Since the Great Recession, market participants have had to hang on to every word coming out of the Fed and its governors. Central bankers became the driving force behind the bull market. It is no surprise that we have written far too many blog posts on Central Banks and their influence. Thankfully since May 2016, we haven't written anything on the Fed because they were essentially on hold. Furthermore, the economy has been gaining momentum and fundamentals are now the driving force behind the stock market hitting new highs.
You may have heard media reports about a new fiduciary rule for retirement accounts that the Trump administration is trying to rescind. Understandably, you have questions about how this might impact to your accounts. The rule was designed to ensure recommendations made by financial advisors to their clients regarding their retirement accounts are always made in the best interests of the client without any conflicts of interest. This rule was set to go into effect in April, but that is being delayed by 180 days and may be killed entirely.
For years, Tom Lee has been known as Wall Street's eternal bull. His S&P targets were virtually always the most bullish on the street. When I reviewed what other strategists were predicting this year and Tom Lee hadn't released his numbers, I just assumed he would be the most bullish on the street, again. Perhaps we should check to see if Tom Lee has been abducted by aliens and replaced by a clone because Tom Lee is the most bearish strategist on the street with a S&P target of just 2275.
As we near a close to 2016, it is time to look forward to 2017. We have done this in 2014, 2015, and 2016 so it is becoming a tradition to see which strategists did well and which missed the mark. What do the experts think will happen in 2017 and should we even care?
Perhaps you are familiar with Philip Telock's landmark UC Berkeley study that looked at 82,000 predictions over 25 years by 300 leading economists. It turned out that their so called expert views were no better than random guesses, and worse, the more famous, the less accurate the prediction.
Last year, the strategists predicted a bull market for 2016 and they almost hit the number right on the mark. Their average forecast was for a 7.2% gain in the S&P 500 to 2215. They should get a round of applause as the S&P finished at 2239. Well done. Deutsche Bank's David Bianco gets the highest grade with a forecast of 2250, only missing by 11 points. Barclays' Jonathan Glionna should also be given a trophy as he was within 2% for the past couple of years. Let's look at the numbers.
This is the time of year when you are bombarded with articles about New Year's resolutions and how to actually keep them.
It wasn't so long ago when people would check stock prices in the newspaper with their morning coffee. You could check your portfolio once a month when your account statement would arrive in the mail.Fast forward to today and thanks to the internet and phone apps, you can check your investments up to the second. However, is having so much data at your fingertips making you a bad investor?
Per a recent Wall Street Journal article, the answer for many people is yes -- for the simple reason that they tend to make investment decisions based on short-term losses in their portfolio, ignoring their long-term investment plan. Behavioral economists call that tendency "myopic loss aversion" and this is an increasing problem in todays always connected world.
It's been 8 days since the Presidential Election and financial markets have had quite a wild ride. On election night, S&P futures traded down limit of -5%. It appeared that markets would react strongly to the downside much like after the Brexit vote. However, the markets quickly digested the surprising Trump decision and markets have traded sharply higher on hopes that Trump's policies will be inflationary and stimulate the economy. While it is too early to tell what he will be able to accomplish, financial markets have wagered some early bets on who the winners and losers will be. The early winner is financial stocks. Trump is widely expected to roll back the regulations of Dodd-Frank which were enacted after the financial crisis of 2008. Financials are also benefiting from the rise in long term interest rates which benefits their net interest margin and equals larger profits. The sharp move in interest rates caused headaches for high dividend stocks which were the hardest hit with REITs, consumer staples and utilities all in the red.
Last week's Presidential election brought volatility to financial markets and the most damage was inflicted on the Mexican Peso. With threats of renegotiating NAFTA and taxing Mexicans citizens to pay for a border wall, the Mexican Peso dropped over 10% in one day and became the worst performing emerging market currency in 2016. While this is terrible if you live south of the border, it can mean great things if you are planning a vacation. Since last year, the Peso has fallen over 23% which means huge potential savings for American travelers! It's time to pack your bags and brush up on your Spanish because 2017 should provide money saving opportunities for the savviest travelers. Here are 3 tips on planning your future getaway.
As we move past Election Day, financial markets should be able to refocus on what truly matters: company fundamentals. This should serve as a catalyst to push equity prices higher with earnings finally back on the rise. It has been a tough period for earnings because of the strength in the US Dollar and extreme volatility in crude oil prices. This trend appears to have finally stabilized. The energy sector is expected to post a flat quarter after posting huge losses for the previous four quarters.
We have all seen pharmaceutical commercials on TV where a listing of common side effects may include diarrhea, nausea and drowsiness. In today's financial markets, central banks are expanding their balance sheets by trillions of dollars annually and new side effects are on the way. This week saw a new milestone in the world of negative interest rates, when Henkel and Sanofi became the first public companies to sell new Euro bonds for more than the buyers will get back.
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