The third quarter certainly had its fair share of stress for investors. As the quarter came to a close, it was clear the federal government would undergo a partial shutdown on October 1. As if that was not enough, the debt ceiling deadline loomed. There was concern the federal government might default on Treasury bond principal and interest payments or other financial commitments if Congress and the White House failed to act before October 17… …Read More.
Interest rates have risen significantly in 2013 with the five-year Treasury rate up 0.67 percent through the end of the second quarter. To put this increase in perspective, from the end of 1962 through 2012, there were 17 other years when interest rates increased this much or more over an entire year. The recent increase in interest rates has led to questions about why they have risen so substantially and what the implications are… …Read More.
After the bear markets of 2000–2002 and 2008, we seem to have entered an era in which investors wonder whether a market collapse is right around every corner, even following new market highs. The S&P 500 Index achieved a new high at the end of the first quarter, closing at 1,569 after beginning the year at 1,426, but has experienced considerable volatility surrounding the events in Boston. So, is it reasonable to fear a severe market downturn given this generally good performance in tandem with recent events? …Read More.
With the eleventh hour passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, some might think we have put the fiscal cliff behind us. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While the federal government has temporarily suspended the debt limit until May, without government action the mandatory spending cuts associated with the fiscal cliff will begin in March. With this continued level of uncertainty, it might seem like an unnerving time to remain invested and tempting to try to outguess the market… …Read More.
For the majority of 2012, events both economic and political have left Americans with more questions than answers. Most investors would agree that recent times have been fraught with uncertainty. How should we approach the uncertainty associated with financial matters, such as what will tax rates be in 2013, or when and how will the Eurozone crisis be resolved? Investors can approach this from three different perspectives. …Read More.
The financial and economic environment of the past few years has been challenging. To name just a few headline-grabbing items, investors have had to stare down a ratings downgrade of U.S. Treasury bonds by Standard & Poor’s, the European debt crisis (see sidebar on this page), high unemployment report after high unemployment report and very low rates of interest on bond investments. With all of these stories, which are incessantly focused on negative developments, it can be easy for investors to miss the good news. With the turbulent financial markets of 2008 and early 2009 now several years past, we can begin to put these developments in context. …Read More.
Last year was challenging for globally diversified stock portfolios. While the S&P 500 Index was up 2.1 percent in 2011, the MSCI EAFE Index, which is basically the international equivalent of the S&P 500, was down 12.1 percent. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index was down 18.4 percent. …Read More.