Month In Review: January 31st, 2015

Markets in January had to reconcile several high profile headlines and increased volatility.  Most headlines emanated from Europe this month including a bond buying (QE) program by the ECB, a surprise currency policy shift by the Swiss national bank (SNB), and a victory by Euroskeptic party, Syriza, in Greece.

The announcement of an opened ended QE program (€60b per month) in Europe was the most important development impacting markets. International stocks and European sovereign debt both posted gains on the month ...

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Month In Review: December 31st, 2014

December 31st, 2014

The big theme in the final month of 2014 was the continued price collapse in the energy markets with much speculation about the wide range of drivers and implications. Oil dropped another $13 (nearly 20%) in December and finished nearly 47% off its high on the year.  Ultimately both supply and demand factors have contributed to the bear market in energy.  Economist Rudiger Dornbusch famously stated, “In economics things take longer to happen that you think they will, ...

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Month in Review: October 31st, 2014

October 31st, 2014

October was anything but boring.   After falling 8% month to date through October 15th, the bulls came charging back into the S&P 500 with a gain of nearly 11%. The DJIA saw triple digit moves in 16 of 23 trading days as volatility was pronounced. The ECB began the month underwhelming investors with what was perceived as a weak response to anemic conditions in Europe.  However, growth and Ebola concerns in the U.S. began to fade mid‐month with ...

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Month in Review: September 30, 2014

September lived up to its historical reputation as one of the worst months of the year. World events, lower global growth trajectory, Fed policy, and recent disappointing economic data combined for a tough ending to the third quarter. Stocks fell globally in September, particularly smaller capitalization and emerging markets such as Brazil (-19.2%), Turkey (-12.1%), Australia (-11.4%), and China (-6.4%). Japan and the U.S. were the best geographical performers while Latin America and Pacific ex-Japan lagged. ...

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Month in Review: August 31, 2014

In August, U.S. equities bounced back from a poor start to the month to finish with strong gains. Bonds rallied across the board as both yields and spreads fell during the month. August experienced several troublesome markers including August 1st capping the worst week in the market in two years, Vladimir Putin displaying continued aggression in the Ukraine, Europe’s economic engine sputtering, and the ever-present radical Islamists drumbeat of insanity.

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The Most Important Piece of the Estate Plan Puzzle

Written by Christy Barton of the Barton Law Firm, PLC

What is the most important estate planning instrument you will ever sign? Most would answer “a Will” or “a living trust agreement” and either or both of those answers would often be correct – but not always. As our experience has taught us, the most indispensable instrument in your estate planning toolbox may prove to be a properly crafted durable power of attorney.

Though most planners focus on helping clients reduce death ...

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Month in Review: July 31, 2014

The month of July moved along in relatively benign fashion with light summer volumes and no material economic surprises, until the last day of the month. On July 31st, large caps, small caps, Treasuries, oil, credit, gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and copper all traded lower. Only the USD escaped the volatility. No clear fundamental or technical metric was a clear culprit and economic data remained on a positive trajectory over the course of the month.

Overall, we saw equities decline across ...

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Week in Review: August 1, 2014

A week that started off relatively benign turned south in a hurry as a confluence of events tested risk markets globally. Equity markets sold off globally with European stocks getting hit particularly hard. The S&P 500, DJIA, NASDAQ, and Russell 2000 all broke below their 50 day moving averages this week. Bond yields and credit spreads moved higher on inflation concerns and risk aversion respectively.

It was a busy week including an FOMC meeting, a large amount of economic data (31 ...

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Week in Review: July 25, 2014

An up then down week in the equity markets ended with most indices finishing flat to ‐0.50% on the week. Geopolitics was front and center again this week but unlike last week, didn’t materialize in any meaningful volatility. It seems that central banks have desensitized markets to a certain extent as the downing of a passenger airliner, escalating violence in the Gaza Strip, a looming sovereign debt default in Argentina, and financial woes at a Portuguese bank have yet to ...

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