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Investment Strategy Commentary

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Gain insight into the rapidly changing financial landscape

 

Volatility Happens

After being on cruise control for most of 2013, risk assets hit turbulence in the first part of 2014. Volatility is a fact of risk markets, but what can investors do about it? Northern Trust’s Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, encourages investors to focus less on volatility protection and instead focus on understanding their volatility sensitivity in his latest report, Volatility Happens.
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Gut Check

Through the first month of 2014, markets have shown heightened volatility and negative returns. Is this just a healthy correction or something more? Jim McDonald, Chief Investment Strategist, provides Northern Trust's thoughts in Gut Check.
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Less of a Drag

Those investors who took on risk in 2013 were rewarded - especially in developed markets. But, with valuations slightly above longer-term medians, fundamentals will need to play a bigger role in 2014. Northern Trust believes they will, especially as governments' impact on growth becomes Less of a Drag.
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A Lot of Bull

Northern Trust’s Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, compares the current bull market to historical precedents in his latest market commentary.
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Sensitivity Training

Investors are increasingly focused on the outlook for interest rates. While Northern Trust believes the odds of a spike in interest rates is low, our Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, still believes it is prudent to undergo a little (interest rate) sensitivity training.
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Commodities: Reverting to Neutral Strategic Stance as Tactical Thesis Plays Out

With risk versus reward becoming less compelling for commodities, Northern Trust's basic materials and industrials analyst, Edward Trafford, CFA, explains why caution is in order for the sector’s long-term prospects.
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Heading Overseas

Home-biases in equity investing continue to exist - but do they make sense? Where are the opportunities right now? And are investors defining the global opportunity set correctly? Northern Trust's Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, outlines the pressing issues surrounding a global approach to equity investing in his latest market commentary, Heading Overseas.
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Commodities: Staying Long Short-Term, Exit Point Draws Near

While the shorter-term risk-reward for commodities may be compelling, Northern Trust's basic materials and industrials analyst, Edward Trafford, CFA, explains why we cast a cautious eye toward the sector’s long-term prospects.
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Quantitative Squeezing?

Analysis of potential actions by the US Federal Reserve
The prospect of the end of QE3 has been garnering a great deal of attention lately. But how imminent is it -- and is it really all that catastrophic for bonds? Jim McDonald answers these questions in his latest Investment Strategy Commentary, "Quantitative Squeezing?".
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What's Driving Emerging Markets?

Northern Trust’s Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, examines emerging market equities' underperformance and outlook in his latest market commentary, What's Driving Emerging Markets?
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Into Thin Air? We Think Not

Northern Trust’s Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, explores how far the markets have come in his latest market commentary.
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Mining the Commodities Complex

Commodities Analyst, Edward Trafford, provides insights into the evolving dynamics within the Energy, Industrial Metals and Agriculture sectors in Northern Trust's most recent strategy piece.
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Fiscal Cliff: Now For the Hard Part

Northern Trust's Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, analyzes Washington's last-minute deal in, "The Fiscal Cliff: Now for the Hard Part."'
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2013 Outlook: Less Risk, Less Reward

What is the outlook for financial markets after a year in which markets positively surprised most investors?
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2012 Election: A Split Decision

Our Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, reacts to the U.S. election results in his latest market commentary.
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Will the Micro Undermine the Macro? - November 2, 2012

Read our Senior Fixed Income Analyst, Claire Meier's, new commentary on the current situation facing European markets. Commentary includes insights on the potential impact of EU reforms on the people of Europe living in the 'real economy'.
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Dividends: More Interesting Than Bonds - September 28, 2012

As bond yields have fallen to record lows, investors have embraced dividend-paying stocks as an alternative strategy for income production. However, with these stocks fetching higher prices than they have in the past and the looming potential for change to the U.S. policy on taxation of dividends, is the strategy still appropriate?
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A Bold Move: Is Third Time the Charm? - September 14, 2012

Investors, worldwide, have been watching to see how far the FOMC would go to support a fledgling economic recovery in the United States and, during its September 12-13 meeting, the FOMC took bold action.
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Coming Out of Jackson Hole ... - September 4, 2012

Northern Trust’s analysis of the current state of U.S. monetary policy following U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
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What Do Jackson Hole and Investor Portfolios Have in Common? - August 24, 2012

Following recent actions by central banks, investors turn their attention to a monetary policy meeting in Jackson Hole, Wy.
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Investment Strategy Commentary: The State of the Union. - July 3, 2012

Last week's European Summit resulted in some important steps towards a unified Europe. But, as has been the case with the 19 previous summits, progress was incremental and details were few. Northern Trust’s Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, analyzes the summit outcome and what it means for Northern Trust's overall outlook on the markets.

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Continuing European Drama - June 19, 2012

Northern Trust's Fixed Income experts analyse the continuing drama within Europe and the effect of the recent Greek elections on the eurozone.
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The Fiscal Cliff– Is It When, Not If? - June 7, 2012

Much attention has been paid to the roughly $700 billion "fiscal cliff" the U.S. economy is scheduled to fall off at year's end. The good news is that we think some form of legislative extension is the likely path politicians will follow to avoid a sharp economic contraction; the bad news is that these fiscal issues are not going away. Northern Trust’s Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, analyzes both the near-term and longer-term impacts from government spending policies in, The Fiscal Cliff.
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The Tortoise is Laboring- June 1, 2012

The U.S. economy remains the "fastest tortoise in the race," but recent economic data -- including the disappointing jobs report released on June 1 -- suggest that the tortoise is laboring. In this environment, we believe a focus on income-generating asset classes can help shield investors from ongoing volatility. Northern Trust’s Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, discusses the recent market events in his latest market commentary, The Tortoise is Laboring.
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The European Conundrum Continues - May 16, 2012

Northern Trust's Fixed Income experts analyse the continuing drama within the eurozone and its recent political changes in Greece and France as well as banking reforms in Spain.
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Oil: Keep an Eye on Supply - March 30, 2012

A cursory review of history may lead one to conclude that spiking oil prices always lead to recession. Also, the popular press has convinced some that current tensions with Iran are the primary reason for higher oil prices. We don't draw the same conclusion on either of these fronts. It is our view that the primary cause of the current high price of oil is global supply and demand — and that high oil prices, by themselves, do not necessarily result in economic contraction. Northern Trust’s Chief Investment Strategist, Jim McDonald, explores oil's impact on the economy and the markets in his latest market commentary. Oil: Keep an Eye on Supply.
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Changing Dynamics in Emerging Markets

Our Equity Index experts consider new approaches to gaining emerging markets exposure, from small cap to frontier markets.
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Andrew Smith: What Happened to the Great Rotation? – April 14, 2014

 
The “great rotation” predicted an end to the decades-long bond bull market – three years ago. Yet, demand remains strong. What did the pundits miss?
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Market and Economic Commentaries

Access our latest Market and Economic Commentaries
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Point of View
New look, new features - same great Point of View. Insights from Northern Trust and industry experts.
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