A worrisome vulnerability

This week we examine some worrisome characteristics of the U.S. market.  According to Liz An Sonders of Charles Schwab, global monetary conditions remain equity market friendly, but pending U.S. rate hikes may change perception about market valuation.  Gavyn Davis, columnist for the Financial Times, notes increasing grounds to worry about the sustainability of the market’s

Where are the gains from international diversification?

2015 may be a year when global diversification is appreciated once again.  The world’s economies and central bank policies are diverging, creating conditions for widely varying results.  Relative valuations among countries may be a reliable guide to future results. Global Diversification Could be 2015’s Winner.  2015 is likely to be a year when global diversification

This Week with J. Mark Nickell & Co. – August 27, 2014

News from Jackson Hole, Wyoming leads off this week, where central bankers from across the globe met last week.  In addition,   the analysts from Charles Schwab provide a market perspective, and an overlooked vehicle for saving for retirement is examined. No rate change until U.S. has 2% inflation and strong job market.  Each year the

This Week with J. Mark Nickell & Co. – March 26, 2014

What is an investor to do in the face of mounting evidence of an overvalued market? This question was posed by a handful of clients this week in response to last week’s blog highlighting that investors currently are downplaying risk; that several valuation measures are flashing caution warnings; and that investors should be prepared for

This Week with J. Mark Nickell & Co. – February 12, 2014

Just as one cold wave follows another this winter, waves of market volatility have become the norm in 2014.  Do the waves of volatility forecast a change in the investment climate, or is it just a naturally recurring market rhythm?  Based on our readings, seasonal volatility does not appear to be a precursor of a

This Week with J. Mark Nickell & Co. – January 15, 2014

Mixed signals—that’s the only term to describe it.  As the calendar turned into a New Year, signs looked promising that the economy was beginning to gain strength—to finally reach the point it does not require monetary stimulus.  Then, the Friday jobs report, which Mohammed El-Erian of Pimco called ‘strange and puzzling’, created doubt about the

This Week with J. Mark Nickell & Co. – January 8, 2014

In a much anticipated statement, the Federal Reserve on December 18 announced a change in monetary policy—that it will begin to taper its large scale asset purchase program.  The statement was coupled with additional guidance that interest rates will stay low for a considerable period.   The statement’s impact is more a tweak than a decisive

This Week with J. Mark Nickell & Co. – December 4, 2013

Are we in a bubble?  A few clients have asked this recently—a natural one with the major indexes reaching new highs.  The short answer: we’re probably not in a bubble, but cautious investors should consider reducing their equity bets.  The stock market is high because corporate profits are high, and stock prices ultimately are driven

This Week with J. Mark Nickell & Co. – September 25, 2013

As St. Augustine spoke of the need for restraint, so also the Fed has spoken of its need to begin restraining its large scale asset purchase program. Though the initial bond-buying program may have helped stimulate demand in 2010 and 2011, keeping it going is now doing very little to stimulate economic growth and employment. In its announcement September 18 the Fed showed that it was as reluctant as the great Saint to implement restraint by tapering the size of its asset purchases; its message was “not yet”. Critics of the Fed believe the Fed’s unconventional program creates economic imbalances, stokes inflation, and provides markets a short-term, unsustainable “sugar high”. The unconventional program will continue, at least for a while. Markets were positively surprised by the announcement.