed

July 28, 2023

There was a lot more data this week than last—and all of it was good. Everything we are seeing suggests that the economy is still growing, despite the headlines and fears. While there are certainly risks out there, the data is showing a resilience that no one expected, and that is a good sign for the future.

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Putting the Fed Meeting into Focus

July 26, 2023

With the Fed’s regular meeting scheduled to conclude today, there has been a tremendous amount of commentary around what the Fed is going to do, what it should do, what it might do, and so forth. The consensus is that the Fed will raise rates 25 bps and then signal—something—going forward.

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What Mattered This Week? Economic News a Mixed Bag

July 21, 2023

This will be a short post for a couple of reasons. First, there isn’t a ton of news to talk about and nothing really notable. Second, I want to head up to Maine for the weekend to eat lobster rolls and hopefully get some sun. Here’s hoping.

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Monthly Market Risk Update: July 2023 [SlideShare]

July 19, 2023

My colleague Sam Millette, director, fixed income on Commonwealth’s Investment Management and Research team, helped me put together this month’s Market Risk Update. Thanks for the assist, Sam! Let’s take a closer look.

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