Share Buybacks in Today’s U.S. Equities Environment

July 13, 2015 | Investment Themes

S&P 500 companies announced a record $133 billion in share buybacks in April, furthering a trend that has provided support to U.S. equity markets in recent years. The surge in companies buying back their own stock is getting a lot of attention these days.

The Pharma Pipeline: Exploring an Underestimated Investment Theme

June 29, 2015 | Investment Themes

Worldwide equity markets have had an impressive showing since emerging from the Great Recession. The run-up in prices has coincided with equities becoming broadly more expensive. Some regions offer more attractive opportunities than others from a valuation standpoint, but the overall environment has become generally more challenging.

Is Japan’s Economic Recovery Real or Imagined?

June 15, 2015 | International Markets

A quick glance across global equity markets reveals that Japan has been among the strongest performing countries recently. The Nikkei 225 advanced roughly 40% in the 12 months through May, beating returns of U.S. and global indices such as the S&P 500 Total Return Index and MSCI All Country World by sizeable margins.

Oil Companies Make Deep Spending Cuts

June 04, 2015 | Market Commentary

The nose dive in crude oil prices has been a major story across global economies and financial markets during recent quarters. Signs of weaker economic growth, coupled with unexpected incremental supply increases from countries such as Iran and Libya, dealt a crushing blow to the commodity last summer. Very quickly, the profitability dynamics of operating within the oil industry value chain changed dramatically.

Evaluating Active Managers: The Benefits of Being Different

May 27, 2015 | Active Management

Gaining a better understanding of active management in today’s evolving and sometimes volatile investment environment begins with a simple point: Not all active managers are alike. Since the market downturn of 2008, there has been a reappearance in industry dialogue of the claim that...

U.S. Consumer Debt: Headwinds to Achieving a Step-Up in Growth

April 24, 2015 | Market Commentary

Since exiting the 2009 recession, the U.S. economy has been humming along at a rather slow pace, averaging 2.2% real annual GDP growth over the last five years. During this time, economic data has generally trended higher, labor markets have gradually healed, and the U.S. consumer has modestly deleveraged...

What to Expect from European Quantitative Easing

March 24, 2015 | International Markets

A European quantitative easing (QE) program has finally become reality. The European Central Bank (ECB) made its first sovereign bond purchases as part of the plan in early March. While U.S.-based investors are probably very familiar with the concept...

Water Scarcity: The Global Need to Move it and Improve it

March 09, 2015 | Investment Themes

Water is arguably the most important natural resource on earth. Covering greater than 70% of the planet’s surface, its apparent abundance is deceiving. Fresh water is critical to humanity and represents only a fraction of the total water supply...

Three Big Market Moves Drive Volatility Higher

February 27, 2015 | Market Commentary

Three big moves in major financial markets during recent quarters should give investors reason to anticipate heightened volatility going forward, namely significant increases in the value of the U.S. dollar and Swiss franc, as well as...

REITs Bounce Back on the Cusp of Interest Rate Changes

February 18, 2015 | Market Commentary

Real estate investments bounced back last year from a lackluster 2013 to have their best performance in nearly a decade. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)—companies that own and normally manage income...

CAPE Revisited: U.S. vs. International Markets

February 09, 2015 | Market Commentary

In July we wrote about stock market valuations and their usefulness in forecasting future market performance. Specifically, we discussed a valuation metric called the cyclically-adjusted price-to-earnings ratio...

High-Yield Approach Amid the Oil-Driven Selloff

January 20, 2015 | Fixed Income

The downward move in oil prices has had far-reaching implications for the global economy. One area of impact is the high-yield debt market, where energy issues currently account for approximately 13%. As oil prices continued...

Greece: Would a Grexit Actually Happen?

January 12, 2015 | International Markets

Greece continues to be a thorn in the side of its European brethren entering 2015. With the Greek parliament failing to elect a new president on December 29 in a third round of voting, the country will hold a snap general election on January 25...

Indonesian Election Update: Jokowi Takes Office

December 31, 2014 | Emerging Markets

In August, we released a post discussing the recent election of Joko Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, as Indonesia’s new president and its potential impact on the country’s economy and...

Japan: New News, or More of the Same?

December 19, 2014 | International Markets

The last few months have marked a period of surprise headlines and rapid news flow out of Japan. On October 31, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) unexpectedly expanded its quantitative easing (QE) program...

Brazilian Election Outcome: Rousseff Part II

December 01, 2014 | Emerging Markets

In an election marked by the slimmest margin of victory in Brazilian history, incumbent President Dilma Rousseff of the center-left Workers’ Party defeated Aécio Neves of the centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party on...

The Ascent of the U.S. Dollar

November 17, 2014 | Domestic Markets

During recent months, the value of the U.S. dollar experienced a fairly swift and significant ascent relative to many other major global currencies. We attribute the bulk of the move to shifting expectations regarding...

U.S. IPO Activity: Sign of Speculation?

October 31, 2014 | Domestic Markets

Trends in initial public offerings (IPOs) are among the many capital market factors we monitor to help us gauge the current position of the market cycle. As the bull phase of a cycle progresses, investors seeking to get in on the ground floor of the next great...

Disruptive Innovation: The New Normal

October 13, 2014 | Investment Themes

The current economic and market environment is not one in which a rising tide of economic growth will lift all ships; actually, it’s quite the opposite. As businesses compete, the winners will largely succeed at the expense of the losers.

Emerging Markets Focus: Brazil’s Race at the Polls

September 22, 2014 | Emerging Markets

Over the last several years, our enthusiasm about Brazil’s economy has been tempered by government action. The state became increasingly meddlesome in the private sector; at the same time...