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By Consuelo Mack
Consuelo Mack has a long and distinguished career in business journalism. In 2005 she struck out on her own to launch her dream program, a weekly half-hour program on public television devoted to helping Americans build and protect their wealth over the long-term. Now in its eighteenth season, CONSUELO MACK WEALTHTRACK has been dubbed the “Cramer Antidote” by the press and Money Magazine named Mack “The Best Money TV Host.” WEALTHTRACK is the only program on television devoted to long-term diversified investing in all of the investments people care about.
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Concentrated Portfolio: Challenging the Market
Global value investor Tom Russo says today’s investment environment is the most challenging of his 40-year career. He explains why his core companies are up to the challenge. WEALTHTRACK episode 1906 broadcast on August 05, 2022 More info:
August 05, 2022
Making Money by Losing Less in This Bear Market
Making money by losing less is how legendary small-cap value manager Charlie Dreifus has succeeded for over 50 years of investing. It's even more important now as he expects more economic and market pain ahead. WEALTHTRACK 1905 broadcast on July 29, 2022  More info:
July 29, 2022
Portfolio Rebalancing in a Changing World
Soon-to-be retirees and retirees are the most vulnerable in this new era of higher inflation, interest rates, volatile markets, and possible recession. What kinds of adjustments should they be making in their financial plans, investments, and even lifestyles? That demographic is one of the specialties of this week’s guest, an award-winning financial planner. He is Mark Cortazzo, Senior Vice President and Financial Advisor with the Wealth Enhancement Group, an independent financial planning firm. Cortazzo has received numerous awards and accolades during his 30-year investment advisor career. We are delighted that he has been a frequent WEALTHTRACK guest since our 2005 inception. Over that time, we have discussed preparing for the increasing incidents of “black swan” events like the global financial crisis, pandemics, lockdowns, and wars. We’ve talked about alternative income strategies, transferring equity risk, and how timing can dramatically change retirement outcomes. We will cover those topics and more in this week’s interview. WEALTHTRACK Episode 1902 was broadcast on July 22, 2022 More Info:
July 22, 2022
Investing In Asian Markets: Minimize China Risk
Looking around the world, one of the most under-owned asset classes after years of underperformance is emerging markets.  And one of the least understood and appreciated at this particular time is Asia, especially China.  Once a darling of investors, it has lost favor for geopolitical, political, and business reasons. So what better time to delve into Asia than now? On this week’s program, we will be joined by Robert Horrocks, Ph.D. and Chief Investment Officer of Matthews Asia, one of the first American mutual funds to focus solely on the region. Horrocks will bring us up to speed on China’s economy and markets and the other Asian markets he deems worthy of our attention.  Of particular interest to me is how to invest in this fast-growing region while minimizing China’s powerful political risks. WEALTHTRACK Episode 1904 broadcast on July 15, 2022. More info: Bookshelf: Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter Bernstein Peter Bernstein from the WEALTHTRACK Archives:
July 15, 2022
What To Buy When Recession Hits
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it turns out the difference between a growth and value stock is too, with price as a key determinant.  Some of the darlings of last year and much of the prior decade have recently been rebalanced from growth to value by a major index provider. Such is the power of a bear market! This week’s WEALTHTRACK guest is a well-known value manager known for her global and international investing.  We’ll be joined by Sarah Ketterer, Chief Executive Officer of Causeway Capital Management. Ketterer will tell us why she believes we are entering a new investment era and discuss some of the “outstanding” investment opportunities being created in the process.  WEALTHTRACK Episode 1902 broadcast on Jul 8, 2022 More Info:
July 08, 2022
Imminent Recession – Extended Bear Market
Ouch! The S&P 500 ended the first half of the year with its worst performance since 1970, down more than 20%, cementing its bear market status. And the recession drumbeat is getting louder. This morning, leading Wall Street economist, Nancy Lazar told clients “a recession is coming sooner than you think” PiperlSandler’s Global Chief Economist blames “sticky inflation”, “very aggressive Fed tightening, and a “severe corporate profit recession” for her forecast of a mild recession with the economy contracting starting in the final quarter of this year into the first half of next year.  But this week’s WEALTHTRACK guest is way ahead of her and the few others just joining the recession club. He’s been warning clients about the likelihood of a downturn for months.  Our guest is David Rosenberg, President, Chief Economist, and Strategist at his independent economic consulting firm Rosenberg Research which he founded in January 2020. High inflation is at the top of the Federal Reserve’s, Washington's, and Wall Street’s list.  Rosenberg says they are looking at the wrong numbers and that disinflation is already taking hold.  Interest rates are expected to go higher for longer.  Rosenberg cites evidence of economic slowing which will require easing sooner than expected.  As I just mentioned, the likelihood of recession is still being debated. Rosenberg is forecasting a recession this year.   What about the already steep bear market decline? Rosenberg warns about the lure of bear market rallies.  Which prevailing views is Rosenberg challenging now? WEALTHTRACK Episode 1901 broadcast on July 01, 2022  More info:
July 02, 2022
Crypto Is on Track Despite Declines
Remember when some fans of cryptocurrencies called them non-correlated assets? They were supposed to behave differently from the stock market, not affected by traditional economic, political and fundamental forces? Cryptocurrencies were also dubbed digital gold, in the expectation they would hold their value in inflationary times.  Neither has turned out to be the case. Bitcoin, the dominant cryptocurrency has fallen far more than the S&P 500 year to date, and in the face of higher inflation Bitcoin plummeted while gold has held its own. Crypto advocates point out that Bitcoin has fallen by more than 50% eight times since its 2009 launch, and three times since 2018, and it’s recovered every time. And it’s been a top-performing asset class with better than 35% annualized returns over the last three and five-year periods and 80% annualized returns over ten years. In addition, an entire crypto industry has developed, which is expanding rapidly and being widely accepted by Wall Street, businesses, and some governments.  This week’s guest is a believer. He is Matt Hougan, Chief Investment Officer and former Global Head of Research at Bitwise Asset Management, a cryptocurrency asset manager founded in 2017. I began the interview by asking Hougan about the role crypto assets play in a portfolio, considering they act like stocks.  WEALTHTRACK 1852 broadcast on June 24, 2022 More Info:
June 24, 2022
The Fed Rate Hike: Are Bonds Back?
75 basis points: the biggest rate hike by the Federal Reserve since 1994 with additional aggressive moves expected. It looks like Fed Chair Jerome Powell is proving the naysayers wrong, who doubted he had the stuff to fight inflation. As influential Fed watcher Paul McCulley told WEALTHTRACK months ago Powell will “do whatever it takes” to fight inflation, just like Paul Volcker did in 1979/1980. Volcker succeeded, setting up conditions for the great bond bull market of the last 40 years but caused a serious recession to do it. How do you manage through a cycle of rising interest rates and higher inflation? There aren't too many money managers who have that experience and have a track record of excellence through many different types of markets. This week’s guest does. She is Mary Ellen Stanek, Co-Chief Investment Officer of Baird Advisors. Stanek was recently named Morningstar’s Outstanding Portfolio Manager of 2022 for her “disciplined and risk-aware approach, thoughtfully navigating various market environments,... and generating impressive absolute and risk-adjusted returns” in her 22 years at Baird.  I interviewed Stanek a few days before the Fed meeting but she was prepared for it. We talked about the need for the Fed to get more aggressive in word and deed - which they did, where we are in the interest rate cycle - early days yet, and why she says “bonds are back!”  WEALTHTRACK #1851 broadcast on Jun 17, 2022 More info: Related: Investment legend Jeremy Grantham is known for his prescient forecasts of some major turning points in the markets over the years including his “epic bubble” characterization last year. He elaborated on the theme on WealthTrack saying that not only was the stock market trading in the stratosphere but so were the housing, commodity, and bond markets, the latter being the biggest bubble of them all. Paul McCulley on Fed Rates:
June 17, 2022
Indexing: Why Can't Money Managers Beat The Market? Charles Ellis Explains
In a WEALTHTRACK exclusive legendary financial thought leader, Charles Ellis explains why after decades of searching for outstanding money managers he has become a big believer in indexing. WEALTHTRACK Episode 1850 published on June 9, 2020 More info:
June 10, 2022
Women Making It on Wall Street
Part 2 of 2 Candid career advice from three super successful women portfolio managers. Causeway Capital’s Sarah Ketterer, Capital Group’s Karen Choi, and Canyon Partner’s Robin Potts share their victories, setbacks, and strategies as they tear down the pink wall.   WEALTHTRACK #1849 published on June 3, 2022  
June 03, 2022
Investment Opportunities In Market Volatility
Part 1 of 2 The investment opportunities surfacing in the volatile stock, bond, and real estate markets. Causeway Capital’s Sarah Ketterer, Capital Group’s Karen Choi, and Canyon Partner’s Robin Potts share their perspectives. WEALTHTRACK #1848 published on May 27, 2022
May 27, 2022
Money Managers: Choosing The Competitive Edge
2022 has been a rough year for investors as financial markets have declined across the board. No matter what the market performance, investors continue to favor passive index funds over actively managed ones.  Investors continue to favor ETFs, and exchange-traded funds over mutual funds. The vast majority of funds in ETFs are in passive strategies, but there’s an interesting divergence occurring. One of the fastest-growing segments in the ETF universe is actively managed ETFs.  This week’s guest is involved in both actively managed mutual funds and ETFs and one of his main responsibilities is identifying best-in-class managers for both. He is Kristof Gleich, President and Chief Investment Officer of Harbor Capital Advisors. Prior to joining the firm in 2018, he was Global Head of Manager Selection at JP Morgan Chase.  Harbor Capital is well known within the investment management industry but not in the general public. Begun as the pension advisory arm of old-line packaging manufacturer, Owens-Illinois, Harbor Capital became independent over 30 years ago. It is known for choosing top-quality independent money managers to run specific mutual funds under the Harbor Capital name.  It currently oversees $55 billion of targeted strategies. It also recently launched a suite of actively managed ETFs, some with unusual strategies which we will discuss.    I began the interview by asking Gleich to take us through the process of choosing money managers to partner with, who have what he calls an “alpha edge”.    WEALTHTRACK #1847 broadcast on May 20, 2022 More info:
May 20, 2022
Energy Insecurity: Global Impact
If you were to ask investors to name the biggest headwinds facing the markets,   higher inflation and interest rates and their potentially negative impact on corporate earnings would top the list. Just about everyone on Wall Street agrees we are in a new era of higher levels of both. But this week’s guest believes there is another area that poses even greater challenges to the global economy and markets: energy.   Energy is under enormous pressure on numerous fronts: geopolitical, production,  distribution, and financing. It’s a combination creating a new era of energy insecurity.  Our guest is Tom Petrie, a long-time thought leader in the oil and gas industry.    Since 2012 he has been Chairman of Petrie Partners, an influential investment banking and consulting boutique to the industry.  What is happening with U.S. energy independence? After decades of decline, U.S. oil production picked up significantly in the last decade and a half, largely thanks to the shale oil revolution, to the point where it surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia’s output to become the world’s largest oil producer.  Despite that achievement, Petrie says the U.S. and the rest of the world are now approaching a possible energy crisis caused by a number of factors. One of the biggest: some new geopolitical realities, what he calls geopolitical fragility. We will discuss them at length as well as why he believes the current elevated levels of oil prices are unsustainable and why the outperformance of traditional energy stocks is as well!  WEALTHTRACK #1846 broadcast on May 13, 2022 More Info: Bookshelf: Following Oil: Four Decades of Cycle-Testing Experiences and What They Foretell about U.S. Energy Independence
May 13, 2022
Markets & Global Economy: Mega Changes
Are you feeling at all overwhelmed by the pace and degree of change we are experiencing in the world, the economy, the markets, life in general? A series of head-spinning turns in events ranging from rising inflation and interest rates, Russia’s relentless and brutal assault on Ukraine, and a surprise leak of a draft of a  momentous Supreme Court opinion are perfectly encapsulated by the dramatic market action of the last two days. After the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by half a percentage point (50 basis points) on Wednesday the Dow experienced its largest gain since 2000, up more than 900 points, nearly 3% to 34,061.06. Investors were evidently reassured by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments that the central bank was not “actively considering” raising rates by a sharper three-quarters of a percent (75 basis points). That reassurance turned to doubt on Thursday when the Dow made a U-turn, falling 1,063 points, a 3.1% drop, its largest decline this year. As we have covered in several recent WEALTHTRACK episodes there appears to be a new world order emerging on several fronts which calls for new investment approaches. But what will the new order look like? How lasting the changes, and what are the best investment responses? This week’s guest has the breadth, knowledge and experience to tackle all those questions and more. She is a long-time investment star who has never lost her influence or cool. She is Abby Joseph Cohen, now a professor at Columbia Business School, teaching the popular and oversubscribed “Future of the Global Economy” course which she has been doing as an adjunct professor since 2014. I am delighted she is with us to discuss the contours of the new world order and their impact on the economy and markets. WEALTHTRACK #1845 broadcast on May 06, 2022 Bookshelf: The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
May 07, 2022
Doubling Down on Biggest Losers
What do you do when your flagship fund goes from the top of its class to close to the bottom in a matter of weeks? From market trouncing to market lagging? That is the challenge facing this week’s guest.  Alex Umansky, Portfolio Manager of the Baron Global Advantage Fund which he launched at the firm of legendary growth manager Ron Baron in 2012. Umansky oversees about $2.4 billion dollars in assets at Baron Capital including $1.7 billion at his flagship Baron Global Advantage Fund. However, in mid-November of 2021, the bottom fell out for the majority of its holdings.  Global Advantage went from a 20% plus gain to a less than one percent gain by year-end, while its benchmark and competition fared much better. So far this year the fund is down 33% and lagging badly.   In a wide-ranging discussion, Umansky discusses what’s changed and what in his mind hasn't, which is why he is doubling down on some of his hardest-hit holdings and is convinced they will be long-term winners.   WEALTHTRACK #1843 broadcast on April 22, 2022
April 23, 2022
Defeat Inflation Despite Recession Risk
We are in a new era of higher inflation and the pressure is on the Fed! Inflation is running at 40-year highs and it’s coming from every angle: food, energy, services, goods, rents, and wages which are all increasing.   Is the Fed up to the challenge? Can it rein in inflation without causing a recession? What can we expect as borrowers and investors? We have lots of questions to ask this week’s guest but we know from his past performance he can take them all in stride.  Paul McCulley is currently an adjunct professor at Georgetown Business School where he teaches a very timely multi-disciplinary course combining law, economics, monetary policy, global finance and behavioral finance.   McCulley says this Fed has the courage to defeat inflation despite recession risk. WEALTHTRACK #1842 broadcast on April 15, 2022
April 15, 2022
Want Profits? New Market Strategy Needed [2022]
The new era of higher inflation and interest rates is already proving to be a challenging one for investors. The first quarter of 2022 was the worst one in two years for the stock market. Inflation reached 40 year highs, and in response, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time since 2018 and is signaling an aggressive policy of multiple rate hikes in the months ahead. Then there are all the other disturbing and disruptive developments to consider: the extended impact of Covid on global growth, supply chain problems, Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine, and aggressive actions from China, North Korea and Iran. How to navigate these challenges as investors is the job of this week’s guest. She is an influential strategist, Savita Subramanian who has two leading roles at BofA Global Research. She is Head of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Research, the first in that position, and the Head of U.S. Equity and Quantitative Strategy. This is Subramanian’s first appearance on WEALTHTRACK so we will cover a lot of territory including why she believes the market is at a major inflection point. WEALTHTRACK #1841 broadcast on April 08, 2022 More Info:
April 09, 2022
Investment Opportunity: Impact & ESG Bonds
As bonds suffer the worst quarter in more than four decades we are exploring one of the fastest-growing segments in the fixed income markets where demand is still accelerating. It's in ESG, environmental, social, and governance standards being applied to corporate and government bond issuers and specific issues themselves.  In part 2 of our interview with industry pioneer Steve Liberatore, we explore both ESG fixed income investing, as well as the relatively new area of impact investing where bond proceeds are directed to a specific project or goal and the results are measurable.    In the previous episode about the state of the bond market in general, still very timely, you’ll know that Liberatore is the lead portfolio manager and head of ESG/impact for global fixed income at Nuveen, the investment arm of TIAA and a pioneer in the field.  Liberatore will give us an update on socially responsible fixed income investing as well as a fascinating lesson on how impact investing works and the unusual opportunities in it.    WEALTHTRACK #1840 broadcast on April 01, 2022 More info: From the Bookshelf: Five Days in London: May 1940: Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour:
April 01, 2022
New Bond Era & Sustainable Investing
Part 1 of 2 The direction of inflation and interest rates are key to the performance of bond prices and they are in the midst of a massive change. The shift in direction has been most dramatic for inflation. After a decade of staying mostly below the Federal Reserve’s long-term 2% target, the Consumer Price Index recently soared nearly 8% year over year. Meanwhile, until very recently interest rates have remained near historic lows. Despite telegraphing it would for months, the Federal Reserve just raised its key short-term federal funds rate for the first time since 2018. And the short-term interest rate sensitive yield on the 2-year treasury note has risen accordingly while the longer-term 10-year Treasury yield has been more subdued. It now remains to be seen how aggressively the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates to dampen economic activity and rein in inflation. Its decisions will heavily influence the performance of bonds not just in the U.S. but also in the rest of the world. This week’s guest will update us on the prospects for the bond markets but also on the increasing influence of his specialty, sustainable bond investing, on performance. Steve Liberatore, a pioneer in ESG and impact bond investing explains what the new bond era means for investors in general and sustainable investing in particular. WEALTHTRACK #1839 broadcast on March 25, 2022 More info: Bookshelf: The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz: Never Give In! Winston Churchill’s Greatest Speeches:
March 25, 2022
How to Re-Position Your Portfolio for A Higher Inflation Era
The first interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve since 2018 happened this week, with the central bank planning six more of 25 basis points or one-quarter of a percent each this year. The lending market is already ahead of the Fed. The average fixed rate 30 year mortgage topped 4% for the first time since 2019 in the latest reporting week. It's happening in a hot housing market. The median listing price for homes hit an all-time high of $392,000 in February and the inventory of homes for sale fell to a record low in January. By raising rates the Federal Reserve intends to make borrowing more expensive. That’s supposed to dampen demand for goods and services and slow price increases, i.e., inflation down. With inflation running close to an 8% annual rate, a 40 year high, it remains to be seen how effective the Fed’s incremental approach will be. This week’s guest, a noted investment strategist known for his macro analysis and thematic investing, expects long-term inflation to be higher than it's been in the past decade and believes most portfolios are not positioned for this new reality. In fact, he says the vast majority of investors, institutional and individual, are holding the winners of yesteryear instead of the winners of future years. He has recommendations to bring us up to speed! He is Richard Bernstein, Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer of Richard Bernstein Advisors; he says most portfolios are not positioned for a new era of higher inflation. WEALTHTRACK #1838 broadcast on March 18, 2022 More Info:
March 18, 2022
Ukrainian Invasion Impact
Russia’s brutal, unprovoked assault on Ukraine is dominating the news headlines, but so far its market impact has been short-lived. ClearBridge Investment strategist Jeff Schulze says what really matters to the markets in the direction of the economy and Federal Reserve policy. According to his proprietary Recession Risk Dashboard, the vast majority of his twelve key indicators remain positive.     More info:
March 12, 2022
The Sane Investment Approach [2022]
Since the future is essentially unknowable, this week’s podcast guest focuses on what is knowable and controllable, mainly our own reactions. He is veteran personal finance journalist Jonathan Clements, a former colleague of mine at The Wall Street Journal who was its personal finance columnist for nearly 20 years. The author of several books including From Here to Financial Happiness and How to Think About Money, Clements is the Founder and Editor of HumbleDollar, a free weekly newsletter devoted to telling you “everything you need to know about money.”  Veteran personal finance journalist Jonathan Clements explains why the most successful approach to dealing with turbulent markets is to stay invested. WEALTHTRACK #1836 published on March 04, 2022
March 05, 2022
When is the RIGHT TIME for Target-Date Funds?
Target-date funds have $3 trillion dollars in assets. Millions of Americans are enrolled in them, mostly through company 401(k) plans. They have a track record, multiple products, plenty of competition and fees are declining as a result.  In an article titled “In Praise of Target-Date Funds,” one of our favorite WEALTHTRACK guests, Morningstar’s Director of Personal Finance, Christine Benz described them as “...nothing short of the biggest positive development for investors since the index fund.” That got my attention! So this week we are interviewing one of the best target-date managers in the business. He is Wyatt Lee, who is Head and Co-Manager of T. Rowe Price’s $390 billion Target Date Strategies, the largest group of actively managed target-date products in the U.S.  The firm’s Retirement Series earned a Gold analyst rating from Morningstar, one of only two in the actively managed category, for its stellar performance and high ratings for its process, people, and the parent company.  Lee begins with the basics and defines what a target-date fund does and how the product has evolved since it was first introduced in 1994. It turns out target-date funds can be an effective retirement vehicle for investors at all stages of life and that there are many options available. I learned a great deal from Lee. I hope you will too.  WEALTHTRACK #1834 broadcast on Febuary, 18, 2022 More Info:
February 19, 2022
The Bullish Case for Higher Inflation and Interest Rates
Yankee legend Yogi Berra famously said, “It’s deja vu all over again,” one of his many memorable expressions. That’s the way I feel this week.   The “deja vu all over again” is the theme of “Don’t fight the Fed.” The Federal Reserve's recent pivot from inflation promoter to inflation fighter puts that adage front and center in the current debate between the bulls and the bears. This week’s guest has been following that dictum during his 40-year investment career. He has been bullish since the Fed opened the monetary spigots in 2009. He is Ed Yardeni, a Ph.D. economist, long-time Fed watcher, and investment strategist who is widely followed by institutional investors.  He is also the author of several books.  The latest, In Praise of Profits! is dedicated to progressives to help them understand that “profits isn’t a four-letter word.”  Another Yardeni book is Fed Watching for Fun and Profit: a Primer for Investors, which we discussed in-depth in an earlier interview. In that book, he wrote: “To do this job well, I've learned that nothing is more important than to anticipate the actions of the Federal Reserve system’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) which sets the course for monetary policy in the United States.”   Given the Fed’s change of policy from easing to tightening I asked Yardeni if he was becoming less bullish.  WEALTHTRACK Episode #1833 broadcast on February 11, 2022 More Info: Bookshelf: Fed Watching for Fun & Profit: A Primer for Investors In Praise of Profits! Martin Zweig’s Winning on Wall Street
February 12, 2022
Resilient Investments, Including Gold, Are Matt McLennan’s Method for Building Lasting Wealth
We appear to be in a new investment era, one of higher inflation and higher interest rates. It is a huge change from the “great moderation,” the multi-decade stretch of low inflation and falling interest rates since the early 1980’s. With consumer prices soaring to 40-year highs the Federal Reserve has pivoted from its unusual role as inflation promoter to its traditional role of inflation fighter, which signals higher interest rates ahead. Major macro shifts like these are always turbulent. How to navigate them without damaging your portfolio or psyche is our focus this week. Our guest is well suited to tackle this challenge because of his track record of capital preservation and long-term compounding. Noted global value manager Matthew McLennan has a proven track record of building lasting wealth by investing in resilient investments, including gold. WEALTHTRACK Episode 1832 broadcast on February 04, 2022 More Info: Termination Shock by Neal Stephenson:
February 05, 2022
I'm Done! I'm Retiring. Now What?
One of the biggest changes of the past year has been the record number of Americans who are quitting their jobs. It’s so pronounced that it has a name. It’s called “The Great Resignation.”  What The Great Resignation means for retirement planning is just one of the items on Christine Benz’ financial to-do list this year. Another major area of focus is adjusting to much higher inflation. Consumer Prices increased 7% in December versus a year ago, the fastest increase since 1982 and the third month in a row that inflation exceeded 6%.  This elevated rate of inflation presents a big planning challenge.   Benz, who is Morningstar's Director of Personal Finance, is joining us for the fourth year in a row to help us get in financial shape for a new year and will tackle these important changes among others.  WEALTHTRACK #1829 broadcast on January 14, 2022 More info: 30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances: Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: Five-Star Strategies for Success:
January 15, 2022
Betting Big on Crypto & Bitcoin [2022]
Part 2 of 2 Legendary value investor Bill Miller is betting big on bitcoin. The digital currency and some related crypto investments now account for half of his personal investment portfolio. In part two of our interview with Miller, he discusses his rationale for taking such an outsized position, including why he has converted from being a self-described bitcoin “observer” to a bitcoin “bull” and why he is adding to his holdings when the currency has big declines.  Since Miller is also celebrating his 40th anniversary in the investment business we delve into how much the investment landscape has changed and how his value approach has evolved over the last four decades. The conversation is not about Miller Opportunity Trust, it's about his personal portfolio.  I began the interview by asking Miller why he has gone so big on bitcoin.  WEALTHTRACK #1828 broadcast on January 07, 2022 More Info: Bookshelf:  The Intelligent Investor: Reminiscences of a Stock Operator:
January 08, 2022
Stocks: Holding Winners & New Additions
Great value investor Bill Miller remains the only fund manager to beat the market for 15 consecutive years. He discusses his current core holding winners and some recent promising additions to his legendary portfolio. WEALTHTRACK #1825 broadcast on December 17, 2021
December 18, 2021
Powerful Forces Driving Record Economic Growth Into 2022
Since WEALTHTRACK’s inception, it’s been an annual tradition to sit down for a rare in-depth interview with Ed Hyman, Wall Street’s number one-ranked economist for an unrivaled forty-one years. Hyman is a Wall Street legend known for his comprehensive, yet succinct daily bullet point reports on the economy covering multiple data points including his team’s proprietary company surveys covering a wide range of businesses. Last year at this time the U.S. was emerging from lockdowns, vaccines hadn’t been distributed, Covid was resurfacing, fatalities were up but the economy and markets were rebounding sharply. That was not a surprise to Hyman because of the massive amount of monetary and fiscal stimulus pouring into the economy.  As a matter of fact it was the major reason   Hyman predicted on WEALTHTRACK a year ago that 2021 would be a “blow out” year in terms of both economic and corporate earnings growth. How would he describe it in retrospect and what are his economic and market expectations for 2022? Hyman answers those questions and more. WEALTHTRACK #1824 published on December 10, 2021
December 10, 2021
How to Make It on Wall Street: Advice From Three Successful Women
Three successful women portfolio managers discuss what it takes to succeed in money management, including their best and worst decisions and crucial career advice.    WEALTHTRACK #1823 published on November 30, 2021 More Info:
November 30, 2021
Tearing Down Wall Street’s Pink Wall
Part 1 of 2 Only 11% of U.S. portfolio managers are women. Three of them describe how they are “tearing down the pink wall” starting with their educational and job choices in part one of our two-part series. WEALTHTRACK #1822 published on November 24, 2021 More Info:
November 24, 2021
The Dominance of Mega-Cap Tech Stocks
It's hard to keep a roaring bull market down. The S&P 500 marked its 66th record close of the year today and the NASDAQ Composite also hit a new peak. The strong performance once again raised the question: what to do with the dominant position mega-cap tech stocks have in most of our stock portfolios. It is a particular challenge for growth fund managers because that’s where the growth and performance has been for the last decade, especially the past few years.   This week’s guest, Margaret Vitrano, and her ClearBridge team saw the high concentration of big tech in their portfolios last year as high risk and a threat to the diversification they see as essential to delivering their historically strong returns with downside protection. They met that challenge by reducing some significant winning positions and actually closing out a big one last year. Understanding why she did it and how she feels about it now can help the rest of us who face similar decisions.    We’ll discuss why they made those sales and where they invested the proceeds as well as how they apply ClearBridge’s longstanding and rigorous ESG standards to their portfolios. WEALTHTRACK #1821 broadcast on November 19, 2021 More info:
November 20, 2021
Economic Growth: U.S. Manufacturing Resurgence
Worried about inflation, especially after October’s big consumer price number? The CPI’s 6.2% increase from a year ago was the fastest 12-month gain since 1990 and the fifth month in a row of +5% inflation.  What about rising interest rates? How about America’s economic standing in the world?    Be prepared to question many of the negative assumptions you have been hearing and listen to some other data that shines a different light on the outlook. Our guest is a highly respected economist who is no pollyanna. She is just a top economist who looks at data many others miss.   Nancy Lazar is Partner and Chief Economist of Cornerstone Macro.  Lazar and her team are challenging the assumptions that higher inflation is here to stay, that interest rates have to go higher and that emerging markets will be the driver of global growth post-pandemic.    I began our conversation with the capital spending question. In a traditionally consumer-driven economy, why is capital spending going to play such an outsized role?  WEALTHTRACK #1820 broadcast on 11-12-21 More Info:
November 13, 2021
Values & Faith-Based Investing
The demand for socially responsible investing strategies is growing and the cash flowing into them shows it. Exchange-traded funds with ESG characteristics - ESG of course stands for environmental, social, and governance - have attracted the lion's share of equity money in recent years.  In true “follow the money” form, Wall Street has taken notice. There are now many different kinds of socially responsible investment products to choose from. One you don’t hear a lot about is values and faith-based investing, a niche that has been around for decades through separately managed accounts and a few mutual funds.  This week’s guest just might change their low profile. He is a widely followed market strategist and successful investor, Robert Doll, Chief Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager at Crossmark Global Investments which he just joined this year.   Doll will fulfill two missions for us. He’ll explain what values and faith-based investing means and update us on his current assessment of the markets and recommended investment strategies.      WEALTHTRACK #1819 broadcast on November 05, 2021 More Info:
November 06, 2021
Emerging Markets Could Be Poised To Lead
There's a saying on Wall Street that the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent.  And there’s a widely held financial theory called “Reversion to the Mean” that asserts that eventually asset classes will return to their long term average in terms of several factors including price, price/earnings multiples, and their performance relative to other asset classes like U.S. stocks. Reversion to the mean for emerging markets stocks has been a long time coming. This week’s guest, Michael Kass who runs Baron Emerging Markets Fund believes their time has come after a very long cycle of underperformance. Kass will make the case for an emerging markets resurgence, especially stocks in the two largest markets, China and India. WEALTHTRACK #1818 broadcast on October 29, 2021 More Info:
November 02, 2021
Higher Inflation & Rates: Seismic Shifts in Financial Risks
Talk about a seismic shift! Inflation is back with a vengeance.  Higher prices are being felt throughout the economy by consumers and businesses alike.  The Consumer Price Index, the most widely followed measure of price moves at the retail level, has just experienced its biggest year-over-year increase since the early 1990s.  Are these price increases transitory as the Federal Reserve would lead us to believe or are we in a new era of higher prices not seen since the late 1970s?  This week’s guest penned an editorial in The Wall Street Journal recently asking the question: “Does the Fed Have the Will to Fight Inflation?” He is Financial Thought Leader Jason De Sena Trennert,  Co-Founder,  Chairman, CEO, and Chief Investment Strategist of Strategas Research Partners,   Trennert will address the investment and strategy implications of higher inflation.   WEALTHTRACK #1817 broadcast on October 22, 2021 More info: WSJ Editorial:
October 22, 2021
Active Investing: Lessons Learned
The one constant in life is change, even for great investors. Earlier this year The Motley Fool Co-Founder, David Gardner announced that he was changing his focus. As he told fellow “Fools” as the global online investing community members jokingly refer to themselves:  “....where you place your focus in life matters, and now I am choosing to shift my focus from the stock market and invest time in other endeavors. After nearly 30 years focused on publicly picking stocks, this wasn’t a decision I took lightly.” It wasn't a decision The Motley Fool team, members, followers and at least one member of the financial press, namely me, took lightly either, which is why I wanted to talk to David.   The good news is Gardner is not totally leaving the fold. He is Chairman of The Motley Fool Foundation, devoted to bringing “financial freedom to all.” He remains Co-Chairman of The Motley Fool with fellow Fool Co-Founder and younger brother Tom, a very successful investor in his own right, who has also been managing and growing the business as CEO.  David Gardner will continue as Chief Rule Breaker “for life” he expects, and he will continue his weekly podcast, “Rule Breaker Investing,” in which every ten weeks he recommends what he calls a 5-stock sampler theme, culled from The Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor and Rule Breakers picks.  I asked Gardner to take us through his Rule Breakers rules. What are the lessons he’s learned from three decades of active investing?      WEALTHTRACK #1816 broadcast on October 15, 2021 More Info:
October 16, 2021
Small Caps: Underappreciated Opportunities
The exceptional performance of small-company stocks over the last decade has been underappreciated compared to the extraordinary performance of large-cap stocks, which have been propelled by the FAANGs. Small-cap pioneer Chuck Royce explains why small caps deserve renewed attention. WEALTHTRACK # 1815 broadcast on October 08, 2021 More info:
October 10, 2021
China’s Evergrande’s Fall & What it Means Now
It can take a long time for a bubble to burst. Four years ago, in 2017, Grant's Interest Rate Observer, a highly regarded financial newsletter, wrote an article about the now infamous China Evergrande group. Back then, it was anything but a familiar name except in China and among some institutional investors. The article was titled “Ever Higher” as Grant published a chart showing the extraordinary rise in China Evergrande's stock price on the Hong Kong exchange that spring. Fast forward to 2021, and indeed, Evergrande, once the world’s most valuable property stock, has become famous as the world’s most heavily indebted property company. With an estimated $300 billion in debt, it also could become Asia's largest bankruptcy as China's government seems less and less likely to come to the rescue. Why should the U.S. investors care? What if any significance does it have outside of China? That is where financial thought leader, journalist/sleuth, and historian James Grant comes in. Grant is the Founder and Editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, a twice-monthly journal about all interest-sensitive investments which pretty much covers the waterfront. It is considered a must-read by professional investors, including at leading hedge funds, private equity, and investment firms. I started the discussion with Evergrande: why it warranted Grant’s readers’ attention back in 2017 and what it represents now. WEALTHTRACK #1814 broadcast on October 01, 2021 More Info: Bookshelf: Money of the Mind: Borrowing and Lending in America from the Civil War to Michael Milken John Adams: Party of One Bagehot: The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian
October 02, 2021
Buying Cheap Assets: Finding Them Now
Large-cap U.S growth stocks, particularly tech stocks, have been the overwhelming winners of the last decade. They now dominate the market. The top ten S&P 500 stocks, including the FAANGs, account for more than 25% of the index’s total market value, a concentration that worries some market watchers because it is reminiscent of other market tops such as the dot-com bubble when internet stocks made up over 30% of the S&P and the credit bubble when banking stocks reached more than 20%. With the exception of short-lived spurts value stocks, small-cap stocks and international stocks have badly lagged. This week’s guest believes the days of this concentrated outperformance by large-cap growth stocks are numbered and suggests some underloved and under-owned alternatives. He is financial thought leader, innovator, and investor Robert Arnott, Chairman of the Board of Research Affiliates, which he founded in 2002 as a self-described “research-intensive asset management firm that focuses on innovative products.” Among the innovations that he has pioneered is fundamental indexation: building indexes with stocks based on the size of their fundamentals, such as sales, profits, cash flow, book value, and dividends - not their stock price. Research Affiliates has created numerous fundamental indexes for a wide variety of markets and asset classes around the world. Arnott will discuss why he believes this long era of U.S. large-cap growth dominance could be coming to an end and what could take its place. WEALTHTRACK #1811 broadcast on September 10, 2021 More Info: AGAINST THE GODS: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF RISK by Peter Bernstein
September 11, 2021
Emerging Markets Bonds & Diverse ESG Opportunities
One of the biggest challenges for investors since the global financial crisis has been finding income. Despite more than ten years of continuous predictions that yields on U.S. Treasuries and other developed country bonds couldn’t possibly go any lower, they have. This week’s guest can help us. She is Kristin Ceva, Senior Portfolio Manager, directing Payden & Rygel’s nearly $14bn emerging debt strategies. She is also a member of the firm’s Investment Policy Committee. The independent global investment advisor oversees $145.5bn in assets, largely in fixed income for institutional clients but has a broad lineup of mutual funds as well. It is also an active participant in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance)  investing which we will discuss. Ceva has managed its Payden Emerging Markets Bond Fund since 1998. Emerging market (EM) debt is a large, diverse, and evolving investing universe which is sorely underrepresented in most individual portfolios. I’ll begin the interview by asking Ceva to bring us up to speed on the state of the EM fixed-income markets and what investors need to know about the opportunities it presents. WEALTHTRACK #1810 broadcast on September 03, 2021 More Info: A History of Interest Rates:
September 03, 2021
Improve Investment Results: Quality Shareholders
In this era of indexing the investors who research and buy individual companies are becoming a rarity - some would say a throwback - to another era.   The most obvious example is Warren Buffett, the nonagenarian Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway who is widely considered to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest American investor in recent memory.  Buffett is famous for buying quality companies for the long term, in his words “forever”. He is less well known for his emphasis on seeking “high quality shareholders”, stock owners who stick around for the long-term, whom he has succeeded in attracting to Berkshire Hathaway.  This is part two of our interview with Lawrence Cunningham a Professor of Law at George Washington University who is also a driving force behind the university’s “Quality Shareholders Initiative”, intended to research and report on “high quality shareholders”, as they are dubbed by Buffett - traditional investors that study individual companies, acquire substantial stakes in only a few and hold them for the long-term. The theme of this week’s discussion with Cunningham is quality in companies and shareholders and why a combination of the two often leads to better investment results.    WEALTHTRACK #1809 broadcast on August 27, 2021. More info: “Quality Shareholders: How the Best Managers Attract and Keep Them”:
August 28, 2021
Investment Legend Benjamin Graham’s Advice Matters Now
In this week's WEALTHTRACK podcast, an interview with leading financial journalist Jason Zweig.  Since 2008 Zweig has written the widely read "The Intelligent Investor" column for The Wall Street Journal.  That, of course, is the name of the investment classic written by Benjamin Graham, considered to be the father of value investing.  Zweig has an intimate knowledge of the thinking of Graham because he edited the last revised edition of The Intelligent Investor with a forward written by Warren Buffett who calls it "by far the best book on investing ever written". Zweig explains the enormous impact Benjamin Graham had on investing and why we should listen to him now.   WEALTHTRACK #1808 published on August 22, 2021
August 23, 2021
Market Instability- 50 Years Off the Gold Standard
50 years ago, on August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon shocked the financial world by ending the convertibility of the dollar to gold, upending the monetary and currency exchange system that had been in place since 1944. This week Nick Sargen, author of Global Shocks, joins us to explain the consequences of that momentous decision which are still being felt today. WEALTHTRACK #1807 published on August 13, 2021. More Info: Global Shocks: An Investment Guide for Turbulent Markets:
August 13, 2021
Warren Buffett’s Evolution Into a Great Manager
Part 1 of 2 Warren Buffett, the Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway is considered to be one of the greatest investors of all time. He has become an American icon dispensing investment wisdom and commentary over the years through his annual shareholder letters and meetings where he and his long-time business partner Charlie Munger answer questions for hours on end about a wide range of topics. An industry has developed around Buffett of investment clubs, newsletters, and books mostly focused on his investment decisions.  However, there is another side to Buffett which has been deeply studied and researched by this week’s WEALTHTRACK guest... Buffett as a business manager worth emulating.  We’ll be joined by Lawrence Cunningham, whose official title is a Professor of Law at George Washington University, but over the years he has become an acknowledged authority on corporate governance, corporate culture, and corporate law. He teaches business-related courses that span these fields.  Cunningham has authored two dozen books, several on Buffett and his most famous in collaboration with him.His latest book is Quality Shareholders: How the Best Managers Attract and Keep Them. He also writes a weekly column for Marketwatch, "Cunningham's Quality Investing." One of the most interesting aspects of Cunningham's work with and about Buffett is the revelation that there are really two Buffetts, one the great investor that we all know about, and two, his later evolution into a great manager. We’ll focus on what we can learn from Buffett, the manager in this week’s show.  WEALTHTRACK # 1805 broadcast on July 30, 2021 More Info: Bookshelf: The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America: Quality Shareholders: How the Best Managers Attract and Keep Them: Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values: WEALTHTRACK Sponsors: Morgan Le Fay Dreams Foundation ClearBridge Investments: Royce Investment Partners: First Eagle Investment Management: Strategas Asset Management: #MorganLeFay #clearbridge #royceinvestmentpartners #firsteaglemanagement #strategas
July 31, 2021
Investment Risks Warranting Protective Strategies
Part 2 of 2 What does history have to teach us about the current geopolitical, economic, and investment environment?  A great deal according to renowned historian Niall Ferguson.    His thesis is that applying the lessons of history to contemporary events can result in better investment outcomes.  One of the biggest, most consequential debates among economists, investors, and policymakers is over inflation. Is the recent global surge in prices a temporary blip from economies reopening from pandemic shutdowns, or is it a more lasting development with serious consequences? In this week’s program we pick up on that point - I asked Ferguson about the opposite view, that the pandemic shock and burden of record amounts of debt could actually impede growth and be disinflationary.  Ferguson shares his views on this, along with his thoughts on China, cryptocurrencies, and the new world of decentralized finance. WEALTHTRACK # 1804 broadcast on July 23, 2021 More Info: Bookshelf: Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe - Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire - The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West - The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World - The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook -
July 23, 2021
Inflation: Understand the History
If there is one adjective we have heard repeatedly in the last year and a half it is “unprecedented”. It has been applied to describe the amount of monetary and fiscal stimulus that’s been poured into the economy. It has been used in relation to the pandemic lockdowns and reopenings, and the record-breaking runs in stock, bonds, real estate, and commodity markets. Is there no historical precedent for these events?  Who better to ask than this week’s WEALTHTRACK guest, Niall Ferguson? Ferguson has studied booms, busts, the rise and fall of empires, the power of social networks, and catastrophes of all sorts including plagues and pandemics?     He is one of the world's leading historians and an influential commentator on contemporary politics and economics. Ferguson is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard, along with being the author of numerous articles, and a regular columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. His most recent book is Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe, which analyzes how societies have reacted to crises from the Roman response to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius to how various governments have handled Covid-19. According to Ferguson, experience has taught him that understanding history does help make us better investors. In this week’s interview, he explains why. WEALTHTRACK #1803 broadcast on 07-16-21 More info: Bookshelf: Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe - Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire - The War of the World: Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West - The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World - The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook -
July 17, 2021
ESG Investing: “The Race of Our Lives”
Part 2 of 2 When legendary value investor Jeremy Grantham turned 80 he made two resolutions: “to be prepared to write a cheque up to the limits of your ability”, and to “say what you think you should say to everybody”.  He is following through on both commitments. He is saying what he thinks he should say to everybody including us, to our benefit!  In the first of our two-part interview last week, Grantham warned we are in a bubble of “epic proportions” in the U.S. stock markets, bond market, and global real estate and commodity markets.  In this week’s show,  Grantham shares his views on climate change, why he calls it the “Race of Our Lives” and how he is investing to combat it.   WEALTHTRACK #1802 broadcast on 07-09-21 More Info:
July 10, 2021
The Bull Market: A Bubble of “Epic Proportions”
Part 1 od 2 We are celebrating the launch of WEALTHTRACK’s 18th season on public television this week! We feel so fortunate to serve you. When WEALTHTRACK launched in July of 2005 our mission was to help our audience and ourselves build financial security to last a lifetime through disciplined, long-term, diversified investing. We vowed to seek out the best minds in the financial business to guide us. This week’s guest is unquestionably one of them. We’ll be joined by legendary value investor Jeremy Grantham, Co-Founder of the global investment management firm, GMO, Grantham is known for his prescient calls about market extremes and game-changing turning points. I will add that being far out of consensus is never popular. He saw the tech stock bubble inflating in 1997, three years before it actually burst. It was an early call that cost GMO half of their asset allocation book of business at the time. In the late 2000’s he warned of the developing subprime mortgage and credit bubble and came close to calling the actual 2008 bull market peak. He then called the market bottom nearly to the day in March of 2009. When Grantham appeared on WEALTHTRACK in 2018 he was predicting a possible market melt-up, a powerful late-stage two to three-year-long market rally before an inevitable decline. He got the melt-up right, even when figuring in the brief, 2020 pandemic induced bear market. And of course, the bull continues to this day. The U.S. stock market had an impressive first half of the year. The S&P 500 gained 14.4% to close at 4297.5, it’s 34th record close for the year. Grantham will explain why he is calling this a bubble of epic proportions and suggest ways that investors can handle it. WEALTHTRACK # 1801 broadcast on July 02, 2021 More info:
July 03, 2021
Investing in a Speculative Market: Thoughts From “The Intelligent Investor”
For financial historians and serious market observers, the current era has all the signs of a developing market bubble.  Money is abundant, a wide range of financial assets have risen to record or near-record levels, and enormous amounts of money are flowing into stocks. Private equity funds are flourishing and bonds continue to attract huge sums.   Demand for residential real estate is soaring as are home prices. And despite recent dramatic declines, innovative products such as digital currencies have appreciated at breathtaking speed. Speculative trading by individual investors has also increased as a new growing community of online traders has emerged as a potent market-moving force.  The combination of all of these forces caused me to reach out to this week’s WEALTHTRACK guest.  We’ll be joined by Jason Zweig, a leading financial journalist who since 2008 has written the widely read The Intelligent Investor column for The Wall Street Journal. Zweig will share his analysis of the current market climate and advice for investors. WEALTHTRACK #1752 broadcast on June 25, 2021
June 26, 2021
Economic Recovery: Massive Problems Ahead [2021]
How strong and lasting is the current rebound we are seeing in the economy? What about the resurgence in inflation? Those are major debates raging on Wall Street right now.   This week’s WEALTHTRACK guest is looking beyond the current rebound and focusing on what he sees as massive problems which will act as drags on recovery.  Robert Kessler, Founder, and CEO of Kessler Investment Advisors, a manager of fixed-income portfolios with a specialty in U.S. treasuries. Even before COVID, Kessler has been warning about economic and stock market risk.   On the program this week, he will discuss why he believes those risks have been exacerbated and the market is in a danger zone.   WEALTHTRACK #1751 broadcast June 18, 2021 More info:
June 18, 2021
Inflation Is Temporary: Bullishness on the Economy & Markets Is Wrong
The consensus for the economy is bullish. After a 6.4% annualized increase in real GDP, that’s without inflation, in the first quarter, recent forecasts are for 10% GDP growth in the second quarter, 7.5% in the 3rd, and 5% in the fourth.  As for inflation expectations, they are up. Again the consensus is that the combination of a rapidly rebounding economy, supply shortages, and tight labor market will lead to a sustained rise in prices.  The most prominent skeptic on that front is Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and other Fed officials who believe the price increases we are seeing now are transitory.  This week’s guest, influential economist Dave Rosenberg is in the Powell camp on this one and believes the recent jump in inflation is temporary and that the overall bullishness on the economy and markets is wrong and will be challenged before the year ends.  Dave Rosenberg is the outspoken and often contrarian Chief Economist and Strategist at his independent economic consulting firm Rosenberg Research. I began the interview by asking Rosenberg why he is as convinced that the bullish consensus is wrong as he was when he went against the crowd at the height of the tech bubble in 2000 and the housing bubble in 2007. WEALTHTRACK #1750 broadcast on June 11, 2021 More Info: For more detail about the evidence behind Dave Rosenberg’s convictions, he is generously sharing a recent comprehensive report, “No New Era” with us.
June 11, 2021
New Opportunities and Challenges for Bond Investors
Times they are a-changin'…  With COVID vaccinations becoming widespread, savings rates high, and consumers ready to spend, the economy is reopening and rebounding with gusto.  All of these developments are creating new opportunities and challenges for bond investors.  Bond prices fall when interest rates rise and vice versa. After a 40-year bull market in bonds, with interest rates declining to record lows, has the bottom finally been reached after many false starts? How real is this uptick in rates and what does it mean for bond investors?  Our guest on WEALTHTRACK this week is Mary Ellen Stanek, Chief Investment Officer of Baird Advisors, and President of the Baird Funds, where she heads up the Fixed Income Team overseeing $91 billion dollars worth of bond investments.  Stanek discusses the rapidly changing conditions and her team's all-weather bond strategy in what she calls uncharted waters. WEALTHTRACK Episode #1747 broadcast on May 21, 2021 More Info:
May 22, 2021
Equity-Like Returns With Less Than Stock Market Risk
“Jack be nimble Jack be quick” isn't a concept one usually associates with long-term value investors but sometimes extraordinary times call for exceptional responses. The first quarter of 2020 was one such event for this week’s guest.  Steven Romick, who has appeared on WEALTHTRACK since our launch in 2005 rarely does television interviews which is one of the many reasons we are delighted to have him with us this week. For those of you not familiar with him, he is Co-Portfolio Manager of the FPA Crescent Fund which he founded in 1993 and ran for many years before bringing on his current team. Since its inception this go anywhere, invest in anything balanced fund has delivered better than 10% annualized returns besting the stock market and its balanced portfolio benchmarks by substantial margins.  WEALTHTRACK #1746 broadcast on  May 14, 2021 More Info:
May 15, 2021
An Embarrassment of Riches in the High Growth Stock Universe
There is a rule of thumb on Wall Street that when a fund knocks it out of the park in any given year or has an exceptional winning streak for a couple of years it is bound to fall to earth sooner rather than later and lag the market, its peers, or both for several years. It's called reversion to the mean. With few exceptions, this week’s guest has been in the winning streak category for a while. He is Michael Lippert, Head of Technology Research at Baron Capital and portfolio manager of the firm’s high-growth stock oriented Baron Opportunity Fund Morningstar’s one caveat about the fund’s performance has been its volatility, as it focuses entirely on companies with high rates of growth, not on the mitigating effects of returning capital to shareholders with stock buybacks or dividends. Volatility is a topic Lippert tackled in-depth in a recent quarterly letter to fund shareholders. I ask him to share his views with us. WEALTHTRACK #1745 broadcast on May 07,2021 More Info: “The Volatility of Stock Investor Returns” Ilia D. Dichev, Emory University, Xin Zheng, University of British Columbia, 1/22/2021
May 08, 2021
Quality Growth Companies Pay Off
The shift from COVID lockdown to COVID reopening has been stunning. Depending upon the stage of reopening economies around the world are rebounding. The markets’ response has been swift and dramatic particularly in the U.S. So what do you do if you are running a highly concentrated, large-cap growth fund? That is the challenge facing this week’s guest. Damon Ficklin is head of the Large Company Growth team at Polen Capital. In his first appearance on WEALTHTRACK I will begin with the basics. I will ask him to describe Polen’s high conviction, the low turnover strategy of focusing on the highest quality growth companies with margins of safety.  What does that actually mean? WEALTHTRACK #1544 broadcast on April 30, 2021 More info:
May 01, 2021
Cryptocurrencies Are Suddenly Going Mainstream
Beware the headline makers! According to Wall Street lore when a financial asset hits the front pages it can signal a turning point, either a recovery if negative, or a fall if positive. What’s making headlines today? Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency-related investments, including dogecoin, a meme-inspired cryptocurrency created as a joke in 2013. “This is absurd,” said Billy Markus, the co-creator of dogecoin. “I haven’t seen anything like it. It’s one of those things that once it starts going up, it might keep going up.”  Dogecoin however is not the real story. Bitcoin, the world’s first and largest digital currency is, as well as Ethereum, the second largest and the blockchain networks they support.  And there are other players emerging. Coinbase Global Inc, the largest market exchange for digital currencies went public on the Nasdaq this week and its $85 billion market value easily surpassed that of the Nasdaq itself and ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange.  The cryptocurrency world has gone from fringe to close to the mainstream since our last conversation a year ago. Hougan will explain what’s driving the transformation, who the key players are, where the industry is going and the implications for investors.  There is no question that Bitcoin and Coinbase and a few other cryptocurrency-related investments have arrived. As we write this Bitcoin’s market value is over one trillion dollars.  On Wall Street money talks. Major firms including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and BlackRock are now offering Bitcoin products to clients.  Our guest this week had the foresight and guts to get involved in ETFs in their early stages and more recently, in 2018 he threw his energy and career into cryptocurrencies believing they would become the next big, positive innovation for investors.    WEALTHTRACK #1743 originally broadcast on April 23, 2021 More info: Matt Hougan in April of 2020:
April 24, 2021
Successful Investing: Time Tested Strategies
Have you noticed how rampant speculation is? Random investors seem to be making money hand over fist in numerous assets: disruptive companies like Tesla, whose stock has soared 600% in the last 12 months. Old economy stocks like video retailer GameStop up nearly 6,000% propelled by traders on commission-free trading platforms like Robinhood.  These are not isolated events. The zeitgeist is becoming very bullish. Do you feel like you are missing out? Has the world moved on?  No, it has not according to this week’s guest. In part 2 of our interview with financial thought leader, Richard Bernstein he makes a compelling case for long-term fundamental investing.  Bernstein is Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer of Richard Bernstein Advisors. Rich has also been a regular since WEALTHTRACK’s launch in 2005.  We’ve weathered our share of booms and busts over the years. He will discuss some time-tested strategies to invest successfully through both conditions.    WEALTHTRACK #1741 broadcast on April 9, 2021 More info and the “Boomer knows best” - RBA Insights, March 2021” available here: Navigate the Noise: Investing in the New Age of Media and Hype:
April 10, 2021
Protecting Portfolios While Participating in the Bull Market
We have been living through an extraordinary period. It was a year ago that COVID was recognized as a global pandemic and since then over 100 million people have been stricken and more than 2 million have died.  Economies were locked down causing severe recessions. Central banks and governments responded with unprecedented amounts of monetary and fiscal stimulus. A worldwide effort by pharmaceutical companies to develop effective vaccines did so in record time. Millions are now in the process of being vaccinated. Global economies are now recovering with China and the U.S. recovering at a rapid pace.  Is the worst behind us? Are world economies and markets on a sustained path of recovery as many believe or are there serious hidden risks?  Risks are the concern of this week’s guest whose top priority as a money manager is capital preservation. He is Matthew McLennan, Head of the Global Value team at First Eagle Investment Managemen. Long before the pandemic, McLennan had been monitoring emerging geopolitical and financial risks globally, which he says were exacerbated by COVID. He’ll discuss specifics and how he is protecting his portfolios while still participating in aspects of the bull market. WEALTHTRACK #1740 broadcast on April 2, 2021 More info:
April 03, 2021
Financial Thought Leader Paul McCulley Says Both Fiscal & Monetary Helicopter Money Are Essential
When a fringe economic theory goes mainstream and is actually implemented by policymakers you better pay attention. The once-fringe theory in question is called Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT for short.  The assumption behind MMT is that massive government spending helps the economy grow to its full potential, including full employment, and also finance major programs like universal healthcare, free college tuition, and green energy initiatives. Sound familiar?  What about the burgeoning federal debt? Not an issue according to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. In an interview on National Public Radio this week Powell   said: “Given the low level of interest rates, there’s no issue about the United States being able to service its debt at this time or in the foreseeable future.”  Enter today’s guest, Paul McCulley, who wrote an academic paperback in 2013 titled: “Helicopter Money, Or How I Stopped Worrying and Love Fiscal-Monetary Cooperation.”    McCulley is currently an adjunct professor at Georgetown business school where he teaches a very timely multi-disciplinary course combining law, economics, monetary policy, global finance, and behavioral finance.   I asked McCulley to explain why he believes helicopter money and the unprecedented fiscal and monetary cooperation we are seeing today is so essential, and not an issue.    WEALTHTRACK # 1739 broadcast on March 26, 2021 More info:…ey-are-essential/ “Helicopter Money, Or How I Stopped Worrying and Love Fiscal-Monetary Cooperation” available
March 26, 2021
Cyclical & Value Stocks Shift is Durable
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that 2021 is a year of significant political and macroeconomic change. Meanwhile, the rollout of COVID vaccines is starting to unleash a year’s worth of pent-up consumer and business demand.  That demand is also putting upward pressure on prices and inflation expectations. Those pressures are showing up in the bond market where yields on long-term bonds, the most sensitive to rising inflation expectations are rising. The price of 30-year Treasurys has fallen 15.6% in just three months.  This is a huge change and could signal the end of the 40-year bull market in bonds that many Wall Street pros have been predicting for years. Perhaps they will now be proven right.  This week’s guest has been telling clients that inflation will probably be higher than many believe, that a significant cyclical recovery is in the works and is bringing with it a major change in market leadership.    He is a noted investment strategist known for his macro analysis and thematic investing. He is Richard Bernstein, Chief Executive and Chief Investment Officer of Richard Bernstein Advisors,  Bernstein explains why the shift in market leadership from stable growth stocks to cyclical value ones is normal and durable, and how to participate.  WEALTHTRACK #1738 broadcast on March 19, 2021 More Info:…tocks-is-durable/ In this week’s WEB EXTRA feature, Bernstein reflects on how the COVID experience has changed his professional and personal life.
March 20, 2021
ETFs Will Surpass Mutual Funds as the Industry Standard
Part 2 of 2 John Rekenthaler has been tracking mutual funds at Morningstar since 1988.  He correctly predicted early on that index funds would surpass actively managed funds. Now he sees a similar trend for ETFs as they attract record amounts of cash and mutual funds suffer outflows.  WEALTHTRACK #1737 published on March 11, 2021 More info:
March 11, 2021
Online Investor: Social Media Effect from Robinhood to GameStop
John Rekenthaler, Vice President of Research at Morningstar and author of the twice-weekly “Rekenthaler Report” analyzes the influence of the online investment communities that have driven GameStop’s meteoric rise and stunning declines. Rekenthaler says their influence is here to stay, at least until regulators get involved.  WEALTHTRACK #1736 published on March 05, 2021 More info:
March 06, 2021
Financial Bubbles of Historic Proportions
The balance sheet of the Federal Reserve continues to surge at an unprecedented rate, up 83% y/y to a historic level, $7.59 trillion at the latest count. According to our WEALTHTRACK podcast guest, financial historian, and long-time market observer James Grant, interest rates, the “central pricing mechanism for financial markets” have been pushed to artificially low levels by the Fed’s policies which have created numerous market bubbles. He cites Bitcoin as one of the most extreme examples. WEALTHTRACK #1735 published on February 26, 2021 More info: Common Sense: The Investor’s Guide to Equality, Opportunity, and Growth:
February 26, 2021
Which Investments Are Poised To Do Well In 2021?
Part 2 of 2 Old fashioned asset allocation used to be a fairly simple exercise: 60% individual stocks, usually U.S. large-caps and 40% bonds, mostly investment-grade corporates, some Treasury securities for liquidity, and a smattering of municipal bonds for higher tax bracket individuals.    Today it's a whole different ball game, juggling multiple global asset classes, using complex computer modeling, algorithms, pricing formulas, and intensive analysis.   This is the realm of Sébastien Page, head of T. Rowe Price’s Global Multi-Asset division where he oversees $350 billion in assets. Last week on WEALTHTRACK we discussed the concepts in his new book, Beyond Diversification: What Every Investor Needs to Know About Asset Allocation.   This week we will address the current investment environment and how he and his team are positioning clients’ portfolios. What does Page think of these alternative asset classes? We’ll find out.  WEALTHTRACK Episode #1734 broadcast on February 19, 2021 More info: AGAINST THE GODS: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF RISK: Beyond Diversification: What Every Investor Needs to Know About Asset Allocation:
February 20, 2021
Portfolio Diversification’s Failure: Bear Markets Calls for a New Strategy
Part 1 of 2:  Talk to most investment professionals and they will tell you that portfolio diversification is the key to successful investing and that asset allocation among multiple asset classes, not individual security selection, accounts for as much as 100% of investment returns. Being broadly diversified among different asset classes is supposed to give you strong exposure to market rallies and protection in down markets as non-correlated assets zig when others zag and soften the downside impact. However, there are times when diversification doesn’t seem to work. Take the huge sell-off in the spring of 2020, the shortest bear market in history when asset classes plunged pretty much across the board, even gold and Treasuries took a hit.  What are the lessons to be learned about the usefulness of diversification from 2020’s experience? Is there a better way?  Our guest today is a financial thought leader in asset allocation at T. Rowe Price. Sébastien Page, Head of Global Multi-Asset at the firm. Page is also the author of a new book titled Beyond Diversification: What Every Investor Needs to Know About Asset Allocation. Page says diversification did fail in 2020’s bear market but that shouldn't surprise us, and yes, there is a better diversification strategy. We’ll find out what it is.  WEALTHTRACK #1733 broadcast on February 12, 2021 More info:   Beyond Diversification: What Every Investor Needs to Know About Asset Allocation:
February 13, 2021
Dreifus: Build Focused Portfolios That Beat The Market
One of the most notable characteristics of the last decade was the wide divergence in market performance. We have reported many times on the narrow group of superstars, mainly large-cap U.S. tech stocks and the much wider universe of laggards, value and small-cap stocks in particular.  In 2020 that divergence blew up.  Small-cap went from worst to first. The year began disastrously.   Small-caps ended the year with their best quarterly gain ever, a stunning 31% advance in the index, handily beating large-caps for the quarter.  When it was all over the Russell 2000 had gained 101.3% from its March 18th low to year-end, although it lagged large-cap and tech for the entire year.   We have a WEALTHTRACK exclusive this week with an investment legend whose specialty is in-depth financial analysis in the small-cap universe. He is Charlie Dreifus, lead portfolio manager of the Royce Special Equity Fund  Before delving into small-caps I asked Dreifus to share his perspective on current market conditions based on his half-century of managing money. A hint: he told me “I've seen this movie before, and it doesn't end well.”      WEALTHTRACK #1732 broadcast on February 05, 2021 More info:
February 06, 2021
Financial To-Do List For A New Year [2021]
Blast off! Stock markets are setting records, with tech stocks leading the charge once again. “Don’t fight the Fed” should now encompass “don’t fight the Treasury, fiscal stimulus, vaccinations and investor demand for ‘real’ (after inflation) returns.” The Wall Street Journal reports that the “S&P 500 rose 14.3% from Election Day through Inauguration Day, its best performance on record for that period.” (The Wall Street Journal “Stocks Climb To Records, Led By Tech Sector” 1/21/21)    In retrospect, 2020 was an entire year for the record books:  - A once in a century global pandemic; - Unprecedented, massive monetary and fiscal stimulus; - A brief deep recession and the shortest bear market in U.S. history; - A record-breaking stock market rally; - The continuation of near record-low interest rates - And the election of a new president with a very different policy agenda.  Portfolio rebalancing is just one of the actions on Christine Benz’ financial to-do list this year. In part 2 of our interview with Morningstar's Director of Personal Finance, she helps us get in personal financial shape for the year ahead.   WEALTHTRACK #1730 broadcast on January 22, 2021 More info: Books mentioned in  the episode: 30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances: Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: Five-Star Strategies for Success:
January 23, 2021
Financial Plans: Pandemic Era Rethink
COVID-19 has affected just about every aspect of our professional and personal lives, including the state of our finances. Whether you or a loved one are among the more than 20 million Americans who lost their jobs in the spring of 2020 in the depths of the lockdowns, or one of the millions of Americans who saw their retirement portfolios plunge in the shortest bear market on record in February and March, (and if you stayed invested have benefitted from the markets rebound), or if you or a loved one are among the 20 million Americans who have been stricken by COVID your finances have been affected. Financial services firm Morningstar has also been paying attention. In a recent article, “What the Coronavirus Means for the Future of Financial Planning,” its Director of Personal Finance, Christine Benz addressed the issue and we have asked her to enlighten us. WEALTHTRACK # 1729 broadcast on January 15, 2021 More info: Books mentioned in  the episode: 30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances : Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: Five-Star Strategies for Success:
January 16, 2021
The Narratives Driving Stock & Real Estate Prices [2021]
We have a special treat for you. Robert Shiller, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, a pioneer in the field of behavioral finance, long-time Yale professor, financial innovator, and prolific author. Shiller is also the co-creator of the widely cited gauge of U.S. housing prices, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and creator of the cyclically adjusted PE ratio known as the Cape Ratio which is a price-earnings ratio for the S&P 500 based on average inflation-adjusted earnings from the previous ten years. Because it includes ten years of earnings many consider it to be a more reliable gauge of market value. His presence could not be more timely. He is known for identifying the tech and housing bubbles long before anyone else did, and here we are in the midst of an economy crushing pandemic with home prices booming and stock prices hitting new records.  We started with the stock market, his analysis of the record-setting performance. WEALTHTRACK # 1728 broadcast o