Our Perspective

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  • About mid-June I received an interesting question from a colleague at Howe & Rusling—one that probably could have come at any point over the past few months, but with the end of the quarter looming, it seemed the perfect time. Retail sales growth picked back up. GDP printed over 3% in the first quarter and was expected to be at least as strong in the second quarter. The employment rate is sitting at generational lows and there are still roughly 1.6 million more job openings than there are...
    Post date: : 07/16/2019 - 9:54am
    Category: Our Perspective
  • In reversing some of the steadier seas seen in the first quarter, the second quarter of 2019 marked a return to a volatile environment more closely resembling the tail end of 2018. Despite a peak-to-trough decline in the S&P 500 in May (by about 7%), little changed in aggregate as markets subsequently recovered and ended the quarter up just under 4%. Energy was the only sector to experience a negative return, down almost 4% on the back of oil prices that were down low single digits for the...
    Post date: : 07/16/2019 - 9:46am
    Category: Our Perspective
  • The fixed income markets certainly started off 2019 on the right foot. To use an old saying generally reserved for the month of March (though this is a quarterly commentary), the first quarter came in like a lion. The first two weeks of 2019 saw 10-year Treasury yields jump by over 20 basis points. And the first quarter went out… like a lion. Following the volatility that we saw in the last quarter of 2018 in risk assets (equities and non-Treasury securities) and the resulting flight to...
    Post date: : 04/16/2019 - 2:59pm
    Category: Our Perspective
  • The first quarter of 2019 was certainly easier to stomach than the one prior in which we experienced a dramatic sell-off to finish 2018. Refreshingly, the S&P 500 Index finished the first quarter up over 13%, recouping nearly all of its losses from the fourth quarter (although it hasn’t quite cut through its 2018 high of 2929.67). This was actually the market’s best start to a year since 1998—and every sector brought in positive returns. Market performance is just one piece of the puzzle,...
    Post date: : 04/16/2019 - 2:51pm
    Category: Our Perspective
  • And good riddance to what turned out to be a very difficult year for the markets and investors. There was essentially nowhere to hide. Of the 15 major asset classes (everything from US large caps to emerging market stocks to high yield bonds to gold), US cash equivalents was the only one to finish the year with positive returns. Likewise, the 25 largest equity ETFs were all down for the year, with almost half of the funds down double digits. Only 3 of 48 country ETFs posted positive returns...
    Post date: : 01/15/2019 - 4:11pm
    Category: Our Perspective
  • What a way to end a year. As the third quarter was ending, it seemed everyone was expecting yields to continue the slow ascent for the final three months of 2018. The Federal Reserve had just raised the overnight fed funds rate for the third time in September and a rate hike at their final meeting in December was all but a certainty. Bond investors were also thinking about and planning for further rate increases in 2019. That lasted for a few weeks into the fourth quarter, but as it turned out...
    Post date: : 01/15/2019 - 3:53pm
    Category: Our Perspective
  • Finishing the third quarter, we can all look back and remember it has been ten years since the financial crisis and the beginning of the Great Recession. On September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers, what was then the fourth largest investment bank, filed for bankruptcy. Much of that event was occurring over the previous weekend, but at shortly after midnight, the filing set in motion a dramatic sell-off in the stock market and credit markets that froze as investors learned quickly just how...
    Post date: : 10/12/2018 - 4:02pm
    Category: Our Perspective
  • Despite some occasional faltering and vulnerability this quarter, major US stock indexes are still boasting decent gains for the year. But a quick look at the Federal Reserve, the bond market, and growth prospects across the globe tell us to at least take heed as we head into the last quarter of 2018 and look ahead to next year.   The Fed At the end of September, the Fed raised its benchmark federal funds rate for the third time this year to a range of 2-2.25%, and economists generally agree...
    Post date: : 10/12/2018 - 3:56pm
    Category: Our Perspective
  • In case you were able to forget, the second quarter reminded us that we are no strangers to volatility in the markets. We’ve seen the main indexes whipsaw intraweek and even intraday over the last three months, with the S&P 500 Index ultimately finishing the second quarter up 3.43% and up 2.65% year to date, making up for the first quarter’s losses. Headlines surrounding geopolitical turmoil, political agendas, central bank policy, international trade disruptions, and corporate...
    Post date: : 07/17/2018 - 1:48pm
    Category: Our Perspective
  • I’d like to introduce our newest addition to our fixed income team, John Trentacoste, who has written the Bond Market Overview this quarter. There is an old saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It actually is an old saying. The interpretation we most recognize dates back to a French translation by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-1890) who was a French novelist with a reputation of having a bitter wit.1 In thinking about the second quarter, what probably sticks in...
    Post date: : 07/17/2018 - 1:38pm
    Category: Our Perspective


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