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.

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.

January 30, 2015

Some gears slip, others align

Lower oil prices and the stronger US dollar are hurting some companies but helping others.
With correlations across investment options falling, picking the right spots will matter more.
My assessment is that these changes and disruptions could turn out to be a net benefit.


The ramifications of 2014’s dramatic events in the oil and currency markets are spinning different effects around the globe. Let’s examine some of the basic concerns and uncertainties, as well as the opportunities we see for 2015.

January 14, 2015

Don't blame the business cycle



MFS Chief Investment Strategist James Swanson reflects that a higher dollar, lower energy prices, and a lower cost of capital tend to perpetuate business cycles, which may bode well for fundamental long-term investors in 2015.

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

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