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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,…

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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…

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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…

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Should You Celebrate or ‘Fade’ The Longest Bull Market In History?

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

The mainstream financial media love to tell you, “Bull markets don’t die of old age.” True enough. Indeed, the current uptrend remains a shining example of cyclical durability and persistence. For many, then, the fact that the stock bull has set an all-time record in length is cause for celebration. 3,453 days and counting. If you choose to listen, Kool & The Gang will even let you know where the party is at. It is worth noting that the S&P 500 needs to…

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Corporations Set Records For Buybacks As Their Insiders Sell

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

Tax-cut infused earnings have been solid. The rapid-fire rise of longer-term borrowing costs has slowed considerably. And corporate share buybacks have dwarfed earlier records. In Q2 alone, corporations purchased a staggering $436.6 billion in stock buybacks. That brings the year-to-date total to $670 billion. Similarly, announced S&P 500 buybacks are practically leaping off of the chart. More than most factors influencing market direction, buybacks have kept large-cap stocks from succumbing to legitimate concerns about Federal Reserve policy error, China trade…

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The Yield Curve and Stocks: Much Ado About Everything

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

There has been a great deal of chatter about the strength of the American job market. And with good reason. Most measures of employment health – U-2 unemployment rate, jobless claims, wage increases, year-over-year job growth, etc. – support the notion that U.S. workers are “winning.” On the other hand, very few folks have addressed the possibility that the data are more likely to weaken than strengthen. On the contrary. So much faith is being placed on tax cut stimulus…

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Non-Diversification: Free Stock Risk Without The Reward

By | Bond ETFs, Current Affairs and ETFs, Emerging Market ETFs, ETF Philosophy, Europe ETFs, Financial ETFs, International ETFs, Large Cap ETFs, Popular Posts, Small Cap ETFs, Technology ETFs, US Markets and ETFs | No Comments

Let me be quick to acknowledge that yield curve inversion can have considerable lag time before a recession. And for that matter, the U.S. Treasury bond curve can invert long before a stock market bear. For instance, 10-year yields fell below two-year yields in February of 2006. That was approximately 22 months before the recession officially hit in December of 2007. What’s more, between 2/2006-10/2007, the S&P 500 managed to climb more than 20%. There’s more. The 1990s Treasury bond…

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A Bigger Tech Bubble Today Than The One In 2000? Why You Should Question The Unicorns

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

What if I told you that today’s tech bubble is more hazardous than the one that popped in 2000? You might say, “That’s crazy. Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX), Google (GOOG) — today’s internet-oriented superstars are real companies with real profits.” Granted, all of these corporations are profitable. They may be rapid growers as well. That does not mean investors are paying reasonable or rational prices for their fractional stakes. Microsoft, Cisco and Dell represented roughly 50%…

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The Fed Is About to Kill The Credit Boom

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

Did seven years of zero percent rate policy, three rounds of quantitative easing (QE) and “Operation Twist” provide a consequence-free credit boom? Or will “too-low-for-too-long” monetary manipulation eventually lead to a credit bust – one with adverse effects for asset prices as well as economic growth? It is not particularly difficult to understand that the mid-2000s credit expansion became an unsustainable bubble for households. At the pre-crisis peak in the fourth quarter of 2007, household financial obligations as a percent…

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The Big Bad Bull Gets Meeker And Weaker

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

Can the U.S. economy grow without the federal government overspending? Apparently not. Since the financial crisis in 2008, GDP has only grown alongside massive Treasury debt issuance. Some might argue that it does not matter how the economy expands as long as it is expanding. After all, the U.S. is still capable of paying the interest on its mushrooming obligations. On the flip side, the bond market does not believe that the near-term economic picture will be quite so rosy. The paltry 0.18%…

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