The H Group Blog

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

Weekly Review - February 16, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, February 16, 2015

Summary

  • In a moderately quiet week for economic releases, retail sales disappointed last month on a headline level due to lower gasoline prices. However, price recovery in recent weeks may have weighed on fickle consumer sentiment.
  • Global equity markets gained ground on a variety of geopolitical events (Ukraine, Europe/Greece) resulting in better sentiment. Bonds lost ground on higher interest rates, notably on the longer-end of the curve. Commodities experienced another positive week with continued stabilization in energy prices.
 Read Entire Article Here

Question of the Week - February 9, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, February 09, 2015

How does a bond end up with a 'negative' yield?

No doubt, you've read about this happening with certain European debt recently, notably Swiss long-term bonds (which ended last week still trading at a -0.11% yield). How is this possible and why does it happen? In short, it's all in the math.

 Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - February 9, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, February 09, 2015

Summary

  • It was a relatively busy week for several economic reports, including a lackluster but positive ISM number and an employment report that came in better than expected.
  • U.S. equity markets rebounded strongly higher on the week with an easing in geopolitical concerns between the EU and Greece, stabilization in oil prices and end to a less-than-apocalyptic earnings season. Bonds suffered one of their worst weeks in some time with interest rates shooting higher. Commodities also gained sharply on the back of oil's gains.
 Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - February 2, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, February 02, 2015

Summary

  • Economic data was highlighted by the conclusion of the FOMC meeting (status quo), GDP for Q4 was slightly weaker than expected, and housing numbers were mixed. Consumer confidence, however, on the heels of cheap gasoline, reached new highs.
  • Equity markets lost ground last week, upon a variety of geopolitical concerns, optimistic Fed sentiment and mixed corporate earnings results. Bonds again shined, as yields fell to lows not seen since mid-2012. Commodities actually rebounded a bit, as oil markets continued to search for a bottom to prices.
 Read Entire Article Here

Fed Note - Reading the Fed's Tea Leaves

Guest Post - Thursday, January 29, 2015

The January FOMC meeting ended without incident, and without major change in strategy or language, as expected. There are four new FOMC voting members this year, but this didn't change the overall tone (no dissenters this time). In the formal release, they upgraded language for economic activity as expanding from a 'moderate' to now 'solid' pace, and job gains from 'solid' to 'strong.' The decline in energy prices was noted as a positive for household purchasing power. The 'considerable time' language for a low rate regime was removed, while the 'patient' approach was retained. Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - January 26, 2015

Guest Post - Monday, January 26, 2015

Summary

  • A light week in U.S. economic data was dominated by housing numbers, which came in a little better than expected. The bigger news came from Europe, where the ECB announced a large quantitative easing program of 60 billion euro/month, targeting mostly sovereign and agency debt, in an attempt to boost inflationary impulses and economic growth.
  • Domestic stock markets were higher on the week, but dwarfed by strength in foreign equities—led by the ECB announcement. Bonds were mixed upon a flatter yield curve and strength in the U.S. dollar. Crude oil was weaker again, falling to just over $45 with reports of high inventories coupled with demand uncertainty.
 Read Entire Article Here

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

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