The H Group Blog

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

Weekly Review - January 19, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, January 19, 2015

Summary

  • In a full week of economic releases, retail sales were somewhat disappointing (although cheap gasoline exacerbated the poor result), inflation declined dramatically due to cheaper energy costs, while sentiment improved to much higher levels.
  • Domestic equity markets were weaker, while foreign names generally experienced positive sentiment from Europe. Bonds gained ground on continued declines in yield, which also benefitted REITs to some degree. Oil prices stabilized somewhat at just under $50/barrel.
 Read Entire Article Here

Question of the Week - January 19, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, January 19, 2015

What was the big deal in Switzerland last week?

Switzerland doesn't make it into the major global financial headlines often, which is very much how they like it. The news affecting global markets on Thursday originated from the Swiss National Bank abandoning its temporary Swiss franc exchange rate ‘peg' to the euro. This situation is detailed, and a bit convoluted, as we've already noticed a few errors in news articles in terms of what this and what it means.

 Read Entire Article Here

Should You Ever Retire?

Guest Post - Saturday, January 17, 2015

A growing number of Americans are pushing back the age at which they plan to retire. Or deciding not to retire at all. Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - January 13, 2015

Guest Post - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Summary

  • The economic news of the week was led by a somewhat disappointing ISM non-manufacturing report early, Fed minutes that were largely as expected and a mixed employment report with stronger payrolls but weaker wage growth.
  • Equity markets lost ground globally, while bonds of all types earned positive returns, as did real estate. Oil prices slipped again and closed under $50/barrel—one of the most closely watched items in recent months.
 Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - January 5, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, January 05, 2015

Summary

  • The most closely-watched economic releases were the ISM Manufacturing survey and Chicago PMI, which fell from last month and under expectations. Housing/construction data was mixed, while consumer confidence was a bit better.
  • Ending the year, both U.S. and developed foreign equities fell, while emerging market stocks and real estate gained. Investment-grade bonds generally gained, while crude oil led commodities down for yet another week.
 Read Entire Article Here

Question of the Week - January 5, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, January 05, 2015

How did last year stack up? (2014 Investment Review)

Looking back at predictions for the previous year, as we often do at year-end, is another reminder that what 'should' have happened rarely does—at least not to the magnitude or timeline it was supposed to.

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Weekly Review - December 29, 2014

Guest Post - Monday, December 29, 2014

Summary

  • During the holiday-shortened trading week, we received some upbeat economic news: The Q3 real GDP growth rate was revised up significantly more than expected, consumer confidence reached the highest level in eight years, and seasonally adjusted initial jobless claims continued to edge downward.
  • Amid positive economic developments, we saw a slightly disappointing durables report, some softness in the housing data and limited personal income growth versus the pace of consumer spending.
  • A strong GDP report helped fuel last week's Santa Claus rally. Domestic stocks continued to swing up while the Dow topped 18,000 for the first time. Foreign stocks slightly lagged behind, bonds retreated, REITs' performance was up more than 1%, and commodities were down for the week.
 Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - December 22, 2014

Guest Post - Monday, December 22, 2014

Summary

  • Last week's domestic economic data were mixed. Good news came from the stronger industrial production report in November and lower than expected jobless claims.
  • Disappointing news came from December's Empire manufacturing report, slightly worse than expected housing market data and November's soft CPI report.
  • Stocks rebounded significantly from the prior week's slump, as depressed energy prices showed some signs of stabilization, the U.S. economy continued to strengthen, and the Fed expressed patience regarding the timing of rate liftoff. However, bond performance was muted. REITs delivered small positive returns that were offset by negative performance from the commodity markets.
 Read Entire Article Here

Fed Note - December 17, 2014

Guest Post - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The FOMC finished their final meeting of the year today, and offered no substantive changes now that the taper has already completed and there isn't much to tweak—other than raise interest rates, which they didn't do (no rate increases were expected) Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - December 15, 2014

Guest Post - Monday, December 15, 2014

Summary

  • The economic releases were focused on retail sales (which came in as a slight positive surprise), and several sentiment surveys, which also came in more positively than expected. However, oil prices were the most closely watched and discussed indicator of the week.
  • Stocks were significantly lower on the week globally, due to concerns over the repercussions of lower energy prices and forward-looking demand. U.S. investment-grade bonds gained with lower interest rates in a risk-off week, while riskier bonds sold off. Real estate fared well, however.
 Read Entire Article Here

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