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  • Quarterly Market Review : July 16, 2015

    John Gorlow | Jul 16, 2015
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    The DJIA climbs above 18,000 but your portfolio performance is tepid. What’s up with that? Learn the answers in our 2015 Q2 review and commentary.

    Despite a bumpy ride throughout the second quarter, global markets remained calm and stocks traded in a narrow range as Wall Street weighed the debt crisis in Greece, credit problems in Puerto Rico, the see-saw in Chinese stocks and prospects for a U.S interest rate hike. Then, after approaching historic highs, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index declined in the last few days of June, finishing the second quarter with a barely positive 0.28 percent return (dividends included). 

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  • Market Update: June 8, 2015

    John Gorlow | Jun 08, 2015
    IMG_2058HOUSTON, DO WE HAVE A PROBLEM? 
     
    What will happen when interest rates rise? How will it affect your portfolio and the economy at large? This month we consider the potential disruptive force of rising U.S. interest rates and suggest a time-tested strategy for protection. 
     
    In the latest bout of volatility, long-term interest rates in the United States climbed by almost 0.4 percentage points. Ten-year U.S. Treasury bonds are yielding 2.39%, up from 1.97% in late March. International long-term interest rates, particularly in Germany, have climbed even more steeply. The 10-year Bund yield briefly brushed the 1% level in early June after trading as low as 0.08% in April. 
     
    Some pundits suggest that a generation-long shift toward ever-lower global interest rates may have finally run its course. Have world bond markets reached the tipping point? Opinions are divided, and only time will tell. What’s the average investor to do?
     
    Our advice—regardless of what financial pundits suggest—is that the best defense against uncertainty is a sound financial plan.  Remain consistently disciplined and follow an investment strategy tailored to your goals and risk tolerance. Disregard the noise of the markets and so-called experts. Adopt a long-term focus. Be patient. And if the eventual departure from low interest rates triggers a downdraft, assume a rebalancing opportunity. 
     
    Below we take a look at the risks to financial markets in the aftermath of quantitative easing. But first, let’s review the numbers from May. 

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  • Market Update: May 7, 2015

    John Gorlow | May 07, 2015

    moneyThis month we take a look at the 21st annual Dalbar report, a large ongoing study measuring the effects of reacting to short-term market fluctuations and outlier events. Bottom line: when we behave emotionally and not rationally with our investments, the consequences can be surprisingly negative. We’ll show you the painful truth. But first, a look at April results. 

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  • Quarterly Market Review : APR 17, 2015

    John Gorlow | Apr 17, 2015

    IMG_2080THE NUMBERS DON’T LIE. Perhaps it’s in our nature to believe in hunches, or to think we know a winner when we see one, or that every stock and bond market move can be anticipated if only we have the right data. The evidence about actively managed funds suggests otherwise. This month we take a look at short- and long-term actively managed fund performance as measured by a large, ongoing study. It’s not a pretty picture. But first, the numbers.

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  • Market Update: Mar 8, 2015

    John Gorlow | Mar 08, 2015
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    When exchange rate volatility takes a bite out of your portfolio, should you change your strategy or hedge your bets? This month we take a look at short and longer-term currency trends and offer our advice on what to do (and what not to do). As always, diversification is your strongest ally. 

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  • Market Update: Feb 9, 2015

    John Gorlow | Feb 09, 2015
    GettyImages_86071179As we move into February, forecast-beating U.S. payroll data sparked a jump in bond yields. The dollar gained. Month-to-date, stock returns erased January losses. Economists were pleased.
     
    As an investor, how should you react to good news like that? How about the negative news? And of course the financial press has plenty of baseless predictions and forecasts at the start of each new year. 

    Our advice is the same, no matter what the news brings. Remain disciplined and focused on a sound investment philosophy. If your situation has changed, do an allocation checkup. Never invest based on your emotions. And tune out the noise of financial pundits.


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  • Quarterly Market Review - Jan 13, 2015

    John Gorlow | Jan 15, 2015

    GettyImages_86071179Did you stay the course in 2014? As so often happens, the financial markets defied expectations and expert prognostications.

    When the market plunged in October, those who hung on were rewarded at year-end. Proving once that the best antidote for financial fear is a sound strategy, disciplined approach, and broad diversification. And 2015 is likely to be no different. 

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  • Market Update: Dec 7, 2014

    John Gorlow | Dec 07, 2014

    GettyImages_86071179U.S. stocks continued their positive trend in November as U.S. 3rd – quarter growth was revised up, to 3.9%. The news sent returns on the S&P 500 2.69% higher, bringing YTD returns on the index to a healthy 13.98%.Volatility continued to decline from its mid-October peak.  

    Commodity prices are headed for their fourth straight year of losses. Both medium and long-term treasury yields declined. Many analysts find the divergence puzzling, 

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  • Market Update: Nov 9, 2014

    John Gorlow | Nov 10, 2014
    86071179In spite of a mid-month plunge in global stock prices, upbeat economic and corporate news lifted the S&P 500 Index to close October at an all-time high, notably retuning 2.44% for the period. The sell-off, the worst in two-years, resulted from concerns over global growth, falling oil prices and the stronger US dollar.  

    Though volatility spiked during the period, in the end the S&P 500 VIX short-term futures index declined 2%. The S&P MidCap 400 and the S&P SmallCap 600 both delivered strong performances and gained 4% and 7% respectively.

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  • Private Equity, High Fees and Risk: Oct 26, 2014

    John Gorlow | Oct 26, 2014
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    As recently as last year, and for the first time in 80 years, federal regulators lifted a ban on advertising allowing hedge funds and private equity buyout firms to now promote their products to the general public. This piece of legislation fundamentally changed the way in which private placement issuers raise money and affords them an opportunity to collect even more in management fees.

    For decades the private offering giants persuaded institutions and university endowments to entrust them with investing billions of their dollars while promising diversification and better returns than the general market.

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