Should Dividend Cuts Spell Doom or Offer Hope?

Many investors dread dividend cuts as a sign of a company’s flagging financials. It follows that recent reports indicating that 2015’s count of dividend cuts exceeded that of 2008’s could spook shareholders. On the forefront of the dividend cutting trend is, not surprisingly, the oil industry. Crushed by a steep decline in prices, oil producers […]

2008 Financial Crisis Redux?

It started with concerns over U.S. bank exposure to energy loans and now it has spread like wildfire to Europe. The issue – falling commodities prices. Concern has escalated as investors start to price-in the possibility, or likelihood, that a v-shaped recovery in oil prices is not likely in the foreseeable future. This means that […]

Market Volatility and the Economy – What’s Going On?

Market volatility has been ruthless of late and I fully understand the toll it can take on the investor psyche. Even veteran investors will scratch their heads wondering if, maybe, it’s different this time. Ah, but wait! Don’t forget that old John Templeton quote about the four most expensive words in the English language: “This […]

Who’s Really Getting Crushed by Lower Oil?

Crude oil’s continuing downward spiral has left many puzzled, some unemployed and others bankrupt. As the WTI (oil pricing benchmark) plunges to below $30 per barrel, concerns about the Energy sector intensify, especially as there appears to be no clear indication of a rebound in the near term. Fluctuating profit margins are par for the […]

Bank of Japan Shocks Markets

Amidst the hysteria accompanying global market uncertainties, Japan’s announcement of a new monetary weapon is yet another surprise markets have to absorb. On Friday, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) unveiled its plan to lower interest rates to a negative -0.1% on excess bank reserves. The move comes after the BOJ failed to accelerate inflation to […]

Which Stocks Feeling Pinch of Strong Dollar?

The economics of a stronger dollar offer mixed blessings. On one hand, a stronger dollar means that foreign goods are less expensive which benefits consumers and, for example, travelers who visit countries with weakened currencies. It can help companies too, particularly those that import a great deal of their production and raw materials used for […]

Oil – The Three Biggest Worries

We think it’s high time someone put their foot down and called the collapse in oil prices what it really is: a net positive! I find it interesting that, when oil prices are high, the narrative is negative. But, when prices fall precipitously and energy becomes cheaper that’s also a bad thing! You can’t have […]

Market Corrections – The Single Most Important Feature

The market abruptly slipped into correction territory to start the year charting a virtual free fall from its December 29th level. The S&P 500 is Retesting Correction Lows Any relief gained from market rallies has been rendered obsolete in these first few weeks. The selling pressures have been fairly relentless and investors seem to be […]

Will Stocks Be Impacted by China’s Volatility?

China’s wild volatility is back. Investors were greeted in the New Year with a replay of last summer’s Chinese markets drama and big single day downswings in the first week of trading. The source of the turmoil can be traced to two factors, both of which predictably disturbed the markets because of what they have […]

Stocks and Election Years – Worrisome or Welcoming?

The stock market is chock-full of patterns and theories that drive investment decisions like “sell-in-May-and-go-away,” the “Santa Claus rally,” and so on. Another popular pattern theory relates to how stocks perform during an election cycle. With the presidential election coming this year, it’s worth taking a look at how stocks have done historically in the […]