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New Year New Trends

Mike Zaccardi  |  Jan 10, 2022

ARE LONG-SUFFERING value investors and those with a large allocation to foreign stocks finally about to get some relief? The new year has seen significant relative strength by both areas of the market. Meanwhile, after peaking in the first half of 2021, highflying small- and mid-cap growth companies continue to get hammered. Mega-cap tech shares have also lately succumbed to selling pressure.
What’s worked thus far in 2022 are the boring old large-cap blue chip names.

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The Year That Was

Mike Zaccardi  |  Jan 2, 2022

DECEMBER WAS a month to remember for the stock market. The S&P 500 returned 4.5%, while small caps were up a slightly weaker 3.4%. Foreign stocks rallied 3.7%, but emerging markets continued to lag, eking out a 1.5% return.
It was a stellar year for the bulls. The U.S. stock market posted a 25.7% return, as measured by Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (symbol: VTI). Vanguard Small-Cap ETF (VB) started the year hot, handily beating large-company stocks,

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Back to the Future

John Lim  |  Dec 31, 2021

AS 2031 WINDS DOWN, it’s time to look back at the major investment stories and themes that characterized the year and to look ahead to 2032.
Stocks had another banner year in 2031. Emerging markets led the way yet again, with the MSCI Emerging Markets index soaring 31%. This is the fourth year in a row that emerging markets were the top performer. Since 2022, emerging markets have returned 25% a year for more than a seven-fold gain.

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Yardeni Speaks

Richard Connor  |  Dec 28, 2021

MARKET STRATEGIST and economist Ed Yardeni says the current bull market is “the most hated and feared bull market that any of us have experienced, maybe in history.” This quote came from an interesting interview published in ThinkAdvisor, a magazine for financial professionals.
Worried about today’s lofty stock prices? You may find Yardeni’s views comforting. When asked about his market outlook, he commented on the strength of the current bull market, which started in 2009.

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Prophecy Fulfilled?

John Lim  |  Dec 27, 2021

QUANTITATIVE EASING, or QE, has been the Federal Reserve’s policy of choice since interest rates reached their lower bound of 0%. The brainchild of then-Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, QE was launched in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis. Quantitative easing is simply a euphemism for bond purchases—Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities—by the Federal Reserve.
In theory, QE should lead to lower interest rates, as reflected in bond yields. Bond prices are, of course,

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Whither Crypto?

Mike Zaccardi  |  Dec 26, 2021

NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, cryptocurrencies have had a raucous 2021. From bitcoin and ether’s fast start in January, to the rise of dogecoin in April and then the shiba-inu October shenanigans, folks owning seemingly any digital currency likely experienced big gains if they were owners since early 2021.
What if folks got in later in the year? Despite being all over the financial press and having inked all sorts of sponsorship deals—including the naming rights to what was once the Staples Center in Los Angeles—total crypto market cap today is pretty much unchanged from the peaks reached in May and September,

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Will Bulls Cheer?

Mike Zaccardi  |  Dec 19, 2021

THE HOLIDAYS MARK a festive period for stock market bulls. The final two weeks of the year and the first several trading sessions of January have historically seen unusually strong gains for the S&P 500 stocks, according to research from Bank of America. Since 1928, the final 10 trading days of December have averaged gains of 1.19% and the first 10 sessions of January have returned 0.72%.
Why has the S&P 500 performed well during this stretch?

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Hall of Mirrors

Adam M. Grossman  |  Dec 19, 2021

LAST WEDNESDAY, the Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee concluded its quarterly meeting with two big announcements. First, the Fed is going to scale back its monthly purchases of Treasury securities. Because these multi-billion-dollar purchases have helped keep interest rates low, the Fed’s objective here is to let interest rates begin to rise. That was the first announcement.

The second is that the committee expects to raise its benchmark rate by nearly a full percentage point next year.

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Time Is Running Out

John Lim  |  Dec 15, 2021

INFLATION CONTINUES to sizzle. November’s Producer Price Index (PPI) rose 9.6% from a year earlier. Even after removing food and energy, PPI was up 7.7%. Both figures are the highest since 2010, when such data were first compiled.
This follows last week’s Consumer Price Index report, which showed inflation climbing 6.8% over the past 12 months. Since consumer prices lag producer prices, we can expect little relief from inflation in 2022.
All this must be foremost on the minds of Federal Reserve members as they meet this week.

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Heading Abroad

Mike Zaccardi  |  Dec 14, 2021

NATIXIS INVESTMENT Managers just released its 2022 institutional investors’ outlook. The firm surveyed 500 portfolio managers, asking their thoughts on what the next year might look like in the financial markets. The managers—who oversee $13.2 trillion of assets—were generally optimistic, but didn’t expect the recent torrid pace of stock market gains to continue.
The survey found that 35% of institutions plan to decrease exposure to U.S. stocks, allocating more to developed European and Asian markets,

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Reading Rates

Mike Zaccardi  |  Dec 12, 2021

THE MARKET SEEMS to have found its footing when it comes to inflation. Friday’s Consumer Price Index report was roughly in line with expectations. Recently, there haven’t been any major shifts in the experts’ inflation forecasts. The bond market has also calmed down. Just a few weeks ago, the 10-year Treasury yield neared 1.7%. It settled at 1.49% on Friday.
Volatility could reemerge later this week, however. Data on producer prices post on Tuesday,

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The Bogle Method

Jonathan Clements  |  Dec 11, 2021

TIME TO PLAY MARKET strategist. Trying to figure out what sort of U.S. stock returns we can expect over the next 10 years? Nobody knows for sure, of course. But we can at least think about it in a reasonably logical way—by using what some folks call the Bogle method.
What’s that? In a 1991 article for the Journal of Portfolio Management, Vanguard Group founder John Bogle—who died in January 2019—laid out a relatively straightforward method for estimating stock returns.

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Withdrawal Pains

John Lim  |  Dec 9, 2021

TWO MONTHS AGO, I fessed up to my addiction to financial market news. Despite knowing better, I’ve followed the markets closely for years and would update my portfolio almost daily. Based on some comments my article received, it appears I’m not alone.
In the article, I vowed not to check my portfolio until New Year’s Day 2022. How’s my experiment gone thus far—and what have I learned?
My attempt to go cold turkey hasn’t been entirely successful.

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Sentiment Sours

Mike Zaccardi  |  Dec 5, 2021

FINANCIAL MARKETS had a lot to digest in recent days: Retail analysts are keeping a close eye on holiday spending, economists got their latest dose of employment data—and traders are coming to grips with the current bout of volatility.
The VIX, the S&P 500 Volatility Index or “fear gauge,” surged above 30 on Friday. That was the highest end-of-week close since January. For perspective, the VIX climbed to 80 during 2020’s COVID-19 stock market crash.

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Not So Efficient

Adam M. Grossman  |  Dec 5, 2021

THE STOCK MARKET’S recent wrenching price swings offer a valuable investment lesson. Let’s start by reviewing the facts:

On the day after Thanksgiving, the S&P 500 suffered its worst day in months and the Dow had its worst day in more than a year. The proximate cause: news about Omicron, a new coronavirus variant. Overnight, investors seemed to revive their playbook from the early 2020 recession. Airline stocks dropped precipitously. Oil plunged 13%. Meanwhile,

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