Q4 2016 Investment Committee Briefing

blog_investment_committeeWithout question the biggest story of the fourth quarter, in fact all of 2016, was the U.S. presidential election. Regardless of your political leaning, it is a fair bet that market performance during and after the election qualifies as what market analysts like to call “an unanticipated event.” In this fourth quarter briefing we will briefly examine how the presidential election seemed to reverse a slight decline of recent highs for the stock market (and also to accelerate declines in the bond market). Then, using events in this most recent quarter as a backdrop, we will take a much broader historical look at whether market reversals are predictable in and of themselves. Continue reading

The Dow Jones Hit 20,000…Does it Really Matter?

I well remember when the Dow Jones industrial average reached 10,000 in 1999, as I was working at Dow Jones Indexes at the time. It had been more than 100 years since Charles Dow created his venerable stock “average” and we were approaching a historic milestone. The exuberant 90s were in full swing and the stock market had more than doubled the prior four years. Continue reading

Hindsight is Clearer Than Foresight

This article is featured in the winter edition of our 360 Insights Quarterly Client Newsletter.
 
Predictions on November 7, 2016, the day before voters elected Donald Trump as our next president…
 
“As the historic 2016 U.S. presidential election approaches, major Wall Street analysts agree that the S&P 500 will likely sell off if Donald Trump wins, and at least hold gains if Hillary Clinton wins.” CNBC
 
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Financial Risk through a Wide-Angle Lens

This blog is from the January issue of Portfolio Perspectives.
 
The world is risky. The future is uncertain. And many of the decisions we make can have a profound impact on our future welfare. This is where financial advisors can add value by helping their clients navigate an inherently risky world. Risk cannot be eliminated, but it can be managed. Continue reading

The Future Isn’t What It Used to Be — The Great Predictive Failures of 2016

360_perdiction_blog_image_v2This article is featured in the winter edition of our 360 Insights Quarterly Client Newsletter.
 
The New York Post headline the day after the 2016 U.S. elections put it best: “Pundits, Polls, Politicians, the Press: EVERYONE WAS WRONG.”
 
From the U.S. elections to Brexit to economic doomsaying, 2016 saw a series of spectacularly erroneous predictions. Again and again, experts were proven wrong and had to scramble to explain why they had missed the mark so badly. Continue reading

2016: The Most Typical Year Nobody Saw Coming

“It’s the 2008 Crisis all over again,” “Prepare for stocks to fall another 10%,” “World Economy Trapped in a ‘Death Spiral,’ ” “Sell Everything”1 — these were the loudest sentiments we heard from prominent industry participants in the first few weeks of 2016. Yet, as we close the books on another year’s positive gain, we’re reminded that stock market rallies don’t die of old age or pundit predictions. With the S&P 500 advancing 11.96%, we’ve now seen a cumulative gain of over 280% since the lows of 2009.
 
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