Financial Professionals

Market Insights



Be Long Health & Happiness!

Although the calendar still needs to run out the final 10 days of 2011, for many weeks it has been obvious to most of us that the year probably ended in mid-November.

Lots of Data & Tax Selling

The S&P 500® Index has come under significant selling pressure this week.

A Time for Strategic Planning

The capital markets completed a headline-driven choppy week on Friday, December 9.

U.S. Jobs "Confidence" Report

As I often mention, success is rather difficult to achieve in an environment absent of confidence.

It’s the world’s crisis, not just Europe’s

Within the past 36 hours global central banks have coordinated monetary policy measures not taken since March 2009.

Global PMIs (Manufacturing)

The month of December begins with the release of economic data on the condition of global manufacturing.

U.S. ISM, Initial Jobless Claims, & Friday's Jobs Report

As is the American way, heading into this morning’s heavy U.S. economic data releases, a “What have you done for me lately?” mindset prevailed.

Not Enough to Overcome Policy Missteps

On Wednesday morning, November 23, 2011, several domestic economic data points were released.

Initial Jobless Claims

Initial Jobless Claims for the week ending November 11 (as reported on November 17)

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

On August 2, the passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011 created the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, otherwise known as the “Super Committee.”

China Economic Data

Here on Long Island, the leaves on the trees have yet to fall, giving us a false sense of how close to the end of 2011 we really are.

Italian Bond Yields Jump

Italian bond yields (Figures 1.1 & 1.2) have risen rather dramatically this week despite some political actions that should eventually lead to a favorable resolution for the European Union’s third largest economy, Italy.

U.S. Jobs Reports

Consistent with other recent non-recessionary economic data releases, the positive revisions in this morning’s U.S. jobs report should end the debate over whether the U.S. economy is entering another recession.

Ceiling not raised, floor to be challenged

At the end of a historic October, the market was positioned to “raise the ceiling” toward the 1300 to 1325 range.

China PMI

China PMI was reported at 50.4, down from last month’s 51.2 and below consensus estimates for 51.8.

U.S. ISM Manufacturing

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported 50.8 for its Manufacturing Index, a decline from last month’s 51.6 and below consensus estimates for 52.0.


Thursday morning, October 27, global markets awoke to an equities rally fueled by the appearance of European fiscal and monetary unity.

Manufacturing Conditions

Last week, Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman’s post-earnings comments shed light on global manufacturing conditions.

Philly Fed Turns Positive

Back in late August, the Boston Red Sox looked like a lock to reach the MLB playoffs – in fact, a favorite to play in the World Series.

Corporate Earnings – Financial Sector

Financial institutions, when measured in terms of their dismal year-to-date equity price performance, appear eerily similar to the summer of 2008 when cash was about to be king and the Great Recession was confirmed.

China October Economic Data Review

Beginning with the October 1 release of the China PMI Manufacturing report, several economic reports from China have been released over the past few weeks.

Some Interesting Technical Setups

The capital markets continue to be plagued by a fundamental outlook that is as confusing and conflicted as any time in recent memory.

U.S. Jobs Report – Market Consequence


U.S. ISM Manufacturing

October’s first major economic report continues the recent trend of better-than-forecast economic data.

China PMI

Counter to multiple recent analyst calls for an extremely hard landing for China’s economy, recent economic data suggests the complete opposite – a soft landing.

Durable Goods Orders

U.S. durable goods orders fell 0.1% in August, ahead of expectations for a decline of 0.2%.

The Pause That Is Not Refreshing

Given the current market riot, I want all investors to keep two things in mind. First, keep it simple works best in this environment. Don’t attempt to implement any complicated strategies or analyze beyond the obvious. Second, in a time of panic, do exactly the opposite of what feels “easiest” to do. What is harder will work best

FOMC Meeting Preview

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets Tuesday and Wednesday this week for the sixth time this year. There will not be a post-meeting press conference for Chairman Bernanke on Wednesday. After this meeting, there remains two FOMC meeting in 2011 – November 2 and December 13.

Moving Energy Back to Overweight

In my May 4 blog “Moving Energy from Market Weight from Overweight,” I explained my reasons for the downgrade of the sector.

The American Jobs Act

President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress and presented the American Jobs Act on Thursday evening.

Currencies weigh upon the S&P 500® Index

Since March 2009, one constant throughout the recovery in the S&P 500 Index has been the secular downtrend in the U.S. Dollar Index.

China Inflation Data

China Inflation Data

S&P 500® Index Technical Formation

As the month of September begins, one thing remains consistent with the theme of July and August: the bull market of uncertainty prevails.

U.S. Jobs Report's Impact On Asset Classes

One day after receiving better-than-expected global manufacturing figures,

Global PMI kicks off September

September kicked off with the release of global manufacturing figures the first of the month.

Durable Goods

On the morning of Wednesday, August 24, the Commerce Department released the orders for durable goods monthly report.

Jackson Hole: We Need QE2, Not QE3

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will deliver a highly anticipated speech from Jackson Hole, Wyoming at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 26.

An Ominous Philly Fed

On Thursday morning, August 18, the Philly Fed Index was reported at -30.7 versus consensus estimates of -2.0 to +1.5.

August 18 Initial Jobless Claims

Initial jobless claims for the week ending August 12 (as reported on August 18):

Certifying Market Stability?

For the remainder of August, the desired objective for the S&P 500® Index is to certify stability.

What to Watch in the Week Ahead: August 15-19

After five extremely volatile trading sessions, the S&P 500 Index (Fig 1.1) lost 1.7% for the week of August 8.

Initial Jobless Claims

Initial Jobless Claims for the week ending August 5 (as reported on August 11)

China Inflation Data

Chinese policy makers initiated a monetary tightening cycle in October 2010 to slow inflationary pressures.

My FOMC Comment

On Tuesday, August 9, the FOMC released its statement

S&P Lowers U.S.A. Long-Term Credit Rating to AA+

Late Friday, August 5, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S.A. credit rating one level to AA+.

U.S. Debt Rating Downgrade: Equity Market Consequences

As I often suggest, there are both social and market consequences to the actions emanating from Washington D.C.

U.S. Government Debt Markets

In response to Standard and Poor’s downgrade of the U.S. long-term credit rating, let’s look at the potential consequences for the U.S. Government debt market.

July U.S. Jobs Report

The July U.S. Jobs report was released the morning of August 5. Leading up to this day, the S&P 500® Index had endured four days of intensive selling pressure, taking the Index down almost 7%.

Budget Control Act of 2011

On Tuesday, August 2, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA).

K.I.S.S. = Corporate Bonds

Most of you have heard me suggest that the best investment strategies are usually the simplest.

China PMI

Late Sunday, July 31, the National Bureau of Statistics released July’s China Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

U.S. ISM Manufacturing

U.S. ISM Manufacturing for July was reported at 50.9, well below the 54.5 consensus and June’s 55.3 figure.

Silence Please

Since my last (July 21) blog entry, “Push-Pull Continues,” I have spent much of my time reviewing the favorable and unfavorable conditions currently limiting appreciation in the capital markets.

Push-Pull Continues

The S&P 500® Index continues to trade in a directionless pattern for the month of July.

Who’s going to be the hero?

There are four potential market “heroes” that could come to the rescue of the capital markets in the second half of the year and pick up where QE2 left off.

Today's Heroes and Villains

Wednesday, July 13, was certainly a volatile day for the capital markets.

China Economic Releases

Over the weekend of July 9, several monthly economic reports were released from China.

Copper Surges

Copper prices often are an excellent indicator of global economic conditions.

U.S. Unemployment Report Disappoints

The U.S. unemployment report released Friday, July 8, delivered a major disappointment to Main Street.

ISM Manufacturing

Manufacturing has been a supportive force throughout the capital markets’ recovery since March 2009.

Excellent Chicago PMI Reading

The Chicago PMI Index was released at 9:45 a.m. ET today (June 30).

Finally -- Something that I really like!

The capital markets are in the midst of the proverbial slump.

Initial Jobless Claims & Portfolio Strategy


FOMC Meeting Expectations

On Wednesday, June 22, at 12:30 p.m. ET, the Federal Open Market Committee releases its statement following the conclusion of its fourth scheduled meeting of 2011.

Greece Needs A Timeout

Global markets continue to decline in classic “risk-off” fashion.

Charts That Matter: Mid-June Update

Capital markets remain in a defensive mode with safe haven assets continuing to be the favored holdings.

China: Not Ready Yet

In a previous blog entry, “Baseball Season of Frustration 2,” I suggested some potential “villains” and “heroes” for the ending of the current capital market drama.

Post Opec

OPEC members failed to agree to raise the official output quota ...

CFTC Commitments Of Traders Report

For the week ending Wednesday, June 1, holdings of net long futures contracts increased for the second consecutive week.

Baseball Season of Frustration 2

Recent global economic data, combined with a modest capital markets correction, have created an eerily similar environment to 2010’s Baseball Season of Frustration.

6/2 Jobless Claims and . . .

6/2/11 Initial Jobless Claims

Six Charts to Watch in June

May has thankfully come to an end. For the first time in six months, I would characterize the past month as “corrective” in nature. Commodity outflows exceeded $4 billion.

Slowdown or Meltdown?

May is happily approaching the end.

Back from SALT

Returning to New York from the SALT Conference in Las Vegas has been somewhat difficult.

Six Charts that Matter

Capital markets continue to soften as moderating global growth and the end of the FOMC’s $600 billion asset purchase program are being “priced in.”

China Trade Balance & SALT Conference Starts

The combination of strong exports and slowing imports pushed the China Trade balance in April to...

April Jobs Report

This morning’s release of the April jobs report is SURPRISING, given the numbers are not as bad as consensus estimates feared.

Global Growth Moderates

This week, the S&P 500® Index (Fig 1.1) is correcting much of last week’s FOMC advance.

Major Global Currencies

Global currency trends continue to accurately portray the fundamentals of major global economies.

Moving Energy To Market Weight From Overweight

Spot oil prices, along with most major commodities, have experienced precipitous declines during the first week of May.

"Sell in May" and "Go Away" - Please consider…

As we head into the month of May, much will be made of the adage “Sell in May and Go Away.”

The Capital Markets Post-Bernanke

The capital markets are preparing for a unique FOMC meeting that includes an inaugural press conference by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Initial Jobless Claims

Four critical points from the April 21st Initial Jobless Claims report

S&P downgrades U.S. Long Term Credit Rating

Before the market opened on Monday April 18, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. long term credit rating from stable to negative.

Correcting? Maybe

This week, the capital markets are digesting some disappointing news which may initiate a modest market correction.

JPM Earnings

Wednesday morning, April 13, JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) kicked off the earnings season for financials.

China Trade Data

China Trade Data (Data released Saturday evening April 9, 2011)

Earnings Time

The week of April 11 initiates 2011’s second round of corporate earnings.

What does Friday's Jobs report mean to QE2?

Nonfarm Payrolls increased to 216,000 from last month’s 192,000

The ISM Manufacturing Handoff

Headline U.S. ISM Manufacturing was reported on April 1, 2011 at 61.2 vs. consensus estimates of 61.1.

Municipal Bond Clarity Coming?

Multiple concerns have been raised over the past six months regarding the fiscal health of U.S. states and the impact on the $2.9 trillion municipal bond market.

Upcoming Macro Data

The final week of March presents several important U.S. economic data reports.

2011 Headwind #1 Spot Oil

Heading into 2011, I identified energy as the sector that I expected to the lead the S&P 500 Index to another higher yearly close.

Tuesday March 15 Morning Commentary

Global markets are declining in sympathy with the Nikkei 225, as that equity market has tumbled over 10% from Monday’s close.

EU Summit and Japan

Over the weekend at a special European Summit, the 17 heads of state agreed to measures that I expect will be favorable for the value of the euro, as well as the regional economy.

China’s Export and Import Growth Slows

China’s import and export growth slowed in February. I believe two conditions impacted the slowdown - the Lunar New Year and tighter monetary policy.

What do currencies tell us?

For retail investors it is incredibly difficult to invest in individual currencies, or to speculate on potential currency appreciation or depreciation.

Good Data before the U.S. Jobs Report

The S&P 500 Index continues to balance the continued strong U.S. economic data with the contagion fears in the Middle East.

Downsizing Continues

Selling persists in the equities market as a direct result of rising oil prices.

The Capital Markets First Challenge for 2011

The S&P 500 Index (Figure 1.1) has experienced a rather impressive rally since Labor Day 2010.

Worth Watching This Week

Emerging Markets Stabilization? – For the week of February 14-18, the Brazil Bovespa Index was the best performing major global equity index at +3.51%.

China - Hard or Soft Landing?

Much debate recently has centered around whether the world’s fastest growing major economy, China, is in the midst of a hard or soft landing.

It’s not about spot oil

At the end of 2010, I presented several market commentaries identifying potential 2011 opportunities.

Commentary on Friday’s Jobs Report

HEADLINE POINTS: The unemployment rate (Fig 1.1) declined to 9% from 9.4%, a significant surprise versus consensus estimate for a rise to 9.5%

The Data Matters

After the market closed on Friday January 28, I suggested that the unrest in Egypt, and that day’s troublesome market price action, placed the market in as vulnerable a position, heading into a weekend, as we had seen since early last summer.

FOMC Meeting, No News Is Good News

On Wednesday, January 26, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) concluded its first meeting for 2011.

Another Super Bowl Selloff?

The holiday-shortened week of January 17 was the first challenging week for investors year to date.

AAPL and IBM Earnings

On Tuesday evening January 18, International Business Machines Corp (IBM) and Apple Inc. (AAPL) reported quarterly results.

Corporate Capital Strategies

Greetings from the snowy Northeast! The abundance of early winter snow reminds me of our “2009 Winter of Discontent.”

Initial Jobless Claims

Initial Jobless Claims rose 18,000 to 409,000; consensus was 405k to 415k

ISM Kicks Off 2011

One of my favorite indicators during the past 24 months has been “The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Index” – released on the first business day of each calendar month.

Virtus Investment Partners provides this communication as a matter of general information. The opinions stated herein are those of the author and not necessarily the opinions of Virtus, its affiliates or its subadvisers. Portfolio managers at Virtus make investment decisions in accordance with specific client guidelines and restrictions. As a result, client accounts may differ in strategy and composition from the information presented herein. Any facts and statistics quoted are from sources believed to be reliable, but they may be incomplete or condensed and we do not guarantee their accuracy. This communication is not an offer or solicitation to purchase or sell any security, and it is not a research report. Individuals should consult with a qualified financial professional before making any investment decisions.