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.

Recent Supreme Court Rulings May Boost Munis

My name is Sam Millette, and I’m a fixed income analyst on the Investment Management and Research team here at Commonwealth. I focus on analyzing individual municipal bonds (munis) for our advisors and their clients. As you are likely aware, munis are primarily bonds that have been issued by local municipal governments to finance public investments. Income from these bonds is often exempt from federal and state income tax, which makes them attractive investments for high-net-worth individuals in a high tax bracket.

Posted: August 17, 2018, 4:13 pm

Brexit: Deal or No Deal?

Today’s post comes from Anu Gaggar of Commonwealth’s Investment Research team. Take it away, Anu! —Brad

Author: Anuradha Gaggar, CFA
Posted: August 16, 2018, 5:33 pm

Book Review: The Absent Superpower, by Peter Zeihan

I will be away with my family in Iceland for the next 10 days and will be turning over the blog to my colleagues for that time. We have some very interesting pieces lined up, and I expect you will find them both entertaining and useful. But before I go, here is one last post—a book review!

Posted: August 15, 2018, 6:49 pm

The Real Lesson from Turkey’s Crisis

As Turkey’s crisis rumbles on, investors are on the watch for signs of contagion. Emerging markets in general are getting hit, so contagion remains a possibility. Still, there are reasons to believe the crisis will burn out in Turkey itself.

Posted: August 14, 2018, 4:25 pm

Monday Update: Inflation Moderates, But Still Above Fed Targets

Last week’s data was all about prices and whether inflation is picking up. It doesn’t seem to be, in any significant way. This week, we'll see a wide range of data, including housing reports and retail sales.

Posted: August 13, 2018, 5:05 pm

Quick Takes from the Financial News: Inflation and Turkey

To end the week, I have a couple of quick takes on some hot topics from the financial news. Let’s start with inflation.

Posted: August 10, 2018, 5:30 pm

Monthly Market Risk Update: August 2018

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 August? Let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

Posted: August 9, 2018, 4:26 pm

Economic Signs and Portents

I am reasonably convinced that the economy remains solid—although my conviction is softening (see yesterday’s Economic Risk Factor Update)—and that the market is more likely headed higher than lower through the end of the year. But there have been an increasing number of events that, while not really quantifiable, are making me go hmm. So, in the interest of giving some time to anecdotal data and not just the quantifiable stuff, here we go with some economic signs and portents.

Posted: August 8, 2018, 7:01 pm

Economic Risk Factor Update: August 2018

For the first time in quite a while, we saw disappointing news in the monthly reports for two major data points. First, job growth weakened significantly. Although the prior months were revised upward—more than making up for the shortfall—the question remains as to whether the labor market is getting closer to tapped out. Second, business confidence pulled back significantly. It remains expansionary, but this drop is an unusual move and raises the question of whether the tariffs are finally starting to have an effect.

Posted: August 7, 2018, 5:25 pm

Monday Update: Consumers Strong, Business Confidence Weakens

Last week was a busy one for economic news, from consumer confidence to the employment report. This week’s data will be all about prices—and whether inflation is picking up.

Posted: August 6, 2018, 5:59 pm

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