The H Group Blog

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

Question of the Week - October 24, 2016

Guest Post - Monday, October 24, 2016

What are the prospects for recession at this point?

In the last advisor meeting, we offered an interesting visual that listed a variety of common signposts economists and strategists look to for determining where we are in the business cycle. Some items are easier to gauge, while others are more ambiguous. The following broad categories are ranked in the form of a rough report card per our standard criteria (+ conditions better, 0 conditions neutral/agnostic, - conditions weaker).

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Weekly Review - October 17, 2016

Guest Post - Monday, October 17, 2016

Summary

In a lighter week for economic data, retail sales came in stronger than in the previous few months, but remained lackluster. Producer inflation picked up slightly, consumer sentiment fell a bit while labor was mixed with a drop in job openings but continued low jobless claims.

Global equity markets generally lost ground on the week, foreign markets outperforming U.S. in local terms, but the gains being reversed by a stronger dollar. Bonds were mixed, with small positive results in the U.S. and losses in foreign debt due to the dollar effect. Crude oil gained ground again, leading the commodity group upward.

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Medicare Open Enrollment Begins October 15

Ron Kelemen - Wednesday, October 12, 2016

It's that time of year again--the Medicare open enrollment period.  This is the time during which people with Medicare can make new choices and pick plans that work best for them. Each year, Medicare plans typically change what they cost and cover. In addition, your health-care needs may have changed over the past year. The open enrollment period is your opportunity to switch Medicare health and prescription drug plans to better suit your needs.  Given all the changes going on in the health insurance market and with Medicare, it is especially important that you take this enrollment period seriously.  Here are a few key points about open enrollment:  Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - October 10, 2016

Guest Post - Monday, October 10, 2016

Summary

Economic news last week was highlighted by strong reports in ISM manufacturing and non-manufacturing, and a decent but not outstanding September employment situation report. The combination of data led to increased expectations for a Fed rate hike in December.

Equity markets were generally negative for the week, as was most fixed income, due to a rise in interest rates. Commodities, however, were surprisingly resilient, led by continued gains in the price of crude oil.

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A Very Interesting Quarter

Ron Kelemen - Tuesday, October 04, 2016
2016 Third Quarter Update  Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - October 3, 2016

Guest Post - Monday, October 03, 2016

Summary

In week packed with economic data, results showed weaker housing numbers for the prior month, flattish personal income/spending but somewhat stronger industrial numbers and consumer sentiment, and continued strong/low jobless claims.

Equity markets experienced small positive gains in the U.S. and were mixed overseas in a see-saw type week. Bonds gained a bit as well, with interest rates declining slightly worldwide, with U.S. corporate high yield leading the way. Oil prices jumped by several dollars upon OPEC members seeming to agree on production cuts.

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Weekly Review - September 26, 2016

Guest Post - Monday, September 26, 2016

Summary

Economic data for the week was largely focused around the FOMC meeting, where no interest rate policy action was taken. Several housing metrics came out during the week, to mixed results, with stronger pricing and homebuilder sentiment, but weaker sales volume and starts/permits.

Stock markets rose globally with Fed policy holding steady, and Japan going a bit further, although gains were stronger abroad than domestically. For similar reasons, bonds fared well on the week with the decline in interest rates. Commodity indexes gained, led by a rise in oil prices.

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Our Take on the Fed's Decision

Ryan Long - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The September FOMC meeting ended on September 21 with no action. Here’s our take on it: The 'hawks' hoping for a rate increase were disappointed, but it wasn’t really a surprise for most. Three members of the Fed wanted a rate hike now—and the statement alluded to a rate hike being likely in the near future, after “further evidence of continued progress towards its objectives.”  The stock markets, on the other hand, liked the Fed’s decision. The base case still appears to be a single rate hike in December, although these rate increases continue to be pushed out so often, a deferral to 2017 wouldn’t surprise us. We wish we had a way of making these mandate items more interesting, but much of the narrative and themes are little changed from the prior meeting. Here are the three big factors: Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - September 19, 2016

Guest Post - Monday, September 19, 2016

Summary

There were a flurry of economic data releases last week, with results tilted toward the negative—included were disappointments in retail sales and manufacturing, while consumer sentiment was a little better than expected, and jobless claims remain very low. Inflation also remains flattish, in line with the recent cyclical trend.

Equity markets experienced more volatility than during the last few summer months, but gained a bit on net in the U.S., while generally losing ground overseas. Bonds experienced a lackluster week as well, upon higher interest rates. Commodities lost ground thanks to a weaker dollar and higher perceived oil supply conditions.

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Question of the Week - September 19, 2016

Guest Post - Monday, September 19, 2016

What would a Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump victory mean for financial markets?

These types of questions are always very difficult to answer, since political outcomes contain such a large degree of speculation. However, there are differences in policies that, depending on their success in implementation, could result in different U.S. economic outcomes. (Although there’s also the caveat that administration changes are often less dramatic and impactful than either hoped-for or dreaded beforehand.) This is not an endorsement in either political direction, and is limited to a discussion of current thinking in regard to policy regarding the economy and financial markets only, as opposed to policies in non-financial areas.

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