Volatility – When to be Nervous and When to be Calm

November 9, 2015 5:25 pm

Now that the August/September swoon has passed and the markets have recovered their swagger, I can talk about volatility without sounding alarmist. Volatility is simply the relative rate of price change, meaning how far the price of an asset moves from a particular reference point. Volatility can be low (small moves) or high (dramatic moves) […]

Mixed Messages and the Q4 Stock Market

October 5, 2015 3:29 pm

Talk about mixed messages! First there is the economy itself. For most of the year, the data has been positive (housing, labor, consumer spending, credit availability, inflation, etc.). However, it is not unusual for a negative indicator to be released alongside a positive one, throwing doubt as to the direction or pace of the recovery. […]

Our Take on the Fed Decision – Timing is All

September 21, 2015 2:34 pm

“Lower for longer,” the adage for the Federal Reserve, was interpreted as “lower for much longer” after last week’s decision to hold rates steady. I heard James Bullard, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, clarify this morning that the Fed wants to follow the doctrine of “Go early; go gradually.” […]

Pessimism and Warning Signs

August 3, 2015 2:00 pm

Investor sentiment is lousy right now. The AAII (American Association of Individual Investors) is reporting pessimism is at a two year high; the week of July 15th saw the biggest outflows from US equities since 2011 (Citigroup); money manager bears outnumber bulls when it comes to the price of gold for the first time in […]

Stick with Risk Diversification

December 1, 2014 12:00 am

Risk diversification works, but not always the way investors might want it to.

Diversification is designed both to keep investors out of deep trouble in bear markets and to give them decent exposure to bull markets. It often reflects a middle of the …

Wishful Isolationism

November 3, 2014 12:00 am

Within the last 32 trading days, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1,162 points and then rapidly gained it all back – plus 100 points. Short term, rapid-fire repositioning is often blamed on program traders, hedge funds, leveraged investors a…

When it Comes to Inflation, Expectations Matter

July 7, 2014 12:00 am

Portfolio Commentary – StrategicPoint of View®: July 7, 2014

Much has been made of the lack of volatility in the markets in recent months. Today we tackle one possible source of this elusive volatility: inflation.

Inflation is not a benign…

Market Commentary – StrategicPoint of View®: June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014 12:00 am

One side bulls (equity market optimism); the other side bears (bond market pessimism). More often than not, the see-saw goes up and down, creating volatility. Thus far this year, the two sides are balancing each other out, legs dangling. Neithe…

Risk in 2014

May 5, 2014 12:00 am

It has been some months since we have written about downside risks for markets. While our overall outlook is positive for 2014, it is important to keep in mind some of the risk factors that can introduce volatility into portfolio returns.

Risk #1: Ma…