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.

January 31, 2014

Optimism? Pessimism?

Bullish or bearish?

Market strategists are often put into one of two camps: perma-bears, who deliver a steady message of doom, such as “prepare for the imminent collapse,” or perma-bulls, who always see the rosy side.

In my work, I’ve never run across anyone who fits these simplistic labels. I find that most of my fellow strategists and economists are trying to sort through and evaluate large amounts of conflicting and puzzling data. We face the reality that the world around us is always changing, and our forecasts may need to adapt to what we actually observe.

US equity market: Bubble or opportunity?

MFS Institutional Portfolio Manager Rob Almeida and I share our views on the current state of the US equity market...

Before the recent period of turbulence, the US stock market had been performing exceptionally well, buoyed by strong fundamentals including gains in earnings and revenues across all sectors, record-breaking cash flows and historically robust returns on equity. Yet as the S&P 500 Index stretched for one all-time high after another, investors ranging from sophisticated institutions to the general public continued to talk about a bubble.

January 16, 2014

Three worries for 2014, and they’re all about credit

Will the private sector keep on an even keel — or binge on credit?

We all know that US equities had a good year in 2013, with the S&P 500 Index posting one of the top 10 best annual returns since 1947. As markets tend to be gauges of the future, not the past, we think that the equity gains last year may have been in anticipation of even better circumstances this year.