Sectors: A tale of American Culture

The makeup of the S&P 500 reflects the U.S. overall big-cap public market, and while it’s relevance to investing is well known, it is also a reflection on the changes in U.S. culture. Last December Facebook was added to the S&P 500, signaling the importance of social media. The prior month J.C. Penney was removed, Read more […]

Long and Short of It: Munis Outshine Equities in 2014 as Demand Holds

Demand for munis continues to outpace supply and the result is the muni market is reflecting strength from the five year maturity range on out.  On the shorter end of the curve, five year non-callable municipal bonds tracked in the S&P AMT-Free Municipal Series 2019 Index have returned 2.19% just about where the S&P 500 Read more […]

Investing is Simple…Really?

Investing, for some can be a pretty cumbersome task. Surprisingly, many professionals may also confess to being lazy in the “investing” department. Very often investment houses enthuse the dormant investors with a rendition of a very popular slogan, “You are working hard for money, but is your money working hard for you?” It’s the same Read more […]

Is Climate Change Impacting Your Grocery Bill?

It doesn’t take a weatherman to point out the crazy weather we have experienced in the recent past. There are more severe droughts, storms, freezes and heat that many blame on climate change. The National Climate Assessment, that will drive Barack Obama’s environmental agenda, notes that average temperature in the US has increased by about 1.5F (0.8C) since 1895, Read more […]

The Fed Views a Stronger Economy, Preferred and Investment Grade Corporate Bond Indices Going Strong

Yields on the 10-year Treasury continued lower last week as measured by the S&P/BGCantor Current 10 Year U.S. Treasury Index.  Friday’s 2.59% is one basis point off from this year’s low of 2.58% of February 3rd.  The index recorded a 2.59% in spite of the fact that the April U.S. Unemployment rate reached a low Read more […]

Floating Rate Asset Classes

In the weekend Wall Street Journal (May 3, 2014) there is an informative article entitled “The Risks of Floating Rate Funds”.  The article does a great job of delving into the risks of these types of structures and is quite timely as the low rate environment continues. The investor appetite for floating rate assets while facing Read more […]

U.S. Municipal Bonds: What a Difference a Year Makes!

Data as of May 1, 2014 2013 was a not a fun year for municipal bond investors with bond prices and returns being pushed down by events in Detroit and Puerto Rico. 2014 is a different story, demand has shifted back to municipals as the S&P Municipal Bond Index has recorded a 4.91% total return, Read more […]

The Fed and GDP

On Wednesday morning the US Bureau of Economic Analysis reported disappointing numbers for first quarter GDP with real growth a scant 0.1% at annual rates – essentially zero.  The same day the Fed reported on its two day policy meeting stating that the economy continues to improve and, as a result, the reductions in quantitative Read more […]

Another Fuel In The Fire: The Base Case

Finally, in April, commodities got hot enough to turn around even the base metals (also known as the industrial metals,) up 1.8% for the month. Although this comeback is not driven by the main supply shocks we are experiencing in energy and agriculture, it is fundamental in nature.  China’s State Reserves Bureau (SRB) is now buying copper Read more […]

Is Gold A Good Hedge For Your Home?

Gold, traditionally, has been perceived as a safe haven that investors flock to during periods of uncertainty and high inflation. The question we are interested in examining is whether or not the safe-haven argument holds true for protecting against homes’ falling prices. Home prices are generally considered a leading economic indicator since a drop in Read more […]