The H Group Blog

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

Weekly Review - May 12, 2014

Guest Post - Monday, May 12, 2014

Summary

  • It was a slow week for economic news, but a few pieces came out positively. Janet Yellen's congressional testimony was also benign and dovish–alluding to at least another year of easy monetary conditions.
  • Equity markets were generally flattish on the week, although a trend of large-cap outperforming small-cap names has continued, in line with valuation differences between the two.
 Read Entire Article Here

Business and the Weather

Scott Maxwell - Wednesday, May 07, 2014

We’ve been hearing about global warming and climate change for the last 25 years or so. But the rubber may finally be reaching the road as this issue starts to affect our pocketbooks. The venerable Wall Street Journal covered the recently released National Climate Assessment and touched on some of the economic consequences to expect as this issue inevitably continues to move front and center. Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - May 5, 2014

Guest Post - Monday, May 05, 2014

Summary

  • It was a busy week for economic data, with several key releases including 1st Quarter GDP–which disappointed. The Friday release of job growth, however, was strong.
  • The Russia/Ukraine situation continues to simmer, but not yet boiling over, despite regional incidents and increasing sanctions against targeted Russian interests.
 Read Entire Article Here

Fed Note - May 2, 2014

Guest Post - Friday, May 02, 2014

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee completed their two-day April meeting today, with no real surprises. As many expected, the group announced an additional tapering amount of $10 bil./month, which now lowers the monthly treasuries and mortgage-backed securities being purchased down to $45 bil./month.

 Read Entire Article Here

Passive/Active Strategies – not quite so simple after all

Scott Maxwell - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

For most of our career we’ve followed the passive/active debate. At times it takes on the character of a spiritual argument with both sides adopting an almost religious fervor about their views. Here at The H Group we’ve used both passive and active funds in the portfolio management process and feel there is a place for both. This article in Forbes, authored by Brian Portnoy, brings out some of the paradoxes when considering this topic.  Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - April 28, 2014

Guest Post - Monday, April 28, 2014

Summary

  • U.S. economic data - including manufacturing, new orders for durable goods, and consumer confidence - were strong, exceeding consensus expectation
  • Housing sales and initial jobless claims came in weaker than consensus expectation.
  • Conflict between Russia and Ukraine weighed on the market. Investors hid in safe-haven assets such as long-term government bonds and defensive stocks.
 Read Entire Article Here

Ouch! Long Term Care Insurance prices rise again

Scott Maxwell - Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A page on the Oregon Insurance Division website is giving us a preview of rate hikes that insurance companies will be implementing on existing policies for Long Term Care insurance. This latest move follows a  pattern of these rate hikes over the last several years as insurers have had to grapple with the poor policy design and pricing they rushed to market a number of years ago. While it’s not clear just what factors precipitated this latest round of hikes the culprits seem to be faulty initial assessments of lapse rates among policyholders along with lower interest rates (which reduce company profits) and greater utilization by policy holders. Read Entire Article Here

How we think about Social Security

Scott Maxwell - Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ron Kelemen from our Salem office posted this excellent piece about how we think about Social Security. Another great example of how our perceptions influence our decisions about money matters.  Read Entire Article Here

Weekly Review - April 21, 2014

Guest Post - Monday, April 21, 2014

Summary

  • Economic data in the industrial production and retail sales areas, in particular, was stronger than expected, and fueled hopes that the cold winter doldrums are behind us in favor of a more 'productive' spring.
  • In a short week, markets gained on decent earnings reports as well as better-than-expected economic growth in China.
 Read Entire Article Here

US on a Roll

Scott Maxwell - Thursday, April 17, 2014

The news this week points out some very good trends in regards to the US economy. Here we are 5 years into the expansion and the growth in the economy still continues to expand. For those economic sorts there are a couple of noteworthy looks at this, here from the Calafia Beach pundit (always enjoy his graphs) and a similar story from Bloomberg. Read Entire Article Here


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