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  • Market Update: October 1, 2012

    John Gorlow | Oct 01, 2012

    Wall Street wrapped up a strong third quarter on a weak note. Stocks finished September with a second consecutive week of losses.  Prices were pulled lower by disappointing US manufacturing data and rising concerns over the euro zone's economy and sovereign-debt issues. Despite ending the quarter on a down note,  the S&P 500 index nonetheless returned 2.58% in September and 6.35% over the last three months. This brought year-to-date returns on the US benchmark to 16.44%, which is a lot to be grateful for.  While all major US asset classes delivered strong quarterly performance, large caps outperformed small, and value bested growth.

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  • Market Update: September 6, 2012

    John Gorlow | Sep 06, 2012

    Trading volume was at its lowest in five-years but U.S. stocks still managed to finish the month with solid results. The S&P 500 ended August with a gain of 1.98%, a two-month run of 3.26% and a rise of 11.85% year-to-date. The summer rally confounded bears who predicted the stock market would repeat last year’s slump of 7.7% during July and August. The S&P Small Cap 600 index, which trailed the performance of the S&P 500 index in July, reversed its standing in August posting a 3.66% gain.

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  • Understanding Low Volatility Strategies: August 24, 2012

    John Gorlow | Aug 24, 2012

    What are low volatility strategies? Low volatility strategies attempt to construct equity portfolios that minimize market risk. Investment risk is measured using historical returns and correlations between individual portfolios and stock market movements. Wall Street touts low volatility investment strategies as a hedge against market volatility because they are designed to carry less risk during periods of poor stock market performance. Low volatility investing is not a new concept but it has become increasingly popular given the high levels of market volatility experienced by equity investors during the 2008 financial crisis, the up-and-down movements in 2011, and the continued turbulence in 2012.

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  • Algorithms Take Over The Market: August 17, 2012

    John Gorlow | Aug 17, 2012

    Two weeks ago, one of Wall Street’s largest market-making and trading firms, relying on a computerized trading program, shook investors’ confidence in the market. Trying to gain an edge on its competitors, seventeen-year-old Knight Capital Group rushed out new trading software that wasn’t ready. Instead of fulfilling customer orders, the software unintentionally generated millions of erroneous trades, causing sudden wild price swings in dozens of stocks. As trading volumes expanded, some Wall Street participants profited from the unusually dramatic price swings triggered by the faulty software. Many retail customers, having no idea what was going on, wound up losing money. Some journalists accused Wall Street insiders of using their trading tactics to rip off small investors: but the opposite, in this case, seems more accurate. The mishap cost Knight $440 million in trading losses and forced them to accept a lifeline to skirt collapse.

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  • Market Update: August 3, 2012

    John Gorlow | Aug 03, 2012

    Concerned about economic growth, global central banks acted to stimulate borrowing. China’s central bank cut lending rates. The European central bank cut its benchmark interest rate. The Bank of England announced it would expand its holding of government bonds. The Federal Reserve announced 2 weeks ago that it would extend its own bond buying program until the end of the year.

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  • Market Update: July 2, 2012

    John Gorlow | Jul 02, 2012

    First, I hope all our clients and friends affected by recent fires, stifling heat, and severe storms are safe and sound.

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  • The Eurozone and Greece: June 19, 2012

    John Gorlow | Jun 19, 2012

    The possibility of Greece leaving the Eurozone thereby triggering a string of sovereign defaults remains a key focus of the market.  A re-run election in Greece, June 17, failed to curb uncertainty. It remains at a high level.

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  • Market Update: June 3, 2012

    John Gorlow | Jun 03, 2012

    Global stock markets ended the month with their worst performance in two years. A flight to safety pushed the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield to an all-time low of 1.58%. The S&P 500 index fell 6.27%. This was the index’s eighth worst May in history, and its worst performance since its 8.20% loss in May 2010.  But that year the returns for the index actually totaled 15.06%. Currently, the S&P is down 7.66% from its April 2nd high, but it remains 5.16% ahead YTD with dividends included.

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  • Market Update: May 25, 2012

    John Gorlow | May 25, 2012

    Global stock markets have stumbled since the start of the second quarter as the Chinese economy slowed, the euro zone crisis escalated, and U.S. manufacturing and employment gains tapered off.  The decline in stock prices has been accompanied by sharp increases in volatility.

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  • Market Update: May 2, 2012

    John Gorlow | May 02, 2012

    In April, the S&P 500 stock index posted its first monthly decline since November. Stocks slipped on rising fear that the U.S. economic recovery might be faltering. The deep recession in Spain, combined with trouble in its banking sector and reports of a double dip recession in Britain highlighted risks in the developed markets and raised more questions about whether government belt tightening in Europe had gone too far.

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