The Independent Market Observer

The Independent Market Observer

Commonwealth’s chief investment officer, Brad McMillan, provides insight on the economic, market, and political events of the day—both domestically and on a global scale.

Investors Feeling More Greedy Than Fearful

Today, I’m at the Barron’s Top Independent Advisors Summit, where I will be moderating a discussion titled “Fear and Greed” with two impressive panelists, Brian Wesbury and David Iben. I am very interested to hear what they have to say, and as moderator, I’ll be doing much more listening than speaking (no doubt to the benefit of the audience).

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Posted: March 23, 2017, 5:59 pm

What About Yesterday’s Stock Market Pullback?

Yesterday, we finally saw a market decline of more than 1 percent, after a very long time without one. Is this the end of the rally?

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Posted: March 22, 2017, 3:00 pm

Is Spring on the Way for the Economy?

As the end of the first quarter approaches, expectations are high for a new burst of economic growth. With consumer confidence at the highest point since before the financial crisis, business confidence rising to very healthy levels, and job and wage growth continuing to move in the right direction, spring seems just around the corner.

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Posted: March 21, 2017, 7:29 pm

Monday Update: Mixed Data, But Continued Growth Likely

Last week’s economic data was all over the place, but despite some significant disappointments, the overall tone was positive. With the Federal Reserve raising rates but declining to speed up the process, the most likely path looks to be continued growth at about the same pace we’ve seen recently.

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Posted: March 20, 2017, 9:32 pm

Three Steps and a Stumble

St. Patrick’s Day, at least here in the U.S., is all about the wearing of the green. Everyone is Irish today, the green beer flows, and we have a great time—until waking up the next day with a hangover. Living in Boston, with the surname McMillan, I certainly get it.

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Posted: March 17, 2017, 5:07 pm

Monthly Market Risk Update: March 2017

Just as I do with the economy, I review the market each month for warning signs of trouble in the near future. Although valuations are now high—a noted risk factor in past bear markets—markets can stay expensive (or get much more expensive) for years and years, which doesn’t give us much to go on timing-wise.

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Posted: March 16, 2017, 6:21 pm

Market Valuations and Future Returns

Yesterday’s post ended with the idea that, if interest rates go up, market valuations will have to rise for many investors to meet their return goals. Based on the example we used, market valuations would have to increase by 3 percent per year for investors to see their required returns.

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Posted: March 15, 2017, 8:10 pm

How Can We Tell If the Market Is Overvalued?

I’m at the Commonwealth Chairman’s Retreat this week, which, as usual, is a real treat. The conference is always held in a wonderful location, with great speakers and content—not to mention the chance to connect with some of the best financial advisors in the world.

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Posted: March 14, 2017, 6:58 pm

Monday Update: Strong Jobs Report Paves Way for Rate Hike

Last week was all about the February employment report, which surprised to the upside for the second month in a row. This was the last remaining hurdle the economy needed to clear before a Federal Reserve interest rate hike, and the positive results essentially ensured that the hike will happen as expected this week. 

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Posted: March 13, 2017, 7:06 pm

Economic Risk Factor Update: March 2017

The data for February was positive across the board, recovering from some slight pullbacks the previous month. The indicators we track here continue to point toward economic expansion, which is encouraging following the downtrend established in 2016. This marks the fourth straight month of positive data, indicating that the current uptrend may be here to stay.

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Posted: March 10, 2017, 7:28 pm

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logo2 This communication strictly intended for individuals residing in the states of CO, CT, FL, MI, OH, PA, WI. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside these states due to various state regulations and registration requirements regarding investment products and services. Investments are not FDIC- or NCUA-insured, are not guaranteed by a bank/financial institution, and are subject to risks, including possible loss of the principal invested. Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®. Member FINRA, SIPC, a Registered Investment Advisor.

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