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TANGLED UP IN EU

Although some European countries have made progress with structural reforms, much more work is needed. The lack of progress on many structural reforms in countries outside of Germany continues to weigh on the Eurozone’s global competiveness. The verdict is still out on Greece and its promised structural reforms.

CHINA’S EFFECT ON EMERGING MARKETS DEBT

Emerging markets debt (EMD) spreads have moved above 4%, a level that has attracted buying interest in recent years. EMD is more sensitive to interest rates than the broad U.S. fixed income market. We continue to favor high-yield bonds due to their lower interest rate sensitivity.

PARSING PUERTO RICO

Puerto Rico’s debt crisis remains isolated and not symptomatic of the broad municipal bond market. Signs of contagion have not materialized and appear unlikely, although the probability of a default has increased. Puerto Rico bond prices largely reflect a default and are trading close to anticipated recovery values.

JULY 2015 BEIGE BOOK: WINDOW ON MAIN STREET

The latest Beige Book suggests that the U.S. economy is still growing at or above its long-term trend, and that some upward wage pressures continue to emerge. Optimism regarding the economic outlook far outweighed pessimism throughout the Beige Book, as it has for the past two years or so. Our new Beige Book Barometer for the three Fed districts with the most energy-related economic activity reveals more weakness.

OIL’S LONG BOTTOMING PROCESS

The additional supply expected from Iran and the slow response by producers to reduce supply may lengthen oil’s stay in the $5 0– 60 range. We have tempered our previous enthusiasm for the energy sector and at current oil price levels view it as a market performer.

Q2 EARNINGS PREVIEW

Q2 earnings season may look a lot like Q1 as companies once again face the twin drags of the energy downturn and strong U.S. dollar. Corporate America may impress in other ways, such as its resilience to the latest Greece and China flare-ups. As earning season progresses, we will watch for evidence that earnings will accelerate in the second half.

THE FUTURE IS ALREADY HERE

Due to still expensive valuations and low yields, we believe the current low-return environment could potentially persist for high-quality bonds for several years. Rising interest rate risk and still declining income generation pose an additional challenge.

GAUGING GLOBAL GROWTH: AN UPDATE FOR 2015 & 2016

As companies report second quarter 2015 results, the health of the global economy will likely get plenty of attention. The U.S., China, the Eurozone, and Japan account for nearly two-thirds of global economic activity; thus, these areas are where global growth matters the most. The market continues to expect that global GDP growth will accelerate in 2015, 2016, and 2017, aided by lower oil prices and stimulus from two of the three leading central banks in the world.

WHAT DO BONDS SAY ABOUT GREECE

Bond market’s reaction to Greek events has been muted so far and justifiably so. Key safety nets put in place by the European Central Bank and policymakers in recent years support limited bond market impacts. The growth trend continues to dominate long-term bond prices and yields despite unfolding Greek events.

GREECE PLAYBOOK

The referendum result this weekend throws Greece’s future in the currency union firmly in doubt. Here we address the question of whether the heightened risk of a Greek exit from the Eurozone might lead to contagion for global markets. We do not believe Greece is another “Lehman moment” and it may present an attractive buying opportunity for European equities.

THE FED AFTER THE “NO”

Our view remains that the Fed is on track to hike rates for the first time in this cycle in late 2015. The longer the uncertainty around Greece lingers, the greater the odds that the Fed doesn’t hike rates until early 2016. A decisive upturn in wage inflation remains key to moving inflation and inflation expectations higher.

STATE OF THE STATES

Municipal supply has been a headwind for much of 2015 but appears to be tapering off ahead of a typical summer slowdown. Over the longer term, still tight state budgets may keep broader municipal supply restrained and limit growth of the overall municipal bond market, which could become a tailwind. Despite the constant flow of negative headlines, primarily from Puerto Rico, the overall credit quality of the municipal market appears to be on solid footing.

CLASSIC DRIVERS OF BOND YIELDS PUSH HIGHER

Better economic growth and higher inflation expectations are driving confidence in the trajectory of the global economy. Lower yields and lingering price pressures still point to a very low-return environment for high-quality bonds in 2015. The combination of corporate and Treasury supply may keep headwinds on bond investors.

DEBUNKING DOW THEORY

We do not believe transports’ weakness is a signal of an impending economic and market downturn. Historical data suggest transports’ underperformance may actually be signaling a buying opportunity for the S&P 500 rather than a sell. We believe transports present an attractive investment opportunity for the second half of 2015.

HAMMER FLAT: MIDYEAR BOND MARKET OUTLOOK

We continue to expect roughly flat bond returns for 2015, as the choppy market environment witnessed over the first half of 2015 continues. The challenging, low-return environment confronting bond investors is likely to persist.

PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER

We continue to expect the U.S. economy will expand at a rate of 3% or slightly higher over the remainder of 2015. Good old American know-how continues to be in demand. Overseas, monetary policies continue to drive global growth, impacting most of the largest international economies.

BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED: MIDYEAR STOCK MARKET OUTLOOK

We believe corporate America will provide a much needed boost for the second half — providing the seventh year of positive returns in 2015, in the 5 – 9% range we forecast. Our forecast is based on expected mid-single-digit EPS growth for S&P 500 companies, supported by improved global economic growth, stable profit margins, and share buybacks in 2015, with limited help from valuation expansion.

BEIGE BOOK: WINDOW ON MAIN STREET 6/8/15

The latest Beige Book suggests that the U.S. economy is still growing at a pace that is at or above its long-term trend, and that some upward pressure on wages is beginning to emerge. Optimism regarding the economic outlook far outweighed pessimism throughout the Beige Book, as it has for the past two years or so.

ACA RULING COULD MAKE HEALTHCARE SECTOR MORE AFFORDABLE

The upcoming ACA Supreme Court decision may create a buying opportunity for the healthcare sector. We believe the odds favor the status quo, meaning that any selling pressure related to the risk of losing insured patients may present a buying opportunity.

MUNICIPAL CHALLENGES

We see a potentially brighter future ahead for municipal bonds, despite a difficult second quarter thus far, due to still attractive valuations, higher yields, and a favorable summer seasonal period. A low-single-digit total return is plausible given our expectation for a modest rise in interest rates coupled with valuation improvement relative to Treasuries.

BOND TUG-OF-WAR

Lingering uncertainty over Greece, U.S. economic growth, and the Fed may continue to create a tug-of-war on bond prices that will likely continue to lead to a low-return environment. We believe additional bond market strength is likely limited.

GRADING THE FED’S QE PROGRAM: WEEK 3

We give the Fed partial credit on equity and bond market impact. The U.S. equity market performed exceptionally well during all three QE rounds, with the broad stock market increasing by 164%, as measured by the Russell 3000. The Fed partially helped lower bond yields (and boost bond returns) during its QE program.

GLOBAL EARNINGS UPDATE: THE TIDE IS TURNING

European earnings have surprised on the upside while guidance has led to rising estimates, contributing to strong recent performance by European stocks. Japan’s first quarter revenue growth outpaced both the U.S. and Europe, while Japanese companies beat revenue forecasts at a solid rate.

THE GREEK DRAMA

Greece is unlikely to maintain its debt repayment schedule without a resolution. A default and a Greek exit may add volatility to the equity markets, but do not appear to present a systemic risk at this point.

GRADING THE FED’S QE PROGRAM: WEEK 2

With six months of economic and market data since the end of QE, we assess the latest round of the program that ended in October 2014. We focus on the Fed’s dual mandate to promote low and stable inflation and maximum employment. We give the Fed a pass on the unemployment rate, but have to assign a failing grade on its progress with inflation.

KNOW YOUR BREAKEVEN

A lack of liquidity continues to plague the bond market, as indicated by elevated dealer holdings of long-term bonds and light trading volume. Volatility may remain elevated in the short term. Knowing your breakeven can help bond investors assess how resistant their current portfolio is to rising interest rates, and identify areas that offer value.

Be Prepared: Tips for Caring for an Ill or Elderly Parent

Illness or disability can come without warning. If you are faced with taking on the responsibility of caring for an aging parent or ailing loved one, these checklists may serve as a starting point for organizing your thoughts and building the network of financial, medical and other resources that can help.

GRADING THE FED’S QE PROGRAM: A MULTI-WEEK GROUP PROJECT

With six months of economic and market data since the end of QE, we assess the latest round of the program that ended in October 2014. We focus on QE’s impact on the banking and financial sector, by examining the amount of financial stress in the system, which overall has decreased since the beginning of QE in November 2008. We give the Fed a “pass” on QE as it relates to banking and financial system stress.

LETTERMAN TRIBUTE: TOP 10 KEYS FOR STOCKS

This week we pay tribute to David Letterman’s last Late Show with our own top 10 list: the top 10 keys for stocks. A potential snapback in the U.S. economy is the number one issue for the stock market, but here we list nine other issues that will be important in determining where stocks go in the near term.

TAPER TANTRUM REDUX

Unlike the taper tantrum, which was driven by fears over the end of Fed stimulus, the current pullback is being driven by a position imbalance in our view. Lower-rated bond sectors have fared best during the pullback. A lower allocation to bonds overall may still be warranted, given the lack of opportunity and reduced protection offered by still historically low yields and high valuations.

EARNINGS RECAP: GOOD ENOUGH?

The S&P 500 is on track to post year-over-year earnings growth of about 2% in the first quarter — a solid result considering the significant drags from the oil downturn and strong U.S. dollar. Healthcare led the upside, followed by energy, technology, and financials, while industrials struggled.

WATCHING WAGES

While wage growth has been tepid recently, 67 industries have seen wages increase at double the average (21% per annum), with good old American know-how roles well represented. The April employment report suggests wage growth likely remains a concern for Fed policymakers as they debate when to begin raising rates. Our view remains that the Fed may begin to hike rates in late 2015.

EMERGING MARKETS MAY MAKE A GOOD DRAFT PICK TO ADD TO PORTFOLIOS

We believe emerging markets (EM) score well when evaluated along some of the same criteria that NFL football teams use to assess potential draft picks: speed, strength, value, upside potential, and character. According to our evaluation, EM scores very well on the first four metrics, and the fifth — character — is sufficiently discounted in terms of policy and corporate governance risks. EM may make a good draft pick to add to your portfolios.

MADE IN EUROPE

Europe bond weakness spilled over to the U.S. as investors look past week domestic data and forward to a better second half of 2015. Fading U.S. dollar strength, better growth in Europe, and the rebound in oil prices point to a reversal of the lower inflation expectations that powered bond strength for most of 2014 and early 2015.

CONSUMER CONSISTENCY

Since the peak in oil prices in June 2014, consumers saved some, spent some on nonessential items, and paid down some debt, even as measures of consumer sentiment soared. The big drop in gasoline prices has not provided a big lift to the consumer sector, which continues to struggle in this recovery, nor did it change the overall tepid trajectory of consumer spending.

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.

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.

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?

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: 71 Articles found.
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