Investment Insights

Thought leadership on the most compelling topics in investing today, including timely updates, market analysis and commentary.

Latest Insights

Latest Insights

2015 year ahead: Continuing to deflate the global credit bubble

Richard Bernstein, December 2014

In his annual outlook, Richard Bernstein, CEO and CIO of Richard Bernstein Advisors LLC, focuses on six trends that could set the global agenda in 2015.

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Don’t ignore higher taxes until Tax Day

Municipal Insight Committee, December 2014

During the 2013 tax season, many investors in higher tax brackets were rudely awakened to the reality of paying 50% of their income in federal and state taxes. Given the new tax landscape, the federal tax advantage income municipal bonds provide may look more appealing than ever.

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Commodity investing: Indexes are not your friends

Tim Atwill, November 2014

In the last 10 years, a large number of investors have been introduced to the commodity asset class, and a typical entry into this space has been through the use of an index-based ETF, ETN or swap. Most investors believe this will give them an experience similar to the equity markets, where an index-based product represents an unbiased view of the market portfolio, using market capitalization as weights. Unfortunately, this intuition proves misguided due to a number of important differences in how these indexes are constructed.

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When all you have is a hammer: Fixed-income managers and commodities

Tim Atwill, November 2014

Commodity allocations in investor portfolios have become increasingly commonplace over the last five years. In conversations with investors, we find such allocations are typically put in place for two overarching reasons.

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Tired of being scared yet?

Richard Bernstein, November 2014

Bull markets are based on climbing the proverbial “wall of worry,” and this cycle has been no different.

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It's time for your portfolio to break from tradition

Kathleen Gaffney and Kevin Dachille, November 2014

Given the current low-yield environment and with rising interest rates looming, now may be the right time to consider new strategies for generating favorable returns in your fixed-income portfolio.

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Confronting the tax drag

Tom Metzold, Jim Evans, Lew Piantedosi, Peter Crowley; November 2014

The 2014 tax season brought home the unwelcome reality of higher taxes, particularly for high-income earners. The impact of higher taxes on their investment returns can be substantial now and in the years ahead. Left unchecked, taxes can consume a quarter or more of every dollar earned by the average investor.

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Is your portfolio truly diversified?

Eric Stein, CFA; November 2014

In this Insight, Eric Stein, co-director of Eaton Vance Global Income Group, discusses the potential benefits of absolute return strategies, what they invest in and the role they can play in investor portfolios.

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What the U.S. midterm elections mean for municipal bond investors

Municipal Insight Committee, November 2014

In this timely Insight, we focus on five states where the outcome of the elections may impact state credit quality – positively and negatively – in the near future.

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A Republican Congress Awaits – But First the Lame Duck Session

Andrew H. Friedman, November 2014

In this timely Insight, Andy Friedman details how the House and Senate chambers might view compromise differently and the unfinished business that awaits them next month.

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Are you prepared for short-term rates to rise?

Craig Brandon, CFA; November 2014

In this timely Q&A, Craig Brandon, portfolio manager of Eaton Vance Floating-Rate Municipal Income Fund, offers his thoughts on the asset class, how he manages the Fund and which investors may find the strategy attractive.

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Three reasons why commodity-related debt may hold value under pressure

Kathleen Gaffney, November 2014

In this timely Insight, Kathleen Gaffney discusses how a flexible multisector bond strategy can be a great way to gain exposure to, and take advantage of, potential value opportunities in hard-hit commodity related debt.

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The importance of country allocation: Developed vs. emerging markets

Tim Atwill and Greg Johnsen, October 2014

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Parametric Emerging Markets: Evolution of the sector weighting process

October 2014

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Hexavest viewpoint: negative on the eurozone

Marc Christopher Lavoie, October 2014

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Management by the dots signals tightening cycle

Payson Swaffield, October 2014

This October marks a milestone for the credit markets, the end of Quantitative Easing. As the Federal Reserve’s focus shifts to more traditional monetary policy, they’re using a new “dots” chart format.

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Tobacco bonds’ appeal may be smoke and mirrors

Tom Metzold, Cindy Clemson, and Leanne Parziale; October 2014

Despite attractive returns, tobacco bonds may be too risky for many investors. In this Insight, we compare these bonds with traditional municipal bonds and pinpoint what matters most now for investors in this sector.

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The appeal of high-yield munis may increase

Cynthia Clemson and Thomas Metzold, October 2014

Higher taxes are a rude awakening for many investors. For high earners especially, the tax rates on investment income have risen substantially. Increased taxes, combined with historically low yields and the prospect of higher interest rates, now pose a triple threat.

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Volatility Update

Richard Bernstein, October 2014

After a relatively quiet summer, broad financial market volatility has resurfaced and investors are wondering what to do.

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Is “smart beta” smart enough?

Richard Bernstein, October 2014

Investors have become fascinated with so-called “smart beta1” strategies. These strategies can be interesting, but they are hardly a panacea that will solve all investors’ problems. The term “smart beta” is somewhat new, but the strategies have existed for decades with relatively mixed performance.

1Beta is a measure of risk that shows a fund or strategies volatility relative to that fund’s stated benchmark. A fund or strategy with a beta of 1 performed exactly like the market index; a beta less than 1 means its performance was less volatile than the index, positive or negative. Smart beta may also be known as advanced beta, alternative, strategic and factor weighted beta.

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How’s the market feeling these days?

Edward J. Perkin, October 2014

As of September 30, 2014, the S&P 500 was up more than 200% from its bear market low on March 9, 2009 – marking one of the longest bull runs since 1930. Meanwhile, volatility (muted for most of this year) has picked up recently.

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Are you managing volatility?...or is it managing you?

Tim Atwill, Richard Bernstein, Eric Stein, Chris Sunderland, Brad Godfrey; September 2014

Research shows investors’ personal returns fall short of the equity markets’ actual returns because investors too often make the mistake of buying high and selling low. But there are several strategies investors and their advisors can draw on to take a more disciplined approach to investing.

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Are munis the cure for yield-starved investors?

Richard Bernstein, September 2014

Today, many volatility-wary, yield-starved investors fear that rising interest rates will devastate their income portfolios and wonder which asset class may be best to navigate this market and address the challenges they face.

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Corporate inversions: a primer

Andrew H. Friedman, September 2014

Read this quick primer, see why there’s spirited debate about tax inversion in the U.S. and what it all means to you.

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A way to address higher taxes and rising rates

Craig Brandon and Adam Weigold, September 2014

One of the top challenges for yield-starved, tax burdened investors today is finding attractive, tax-efficient short-term income opportunities while being mindful of higher taxes. For investors comfortable with the risks involved, municipal floating-rate notes (FRNs) may be a suitable choice to help address these needs — and more.

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Inclusion of Chinese A-shares in MSCI Indexes: Our perspective

Timothy Atwill and Thomas Hardy; August 2014

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Four reasons to consider a trust to protect your assets

Andrew Friedman, August 2014

For many years, trusts have been the province of the wealthy — mysterious vehicles used to escape taxes and preserve assets for future generations. And for couples with joint assets approaching or exceeding $10.68 million (the current gift and estate tax exemption amount), a comprehensive estate plan that incorporates trusts is crucial for minimizing estate taxes.

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Toward the sounds of chaos

Richard Bernstein, August 2014

Investors continue to react to volatility by making emotion-driven decisions that take them out of the market and put their long-term financial goals at risk.

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Solving the Income Puzzle

Christopher Remington, Michael Cirami, Kathleen Gaffney, and Scott Page; July 2014

With interest rates at near historic lows, investors are starved for income. Government bonds and high-grade corporates have generally been the core of investors’ income portfolios, but yields on these bonds are minimal. Delivering a potential double whammy for investors, the prospect of rising interest rates could bring principal losses because the prices of bonds in these core sectors are highly sensitive to changes in interest rates. Diversifying into nontraditional income sectors may provide investors with greater income and lessen their exposure to interest-rate risk.

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Hexavest neutral on Japan

Frédéric Imbeault, June 2014

The policies of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – known as “Abenomics” – succeeded in pushing the country out of recession and deflation. But further economic reforms are still needed, and other key economic and market indicators remain mixed.

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Investing in the Wake of the “Great Moderation:” Floating-Rate Loans as a Strategic Allocation

Scott Page, Craig Russ, Christopher Remington; April 2014

Floating-rate loans deserve consideration as a strategic portfolio position today because they may help:

  • Boost income in a low, flat-rate environment with yield potential that’s competitive with or greater than many longer-duration fixed-income investments.
  • Protect fixed-income portfolios against a potential rising-rate scenario and the erosion of fixed-income values that would result.
  • Reduce portfolio risk with historically near-zero duration and low correlation with other fixed-income sectors.

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Eaton Vance Viewpoints: Timothy Atwill on “Systematic Alpha” Investing

Timothy Atwill, March 2014

Timothy Atwill, CFA, Ph.D., Director – Research and Strategy for Parametric, discusses Parametric’s innovative investment approach — known as “systematic alpha” — and its application to emerging-market investing.

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Bond investing in a rising rate environment

Kathleen Gaffney, February 2014

After a transitional year like 2013, when a multidecade declining rate environment moved to a rising rate environment, we think it is important for investors to consider a multisector approach to finding value in the bond market. Finding bonds that can appreciate in price regardless of the interest-rate environment is what a multisector strategy generally seeks to accomplish. With interest rates still near historic lows and many bond investors concerned that yields will rise as ultra-accommodative monetary policy by the Federal Reserve (the Fed) comes to an end, we believe it makes sense to hunt for good relative values across a broad range of asset classes, particularly in nontraditional places.

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Important dates to watch in 2014

Andrew H. Friedman, January 2014

Looking forward into 2014, four dates – February 7, March 31, April 15 and November 4 – stand out as pivot points for events that could affect the markets, particular industries, and tax and financial planning.

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Key Investment Themes for 2014

Richard Bernstein, January 2014

Richard Bernstein annually publishes a list of investment themes that he believes are critical for the coming year.

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