Market Insights - Q1, 2012
Stocks enjoyed very strong gains during the first quarter. In fact, based on the S&P 500 measure of the broad market, it was the best quarter for stocks since the third quarter 2009 and the best first quarter since 1998. The Index gained 12.6% during the quarter including dividends, to reach the 1408 level at the close on March 30, 2012. It was a quarter of milestones….
Psychologists at the University of Scranton have found that by the end of January one-third of people had broken their New Year’s resolution and by March that rises to about half. The failure rate goes up from there.
Many of us make New Year’s resolutions such as eating healthier or losing weight. These resolutions are easy to make but difficult to keep. Why?
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Providing Perspective on the Markets and Economy
Continued concern over the debt burden of the developed world combined with the deeply divided political landscape in Washington, D.C. has many investors questioning the sustainability of the economic recovery following the Great Recession of 2008. Growth has slowed and we believe the chance of revisiting a recession has increased to approximately 35%. However, the most likely scenario remains…
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U.S. Debt Rating Downgraded - August 8, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011 – U.S. Debt Rating Downgraded
After the market close on Friday, Standard and Poor’s (S&P)—one of the three major U.S. rating agencies—downgraded the U.S. government debt from AAA to AA+. This is actually a drop of less than one level within the S&P rating system. According to S&P, an obligor rated AAA has “extremely strong capacity to meet its financial commitments” while one of AA has “very strong capacity to meet its financial commitments” and differs from AAA obligors “only to a small degree.” Therefore, U.S. debt is still rated very strong. In addition, .....
Maintaining a Cautious Stance through This Economic Soft Spot - June 22, 2011
For the second year in a row, we have experienced an early summer economic soft spot with Europe at the epicenter. Last year, the S&P 500 market posted gains through late spring when concerns about Europe’s debt and an environmental catastrophe (oil leak in the Gulf) started a summer of volatility and uneven economic data. Sound familiar?
Ignore the Noise, Focus on the Improvement - Tuesday, February 08, 2011
As January came to a close, it was clear that the stock market remained quite resilient. The S&P 500 Index, a proxy for large cap U.S. equities, returned 2.4% in January, which marks the fifth consecutive positive month for the market. The gains were recorded despite record snowfall across the country, increased geopolitical unrest and municipal bonds catching a bout of the "Whitney Flu."
Stocks were not the only asset on the rise, ...
Washington and The Markets - Friday, November 19, 2010
Market participants breathed a sigh of relief in early November. The arrival of the long-awaited mid-term elections and the Federal Reserve (Fed) announcement of another stimulus program unfolded as anticipated. Even though the major political headlines are out of the way, what happens in Washington during the remainder.........
"One and a Half Cents" on the Fourth Quarter - Thursday, October 21, 2010
As the calendar turned to fall, the markets began to rise. While bonds posted a respectable 2.5% gain for the third quarter, measured by the Barclays Aggregate Bond index, the S&P 500 posted an outstanding 11% gain for the third quarter. This performance was driven by...
The Transition to Sustainable Growth - Monday, May 03, 2010
The recession of 2008 has not yet been relegated to a page in the history books. Throughout 2009 and into 2010, the economy and markets have been in their recovery phase, which has led to greatly improved conditions. However, there is still more progress to be made...
The Latest Perfectionist: The S&P 500 - February 24, 2009
The S&P 500 experienced an 8% pullback this year in the middle of the strongest earnings reporting season in years and in the midst of some of the most robust economic reports in a very long time. Unimpressed, the stock market has turned up its nose at the data and is back to where it started this year.
The Magic of Dow 10,000 - Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which bottomed intra-day at 6,440 on March 9, 2009 has risen above the mystical 10,000 level.
What is interesting about the Dow 10,000 level is that while celebrated by the media as a major threshold, the reality is it is just another number.
It's Not Where You Are; It's Where You Are Headed That Really Matters - June 22, 2009
It is amazing where we sit today and how the mood and sentiment of investors has changed. With the market's about-face starting March 9 and its near 35% rally off the bottom, the world does not feel quite so scary, the markets look less menacing, and our futures appear less fuzzy. But it's crazy how we got here.
The Good, the Bad, and the Missing - March 4, 2009
The market is constantly weighing three inputs to determine its direction and risk profile: what it views as positive, what it views as negative, and what it does not yet understand. I like to call this the Good, the Bad, and the Missing.
Financial Stability Plan: Not Clear Yet - February 19, 2009
Financial markets remain choppy and distressed as markets apparently view Treasury Secretary Geithner's rollout of the "Financial Stability Plan" as a disappointment. I certainly was underwhelmed by the plan and its lack of details.
Assessing the Damage - January 12, 2009
We start the New Year in the debris of the economic and market collapse if 2008... I do think that we can recover from this near unbelievable mess created by a bunch of Irresponsible Wall Street Firms, regulators and politicians and return to growth and healing the financial markets.
Working Through the Recession - December 22, 2008
In my opinion, we were done in by the combination of oil prices that went way too high last spring and summer and by some absolutely irresponsible risk taking on Wall Street. That said, there are some lights at the end of this dark tunnel.
Tightening Up For The Recession - October 24, 2008
Are we in a global recession? How deep will it be? Are government and central bank actions sufficient to deal with the banking crisis? Is OPEC likely to stick us with an oil production cut in an attempt to push oil prices back up again?