Are you prepared for rising interest rates?

Defined maturity bond fund ETFs may provide a compelling option for a rising interest rate environment

Time to read: 3 min

Interest rates continue their upward trend. In March, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) hiked the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to a target range of 1.5% to 1.75%, citing strength in the US labor market, a low unemployment rate and moderate economic growth.1 This was the sixth such rate increase since December 2015, and isn’t likely to be the last. With inflation nearing the Fed’s annual 2% target, members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) — the Fed’s policy-making arm — anticipate at least two more 0.25% increases in the federal funds rate by year-end.2

What’s in store for the yield curve?

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Regulatory changes put spotlight on bond pricing, disclosure

New rules require more transparency around corporate, agency and municipal bond markups

Time to read: 3 min

Effective May 14, 2018, new regulations will be adopted aimed at increasing the transparency of bond pricing. The new rules require dealers of corporate, municipal and agency bonds to clearly disclose bond markups and provide retail investors with relevant price comparisons.

Although this initiative was spearheaded by the Municipal Securities Regulatory Board (MSRB) to cover municipal bonds, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has been working in tandem with the MSRB on language that covers corporate and agency bonds as well. Ultimately, the two regulatory agencies came up with

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Artificial intelligence: What is it, and why are companies adopting it?

Predictive analytics is transforming large data sets into actionable items

Time to read: 3 min

Technology companies are known for innovation, and it doesn’t take long for a revolutionary new technology to take hold and become a part of people’s daily lives. In my view, investors shouldn’t be threatened by technology. Rather, they should be skeptical of companies not utilizing technology to its fullest potential.

One common theme we find when considering the largest companies within the Nasdaq-100 Index is the early embrace of artificial intelligence (AI). Even the chief executive officer of Alphabet (the parent company of Google) acknowledged the importance of artificial intelligence in the company’s first quarter 2016 earnings call.1 While not all companies

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How did factors perform during a roller coaster first quarter?

Growth, momentum factors prevail after a volatile start to the year

Nick KalivasTime to read: 5 min

Equities experienced heightened volatility during the first quarter of 2018, with the S&P 500 Index surging 7.55% from Dec. 31 2017, through Jan. 26, 2018, before dropping nearly 8% through quarter-end.1 Early in the quarter, market activity was buoyed by upward revisions to corporate profit outlooks following federal tax cuts in December, coupled with a squeeze on short volatility positions.

However, this momentum eased in the final two months of the quarter as investors became uneasy over a number of developments:

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What do inventories tell us about the economy?

Declining inventories and rising industrial production may create a strong backdrop for value and momentum strategies

Nick KalivasTime to read: 3 min

One benefit of factor investing lies in the cyclical nature of factors. Because various factors tend to perform differently depending on economic conditions, investors can harness these attributes to their advantage.

For example, value and momentum stocks have often been better-suited for periods of expansion. This is because value strategies tend to invest in cyclical stocks that may benefit from faster economic growth, while momentum strategies operate under the premise that stocks with strong recent performance may continue to outperform over the near term.

It’s my view that the current inventory cycle provides a favorable backdrop for equity prices and makes a compelling case for

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Four reasons to invest in commodities in 2018

Falling crude oil inventories, weaker US dollar provide investors in commodities reason for optimism

Time to read: 4 min

Commodity performance has been mixed in recent years. A strong rally in 2016 was followed by more modest returns in 2017, with gains in industrial metals offsetting weakness in energy and agricultural commodities. As we move into 2018, I believe conditions are favorable for commodities. Here are four reasons to take a closer look.

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