Year 7 Of A Bull Market: Three Key Questions You Should Consider (Jun 10, 2015)

It’s always important to evaluate your investment structure, and perhaps more so today, as the U.S. equity markets are now in their seventh year of a bull market cycle. This is not the longest or greatest bull market in history, but it is now the S&P 500’s third longest and fourth strongest bull market since 1929. It’s also well beyond the averages. This means it might be a good time to take stock of your stock market exposure and ask yourself three key questions.

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Winds Of Change: The Rising U.S. Dollar (Apr 9, 2015)

So far, 2015 marks a distinct reversal in U.S. market dominance as large-cap stocks floundered while international stocks thrived. The S&P 500 index and the Dow Industrial Average experienced significant up and down days, but ultimately moved nowhere.

What happened?

Largely, a dramatic rise in the U.S. Dollar, placing our companies at a competitive disadvantage.

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The Fed Opens An Uncertain Door To Rate Hikes (Mar 19, 2015)

Investors closely eyed the Federal Reserve (the Fed) this week, looking for indications of the first Fed funds rate increase since 2008.

The federal funds rate is the key driver for all types of interest rates and varies depending upon the strength of the economy. It sets the bar for bond prices, mortgages, loan rates, investments, real estate valuations, and so much more. As expected, the Fed removed the word “patient” from its policy statement, thereby opening the door to higher interest rates in the near-term.

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Oil And Troubled Waters (Jan 13, 2015)

2014 was a banner year for the S&P 500 and the Dow Industrial Average as both indices set new records.

While the celebrations were joyous, they were also lonely when we look broadly across the investment markets. Smaller US companies posted meager returns after trending flat to negative for much of the year. International stocks had a less favorable outcome, ending down for the year in the wake of a global economic slowdown.

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Emerging Global Risks (Oct 9, 2014)

Our domestic economy enjoyed a number of growth achievements in the third quarter, but investment results were mixed, with more negative results than positive in the wake of troubling global developments. The S&P 500 and the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index managed to post modest advancements of 0.62% and 0.17%, respectively. However, a far longer list of asset classes retreated, including US small-cap stocks down -7.36% and international equities down -5.27%, along with declines in real estate and commodities. The strongest sectors of the quarter were health care and technology. Energy and utility stocks fared worst.

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A Sea Of Green (Aug 1, 2014)

Investment markets painted a sea of green through the first half of the year as all major asset classes (stocks, bonds, commodities and real estate) were in positive territory. Stocks posted several new highs, despite advancing at a slower pace than 2013. The ‘surprise’ investment was bonds, which rallied as the 10-year Treasury rate dropped from 3% at year-end to 2.5% as of June 30th, rewarding bond owners at a time when many expected rising interest rates. Investors who remained in the markets have enjoyed positive absolute returns and an unusual level of market tranquility, offering a pleasant start to summer.

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Changing Investment Climates: From Weather To World Politics (Mar 31, 2014)

After a stellar year for the stock market in 2013, the first quarter ended largely unchanged, yet with a fair amount of volatility along the way.

Stocks eked out modest gains, allowing the extended bull market to celebrate its fifth birthday in March, making this the sixth longest bull market since 1928. Bonds posted the greatest returns as investor confidence began to wane, causing flight into the safety of Treasuries. Bonds surged 1.8% in the first quarter, reflecting investor fatigue towards growth in the midst of Fed tapering, one of the worst winters in history and geopolitical uncertainty in the Ukraine that resurrected coldwar tensions with Russia.

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The Top Three Investment Headlines of 2013 (Dec 31, 2013)

U.S. stocks dominated investment returns in 2013 as the S&P 500 index posted a 30% return, the strongest since 1997. Investors rejoiced in continued economic recovery as well as continued easy money policies extended by the Fed.

It was a year when U.S. stock markets maintained positive year-to-date returns on every trading day of the year, following an almost perfect upward trajectory in the fifth year of a bull market.

Returns elsewhere were more mixed.

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The Federal Reserve And The Federal Government (Sep 30, 2013)

A strong year in the US extended in the third quarter as both the US stock market and household net worth set new all-time highs. Fortunately, the good news didn’t stop there. Previously sluggish international stocks staged a strong rally, climbing a handsome 9.6% for the quarter. Bonds also posted positive returns as interest rate pressures began to subside. It was generally a quarter of good news, with one big zinger at the end: the US government shutdown, which perpetuates as of the writing of this commentary. SageVest Wealth Management explores a number of surprises that emerged in recent months, positive signals looking forward, and a few meaningful short-term risks that the fourth quarter entails.

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Discussing Bonds: Shaken, Not Stirred (Jun 30, 2013)

June brought a bumpy landing to the second quarter as the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) signaled likely tapering in its bond buying program, and news from China raised liquidity concerns for the second largest world economy. US stocks,  the starlets of 2013, managed to retain significant YTD returns. Dividend paying stocks retreated as bond yields became more attractive, but US stocks on the whole remained rather resilient. Looking elsewhere, returns turned negative among international stocks (largely emerging markets), bonds and commodities alike.

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