The Impact of brexit

The consensus of analysts’ expectations leading into Friday’s Brexit vote were pointing to remaining in EU.  Markets even believing the consensus and gaining Thursday ahead of vote.  Stunning expectations though, the U.K. on Thursday voted to leave the European Union—the first country to do so in the bloc’s 59-year history—and sent investors around the world into panic mode. Both the large-cap and the blue-chip U.S. indexes had their worst session on Friday since Aug. 24 with the S&P 500 SPX, -3.59%  falling 75.91 points, or 3.6%, to close at 2,037.41,  its worst one-day percentage drop since August 2011.  So where do we go from here?  This commentary shares our thoughts.  (Read Full Article)

Interesting first quarter

In the first two quarters of 2015, we warned of market heights and began pulling back stock exposure. The market fell quickly the second half of the 2015 and we added more stocks.  As U.S. markets rebounded, all the while, foreign markets suffered the most severe losses - getting hit hard by oil price declines and others political pressures.  In terms of performance, the first quarter of this year, we saw slightly positive U.S. stock and bond performance.  However, foreign markets are still lagging and are putting the most pressure on overall portfolio performance.  Going forward, we anticipate volatility to potentially increase as U.S. elections approach.  Therefore, we suggest reducing foreign exposure in the near term.

Early 2016 stock market jitters

Not to minimize the pain and suffering caused by recent bear-market losses. But there should be at least some solace in knowing that, even if it is eventually determined that a bear market began last June 2015, it’s no worse than average and it’s already more than half over. (Read Full Article)

Too Much Information

Everyday we are bombarded with information and sifting through bias is one of life's endless tasks.  One such example are statistics designed to shock.  But after further review, there be perfectly legitimate reasons for data.  Recently, one of our Partners sifted through the bias in the statistic that "nearly half of mutual fund managers do not invest in their own fund" according to Morningstar.  Take a look.  (Read Full Article)

Downstream from Low Inflation

Cause, Effect.  Action, Reaction.  Whatever you want to call it, there are definitely side effects fiscal and monetary policies.  "Reactions" that happen immediately and "Effects" that take time as they trickle downstream.  Let's look at a couple examples that are the result of being downstream from low inflation.  (Read Full Article)

ugly august - healthy or one for history?

Red across the board.  Major U.S. Index Futures down over 4% before market trading.  The Dow opens and hits losses of 1000 points before rebounding a bit. Add this to the losses already for August.  Some may say today, "the market meltdown is upon us."  Will this ugly August be a healthy correction or one for history?  This article shares the sentiment of our Partners.  (Read Full Article)

taking stock in retirement

Investing in retirement is very different than investing for retirement.  The search for fixed or consistent income is often the top priority when building a retirement portfolio.  However, many look only to bonds and market market instruments and forget about a source that also has upside potential...dividend stocks.  This article makes a case for dividend stocks in a retirement portfolio.  (Read Full Article)

Target date funds: three strikes

Target date funds, when listening to the soundbite, have immediate appeal for the investor who wishes to “set it and forget it”. The premise behind these types of funds is that you select the approximate date of your retirement and a portfolio manager will spend the next ten to thirty years balancing the risk in your mutual fund by decreasing your equity position and increasing your bond position as you near retirement. In theory this is a very attractive vehicle to place your assets. However, an investor should always look at the details and mechanics of any fund before investing.  Three fastballs coming your way.  (Read Full Article)

Target Date Funds: A Good Dish?

Part two of our expose' we discuss a missing ingredient to target date funds. Asset allocation, according to modern portfolio theory, accounts for over 98% of returns.  However, determining your personal asset allocation is more art than science.  Most financial planners agree that the recipe for a good asset allocation should be based on such factors as risk aversion, financial means, and age.  Do target date funds make a good dish?  (Read Full Article)

Target Date Funds: A look under the hood.

Part one of a three part expose' on target date funds we focus on expenses.  Choosing the right investment vehicle can be daunting.  Thousands of mutual funds, hundreds of ETFs, and a seemingly unlimited amount individual securities to try and look under the hood and understand expenses.  The benefits of a fully diversified and semi-customized asset allocation in a single investment (Target Date Fund) are obvious.  However, at what cost?  Do the unreasonably high expenses of target date funds prey on the typical investor or are they truly worth it?  This article takes a look under the hood: target date funds. (Read Full Article)

Municipal Bonds – Tax Free or Tax-ing?

When asked "What is a Municipal Bond?", the typical answer may be "Uhh, a tax free bond".  Municipal Bonds have been around just as long as their cousins, the corporate and government bond, but the average investor knows much less is know about them.  So what are they? Should I consider them in my investment portfolio?  What are some considerations I should be aware of?  This article explains.  (Read Full Article)

When will the bottom "drop out"?

Merriam-Websters Dictionary defines the intransitive verb "drop out" as: "to withdraw from participation or membership."  Many use this terminology to describe a quick and sharp decline in the stock market.  Makes sense... when the stock market declines rapidly it is often caused by investors "withdrawing from participation".  You may see, hear, or read predictions in the financial media that sound quite convincing, and may even be based on past events, but virtually all market cycles are different and sooner or later the stock market will "drop out".  The question is how close are we and what should we be doing today?  This article weighs in.  (Read Full Article)

Socially responsible or fiscally irresponsible?

The rapid growth of Socially Responsible Investing has captured the attention of investors and advisers alike.  In its early days, this discipline in investment management was known for what it did not invest in; alcohol, tobacco, gambling, firearms, etc.  Now it wants to be know for what it does invest in... a "better" society.  Many, though, still may wonder; "Will my pursuit to invest strictly socially responsible be personally a fiscal irresponsibility?" In this article, I stack up the performance of a large socially responsible mutual fund to answer that question.   (Read Full Article)