Commentaries

Timely market commentaries from leading investment firms

Top 5 Investment Themes to Watch for 2019

How might 2019 shape up across the investment landscape? Here’s our take on the key issues to pay attention to.

Agency MBS: Time to Rethink Prepayments

In our view, a combination of positive macroeconomic factors is likely to keep prepayment speeds higher than the market projects.

Fed Will 'Wait & Watch' Before Raising Interest Rates

Fed Chair Jerome Powell used the “patient” word again last week. He also added new words that the Fed can “wait and watch” before raising rates again. And he added another new word, that whenever interest rate increases resume, they will be “gradual.” The stock markets loved it!

Fourth Quarter 2018 - The Year When Nothing Worked

2018 will be broadly remembered as a year when nothing worked and daily stock market volatility spiked. This contrasted with 2017 where seemingly everything pushed higher, and volatility was low. But in 2018, nearly every single asset class and all but one major stock market index (Brazil) around the globe posted negative returns.

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Although the FAANGs were the poster children of the fourth-quarter market rout, losses were broad-based across sectors and countries. These losses were strong reminders of how important it is to pay attention to a company’s stock price in addition to focusing on its fundamentals and long-term growth prospects.

Is Good News Bad or Good?

With unemployment below 4% (considered full employment by the Fed) and wage inflation pressure still positive, the Fed will want to continue to remove the stimulus from its policy. This means continuing to hike interest rates, albeit it at a reduced pace from the last two years.

International and Global Markets Commentary and Investment Outlook

Business uncertainty resulting from trade frictions will continue to put downward pressure on economic growth. As a result, investor confidence may remain fragile (recent price declines appear to reflect this). Concerns are unlikely to dissipate soon, but we contend that international growth stocks represent a good investment opportunity.

7-Year Asset Class Forecasts Increase After Steep Market Declines

Steep declines across most asset classes in the second half of 2018 resulted in significant increases in forward-looking returns.

Dr. Jekyll Economy Meets Mr. Hyde Markets

In the famous book, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were one human being with a split personality. Dr. Jekyll healed people and Mr. Hyde murdered them. This economic environment and the U.S. stock market have the same kind of split personality.

What’s Next for the Dollar, Gold, Stocks & Bonds?

The quip, “if you aren’t confused, you aren’t paying attention” needs to be replaced: “with the Fed confused, you better pay attention.” You may want to buckle up. Let me explain.

Weighing the Week Ahead: Will Corporate Earnings Results Change the Message of the Markets?

It is a light economic calendar without any of the most important reports. The government shutdown will command increasing attention as long as it continues. Finally, there is some real competition in financial news – the start of earnings season.

3 Ways to Protect Clients' Investments This Year

Stock market participants for most of the past few years have eschewed protection. It was all about making large amount of gains. Almost every advisor lost clients from “cocktail party” conversations about who had made the most money recently.

U.S. Policy Outlook for 2019: Trade Risks Continue, But Might Not Escalate

In our outlook for 2019, we believe politics and policy out of Washington will continue to drive – and in some cases, weigh on – markets, much like they did in 2018. Investigations and manufactured crisis are likely to contribute to uncertainty. Trade tensions persist, though on a more positive note, relations between the U.S. and China seem to be improving.

Steering Equity Portfolios Through Stormy Style Seas

As volatility returned to global markets in 2018, return patterns for equity styles were very unstable. With more signs of turbulence ahead, investors should prepare to reduce the impact of short-term factor swings on portfolio performance.

Emerging Markets Outpace Developed Markets in the Final Quarter of 2018

Numerous uncertainties weighed on investor sentiment in 2018 and led to a down year for emerging markets overall, although the fourth quarter saw some outperformance versus developed markets.