Insights / Blogs

Insights / Blogs

On The Lookout

James Swanson, Chief Investment Strategist, helps readers make sense of the markets by sharing what he learns along the way.

March 13, 2015

Rising fortunes of US consumers

The latest reports on retail sales have been disappointing.
But I’m still optimistic about the health of US consumers.
I expect consumer spending to sustain this business cycle.


During the first quarter of 2015, the list of economic worries has been long — slow business investment, subpar production growth in many sectors, weaker trade and central bank–driven currency dislocations, just to name a few. On top of that, financial pundits have been writing off US consumers, repeatedly describing them as overstretched, hobbled by low wages and too much debt, and discouraged about job prospects.

March 6, 2015

React to facts, not emotions



Chief Investment Strategist James Swanson talks about the direction of the economy and the markets, and how investors act in response to news events and commentary.

For more market commentary from MFS, visit our YouTube channel.

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February 24, 2015

Never dive for yield

In this low-rate environment, everyone is in the hunt for yield.
When looking for yield, take the time to ask the key questions.
It is important to remember that excess yields often have excess risks.


The interest rates we’ve experienced during our lives have declined, and the yield on bank deposits and certificates of deposit has fallen to almost zero. As investment income becomes scarcer, we face the temptation to reach or, more precisely, dive for yield. This is a quest with deep risks.

February 13, 2015

Should the markets be worried?



Put economic progress in Europe together with low interest rates and energy costs, and we have a recipe for a continued world business cycle with some more propulsion than we had a year ago, says Jim Swanson, MFS Chief Investment Strategist.

For more market commentary from MFS, visit our YouTube channel.

If you have trouble viewing this video on YouTube, please click here.

February 6, 2015

Jobs, jobs, jobs

US payrolls have been expanding consistently.
The mix of jobs and wages has been improving.
Even the “worry zones” are seeing employment growth.


Of course investors ought to avoid complacency, but facts — not rumor and speculation — are their best guard against investment mistakes. Despite the worries we see around the world, one of the most critical considerations for investors is the health of the business cycle. And the most important feature of any business cycle is the employment situation.