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Late Summer Market Update

Posted: 08/24/2018

As we approach the end of summer, I thought I would take some time to reflect on the state of the markets and provide some thoughts as to where things may go from here.   


Q2 2018 Portfolio Commentary

Posted: 07/13/2018

The quarter brought positive returns for broader U.S. stocks while the Dow and international stocks were down, and bonds were flat.  The broader market returns versus the less diversified Dow... 


Q2 2018 Economic Commentary

Posted: 07/13/2018

At the end of 2018, economists and journalists may look back on the second quarter and see the moment when a global trade war began. Whether one is truly underway or not, the fact is that Q2 was a good quarter for equities.


An Early-Summer Update

Posted: 06/18/2018

As we settle into summer and the market seems to be relatively calm, I thought I would offer a brief recap of what has transpired this year in the way of investing, and what we might expect for the remainder of 2018.


Q1 2018 Portfolio Commentary

Posted: 04/12/2018

The market started the year with a bang and ended with a fizzle.  After a superb January, stock market...   


Q1 2018 Economic Commentary

Posted: 04/12/2018

Stocks rallied in January, corrected in February, and slumped in March as volatility and economic policy changes took some of the enthusiasm out of the market. 


Market Update 2018

Posted: 02/06/2018

As everyone knows, we are in the midst of a market correction.  Since it has been so long since we've had one, I thought I would take a moment to add some context to the current situation. 


Q4 2017 Economic Commentary

Posted: 01/22/2018

The final quarter of 2017 was a great one for stocks: the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq Composite all posted 3-month gains of better than 6%. Landmark federal tax reforms were approved and signed into law. Bitcoin was welcomed to two major futures exchanges, and it surged and plunged crazily. Oil and gold prices rose. 


2017 Was a Great Year.  Can We Have Another for 2018?

Posted: 01/02/2018

This time last year, investors were wondering when the market would sell off, giving back the "election bump."  To follow, we got a failed repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a drawn-out tax reform campaign which most Americans seemed to dislike, and North Korea shooting missiles, among other things.


Q3 2017 Economic Commentary

Posted: 10/13/17

Encouraging economic data and a series of unsettling news headlines vied for Wall Street’s attention in the third quarter, and ultimately, investors were not shaken. The S&P 500 rose 3.96% over three months, getting a lift from upbeat manufacturing and consumer confidence readings as well as earnings news.


Q2 2017 Economic Commentary

Posted: 07/18/17

After a remarkable first quarter, the stock market cooled off slightly in Q2 – but investors still saw substantial gains. Strong earnings helped take Wall Street’s collective mind off a decidedly mixed bag of economic signals. .


Is This Market Too High?

Posted: 06/27/2017

I opened up Morningstar on my PC this morning, and there was the headline - "Is this market too high?".  I've heard that from some clients lately, plus you've likely heard statements recently like, "the market is overpriced," "the market is due for a correction," and, "should we sell and go to cash?" 


Q1 2017 Economic Commentary

Posted: 04/14/17

The opening quarter of 2017 was a historic one for Wall Street as the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 20,000 for the first time. events strongly influenced U.S. and foreign financial markets in the fourth quarter - one unexpected by many, the other widely anticipated.  Neither of them particularly upset investors.


Q4 2016 Economic Commentary

Posted: 01/12/17

Two events strongly influenced U.S. and foreign financial markets in the fourth quarter - one unexpected by many, the other widely anticipated.  Neither of them particularly upset investors.


Q3 2016 Market Commentary

Posted: 10/14/16

The economy seemed to hit a soft patch this summer, but stocks carried onward and upward – the S&P 500 advanced for a fourth straight quarter in Q3, rising about 3.5%. Markets were notably placid for much of the quarter, even with two major banking scandals, multiple terror attacks, and the latest dispatches from an especially contentious presidential race in the headlines.


Q2 2016 Earnings Update

Posted: 07/26/16

As of Monday, roughly 21% of S&P 500 companies have reported their Q2 2016 financials. Within the reports, 84% beat their EPS (earnings per share) estimates and they did so by around 7% on average. Sales were also strong, as 61% outpaced their estimated revenue targets by an average of 2%. Both of these figures are above expectations and should be positive news for the stock market.


Can Emerging Markets Rise with a Strong Dollar and Rising Rates?

Posted: 07/15/16

Lately, we’ve come across some questions related to EM, the U.S. dollar (USD) and U.S. rates. Specifically, can the emerging markets (EM) perform well in an environment where the USD and U.S. interest rates are rising? The short answer is yes, but it’s complicated.


Six Reasons to be Bullish on U.S. Stocks

Posted: 07/11/16

Over the weekend, we did some research and uncovered some reasons why this market may have room to push higher. Risks still exist, but the evidence for higher prices is becoming hard to ignore.


Q2|2016 Commentary

Posted: 07/08/16

Since our last update, a lot has happened but not much has changed. Volatility remains elevated, a number of economic, corporate and political issues endure, and investors remain confused and skeptical of the future.


JOBS Act Opens Up Crowdfunded Investing to Everyone: Opportunity or Risk?

Posted: 06/08/16

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, or JOBS Act, was passed in 2012 with the goal of providing a new way for small businesses to raise capital. After years of hearings and changes, the final iteration of the JOBS Act took effect on May 16th, 2016. Title III of the Act allows for small businesses to raise up to $1 million per year from non-accredited investors in exchange for equity in the business.


Bulls vs. Bears: Who Will Prevail

Posted: 05/19/16

Historically, global equities have generally moved in unison as they did during the bull market from 2002-07 and subsequent bear market of 2008/09. However, we currently find the S&P 500 near all-time highs while international developed and emerging market (EM) stocks are at multi-year lows.


Home Run or Strikeout? BATRA: ATL Braves Tracker Stock

Posted: 04/26/16

This month, the parent company of the Atlanta Braves, Liberty Media, made history when it created a new share class of its stock designed to track the economic progress of the Braves. The new “tracker stock” will be registered under the ticker “BATRA” and will allow fans the opportunity to own a piece of the Braves and share in their success or hardship.


What do the CIA and Investors have in Common?

Posted: 04/19/16

Over the last few decades, significant research has been conducted on how cognitive biases can negatively impact investors. Studies by psychologists such as Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman have been used by investment researchers to highlight the importance of recognizing cognitive biases when making investment decisions. Many biases appear simple and easily avoidable; however, the studies have shown that significant mental effort is required to prevent them from occurring.


Q1|2016 Commentary

Posted: 04/07/16

Mark Twain was once quoted as saying, “History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” As the first quarter has come to a close, the S&P 500 index once again finds itself near all-time highs even as many lingering issues remain.


Q4|2015 Commentary

Posted: 01/07/16

As another eventful year has come to an end, the global markets remain volatile and face many headwinds. During the quarter, developed market stocks rebounded sharply (from an awful 3rd quarter), bonds were mixed, and commodities struggled. For the first time in over a decade, the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) raised short-term rates.


In December, Wait for Falling Snow and Rising Rates

Posted: 11/02/15

Last Wednesday, the Federal Reserve (Fed) released their most recent meeting statement outlining their current plan to leave their policy rate unchanged at 0%. This in itself was not a surprise to most. However, the comments within the statement did surprise some.


Growth vs. Value: A Prolonged History of Leadership Trends

Posted: 10/13/15

When investing in stocks, individual companies are classified by many characteristics including size, sector, and financial valuation. This allows investors to hone in on specific types of companies which interest them.


Q3|2015 Commentary

Posted: 10/02/15

As the summer months came to a close, the global markets began to show cracks and volatility increased dramatically. Stocks corrected, bonds were weak, and commodity prices continued their previous path, lower.


When do prices become misleading?

Posted: 09/22/15

Investment returns for income focused investments such has bond funds, are frequently misunderstood. This is because investors typically rely on pricing and charts from web sites which do not reflect total return.


Q3 Mid-quarter Update 2 of 2

Posted: 09/08/15

Since our last update just over two weeks ago, the global stock markets have exhibited volatility not seen since 2011. U.S. and international stocks have fallen significantly from their mid-year peaks.


Q3 Mid-quarter Update 1 of 2

Posted: 08/20/15

The positive attitude displayed by many investors throughout most of 2015 has been slowly evaporating. Uncertainty over China’s economy, the unresolved Greek debt crisis, slow economic growth and the threat of rising rates are probable causes.


Technical Analysis: Beyond Timing the Market

Posted: 08/12/15

At Wealth & Pension Services Group, we follow an in-depth investment process which entails many forms of research. This includes the use of both fundamental and technical analysis to help form our view of the markets.


Q2|2015 Commentary

Posted: 07/08/15

The second quarter ended in the same fashion as it began, with lots of volatility. Stocks posted minimal gains, bonds struggled, and commodity prices turned positive for a change.


Q1|2015 Commentary

Posted: 04/17/15

As expected, 2015 started out with an increase in volatility across all asset classes. Global stocks experienced many large intraday moves, interest rates tested historic lows and commodities faced continued headwinds


Q4|2014 & Year-end Commentary

Posted: 01/07/15

The final quarter turned out to be the most interesting of 2014. It was packed with news headlines and market volatility. At one point during mid-October, almost all the global equity averages were either down or flat for the year, as interest rates continued their path lower from the highs seen at the end of 2013.


Exploring the Effects of Currency on Investment Returns

Posted: 11/18/14

Over the last 6 months, global investors have watched as the U.S. Dollar index has strengthened against most of the other major currencies. The U.S. Dollar index, better known as the “Dixie”, is made up of numerous currencies including: the euro (58%), Japanese yen (14%), British pound (12%), Canadian dollar (9%), Swedish krona (4%) and Swiss franc (4%).


Q3|2014 Commentary

Posted: 10/20/14

The third quarter of 2014 was full of action but failed to provide much in the way of returns outside of a few select markets.


Not All Stars Shine Bright

Posted: 09/19/14

Investors are always on the lookout for an edge when it comes to putting money to work in the markets. Unfortunately, many investors fail to conduct proper due diligence and instead rely too heavily on recent performance and third party rating systems such as Morningstar’s star rating system. This behavior may lead to unexpected portfolio results.


Inflation: Real Problem or Nominal Worry?

Posted: 08/06/14

Over the last few years, inflation has been a popular talking point among economists and investment experts. Some believe the Fed’s loose monetary policy and large-scale quantitative easing program will lead to rampant inflation. Others feel we are unlikely to see any type of real inflation for years to come.

Read more... 

Q2|2014 Commentary

Posted: 07/09/14

The second quarter of 2014 turned out to be just as interesting as the first as both the capital markets and economic data continued to provide bullish signals to investors.


Emerging Markets: Growth Opportunity or Value Trap?

Posted: 06/09/14

After a lackluster 2013 and a rough start to 2014, Emerging Market (EM) equities as represented by the MSCI Emerging Market Index have rebounded nicely. As of May 31st, 2014, the index had returned 3.78% for the year and is currently up over 10% from the lows seen in February.


Q1|2014 Commentary

Posted: 04/04/14

The first quarter of 2014 was filled with a number of market moving headlines and reports. These events led to heightened levels of volatility which have not been seen very often over the last two years.


The United States Energy Revolution

Posted: 11/01/13

One of the most transformational events in our country’s history is taking place right now, and no one is talking about it. Over the next few years, we will see untold benefits occur. In fact they are starting to occur, and no one is talking about it. These changes are so far reaching, that we may be entering the best period in our country’s history. That’s right; in our country’s history. If that sounds unbelievable, please read on.


Fiscal Cliff or Slope?

Posted: 01/17/13

So, we've escaped the fiscal cliff, but what awaits us? In my opinion, we are now on a slope, sliding ever so slowly towards more financial distress. With no plan in place to reduce spending, just when will the sliding stop? Will we slide so fast that when we are finally ready to take action, it will be too late?


The Difference Between Mutual Funds and Separate Accounts

Posted: 2012

Putting a comprehensive financial plan together is one of the most important things that you can do when you are planning for your retirement.


How Harvard Beats The Market, and How You Can Too

Posted: 2012

Click here to read the full article on The ABC News Website.

When investors are getting beat up by the markets, it's not without some envy that we look at the strong performance of the investment portfolios of Ivy League universities such as Harvard.


Don’t Let the Stock Market Waves Leave You Seasick

Posted: 2012

It seems that virtually everybody agrees that during the last few weeks, the investment markets have been ruled more by emotions than logic. But as we watch the markets rise and fall like giant ocean swells, it's fair to ask: how, exactly, does this happen?