Market Views

OCT 2017

US stocks again reached record highs during the third quarter of the year. The US economy continues its moderate growth path. The Federal Reserve is beginning the difficult process of unwinding the stimulative policies put in place after the financial crisis. A massive security breach renewed concerns of cyber‐crime.

JUL 2017

Stock prices continued a steady, low volatility, march higher in the second quarter. With valuation levels somewhat above average, investors may be too complacent. The Federal Reserve seems intent on increasing short-term interest rates even in the face of very low inflation and economic growth. The eventual transition from the current low interest rate period to more normal rates may be painful for less-cautious investors but will likely lead to a period of stronger productivity and economic growth.

APR 2017

US stocks continued their strong performance into 2017 and ended the first quarter up 6.1%. Short term interest rates rose while longer rates were generally flat. In March the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate another 1/4 of 1% to a range of 0.75 to 1%. Clients are asking us: Why has the stock market done so well?

JAN 2017

US stocks closed 2016 near record highs. Economic growth picked up in the latter part of the year and expectations are high for new pro-growth policies from Congress. Market volatility may rise as actual legislation is hammered out. Investors should stay the course.

OCT 2016

US stocks produced attractive but uneven returns in the first nine months of 2016. Longer term interest rates declined, while shorter term rates increased modestly. Many developed nations continue to have sovereign debt trading at negative yields. Low global rates have pushed some investors to “reach for yield.”

JUL 2016

Challenged by weak economic growth and political uncertainties, global equity markets generally produced modest gains or lost ground in the first half of 2016. Longer term interest rates continued to decline. Britain’s referendum in favor of leaving the European Union surprised the financial markets. Investors must remain disciplined during this period of economic uncertainty and difficult markets.

APR 2016

In the first quarter US stocks went on a wild ride, dropping 10% by mid-February then recovering to end the quarter just barely in positive territory. The stock market turmoil was one reason the Federal Reserve slowed its plan to raise short term interest rates. Most global economies are still growing slowly. US payrolls continue to expand at a healthy pace, and the consumer appears to be in good shape. The aging of the baby boomers is a secular trend that may reduce long term economic growth.

JAN 2016

US stocks in 2015 had a bumpy sideways ride but fared better than most other markets. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time since the 2008 recession but rates still remain at exceptionally low levels. Most global economies remain mired in slow growth trajectories. The US consumer appears to be on solid footings. We address a few client questions regarding oil prices, interest rates and more.

Special Topics

Prenuptial Agreements

In the course of our careers we have had numerous conversations with clients and their children about the advisability of a prenuptial (also known as premarital or ante nuptial) agreement. Often these conversations were after an engagement was announced and a wedding date set, and the client or child of the client was unaware of the concept of such an agreement and found the conversation uncomfortable.

Paying for College

The annual cost of attending many private colleges now approaches or exceeds $60,000. While this cost will be reduced for many families through needs-based scholarships and tuition discounts, families with accumulated financial assets will spend close to the full amount. Here are six basic approaches to saving and paying for college.

Avoiding Inheritance Mistakes

A substantial inheritance can have a life changing financial impact: if handled wisely, the elusive goals of financial security and a comfortable future retirement may become attainable. But sudden wealth can sometimes be overwhelming and, if not guarded carefully, can easily be eroded or destroyed. Avoiding the following common mistakes is key to your future financial wellbeing after receiving a substantial inheritance.