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Managers Shift Natural Gas Bets [Wall Street Journal]
Natural gas has been on a tear lately. Goldman Sachs commodity strategists recently dubbed it the "new safe haven" trade. However, managers are now turning cautious on natural gas ahead of an expected slowdown in the spring. They cite unusually cold weather – which is expected to dissipate soon – as a key support for natural gas prices in recent months.
The Most Underappreciated Threat to the Advisory Industry [Advisor Perspectives]
Bob Veres cites Wealthfront USA, an online service that helps individuals assemble portfolios of low-cost index ETFs, as a business model disrupting the financial advisory industry. He says online investment technology has finally come of age, and advisors who are not doing anything particularly interesting or creative with their clients' portfolios should watch out for services like Wealthfront.
Citi strategist Tobias Levkovich argues that the profit margin debate is best viewed from a sector perspective. "The real mistaken view comes from misunderstanding the overall margin environment when removing the Tech sector’s influence (see Figure 6)," he writes in a note to clients. "If one looks at margins ex-Tech, it is easy to recognize that margins were higher elsewhere for years before the 2008-09 downturn, and there is still upside to most other S&P sectors’ profit opportunity."
Americans' spending allocation toward investment services continues to remain depressed in the wake of the financial crisis and Great Recession of 2007-2009. Spending on those services currently accounts for 1.3% of total consumption, down from 1.6% before the crisis. PNC Financial Services Chief Economist Stuart Hoffman takes this as a sign that the public still isn't ready to move back into the stock market yet, even despite the remarkable rally that began over four years ago.
Paul Gambles, managing partner at advisory firm MBMG International, says the Australian dollar could fall by 40% over the next 18 months against the U.S. dollar. Gambles cites the possibility of a slowdown in China and weakening commodity demand as possible triggers that could spur the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut interest rates, which would be negative for the Aussie. "[The Aussie dollar] upside seems capped and downside seems pretty well unlimited," Gambles told CNBC.
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