2016 Outlook: The Wall of Worry

January 4, 2016 5:21 pm

Going into 2016 the Wall of Worry is high. Then again, stocks traditionally climb that wall of worry. Even in 2015, when there seemed to be a mountain of fears, stocks were resilient. The Nasdaq ended up; the S&P was pushed very modestly into positive territory and the Dow was essentially flat when dividends were […]

The Power of Words in Moving the Markets

December 7, 2015 5:23 pm

Markets, like most investors, need to have their financial concerns answered in simple, understandable language. Once again, last week, we saw the power of words inflict volatility on the markets. It wasn’t the first time a central banker was caught by miscommunication. Last September, Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve Chair, faced a press conference and, […]

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…