Archive | International ETFs

Three Charts: What Debt, ‘CapEx,’ and Whole Profits Tell Stock Investors

For several years now, I have expressed concern about the accumulation of debt by governments, corporations and households. Some folks seem to recognize that – across the board – total debt levels are on an unsustainable path. Others have argued that the only thing of importance is the ability to service existing obligations, and that [...] Continue Reading...


No Sales, No Profits, No Bull: What Happens When Valuations And Central Banks Collide

Total business sales – sales by wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers – have fallen 5% from their July 2014 peak of $1.365 trillion. At $1.296 trillion for January 2016, total business sales have dropped back to where they were in January of 2013 ($1.293 trillion). In fact, the erosion of total sales by American businesses are even uglier [...] Continue Reading...


Financial Stress Index Is Screaming, “Bear Market Rally”

What if investors had a way to determine the extent of “stress” in the financial system? And what if those stress levels could tell investors whether or not riskier assets (e.g., stocks, higher-yielding debt, etc.) can succeed without definitive U.S. Federal Reserve intervention? Consider the Cleveland Financial Stress Index (CFSI). The CFSI monitors the well-being of [...] Continue Reading...


What Negative Interest Rates Tell You About The Risk-Reward Backdrop

When a country’s central bank reduces its interests rates below zero (i.e., “goes negative”), the action should boost the relative appeal of stock assets. That is the theory. Unfortunately, recent policy initiatives by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan (BOJ) have failed to inspire their respective stock markets. The ECB first [...] Continue Reading...


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...


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