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SOFT START TO Q2

Bonds started the second quarter on a weak note as investors anticipate economic improvement during the second quarter. However, bond market pricing indicates the Fed may never get back to “normal” and that rates will remain lower for longer. We expect yields to start to move higher in the second quarter, but until more clarity develops, bonds yields may drift at the lower end of their recent range.​

GAUGING GLOBAL GROWTH 4/13/15

The market continues to expect that global GDP growth will accelerate in 2015, 2016, and 2017, aided by lower oil prices and stimulus from the BOJ and the ECB, two of the three leading central banks in the world. The prospect for another year of decelerating growth in emerging markets remains a concern for some investors, who may still be waiting (in vain) for China to post 10 – 12% growth rates, as it consistently did during the early to mid-2000s.

CHINA: NEW YEAR, NEW OPPORTUNITY?

Regardless of whether China hits its 7% GDP target for Q1, its stock market has already been positive so far this year. Despite strong recent performance, Chinese stocks may see further gains. We maintain our positive view of broad EM, with a preference for Asia.

TRANSITIONING TO A RANGE TRADE

We believe the solid Q1 2015 broad bond market performance is unlikely to be sustainable for the duration of the year. The development of a range-bound environment may slow returns in the coming months.​

EARNINGS RECESSION?

First quarter 2015 earnings may produce the first year-over-year decline since the financial crisis due to the drags of low oil prices and the strong dollar. Results for S&P 500 companies may exceed dramatically reduced expectations. We continue to expect earnings to drive stock market gains in 2015, as we stated in our Outlook 2015: In Transit, and we see better earnings prospects as the year progresses.​

WORDS WITH FRIENDS

Examining the number of mentions of certain buzzwords across news stories, we see a pattern of spikes that are followed by consistent declines over time. While these buzzwords come and go, earnings and earnings guidance are near constants in news stories — as they are the ultimate drivers of equity prices.​

MUNICIPAL SUPPLY SURGE

The sharp increase in new municipal issuance has been driven by issuers refinancing existing debt, making the recent surge far less of a risk to the market. We do not see recent new issuance changing the favorable supply-demand underpinning the municipal bond market.

MARKET’S MARCH MADNESS

The Final Four of the 2015 NCAA College Basketball Tournament is set with Kentucky, Wisconsin, Duke, and Michigan State headed to Indianapolis to determine this year’s college hoops champion. In that spirit, we share our own Final Four for stock market investing:

MARCH EMPLOYMENT REPORT PREVIEW

We continue to expect the broad economy could potentially create between 225,000 and 250,000 net new jobs per month in 2015. Although job growth has improved, wage inflation, an important measure of labor market health, is not yet back to “normal.” A more robust pace of job growth should coincide with an upturn in wage inflation, yet the relationship between the two has been mixed over the past 30 years or so.

Portfolio Compass 3/25/15

A snapshot of LPL Financial Research’s views on equity, equity sectors, fixed income, and alternative asset classes. This biweekly publication illustrates our current views and will change as needed over a 3- to 12-month time horizon.

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO

The high-yield energy sector has kept pace with the broader high-yield bond market in 2015 even as oil prices weakened, a notable difference from 2014. Although we don’t believe the high-yield bond market will return to the June 2014 peak, the current yield spread may still represent good value given still strong corporate fundamentals and low defaults.

THE DOLLAR’S RIPPLE EFFECT

Using intermarket analysis is important to reduce the risk of missing vital directional clues within the financial markets. Recently, a strong U.S. dollar has created headwinds for the euro, crude oil, and commodity-sensitive emerging markets.

FORECAST FOR CLEAR SKIES: LEI SHOWS LOW ODDS OF RECESSION

The outcome of last week’s FOMC meeting confirmed our long-held view that the Fed would keep rates “lower for longer.” A report that may have been overlooked by financial market participants last week is the LEI, which is designed to predict the future path of the economy. The LEI suggests the risk of recession in the next 12 months is negligible (4%), but not zero.

Doing Good When Doing Well: Philanthropy and the Affluent Family

In order to choose the most advantageous charitable giving strategy, individuals and families must evaluate a number of factors, such as their need for current income, their desire to control and preserve assets during life and after death, their specific charitable intent, as well as important tax management issues.

PATIENTLY WAITING

The Fed faces a number of obstacles now and may require greater justification to suggest raising interest rates as soon as June. Bond market reaction to recent Fed meetings has been initially bearish but muted overall. Maintaining the word “patient” could have different implications for segments of the bond market.

FOMC PREVIEW: WHEN, HOW OFTEN, AND HOW MUCH

What the FOMC says, if anything, about the rising dollar and its implications, could have ramifications for monetary policy over the next several quarters and beyond. In addition to “when,” market participants may start asking “how much” and “how fast” rates may increase once the Fed begins to raise the rates. We are watching several factors to gauge when the Fed may begin to hike rates, including wages, the output gap, inflation, and inflation expectations.

DOLLAR STRENGTH IS A SYMPTOM, NOT A CAUSE

We do not think the strong U.S. dollar will derail the bull market. The dollar itself is not a key driver of market performance; it is a symptom.

TIPS & RISING INFLATION EXPECTATIONS

Market-implied inflation expectations have increased after reaching a multiyear low in mid-January 2015. Thus far in 2015, the inflation protection provided by Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) has provided a buffer, with TIPS outperforming Treasuries.

BEIGE BOOK SUGGESTS CONTINUED MODEST ECONOMIC GROWTH

The latest Beige Book suggests that the U.S. economy is still growing at a “modest or moderate” pace that is at or above its long-term trend, and that some upward pressure on wages is beginning to emerge. Optimism on Main Street remains high despite the recent barrage of bad news on the economy.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BULL MARKET

The current bull market celebrates its sixth birthday today (March 9, 2015). Bull markets do not die of old age, they die of excesses, and we do not see evidence of excesses emerging today. Some of our favorite leading indicators suggest the economic expansion and bull market may continue through the end of 2015.

HOT & COLD BONDS

January 2015 was the best month for high-quality bonds since December 2008. In February 2015, high-quality bonds posted their worst monthly performance since June 2013 and the taper tantrum sell-off. High-yield bonds experienced ups and downs thus far in 2015. After a muted January, high-yield bonds returned 2.4% in February, the largest single month gain since October 2013.

A VERY DIFFERENT NASDAQ

The Nasdaq Composite just hit 5000 today as this report was going to press and is nearing its all-time record closing high of 5048. Even with the Nasdaq at 5000, we do not believe stocks have reached bubble territory. The Nasdaq has a much stronger foundation today of valuations, profits, and sentiment.​

REASSESSING INTEREST RATE RISK

We do not expect the weakness witnessed in 2013, but a difficult February 2015 thus far warrants another look at assessing interest rate risk, especially given the likely start of Federal Reserve (Fed) interest rate hikes later this year. Sector allocation, maturity exposure, time horizon, and whether interest income is reinvested or simply spent, all influence potential total returns during a potential bear market for bonds.

HOUSING HEALTH

We continue to expect housing may add to GDP growth in 2015 and for the next several years, as the market normalizes following the severe housing bust of 2005 – 2010. Poor weather in Q1 2015 may again cause housing to be a drag on growth early in 2015.

ARE EXPECTATIONS TOO HIGH?

The market’s continued ascent has caused some to ask if the stock market reflects excessive optimism. The pace of economic surprises as measured by the Citigroup Economic Surprise Index suggests expectations remain reasonable.

PUERTO RICO PUTTERS

Puerto Rico municipal bond price volatility picked up following the strike down of the restructuring law, as the market began to price in the prospect of a broader default. The impact on the broader municipal market is still limited, as has been the case for much of the past 18 months. Default risk for Puerto Rico remains but we still find the broader municipal bond market attractive.

ENERGY SECTOR OUTLOOK:WHAT WE ARE WATCHING

We are watching several key factors to assess the potential opportunity in the energy sector. While we expect to try to take advantage of opportunities in this group in short order, we are not convinced that it now presents a great entry point. We continue to recommend the consumer discretionary sector, where suitable, as a way to play low energy prices.

GLOBAL GDP TRACKER

The market continues to expect that global GDP growth will accelerate in 2015 and 2016, aided by lower oil prices and stimulus from two of the three leading central banks in the world. The consensus has been raising its estimate for 2015 growth for developed economies and sharply lowering its estimate for emerging markets.

DECIPHERING NEGATIVE YIELDS

The negative bond yield club is exclusively comprised of European issuers reflecting the ongoing deflationary environment, poor growth expectations, euro currency risks, and negative overnight borrowing rates at selected central banks. Overseas-based bond investors may have several reasons to purchase bonds with negative yields, but, to no surprise, none of those are compelling enough for U.S.-based investors.​

EARNINGS SEASON HIGHLIGHTS AND LOWLIGHTS

look at some of the highlights and lowlights of fourth quarter earnings season. Despite the massive drag from the energy sector and the negative impact of a strong U.S. dollar, fourth quarter 2014 earnings are on track to exceed prior estimates.

EUROPE: THE ROAD TO RECOVERY?

Although it is too soon to gauge the effectiveness of QE in the Eurozone, key readings and data are beginning to show improvement, and consensus expectations are for continued growth in 2015. However, market participants looking for an immediate and sustained response by the Eurozone economy to QE may be disappointed.

WHY OWN BONDS?

A soft start for the U.S. stock market in 2015 once again illustrates the diversification benefit of high-quality bonds even at very low yields. Even in a low-yield environment, bonds provide a cushion as price movements, not yields, are the primary buffer to equity movements. An allocation to core bonds, in addition to more attractively valued high-yield bonds, may make sense for investors.

DON’T FRET ABOUT JANUARY EFFECT

The stock market fell in January, causing some to ask whether the so-called January effect means that stocks will fall this year. Recall less than four weeks ago the “first five days” indicator sent a positive stock market signal for 2015. We always put fundamentals first when forecasting stock market direction—and on that score, we believe stocks still look good.

JANUARY EMPLOYMENT REPORT PREVIEW

The market is expecting the economy to add 235,000 net new jobs in January 2015 and for the unemployment rate to remain at 5.6%. Other measures of the health of the labor market — hiring rates, the quit rate, the unemployment rate, and most importantly, wages — still show that the labor market is not yet back to normal.

ALL ABOUT THE CENTRAL BANK(S)

Recent central bank action has reinforced the “lower for longer” interest rate theme in global bond markets. This week’s Fed meeting may temper marketfriendly central bank trends, but seems unlikely to alter the current environment.

NAVIGATING THE MARKETS 1/26

We are initiating a master limited partnership (MLP) view (neutral/positive) and introducing several new alternative investment categories. ƒƒUpgrading technology and industrials to positive and munis (int.) to neutral/positive.

NO DEFLATING THE U.S. DOLLAR

The latest leg up for the U.S. dollar has been driven by anticipation and arrival of QE by the ECB. The dollar has been strong for a number of reasons, all of them good things. Though not the end all and be all, currency is an important consideration when determining asset allocation.

GAUGING GLOBAL GROWTH

The pace of growth in the global economy is a key driver of global earnings growth, and ultimately, the performance of global equity markets. The IMF raised its estimate for growth in 2015 for developed economies and sharply lowered its estimate for emerging markets.

TAKING A PAGE FROM THE FED

The ECB is widely expected to announce a Fed-style outright government bond purchase program this week. A large and bold plan may arrest the rise in global government bond prices, but anything else may reinforce the record low-yield environment.

BEIGE BOOK - January 2015

The latest Beige Book reflected a picture of the U.S. economy that was largely unaffected by concerns over dropping oil prices, the 2014 holiday shopping season, global growth scares, and a rising U.S. dollar, although the drop in oil prices was noted as a negative in some districts.

EUROPEAN HEAD FAKE?

The much anticipated European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting this week may include a quantitative easing (QE) program announcement. Although we would view a potentially bold QE program from the ECB as an incremental positive, the ongoing growth and deflation challenges in Europe leave us still with a strong preference for the U.S.

How Much Do You Need to Retire?

Americans used to count on a pension plus Social Security to get them through their “golden years.” But times have changed. Today defined benefit pension plans are becoming much less common, people change jobs more often and most manage their own retirement funds through defined contribution plans.

WHAT IS DRIVING BOND YIELDS?

The fall in 10- and 30-year Treasury yields over the second half of 2014 has been driven primarily by falling inflation expectations, rather than concern over the health of the U.S. economy. The decline in European government yields, unlike U.S. Treasuries, reflects both bleak growth prospects and lower inflation expectations.

DRILLING INTO THE LABOR MARKET

The U.S. economy created another 252,000 net new jobs in December 2014 and 3 million over the course of 2014, with the most net new jobs added since 1999. The labor market still has a long way to go to get back to “normal,” which may keep the Fed on hold for raising rates until late 2015.

THE BRIGHT SIDE OF CHEAP OIL

Earnings season is here and the impact of low oil prices will be the market’s main focus. While we will be closely monitoring the energy sector, we will also be watching the sectors and industries that potentially benefit the most from cheap oil. The consumer discretionary sector and the transports are big potential beneficiaries, supporting our positive views of both groups.

CURVE BALL

For just the second time in the last 30 calendar years, short-term 2-year Treasury yields increased while longer-term 10- and 30-year Treasury yields fell.

A TALE OF TWO EARNINGS SEASONS

The fourth quarter of 2014 will be a tale of two earnings seasons: the best of times and the worst of times.

BACK TO THE FUTURE IN 2015

This week we examine how the U.S. economy in 1985 compares with 2015, focusing on factors such as the pace of the current economic expansion, the political balance in Washington, consumer sentiment, and the role of the Fed’s monetary policy.

Monitoring the Effects of Falling Oil Prices

The impact of falling oil and energy prices on inflation, inflation expectations, the U.S. and global economies, and the global financial system received a great deal of attention at the eighth and final FOMC meeting of 2014. Fed Chair Yellen’s comments during the post-FOMC press conference seemed to have calmed fears regarding the negative effects of oil’s drop on the financial system.

10 Stock Market Questions for 2015

With 2015 almost here, this week we pose and respond to 10 key stock market questions for 2015. Look for more on these and other topics throughout the year.

Tempting TIPS

Lower inflation expectations as a result of falling oil prices have weighed on TIPS prices during the second half of 2014. TIPS underperformance has led to the lowest market-implied inflation expectations of the past four years We do, however, find TIPS an attractive high-quality option and certainly more appealing than Treasuries as a result of recent underperformance.

Potential Outcomes of the Final FOMC Meeting of 2014

Statements following the final FOMC meeting of 2014, particularly on the recent drop in oil prices and its impact on the U.S. economy, could have ramifications for near- and longterm monetary policy. The FOMC will also provide markets with a new set of targets at this meeting...

Will Shoppers Bring Holiday Cheer for Markets?

We expect holiday shoppers, bolstered by lower energy prices, to help support potential stock market gains. Although the severity of the oil price decline has been unsettling, we view the decline as positive for U.S. consumers overall. Retail stocks should deliver some cheer for markets this holiday season, but don’t stuff those stockings with too much of them.

High-Yield Bonds & Oil Prices Revisited

peak of $107 per barrel on June 20, 2014, through Monday, December 8, 2014, we take another look at the impact of lower oil prices on the high-yield bond market. Recent high-yield market weakness has already accounted for a rise in defaults from lower oil prices. Even with weakness from rising defaults, we believe high-yield bonds may outperform their high-quality counterparts in 2015 due to their existing yield advantage.

Favorable Policy Environment for Stocks in 2015

We expect the policy environment in 2015 to be supportive for stocks. The transfer of power to Republicans may have a meaningful impact on broad policy measures. Regardless of the political party in power, the year before the presidential election has historically been a good one for stocks.

Beige Book Suggests That Recent Market Concerns Around Global Growth May Be Overdone

The report suggested that U.S. economic activity has “continued to expand,” and in general, optimism regarding the economic outlook far outweighed pessimism, as it has for the past 18 months or so. For the first time in this business cycle, the latest Beige Book contained more than one mention of employers having difficulty finding low-skilled workers, and retaining and compensating key workers.

2015 Fixed Income Outlook: Handle with Care

With sustained improvement in economic growth, slowly rising inflation, and the approach of the Fed’s first interest rate hike, bond prices are likely to decline in 2015. High-yield bonds and bank loans can help investors manage this challenging bond market.

Can Stocks Deliver the Goods in 2015?

We believe stocks will deliver mid- to highsingle- digit returns in 2015. We expect earnings, and not valuations, to do the heavy lifting in producing potential stock market gains for investors in 2015. Monetary policy is in transit in 2015, when stocks will face a shift from the very loose monetary policy of the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) quantitative easing (QE) program to an environment in which the Fed begins to hike interest rates. Valuations for the S&P 500 remain slightly above long-term ave​

U.S. Economic Growth Picks Up

We believe the U.S. economy will continue its transition from the slow gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2011 – 2013 to more sustained, broad-based growth. We expect the U.S. economy will expand at a rate of 3% or slightly higher in 2015, which matches the average growth rate over the past 50 years.​

Current Conditions Index 11/19/14

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.

Overseas Influences

Demand from overseas investors once again helped the bond market shrug off stronger economic data and weak Treasury auction demand. Favorable yield differentials between Treasuries and key overseas bond yields may provide lingering support for the domestic bond market. The Fed, this week’s release of Fed meeting minutes, and the European economy likely hold the keys to unlocking the low-yield environment.​

Emerging Markets Opportunity Still Emerging

We believe emerging markets (EM) fundamental conditions are set for improvement in 2015, based on our outlooks for economic growth, earnings, and policy. Valuations are compelling and EM may be situated to recapture some of their relative losses from a technical perspective, particularly in Asian markets. However, somewhat mixed fundamental and technical pictures suggest a better opportunity may be forthcoming.

Japan Check-In: Will the Weak Q3 GDP Reading Draw a Policy Response

The much weaker than expected Q3 GDP reading in Japan is a modest threat to overall global growth for 2014 and into 2015. We continue to believe the global economy will continue to expand in 2014, 2015, and beyond. The pace and composition of the policy response from Japan in the coming weeks and months are critical.

Current Conditions Index 11/12/14

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.

Reduce Debt, the Systematic Way

In America today, carrying some debt is unavoidable but how much debt is tool much? Assess your debt and begin reducing it with three easy steps .

Inflation Happens: Don’t Let It Derail Your Long-Term Plans

A penny saved is a penny earned, right? Not necessarily. Thanks to inflation, over time that penny could be worth less than when it was first dropped into the piggy bank. That’s why if you're investing—especially for major goals years away, such as retirement—you can’t afford to ignore the corrosive effect rising prices can have on the value of your assets.

Federal and State College Financial Aid Programs

The cost of financing a college education can be daunting to many families. The good news is that a family does not have to be in a low-income bracket to qualify for many current aid programs.

Data Dilemma: When Final Isn’t Final

Revisions to GDP don’t often change the overall picture of the health, or lack thereof, of the economy. Despite cutbacks to congressional funding of data collection at the federal level in recent years, the GDP data are a lot more accurate than they used to be. About every five years, the BEA does a “comprehensive revision” to GDP, and at that point, GDP for any specific quarter is just about as final as it will get, as the BEA has 98% of the data it needs to calculate GDP.

Enhancing Charitable Gifts With Life Insurance

If you are a regular donor to charity, life insurance could help you to make a much larger gift to your cause of choice.1 Instead of making periodic cash contributions to a charity, you could use the same amount to pay the premium on a life insurance policy to benefit the charity. Upon your death, the charity would receive the full face value of your policy—which would likely amount to considerably more than you could afford to donate during your lifetime.

Managing Health Care Costs: Tips for Small Businesses

Employer-sponsored health insurance is considered by business owners and employees alike to be one of the most important benefits available in the workplace today. Yet skyrocketing costs are making it more difficult for small businesses to attract and retain skilled workers with the promise of health insurance

Understanding Your Retirement Income Replacement Ratio

Although the term retirement income replacement ratio sounds formidable, it’s actually a simple, understandable concept that doesn’t require any fancy math. The ratio helps you zero in on your retirement savings goal and periodically measure your progress as you move toward your target. Will you need 60%, 75%, 90% or even 100% of the income you have in your last year of work to maintain a desirable standard of living after you retire?

Irrepressible Bonds

Investor positioning and changed Federal Reserve expectations had a particularly beneficial impact on robust bond market performance in May. Unbalanced investor positioning may have run its course, and investor expectations about the Fed may be as good as it gets.

Investing Through Life’s Stages

Read this simple guide on how to get started in investing and how to reassess your investment strategies through multiple life changes.

Kids & Money: Nurturing Your Child’s Financial Growth

Most kids learn the basics of money and making change in elementary school, but probably won’t learn how to manage money unless they choose finance as a career path. That means it is up to all of us to see that our children reach adulthood prepared to face life’s fiscal challenges.

Keeping Up With Your IRA: Tax Season Tips

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who owns either a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) or a Roth IRA, then the approach of tax season should serve as a reminder to review your retirement savings strategies and make any changes that will enhance your prospects for long-term financial security. It’s also a good time to open an IRA if you don’t already have one.

Maintain a Good Credit Rating

For better or for worse, the American way of financial life relies on debt as a way of solidifying a desired lifestyle. Therefore, it is important to establish a good credit history if you intend on making more substantial, debt-financed purchases in the future.

 
Results: 77 Articles found.
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