The H Group Blog

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

Weekly Review - March 30, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, March 30, 2015

Summary

  • Last week's economic data was relatively lackluster, with sporadic results from durable goods, while housing came in similarly to slightly better than expected. Inflation remained slightly negative on a headline basis and below-average on a core level.
  • Equity markets generally lost ground on the week, with developed foreign indexes faring better than domestic. Bond prices and yields were generally flat on the week with minimal significant news spurring action in either direction. Commodities gained a bit on a weaker dollar and higher oil prices.
 Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - March 23, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, March 23, 2015

Summary

  • In a somewhat light week for economic reports, the FOMC meeting was the highlight—in which no action occurred, other than a subtle language change that stemmed the persistent rise in the dollar. Several housing reports showed lackluster results, but these could have been largely affected by extreme weather in the Eastern part of the country, artificially depressing activity.
  • Equity markets turned positive upon the Fed's tempered language and references to moderation in economic growth (which could postpone a rate increase—pleasing to markets). Bond rates also fell back sharply on the news, which was positive for bond prices. The weaker dollar served as welcome news for commodity prices.
 Read Entire Article Here

Fed Note - March 19, 2015

Guest Post - Thursday, March 19, 2015

The FOMC, as expected, did not make any changes to policy, such as raising interest rates from current rock-bottom levels. However, the tone of the statement was a bit more neutral towards the subject, compared to the accommodative language seen in recent years. Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - March 16, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, March 16, 2015

Summary

  • Economic reports of the week were highlighted by retail sales, which disappointed, perhaps with weather effects; consumer and business sentiment was a bit weaker upon a recent trend of higher gasoline prices; and import prices and inflation remained contained.
  • Markets were generally off around the globe. As interest rates fell during the week, bonds generally gained ground in the U.S. with mixed foreign results due to the headwind of a stronger dollar. Commodities fell back for the same reason, led by oil, which experienced inventory supply concerns.
 Read Entire Article Here

Question of the Week - March 9, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, March 09, 2015

Should we fear the Fed? What happens to bonds when interest rates really begin to rise?

Last week again showed us how normally stoic bond markets can move quickly when markets receive news they don't like, responding via rising rates. Fixed income investments, like traditional bonds and preferred stocks, generally react well to bad news, which perhaps explains why bond managers are considered to be the morbid antithesis of generally optimistic equity investors. Bonds perform best upon interest rates declining, and lower rates generally occur when things aren't going well, such as slowing economic growth, or outright recession or deflation. Of course, the extreme case of this is central bank easing through actually purchasing bonds, which drives the prices up and yields down, which is currently the case in Europe and Japan.

 Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - March 9, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, March 09, 2015

Summary

  • Economic data last week was mixed, as ISM manufacturing and non-manufacturing reports showed expansion, albeit at a lessened rate than expected. Employment data was strong on Friday, in both payrolls and a lower unemployment rate, despite lower participation as a contributing element.
  • Equity markets took a turn for the negative later in the week, as that same stronger employment data heightened fears of sooner Fed rate hike action. Interest rates responded by rising as well, which hurt bond prices. Commodity prices fell upon a stronger dollar and larger crude oil inventories.
 Read Entire Article Here

NASDAQ 5000

Guest Post - Thursday, March 05, 2015

It took 15 years, but the NASDAQ index finally recovered to its March, 2000 high by closing over 5,000. Many wondered if it ever would, and others wondered why it took so long. Some of the huge winners were obscure non-tech companies. Apple wasn't doing well at the time, and other companies, such as Facebook didn't even exist in 2000. Some of the obvious names like Cisco, Intel, and Microsoft have recovered, but not by much. For a really fascinating and fun look at this milestone, we recommend David Callaway’s March 2 USA Today article entitled “This Time Nasdaq 5000 is Different,” in which he highlights how things have changed. It really is a very different Nasdaq than 15 years ago. Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - March 2, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, March 02, 2015

Summary

  • Economic data was mixed on the week, with housing figures relatively flat on net, inflation coming in weaker on a headline level due to the impact of lower energy prices, and tempered results in other areas. Adjusted GDP results for Q4 of 2014 notched downward a bit, which reflects this slower patch.
  • Equities gained on the week, with foreign stocks outperforming domestic. Bonds generally experienced a positive week upon a retraction in longer-term interest rates. Although oil prices were mixed to lower, commodity indexes gained upon the heels of higher gasoline prices.
 Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - February 23, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, February 23, 2015

Summary

  • Economic data on the week was mixed to lower, with several key surveys and housing reports coming in weaker than expected. Perhaps more severe winter weather in recent weeks played a bit of a role, and/or we're seeing some flattening in growth acceleration.Economic data on the week was mixed to lower, with several key surveys and housing reports coming in weaker than expected. Perhaps more severe winter weather in recent weeks played a bit of a role, and/or we're seeing some flattening in growth acceleration.
  • U.S. stocks experienced a less volatile week, with prices ending up slightly above where they started after news of a potential deal between Greece and Europe at the end of the week. Interest rates rose, which was a negative for government bonds across the curve, but credit fared better. Commodities lost ground again with choppiness in the oil patch.
 Read Entire Article Here

Question of the Week - February 23, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, February 23, 2015

How are things stacking up so far for 2015?

This has been an unusual few months, with several themes working in 2014 carrying through to early January, and then reversing somewhat in recent weeks. This has surprised investors and forecasters that assumed that the momentum of 2014's trends would continue indefinitely. For one thing, indexes tracking economic surprises from Europe have now crossed over, from negative into positive territory and surpassing those of the U.S., which has seemingly lost a bit of momentum. This comes at a point where foreign assets and currencies were under intense scrutiny at year-end and were arguably hitting another round of pessimism, in keeping with 'it's different this time' in regard to the surging U.S. economy and dollar. This can be measured by not only anecdotal evidence, but also flows into such products as 'currency hedged equity' and other strategies aimed at getting the best of both worlds—retaining the benefits of a strong dollar but also tip-toeing into cheaper foreign markets as well. Unfortunately, getting the timing right and full benefits of diversification through such a narrow window of risk factors can be extremely difficult and not always straightforward.

 Read Entire Article Here

* Required





Subscribe to: The H Group SALEM Mailing List

Archive


Recent Posts