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MID-CYCLE CREDIT CHECK

High-yield bond valuations have cheapened in sympathy with equity market volatility but have shown relative resilience. Some signs of credit quality deterioration have emerged but remain at the fringes of the market and are not representative of corporate bonds overall. Corporate bond prices may have moved more than justified by fundamental data.

FORECAST FOR CLEAR SKIES

The latest reading on the Conference Board’s monthly LEI helps to provide some timely guidance regarding recent market volatility. The LEI says the risk of recession in the next 12 months is very low (4%), but not zero. Based on the level of the LEI relative to its prior peak, the current economic expansion may last at least another four years.

THE MARKET DOWNTURN IS HERE, NOW WHAT?

As a bull market matures over the second half of an economic expansion, periods of increased market volatility are likely to become more common. Periods of volatility bouts will likely create a more challenging environment for investors, and in the short term, sentiment can control markets as investor sensitivity to certain risks spikes. We believe the macroeconomic fundamentals and the dynamism of American corporations are likely to drive further stock market gains.

HIGH-YIELD OIL SLICK

The year-to-date performance advantage of high-yield bonds relative to Treasuries (based on the Barclays High Yield and Treasury indexes) has been reduced to a very narrow margin following rising oil-related default fears. We find current market-default expectations, which imply a 15% default rate over one year, overly pessimistic. Few bond maturities come due through the end of 2016, a key factor that will likely support a low-default environment for high-yield bonds overall.

GLOBAL GDP TRACKER: SUMMER 2015 EDITION

Q2 GDP results to date suggest global growth in 2015 is accelerating versus 2014, despite some high-profile GDP misses and China concerns. The Eurozone appears to have some economic momentum after nearly a half-decade of sluggish growth, with Q2 GDP acceleration expected.

WHAT WE CAN LEARN BY GOING BACK TO SCHOOL

Expectations for the back to school shopping season are low, and this season may only be flat versus last year. Several consumer spending tailwinds suggest the consumer discretionary sector may be poised to outperform through year-end.

SUMMER GROWTH CONCERNS

Fixed income markets showed signs of a growth scare in July 2015, with lower real yields, lower inflation expectations, and a flatter yield curve. The markets’ reaction may be a signal to the Fed that September 2015 is too early for an interest rate increase. Recent growth concerns may be creating opportunities.​

EARNINGS UPDATE: CORPORATE RESILIENCE

We expect another quarterly earnings gain in the second quarter despite the drags from oil and the U.S. dollar. Improved global growth, lower energy costs, and effective cost controls have supported overall results. Although forward estimates have edged lower, we continue to expect earnings growth to accelerate during the second half of the year.

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.

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.

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: 56 Articles found.
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