First Quarter 2017 — Lots of Noise, Not Much Action

Lack of market volatility, coupled with solid returns, marked a contrast with the first quarter of 2016, which was characterized by negative returns, and high volatility. The S&P 500® Index enjoyed a 109-day streak without a 1% decline—the longest stretch …Read More

Short-termism and Investing

From 1999 to 2009, the CGM Focus Fund managed by Ken Heebner produced a compounded return of 18% per annum. However, during that decade the fund’s average investor lost 11%, according to a recent study. How could that possibly happen? Most investors bought the fund …Read More

The Big Yellow Taxi* in Reverse?

Last quarter we discussed the challenges facing grocery stores as demographics shift and consumer preferences undergo rapid and dramatic changes. Grocery stores are not the only “brick-and-mortar” retailers coping with these challenges, which, of course, also include …Read More

Demographics

Not one region of the world has seen its economic growth rate return to levels seen before the Great Recession almost 10 years ago. While there are a multitude of economic theories why the current recovery has been the weakest one in postwar history, it has been characterized …Read More

A Deficit of Surplus

Trade between countries is a contentious topic as of late. In 2016, the United States’ trade gap (the difference between what we buy from abroad vs. what we sell abroad) rose to $502 billion, marking the 41st consecutive year in which we have run a trade deficit. The …Read More

The Bond Box: Notes from the Fixed Income Trading Desk

Taxable Fixed Income Markets
The more things change, the more they stay the same. While interest rates have moved within a well-defined post-election range, there has been very little change in long-term Treasury yields since mid-November. Short-term …Read More

Quarterly Strategy and Observations – 4th Quarter 2016

2016:  The Year of Unlikely Events

It was not the best year for U.S. pollsters, U.K. bookies, or anyone rooting against the Cubs for that matter. Last year did teach us to expect the unexpected, and that knee-jerk reactions are often wrong. The second half of …Read More

After the Election

The fourth quarter started off with stocks under pressure leading up to the November 8 U.S. Presidential election. After the election, the S&P 500® Index experienced a 4.6% rally, led by sectors previously out of favor such as financials and industrials.

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Uncertainty is in the Building (But May Be Exiting Soon)

The National Federation of Independent Businesses’ Uncertainty Index ended the year at record highs. Small businesses, which drive the U.S. economy and account for well over half the private sector jobs in the country, have held back hiring and capital expenditures …Read More

Inflation Watch (You don’t have to look far…)

Webster’s Dictionary defines inflation as “an increase in the amount of money in circulation, resulting in a relatively sharp and sudden fall in its value and rise in prices.” Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), has been low by historical standards …Read More