Follow the earnings, my friend

Wilson-150-x-150Thomas K.R. Wilson, CFA, external Chief Investment Officer, Wealth Advisory

In meeting with clients this summer, the most frequently asked question was, “Why does the stock market keep going up?” Of course, there are variations of this question which range from “How does the market go up with all the distraction in the U.S. government,” to “This bull market is very long, how can it continue?”

On the surface, it does seem odd that the market continues to move higher. There have been a lot of ‘interesting’ comments coming from the White House, which in a different time may have caused the equity market to decline or at least pause. The average economic expansion since 1900 lasted 47 months, however, the one we are currently in has lasted 98 months, thus far. The economic expansion has contributed to a bull market, which began in March 2009, that is now up close to 260%! In addition, there are a litany of geopolitical issues ranging from riots in Venezuela, an expanding Chinese navy, and North Korean missile tests, which combined are pushing the rise of populism in Europe and the constant Middle East conflict to the backburner. Besides, whatever happened to the old cliché of sell in May and go away? For the year, the S&P 500 is up just over 11%, which includes more than 1.5% appreciation since June 1.

There are a variety of reasons why the U.S. equity market is up, but arguable the most important factor is the earnings of U.S. companies. Earnings have been good this year, very good. And, expectations for earnings for the remainder of the year and into 2018 are solid. This comes on the heels of flat to down earnings from 2014 through the first half of 2016. Furthermore, once earnings are finalized for the second quarter, it looks like operating margins achieved their highest level of any quarter in the last decade!                                                               Follow the earnings my friend

James Carville, campaign strategist for President Bill Clinton, is credited with the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid.” As we think about the gains in U.S. equities this year, perhaps a variation of this phrase, “Follow the earnings, my friend” is more appropriate.

For 30 years, Brinker Capital has served financial advisors and their clients by providing the highest quality investment manager due diligence, asset allocation, portfolio construction and client communication services. Brinker Capital Wealth Advisory works with business owners, individual investors and institutions with assets of at least $2 million. To learn more about the services available through Brinker Capital Wealth Advisor, click here.

The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Brinker Capital, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.

Source:  JP Morgan

“Taking Stock” Interview with Bloomberg

Wilson_HeadshotThomas K.R. Wilson, CFA, Managing Director, Wealth Advisory & Senior Investment Manager

Tom joined Bloomberg’s “Taking Stock” with Kathleen Hays and Pimm Fox. They discussed the impact of the upcoming election on markets, fixed income investment options, and the strength of consumers. Listen below:

Wilson_Bloomberg

In the Conversation: Rate Hike on The Horizon

Tom WilsonTom Wilson, Managing Director, Wealth Advisory &
Senior Investment Manager

Just a few months ago, it seemed unlikely that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates. However, on the precipice of the December 16 meeting, the consensus opinion has shifted to the Fed likely to raise interest rates when they conclude their two-day meeting. Investors will be looking closely at the comments coming out of the meeting.

We expect the Fed to highlight the positive aspects of U.S. employment, which has been one of their two mandates. This can provide them the justification for increasing interest rates from today’s exceptional levels. Their second mandate is an inflation target that supports price stability and economic growth. On this point, the Fed will likely note that the economy is running below their 2% target and thus could make dovish comments on the prospect of raising rates in the future.

Investors will also be looking to see how the Fed comments on China’s economy, the drop in oil prices, and the decline in global equity markets. More specifically, the market would be looking for insight on how much the Fed will weigh this information when setting monetary policy here in the U.S.

The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Holdings are subject to change.

In the Conversation: No Surprises Here

Tom WilsonTom Wilson, Managing Director, Wealth Advisory &
Senior Investment Manager

After completing their two days of meetings, The Federal Reserve decided to leave the Federal Funds Rate unchanged. As noted in yesterday’s blog, this was the consensus opinion of what would take place today.

The Fed noted that general business conditions had improved since their last meeting in July. They specifically noted the continued improvement in the labor markets, strength in the housing sector, and modest improvement in consumer and business spending. On the negative side, they stated that export growth has been soft and that inflation continued to run below the committee’s longer-term target. In addition, Fed chair Janet Yellen commented that weakening global growth had also contributed to today’s low level of inflation.

The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Holdings are subject to change.

In the Conversation: FOMC Meeting

Tom WilsonTom Wilson, Managing Director, Wealth Advisory &
Senior Investment Manager

The consensus opinion now is that the Federal Reserve will not raise interest rates when they conclude their two-day meeting tomorrow, September 17.  Thus, such a decision will not be a surprise to the markets, but investors will be looking closely at the comments coming out of the meeting.

We expect the Fed to note the positive aspects of U.S. employment, which is one of their two mandates. Their second mandate is an inflation target that supports price stability and economic growth. On this point, the Fed will likely note that the economy is running below their 2% target.

Investors will also be looking to see how the Fed comments on China’s economy and its impact on global growth, particularly on Pacific Rim countries and world equity markets. More specifically, the market would be looking for insight on how much the Fed will weight this information when setting monetary policy here in the U.S.

The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Holdings are subject to change.

Safeguarding the Family Enterprise: Children and Wealth

Tom WilsonTom Wilson, Managing Director, Private Client Group &
Senior Investment Manager

A blog in a continuing series on the safeguarding of the family enterprise.

There is a Chinese proverb that goes, “Wealth does not pass three generations.”  This fits the notion that when significant wealth is created by the first generation of a family, the second generation gets to enjoy it, but the third generation, which was so far removed from the work ethic of the first generation, squanders it.

The conversation of wealth is often missed between parents and children.  For wealthy parents, discussing money with children can be a daunting task.  When is the best age to discuss the subject?  How much is too much information?  What if I want to give my money away to charity?  The stress surrounding these questions can often prevent these conversations from taking place.

Safguarding the Family EnterpriseWhile these questions, and others, are difficult to bring up, they are essential.  They will provide the context to determine the balance between providing enough money so that the children can pursue their dreams without a concern for their finances, and not providing so much of an inheritance that a feeling of entitlement or loss of self-purpose develops.  Warren Buffet said it best when he noted that he wanted to leave enough money for his heirs so they can do anything, but not so much money that they can do nothing.

A Wall Street Journal article on the subject gave several suggestions on how to speak with kids about generational wealth.  A favorite was the example of a pre-teen son who approached his mother and asked, “Are we rich?”  The mother replied, “Your father and I are. But you are not.”

A holistic approach to wealth management can go beyond asset allocation and financial planning.  Make sure you participate in the educating of children around family wealth.

Safeguarding the Family Enterprise: Security

WilsonTom Wilson, Managing Director, Private Client Group &
Senior Investment Manager

This is the first installment of a continuing series on the safeguarding of the family enterprise

During a recent trip in Chicago, I had the opportunity to listen to a speech by Arnette Heintze.  Arnette is a former Secret Service agent who has since created a security firm that caters to the needs of wealthy families.  His presentation included many examples of how his firm has been deployed to safeguard these families.  Some of the stories were very alarming.

Arnette’s intent was not to scare the audience, but rather to make the attendees aware that threats to wealthy families are real.  From harassment and name defamation, to extortion and blackmail, to the more personal security issues of stalking, threats, and kidnapping.  The wealthy family demographic has a variety of security challenges.

Many families contact security firms after a crisis has arisen.  This is unfortunate as preventative measures can have a meaningful reduction in the risks to families.

10.29.13_Wilson_SafguardingFamilyEnterprise_SecurityA holistic approach to wealth management can go beyond asset allocation and financial planning.  If you have not discussed the subject of security with your wealthy families, consider including this on the agenda in your next meeting.  After all, awareness is one of the best preventative measures.

Not Your Average Town

WilsonTom Wilson, CFA, Brinker Capital, Managing Director,
Institutional Investments and Private Client Group
& Senior Investment Manager

Midland, TX is not an average U.S. town. Midland is an oil town. Flying over the area, one will notice a landscape littered with oil pumps. Not surprisingly, the sizable impact of oil and natural gas continues to benefit the local economy.

As I ate lunch in town at a crowded restaurant on a Sunday afternoon, I witnessed a crew of “mudders” stop in to grab some food and then hastily jump back into their trucks, destined for the next oil pump.  The fact is, unemployment is not an issue in this town. Midland currently boasts a 3.1% unemployment rate, strikingly less than the U.S. average of 7.6% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).  In speaking with the locals, the demand for teachers, doctors, and construction workers is quite significant.  Everywhere I looked, it seemed like the town was flourishing.

According to Strategas Research Partners, the United States is the second largest producer of oil in the world today with a 12% market share. We narrowly trail the Middle-Eastern country of Saudi Arabia, who enjoys a 13% share. Surprised? The International Energy Agency projects that the United States could become the largest producer by 2017. One can’t help but wonder about the immense potential we harbor as a country in the field of energy. The impact it could have on our nation in terms of growth, defense, employment, and tax revenue is profound. Let’s hope that in the near future thriving economic towns, just like Midland, won’t be so hard to come by!

6.12.13_Wilson_Midland

A horsehead oil pump in Midland, TX as seen first hand by our very own, Tom Wilson.

Insights: Fixed Income Scenario Analysis with Tom Wilson and Andy Rosenberger of Brinker Capital

Tom Wilson, Senior Investment Manager and Andy Rosenberger, Senior Investment Manager, discuss fixed income investments and the potential impact that interest rates would have on these investments.