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August 9, 2019
Withered Yields

Wasn’t so long ago that we were applauding more generous yields among our fixed income exposures for the greater income over the longer term that they may provide. This despite the nearer term drag from the impact that rising rates had on bond prices, the movement of the latter being inverse to that of the former. So much for all that. A conspiracy of waning global growth, declining inflation expectations, rising geo-trade tensions and rather more perilous political turns of tone have seen interest rates near world-round sink on growing pessimism and uncertainty. Investors should be careful, we think, to respond by creeping up the risk curve, as bangs-for-buck remain historically weak among most of the riskier income-focused investment.

Download PDF: 0819 SAM Commentary

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July 19, 2019
Q2 2019: Quarter in Review

Yet another quarter has gone by during which, were it not for the actions—or, rather more appropriately, expectations of forthcoming actions—by the Federal Reserve, equity markets otherwise might have turned in a rather more sober tally. With earnings growth waning against a backdrop of elevated valuations, perhaps too much hope rests on a nearer-term future over which the Fed may be able to exert only modest influence. As we wonder which wags which, tail or dog, we remain focused on providing broad means for investors to work with advisors to address any shift in tolerance for the elevated risk and uncertainty of it all.

Download PDF: Q219 SAM Market Review

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July 9, 2019
Regional Value

In last month’s commentary, we sought to support our desire to maintain international equity exposures with an argument in favor of the greater diversification they may provide. This month we want to offer a bit of a boost to the idea using a review that should be familiar. The rather subdued relative performance of international equities has left their valuations generally lower, versus their own historical levels and relative to the U.S. market. While those gaps do not suggest immediate reward is due, in our view they bolster the idea that a portfolio inclusive of global stocks may find relative favor over the longer-term.

Download PDF: 0719 SAM Commentary

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June 8, 2019
Challenging Our Biases

Humans can be faulted for behaviors of all sorts, and our penchants when investing are not immune to such criticism. One of the more powerful biases is our tendency to see the recent past as a fuller record than it is. As went the past few years, so must have been the past few decades, no? Not invariably, perhaps not even often so. The outperformance of the U.S. equity market seems to have many regretting international stock exposure. We find such thinking faulty both for the potential additional diversification a global portfolio presents, as well as what we may expect to prove more rewarding potential longer-term return.

Download PDF: 0619 SAM Commentary

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May 2, 2019
Don't Forget to Save

Our industry spends a great deal of time thinking about where a portfolio is invested and how those investments perform over time. Perhaps not enough time is spent discussing the force we think most impactful with regard to meeting long-term financial goals: savings. After all, without savings, there’s no portfolio. And no manner of fanciful investment scenario can save a financial plan that focuses too little on dollars put away for far-in-the-future spending.

Download PDF: 0519 SAM Commentary

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April 16, 2019
Q1 2019: Quarter in Review

The first quarter of 2019 provided yet another example of why we think it generally is a good idea to be disciplined in our investment decisions through market tumult. Such discipline should include not only retaining investment exposures when the going gets rough. It, too, should include a thoughtful approach to portfolio rebalancing according to previously established long-term plans. Pushing our own wares here, of course, but we think being able to turn to a coach that is mindful of the sorts of mental challenges market volatility can present can make all the difference when it comes to finding long-term investment success.

Download PDF: Q119 SAM Market Review

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April 9, 2019
Owning Apple...and So Much Else

We continue to believe that, based on our experience and that of the broader industry, a focus on individual stocks and the stories they present at best has a neutral effect on portfolio performance, relative to the market in general. Stock picking, in our view, may even lead to worse-than-optimal outcomes for investors. Far more powerful, we think, is a focus on types of stocks. That is, we seek to establish favorable investment prospects based on commonalities across stocks, rather than the idiosyncrasies of each. Such statements often lead to a bit of head-scratching, so we thought we’d dive a bit deeper in this month’s commentary.

Download PDF: 0419 SAM Commentary

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March 4, 2019
What to Talk About Today?

Never ceases to amaze us the ways financial market media will torture market data in order to come up with fresh content. Suppose that’s the beauty of data...always another way to look at them. We caution folks not to find too much meaning in all the slicing and dicing of near-term market moves. It’s meant to glamorize and mesmerize, not necessarily to provide you with useful insight. That’s not to suggest market data can’t be of great use. More valuable insight, though, can come from reviews of the rich history of information investible markets have generated, not the last few moments of market time.

Download PDF: 0319 SAM Commentary

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February 4, 2019
Since you asked...

We generally seek to provide in-depth reviews of themes supporting our approach to investment management each month on these pages. We understand, though, that a brief overview sometimes can prove an effective refresher of the fundamental tenets of our work. This month, we will revisit a range of those themes in a “frequently asked questions” format.

Download PDF: 0219 SAM Commentary

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January 22, 2019
Q4 2018: Quarter and Year in Review Presentation

For the first time in a decade, the S&P 500 Index posted a calendar year loss. Meantime, the domestic investment-grade fixed income market barely managed to turn positive for the year, the primary savior likely having been a flight to safety wrought by the equity market’s decline. The recent, rather sharp rebound in equities has […]

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