Archive | International ETFs

Is Unemployment Really 19%? Your Tactical Asset Allocation Should Reflect Economic Reality

Several weeks ago, a comment provider ripped into me for being a left-wing nut job. What did I do to draw his ire?  I explained that the tapering of QE3 and the 0.25% rate hike bump – modest stimulus removal efforts on the surface – adversely impacted everything from currencies to commodities, sovereign credit to corporate [...] Continue Reading...


If Investors Get More Stimulus, Will They Take More Risk?

The U.S. economy continues to show signs of frailty. U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at a feeble pace of just 0.7% in the 4th quarter. In the same vein, the Atlanta Fed’s GDP forecast for the first quarter of 2016 is just 1.2%. There’s more. The manufacturing segment of the economy has contracted for four [...] Continue Reading...


1704 on the S&P 500 in 2016? Less Far-Fetched Than Investors Want To Believe

How does a favorable bullish uptrend become an unfavorable bearish downtrend? Does the transition happen overnight? Do commentators, analysts, money managers and market participants simultaneously concur that the environment for risk-taking is exceptionally poor? The transition from “good times” to “bad times” is far more gradual than many realize. Granted, prices on the Dow or [...] Continue Reading...


Profit Shortage + Economic Weakness + Stimulus Removal = Less Risk Taking

Healthy bull market uptrends tend to feature similar risk-taking characteristics. Specifically, market-based participants will invest in a wide range of stock sectors (e.g., industrials, telecom, health care, energy, etc.) and asset types (e.g., large, small, foreign, preferreds, REITs, high yield corporate, convertibles, cross-over corporate bonds, etc.). There is little reason to discriminate because across-the-board risk [...] Continue Reading...


Do Historical Comparisons Matter? Strong Similarities Between 1937 And 2015

The case for the continuation of the U.S. bull market heavily rests on the shoulders of steady economic growth and low interest rates (on an absolute basis). Many believe that, as long as these circumstances exist, stocks will provide venerable results. However, market participants might want to consider a similar period in history – a [...] Continue Reading...


U.S. Stocks In 2016? Keep An Eye On The Global Economy

During the previous bull market (10/02-10/07), financial media fawned over the critical importance of diversifying one’s equity exposure across the globe. And why not? Performance for foreign exchange-traded trackers like iShares MSCI EAFE (EFA) and iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (EEM) far surpassed anything the S&P 500 could muster up; developed international markets doubled U.S. capital [...] Continue Reading...


Has The “Smart Money” Or The “Dumb Money” Been Reducing Risk?

Is it the “smart money” or the “dumb money” that has been seeking safer portfolio pastures throughout 2015? Time itself will tell. That said, riskier assets have been buckling clear across the asset board. Consider the iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF (IEF): iShares iBoxx High Yield Bond ETF (HYG) price ratio. A rising IEF:HYG [...] Continue Reading...


A Stock Market Breather Before a Big-Time Bullish Breakout? Not Bloody Likely

It is unsettling to deal with the probability that we are closer to a bearish decline in stocks than a bullish reboot. Investment account values will wane. Household net worth will diminish. And when stock prices near their lowest ebb, the typical investor will decide that buying is impractical. However, if one prepares for inevitable [...] Continue Reading...


Risk Asset Update: Vast Majority Agonize Since The S&P 500’s August Lows

Weren’t lower oil prices supposed to act like a “tax cut” for U.S. households? If families spend less at the gas pump, then they will spend more of their dollars at the mall. At least that’s what mainstream media cheerleaders like CNBC’s Jim Cramer have insisted throughout the year. In contrast, the S&P SPDR Retail [...] Continue Reading...


What Assets Should You Have In Your Moderate Portfolio?

Ibbotson Associates provides asset allocation guidelines that span the risk spectrum from conservative to aggressive. The moderate portfolio consists of roughly 42% in U.S. Stock, 18% in Non-U.S. Stock, 35% Fixed Income and 5% in Cash. It follows that investors interested in the static Ibbotson model might employ the following ETFs to achieve the model’s [...] Continue Reading...


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