Our Retirement Blog

How important is the Dow reaching 30,000?

 12/1/2020  It’s a new high, but not dissimilar to celebrating say, 29,999 as a new peak, although the odd number didn’t receive the same level of media attention. These round market levels, whether it be the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq, or others, tend to generate high visibility (especially in… ...

Are bonds expensive? Are they in a bubble?

 11/23/2020  Whether or not an asset class is in a bubble is difficult to answer in real-time, since sentiment can change course as quickly as a few weeks, or take years. In hindsight, these things are always more obvious. The question can be viewed through a few different perspectives: (1)… ...

With the election being over, what comes next?

 11/9/2020  The election results may have surprised some forecasters (and certainly pollsters), as the predicted ‘blue wave’ of Democrats capturing both the Presidency and Senate fell short. Democrats did retain the House of Representatives, as anticipated, although more seats than expected were lost. Looking at results broadly, the electorate remains… ...

What would be the impact of a Trump Presidential reelection for a second term? How important is the President on financial markets anyway?

 9/21/2020  In many ways, policies to expect would likely be similar to what’s in place today, and largely opposite of those proposed under a Biden administration discussed a few weeks ago. At the same time, Trump’s policies have not followed ‘traditional’ Republican ideologies from decades past in a variety of… ...

What would be the impact of a Biden Presidential election win, potentially including a Democratic takeover of the Senate?

 9/8/2020  The impact of a potential new President on stock market returns is always a key question in the weeks prior to a general election. It’s important to keep in mind that, despite frequent worries around this time of year, and that financial markets may react in the shorter-term term… ...

What causes sudden market declines like we saw this week, seemingly out of nowhere?

 9/8/2020  There often isn’t a concrete reason. It’s important to remember that stocks trade in a market like any other good: when there are more buyers than sellers, prices move higher; when buyers dry up, this can reverse quickly. It’s been argued that certain large cap growth stocks have become… ...

Are the financial markets (‘Wall Street’) and the real economy (‘Main Street’) disconnected?

 7/13/2020  Although they may appear to be disconnected on the surface, and near-term outcomes are impossible to predict, they’re likely no more disconnected than usual. One of the more important considerations to keep in mind about financial markets is that they’ve always been forward looking. Economic data, by its nature… ...

What more can the Fed do at this point?

 6/15/2020  As was the case during the financial crisis 12 years ago, the Fed is essentially out of ammunition at the short end of the yield curve (unless rates go negative, which continues to be seen as unlikely). There remain robust tools, such as buying of debt to push rates… ...

Are negative interest rates again being considered as a viable option for the U.S.?

 5/26/2020  With U.S. short-term interest rates again reaching the zero bound (fed funds rate of 0.00-0.25%), debate has surfaced again about moving the target range further—to below-zero territory. Several developed nations, mostly in Europe, moved down this path years ago, and now remain entrenched in it, with global slowing causing… ...

Have some financial asset prices bounced back too far and too fast?

 5/18/2020  This is never simple to evaluate, as current prices for rates and risk assets have a behavioral component, and appropriate price levels may only be obvious in hindsight. In past cycles, equity bear markets and subsequent recoveries have unfolded over months, not weeks. This more recent volatility event was… ...

Who Do You LUV?

 4/29/2020  Who Do You LUV?  This has to be the craziest title I’ve ever created for a client focused article based on stocks, bonds and the economy, but it is appropriate. This weekend I spent close to six hours reading research reports and opinions on what COVID-19 has done or still… ...

Market Note – Oil

 4/22/2020  The price of oil has moved to a unique position in recent days. Headlines this week point to the price of oil falling to ‘zero’ or even to ‘negative’ levels for the first time. While this is unusual, it’s not as nonsensical as it sounds. No, oil is not… ...

Is the bear market over?

 4/13/2020  It’s possible, but it’s probably wise to not count on it. We’ve seen a remarkably quick and dramatic plunge and subsequent recovery in recent weeks. This consisted of the S&P 500 falling -34% from its peak on Feb. 19, to a low point on Mar. 23, before recovering by… ...

Black Swan: The Reality Of Unexpected Volatility

   4/3/2020  The vast majority of Americans have probably never heard of the term “Black Swan” especially when used in the context of an economic event.  So why are we writing an article about this thing called a Black Swan?  It’s because Black Swans create an unpredictable, negative and many… ...

What are the details of last week’s Congressional actions?

 3/30/2020  The long-awaited Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed, totaling $2.2 trillion in its final form. Despite hopes for passage mid-week, the final bill was delayed due to opposition about some components from politicians on both the far right and far left, as well as operational… ...

What do the recent Federal Reserve actions and backstop mean?

 3/30/2020  By buying large amounts of some debt (treasuries and agency mortgages, primarily, but also targeted purchases in other segments), the Fed has agreed to become a natural source of promised or actual demand where there otherwise might not be any. This can help stem the tide of possible price… ...

Thought of the Week

   3/23/2020  These are difficult times, not only from an economic and investment standpoint, but a community one as well. This societal strains and uncertainty over depth and time-frame of the current pandemic add to the volatility in financial assets. Keep in mind, though, as we’ve mentioned in prior notes, that… ...

Why has the Fed reacted so dramatically? Why has the market reacted the way it has to Fed actions?

 3/16/2020  In short, it’s about messaging and credit markets. While lowering interest rates by a percent to zero at this stage may not make a marginal difference to consumer and corporate borrowers on a day-to-day level, it does allow for a further easing in financial conditions. Such accommodation could theoretically… ...

Market Update   3/12/2020  Negative sentiment concerning the coronavirus has been relentless, which has been spurred by media coverage and a variety of governmental actions to combat the contagion’s spread. Most recently, these have included the President’s temporary ban on incoming flights from Europe (which appeared to be a catalyst for… ...

Was it necessary for the Federal Reserve to lower rates by a half-percent in between meetings?

 3/9/2020  There has been debate among Wall Street economists about last week’s cut, as the unconventional action (and its magnitude) seemed to both soothe and incite concern in financial markets. The new lower rates may help boost borrowing and ease the penalty for taking on debt, while also spurring questions… ...