While capital markets experienced some volatility during the first quarter of 2017, it
was significantly tamer than the tumultuous first quarter of the same time last year. The stabilization of oil prices and the consistent signs of economic stability, globally, set the backdrop for positive gains in the first quarter.
The political climate in the US, as well as the globally, seems to be the biggest driver of market expectations. Central banks around the globe have begun to take a back seat to policy makers and increasingly nationalistic agendas. Continue reading
Recently, we published an article on the differences in Equity Indexes. While surprising how different some of these Equity Indexes can be (and by extension the Index Funds that follow them), the Fixed Income Indexes are a completely different universe. If the Equity Index and the Index Fund do not match, there will be differences in performance. However, this is all shades of gray compared to Fixed Income Indexes, and the funds that follow them. Continue reading
For all of financial history, there has been a basic premise. The premise was that if I loaned you money, you would pay me back more than I lent you. Typically, the money paid back that is above the repayment of the principle is classified as “interest”. Even in Muslim countries that do not believe in interest, there is a fee charged for the privilege of borrowing money. Continue reading
With the important 4th quarter ahead of us, it’s time to check the rearview and see what transpired last quarter to get us where we are. Most markets trended up for the quarter, and there were no major geopolitical drivers for under- or out-performance. There are still a slew of worries surrounding global markets such as conflict in the Middle East, North Korea’s nuclear tests, weakness in banking in Europe (highlighted by recent trouble from Duetsche Bank, one of Germany’s largest banks), oil price stability, slowing growth, and elections in the United States. The growing trend of populism and protection from trade has also been on the rise and may potentially have a chilling effect on the global economy. The markets seem to be getting used to unconventional Central Bank policy. The Bank of Japan is leading the charge to this uncharted territory, with unprecedented buying of Equity and Fixed Income securities, negative interest rates, and now a focus on the yield curve to help prop up financial institutions. Continue reading
In a historic vote, the people of the United Kingdom (UK) have voted to leave the European Union (EU), and markets around the globe are moving wildly today. The British Exit or “Brexit” from the EU has several implications long and short term, but first it is important to understand what happened and why. The vote is a culmination of anxiety from the British people about relinquishing control of their laws to the EU, which is based in Brussels. The UK had very little control over policy in general, but immigration and trade were two of the main sticking points. While immigration has boiled over of late, with the mass influx of people from the Middle East, it has roots further back to 2004 when several of the former Soviet Union satellite countries joined the EU and many of their people immigrated to the UK. The EU allowed for refugees to immediately claim unemployment benefits with no requirement for living in the host country for any period of time. This cultural issue now created an economic problem for the UK. Continue reading
With Q1 2016 in the review mirror, let’s look back to see what transpired. On the Global Macro front we saw a lot of moving parts. The Central Banks in Europe and Japan are experimenting with negative interest rates. A central bank has never before implemented a negative interest rate policy. Continue reading