The H Group Blog

Investment and Financial Planning news from some of the best in the business.

Weekly Review - January 3, 2017

Guest Post - Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Summary

The last week of the year was another slow one for economic releases, with a key industrial index and pending home sales down a bit, while consumer confidence improved.

Equity markets in the U.S. took a breather for the week following a post-election streak of positive weeks, while foreign markets gained ground—especially in emerging markets. Bond markets gained as interest rates retreated from highs achieved over the past several weeks. Commodity indexes rose a bit with a weaker dollar and higher oil prices.

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Question of the Week - December 27, 2016

Guest Post - Tuesday, December 27, 2016

What are the biggest takeaways from 2016?

This has been a unique year, to say the least, but we can say that about every year to some degree. This one began on a difficult note, with the continued concerns over low oil prices carrying over to low earnings results and tempered expectations for stocks and a higher default risk environment for the debt of commodity-related companies such as energy.

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Weekly Review - December 27, 2016

Guest Post - Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Summary

Last week's economic data was highlighted by a slightly-better-than expected durable goods report, stronger housing numbers and a 3rd quarter GDP that was revised to higher growth than expected.

It was a slow pre-Holiday market week, with equity markets modestly higher. Bonds offered equally strong returns as interest rates backed off of highs from the prior week. Commodities declined slightly, with oil little changed for the week.

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Seven for 2017

Ron Kelemen - Friday, December 23, 2016

What would make this a really good year for you?  Here are our suggestions for seven things to help you make 2017 a good year, personally and financially. Why just seven?   A famous study in 1956 by psychologist George Miller suggested that most people can only recall seven items in a series, so we offer you this instead of a top 10 list.  We wish you all the best for the holidays and the year ahead.   Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - December 19, 2016

Guest Post - Monday, December 19, 2016

Summary

Economic news for the week was highlighted by the Federal Reserve raising short-term interest rates by another quarter-percent, as expected. Retail sales disappointed, while several regional manufacturing surveys and homebuilder sentiment showed far stronger results and inflation ticked slightly higher.

U.S. stock markets were mixed, with large-caps outperforming small-caps. In foreign markets, developed markets experienced stronger gains but were held back by a stronger dollar. Bonds suffered again as interest rates rose in keeping with more anticipated Fed moves next year. Commodities gained a bit as oil finished higher along with expected production declines.

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The Fed Rate Increase—Not the End of the World

Ron Kelemen - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Finally, after so much anticipation and worry, the Fed announced on December 15 that it will raise the Federal-Funds interest rate 0.25% on December 16.  That brings the rate up to 0.75%.    We view this as good news.  Why?  Because it means that the economy is doing well.   In the words of the Fed Chair Janet Yellen, “Our decision to raise rates should certainly be understood as a reflection of the confidence we have in the progress the economy has made.” The Fed is also concerned about inflation, brought about by a labor market at or near “full" employment.  The Fed anticipates three more similar hikes in 2017 if the economy continues along its current path.    Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - December 12, 2016

Guest Post - Monday, December 12, 2016

Summary

In a light week for economic data, the ISM non-manufacturing index ticked higher into very strong territory, while JOLTs and jobless claims showed continued strength.

Equity markets gained again as post-election sentiment and hopes for higher growth continued to drive returns. Bonds were mixed as treasury interest rates ticked upward, penalizing long debt and rewarding corporate credit particularly in high yield and bank loans. Commodities gained slightly with mixed results in a variety of assets, including oil.

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Do You Have a Durable Power of Attorney for Your IRA?

Ron Kelemen - Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Our team appreciates simple solutions for complex issues. A favorite simple solution of ours is the Durable Power of Attorney. To quote the Oregon Bar Association, "A power of attorney gives someone else, called an agent, the right to make financial decisions about the things you specify in the document."  Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - December 5, 2016

Guest Post - Monday, December 05, 2016

Summary

Economic data for the week was highlighted by improvement in several manufacturing releases, as well as in consumer confidence. Friday's employment situation report came in not far from expectations, surprising neither on the upside or downside but appeared likely strong enough to keep the potential Fed rate increase in play for December.

Equity markets took a breather in the U.S. and abroad, following post-election positivity. Bond returns were flattish, while commodities gained due to oil prices jumping significantly after announced OPEC production cuts.

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Question of the Week - November 28, 2016

Guest Post - Monday, November 28, 2016

Should we be afraid of bonds?

Interest rates have moved upward to be sure as of late, but sudden moves like this aren't uncommon. What frustrates investors most, of course, is the tendency for bond markets to move in anticipation of possible interest rate-influencing events; at the same time, exaggerated moves that overshoot reality can often reverse themselves just as quickly. The charts below put recent changes in some perspective. The first depicts the long-term interest rate of the 10-year Treasury Note from its peak level in 1981 until the present, while the second shows a past 5-year snapshot of the same series.

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