Archive | Small Cap 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...


Risk On Or Risk Off? Big Picture Suggests The Latter

One way to gauge the well-being of stock assets is to examine all of the 1900-plus stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange. We can do this by evaluating the progress of the NYSE Composite Index. The first item worth noting is that stock assets have struggled to make any progress since late October of 2013 [...] Continue Reading...


Are U.S. Stocks Really The Only Game In Town?

The S&P 500 notched an all-time record high of 2130 on May 21, 2015. That was 10 months ago. Since that date, the popular gauge has suffered two faith-rattling corrections – a 12% decline in August of 2015 and a 14% pullback in February of 2016. Granted, U.S. stocks rallied back to respectable levels after each [...] 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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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