Archive | Large Cap ETFs

The Federal Reserve’s Path: Four Hikes, Two Hikes, Zero Hikes, QE4

Three months ago, the Federal Reserve anticipated raising overnight lending rates four times in 2016. Now they are projecting just two hikes. At this rate, by the time June rolls around, Janet Yellen’s Fed will declare zero changes to interest rate policy for the entire calendar year. And in the fall? If there’s enough financial [...] Continue Reading...


A Slowdown In Stock Buybacks? Don’t Expect Institutional Buyers To Pick Up The Slack

According to FactSet, S&P 500 earnings will drop roughly 8.3% in the first quarter. That’ll mark the fourth consecutive quarter of declines in corporate profits-per-share. Why might that matter? There are only two occasions over the previous two decades where earnings contractions lasted longer. In both instances, the U.S. economy experienced a recession; in both instances, the S&P 500 [...] Continue Reading...


Low Interest Rates Alone Cannot Prevent A Bear Market In Stocks

The most common definition of a bear market in stocks? A major index needs to fall 20% from a high-water mark. And while that is precisely what has happened for most gauges of stock health – MSCI All-Country World Index, Nikkei 225, Stoxx Europe 600, Shanghai Composite, U.S. Russell 2000, U.S. Value Line Composite – the [...] Continue Reading...


Underweight or Overweight: What’s Your Allocation to U.S. Stocks?

Some are interpreting the 9% bounce off of the 1812 lows for the S&P 500 as a sign that all is right with stocks once again. Indeed, many may view the S&P 500 trading at 1978 on the first day of March as a pretty good deal relative to where the benchmark began the year [...] Continue Reading...


Are Stocks Cheap Now? Get GAAP If You Want To Get Real

The times they are a changin’. In the ’80s as well as the ’90s, corporations reported quarterly results that corresponded to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). These days, the vast majority of companies report “pro-forma” earnings that adjust for unusual, special or one-time circumstances. Take a look at the dramatic rise in the percentage of [...] 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 Should You Do In The Next Bear Market Rally?

Bull markets have corrections. Specifically, long-term uptrends often hit roadblocks where stock assets may pull back by 10%, 14%, even 19%. Those who may have been holding some cash typically benefit from buying into weakness at significantly lower prices. Bear markets have bear market rallies. Selling pressure typically abates long enough to allow buyers to [...] 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...


How Long Will “Risk-Off” Sectors Outperform Riskier Stock and Bond Segments?

Some stock sectors thrive when an economic recovery gains traction. Industrials tend to perform well due to increases in the demand for capital goods. In a similar vein, consumer discretionary companies spike alongside improvements in employment data, where people spend more of the money they make. One can visualize the above-described outperformance of cyclical sectors by charting corresponding ETFs [...] 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...


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