Operations As a Vehicle for Business Success

All investment advisers have an asset target in mind. In order to reach that finish line, you need to have a solid vehicle. Having a qualified portfolio manager (i.e. the driver) is a large part of the race, but it is certainly harder to accomplish without efficient and effective systems and processes in place. A…

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Revisiting Active Investing: Is the Trend in Passive Over?

Over the past few years, financial advisors and their clients, in search of low-cost ways to capture market performance, have piled into passive investment strategies. As the Wall Street Journal reported recently, for the three years ended Aug. 31, 2016, nearly $1.3 trillion flowed into passive mutual funds and ETFs. For investors, it seemed like…

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Analysis: The 2016 Presidential Election

In light of Donald Trump’s win and the GOP hold of all three branches of government, the question on most minds today is, what is the outlook for the US economy? My short answer is that it is too early to tell. At Astor, our philosophy is to be guided by actual economic data rather than…

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Politics and Economics: Linked—or Not?

A U.S. presidential outcome, one way or the other, likely will lead to some extrapolation of how economic policies might change—for example, higher/lower taxes or changes/continuation of trade policies—and, therefore, the impact on the stock market. But such policy changes take time; consider the agonizing on Capitol Hill over passage of major legislation, such as…

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Q3 GDP Beats Estimates

Real GDP for Q3 2016 came in at a better-than-expected rate of 2.9%. This “advance estimate,” released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, was above consensus/economists’ estimates of around 2.5-2.6%. In Q2, real GDP increased by an annualized rate of 1.4%. As Astor previously observed, a Q3 GDP report that at least met expectations, along…

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Will September’s Economic Pickup Mean a Reason to Hope for Q4?

Readings on September’s economic output pointed to a bounce back after a disappointment in August. We see these as hopeful signs that the economy, which has been growing slowly but steadily, may be positioned for further gains in Q4 and as we head into the end of the year. ISM Manufacturing A drop in PMI…

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Passive Investing Grows in Popularity—But No Panacea

As the investing public, from institutions to individuals, moves away from stock picking and other traditionally active strategies, the beneficiary is passive investing. As the Wall Street Journal reported recently, pension funds, endowments, 401(k) retirement plans, and retail investors are opting increasingly for passive investing that tracks an index. For the three years ended Aug….

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Invest Like an Economist—Not a Stock Picker

While the expansion of the $3 trillion ETF industry continues to attract attention for the sheer size and popularity of this investment vehicle, there is yet another reason to favor ETFs—one that’s near to my heart as an economist and investment manager. ETFs allow you think and invest like an economist, and not a stock…

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The Tension between Reacting and Overreacting: One Number Does Not Make a Trend

In asset allocation and investing, there is a natural tension between reacting and overreacting. The goal is to ensure you are skilled at the former, while avoiding the latter. At Astor Investment Management, we believe our macroeconomics-based approach to asset allocation helps us react to what we determine to be real change in the economic…

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What Are You Looking At?

Fed-watching. Oil prices. The latest geopolitical headline. All sources of anxiety, some of them manufactured. The real question is, what should you be focusing on? Even as markets persist near all-time highs, volatility not indicating too much concern, the subconscious anxiety appears to be growing. As we’ve seen in recent years (and, more recently, during…

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Click here for the latest information on our strategies   Listen to a Webinar with CEO and Founder Rob Stein   VIEWPOINTS Revisiting Active:  Is the Trend in Passive Over? Picking the Right Sectors for 2017 Invest like an Economist, not a Stock Picker Look to ETFs as Passive Investing Grows in Popularity What are…

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A Mixed Picture – Economic Snapshots

The U.S. economic picture is mixed, with some signs of slowing, along with areas of strength. Let’s take a look at the current snapshots to gain a more comprehensive view. To learn more about The Economic Picture, watch this video.  ISM Manufacturing In our opinion, the most worrying data have been ISM Manufacturing Index readings….

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Eyes on the Fed: No Urgency for a Rate Rise

All eyes are on the Federal Reserve this week and the often-discussed question: Will they or won’t they raise rates? Here at Astor, our prediction of what we believe the Fed will do (spoiler alert: we don’t expect a rate rise in September) comes down to two important data points: employment and inflation. To learn…

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September Quick Read on the US Economy

I interpreted last month’s economic releases as somewhat weaker.  Forward looking surveys were concerning though consumer spending in the US, the most important single component of GDP, seems to be stable.  Our latest reading for the Astor Economic Index® (“AEI”) is lower over the month, though I see no discernible trend over the last twelve…

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Breaking up is not that hard to do: Real Estate (RE) classification

Effective September 1, 2016, the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS®) will undergo its first major change since its inception in 1999. As a result of the evolving investment landscape, not to mention the global economy, real estate will be carved out of the financial sector. The new 11th sector will primarily contain equity REITs. All…

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US Consumer Update: Continuing to Drive Economic Growth

US Consumer Update: Continuing to Drive Economic Growth. Today’s July retail sales report was unchanged but still consistent with the theme of strong consumer resilience continuing in Q3 2016. The headline print at 0% was below Bloomberg expectations of 0.4%.  Digging into the retail categories, it seems auto sales took away demand from other retail…

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August Quick Read on the US Economy

My view on the economy is little changed over the month.  I still see the US in an environment of modest economic growth.  A second strong payroll number should quiet the concerns that a period of weakness is beginning. Our latest reading for the Astor Economic Index® (“AEI”) is still near the highest level posted this…

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STAR Gazing

We see several themes playing out this year for US domestic sectors, with regards to sector fundamentals, factor selection and the overall direction of the US economy. In our STAR mid-year update, we seek to answer following questions: How have the sector economic fundamentals evolved and how does that guide allocation? So far this year,…

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July’s Jobs Number Supportive of Steady Growth

The July Employment report came in with an upside surprise—255,000 jobs created during the month, which was well above expectations of 179,000. Making the jobs picture even rosier was the upward revision for June, to 292,000 from 287,000. Strength in the labor market for June and July has helped bring people back into the workforce,…

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The Answer to the Question on Investors’ Minds: Stay the Course

For much of the year, beginning in January when the stock market had its worst start of a new year in history, we’ve been asked periodically why our portfolios haven’t been materially more defensive. The question has arisen at other times during the year, such as in aftermath of the UK’s “Brexit” vote, an event…

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All information contained herein is for informational purposes only. This is not a solicitation to offer investment advice or services in any state where to do so would be unlawful. Analysis and research are provided for informational purposes only, not for trading or investing purposes. All opinions expressed are as of the date of publication and subject to change. Astor and its affiliates are not liable for the accuracy, usefulness or availability of any such information or liable for any trading or investing based on such information.”