Higher Rates Will Hurt Stocks More Thank You Think (Part 2)

By | Bond ETFs, Currency ETFs, Current Affairs and ETFs, Emerging Market ETFs, ETF Philosophy, ETF Strategy, Europe ETFs, International ETFs, Large Cap ETFs, Small Cap ETFs, Special Sectors ETFs, Technology ETFs, US Markets and ETFs | No Comments

In my previous week’s commentary, I explained why higher interest rates will hurt stock assets more than many might think. Naysayers pointed to the fact that rate levels are still quite low on a historical basis. Unfortunately, these folks are neglecting to place their comprehension of borrowing costs in context. Take a look at the last 20 years of U.S. monetary policy via the Federal Funds Rate (FFR). The Federal Reserve’s tightening phase from the 4% level up to the…

Read More

Higher Rates Will Hurt Stocks Far More Than You Think

By | Current Affairs and ETFs, Emerging Market ETFs, ETF Philosophy, ETF Strategy, International ETFs, Popular Posts, Special Sectors ETFs, Technology ETFs, US Markets and ETFs | No Comments

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell thinks the economy is awesome. And he has no problem telling us so. What Powell will never discuss, however, is the “way-too-low-for-way-too-long” stimulus that the central bank engaged in to get here. In particular, the Fed has kept the neutral rate of interest far beneath the rate of inflation (CPI) for an entire decade. Consumers, corporations and Uncle Sam predictably borrowed as if there’d never be consequences. What consequences? Asset bubbles. Stocks, bonds, real estate, collectibles,…

Read More

Give The Fed Credit For The Boom (And The Inevitable Bust)

By | Current Affairs and ETFs, Emerging Market ETFs, ETF Philosophy, ETF Strategy, International ETFs, Large Cap ETFs, Technology ETFs, US Markets and ETFs | No Comments

The broader U.S. market has finally recovered from its late January meltdown. Indeed, most sectors have gone on to reach all-time highs. On the flip side, a number of influential segments and sub-segments are still laboring. For instance, the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) remains roughly 5% below its January peak. Theoretically, financial stocks should benefit from a rising interest rate environment. A healthy economy typically implies that borrowers have the capacity to repay. Moreover, with a strong economic backdrop,…

Read More

Stocks? Throw The Book At Them!

By | Current Affairs and ETFs, ETF Philosophy, ETF Strategy, Large Cap ETFs, Popular Posts, Special Sectors ETFs, US Markets and ETFs | No Comments

Net worth used to be a simple concept. Add up assets. Subtract liabilities. And celebrate (or mourn) the tangible book value of the company. It is not so simple anymore. In a service-oriented economy, the value of a corporation partially depends on several intangibles. How influential is the company’s brand? What about the impact of the personality of one or two key individuals? Nevertheless, the increasing importance of intangibles should not diminish the relevance of tangible net worth. Tangible book…

Read More

Are Investors In U.S. Stocks Turning A Blind Eye To Contagion Risks Abroad?

By | Asia ETFs, China ETFs, Consumer ETFs, Current Affairs and ETFs, Emerging Market ETFs, ETF Philosophy, ETF Strategy, Europe ETFs, Frontier Market ETFs, Global ETFs, Popular Posts, Special Sectors ETFs, US Markets and ETFs | No Comments

Things look pretty darn good for the U.S. economy. Unemployment rates are low, inflation-adjusted borrowing costs are practically zero, and corporate profit margins sit at record highs. U.S. consumers have taken notice. The recently released Conference Board reading for consumer confidence reached 133.4. We have not seen a data point like that since the year 2000. Ironically enough, an exceptionally happy consumer is rarely beneficial for the investment markets. Take a look at the forward returns for the S&P 500…

Read More