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Tensions with North Korea Rattles Investors.

Date Posted: August 15, 2017

After several weeks posting positive returns, the markets pulled back slightly last week. Geopolitical uncertainty combined with poor earnings in the retail sector caused the pullback.   According to FactSet, the blended earnings growth rate combines the actual results for companies that have reported earnings and estimated earnings for companies yet to report. So far…

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Dow Hits Another Record. Economic Data Remains Strong.

Date Posted: August 08, 2017

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit another all-time high last week. The Dow closed on Friday at 22,092 as another strong job’s report for July was announced. The Department of Labor reported 209,000 jobs were created last month and the official unemployment rate fell to 4.3%. This marks the 82nd consecutive month of job gains…

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Second Quarter Growth and Second Quarter Earnings: Respectable but not Exciting.

Date Posted: August 01, 2017

Weak earnings from the tech sector weighed on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq last week while strong earnings from energy companies bolstered the Dow Jones Industrial Average. As we make our way through second quarter earnings announcements, we continue to see more companies reporting better-than-expected profits.   57% of companies in the S&P 500 have…

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Earnings are Good. Does Anybody Notice?

Date Posted: July 25, 2017

As second quarter earnings season gets under way, it appears the summer doldrums are winning out. While reported earnings for S&P 500 companies are good, the markets continue to trend sideways. This isn’t unusual during the summer months when trading volume declines as families are on vacation and workers sneak out earlier to enjoy the…

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The Recovery that “Gets No Respect!”

Date Posted: July 18, 2017

Comedian Rodney Dangerfield had a famous line: ”I get no respect.” The economic expansion, now entering its ninth year, could say the same. New jobs continue to be created, consumers are spending, corporate profits are up as are government coffers with increased tax receipts. So why can’t this recovery get any respect?   Ever since…

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Looking Forward to Second-Quarter Earnings

Date Posted: July 06, 2017

I hope all our readers had a great Fourth of July holiday. With all the challenges we face today, it is good for our hearts and souls to stop and celebrate this wonderful country and everything it stands for.   One of the things we look at when we prepare for a new earnings season…

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Fed’s Interest Rate Hike Paints a Rosy Picture of the Economy.

Date Posted: June 27, 2017

The Fed raised their Federal Funds Rate by 0.25% on June 14th. The Trading range is now 1.00 – 1.25%. This was the second rate increase so far in 2017. Officials have more opportunities for another rate increase in the second half of the year. Fed watchers put the odds of a third rate increase…

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The Nasdaq Takes a Breather.

Date Posted: June 20, 2017

  The tech sector has experienced incredible growth this year. Over the last two weeks, however, tech stocks (and ETF’s) have pulled back. Is this a typical pause that refreshes, or the beginning of something more worrisome?   A couple of weeks ago, the tech-heavy Nasdaq was up over 17% year-to-date. As of the close…

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One Quarter Ends. Another is About to Begin.

Date Posted: June 13, 2017

First quarter earnings season is over. Now, we turn our attention to what we might expect for second quarter results. Those announcements will begin the second week of July.   According to FactSet, 75 companies in the S&P 500 have issued negative earnings per share (EPS) guidance and 37 companies in the S&P 500 have…

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Emerging Markets still Attracting Investors.

Date Posted: June 06, 2017

Despite markets continuing to hit record highs, we have seen investors take money out of domestic Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s) for four-straight weeks. $1.3 billion was pulled from U.S. equity ETF’s while a whopping $6.2 billion was added to international equity ETF’s. The shift shows investors have become more enamored with international stocks than U.S….

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The Good News Keeps Comin!

Date Posted: May 30, 2017

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, they do.   First quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was revised upward a strong 1.2%. The initial growth for last quarter was pegged at 0.7%. Also, just about all companies in the S&P 500 have reported first quarter earnings. The tally shows earnings grew a robust…

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Markets React to Turmoil in Washington.

Date Posted: May 23, 2017

Just as the Volatility Index (VIX) I’ve been discussing the last few weeks, hit a multi-decade low, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted on Wednesday, as did the dollar. The 372-point sell-off was in reaction to the Presidents firing of FBI Director James Comey and the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate any Russian…

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Global Rebound Fuels Earnings for U.S. Corporations.

Date Posted: May 16, 2017

U.S. markets drifted slightly lower last week. The one exception was the Nasdaq which rose 0.34%.  So far, this quarter, 90% of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings. Let’s examine what affected the quality of those earnings the most.   A few weeks ago, I reported many analysts expected strong earnings for the first quarter….

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Markets and Economy keep “Chugging Along”

Date Posted: May 09, 2017

Reported earnings continue to impress investors as the markets inched higher last week. Improvements in new jobs being created helped too. 211,000 new hires were added in April after March’s lackluster report of 79,000 new positions.   Investors are focusing on the good news they hear while keeping a watchful eye on any dark clouds…

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Growth in Corporate Earnings Show Strength.

Date Posted: May 02, 2017

To date, blended first quarter earnings for the S&P 500 are growing at a 12.5% rate. The blended rate combines earnings reported so far with estimated earnings for companies yet to report. If this growth holds, it will the highest increase since the third quarter of 2011.   Industrial and Financial sectors have been the…

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Global Markets May Begin to Outperform the U.S.

Date Posted: April 25, 2017

After underperforming the U.S. market for several years, global stocks may be making the turn. Our allocation models have been significantly biased toward domestic markets since 2012. Now, the question we ask ourselves is: Are S&P 500 companies with higher global revenue exposure expected to outperform or underperform S&P 500 companies with lower global revenue…

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Markets Pull Back for the Second Week.

Date Posted: April 18, 2017

As earnings season gets underway, stocks extended their loses for a second consecutive week. The pullback was broad-based affecting all sectors tracked in the S&P 500. Concerns over Syria, deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Russia and North Korea’s continued missile testing took center stage over earnings.   While increases in short-term interest rates by…

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First Quarter Earnings Season Gets Underway.

Date Posted: April 11, 2017

March madness is over. Now it’s time for; First quarter 2017 earnings madness! As this week gets underway, earnings for U.S. corporations will start rolling in. The S&P 500 is expected to see earnings growth of 8.9% for the first three months of 2017. We would expect the end-result to be in the double-digit range…

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First Quarter Closes the Books and the Second Quarter Begins.

Date Posted: April 04, 2017

So far in 2017, 96% of theegins.  sessions have ended with the S&P 500 no more than +/-1% away from its previous close.  We’ve not seen a market produce that margin of calm since 1972, and have not seen a reading of even 90% (or higher) since 1995. All of this as the Volatility Index (VIX) started…

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First Quarter 2017 Earnings Just Around the Corner.

Date Posted: March 28, 2017

U.S. corporations will start reporting first quarter 2017 earnings in a couple of weeks. We know all eyes will be focused on the health of those earnings. It is currently estimated first quarter earnings will jump 9.1%. If that happens, it will be the highest year-over-year earnings growth since the fourth quarter of 2011.  …

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Participant Memo ~ March 2017

Date Posted: March 24, 2017

  You may be eligible for a valuable incentive, which could reduce your federal income tax liability, for contributing to your company’s 401(k) or 403(b) plan. If you qualify, you may receive a Tax Saver’s Credit of up to $1,000 ($2,000 for married couples filing jointly) if you made eligible contributions to an employer sponsored…

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Retirement Times ~ March 2017

Date Posted: March 24, 2017

Assessing the International Equity Markets   The end of 2016 saw another subpar year in the international equity markets when compared to U.S. equity markets. The MSCI EAFE¹ (NR USD Index²), a proxy for international stocks, finished slightly higher during 2016, up 1.00 percent³. Compare that to the S&P 500⁴ (TR5), a proxy for U.S….

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Economic Perspective

Date Posted: March 21, 2017

I recently attended an economic presentation at an industry event. The speaker was well-versed and turned what can be very dry information into an engaging talk. Here are some interesting points: While we hear the trade deficit is unfair to U.S. businesses, truth is … 28% of the global GDP comes from the U.S. It…

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Fourth Quarter 2016 Earnings Wrap Up Reporting.

Date Posted: March 14, 2017

99% of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings for the final quarter of 2016. A rebound in earnings growth was the good news we have been waiting for. In fact, this is the first time the index has experienced year-over growth for two consecutive quarters since the fourth quarter of 2015 and first quarter of…

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S&P 500 Hits a New High!

Date Posted: March 07, 2017

Amazing that the headline “Markets Hit a New High!” would become routine, but that’s exactly what happened again last week.  The S&P 500 advanced for the sixth consecutive week to close at a record high. The closely followed index closed at 2382, up 0.67% last week.  Investor confidence continues to improve as small investors plow…

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Review of IRA rules for tax-time

Date Posted: February 28, 2017

  The markets continued to climb posting their 11th consecutive weekly gain. This week, I want to review and clear up some misconceptions about IRA rules. Who can and cannot contribute to an IRA can be an exercise in frustration. I recently read a great article that concisely covers some of the basic rules for…

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Retirement Times ~ February 2017

Date Posted: February 24, 2017

No Beneficiary Designation. Who Gets The Money? According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, retirement plans and IRAs account for about 60 percent of the assets of U.S. households investing at least $100,000.¹ Both state and federal laws govern the disposition of these assets, and the results can be complicated, especially when the owner…

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Market Continue to Rise as do Valuations.

Date Posted: February 21, 2017

I read a very interesting piece from FactSet over the weekend. They report the forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is the highest it has been since 2004.  Of course, all of this taking place as the major U.S. indices continue to hit record highs.   Last week’s reading of 17.6 was also the first time the…

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A Major Close for the S&P 500 and a BIG Profit Rebound for the EU.

Date Posted: February 14, 2017

While the S&P 500 has broken above the 2300 mark on an intraday basis a few times, last Friday’s close was the first time the closely watched index closed above the 2300 mark. On a technical basis this is very significant. However, there was another milestone reached last week. This one for the NASDAQ which…

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The Headline Said It All…”Dow Tops 20000!”

Date Posted: January 31, 2017

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA hit a milestone on Wednesday that some have called, “long awaited.”  And if 64 days qualifies as a long wait, Dow 20k would certainly meet that standard. Wednesday was indeed the first close above the much-anticipated 20,000 mark for the DJIA, and it comes just 64 days since the market’s first close above…

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Tax Season Is Just Starting…Be Safe Out There!

Date Posted: January 24, 2017

ALERT: Tax season scams are starting early this year and the bad guys are getting smarter by the month. The current scam works in two steps so watch out for possibly bogus emails for your tax information. STEP 1: Cybercriminals are sending emails, posing as potential clients, and interested in services from tax professionals. The…

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Retirement Times ~ January 2017

Date Posted: January 20, 2017

To Bond or Not to Bond? Over the last few years, there has been a fair bit of concern in the market over the general impact of rising interest rates. “You shouldn’t be holding bonds because rates will rise soon” goes the logic. But what does this really mean for investors? If interest rates rise,…

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Fourth Quarter Earnings Have Started. Now What?

Date Posted: January 17, 2017

Currently, the companies in the S&P 500 are expected to report a 3.2% increase in earnings for the fourth quarter of 2016.  However, based on the changes in the earnings-growth-rate, it is likely earnings will exceed the 3.2% expectation. According to FactSet, when S&P 500 companies report actual earnings above the estimate, the overall growth…

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Markets Pull Back slightly in Last Trading Week of 2016.

Date Posted: January 04, 2017

The markets took a breather during the last trading week of the year. While the major indices ended the week down about 1%, they still surprised many analysts by posting a stronger-than-expected gain for the year. The big surprise for the year was the rebound in oil prices. At the end of 2015 crude traded…

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Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus (Rally).

Date Posted: December 27, 2016

The following is from our main source for technical analysis; Dorsey Wright & Associates. The US markets have entered the “Santa Claus Rally” territory which encompasses the last five trading days of a year and the first two of the following year.  The market’s last gasp for positive returns comes at a time in which rallies have been…

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Give Yourself the Gift of Retirement This Holiday Season!

Date Posted: December 23, 2016

During this special time of year it’s great to give unto others, but don’t forget to treat yourself as well! And what better gift to give yourself than the possibility of a bright, stress-free future? Follow these tips below to help ensure you are saving the maximum amount possible in your retirement plan. Putting a…

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Retirement Times ~ December 2016

Date Posted: December 23, 2016

Happy Holidays from Vertical Financial Group! On behalf of everyone at Vertical Financial Group, it is my pleasure to extend you the greetings of this special season. We are grateful you selected us as your dedicated retirement plan consultant. We saw plenty of activity in the retirement plan landscape in 2016—from market volatility at the…

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Energy Sector Improvement Bodes Well for the Economy

Date Posted: December 13, 2016

The year still has almost three weeks left in it but already attention is being focused on what to expect for fourth-quarter corporate earnings. Results won’t be announced until the second week of January but recent surprises in third-quarter numbers are making analysts re-think their thinking. The biggest surprise came from energy companies. Earnings for…

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Economy Continues to Grow as the Market Takes a Pause.

Date Posted: December 06, 2016

In last week’s market commentary, I mentioned that all of the technical indicators we follow have changed to a “positive” reading. One of the main reasons is improvement in corporate earnings. After-tax earnings rose 5.2% for U.S. corporations in the third-quarter. That, reverses a trend for the previous four quarters when earnings growth was decreasing….

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Manufacturing Jobs Are Important. Will They Ever Come Back?

Date Posted: December 02, 2016

Much has been written that an economy cannot be sustained without a strong manufacturing base. Manufacturing creates more economic benefit through their suppliers, increased tax payments and higher employment (Payroll taxes) than the service sector. Even global trade is affected. Goods are exported to other countries much more than services. In fact, the demand for…

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Big Changes in Corporate Earnings and our Technical Indicators.

Date Posted: November 29, 2016

It was a big week last week. Not only in that the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke above the 19,000 mark for the first time ever, but all of the technical indicators we follow turned positive. We also saw significant developments on the corporate earnings front. As we all know, earnings drive the market. According…

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Markets Digest Recent Gains to Determine What’s Next.

Date Posted: November 22, 2016

Last week the major indices treaded water as they digested the gains after the presidential election. The market is seeking direction as it continues to sift through news that comes out of the future administration’s camp. Interestingly the sectors that saw the greatest run-up during election week have pulled back slightly.  These areas might warrant…

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Retirement Times – November 2016

Date Posted: November 21, 2016

Getting the Biggest Bang for Your Buck! – Negotiating Retirement Plan Fees with Your Provider  According to plan sponsors, one of the most harrowing aspects of their fiduciary obligations is to ensure that plan fees are reasonable. From administration and recordkeeping to compliance and investment management, how can a plan sponsor feel assured that they…

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Oh what a difference a week makes!

Date Posted: November 15, 2016

Last week’s election results caught everyone off guard…even the markets. Political pundits and stock market analysts alike are scratching their heads over the election results and the market’s response. Webster’s dictionary defines the word conundrum as an “intricate and delicate problem”. That is definitely what we are facing.  For months analysts had been saying that…

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Markets await election outcome.

Date Posted: November 08, 2016

While the broad market is still up for the year, it posted its third-straight monthly decline at the end of October. By Friday’s close, it posted its longest-running slump since 1980. While earnings continue to be a “mixed-bag” of results, some economic data has been positive.  Obviously, the presidential election is on most investor’s minds….

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Conflicting data continues to confuse investors.

Date Posted: November 02, 2016

I hope everyone had a great Halloween! Last week saw another “mixed-bag-of-results” for corporate earnings and economic data. The result was a slight drop in market indexes. Interestingly, the volatility index (VIX) also known as the “fear” index, has been creeping up. This shows increasing concern about current market levels. Large oil producers continue to…

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Company Veterans Win at Retirement

Date Posted: October 27, 2016

Retirement plan account balances generally rise with participant age and length of time on the job. Examining the interaction of both age and tenure with retirement plan account balances reveals that, for a given age group, average retirement plan account balances tend to increase with tenure. Start saving early in your career and stay with…

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The Scorecard – A Former Portfolio Manager’s Perspective

Date Posted: October 27, 2016

The Scorecard – A Former Portfolio Manager’s Perspective*   I began my investment career in 1995 as an Equity Analyst at AIM Investments and later managed the Invesco Large Cap Growth fund for 12 years. During that time I had exposure to and was judged by many investment scoring systems.  I always had questions about…

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Indicators lose their luster for gauging risk in markets.

Date Posted: October 26, 2016

When it comes to determining risk levels in global markets, both analysts and investors look at several indicators for guidance. Bob Dylan once sang the times they are a changing! You might agree with me the problem is now times are truly changing! Recently I read an article in Bloomberg Markets that detailed the challenges…

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Earnings Reports Start: A Major Technical Indicator Changes Course.

Date Posted: October 17, 2016

Third quarter earnings season is under way!  The only good news is that while actual corporate earnings reported for the first week are down; they are not as bad as projected to be. If you find that statement confusing, read my commentary from last week. The most notable disappointment was from Alcoa who is always…

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A Perspective on Earnings Growth

Date Posted: October 11, 2016

The third quarter earnings season is just around the quarter. As of this writing the year-over earnings growth is expected to decline 2.1%. However, some companies tend to overinflate their “bad news” about earnings. They tend to do this so that when earnings are announced and not as bad as expected, management looks really good….

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As September comes to an end, attention turns to third quarter earnings.

Date Posted: October 04, 2016

The third quarter turned out to be the best one so far in 2016. An amazing feat given that earnings reported over the last three months continued to drop. The outlook for third quarter earnings is expected to drop yet again. At the beginning of 2016, analysts had expected corporate profits to start increasing again…

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September is Life Insurance month.

Date Posted: September 27, 2016

The markets continued to post gains due to the Fed’s easy money policy. Last week, the Fed announced their decision to keep interest rates unchanged. Investors will continue to ignore market fundamentals as long as central bankers keep the financial spigots open. As we take a breather from the markets and await the beginning of…

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Key Dates as You Approach Retirement

Date Posted: September 19, 2016

At what age can retirement plan distributions begin? When can a person begin to receive Social Security? As you get closer to your retirement date you may start to wonder about your eligibility for certain withdrawals and programs you are entitled to. Refer to this timeline to remember important dates as you get closer to…

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“Conflict of Interest” or “Fiduciary” Rule: A Plan Sponsor’s Q&A – Part II

Date Posted: September 19, 2016

Last month we featured the first part of our Q&A series. Now enjoy the final five questions and wrap-up. After years of proposed regulation issuance, comment periods, drafting and anticipation, the Department of Labor (DOL) finally published final guidance regarding the definition of “fiduciary” on April 8, 2016. It is important for plan sponsors to…

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Schrodinger’s cat and the conundrum of the economy and markets.

Date Posted: September 19, 2016

As we round the corner in 2016 and see the end of the year fast approaching, we wonder what’s in store for the U.S. economy and equity markets for the final few months of the year. Earnings continue to slide while the stock market hovers around its all-time high. Economic numbers continue to confound and…

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Markets experience their worst day in months.

Date Posted: September 12, 2016

Investors were served a dose of reality at the end of last week. Fears that central banker’s cheap-money policies would no longer support gains in equity markets along with comments by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren resulted in the Dow falling nearly 400 points on Friday. Investors had assured themselves that the…

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Mediocre jobs report challenges the timing of next interest rate increase.

Date Posted: September 07, 2016

151,000 jobs were added in the month of August. That compares with 270,000 new jobs created in each of the previous two months. The news will continue to challenge policy makers at the Fed about the timing of future interest rate increases. Most analysts believed the Fed would raise rates again later this month (September)….

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Earnings continue to slide as markets exhibit “dead calm”.

Date Posted: August 30, 2016

Dead calm is a boating term used when the sea turns eerily quiet. That term applies to the stock market lately. Volume has decreased and the volatility index (VIX) continues to drift lower. What does that mean going forward? Read on. Some analysts cite “quiet periods” for trading as a precursor to sharp corrections. 2011…

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What can we expect from the market in an election year?

Date Posted: August 22, 2016

This has been one of the most polarizing election years on record. Lately, I have been asked by clients and friends about what we can expect from the stock market in an election year. I turned to our main source for technical research, Dorsey Wright & Associates, Inc. for some insight. They recently featured an…

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Sluggish worker productivity and job growth plague the economy.

Date Posted: August 16, 2016

Both presidential candidates have outlined their plans to help stimulate economic growth if they are elected. Most of the solutions focus on taxes, regulations and trade deals with foreign nations. While these are important issues to be sure, the challenges our economy faces require more difficult and sometimes unpopular solutions. Talking in soundbites does not…

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Rally is being fueled by a shrinking stock market, not earnings.

Date Posted: July 19, 2016

While the report card is still out for second quarter earnings, things appear to be improving if only just a little. With just a handful of companies reporting so far, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 hit new highs last week. The news is perplexing to market pundits, and has investors scratching their…

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The Real Cost of Coffee and Lunch

Date Posted: July 11, 2016

    Saving for retirement isn’t easy. However, what you may not realize is that by making small adjustments you can save a substantial amount that can be added to your retirement plan. How often do you find yourself stopping for coffee on the way to work? Do you go out for lunch several times…

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Retirement Times – July 2016

Date Posted: July 11, 2016

The High Price of Yield and Perceived Safety Since the inception of markets there have been particular investments that garnered the attention of investors above all others. In the 1600s it was the tulip mania and at the turn of this century, tech stocks had investors’ focus. Although not to the extent of these examples,…

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Markets swings both ways to Brexit news.

Date Posted: July 06, 2016

Last week “volatility” was the name of the game. At least here in the U.S. In just a few days the concern over the Brexit vote had pretty much faded. After a rocky start on Monday, the DJIA, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all settled down and posted a gain of about 3% for the week….

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Britain votes to leave the EU. So now what?

Date Posted: June 29, 2016

Where do I begin? Last week the voting in the U.K. referendum ended up surprising everyone. Most believed it would be the vote to stay that would win by a narrow margin; not the other way around. The British people have voted to leave the EU. The next step is figuring out what happens next…

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U.K. votes to leave the EU

Date Posted: June 24, 2016

As I write this commentary, the Exchanges in the U.S. had NOT opened yet but it appears Britain’s vote to leave the EU is taking a toll on foreign markets overnight. In the wake of these developments, British Prime Minister, David Cameron resigned. Gold is advancing, equity markets dropping and government bonds prices moving higher…

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Historic vote to take place this week.

Date Posted: June 20, 2016

Last week major U.S. indices were all in the red as worries continue to mount. Worries? At issue is the upcoming UK vote to stay or leave the European Union as well as falling interest rates. The U.S. 10 Year Treasury closed at about 1.6%. The record was 1.4% last seen in 2012. This Thursday…

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More mixed signals on the job front.

Date Posted: June 14, 2016

Mixed signals on the economic front continues to dog investors. This week you will notice in “The Markets and the Economy” section (below) there are more negative than positive news items. In fact, recently the Wall Street Journal highlighted the labor market good news and bad news. What did they say? Read on … The…

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Date Posted: June 14, 2016

How you choose to handle your retirement plans when you change jobs will have a lasting impact on the size of your nest egg and ultimately on the type of retirement you can enjoy. When you leave, you generally have four options for handling the money in your retirement plan: 1.    LEAVE THE MONEY IN…

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Date Posted: June 14, 2016

  Last month we featured Part II of Oversimplification in Target Date Funds Endangers Participants’ Retirement Savings – How are custom solutions evolving to mitigate risk? Part II introduced version 2.0 of target date funds (TDFs), an approach which allows plan sponsors to develop a glidepath best suited for their plan’s demographics. For the final…

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Weak jobs report clouds timing of the Fed’s rate increase.

Date Posted: June 06, 2016

A weak Jobs Report for May could give the Fed reason to pause in their attempt to increase short-term interest rates. Employers added a measly 38,000 jobs last month; the weakest performance since September of 2010. The official unemployment rate fell to 4.7% from 5% due mostly to a steep decline in labor-force participation. April…

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Fed signals rate increase on the horizon in light of perplexing economic figures.

Date Posted: May 31, 2016

There are mixed signals on the economic front that continue to dog the markets. After posting negative numbers for the previous three weeks, major indices posted gains. Where does that put us now? Our technical indicators are still negative. Typically one week alone will not signal a change in trend. However, investors are scratching their…

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Markets digest news of another possible rate increase by the Fed.

Date Posted: May 25, 2016

Last week markets were mixed with the Dow down slightly and both S&P 500 and Nasdaq posting marginal gains. While corporate earnings are still a concern for market participants, news the Fed still sees a rate increase in June or July took center stage. The news of the possible rate increase this summer rattled investors….

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Stocks continue to slip on earnings concerns.

Date Posted: May 16, 2016

The markets were down again last week as investors continue to be concerned about corporate profits. While retail sales were fairly healthy in April, many large retailers saw a decrease in store traffic and issued profit warnings for the next few quarters. This is the third week the market has posted a lower close. While…

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Job growth losing steam.

Date Posted: May 09, 2016

Markets were down slightly last week as investors continue to digest the latest corporate earnings announcement. The big news of the week was the release of April’s jobs report. A trend appears to be developing but not one we would like to see. During 2015, monthly job gains averaged 229,000 according to the Wall Street…

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Markets slump on poor earnings.

Date Posted: May 03, 2016

As we continue to see the results for first quarter earnings, the market is taking a breather. Concerns are mounting about what may be the third straight quarter of earnings decline. This will be the longest slide in poor earnings since the financial crisis. The concern is coming across a broad spectrum of companies. Executives…

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Oversimplification in Target Date Funds Endangers Participants’ Retirement Savings. How are custom solutions evolving to mitigate risk?

Date Posted: April 26, 2016

Since the Pension Protection Act of 2006, target date funds (TDFs) have increasingly found their way into retirement plans as the preferred qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) for participants who make no election. Not only have plan sponsors widely adopted TDFs as the plan’s QDIA, but participants have also gravitated to this type of fund…

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Market takes a breather to digest earnings.

Date Posted: April 25, 2016

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 Index both were up slightly last week as the Nasdaq posted a modest loss. First quarter 2016 earnings announcements continue as the market looks towards more energy sector results this week. According to FactSet, of the 39 companies in the S&P 500 Energy sector there…

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And they’re off … 1st quarter earnings season gets under way.

Date Posted: April 20, 2016

Alcoa started off 1st quarter earnings season announcing profits dropped 92% in the first three months of 2016. Alcoa cited reasons being continued weak prices for aluminum and announcement of reduction of 2,000 jobs. Later in the week several major banks issued similar reports. What was the effect? The market rose a little less than…

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First quarter 2016 earnings season gets under way.

Date Posted: April 14, 2016

In spite of higher oil prices last week, major indices ended down a little over 1%. The markets were mostly subdued awaiting the beginning of 1st Quarter Earnings announcements. Tuesday we saw things get under way as Alcoa starts things off with their results. Our readers know my concern with first quarter earnings. The FactSet…

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All eyes are focused on first quarter 2016 corporate earnings.

Date Posted: April 05, 2016

Everyone knows how important corporate earnings are for market growth. I want to review a few developments that focus our attention to the upcoming first quarter 2016 earnings season which will begin next week. The good news is the U.S. economy grew a revised 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015 from a previously announced…

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U.S. market may be at a critical junction.

Date Posted: March 30, 2016

Our clients and friends know that we base our investment decisions on technical analysis. While that may seem like a very specific investment discipline, there are many different approaches to determining what particular signals or patterns on which to focus. That being said this week I want to focus on recent developments in the “technical”…

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2016 Tax Saver’s Credit

Date Posted: March 26, 2016

Participants may be eligible for a valuable incentive, which could reduce their federal income tax liability, for contributing to your company’s 401(k) or 403(b) plan.If they qualify, they may receive a Tax Saver’s Credit of up to $2,000 ($4,000 for married couples filing jointly) if they made eligible contributions to an employer sponsored retirement savings…

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Market gains as focus turns to first quarter earnings

Date Posted: March 22, 2016

Stocks gained again for the 5th consecutive week. The recent gains finally puts the DJIA [Dow Jones Industrial Average] and the S&P 500 into positive territory for 2016. The NASADAQ is still down over 4% for the year. In a few weeks, the first quarter earnings season will get under way. According to FactSet, the…

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Seven-year old Bull Market trying to find balance.

Date Posted: March 15, 2016

Stocks gained for the fourth week in a row as the current bull market turned seven years old. While this bull market appears to be getting a little “long in the tooth”; when and how it ends is anybody’s guess. Here are my thoughts on key areas we are watching and how they might affect…

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What to expect in an election year?

Date Posted: March 08, 2016

Last week the markets continued to gain ground. Positive returns are nice …yet so far it has been a tough year for investors. The major indices are still in the red for the year. Who can ignore the media commotion surrounding the presidential election primaries? Recently I have had a few conversations regarding what to…

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The power of long-term investing.

Date Posted: March 01, 2016

I wanted to share a couple of charts this week that I believe will help our clients and friends during volatile market conditions such as the one we are currently experiencing. First of all, while we have increased the cash position in some client accounts, we still believe in the value of long-term investing in…

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Oversold market bounces back. Now what?

Date Posted: February 22, 2016

Over the last couple of weeks the equity market has improved. One technical indicator we follow, called the “Weekly Momentum” recently turned positive for the S&P 500. This happens when the one-week moving average crosses above the five-week moving average. It is a short-term indicator and this is the first time we have seen this…

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Market Outlook vs. Economic Outlook offer opposing views

Date Posted: February 16, 2016

Last week the market ended down plus or minus 1% as the economic data being reported continues to confuse analysts. The slight decrease in corporate earnings is even more perplexing as economic numbers continue to mostly show improvement. Investors and analysts alike are scratching their heads to figure out what is happening to our economy…

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Markets worst beginning to a New Year unsettles investors

Date Posted: January 18, 2015

The major indices are down 8%-10% in just the first two weeks of 2016. Understandably, the volatility index (VIX) has shot up from a reading of about 18 to 27.  This has resulted in seeing the S&P 500 swing by at least 1% or more on seven of the first ten trading days of the New Year….

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