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You can find reports from our Investment and Research team, timely and informative financial planning topics from our Wealth Management team, and deeper dives on various important topics in our white papers from any team member. Read online, share with friends, or download for your convenience.

Chart Housing Market Dynamics

More than a decade since the housing bubble burst, the negative impacts are still permeating the U.S. economy. Although U.S. housing data has looked strong for the last few years, the recent negative impacts from tariffs, rising labor costs, and commodity price inflation are challenging the stability of the market. Prices of new construction are moving higher, putting pressure on demand. More importantly, rising mortgage rates have significantly impacted affordability, which has also slowed demand. Together, this has led to fairly weak housing data over the last 6 months. As evident by the chart above, the monthly supply of new homes moved significantly higher in the back half of 2018. This quick move higher is starting to impact builders’ confidence and a slowdown of new construction could be on the horizon. However, it’s possible only a short-term slowdown is necessary to rebalance supply and demand. With mortgage rates declining rather significantly over the last few weeks, we will be watching the impact increased affordability has on sales and price activity. 

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As we welcome the New Year, it’s a natural time to look forward. We all look forward to achieving goals - to be a better friend, to lose weight, or commit to achieving lingering professional goals. We look forward to a fresh start, a clean slate, and an opportunity to do and be better.  

The New Year is also a great time to review your finances with fresh eyes. Wealth Advisor Melissa Walsh, CFP®, CFA, recently authored an article on SarasotaMagazine.com suggesting five steps as a starting point if you are resolving to get your financial house in order in 2019. 

Click here to read the complete article.

APA Vorndran 3x4HI RGBAllegiant Private Advisors is pleased to announce that Kristina Vorndran, CFP®, has earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification. 

We’re proud of Kristina’s continued focus on professional development and pleased to also announce her promotion from Wealth Advisor Assistant to the position of Paraplanner. With Kristina’s recent CFP® achievement, Allegiant Private Advisors boasts eight professionals who have earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification, all serving client families through the firm’s unique team approach to customized wealth management. The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification is an important designation which verifies rigorous professional standards in addition to principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism, and diligence on behalf of clients. 

Click here to learn more about Kristina, including her passion for academics and love of auto motorsports racing

APA Nicholas 3x4HI RGBAllegiant Private Advisors has named Portfolio Manager Luke Nicholas, CFA, CFP®, a Principal. 

Luke, who started with the firm in 2013 and previously served as research analyst, will continue to serve Allegiant client families in his current role as Portfolio Manager. 

Our unique team approach to customized wealth management is rooted in hiring and retaining the very best talent. With our steadfast commitment to personalized, fiduciary-level guidance and concierge-level service as the firm continues to grow, we’re fortunate to have Luke join the ranks of Principal at Allegiant. 

Click here to learn more about Luke’s professional experience

Am I taking the best approach in my business? Am I making the right investment decisions? What am I not thinking about that I should be thinking about?

These are some of the common questions that individuals and business owners often ask themselves. However, many of the most successful people in life have someone who they lean on as a “thinking partner” to talk through difficult situations, from pivotal business decisions to the run-of-the-mill things that life throws at us. What most people don’t realize is the value of that relationship and how it can have an exponential impact on how their lives turn out. 

Chart Diverging Valuations 12 2018

If the chart above looks familiar that is because it was also the Chart of the Week on September 21, 2018. It displays the relative valuation (P/E) of U.S. stocks (Russell 3000) versus stocks of the rest of the world (MSCI ex U.S.). In September, we pointed out the valuation divergence had widened out to a 40% U.S. premium. Fast forward three months and the premium is now only 27%, a substantial move given the short amount of time. The reduction in premium is of importance and the path of convergence is worth understanding. There are several ways for the two valuations to converge. The best scenario would be international markets outperforming, driving valuations higher until they catch up to U.S. valuations. The least desired path is international valuations falling lower due to declining international markets, while U.S. markets decline at a faster pace, causing U.S. valuations to converge with international markets. The current convergence path is the least desired. International markets have fallen about 14% since September 21, while U.S. markets have declined almost 19%. Even with this recent move, there is more room for convergence. This trend is worth paying attention to as we move into 2019.

Chart Diverging from Typical Stock Bond Return Relationship
As we near the end of 2018, it has proven to be a historically challenging year for balanced portfolios as both stocks and bonds have struggled. The chart above shows the annual return of the S&P 500 and 10-year treasury bonds since 1928. Over this time period, stocks and treasuries have both posted negative returns for a calendar year only three times. If the year ended today, 2018 would be the fourth such year. This occurrence is so rare because stocks and bonds historically have a very low correlation. When stocks sell off, it is not uncommon to see investors shift investment dollars from stocks to bonds in the hopes of safer, less volatile returns, which then drives bond prices higher. However, that has not been the case so far this year. Part of what has held off the move to bonds has been the raising of short-term interest rates by the Federal Reserve, which makes existing issues less attractive. Also, because of the recent increase to the federal deficit there has been a heavy surge in treasury issuance which has kept pressure on treasury prices. As we move forward into 2019, we will be paying attention to see if the return relationship between stocks and bonds returns to its typical behavior. 

As the year draws to a close and we look back at 2018, it has turned into a very good year for the U.S. economy. Not only did overall GDP growth accelerate, but many of the segments that were worrisome at the beginning of the year proved resilient in the face of adversity. In many respects, 2018 was the Goldilocks economy we had hoped for, stronger growth with low inflation. However, this has not translated into strong investment returns year-to-date. Markets around the globe have struggled. Certainly, they have not performed as one would expect with a robust economy.  

Chart Gas Prices
A byproduct of the recent drop in crude oil prices has been a 17% decline in average unleaded gas prices over the past month. Over the same time frame, crude oil prices have fallen even more dramatically. The down move in gas prices should provide a boost to discretionary income of consumers, who often times could use some extra spending money around the holidays. The fall in oil and gas prices looks to be a function of supply and production levels and mirrors typical volatility in the energy commodity sector. Consumers should notice the savings at the pump at a time of year where it is much needed.