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Results: 123 Articles found.

Current Conditions Index 5/21/14

Read real-time insight into the trends that shape LPL Financial Research’s recommended actions to manage portfolios, it has proven to be a useful investment decision-making tool.

Winter in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is not representative of the broader municipal bond market, as both state and local governments continue to benefit from improving revenues. The municipal bond market has so far taken Puerto Rico’s downgrade in stride, but lingering risks remain due to individual investors’ bias to sell and uncertainty over upcoming Puerto Rico borrowing.

Portfolio Compass 8/28/13

Compass Changes: Upgraded consumer staples view to neutral from neutral/negative. Upgraded precious metals and agriculture commodities to neutral/positive from neutral. Investment Takeaways: We expect the S&P 500 Index to grind higher in the second half of the year with increased volatility.* After another bout of weakness, a flattening yield curve, and aggressive Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hike expectations suggest the bond market may have priced...

Current Conditions Index 8/28/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) remained relatively unchanged with a slight dip to 228. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. The CCI has stabilized in recent weeks. A return to around 250 would be consistent with stronger growth...

The Bond Sell-Off in Perspective

Longer-term Treasury yields finished last week roughly unchanged, but that is little consolation to investors during a difficult month of August. Investor patience was tested once again with a volatile week that saw the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rise as high as 2.89% before creeping lower late in the week. For the month of August, however...

Current Conditions Index 8/21/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) remained relatively unchanged with a slight dip to 226. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. The CCI has stabilized in recent weeks. A return to around 250 would be consistent with stronger growth...

The Yield Ascent Resumes

Rising economic growth expectations, not Fed "tapering” fears, fueled the most recent leg down in the bond market. The bond market sell-off entered a new phase last week as Treasury yields broke clear to new highs. Unlike the initial leg of bond market weakness, which was driven equally by better economic growth expectations, Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hike fears, and concerns over a reduction in Fed bond purchases...

Current Conditions Index 8/14/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) remained relatively unchanged with a slight rise to 228. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. The CCI has stabilized in recent weeks. A return to around 250 would be consistent with stronger growth...

Foreign Buying Intrigue

Like an international mystery caper, the habits of foreign bond buyers are not always readily apparent. Data on foreign buying are available from a few sources but with a lag, leaving investors to piece together the details over time. Any “real-time” information is only anecdotal via trading desks and therefore very difficult to quantify. Over recent weeks it has become clear that foreign investors’ apathy toward U.S. bonds played a role in the recent bond market sell-off...

Optimum Fixed Income Fund

Many bond investors are still licking their wounds after the bond market suffered one of its worst quarters in the past 20 years during the second quarter of 2013. We believe it is important to review the contributing factors to performance in Q2, particularly as it relates to the Optimum Fixed Income Fund. While the fund’s performance was certainly disappointing the challenging quarter, and with the possibility of interest...

Portfolio Compass 8/7/13

Compass Changes: No changes. Investment Takeaways: ƒƒWe expect the S&P 500 Index to grind higher in the second half of the year with increased volatility.* Bond markets have stabilized to start the third quarter on dovish comments from Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Ben Bernanke, mixed economic data, and bond markets largely pricing in an earlier start to a possible reduction in Fed bond purchases...​

Current Conditions Index 8/7/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) remained relatively unchanged with a slight rise to 226. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. The CCI has stabilized in recent weeks.

It’s a Grind

After one of the worst quarterly sell-offs in years, the bond market has witnessed only mixed relief so far this summer. The high-quality bond market, as measured by the broad Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, was roughly unchanged in July 2013, posting a modest 0.1% total return for the month. On the positive side...

Current Conditions Index 7/31/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) remained relatively unchanged at 225. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. The CCI has stabilized in recent weeks...

Yield Ascent

The second quarter of 2013 witnessed a sharp increase in bond yields that led to broad-based price declines across the bond market. All sectors were impacted with only shorter-term securities faring better during a very difficult period for bond investors. From May 1, 2013 to July 5, 2013, bond yields witnessed one of the fastest increases...

Municipals Versus Corporates

Comparing municipal bond yields to Treasury yields is a common way to assess municipal bond valuations, but comparisons to the corporate bond market can be another useful metric to gauge value. We often cite municipal-to-Treasury yield ratios as a key barometer of the attractiveness of municipal bonds. Like most investments, there is more than one way to gauge value...

Current Conditions Index 7/24/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) rose slightly to 226. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. The CCI has stabilized in recent weeks...

Portfolio Compass 7/24/13

Compass Changes: Upgraded long-term municipal bonds to positive from neutral/positive. Shifted duration view to intermediate from short/intermediate. Investment Takeaways: ƒƒWe expect the S&P 500 Index to grind higher in the second half of the year with increased volatility.* Bond markets have stabilized in July on...

Debacle in Detroit

Detroit made history last week by filing the largest Chapter 9 bankruptcy on record. For most in the municipal bond market, the news was not surprising. Detroit’s demise was years in the making and several factors played a role in the city ultimately filing bankruptcy including, but not limited to: a declining revenue base in response to...

Current Conditions Index 7/17/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) fell to 219. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. The CCI has slid, on average, in recent weeks...

Light at the End of Tunnel

Signs of stabilization have begun to emerge in the municipal bond market after a difficult two months. Fears of an earlier end to Federal Reserve (Fed) bond purchases drove widespread bond market weakness from the beginning of May through the first week of July. Less liquid and less frequently traded fixed income markets, such as municipal bonds, bore the brunt of weakness with...

Portfolio Compass 7/10/13

Compass Changes: Upgraded health care and consumer discretionary to neutral/positive from neutral. Upgraded financials and small and large value to neutral from negative/neutral. Downgraded energy and materials to negative/neutral from neutral. Investment Takeaways: ƒƒWe expect the S&P 500 to grind higher in the second half of the year with increased volatility.* Lingering fears over the Federal Reserve (Fed) reducing...

Current Conditions Index 7/10/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) rebounded modestly to 228. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. The CCI has slid in recent weeks...

Fixed Income Mid-Year Outlook

The bond market suffered through its worst quarterly performance since 2004 in response to the Federal Reserve (Fed) signaling it will reduce, or taper, the pace of bond purchases earlier in 2013 than anticipated. The economy also proved resilient to higher tax rates and government spending cuts. Both factors contributed to bond market weakness, but the “tapering tantrum” was the dominant driver...​

Current Conditions Index 7/3/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) was unchanged at 216. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. The CCI has slid in recent weeks...

Eliminating Exposure to Natural Resource Equities

We are eliminating exposure to natural resource equities and shifting the allocation domestically, to large cap core equities. The initial thesis for natural resource equities was based on global growth, and more specifically the growth of emerging market (EM) economies. We still believe that EM is capable of delivering superior growth relative to the developed world, but we want to reduce exposure, as we believe those growth rates could slightly slow over time...

Portfolio Compass 6/26/13

Compass Changes: Downgraded long-term munis and high-yield munis to neutral/positive from positive. ƒƒMoved duration to short/intermediate from intermediate. Investment Takeaways: While our near-term stock market view remains slightly cautious, our bias has become more positive following the recent pullback. Fears of the Federal Reserve (Fed) reducing the pace of bond purchases continues to pressure yields higher...

Current Conditions Index 6/26/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) fell to 216. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. The CCI has slid in recent weeks...

When Will the Selling Stop?

The past week brought about the summer solstice, the official start of summer, but for bond investors it feels more like the dead of winter. Bond weakness continued in response to a Federal Reserve (Fed) that remains fixated on slowing, or tapering, bond purchases following last week’s policy meeting. A review of several bond metrics may help answer the question at theforefront of bond investors’ minds: “when will the selling stop?”...

Current Conditions Index 6/19/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) was relatively unchanged at 227. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. The CCI has stabilized in recent weeks and did not experience much of the dip seen in the spring of recent years...

Time to Get Short?

Following the recent bond market pullback, many investors are questioning whether a more defensive stance, via short-term bonds is more appropriate to help protect against additional price declines should interest rates continue to move higher. The bond market stabilized last week with...

Net Lease Real Estate Could Face Challenges in a Rising Rate Environment

During the economic crisis, as well as over the past few years, net lease real estate investment trusts (REITs) have been one of the best-performing real estate asset classes according to Net Lease Composite Price Index. Recent strong performance has been driven, to a large extent, by a drop in interest rates. Net lease REITs tend to represent...

Portfolio Compass 6/12/13

Compass Changes: Downgraded emerging market equities to negative/neutral from neutral. Downgraded consumer staples equities to negative/neutral from neutral. Downgraded emerging market debt to neutral from neutral/positive. Investment Takeaways: Our near-term stock market view is slightly cautious, with stocks having outpaced our 2013 forecast* and given the magnitude and duration of the rally...

Current Conditions Index 6/12/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) fell 10 points to 229. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. The CCI has stabilized in recent weeks and did not experience much of the dip seen in the spring of recent years...

The Yield Rally Continues

Strong demand during this week’s Treasury auctions would be a sign that now-higher yields are enough to compensate investors, despite the uncertainty of when the Fed may begin to reduce the pace of bond purchases. Signs are emerging that the rise in yields has begun to attract demand. We view the current bond sell-off as being overdone, as the Fed’s timing around a possible first interest rate increase has not materially changed...

Current Conditions Index 6/5/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) was basically unchanged at 239. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few weeks, momentum in the CCI has stabilized...

Miserable May

All eyes are on this week’s release of the monthly employment report (on Friday, June 7, 2013), as high-quality bonds concluded one of their worst monthly performances of the past 10 years. The broad Barclays Aggregate Bond Index declined 1.8% in May 2013, the worst monthly performance since December 2009, which in turn is the weakest since October 2008...

Portfolio Compass 5/29/13

Compass Changes: Downgraded large foreign equities to negative/neutral from neutral. Investment Takeaways: Our near-term stock market view is slightly cautious, with stocks having outpaced our 2013 forecast* and given the magnitude and duration of the rally. ƒƒWe have lowered our large foreign view due to our belief that the market’s expectations for Europe’s recovery are overly optimistic and because the European debt crisis is not yet over...

Current Conditions Index 5/29/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) was basically unchanged at 243. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few weeks, momentum in the CCI has stabilized.

Tapering Tantrum Take Two

The bond market suffered through another week of tapering tantrums with yields closing higher for a fourth consecutive week and near the highs of 2013. Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Ben Bernanke did little to clear the uncertainty over the timing of reducing, or tapering, bond purchases in Congressional testimony last week...

Current Conditions Index 5/22/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) improved slightly to 245. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few weeks, momentum in the CCI has generally improved after deteriorating in the prior weeks.

Tapering Tantrums

The fear of an earlier reduction in the pace of bond purchases has been a factor in recent weakness in Treasury prices. Inflation data argue for continued bond purchases, and focus falls on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke this week, as he may address this uncertainty. We continue to view yields as range-bound. Any tapering-related bond sell-off is likely to be limited unless corroborated by better economic data.

Current Conditions Index 5/15/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) slid slightly to 239. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few weeks, momentum in the CCI has generally improved after deteriorating in the prior weeks.​

Portfolio Compass 5/15/13

Compass Changes: Downgraded the energy commodity to negative/neutral from neutral. Investment Takeaways: Our near-term stock market view is slightly cautious, with stocks having outpaced our 2013 forecast* and given the magnitude and duration of the rally. Our views on cyclical versus defensive sectors have become more balanced due to our focus on yield and in anticipation of a stock market pullback...​

Yield Shock

Yields rose across the bond market in recent days, as investors may have finally said “enough is enough” to low yields. Yields on several higher-yielding segments of the bond market at multi-year lows or, in the case of high-yield bonds, new record lows, reversed higher over the past two days (Friday, May 10 and Monday, May 13, 2013) as investors reassess valuations...

Current Conditions Index 5/8/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) rose to 244. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few weeks, momentum in the CCI has improved after deteriorating in the prior weeks.

Settling Differences

Stock and bond markets may continue to settle their differences this week, resulting in slightly higher yields. In recent weeks, stock and bond markets had taken divergent views of the macro investing landscape. While stocks, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, reached new record highs, the bond market took a more somber view...

Current Conditions Index 5/2/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) rose from 231 to 239. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few months, momentum in the CCI has improved slightly but moderated in the past several weeks.

Portfolio Compass 5/1/13

Compass Changes: Downgraded investment-grade corporate bonds to neutral from neutral/positive Investment Takeaways: Our near-term stock market view is slightly cautious, given our Base Path expectation for modest single-digit returns in 2013.* Our views on cyclical versus defensive sectors have become more balanced due to our focus on key investment themes and in anticipation of a stock market pullback. Higher-yielding...

Back to the Future

Mark Twain once stated that history does not repeat itself, but it often rhymes. Join us as we take a look back to the past to see what the future may hold for bond investors, given the many uncertainties. Our broad takeaway is that a low-return environment could likely be the norm, and the 1950s may provide a rough guide of what to expect. The monetary policy backdrop and bond market of the early 1950s bears some resemblance to today’s environment...

Mixed Bag

The first quarter of 2013 presented a mixed bag for income-seeking investors but did little to ease the difficult task of income-generation in today’s low-yield environment. High-quality bond prices declined over the first quarter, but weakness was modest and yields increased only slightly, limiting opportunity for income-seeking investors. Lower-rated bonds...

Current Conditions Index 4/24/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) slid slightly to 231. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few months, momentum in the CCI has improved slightly but moderated in the past several weeks.

Assessing Interest Rate Risk

It seems there is no shortage of investors willing to forecast the impending doom for the bond market stemming from a reversal of the long decline in interest rates. Last week, the commissioner of the SEC Daniel Gallagher stated that “financial armageddon” awaits municipal bond investors due to rising interest rates. Commissioner Gallagher tried to retract comments late in the week, saying...

First Quarter 2013 SAM/Research Recommended Mutual Fund Models

Stocks got off to a strong start in 2013. The fiscal cliff compromise that emerged shortly after New Year’s Day set a positive tone, while bold intervention from central banks worldwide provided support for U.S. stocks and drove investors to favor lower-rated, higher-yielding sectors within the bond market...

Portfolio Compass 4/17/13

Compass Changes: Upgraded health care to neutral from negative/neutral. Upgraded emerging market debt to neutral/positive from neutral. Upgraded oil commodity from neutral/negative to neutral. Downgraded precious metals commodities from neutral/positive to neutral. Downgraded technology from neutral/positive to neutral. Investment Takeaways: Our near-term stock market view is...

Municipal Muddle-Through

The municipal bond market continues to work its way through a difficult seasonal period of performance. A difficult month of March lived up to its traditional billing, before a rebound emerged in late March/early April. Internal demand from within the municipal bond market remains mixed at best, with spillover effects from recent Treasury market strength the primary driver of municipal bond stability...​

Current Conditions Index 4/10/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) slid slightly to 241. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few months, momentum in the CCI has improved slightly but moderated in the past few weeks.In the latest week, the index was negatively affected by a deterioration in initial jobless claims, commodity prices and the VIX, while supported by improvement in BAA spreads.

Emerging Rebound

The first quarter of 2013 witnessed the worst quarterly performance for emerging market debt (EMD) investors since 2008 and the peak of the financial crisis, as measured by the JP Morgan Global Emerging Market Bond Index. A moderation in EMD performance was to be expected after strong performance in 2012, but recent weakness appears to have run too far...

Current Conditions Index 4/3/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) slid slightly to 244. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few months, momentum in the CCI has improved slightly but moderated in the past two weeks.​

Portfolio Compass 4/3/13

Compass Changes: No changes. Investment Takeaways: Our near-term stock market view remains slightly cautious, given our Base Path expectation for modest single-digit returns in 2013.* ƒƒWe continue to favor economically sensitive (cyclical) sectors over defensive sectors in general, but our views have become more balanced recently as the S&P 500 has rallied to record highs. Our neutral emerging markets view reflects higher near-term risks as China...

Recurring Themes

Lower-rated bonds led performance within the bond market during the first quarter of 2013, continuing a theme from 2012. For the second quarter of 2013, we expect the performance differential between lowerrated and high-quality bonds to moderate. Our low-single-digit total return forecast for 2013 remains intact.

Current Conditions Index 3/27/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) slid slightly from near multiyear highs to 247. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few months, momentum in the CCI has improved slightly...

High-Yield Bonds and the Credit Cycle

High-yield bonds are among the leading performers in the bond market in 2013, according to the Barclays US High Yield Index, but the sector is not without critics. Naysayers have highlighted the record-low yields offered by the lowest-rated debt companies in the bond market, the increasing amount of leveraged buyout-related issuance, and growth of more speculative bond structures/issuance in 2013.​

Portfolio Compass 3/20/13

Compass Changes: Upgraded long-term and high-yield municipal bonds to positive from modest positive. Upgraded Treasuries to modest negative from negative. Investment Takeaways: Our near-term stock market view remains slightly cautious, given our...

Current Conditions Index 3/20/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) rebounded further to 253. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though modest, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few months, momentum in the CCI has improved slightly.

Ride the Yield Curve

The yield curve, a graphical representation of yields across the maturity spectrum of the bond market, has long received attention as a relatively good leading economic indicator. The shape of the yield curve can impact total returns for bond investors and help determine which maturity segments (short, intermediate, or long-term) of the bond market offer the most attractive potential reward for a given amount of interest rate risk. The year-to-date rise in high-quality bond yields...

Current Conditions Index 3/13/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) rebounded to 248. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few months, momentum in the CCI has improved slightly.

Back to the Highs

Bond yields are back to the highs of the year after gains from the prior week were more than erased. A stronger-than-expected employment report, continued stock market strength, and reduced fiscal uncertainty pushed the 10-year Treasury yield back to 2.06%. The municipal bond market, struggling with its own unique circumstances...

Current Conditions Index 3/6/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) remained basically unchanged at 236. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few months, momentum in the CCI has stalled.

Portfolio Compass 3/6/13

Compass Changes: Upgraded consumer staples view to neutral from modest negative. Upgraded utilities view to modest negative from negative. Downgraded materials view to neutral from modest positive. Downgraded emerging markets (equities) view to neutral from modest positive. Investment Takeaways: Our near-term stock market view...

Old Acquaintances

The re-emergence of European risks and domestic fiscal policy uncertainty helped Treasuries post their strongest weekly performance since last November. Higher yielding segments of the bond market such as bank loans, high-yield bonds, and preferred stocks, backed by good fundamentals, are our preferred way to navigate a low-yield, range-bound market....

Current Conditions Index 2/27/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) remained basically unchanged at 239. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few months, momentum in the CCI has stalled...

Waiting for the Spring

Municipal bonds have struggled in February following a good start to 2013. Price declines have translated to modest losses for investors in February, but on a positive note, year-to-date municipals still hold a performance advantage to their taxable counterparts (both through February 22, 2013), according to Barclays Index data. The tough slog for municipal bonds...

Portfolio Compass 2/20/13

Compass Changes: ƒNo changes. Investment Takeaways: Our near-term stock market view remains slightly cautious, given our Base Path expectation for modest single-digit returns in 2013.* ƒƒWe continue to favor...

Current Conditions Index 2/20/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) improved modestly to 238. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few months...

No Love for Bonds

High-quality bonds remain unloved in financial markets in 2013. After modest improvement during the first full week of February, weakness resumed with the 10-year Treasury yield rising back to the 2.0% threshold. Last week’s Treasury auctions saw...

Current Conditions Index 2/13/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) was unchanged at 229. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States.​

Return of the LBO

The recent trend in leveraged buyout (LBO) activity bears watching for bond investors but even at the current pace would lag well behind the boom years of 2006 and 2007. We are more concerned with valuation levels among corporate bonds on evaluating investment appeal.

Portfolio Compass 2/6/13

Our near-term stock market view remains slightly cautious, given our Base Path expectation for modest single-digit returns in 2013.* ƒƒWe continue to favor economically sensitive (cyclical) sectors, including industrials, materials, and technology, over defensive sectors. Our recently upgraded emerging markets (EM) view is based on...

Current Conditions Index 2/6/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) was basically unchanged at 229. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few months, momentum in the CCI has been slowing...

Winter Hits the Bond Market

Winter seems to have hit the bond market full force in January 2013 with the broad Barclays Aggregate Bond Index posting its worst monthly performance in just over two years. Relief over last-minute legislation to avert the “fiscal cliff,” an agreement to temporarily increase the debt limit to avoid a potential default, continued, albeit sluggish, economic expansion, and optimism over Europe all contributed to put a chill on bond market performance in January after a strong 2012...

Current Conditions Index 1/30/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) slid slightly further to 226. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few months, momentum in the CCI has been slowing...

The Fed’s Bond Diet

Bond investors may revisit an early catalyst to bond market weakness in 2013, when Federal Reserve (Fed) policymakers reconvene this week. Minutes of the December 2012 Fed meeting, sparked selling among high-quality bonds, as investors feared the Fed would end or curtail bond purchases earlier than expected. As we commented in early January, we believe bond market reaction to the Fed meeting minutes was overdone...

Fourth Quarter 2012 OMP

Stocks limped to the finish as 2012 ended amid the uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff — the combination of tax increases and spending cuts that were scheduled to take effect at year-end. Nonetheless, stocks delivered solid double-digit returns in 2012. The Russell 3000 returned 0.25% in the quarter, bringing the total return for the year for the broad equity market index to 16.35%...

Current Conditions Index 1/23/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) slid slightly to 235. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States. Over the past few months, momentum in the CCI had been slowing as the fiscal cliff neared...

Quick Start for Municipal Bonds

Acting more like a sprinter than a long-distance runner, the broad municipal bond market is up 0.80% year-to-date through last Friday, as measured by the Barclays Municipal Bond Index, just over 1% more than their taxable counterparts as measured by the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index...

Current Conditions Index 1/16/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) slid slightly to 239. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States...​

High-Yield in Name Only

High-yield bonds may be “high-yield” in name only now. Robust demand for corporate bonds pushed the average yield on high-yield bonds further into record-low territory, closing at 5.75% last week. A mid-single-digit yield just does not seem that “high,”....

Fourth Quarter 2012 SAM

Stocks limped to the finish as 2012 ended amid the uncertainty surrounding the fiscal cliff. Nonetheless, stocks delivered solid double-digit returns in 2012. Performance for the SAM/Research Recommended Mutual Fund Models in the fourth quarter was outstanding, resulting in a very strong year for both relative and absolute returns. All 10 of these portfolios outperformed their respective blended benchmarks in the fourth quarter...

Current Conditions Index 1/9/13

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) rebounded to 246. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States.

Navigating the Markets 1/9/13

Compass Changes: Upgraded long-term and high-yield municipal bonds from neutral to neutral/positive.ƒƒ Downgraded energy commodities from neutral/positive to neutral. Investment Takeaways: Our near-term stock market view is slightly cautious, given our Base Case expectation for modest single-digit returns in 2013.* ƒƒWe continue to favor economically sensitive (cyclical) sectors over defensive sectors...​

Sour Start to New Year

The broad high-quality bond market began 2013 on a sour note, posting its worst weekly performance since March 2012. Optimism over recently passed legislation to narrowly, or temporarily avert, the fiscal cliff boosted economic growth expectations and concerns that the Federal Reserve (Fed) may end bond purchases as soon as mid-2013 both weighed on high-quality bond prices.

Current Conditions Index 1/2/12

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) slid to 221. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States.

Current Conditions Index 12/19/12

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) rebounded modestly to 229. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States.​

Early Lump of Coal for Municipal Bonds

After presenting investors with good returns for much of 2012, the municipal bond market handed investors an early lump of coal last week. The Barclays Municipal Bond Index declined 0.8%, the worst weekly decline in just over a year. There was no “naughty” behavior to single out. Defaults among municipal issuers remain....

Navigating the Markets

Compass Changes: Upgraded emerging markets view from Neutral to Neutral/Positive.ƒ Downgraded precious metals view from Positive to Neutral/Positive. Investment Takeaways: ƒƒ Our near-term stock market view remains slightly cautious, with

Current Conditions Index 12/12/12

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) slid further to 219. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States.

Current Conditions Index 12/5/12

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) fell to 223. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States.

Fixed Income 2013 Outlook

As 2012 winds down, bond investors are reflecting on a good year but questioning what 2013 has in store. Bond investors have enjoyed a good year in 2012, with the bond market on pace to finish the year at the high-end of our low- to mid-single-digit total return forecast. Due to slow economic growth, European debt concerns, and perhaps most importantly, a very market-friendly Federal Reserve (Fed), bond prices continued to rise, and yields continued on their downward descent in 2012.

Portfolio Compass 11/28/12

Compass Changes: No changes. Investment Takeaways:ƒƒ Our near-term stock market view remains slightly cautious, with the S&P 500 having reached our 2012 return target (as of November 27, 2012) and given our base case expectation for modest single-digit returns in 2013.* ƒƒWe continue to favor cyclical sectors for the balance of 2012 and into 2013, consistent with our base case 2013 outlook.*

Current Conditions Index 11/28/12

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) rose to 230. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States.

Banking on Bank Loans

As 2012 comes to a close, bank loans (a.k.a., floating rate funds) are increasingly becoming an attractive alternative to high-yield bonds. While we still continue to find high-yield bonds one of the most attractive sectors in the bond market, the relative appeal of bank loans has improved as we look toward 2013.

Current Conditions Index 11/21/12

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) was basically unchanged at 223. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish,economic growth in the United States.

Bond Market Perspectives 11/20/12

This week, investors have reason to give thanks to preferred securities, one of our favorite income-producing investments. The sector has produced double-digit returns in 2012, as measured by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Preferred Hybrid Securities Index, in what has been a good year overall for more economically sensitive fixed income investments such as preferred securities.

Fiscal Cliff Causing Investors Grief

While there are other issues investors are grappling with — such as increasing tensions in the Middle East, meager prospects for earnings growth, and the return to recession in Europe after only three short years of growth — the one most heavily weighing on the minds of investors is the U.S.’s fiscal cliff.

Portfolio Compass 11/14/12

Compass Changes: Upgraded energy commodity to Neutral/Positive from Neutral.ƒƒ Upgraded preferred securities to Neutral/Positive from Neutral.ƒƒ Upgraded mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to Neutral from Negative/Neutral.

Current Conditions Index 11/14/12

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) remained little changed at 222. The path of the CCI remains consisten twith continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States.

Bond Market Perspectives 11/13/12

The prospect of higher taxes gave municipal bonds a strong lift following election results last week and keeps municipal bonds on pace to outperform their taxable bond counterparts for the second consecutive year. The re-election of President Obama and status quo in Congress increases the likelihood of higher tax rates on upper income earners.

“Wall Street” Election Poll 11/8/12

In the past week ending Wednesday, the day after the elections, the LPL November 8, 2012 Financial “Wall Street” Election Poll Index sharply reversed the move toward Republican-favored industries relative to those favored by Democrats that began following the first presidential debate.

Current Conditions Index 11/7/12

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) fell slightly to 220. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States.​

Bond Market Perspectives 11-5-12

The bond market continues to move in response to the eventual winner of the presidential election. We expect bond market reaction to the election to be limited, as the resolution of the fiscal cliff will likely be a greater driver of bond yields. The election may bring changes for municipal bonds as well, but attractive valuations should help cushion any potential change in tax treatment.

Portfolio Compass 10/31/12

Compass Changes:ƒƒ Downgraded technology to neutral/positive from positive. Investment Takeaways: ƒ Our near-term stock market view remains slightly cautious, with the S&P 500 having returned 14% this year (as of October 30, 2012), above the high end of our forecast.*ƒƒ Our lowered technology view remains...​

Current Conditions Index 10/31/12

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) fell slightly to 227. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States.​

"Wall Street" Election Poll 10/25/12

In the past week ending Wednesday, the LPL Financial “Wall Street” October 25, 2012 Election Poll Index reflected a modest further move toward Republicanfavored industries relative to those favored by Democrats, a move that began following the first presidential debate.

Current Conditions 10/24/12

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) fell slightly to 239. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States.​

"Wall Street" Election Poll 10/18/12

In the past week ending Wednesday, the LPL Financial “Wall Street” October 18, 2012 Election Poll Index reflected little change relative to the impact of the first debate that resulted in a large move toward Republican-favored industries relative to those favored by Democrats.

Current Conditions 10/17/12

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) fell slightly to 243. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States.​

Portfolio Compass 10/17/12

Compass Changes: Downgraded mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to Negative/Neutral from Neutral. Upgraded Bank Loans to Neutral/Positive from Neutral. Investment Takeaways:ƒƒ Our near-term stock market view remains cautious, with the S&P 500 having returned 18% this year (as of October 16, 2012).*

"Wall Street" Election Poll 10/11/12

In the past week ending Wednesday, the LPL Financial “Wall Street” Election October 11, 2012 Poll Index reflected the impact of the debate and a large move toward Republican-favored industries relative to those favored by Democrats. This is the first meaningful move toward Republicans since the

Current Conditions Index 10/10/12

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) rose slightly to 246. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States.​

"Wall Street" Election Poll 10/4/12

Ahead of the debates, in the past week ending Wednesday, the LPL October 4, 2012 Financial “Wall Street” Election Poll Index reflected a move to the highest levels of the year for Democrat-favored industries relative to those favored by Republicans. The market continued to increasingly reflect a status quo election outcome. Over the past week, the overall market rose. Most industries in both the Democrat and Republican indexes posted gains, but the most sizable upward moves

Portfolio Compass 10/3/12

Our near-term stock market view remains cautious, with the S&P 500 having returned 17% this year as of October 2, 2012), above the high end of our forecast range as discussed in our 2012 Mid-Year Outlook.* ƒƒWithin equities, we favor Growth, Technology

Current Conditions 10/3/12

Over the past week, the LPL Financial Current Conditions Index (CCI) remained basically unchanged at 242. The path of the CCI remains consistent with continued, though sluggish, economic growth in the United States. This year, the CCI has echoed the

 
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