Investing

Market Decisions: Seeing the Relationship between Risk and Opportunity

While the official advance release of Q2 GDP from the Bureau of Economic Analysis will not be until later this month, the Atlanta Fed produces their GDPNow forecast, which is designed to be a “live” tracker of economic growth that adjusts to various data releases throughout the quarter.  Based on the latest release this week, it estimates Q2 GDP as having declined by 1.2%.  If this estimate holds true—which is admittedly a big “if”—this would imply, by the most basic
Investing

Assessing the Risks in Equity and Bond Markets

Earlier this year, we wrote about the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While the markets were reacting negatively to the news of the conflict, in reality inflation and Fed policy had already been weighing on investors’ minds.  With the news of the FOMC’s decision to raise interest rates by 50bps last week and the corresponding volatility that has returned in both equity and bond markets, it seems investors have awoken to the reality that the economic conditions moving forward
Investing

The Implications of War between Russia and Ukraine

When you’ve been investing long enough, you develop a certain resilience and respect for the volatility of the markets as they swing between periods of fear and euphoria.  The day to day swings make for anxious moments, but should rarely (if ever) represent the justification for making any long-term investment decisions.  Today, we are faced with the fact that the predicted military conflict between Russia and the Ukraine has become a reality. Before we go into the investment analysis, I
Investing

How to Navigate a Lower Returning Investment Environment

“What can I expect my portfolio to do for me going forward?”  This is one of the most common things we hear from Matter families. While the question seems simple enough, the answer is often layered with nuance, disclaimers, and numerous variables. Unlike the weather, in finance, the closer the time horizon, the less reliable the forecast is. It’s simply impossible for anyone to know what’s brewing in the near term. Howard Marks of Oaktree wrote a great memo on forecasts a few months back and it is
Investing

Are Cryptocurrencies an Asset Class?

The evolution of blockchain technology and its more fashionable relatives, cryptocurrencies, has been nothing if not fascinating. We’ve watched as the headlines have spanned from an asset with nefarious potential, to a democratizing technology, to a meme-worthy currency alternative. If you ask blockchain disciples, it is “the” technology of the future, whereas skeptics compare it to Dutch tulips or snake oil.  Before we go any further, we should start with a confession: we are not cryptocurrency experts. We are, however, intellectually curious investors,
Investing

Sustainable Investing: This is not a moment, it’s a movement.

At Matter, we believe great investments aspire to great purposes. We work to find investments that positively impact all stakeholders—customers, communities, and shareholders.  Sustainable investing represents the intersection of evolving social and investment perspectives that creates an opportunity to more fully align investments with the vision, values, and wealth purpose of each of our client families.  A sustainable or impact lens is an integral part of the investment strategy we use to build and manage portfolios for Matter families. We
Investing

The Power of Momentum

We’ve all seen the headlines over the last several weeks—I will paraphrase—Robinhood and its band of Merry Reddit Traders have come together to take down the greedy Hedge Fund Barons of Wall Street. While it makes for a compelling storyline and elicits many questions regarding how such things could happen, the reality of the plot is slightly less sensational, though there are some important implications to keep in mind. The story is really one of momentum, dislocation, and risk management,
Investing

Planning for the Unpredictable: How Markets and Election Cycles Co-Exist

If the only two things in life that are certain are death and taxes, a close third would be presidential election cycles. Now, not all election cycles are equal. Some are highly contested, whereas others have a clear front-runner. Some elections involve an incumbent and a challenger, while others involve two candidates who would be new to the presidency. Each election takes on a life of its own, but sure as the sun rises in the east, every 4 years, Americans head to the
Investing

Mid-Year 2020: How Should Constantly Changing Conditions Inform Our Investment Outlook?

Can you imagine getting the chance to tell our January selves a little bit about where we would be at the halfway point of 2020? Would we believe it? The chart below by our colleagues at ACG identifies the drastic changes in the economic circumstances in our country from the beginning of the year.  First Quarter of 2020: Exogenous Shocks  A Change is Gonna Come  The period we are currently living through will likely result in some meaningful changes in the business landscape of the country. The degree to
Investing

Acknowledging Uncertainty - Where Do We Go From Here?

At one point in April, Business Insider estimated that a third of the world’s population was under some form of lockdown or shelter in place order. Now, as restrictions are being lifted and we are allowed to resume some semblance of normal life, we are faced with the uncertainty of what comes next. The answer to that question relies heavily on the world’s ability to manage COVID-19—a prediction which we are incapable of providing. However, understanding where we are currently helps us to remain strategic in our long-term outlook while
Investing

How Are Managers Navigating This Environment? Looking Below the Surface of Our Portfolios

The last month and a half has seen some historic moves in both equity and bond markets. Based off of daily closing prices on the S&P 500 Index, the average daily move in the S&P 500 Index over the last 40 years has been around +/- 0.75%. In the month of March, the average daily move on the S&P 500 Index was over 4%. This has happened two other times in the last 40 years—the first was during the Stock Market Crash of 1987, and the second was during the Global Financial
Investing

March-End Economic Snapshot

For the most part, economic data will show some level of lag depending on the data point and frequency. The Conference Board Leading Economic Index looks to provide some level of forward-looking insight by aggregating different data points which include manufacturing output, unemployment claims, stock market and credit conditions, and a handful of others. We look at a host of different data points, but below is a summary that might prove helpful:  Weekly unemployment claims, which are reported every Thursday morning, provide a relatively immediate read on the