Identity theft has been a serious threat to consumers for many years. The recent Equifax data breach has raised awareness due to the sheer magnitude of the incident which affected 143 million consumers nationwide. Other notable incidents with recognized consumer brands have included Yahoo (2013), Target (2013), eBay (2014), Home Depot (2014) and Anthem (2015).
As tensions and rhetoric around North Korea have escalated over the past few months, many clients have asked us how we believe this translates to market risk. This question and similar ones about geopolitics are presently more common than at any time since the financial crisis. With the backdrop of elevated international tensions, we find this an opportune time to share our perspective on the market risks presented by macro and geopolitical incidents.
A common storyline in the financial press has been the leadership provided by the FANG stocks – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google (now Alphabet). More recently Apple has been included with that group (FAANGs) which we will do as we review their contribution to the market’s gains and explore the potential for continued outperformance.
Diversification, as a fundamental component of prudent investment management, has tested the patience of investors over the most recent bull market in US equities. International equities have trailed by a significant margin in relative performance since late 2011, weighing on the returns of a globally diversified portfolio versus a US only investment strategy. In this piece, we take a longer view of global diversification and compare the current valuations of US and international markets.
Consumer purchasing is responsible for about two-thirds of the American economy. Whether it is spending on durable goods, such as cars or housing, or on services, such as education and health care, consumption drives economic growth and performance. The financial health of the consumer is a critical factor in the stability of our domestic economy for our prospects for growth.
This paper explores the state of the consumer in the post-Financial Crisis era and some of the conditions that could be influencing changes in behavior.
Brexit, a contraction of the words “British exit,” refers to the June 23, 2016 referendum by voters in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (“EU”). The surprising outcome has injected uncertainty into financial markets, and triggered some major moves in currencies, bonds, and equity prices. In this paper we review and comment on the economic and political implications to this separation and financial markets.