10 December 2018

James Swanson

The author is Chief Investment Strategist at Massachusetts Financial Services
  • The total return of the S&P 500 Index has averaged 17.5 percent a year since the market bottomed in March of 2009 through the end of March this year. Photo: Reuters

    As good as it gets

    - Jun 4, 2018 3:49pm
    Times are good. In the near term, I expect robust year-over-year earnings growth in the United States and a bit less so in Europe, hitting or exceeding market-watchers’ expectations. Big, multinational firms based in the US...
  • Rather than chasing the dolphin — or the headlines — investors would do well to follow the cash flow while remaining cautious overall. Photo: Reuters

    Swimming with the dolphins

    - Apr 30, 2018 3:53pm
    Markets lately have resembled a dolphin at sea, leaping and diving in spectacular fashion. Observers often don’t know where to look for the dolphin next. That has been the case in recent weeks, with the markets sometimes leaping...
  • Despite the recent big selloff, conditions don't appear to be in place for a prolonged market downturn, observers say. Photo: Xinhua

    Market sell-offs are dramatic, but can provide opportunities

    - Feb 14, 2018 9:44am
    A number of factors appear to have contributed to the selloff in equity markets that commenced early this month and picked up steam in a volatility-driven decline on Monday, Feb. 5. While the decline was eye-catching,...
  • US equities are well on track to continue last year's trends, at least for now. Photo: Reuters

    Divergences dent a spectacular year

    - Jan 9, 2018 11:40am
    You’d think, listening to media, that stocks are rising with great uniformity, that, as the old saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats. But when you dig below the surface a bit, you’ll see that...
  • Although economic news has been good of late and stock markets are hitting new highs, investors would do well not to get carried away. Photo: Reuters

    Rising tides, changing news. Should I change my market views?

    - Nov 23, 2017 11:00am
    Based on a steady, broad-based flow of positive reports from around the world, the tide of global economic growth is rising. And as a strategist, I take stands on the markets based on my interpretation of...
  • Inflation and corporate borrowing rise during the late stages of a business cycle, levering up returns to shareholders — for a while. Photo: Reuters

    If Inflation is fizzling out, can profits be far behind?

    - Aug 15, 2017 3:54pm
    For decades, experts at the US Federal Reserve, academic economists and portfolio managers have been at war with inflation — the phenomenon of price increases without commensurate productivity gains. Investors and policymakers alike hate inflation because...
  • Fully eight years into this cycle, S&P 500 Index revenues have struggled to keep pace with the economy as a whole. Photo: Reuters

    Two reasons to skip the market’s joy ride

    - Jun 2, 2017 10:30am
    There are two primary reasons to be cautious about investing fresh capital in today’s richly valued US equity markets. The first reason is shaky pricing power — or top-line growth — for companies in the S&P...
  • Most of the tailwinds behind high profit have begun to falter and margins have narrowed for most of the S&P 500 firms. Photo: Internet

    It’s getting late — in the business cycle

    - Jul 12, 2016 10:17am
    I remain disenchanted with stocks and I need to see improvement in a number of key metrics before changing my view. 1. Improved pricing power for US-based multinational companies 2. Better consumer spending on goods and...
  • US car sales are losing momentum after a very strong 2015. Photo: Bloomberg

    Time to take a step back?

    - May 19, 2016 5:40pm
    As a disappointing first-quarter-earnings season in the United States rolls on, I am beginning to feel more cautious about the markets in the months ahead. We’re in the midst of a third consecutive quarter of poor...
  • China's economic slowdown has affected prices of energy and other commodities globally. Photo: Bloomberg

    What will be the top economic theme for 2016?

    - Oct 17, 2015 8:02am
    In the wake of China’s much lower economic trajectory, prices of commodities — from aluminum to zinc — have declined. First to feel the impact have been neighboring countries such as Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, which...
  • The magnitude of the housing problem in China is much smaller in relative terms than it was for the US in 2007. Photo: HKEJ

    Why worry about China?

    - Aug 17, 2015 3:39pm
    China is slowing down from very rapid growth rates. Retail sales are rising 9-10 percent year over year, down from 17 percent, but the growth is still faster than in most other regions. What about trade with...
  • As the Greek debt crisis appears to be on its way to being resolved, the rest of the global economy is showing promising signs of growth. Photo: Reuters

    Our world after Greece

    - Jul 18, 2015 8:01am
    As Greece moves out of the headlines, what does the rest of the world look like?  Crude oil prices, still well off last year’s highs, should be a boon to global growth. I expect this cycle...

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