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Editorial Results (free)

1. Waddell & Associates Merges With International Network -

David Waddell’s Memphis-based investment firm is celebrating the third decade of its existence this year with more than just the acknowledgement of its longevity in the business of managing clients’ money.

2. Waddell & Associates Teams With International Network -

Focus Financial Partners, an international partnership of independent, fiduciary wealth management firms, has added Memphis-based investment firm Waddell & Associates Inc. to its network.

3. Waddell & Associates Joins International Firm Network -

Focus Financial Partners, an international partnership of independent, fiduciary wealth management firms, has added Memphis-based investment firm Waddell & Associates Inc. to its network.

4. The Case for Crude -

Oil prices traded near $110 a barrel in June of 2014, supported by escalating demand and a stable U.S. dollar. Advances in drilling technology in the U.S. led to a tremendous surge in investments and productivity.

5. Beware Thyself -

Over the last 13 months, or 262 trading days, the S&P 500 has produced a 0% return while the Barclays total bond market index has produced an enviable 1%. Over the last several weeks I have received several calls and emails from clients, fatigued by sideways markets that want to “do something” about it.

6. Beware Thyself -

Over the last 13 months, or 262 trading days, the S&P 500 has produced a 0% return while the Barclays total bond market index has produced an enviable 1%. Over the last several weeks I have received several calls and emails from clients, fatigued by sideways markets that want to “do something” about it. This emotion, while understandable, can often lead to mistakes. One of our roles as investment advisors is to help clients widen their field of view and mitigate the risk of trading mistakes. Over the past twelve months the markets have produced some distinct winners and losers. US stocks +.91% vs. international stocks -7%. US internet and biotech stocks +20% vs. US energy stocks -20%. US growth stocks + 7%, US value stocks -4%. Which would you buy if you were craving returns? Clearly large cap US growth themes like biotech and technology make money while US value themes like Europe, emerging markets and commodities do not.

7. Rate Hike: Keep Calm and Invest On -

Psychologically, the stock market appears to have come to terms with a .25 percent rate hike on December 16th. As of today, the futures markets price in a 75 percent probability that the Fed will move.

8. Ready for Launch -

Five hundred new companies in 10 years. That’s the idea that founded EPIcenter, short for Entrepreneurship-Powered Innovation Center, an organization looking to catalyze the entrepreneurial movement in Memphis.

9. Below the Waterline -

As of the end of October, the S&P 500 index had gained 2.59%. Unfortunately, for diversified investors, there is more to the story. The S&P 500 is a market capitalization weighted index, meaning the largest of the 500 companies have the largest influence over index performance.

10. Megan Warden Joins Shea Moskovitz & McGhee -

Megan Warden, who joined Shea Moskovitz & McGhee as an associate attorney this year, represents clients in a variety of family law matters – including division and valuation of marital assets, spousal support, prenuptial agreements, child custody, parenting plans, visitation issues, domestic partnerships and parentage.

11. Rally Tally -

Having promoted the necessity of a solid GDP report from China to secure recent gains, I am happy to assert that, according to the data, the Chinese economy remains aloft…which was all the market needed to hear.

12. International Paper CEO: 'Find a Way to Be Relevant' -

International Paper chairman and CEO Mark Sutton, who’s been the top executive at the Memphis-based paper and packaging products giant for almost a year now, has some pretty basic guideposts for being a good leader.

13. The Bounce in Search of a Rally -

The lugubrious sentiment that we described in our Oct. 2 commentary, coupled with the collapse in earnings and economic expectations, coiled the market for a well-broadcasted bounce. Since Oct. 2, the S&P 500 has sprung 7 percent higher, led by the year’s most reviled performers.

14. A September to Forget -

September typically delivers negative performance, and this September was no exception. September’s poor performance punctuated a dismal third quarter. Using MSCI stock indices, the USA, Europe and the emerging markets fell 7 percent, 9 percent and 18 percent respectively. Feeling down? You are not alone…

15. Partying Like It’s 1998 -

Entering 1998, the U.S. economy was on a tear. U.S. GDP growth was running 4+ percent and the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent. Stocks gained 29 percent in 1997 after gaining 38 percent in 1995 and 23 percent in 1996. To cool things down, the Federal Reserve raised the Federal Funds rate to 5.5 percent.

16. Partying Like It’s 1998 -

Entering 1998, the U.S. economy was on a tear. U.S. GDP growth was running 4+ percent and the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent. Stocks gained 29 percent in 1997 after gaining 38 percent in 1995 and 23 percent in 1996. To cool things down, the Federal Reserve raised the Federal Funds rate to 5.5 percent.

17. The End of the Fed’s Up-Market Guarantee Program -

On Thursday, the European Central Bank committed to do even more of “whatever it takes,” driving European stocks up 2.5 percent. Conversely, after Friday’s strong U.S. job report, Fed tightening fears pushed American stocks down 1.5 percent.

18. Loss of Confidence or Loss Of Overconfidence? -

As you already know, markets have gyrated wildly over the last eight trading days. While suspicions of crisis have developed, the market has behaved as if crisis were already upon us.

Broad measures of volatility recorded record gains last week, market mechanics fractured at Monday, Aug. 24’s open and ETF prices became dramatically disconnected from underlying value.

19. Playing the Pullback -

After four years of up, markets have quickly entered correction territory. Unfortunately, since most investors operate with short memories, the current pullback feels major since recent comparisons have been minor. However, markets corrections don’t presage negative annual returns.

20. Why China Devalued: Global Oversupply -

If I demand a new widget today, a supplier will build one for me. If I later change my mind, the widget will still exist. Perhaps my supplier relied on debt to fund its construction. If so, the supplier now has to find a new source of demand or they must restructure the loan.

21. What the Fed Says Will Matter More than What It Does -

At her first press conference in March of 2014, Fed Chair Janet Yellen timestamped the first interest rate hike as “something in the order of around six months” post the Fed’s bond buying QE campaign.

22. Is the Market Flourishing Or Flailing Right Now? -

4 Percent: On Feb. 4 of this year, the S&P 500 closed at 2,041. In the nearly six months since that date, the S&P 500 has basically been boxed into a trading range. That range has had a floor of 2,040 and a ceiling of 2,130 (an all-time high that was reached on May 21).

23. Departing Thoughts from Asia -

This entry will be my last submission penned while living in Asia, so rather than discuss the market’s recent wiggles, I thought I would share some top of mind takeaways as I prepare to depart Hong Kong.

24. Checking the Vitals -

Now that the Greece flare up and China arrhythmia have subsided, let’s perform a quick physical on the markets to reassess the vitals.

Interest Rates

While it’s true that the U.S. central bank seems determined to raise rates, most of the rest of the world is still cutting them. History reveals that rate movements adhere strongly to inertia. In other words, up movements last a while, down movements last a while and sideways movements last a while. To wit, 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds yield around 2.3 percent, roughly what they have yielded since mid-2011.

25. Waddell and Associates Honored by CNBC -

Memphis-based wealth management firm Waddell and Associates Inc. has been ranked 29th on CNBC's list of “Top 100 Fee-Only Wealth Managers” for 2015.

26. Waddell and Associates Honored by CNBC -

Memphis-based wealth management firm Waddell and Associates Inc. has been ranked 29th on CNBC’s list of “Top 100 Fee-Only Wealth Managers” for 2015.

27. Tracking Second-Quarter Market Trends -

With the second quarter basically in the rear-view mirror, have the trends that began in the first quarter of the year continued during the second quarter? Or, has there been a reversal? Let’s take a look, starting with the broad global stock markets. All returns are thru Wednesday, June 24:

28. Money & Markets Around the World -

On central bank policy: At an early press conference, Janet Yellen quipped that the U.S. Fed might initiate rate hikes six months after QE, corresponding with March of 2015. She has been backpedaling ever since.

29. Investors, Mind Your Footing -

Bonds Can Lose Money After All. Heightened Fed concerns mixed with rising inflation indices in the U.S. and Europe have continued to press interest rates higher across the curve.

As a consequence, the vast majority of bond market indices have turned negative on the year. The Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Market index has shed 0.73 percent, while the longer dated U.S. Treasury 20+ Year index has fallen more than 7 percent through June 11.

30. Mr. Market Raises Rates -

While the Fed deliberates over short-term interest rate policy, Mr. Market has acted and raised long-term rates.

Recall that long-term sovereign bonds trade in relation to one another globally. Over the past couple of years, U.S. Treasuries have traded at yields 1.5 percent higher than the 10-year German bond. The 1.5 percent spread accounts higher level of inflation in the U.S., making the inflation-adjusted yields pretty similar.

31. What Would Janet Do? -

We have now entered the Fed’s target time zone to raise rates. Clearly, the Fed wants to hike rates as a way to signal that the economy no longer requires “emergency assistance.”

Since the markets are obsessed with the pace and slope of rate hikes, and have not moved at all for months because of it, let’s try and climb inside the mind of the Fed to answer, “What will Janet do?”

32. Do Not Fear What You Should be Afraid Of -

There are factors conspiring in the market’s industrial kitchen right now that might lead to a fit of indigestion for investors. This week we will look at the three main ingredients and discuss how to medicate.

33. Should Investors 'Sell in May and Go Away'? -

Prior to the summer of 2011, if you were a follower of the Memphis Grizzlies, you could forget about the team by the end of April. When the April calendar turned to May, the Grizz faithful moved on to vacations, baseball and fireworks. Once November came around, the interest returned for the next 6 months, only for the cycle to begin again the next April.

34. Do Not Fear Europe’s Recovery -

Interest rates determine the cost of capital for corporations, directly influence the capitalized value of corporate earnings and establish relative value positions within the currency markets. Simply stated, meaningful shifts in interest rates create meaningful shifts in the investment marketplace.

35. Blame Fed for Lame Q1 GDP? -

The U.S. economy grew 0.2 percent in the first quarter, well below analyst consensus. The fairly typical excuses followed the release, from weather to port strikes, to the first quarter growth curse that has stifled Q1 numbers since the financial crisis. The Fed even brushed off the weak numbers as a consequence of “transitory factors.”

36. Don’t Buy This ‘Market’ -

Last week, the Nasdaq, the S&P 500 and the New York Stock Exchange composite indexes all hit new historic highs, bolstered by falling rate hike expectations. In the market environment of the day, economic softness causing falling revenues and falling prices (see first-quarter earnings season) holds less influence than falling interest rates.

37. Expect the Fed to Fold -

Last Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund released its World Economic Outlook report. While it did not change its forecast for the pace of global economic growth in 2015, it did alter the composition.

38. Bass Pro Announces Opening Week Lineup -

Bass Pro Shops has unveiled the celebrity lineup and schedule for its opening festivities, kicking off with a free Evening for Conservation event Wednesday, April 29, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Here is the press release from Bass Pro:

39. Returns Revisited -

We last did a snapshot review of the various markets in February. With one full quarter of 2015 in the books, quarterly trading allocations complete, and earnings season just getting underway, it would probably be helpful to check in on the source of returns this month and this year in the global financial markets. First, let’s look at the broad equity markets. Unless otherwise noted, all returns are through April 9.

40. Rising Dollar, Falling Expectations -

The first quarter of trading for 2015 came to a close on Tuesday, March 31. As of March 26, the U.S. dollar stands 8 percent higher for the year, the yield on the 10-year Treasury stands 8 percent lower on the year and the S&P 500 has fallen a conviction-less 0.10 percent.

41. Big Day Lived Up to the Hype -

We have asserted since late 2014 that March 18th would mark the biggest day of 2015 as the Fed mapped out its medium-term interest rate policy.

A hawkish (restrictive) statement on March 18th would boost the dollar, increase market interest rates and decrease stock market values. A dovish statement (stimulative) on March 18th would weaken the dollar, lower interest rates and increase stock market values. With so much riding on the decision, debate and pre-positioning became fierce!

42. 2015 Financial Markets Off to Converse Start From 2014 -

The first two months of the calendar year can present an intriguing opportunity to examine the state of the financial markets, as fourth quarter earning’s season is basically complete. Let’s take a look first at the broad equity markets, starting with a 2014 review:

43. Memphis Women in Business Face Low Receipts -

With a new political and civic push to improve minority business growth in Memphis’ public and private sectors, businesses owned by women are a specific part of the minority business community challenged in unique ways.

44. Data for Fed Digestion -

The recent weeks have seen a flurry of economic data that shed light on the United States economy. Here is a recap of two of those data points:

Gross Domestic Product. The first GDP release for fourth quarter 2014 (a data point that will be revised multiple times down the road) revealed an economy that grew by 2.6 percent in the quarter, down sharply from the 5 percent growth registered in the third quarter.

45. Events -

Memphis Library Foundation will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the teen learning lab Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 11 a.m. at its future site in the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave. The name for the lab will be announced at the ceremony. Visit memphislibraryfoundation.org.

46. Events -

Bass Pro Shops will host a job fair to fill 600 full-time and part-time jobs Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 3-4, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Memphis Cook Convention Center, south exhibit hall, 255 N. Main St. Visit basspro.com/careers for more information.

47. Events -

On Location: Memphis will host screenings of Oscar-nominated animated short films Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. and Oscar-nominated live-action short films Wednesday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. at Malco Studio on the Square, 2105 Court Ave. Tickets are $10 per night and are available at onlocationmemphis.org.

48. Why the Market has Fallen in 2015 -

The stock market overreached in 2013, expecting big things from 2014. Earnings estimates for 2014 were for growth of 10 percent-plU.S. . High expectations boosted valuations above long-term averages.

49. Why the Market Has Fallen in 2015 -

Stronger dollar = higher valuations. The stock market overreached in 2013, expecting big things from 2014. Earnings estimates for 2014 were for growth of 10-plus percent. High expectations boosted valuations above long-term averages.

50. 2015: The Currency War -

War sounds scary. In the traditional sense, war evokes casualties and loss. For investors, currency wars simply convey economic redistribution.

For instance, if there were only two stores in town selling identical items and one store raised prices while the other store lowered prices, demand would certainly follow the discount … but overall demand would be the same.

51. Don’t Be a Hero, Leave Rates at Zero -

As if we needed further evidence that investment markets price off of central bank soliloquies, markets worldwide rallied 4.5 percent last week in reaction to a short press release from the U.S. Fed.

52. Fear Drives US Stocks Higher -

In 2014, more than 600 hedge funds have disbanded. Even accounting for the carnage of 2009, this amounts to a record pace of “smart money” failures. In the more pedestrian mutual fund realm, active money managers are having their worst year of relative performance ever.

53. Events -

The 13th annual Porter-Leath Toy Truck will collect new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations Monday, Dec. 15, to Dec. 19 from 7 p.m. to 7 p.m. at WMC-TV Action News 5, 1960 Union Ave., and Bud Davis Cadillac, 5433 Poplar Ave. Donations from both locations will benefit children and families served by Porter-Leath. Visit porterleath.org.

54. Events -

The Booksellers at Laurelwood will host Perre Coleman Magness, author of “Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook” for a discussion and book signing Saturday, Dec. 13, at 2 p.m. at the bookstore, 387 Perkins Road Extended. Visit thebooksellersatlaurelwood.com.

55. US Decoupling -

The Eurozone, Japan and select emerging markets all seem to be struggling economically with low inflation levels, poor policy responses, and low demand. Meanwhile, the U.S. keeps posting surprisingly strong economic numbers.

56. I Choose Memphis: Philipp von Holtzendorff-Fehling -

“I Choose Memphis” spotlights Memphians who are passionate about calling this community home. New Memphis Institute provides the profiles.

Name: Philipp von Holtzendorff-Fehling

57. Dollar, S&P Levels Point to 1996 -

As trading becomes more mechanized, investors must consider not only market fundamentals but also what‘s driving the algorithms. With the proliferation of ETFs, less analysis occurs at the security level, and more analysis occurs on the technical level.

58. Fed Folds Quantitative Easing -

Nearly five years after the conclusion of the Great Recession, the U.S. Federal Reserve has chosen to conclude its quantitative easing program. Ben Bernanke thought long and hard about the potential for Central Bank “emergency measures” like QE throughout his academic career. His devotion to Milton Freidman and the quantity theory of money (money supply * velocity = GDP) provided the orthodoxy for the U.S. response to the financial crisis.

59. China’s Growth Gut Check -

The global economy is a symphony of regional and local economies interconnected by trade, interest rates and currency movements. We can generalize the influence of our leading instrumentalists in the following ways.

60. Presenting Mid-October Economic Snapshot -

The heightened volatility month of October continued last week. On Wednesday alone, the Dow Jones Industrial Average moved nearly 460 points from its high point in the day to its low point (before closing in between). Granted, a 400-point move from a 16,000 altitude translates into much milder percentage moves when compared to a similar move off of a lower base, but with the number on CNBC constantly, it gives investors pause.

61. The Return of King Dollar -

The market’s game ball in the third quarter goes to the U.S. dollar. The U.S. dollar rose 7 percent, boosted by the comparative hawkishness of the U.S. Fed. The currency has now advanced for 11 consecutive weeks, its longest winning streak in nearly 20 years (although the uptrend actually started in mid-2011). What should you know about the return of King Dollar?

62. Robotic Rise of the S&P -

The S&P 500 hit a new all-time high again last week for the 34th time so far this year. However, U.S. stocks appear increasingly detached.

While the S&P 500 has risen nearly 10 percent year-to-date, stocks outside the US have returned less than 3 percent. In fact, U.S. stocks have pummeled their international competition by an astounding 70 percent over the last five years.

63. Government for the Prosperity of the People -

The reporting out of the US on China is uniformly downbeat. By applying our western perspectives, China appears inhumane, politically oppressive, over-indebted and fragile.

From the American perspective, functional nations should look more ... well ... like us. They should have democracy, inalienable property rights, free and open markets, freedom of expression, apple pie, etc. Our national belief in the ideology of American exceptionalism defines our worldview.

64. Woeful Period for US Markets -

September 8, 2014, S&P 2000 = 11 + 4 percent + 11 percent + 1.5 percent + 2.5 percent. The last five years have been consistently wonderful for the U.S. markets. Over the time period, the S&P 500 has advanced more than 17 percent annually. Only four bull markets (advances uninterrupted by a 20 percent decline) have lasted longer and returned more. What has this bull been eating?

65. The Dollar Strikes Back -

Movements between the dollar, euro, and yen profoundly impact global flows of goods and capital. Given recent language and policy shifts from the U.S. Federal Reserve (FED), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan (BOJ), let’s re-examine global currency trends.

66. Meet Hong Kong -

I just realized that while I have now lived in Hong Kong for nearly a month I have failed to properly introduce you. Allow me to give you the tour.

Between 1842 and 1997, the British controlled the 425-square-mile territory of Hong Kong, which includes Kowloon, the New Territories and over 200 smaller islands. Its proximity to China and its naturally deep water ports make Hong Kong an ideal trade destination. When China reopened in the 1980s, manufacturing boomed in nearby Shenzhen, and Hong Kong became the natural financial and logistics center ... in a way, China’s front office.

67. Fuchs Joins Vaco Logistics as Recruiter -

Eddie Fuchs has joined Vaco Memphis as an executive recruiter for Vaco Logistics, where he’ll consult with distribution, transportation and manufacturing companies to help identify candidates for leadership and specialized skill positions. Fuchs, who previously worked in the business development department of Intermodal Cartage Co., was recently named to the Greater Memphis Chamber’s 2014 Young Memphians list.

68. Fed-Casting the Next Six Months -

The central questions for this aging bull market involve the timing, pace and degree of interest rate increases. Low interest rates make equity earnings larger and more valuable. Freeze interest rates here and stocks look cheap. Increase them to historical norms and stocks look expensive.

69. Where the Values Aren’t -

Downturns, while painful, can be very useful for the information they provide.

The S&P 500, representative of U.S. large cap stocks, declined 4 percent between July 24 and Aug. 7. Limiting our data set to this time period produces a couple of interesting observations. First, while interest rates didn’t actually move as feared, interest rate sensitive investments did. Master limited partnerships, utilities and high dividend payers underperformed over the period. Second, the emerging and frontier markets outperformed notably.

70. Asia Feels Boost From US GDP -

Yippee, GDP! Last week, the U.S. government reported that GDP in the second quarter grew 4 percent and revised the first-quarter number upward from -2.9 percent to -2.1 percent. U.S. equity markets celebrated briefly and then became seriously fearful of Federal Reserve inflation countermeasures.

71. FedEx Founder Highlights Economic Club Fall Slate -

FedEx founder Fred Smith will make a rare public speaking appearance in Memphis Nov. 6, as part of the fall 2014 lineup of speakers planned for the Economic Club of Memphis.

72. Asia Votes for Growth -

Ni Hao!

I write to you this week from Hong Kong. For the next 12 months I will be working remotely from China in order to closely evaluate conditions within the Asian economies. In addition to my usual market musings I will share my Asian insights and inspirations as they arise … like this one.

73. McKinney Named Branch Manager at Waddell & Reed -

Mack McKinney has been promoted at Waddell & Reed to district branch manager for the Memphis area. McKinney has been with the financial advisory firm for five years, holding management positions for four of those years.
McKinney works to develop field leaders and help financial advisers leverage their strengths and experiences to build successful practices. He serves as mentor to both new and seasoned financial advisers and says he’s committed to building an office that demonstrates the collective passion shared for clients and the community.

74. Second-Quarter Scoreboards -

With central bank stimulus offsetting moribund economic data and geopolitical depressants, this market continues its low volume, low volatility ways. With the absence of news and trading strategies capturing our attention at the moment, let’s take a look back at the second quarter and identify the winners and losers.

75. Calm Amidst the ‘Storm’ -

The S&P 500 continues to inch ever so closer to the 2,000 mark, while volatility measures remain historically low. Furthermore, there have been 43 consecutive days where the S&P 500 has registered a daily return mark within the -1 percent to +1 percent band.

76. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? -

The most commonly cited indicator of complacency, the VIX or volatility index, recently hit a low of 10.73, a level not seen since early 2007.

Now a low VIX does not in any way signal an imminent crisis, but it does indicate a very complacent consensus susceptible to even slightly unpleasant surprises. Sadly, when the markets cannot find a reason to sell, Murphy ’s Law always provides one.

77. What’s Up With Low Rates? -

As 2013 drew to a close, investors bid up “risky” assets and sold “safe” assets in anticipation of a robust 2014. “Risky” stocks rose 30 percent and the “safe” 10-year Treasury bond lost 4 percent.

78. Argent Financial Adds Brundick in Memphis -

Argent Financial Group has added Ed Brundick to its Memphis team.

He’ll serve as market president of Argent Trust’s Memphis operations, while also partnering with investment firm and Argent subsidiary Highland Capital Management LLC.

79. How Low Can We Go? -

With the S&P 500 back at all-time highs, investors may be experiencing a bit of altitude sickness. With the S&P 500 now up 180 percent from the bottom, it’s right to question how much upside remains. However, the better question might be how much downside lies below.

80. Argent Financial Adds Brundick in Memphis -

Argent Financial Group has added Ed Brundick to its Memphis team.

He’ll serve as market president of Argent Trust’s Memphis operations, while also partnering with investment firm and Argent subsidiary Highland Capital Management LLC.

81. Economic Experts Offer Analysis, Forecast -

A report from Fitch Ratings May 14 declared that going forward the U.S. economy will have to grow without the help it has enjoyed in recent years from things such as low interest rates and government spending.

82. Prescott Earned Place in Sports Hall of Fame -

On Easter Sunday, April 17, 1960, a 13-year-old Allie Prescott and his father were sitting down the third-base line at Russwood Park watching an exhibition game between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox.

83. From Earnings to the Economy -

In the second month of the quarter, the focus of investors shifts from the recently completed quarterly earnings season to the more broad economic landscape.

This month is no different, as first-quarter earnings are essentially in the books. For those companies that have reported, earnings are up 1.6 percent compared to first quarter 2013, and revenues are up 0.6 percent.

84. IronHorse Makes New Hire, Launches Mutual Fund -

Memphis-based investment firm IronHorse Capital Management has hired a managing director for national sales, a new hire that comes at the same time as the firm has launched its first mutual fund product.

85. The Market Whisperer -

When economic analysis gets reduced to a binary choice between opposites like bullish or bearish, up or down, strong or weak, the complexity that helps explain the way things are gets lost in a thicket of sound byte-ready oversimplification.

86. Low Expectations Catch Up With Reality -

There is no better propellant for a market than low expectations. The S&P 500 has gained roughly 3.5 percent during this earnings season as expectations recalibrated with reality.

According to Factset, the the S&P 500 collectively will earn .2 percent less than they did a year ago, versus pre-earnings season expectations of a 1.5 percent decline. So, don’t confuse this rally in sentiment with a rally in fundamentals. That will come later in the year … or so it is expected.

87. Daily News Seminar Looks at State of Economy -

The recession that gutted the economy in recent years has, among other things, replaced good, high-paying jobs with jobs that don’t pay especially well.

That’s among the findings of a new report from the National Employment Law Project, which analyzed trends related to jobs in the aftermath of the recovery. It’s one example of how there’s plenty of ground to dig into as part of an analysis of the qualities of the economy of the moment, and The Daily News’ next seminar will do just that.

88. Return to Value -

Last week, we discussed that the wrestling match between stimulus and global debt deleveraging will continue to create anxiety and volatility for investors. Viewing the world through this prism helps to clarify seemingly baffling market movements.

89. Renewing Our Vows -

Last week, U.S. indices ascended briefly back into record territory on supportive comments from global powerbrokers.

In Europe, Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, initiated a bold conversation on monetary stimulus measures. Reality has set in across the Eurozone that the euro is too strong and inflation too weak for enduring economic expansion.

90. Now Tack! -

In sailing, when the wind shifts direction, you must move your sails or risk losing the wind. The first indication of a shifting breeze comes from the telltales, strips of lightweight material attached to the sails that foreshadow a change in conditions. Recently, the market telltales have been active.

91. Higher Markets Ahead? -

Fed testimony last week addressed burning economic and policy questions for investors. How did they respond? Fearfully, joyfully and indifferently. Just as they have to nearly every news item so far this year.

92. Examining Numbers From Data Week -

The first week of the month always produces a torrent of economic data that is capped off by the Friday employment report from the Department of Labor. Here is a summary of the more relevant data releases from last week:

93. Looking Backward and Forward -

The Look Back This time last year we predicted that 2013 would revive investor animal spirits. In fact, investors were downright euphoric last year, absolutely gorging themselves on stocks, buying at a record pace.

94. How to Fight the Flat -

Markets have regained their composure after a sharp, but necessary, sell off in early January. Sentiment has now retreated from the euphoric levels reached toward the end of last year, to more neutral levels.

95. Yellen Debuts as Fed Chair -

For the first time since 2006, someone not named Ben Bernanke testified before the House Financial Services Committee as Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Dr. Janet Yellen officially assumed the post on Feb. 3.

96. Muddling Through the Muddling Through -

Last week’s December jobs number was billed as an economic tiebreaker after a string of mixed data. The release depicted a softening employment environment. The U.S. economy created 113,000 jobs in January against expectations of 185,000. Over the trailing three months, the economy has added an average of about 150,000 new jobs per month versus 200,000 per month reached last summer/fall. With the jobs market downshifting, can the Fed do more?

97. Understanding 2014 -

Last week, the government released GDP statistics for the fourth quarter of 2013. Overall, the economy expanded at a 3.2 percent clip (above estimates). For the full year, the economy grew a less impressive 1.9 percent, but momentum was clearly built into the back half of the year. Expectations for 3 percent annual growth in 2014 remain intact.

98. What to Expect When You’re Expecting -

S&P 500 corporate earnings in 2013 likely grew about 6 percent. The S&P 500 price index, however, grew 29.6 percent. The difference between the growth in earnings and the growth in the price index amounts to P/E expansion.

99. Consider Selling Momentum, Buying Contrarian -

The S&P 500 has been the world’s performance bell cow since the great recession on the relative strength of the U.S. economic recovery. The S&P 500 has outperformed the MSCI All World ex USA All Cap Index by 17 percent over the last year, 11 percent annualized over the last three years and 5 percent annualized over the last five years.

100. Council Approves Ballpark Deal -

Memphis City Council members approved the city’s $19.5 million purchase of AutoZone Park Tuesday, Jan. 7, and another $4.5 million in improvements to the baseball park.

The deal includes the St. Louis Cardinals buying the Memphis Redbirds franchise and entering into a 17-year lease with the city of Memphis at $300,000 a year.