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.

Black Monday Remembered

October 19, 1987, is a date that will live in stock market infamy. Known as Black Monday, it marks the largest one-day loss in history, with the Dow down exactly 508 points (22.61 percent).

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Posted: October 18, 2017, 5:40 pm

Where’s the Bubble?

Have you noticed how hard it is to blow a bubble these days? Things that were once considered out-and-out, no-doubt-about-it bubbles now get a “meh, I’ve seen bigger” reaction. It seems we’re all a bit jaded.

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Posted: October 17, 2017, 7:28 pm

Monday Update: Strong Performance After the Storms

Today's post is from Sam Millette, a fixed income analyst on our Investment Management and Research team.

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Posted: October 16, 2017, 4:49 pm

Should We Be Worried About Earnings Growth?

One of the key points in my argument that things are actually pretty good—and likely to get better—has been that with a growing economy, companies are selling more and making more money. Rising profits, especially on a per-share basis, are the foundation for a rising market.

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Posted: October 13, 2017, 6:46 pm

Still in 1999? The Timing May Be Shifting

I am at the Commonwealth National Conference in San Diego this week, talking with advisors from all around the country. Similar to the Financial Planning Association conference that I attended last week, everyone here wants to know what the market is going to do. In the short term, I suspect it is likely to keep rising.

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Posted: October 12, 2017, 5:06 pm

Monthly Market Risk Update: October 2017

Market risks come in three flavors: recession risk, economic shock risk, and risks within the market itself. So, what do these risks look like for October? Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

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Posted: October 11, 2017, 6:55 pm

Economic Risk Factor Update: October 2017

Despite the impact of the hurricanes (in many respects, because of them), September’s data came in surprisingly positive. The headline figures were certainly affected by the storms, but the underlying details remained solid.

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Posted: October 10, 2017, 5:49 pm

Monday Update: Very Positive Data, Due in Part to Storms

Last week gave us a broad look at the economy, including business confidence surveys and the jobs report. The news came in surprisingly strong, at multiyear bests in many cases. This was, of course, positive and consistent with other data, but the magnitude of the improvements raises the question of how much the storms may have affected the results. That impact varies, but there is reason to believe that the improvements are real—although likely not as good as the numbers would suggest.

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Posted: October 9, 2017, 5:37 pm

Jobs Report: Weak Headline, Strong Details

Since I thought I had covered the most likely outcome of the jobs report in yesterday’s post, I had not planned on writing about it again this morning. Looking at the actual data, though, there are some worthwhile takeaways that deserve a closer look. So, here we are.

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Posted: October 6, 2017, 2:44 pm

What Should We Expect from This Month’s Jobs Report?

One of the most important economic reports—the jobs report—is coming out on Friday. This is always a big data release, in that jobs are the ultimate barometer of the economy. Companies don’t hire unless they are both confident and expanding, so the jobs report touches them. Consumers don’t spend unless they are working and making money, so it touches them. Inflation depends on how fast wages are growing, so it touches that, too. Basically, the jobs report sits right in the middle of everything that we as investors need to keep an eye on.

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Posted: October 5, 2017, 6:20 pm

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