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

2023 Outlook: Brighter Skies Ahead?

December 21, 2022

As we enter the new year, investors are questioning what happens next. It was a turbulent 2022, including a possible recession and a definite bear market in stocks and bonds. Worries remain, but we’ll start the year with real strengths. Employment and job growth are strong, which will keep the consumer economy healthy. Interest rates are likely close to peaking, and markets are fairly priced.

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Is the Market Pullback Cause for Worry? Not So Much

December 16, 2022

It has been a tough couple of days in the markets, and it looks like today will be another. Not only is the market down in pre-market trading, but this is also a quadruple witching day (i.e., when four types of derivatives all expire on the same day). That often leads to volatility and, in the context of the past couple of days, means today could be difficult as well. I see the effects in my portfolio, and you may have seen them in yours as well. Should we be worried? In a word, no.

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Economic Risk Factor Update: December 2022 [SlideShare]

December 15, 2022

My colleague Sam Millette, manager, 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 Will Powell Say? Looking Forward to the Fed

December 13, 2022

With the regular meeting of the Fed underway, we now all wait with bated breath to find out what the decision will be. Well, in this case, there is not much doubt: it will be an increase of 50 bps. But we can still wonder about the wrapping on the present. To shift metaphors and get a bit ahead of ourselves, will Chair Powell come out and see his shadow, signaling six more rate increases? Or will there be sunny skies ahead?

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Good News or Bad? With the Economy and Markets, It's About the Trend

December 9, 2022

Today, we are going to be bouncing back and forth between several different economic and market data sets I reviewed this morning and using this information to form both specific and general conclusions. Each of these data sets could reasonably be interpreted as either good news or bad, so it's important to see whether we can tell the difference.

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

December 6, 2022

The October bounce continued in November, with the S&P 500 up 5.59 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) up 6.04 percent, while the Nasdaq trailed with a respectable gain of 4.51 percent. Internationally, the news was even better, with developed markets up 11.26 percent and emerging markets leading the pack with a 14.85 percent gain. It was a good month across the board and surprisingly so for international markets after an extended period of underperformance.

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Market Thoughts for December 2022 [Video]

December 2, 2022

November was a good month for markets as the bounce from October continued. U.S. indices saw single-digit gains, and developed and emerging markets were up by double digits. The primary driver here was optimism that the Fed will slow future rate increases. On the economic side, job growth remained healthy, inflation dropped, and business confidence was strong.
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Jobs Report Preview: Will We Get a Miss?

November 30, 2022

It’s time for the monthly jobs report preview, which is worth doing for a few reasons. First, it lets us consider the most important driver of the economy both for history and for the immediate data. Second, it makes us think about our expectations. And third, of course, it will be in the headlines.

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Thanksgiving Food for Thought: The Parable of the Turkey

November 23, 2022

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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Inflation Has Peaked

November 18, 2022

To be honest, I probably would not have used that headline a couple of weeks ago. Although I spent about a month putting together my talk for Commonwealth’s National Conference, which pretty much comes to that conclusion, I was not yet at a point where I would put that as the headline. Even as I rehearsed the night before, I was thinking about how I would handle the talk if the next morning’s data release—just hours before the talk itself—put inflation back up again. I couldn’t rewrite my presentation, as there wasn’t enough time (and besides, the art department was already upset with me).

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