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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Municipal Breather

Municipal bonds took a breather last week, underperforming Treasuries for only the second week thus far in 2012. Municipal bond prices posted modest declines while Treasury prices rebounded on the week. On a year-to-date basis, however, high-quality municipal bonds have outperformed Treasuries by a notable margin, according to Barclays Index data. We do not think last week’s pause in the municipal bond market marks a turning point …

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Municipal Breather

Unemployment Improving, but Still Uncomfortably High

This week is extraordinarily busy for economic reports and potentially market-moving events in the United States and abroad. On the domestic economic front, the February Institute for Supply Management (ISM) report highlights a week that will also include the release of February vehicle sales data, January personal income and spending, and the second look at the fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data. Fed policy will also…

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Unemployment Improving, but Still Uncomfortably High

FINRA Broker Check

“BrokerCheck is a free tool to help investors research the professional backgrounds of current and former FINRA-registered brokerage firms and brokers. It should be the first resource investors turn to when choosing whether to do business or continue to do business with a particular broker or brokerage firm.”

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FINRA Broker Check

Following the Path

Just seven weeks into 2012 and the markets are off to a strong start. The stock market, measured by the S&P 500, has posted a high single-digit gain for the year, and the S&P 500 index is around 1,350. Sound familiar? It should. It is exactly what happened last year…

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Following the Path

Snapshot: Europe

This week is another quiet week for economic data and events in the United States, and with only a scattering of corporate earnings reports due out, markets will likely focus their attention overseas for direction. Saber-rattling in Iran as inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency make a two-day visit to Iran as well as the reserve requirement ratio cut by the People’s Bank of China…

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Snapshot: Europe

Generation Y-ers: Fearful of Wall Street and Not Saving for Retirement

Generation Y investors are the most conservative generation of investors since the great depression, despite their long-term time horizon, according to the 2011 MFS Investing Sentiment Survey. The survey provides an in-depth look into the investing habits of Generation Y, the next large wave of investors that encompasses approximately…

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Generation Y-ers: Fearful of Wall Street and Not Saving for Retirement

Beauty Is in the Eye of the Bondholder

High-yield bonds delivered investors a bouquet of roses so far in 2012. But an increase in the default rate has investors questioning high-yield sincerity. Last week, Moody’s Investor Service (Moody’s) reported the global speculative default rate increased to 2.0% in January 2012 from 1.8% in December 2011. Seven companies…

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Beauty Is in the Eye of the Bondholder

Trade Offs

With the fourth quarter earnings reporting season wrapping up for corporate America, financial market participants will likely be focused on this week’s full docket of U.S. economic data and the latest flare-up in the European debt debacle in Greece. European debt markets outside of Greece will likely be in focus this week, as Italy, the Netherlands, France and Spain are slated to hold debt auctions. Central banks in Japan…

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Trade Offs

The Worst Earnings Season in Years Still Beats Expectations

Earnings have mattered a lot for the U.S. stock market. Over the past three years, earnings are up about 58% and the S&P 500 is up about 55%.* That one-to-one relationship is no coincidence. Stock market valuations, measured by the price-to-earnings ratio — or what investors are willing to pay per dollar of current earnings — have not changed over the past few years and remain around 13 for the S&P 500, well below the long-term average…

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The Worst Earnings Season in Years Still Beats Expectations

The Budget Bombshell

In one week, President Obama is due to submit his 2013 budget, which covers the fiscal year beginning on October 1, 2012. The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 requires the President to submit a budget request to Congress on the first Monday in February, but the Administration has scheduled the release instead for one week later on February 13…

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 The Budget Bombshell