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By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/30/2013

MarketMinder's View: There isn’t a trend to buck—September may be the only month with average negative returns over time, but the average is skewed by a handful of really bad years like 1931 (-29.6%), 1937 (-13.8%) and 2008 (-8.9%). Toss those, and September is much more benign.

By , The New York Times, 08/30/2013

MarketMinder's View: The “fragility of modern markets” decried here is fiction. There were more interruptions in the period before high-tech, computerized exchanges—often, for paperwork. For more, see our 8/29/2013 cover story, “Squirrelly Computers?

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/30/2013

MarketMinder's View: Considering how many budget deals have died over the past three years, markets likely aren’t surprised by the latest stalemate. Budget bickering is the norm in Washington—but, looking ahead, it shouldn’t prevent a last minute (or retroactive, if need be) compromise on the 108th debt ceiling increase. For more, see our 8/28/2013 cover story, “The Return of the Debt Ceiling: Part 108.”

By , Associated Press, 08/30/2013

MarketMinder's View: It seems awfully premature to extrapolate weak Q3 growth from three lackluster July data points, especially when fundamentals point broadly to a still-strong private sector. This rather skeptical take is another sign sentiment is still nowhere near uniformly optimistic, implying this bull has room to run.

By , American Enterprise Institute, 08/30/2013

MarketMinder's View: While this description of the current economy seems too dour—household wealth and consumer spending are back at all-time highs and growing—the larger fallacy, in our view, is the suggestion the Fed should be tasked with identifying “speculative bubbles.” History shows the Fed is rather terrible at this. Exhibit A: The Great Depression, when the Fed contracted the money supply. Recent attempts, like a four-years-early dot com bubble call, have proven equally off-target.

By , The Telegraph, 08/30/2013

MarketMinder's View: Domestic production is declining, and imported natural gas prices are rising—the UK pays over twice as much as US firms and households do. This is why the UK should benefit tremendously once shale production starts in earnest. Higher domestic supply should reduce prices, freeing up cash for other endeavors. 

By , Associated Press, 08/30/2013

MarketMinder's View: In the immediate aftermath of China’s flash boom, securities regulators said all trade orders placed would stand. Now, however, authorities have announced investors can sue Everbright for any losses incurred as a result of trades placed during the heightened volatility. This seemingly haphazard approach to regulation likely creates uncertainty for Chinese traders—just one example of the immaturity of Chinese capital markets.

By , The Telegraph, 08/30/2013

MarketMinder's View: Another sign of incremental improvement in UK lending markets post-QE. However, small- and mid-sized business lending turned negative again, potentially indicating regulatory headwinds remain. For more, see our 7/30/2013 cover story, “Let It Be.”

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/30/2013

MarketMinder's View: This argument is based on the assumption recent weakness in consumer confidence surveys is a worrisome indicator. Yet history shows confidence gauges have no predictive power—they show how people feel at one moment in time. Emotions change on a dime, and people often say one thing and do another.

By , Associated Press, 08/30/2013

MarketMinder's View: Once again, rising energy costs—a byproduct of high fuel imports and a weak yen—were responsible for the CPI rise. Excluding energy, prices fell again, further evidence a weak yen hasn’t yet been a net benefit and isn’t the answer to all of Japan’s economic issues.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/30/2013

MarketMinder's View: Socialism is baked into Portugal’s constitution, preventing leaders from enacting some of the measures necessary to comply with bailout terms. The opposition has vowed to challenge additional austerity measures in court, likely creating additional roadblocks to economic reform. This is emblematic of some of the many political challenges the eurozone still faces and will likely have to deal with for some time.

By , Associated Press, 08/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: While imports’ downward revision isn’t great news, imports still rose. Moreover, upward revisions to business investment, housing and consumer spending are further evidence of the fundamentals underpinning US economic strength.

By , The Telegraph, 08/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: For the end of QE to be a material negative for Emerging Markets currencies, QE itself would have had to be hugely positive. Yet data show it hasn’t been a significant driver—most Emerging Markets currencies didn’t strengthen much after QE began. Many hovered within a given range, and some even fell. Those that have weakened lately—namely India, Indonesia and Brazil—started falling long before taper talk began.

By , Bloomberg, 08/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: A sensible take on why folks shouldn’t fret July’s drop in new home sales—the many fundamentals driving housing’s resurgence remain in place.

By , CNBC, 08/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: That stocks have broken through some allegedly bearish arbitrary thresholds says nothing about what they do from here—charts are backward-looking. Recent volatility doesn’t alter the many fundamentals driving this bull market.

By , Associated Press, 08/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: Like many other Emerging Markets, the Philippines slowed a bit in Q2 but still grew at an enviable rate. Even if Emerging Markets growth slows further from here (as many fear), the region should still contribute significantly to global growth—a likely market tailwind.

By , Bloomberg, 08/29/2013

MarketMinder's View: While Spain isn’t out of the woods yet, incremental economic improvement, led by exports, suggest conditions are starting to stabilize—which holds true for the broader eurozone as well. For more, see our 7/24/2013 cover story, “¡Viva España!

By , Bloomberg Businessweek, 08/28/2013

MarketMinder's View: Yes, Congress is gridlocked—but gridlock doesn’t mean nothing happens. It just means nothing extreme happens. Debt ceiling compromise isn’t extreme—it’s run of the mill. That, plus the fact most debt ceiling concerns have been widely known for eons likely mitigates meaningful market-moving surprise. For more, see our 08/28/2013 commentary, “The Return of the Debt Ceiling: Part 108.”

By , AEIdeas, 08/28/2013

MarketMinder's View: Which wouldn’t be possible without the US’s booming shale revolution—and without shale exploration, jobs, businesses and wealth created by the boom wouldn’t be adding to the overall US economy like they recently have.

By , Reuters, 08/28/2013

MarketMinder's View: As expected, Dodd Frank’s “skin in the game” rules look likely to be relaxed—a good thing, in our view. Requiring banks to keep a stake in debt they securitize likely restricts their potential to make new loans—it keeps money on the sidelines instead of at work in the greater economy.

By , Reuters, 08/28/2013

MarketMinder's View: “Every pound currently held in liquid assets [at banks] is a pound that could be lent to the real economy.” We agree: Relaxing banks’ cash-holding requirements would be a positive for UK loan growth. But depending on when the BoE moves the deadline for full Basel III implementation, the impact might be minimal.

By , Fox Business, 08/28/2013

MarketMinder's View: In our view, it would be better if the Fed stopped purchasing assets altogether, considering QE is contractionary and disincentivizes banks from lending—and, bank lending likely helps the housing market more than the Fed’s purchasing mortgage-backed securities.

By , The Telegraph, 08/28/2013

MarketMinder's View: Yes, Portugal’s GDP is still contracting on a y/y basis, the country still faces headwinds, and it could rely on foreign aid for a while longer. But that doesn’t take away from the fact Portugal has made much progress in the last few years—as a (albeit potentially brief) return to growth in Q2 shows—something investors should keep in mind.

By , The Yomiuri Shimbun, 08/28/2013

MarketMinder's View: While we’d love to see this proposal pass, it seems unlikely—specific Japanese industries are heavily protected, and removing tariffs on certain imports (like rice) is likely highly unpopular. Though, recognizing tariffs’ negative impact on trade and calling to remove them is notable.

By , Bloomberg, 08/28/2013

MarketMinder's View: It’s possible rising (but still historically low) interest rates could impact the housing market some, but they’re unlikely to derail housing’s recovery. Monthly data are volatile, and many other factors support the sector—like existing home sales, which were up strong in July.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: An excellent, well-reasoned take on an oft-overlooked potential risk factor. In our view, the economy—and financial markets—would fare much better without the Fed and other central banks’ current micromanaging “macroprudential” policies.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: Investors likely needn’t fret the impending debt ceiling. Not even two years ago, Congress debated the same issue and raised it last minute—as they’ve done 107 times before. While heated politicking might spook folks as we move towards the mid-October deadline, history shows the long-term impact is nil. For more, see 5/20/2013 cover story, “Return of the Debt Ceiling.”

By , Associated Press, 08/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: Consumer confidence surveys aren’t terribly reliable market indicators—they’re backward-looking and capture how folks feel at one moment—but this is one of many indicators sentiment is improving a bit. Over time, as sentiment improves and investors gradually realize reality is better than expected, they gain confidence in firms’ future profitability and bid prices up.

By , The Telegraph, 08/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: While Brazil’s currency intervention could very well prove feckless, this argument seemingly confuses the cause of Brazil’s woes. Evidence strongly suggests they don’t stem from possible QE tapering. Rather, years of policy shortfalls, like protectionism or infrastructure bottlenecks and a lack of competitiveness, have made Brazil a less attractive investment destination—hence Brazil’s present liquidity issues and vulnerability to investors’ whims. Jitters over QE-tapering ghost stories merely bring these longstanding problems to light. For more, see Elisabeth Dellinger’s 7/19/2013 column, “Will Emerging Markets Throw a Taper Tantrum?

By , Reuters, 08/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: Home prices increased 12.1% y/y in June—further evidence of housing’s ongoing improvement, which is a small but noteworthy economic tailwind.

By , The Economist, 08/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: As this shows, Indonesia’s economy has many structural issues, including nationalist policies that likely hamper long-term growth prospects. Limiting commodity exports and investment opportunities, for example, can impact foreign direct investment—an important ingredient in a Southeast Asian economies. As with Brazil, taper terrors are merely exposing the real issues facing Indonesian markets.

By , Bloomberg, 08/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: Rising Spanish entrepreneurship improves the country’s chances for economic improvement over the longer term. This isn’t an instant fix, but it does show how, as economic reforms take hold, private sector growth can offset painful public sector cuts.

By , Financial Times, 08/27/2013

MarketMinder's View: In our view, there is no be-all-end-all solution for preventing potential future crises—including higher capitalization ratios. Plus, the EU bank regulation developments described here could create further uncertainty, potentially weighing on European Financials.

By , The Telegraph, 08/26/2013

MarketMinder's View: We agree India would greatly benefit from infrastructure and logistics improvements, particularly those brought by simply allowing foreign retailers and wholesalers to enter the country. India has a major problem with hunger and it’s not because they don’t grow enough food. They simply can’t distribute it effectively. More modern infrastructure would mean fewer wasted goods and more income for farmers—a tailwind for economic development.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/26/2013

MarketMinder's View: Yes, today’s Durable Goods Orders weren’t exactly stellar and wage growth has been relatively slow through this expansion, but we’d suggest this is only one of very few negative data points. Consider: US retail sales are strong and still rising, corporate earnings are overall growing and beating expectations, manufacturing and services PMIs are growing, rail and air freight traffic are rising and business investment is near all-time highs. For more, see Elisabeth Dellinger’s 8/22/2013 column, “62.5 Reasons to Be Bullish.”

By , The Korea Times, 08/26/2013

MarketMinder's View: Events here bear watching as Korea works to implement further financial reforms after preceding reforms have already proved successful.

By , CNBC, 08/26/2013

MarketMinder's View: All the events outlined here have been known possibilities for a while now—and some are even misunderstood positives, in our view, like QE ending. Ultimately, there is no seasonality to stocks. The myth September is a bad month for stocks is no more than a coincidence, and it isn’t a coincidence we’d bank on for any of the factors noted here.

By , China Daily, 08/26/2013

MarketMinder's View: Reforming China’s tax structure isn’t at the top of our list of needed reforms, but recognizing high and complex corporate taxes detract from growth is an incremental step in the right direction. A story worth keeping an eye on.

By , CNBC, 08/26/2013

MarketMinder's View: Markets are inherently volatile, and flash crashes like this are always possible. But in our view, investors needn’t pay much attention to short-term movements when investing over long periods of time. For more on flash booms and busts, see our 8/21/2013 cover story, “Flash Bang Boom!

By , Associated Press, 08/26/2013

MarketMinder's View: While we agree the government shouldn’t ignore deficits in budgeting, we’d suggest there is ample time to adjust policy or for the economy to grow in the interim. There are myriad problems with making long-term forecasts. For example, budgetary issues involve many different factors, like political and fiscal policy changes, to name a few.

By , CNNMoney, 08/23/2013

MarketMinder's View: Glitches or no, markets have always been volatile in the short-term—that technology occasionally contributes isn’t really a game changer. More importantly, for long-term investors, short-term hiccups become tiny blips over time. For more, see our 8/21/2013 cover story, “Flash Bang Boom!

By , The Telegraph, 08/23/2013

MarketMinder's View: It’s also further evidence of the UK’s post-QE acceleration. The breakdown of Q2 GDP growth, released today, showed business investment grew for the second straight quarter—the first consecutive rise since 2007.

By , The New York Times, 08/23/2013

MarketMinder's View: Congress has raised the debt ceiling 107 times before, and they likely do it again—though heavy politicking beforehand wouldn’t surprise. For more see our 5/20/2013 cover story, “The Return of the Debt Ceiling.”

By , The Telegraph, 08/23/2013

MarketMinder's View: Brazil’s efforts to defend its currency bear watching—forex reserves are dwindling, which could erode investor confidence and compound the country’s existing problems (which, we’d add, have much more to do with years of misguided fiscal policy than potential QE tapering).

By , EUbusiness, 08/23/2013

MarketMinder's View: It seems Ukraine’s assumption it had averted a Crimean trade war was a touch premature, as Russian President Putin is threatening retaliatory protectionist measures if Kiev inks a trade deal with the EU instead of joining Russia’s Customs Union. Higher trade barriers in Eastern Europe wouldn’t be grand, but freer trade between Ukraine and the EU would likely offset the impact on global trade, keeping market impact minimal.

By , Bloomberg, 08/23/2013

MarketMinder's View: Expensive imported energy is a big headwind for Japanese firms, and restarting nuclear plants was Abe’s preferred solution. Continued troubles at Fukushima make these plans iffy.

By , China Daily, 08/23/2013

MarketMinder's View: It seems the potential end of QE isn’t deterring foreign investors from China, despite what many presume.

By , The Yomiuri Shimbun, 08/23/2013

MarketMinder's View: No doubt Japanese industry would benefit if smaller firms banded together to compete with the keiretsu conglomerates, but this plan seems to amount to the government picking winners and losers. This could fall well short of investors’ high expectations for Abenomics’ third arrow.

By , Bloomberg, 08/23/2013

MarketMinder's View: Business investment grew for the first time in three quarters—another sign of eurozone stabilization.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: While we don’t agree with all of this, we think the central point is sensible: Unlike 1997, Asian Emerging Markets today are much better equipped to deal with financial system pressures, largely due to liberalized financial markets, more developed economies and the fact foreign exchange reserves are high today compared to 1997.

By , The Washington Post, 08/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: Tapering quantitative easing (QE) likely incentivizes banks to lend more because it steepens the yield curve, increasing loan profitability. Hence, businesses access capital more easily, which they can then deploy in actually economically stimulating ways. Rather than spurring on economic growth, QE has held it back. For more, see our 08/19/2013 cover story, “The Bizarro World of QE Taper Fears.

By , The Guardian, 08/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: We wouldn’t so much characterize this as investors focusing on “good” news instead of “bad” news, but rather, investors appreciating forward-looking—not past—data. Manufacturing’s optimistic outlook impacts capital markets more than last month’s Treasury deficit. 

By , Reuters, 08/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: Two more pieces of encouraging data underlying our conviction in the widely underappreciated US economic strength: improving employment numbers (a lagging indicator) and manufacturing showing continued growth.

By , BBC News, 08/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: Led by Germany, improving business activity is another positive from the much-maligned eurozone—another sign euro crisis fears pose less of a global market headwind today.  

By , MarketWatch, 08/22/2013

MarketMinder's View: Strong US LEI—at its highest level in five years—is yet another reason we’re feeling bullish. High and rising LEI historically tends to foretell continued economic growth. For more, see Elisabeth’s Dellinger’s column, “62.5 Reasons to Be Bullish.

By , Time, 08/21/2013

MarketMinder's View: While this nicely highlights some common misperceptions about quantitative easing (QE), it likely overstates QE’s impact on earnings—yes, QE has helped firms improve their balance sheets, but top-line revenues are growing, too. When tapering starts, dour sentiment may prevail initially, but longer term, the end of QE likely spurs economic activity and pleasantly surprises markets. For more, see our 8/19/2013 cover story, “The Bizarro World of QE Taper Fears.”

By , Financial Times, 08/21/2013

MarketMinder's View: India’s current troubles seem tied more to an inverted yield curve (and long-running structural barriers to investment) than potential QE tapering. That the central bank is addressing this with policies that further invert the curve could rankle investors, compounding the existing issues.

By , Der Spiegel, 08/21/2013

MarketMinder's View: That no one's really panicking over a potential third Greek bailout shows how sentiment toward the PIIGS has improved. Further, that officials are seemingly considering aiding Greece through fiscal transfers via the EU budget rather than more loans speaks to the prevailing will to hold the eurozone together.

By , Reuters, 08/21/2013

MarketMinder's View: Despite slightly rising mortgage rates, the housing market continues improving—an incremental positive for the US economy.

By , The Telegraph, 08/21/2013

MarketMinder's View: Falling North Sea oil production is a big reason why the UK is pursuing shale fracking. Fracking in the US has uncovered enormous oil and gas potential—helping make it an oil and gas exporter, not importer. The UK (and its economy) could likewise benefit.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/21/2013

MarketMinder's View: Germany’s 18-month-high borrowing costs hardly seem indicative of a Bund sell-off or economic weakness. Rather, higher yields could be related to overall eurozone improvement, as investors are beginning to feel they have more investing options in the area.

By , The Telegraph, 08/21/2013

MarketMinder's View: After a tough last year, it appears the UK Manufacturing sector is on the up-and-up—likely another sign the UK’s recovery is underway post QE.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/20/2013

MarketMinder's View: Events here bear watching as President Enrique Peño Nieto works to overcome political barriers and implement important energy reforms—potential long-term positives for Mexico and one of many recent underappreciated developments in Emerging Markets. For more, see Elisabeth Dellinger’s 8/15/2013 column, “What to Do about Mexico’s Energy Reforms.”

By , Xinhua, 08/20/2013

MarketMinder's View: History has overwhelmingly shown free trade—not protectionism—can better “stabilize the economy, improve economic transformation and provide healthy growth” by allowing more goods to cross more borders. Thus reducing or abolishing tariffs, rather than using them as levers to boost certain industries, would likely benefit China—and stocks—more in the long run. For more, see our 7/9/2013 cover story, “Free Trade!

By , The Korea Times, 08/20/2013

MarketMinder's View: It seems Korea’s attempts to enable small- and midsized-businesses (SMEs) to compete and grow have had the opposite of their intended effect. Investors who saw these plans as surefire positives when they were announced in 2011 likely ended up disappointed—just another example of why investors should be mindful of economic policies’ potential unintended consequences.

By , Reuters, 08/20/2013

MarketMinder's View: India isn’t without problems, but in our view, a possible Fed taper isn’t a big negative for that nation. While it is perilous to pin volatility on any one thing, the impact of taper talk on India’s currency, like the impact on Emerging Markets stocks, seems more consistent with typical correction ghost stories. The real issue for India is what likely makes it more vulnerable to capital flight—namely, its antiquated capital markets, which include strict limits on foreign investment.

By , Bloomberg, 08/20/2013

MarketMinder's View: In our view, determining just how much reserve capital is “enough” is rather arbitrary. The 2008 financial crisis was a product of several converging factors—chief among them the application of mark-to-market accounting rules to illiquid assets—and higher capital ratios likely wouldn’t have had a significant impact. Plus, the uncertainty over which banks have shortfalls could (unnecessarily) weigh on Financials sentiment—just as it did on UK Financials when the BOE took a similar tack. For more, see our 3/28/2013 cover story, “Double Secret British Probation.”

By , The Telegraph, 08/19/2013

MarketMinder's View: While we’d suggest this goes a bit too far, requiring higher capital ratios leaves banks with less to lend—likely a headwind for economic growth.

By , The Telegraph, 08/19/2013

MarketMinder's View: We’re not ones to obsess over trade deficits—we generally think total trade is a better indicator of trade’s actual economic effect—but there is one very interesting aspect of this report. Abenomics’ yen-weakening approach is intended to buoy the economy through cheaper exports. Because Japan imports the vast majority of its (now more expensive) energy, this trickles down to increased operating costs for businesses. In July, energy bills soared despite consumption volume changing little. How’s that for stimulus?

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/19/2013

MarketMinder's View: Despite their conservative reputation, annuities, like any other investment, come with risk. As it pertains to Equity Indexed annuities, a major risk is you don’t earn enough return to finance your retirement: “Many contracts sold recently capped the annual upside at about 4% to 5%, according to advisers.” Furthermore, they’re awfully complex, as outlined here. We’d suggest investors weigh all of the facts if and when considering an annuity or other insurance product.

By , CNBC, 08/19/2013

MarketMinder's View: We have much to quibble with here. First of all, events like a possible Fed taper, German elections and a possible Japanese consumption tax increase have been widely known for some time now and thus don’t seem likely to sneak up on many. What’s more, the Fed’s tapering QE is likely a positive fundamental factor, in our view. Finally, while it can be challenging, long-term investors needn’t focus on short-term volatility.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/19/2013

MarketMinder's View: While we agree a growing manufacturing sector is one economic positive underlying the current expansion, we disagree with the notion the trade deficit tells you much of anything. Rising imports are often a sign of healthy demand—not a bad thing at all. And while it is true manufacturing employment has declined (relatively steadily since the 1940s), output is up—productivity gains brought by technology largely explain the phenomenon.  For more, see our 5/2/2013 cover story, “Manufacturing Innovation.”

By , Project Syndicate, 08/19/2013

MarketMinder's View: While we agree with the optimism about global growth prospects, we would put much more emphasis on the private sector as carrying the load. Yes, electoral, political and monetary policy decisions abound, but those are widely known. In our view, less widely appreciated is the health of the private sector—particularly in the US and UK.

By , The Telegraph, 08/16/2013

MarketMinder's View: This supposed geographic shift in gold demand likely doesn’t have much bearing on prices over time. There has always been a buyer for every seller—that more sellers happen to be in the West and more buyers in the East for now is just an interesting factoid. Besides, India has long been among the world’s biggest gold consumers (and importers).

By , EUbusiness, 08/16/2013

MarketMinder's View: Russia’s naming preferences aside, a trade war on the Crimean peninsula isn’t great news—stocks typically do best when goods and services move freely across borders. However, this localized protectionism shouldn’t much impact total global trade.

By , Der Spiegel, 08/16/2013

MarketMinder's View: While the North and Baltic Seas’ forthcoming restrictions against ships’ use of diesel fuel could be a boon to natural gas producers, they could also raise shipping costs, potentially impacting global trade. Investors should always be mindful of the winners and losers created by regulatory changes.

By , Bloomberg, 08/16/2013

MarketMinder's View: And imports rose 2.5%—another sign of a stabilizing eurozone economy. For more, see our 8/15/2013 cover story, “Welcome to the Neurozone.”

By , The Telegraph, 08/16/2013

MarketMinder's View: There isn’t much—if any—evidence the UK’s recovery is unsustainable. Many indicators point to accelerating trade and business investment—growth doesn’t rest on allegedly credit-fueled consumers alone. Especially considering loan growth is one of few lackluster UK economic data points recently.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/16/2013

MarketMinder's View: It’s a fallacy to sum up bank and household debt and approach it as though it’s an accurate representation of total indebtedness—it effectively overstates, because a consumer’s loan is a bank’s asset, which is funded by bank borrowing (consumer deposits). That said, the forthcoming Basel III capital requirements likely will strain banks and lending on the margin—with small and mid-sized banks facing the toughest road.

By , China Daily, 08/16/2013

MarketMinder's View: Yes, imported autos are expensive in China—mostly because of the 25% import tariff on cars. Reducing or abolishing the tariff, rather than trying to cap retail prices, would be a more beneficial way of reducing prices in the long run—it would foster higher trade.

By , Reuters, 08/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: The tax debate in Japan seems to be obscuring many folks to the broader picture: Japan’s crucial “third arrow” of Abenomics—economic reforms to open the economy to trade, liberalize labor markets and more—remains unfired. The tax debate is important, no doubt, but tax incentives or a corporate tax cut aren’t likely to be game-changing developments.

By , Time Magazine, 08/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: Though we agree eurozone growth in Q2 isn’t a cure-all, this seems a bit too dour to us. Growth is, after all, growth. What’s more, this seemingly misallocates the cause of troubles and challenges ahead to harsh austerity measures, rather than political uncertainty and lack of reform in the periphery. For more, see our 8/15/2013 cover story, “Welcome to the Neurozone.”

By , The Telegraph, 08/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: Strong retail sales are yet another indication the UK economy’s been doing better than many feared. The broader economic trend—accelerating UK growth—suggests Mother Nature’s not the sole cause.

By , Bloomberg, 08/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: Though just one volatile data point, jobless claims continue to lower as a number of other positive data points come to light—we expect these trends to continue as the US economy expands.

By , Bloomberg, 08/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: We agree improved infrastructure and increased foreign investment would help India’s economy, but political headwinds (like popular opposition to and restrictions on foreign investment) may get in the way of development—as they have in the past.

By , AEIdeas, 08/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: US industrial production overall was lackluster in July, but looking more closely, oil and gas extraction boomed—thanks to the US shale revolution—rising +10% y/y, “the highest level since the Federal Reserve started reporting sectoral output in 1972.”

By , MarketWatch, 08/15/2013

MarketMinder's View: If quantitative easing were the sole, principal or even secondary driver of the current bull market, we’d expect stock prices to be very detached from fundamentals like earnings. Yet there’s been little to no P/E expansion during the present bull market—stocks’ movements have been matched, at times exceeded, by earnings growth. Moreover, QE is actually contractionary policy as it discourages banks from lending by reducing net interest margins. Finally, there’s no “simple mathematical equation” for forecasting stocks.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/15/2013

MarketMinder's View:  In our view, even an incremental move away from a heavily government-supported Oil industry could have positive implications for Mexico’s economy down the line. For now, however, the policy likely has little effect on stocks.

By , BBC News, 08/14/2013

MarketMinder's View: Led by Portugal, Germany and France, the eurozone grew 0.3% in Q2. While the region still has issues to work through (e.g., implementing structural reforms) and growth isn’t uniform across all members, continued economic stabilization suggests the region isn’t the drag on global growth widely feared.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/14/2013

MarketMinder's View: Among the myriad perspectives here, the most important for investors to remember is past performance is no guarantee of future results. What did well a week, month or year ago doesn’t automatically do well moving forward—markets are forward-looking.

By , The Telegraph, 08/14/2013

MarketMinder's View: There is no evidence today’s margin levels are bearish. Historically, margin tends to rise and fall with markets—it doesn’t drive returns. Moreover, the absolute amount of margin outstanding tells you nothing—more important is the level of margin relative to total market cap. At the moment, it’s a small fraction and very low by historical standards.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/14/2013

MarketMinder's View: There isn’t much—if any—evidence suggesting the supposed wealth effect drives spending. Income is a much bigger factor, and US incomes have grown lately—more evidence of the private sector’s underappreciated strength.   

By , BBC News , 08/14/2013

MarketMinder's View: Though the impact on capital markets is likely minimal, North and South Korea’s agreement over the joint industrial zone shows how economic interest tends to trump saber-rattling—one reason saber-rattling tends not to be a big market driver in the mid to longer term.

By , Bloomberg, 08/14/2013

MarketMinder's View: Thanks to higher exports, Portugal was the fastest-growing eurozone member in Q2 with GDP rising 1.1% q/q. While one quarter does not make a recovery—and some areas of Portugal’s economy, like private investment, still appear weak—this does illustrate how reality in the eurozone periphery continues to exceed investor expectations.

By , The New York Times, 08/13/2013

MarketMinder's View: “First, diversification works over time, and no, seven months doesn’t count. When we talk about diversification working, we’re talking in terms of years, even decades. Not just days, weeks or even months.” An important lesson for long-term investors to remember.

By , CNN Money, 08/13/2013

MarketMinder's View: While bull market corrections are normal, predicting them is an exercise in futility—sharp swings in sentiment can happen suddenly and without warning. Plus, September isn’t inherently or always bad for stocks—throughout history, markets have seen many positive Septembers. That a few bad ones have brought down the average is coincidental, not causal. For more, revisit our 8/28/2009 cover story, “Stay in September.”

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/13/2013

MarketMinder's View: We agree GDP—which is subject to numerous revisions—is an imperfect measurement when it comes to gauging current economic health in this mostly sensible article. Other data, such as corporate earnings, give better indications of how well the economy is (or isn’t) doing—and are more relevant for stocks.

By , Bloomberg, 08/13/2013

MarketMinder's View: Should the proposed reforms pass, opening Mexico’s oil industry to private investment would likely provide Energy firms globally an additional source of revenue and profits—not to mention modernize production and improve energy distribution for all Mexicans. This also continues Mexico’s trend of relaxing state control across a variety of industries, which is generally positive for markets—and an example of the importance of economic reform to Emerging Markets equity returns. For more, see our 3/13/2013 cover story, “Losing Monopoly.”

By , USA Today, 08/13/2013

MarketMinder's View: Two quibbles here. One, stock momentum doesn’t exist: Stocks don’t rise higher simply because they’ve been rising. And two, sentiment surveys aren’t predictive—they show how investors feel at one particular moment, which is typically based on what’s just happened and can change on a daily basis.   

By , Reuters, 08/13/2013

MarketMinder's View: This marks the fourth consecutive month of rising retail sales—another sign of underlying US economic strength.

By , The Telegraph, 08/13/2013

MarketMinder's View: While Europe likely takes some time to work through its many issues, this seemingly overstates the case. What’s more important for investors is that while eurozone members may spend years squabbling over deeper integration, all remain committed to preventing the currency’s near-term disorderly collapse. 

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: Master limited partnerships can offer favorable returns, but more often than not, these returns are diminished by complicated tax implications and fees. As with all investments, we agree investors should “weigh the pros and cons of each option” and consider their overall goals and investment objectives.

By , BusinessWeek, 08/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: Yes, Japan’s debt load is big—but when scaled properly, it’s much smaller than this piece suggests. Gross public debt is ¥1 quadrillion (206% of GDP), but net debt, which excludes debt owned by the government and BOJ is only ¥815 trillion (166% of GDP). Exclude debt held by state-owned Japan Post, and the tally falls to ¥676 trillion (142%) of GDP. And thanks to ultra-low interest rates, total debt service costs are only about 4.5% of GDP.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: That Greece has managed to balance its budget to create a primary budget surplus (pre-interest payments) is a notable development. The country isn’t out of the woods by any means, but it is seemingly ahead of where many investors recently expected.

By , CNBC, 08/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: Many technical indicators, including the Hindenburg Omen, have a not-so-stellar track record of gauging market inflection points—for every true signal, there are many false positives. More often than not, if investors follow these indicators alone, they likely miss significant opportunities. For more, see our 6/4/2013 cover story, “Led Zeppelin.”

By , China Daily, 08/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: Though this is all talk for now, increasing securitization would likely benefit China. Currently, credit risk is largely concentrated with the banks (and, by extension, the government). More securitization would allow risk to be diversified throughout the broader economy and make China’s financial system much more modern.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: For equity investors with globally diversified portfolios, currency moves are zero sum over time—and for US stocks today, the dollar likely isn’t a significant performance driver. Other stronger-than-appreciated fundamentals should swamp.

By , Forbes, 08/12/2013

MarketMinder's View: This highlights well the many drivers of wages for low-skilled jobs—and why well-intended means of boosting wages could create unintended consequences, including higher unemployment.

By , Associated Press, 08/09/2013

MarketMinder's View: Those differences include state-owned Japan Post’s heavy presence in Japan’s insurance industry—a barrier to competition. Whether Japan fulfills the 2006 legislation to privatize the behemoth will be key to the trade talks’ success. This will be an important test of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ability (and willingness) to tackle vested interests in order to pursue structural reform.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/09/2013

MarketMinder's View: Maybe it is, but one month’s data don’t a trend make. However, investors’ reactions to the data say much about sentiment. The general surprise suggests expectations were too dour, which indicates sentiment still has room to improve before it catches up with reality—a bullish feature.

By , Bloomberg, 08/09/2013

MarketMinder's View: This is the third straight monthly fall—likely evidence firms can’t keep up with rising demand. Looking ahead, shrinking stockpiles of vehicles, electrical equipment and hardware likely cause restocking activity to increase, which should boost output and investment.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/09/2013

MarketMinder's View: Ascribing market movement to any one thing is a perilous path—bond markets could be moving on any number of things. Investors are likely better off thinking longer term and focusing on fundamentals, which indicate Detroit isn’t a huge negative for muni markets. For more, see our 7/31/2013 cover story, “GOoooo, Bonds!

By , The Telegraph, 08/09/2013

MarketMinder's View: In our view, “rebalancing” is a false hope—the UK economy can grow just fine if imports continue outweighing exports since firms create so much wealth domestically. Additionally, this analysis says little about the state of the UK economy—it excludes full import data, an important gauge of domestic demand.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/09/2013

MarketMinder's View: While this probably overstates China’s impact on global commodities markets, considering other Emerging Markets nations are still growing briskly and expanding infrastructure, it does highlight the pressures facing Materials and other commodity-driven stocks. In our view, sectors with more stable fundamental outlooks, easier costs and more diverse revenue streams likely perform best looking forward.

By , The Telegraph, 08/09/2013

MarketMinder's View: UK Energy costs have risen for a while now—partly due to declining North Sea oil output, and partly due to limited supply of natural gas. This illustrates why the UK should benefit from the government’s recent decision to restart shale energy production. Higher domestic production should help prices fall, lowering firms’ and households’ energy costs, likely boosting earnings and giving consumers extra cash to spend throughout the economy.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: Just because bonds rose for 40 years doesn’t mean they’re destined to fall for 40 years—mean reversion doesn’t apply to markets. Moreover, we believe investors are better served by looking at bonds as a way to reduce expected short-term volatility rather than as a means of generating return—in other words, their long-term goals should drive the decision of whether or not to own them. And while rising rates are a risk, there are ways to navigate them.

By , CNBC, 08/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: Exporting diesel and other petroleum products helps US Energy firms better capitalize on the shale boom. Energy firms’ earnings have fallen lately due to high fixed costs and falling revenues. Diesel fetches wider margins abroad, providing a key source of revenue growth looking ahead.

By , The Telegraph, 08/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: We wouldn’t call the start of new BOE governor Mark Carney’s policy revolutionary—he largely said what BOE officials have for months. Moreover, we’re rather puzzled by the heightened attention to central bankers’ guidance globally—plans and conditions can change without warning, and guidance doesn’t decrease the likelihood of monetary policy errors.  

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: The main takeaway here: Advances and innovation in technology reduce costs, improve existing processes and create jobs—many of which are in industries that didn’t exist before.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: While cutting public spending and lightening the private sector’s tax burden would likely benefit Italy’s economy, ongoing political squabbling may limit the government’s ability to implement reforms. As ever, investors shouldn’t hope for a panacea in the eurozone’s periphery—but global markets can continue rising while the region muddles through.  

By , Bloomberg, 08/08/2013

MarketMinder's View: Evidence does strongly suggest Japanese Energy firms have significant overcapacity—but this is likely a symptom of a deeper structural issue. So while encouraging firms to get more efficient might benefit Japan’s economy in the short term, a larger, longer-term boost would likely come from fixing the misaligned incentives preventing businesses from becoming more efficient on their own. Whether policymakers tackle these and other issues will be key to Japan’s economic and market returns over time.  

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: There are a number of misperceptions here: First, forward price-to-earnings ratios aren't massively disconnected from prices—we've actually seen little, if any, valuation expansion—and GDP and wage growth are unrelated to stock prices. Finally, in the long term, corporate profits do tend to be in line with stock prices, but not always through shorter-term market cycles.

By , Bloomberg Businessweek, 08/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: To us, ‘zero-hours’ contracts likely offer a number of positives for both employees and employers—besides just flexible schedules. For one, it’s likely easier for employers to hire individuals for ad hoc work than full-time or even part-time—opening up the potential for more employment and economic opportunities.

By , Associated Press, 08/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: In our view, privatizing—or at least limiting the amount of government involvement in—Fannie and Freddie would be a positive. However, it remains to be seen if either of these bills passes in a gridlocked Congress. (Unlikely.)

By , Reuters, 08/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: This rests on the (incorrect, in our view) assumptions QE bond purchases are holding up the stock and housing markets. But those markets are more likely rallying on the US economy’s underlying strength than QE—which disincentivizes banks from lending and economic activity (including job creation) overall. Tapering, in our view, would be a positive.

By , The New York Times, 08/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: First, this assumes the world has a fixed pie of wealth and allocating any wealth in new directions automatically takes it away from another area of the economy—historically, this has been proven wrong. Further, free trade has shown to actually increase economic activity and wealth in the long term—though employment, a lagging indicator, may make it seem otherwise in the short term.

By , CNN Money, 08/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: This correctly describes some often overlooked drawbacks of annuities—like investment restrictions, high fees, income limits, the issuing companies’ solvency and more—and correctly argues more profitable, simpler ways to achieve portfolio growth and income exist, like stocks.

By , Bloomberg Businessweek, 08/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: More proof the US economy is growing—and growing stronger. Notably, in our view, despite QE bond purchases disincentivizing bank lending.

By , Bloomberg, 08/07/2013

MarketMinder's View: Though one month’s positive data don’t guarantee similar results in the future, Germany’s relatively strong industrial production in June is likely another (underappreciated) sign of overall stabilization in the eurozone.

By , The Washington Post, 08/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: While this perhaps overstates the impact of recent mergers on the economy, the fact most recent deals are cash-based is noteworthy. These are typically bullish as they reduce stock supply.

By , Associated Press, 08/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: This is a misguided representation of trade, in our view. A smaller trade deficit detracts less from GDP, but doesn’t necessarily mean a healthier economy—nor does a larger trade deficit mean a weaker one. A better gauge of economic health is total trade—imports plus exports—since imports are a key gauge of domestic demand.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: Positive news for Italy as initial GDP estimates show the economy contracted less than expected in Q2. While Italy and the eurozone aren’t out of the woods, this is one more sign the region is starting to stabilize—a better outcome than most anticipated.

By , The New York Times, 08/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: Though we agree Dodd-Frank isn’t a panacea for avoiding another financial crisis, we quibble with most of the takeaways here. For example, sound regulations needn’t make US banks “ less competitive” and less able to lend—if done right, simple and easy-to-follow rules can guide banks’ behavior while allowing them to continue supporting economic growth. For the latest on Dodd-Frank, see our 6/25/2013 cover story, “Dodd-Frank: Relaxing Unwritten Rules.”

By , Reuters, 08/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: A sensible take on Ireland’s decision to consider asking for a precautionary credit line from the ESM—the nation doesn’t need another bailout, it just wants a bit of help from the ECB’s yet-to-be-used Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) program when it fully returns to primary debt markets. Overall, Ireland’s upcoming bailout exit appears on track—just another sign the eurozone isn’t headed for the sudden collapse many feared.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/06/2013

MarketMinder's View: This piece rather mischaracterizes Brazil’s economic issues, which include protectionist barriers, supply chain bottlenecks and government intervention. In our view, addressing these issues and allowing the private sector to grow would be the best way to boost economic growth—and Brazilian stocks would likely get a boost, too.

By , Bloomberg, 08/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: Despite Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, it seems investor confidence in general obligation bonds isn’t waning, as many feared. For more, see our 7/31/2013 cover story, “GOoooo, Bonds.”

By , The Telegraph, 08/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: We agree quantitative easing (QE) has side effects, but a stock bubble isn’t one of them—we see no “growing gap between financial hope and economic reality.” Rather, we see still-underappreciated private-sector strength and earnings growth. Given the bull market’s fundamental support, QE tapering shouldn’t hurt US or global stocks over time. Instead, it should give the US economy a boost, providing banks more incentive to lend—an unexpected outcome that likely lifts investor sentiment.

By , Reuters, 08/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: Even better than the headline jump in service sector growth, in our view, is the underlying breakdown. The forward-looking new orders index led the charge, while a big detractor was employment—a backward-looking indicator. Overall, it’s more evidence of the US’s underappreciated economic strength. 

By , The New York Times, 08/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: Yes, the public sector has seen jobs and hours cut due to the sequester, but private-sector job growth has more than offset this, adding 7.2 million jobs since the recession ended. And while headline job growth may be slower than in past expansions, this has no bearing on future economic growth. Jobs don’t beget growth—it’s the other way around.

By , The Telegraph, 08/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: More positive news for the UK as Services, Manufacturing and Construction surveys all rose in July—and more evidence of the UK’s post-quantitative easing acceleration. For more, see our 7/18/2013 cover story, “A UK Perspective on QE.”

By , Der Spiegel, 08/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: As Germany’s government rethinks wind power and other renewable energy subsidies, turbine manufacturers face a tough road. This is just one example of why investors should weigh an industry’s supply and demand fundamentals carefully—subsidies aren’t permanent, and if an industry can’t stand on its own, it may not be the most viable investment. 

By , Yahoo! Finance, 08/05/2013

MarketMinder's View: Yes, US stocks weathered the 2011 downgrade better than most anticipated, and investor sentiment is far more positive now than two years ago. But sentiment isn’t anywhere near as high as this piece posits—rather, investors seem stuck between skepticism and optimism. In our view, this makes a bear market far less likely than this suggests.

By , The Telegraph, 08/02/2013

MarketMinder's View: We agree, the UK economy would benefit from higher business investment—and recent data suggest this will come. Manufacturing, Services and Construction PMIs have all risen for four consecutive months, and as the yield curve continues steepening, businesses should gain easier access to financing for growth-oriented spending.

By , Bloomberg, 08/02/2013

MarketMinder's View: China’s antiquated IPO regulations are but one example of the need for broad financial reform. High and arbitrary barriers to stock market entry—along with the government’s efforts to manipulate stock prices by controlling share supply—create uncertainty for investors and Chinese entrepreneurs and prevent China from being a global market force.

By , The Telegraph, 08/02/2013

MarketMinder's View: Another sign of the UK’s post-quantitative easing improvement. For more, see our 7/18/2013 cover story, “A UK Perspective on QE.”

By , BloombergBusinessweek, 08/02/2013

MarketMinder's View: Emerging Markets aren’t without risk, but those risks appear overstated here—just as broad Emerging Markets sentiment is too dour, in our view. Many Emerging Market nations have favorable, underappreciated fundamentals. Mexico, for example, is opening its economy, creating new opportunities for growth and investment, and infrastructure investment throughout Southeast Asia is helping address key supply chain bottlenecks, which should aid corporate profitability over time.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/02/2013

MarketMinder's View: Many of the financial regulations created since 2008 are indeed complex and could carry unintended consequences and, in theory, simplifying them might create a more favorable environment for capital markets. However, regulatory uncertainty has faded as more of the rules have become codified in recent months, and another overhaul—even a well-intended one—could reintroduce those headwinds. So while the rethink is mere talk for now, it bears watching.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/02/2013

MarketMinder's View: Yes, July’s unemployment missed expectations, but the broader trend of private-sector labor market improvement remains intact. Moreover, employment is a late-lagging indicator—fundamentally, the unemployment report says nothing about markets’ future direction.

By , The Economist, 08/02/2013

MarketMinder's View: We agree valuations aren't predictive—they are illustrative. But this rather misstates the impact of quantitative easing on markets. Stocks are rising on the back of positive fundamentals and profitable corporations amid still-skeptical sentiment, not because of low long-term rates or Fed policy.

By , The Wall Street Journal, 08/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: Strong manufacturing data—with factories posting their best month in two years—underscore another aspect of (underappreciated) US economic strength.

By , Project Syndicate, 08/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: While we’d quibble with the analysis of Japan and the discussion of so-called fiscal headwinds included here, we agree with the main takeaway presented: The private sector drives sustainable economic growth. Rather than debating the effectiveness between “growth” and “austerity” policies, governments should consider the onerous effect burdensome restrictions have on businesses—the less restrictive, the more private businesses can contribute to economic growth.

By , MarketWatch, 08/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: This mostly sensible piece reminds us many investors still doubt the power of this bull market. This skepticism is, in our view, a bullish feature and bodes well for the near-future.

By , USA Today, 08/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: The market “worries” expressed here seem either faulty (US productivity isn’t weak) or overstated (eurozone troubles have been ongoing for years and lack substantial market moving power).  Rather, we see this bull market having plenty of room to run.

By , The Street , 08/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: Our latest contribution to The Street analyzes the nascent revival in  the eurozone’s economic health.

By , Reuters, 08/01/2013

MarketMinder's View: Manufacturing alone isn’t a leading economic indicator, but with growth improving for four consecutive months, it’s part of a trend of positive economic data coming from the eurozone, suggesting the doom and gloom surrounding the region may be unwarranted. As investors begin to realize this, stocks should get a boost.