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Ben Pace
Partner and Chief Investment Officer

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March 5, 2018

Trade Protectionism

Last week President Trump announced plans to impose 25% tariffs on steel and 10% on aluminum. The initial perception among market participants is the tariffs will admittedly help our rather narrow steel and aluminum industries, but they will damage the…

Last week President Trump announced plans to impose 25% tariffs on steel and 10% on aluminum. The initial perception among market participants is the tariffs will admittedly help our rather narrow steel and aluminum industries, but they will damage the arguably more important industries such as autos and consumer products companies.
Neither the larger White House staff nor the Federal Reserve Board are unified in supporting these tariffs. The negative reaction of the equity markets will likely be an important factor in how extensive the trade restrictions become with respect to both the number of products and the trading partners beyond China who would be impacted.
In January we listed protectionism as one of the key risks to our 2018 outlook. While the immediate economic impact of steel and aluminum tariffs should be minor, the ultimate impact on global economic growth and inflation is dependent upon any retaliatory response.

February 8, 2018

Be Careful What You Wish For

We appear to be in somewhat of a “good news is bad” market environment as the stronger economic statistics and upward corporate earnings revisions are stoking fear of inflation and a spike higher in interest rates.  Concerns about potential competition…

We appear to be in somewhat of a “good news is bad” market environment as the stronger economic statistics and upward corporate earnings revisions are stoking fear of inflation and a spike higher in interest rates.  Concerns about potential competition coming from higher yields caused another 4% gap down in US equities today on top of the similar decline on Monday.  Equity markets in the US and most of the world have now experienced a 10+% correction.  Besides being the first correction in the US in two years, the speed of the decline has been rather surprising.

February 6, 2018

February 2018 Economic Outlook

The global synchronized growth momentum from 2017 has carried into this year with many economies around the world expanding at an accelerated rate. The US has experienced a slight slowdown in 1Q momentum the last few years most likely due to…

The global synchronized growth momentum from 2017 has carried into this year with many economies around the world expanding at an accelerated rate. The US has experienced a slight slowdown in 1Q momentum the last few years most likely due to weak business spending. This year, greater business confidence, which began to surface in the middle of last year, should be further boosted by tax reform and allow capital spending growth to offset the expected slight slowdown in consumption growth.

February 6, 2018

February 2018 Market Volatility

The sharp selloff in equities over the past week has wiped out all the January gains with markets actually in the red year to date as of this writing. From the peak of the S&P 500 achieved a little over…

The sharp selloff in equities over the past week has wiped out all the January gains with markets actually in the red year to date as of this writing. From the peak of the S&P 500 achieved a little over a week ago, US equities are down roughly 8% as of today’s close. The primary catalyst for the recent weakness has been the sharp upward spike in interest rates. The ten year Treasury yield has increased 75 basis points over the last five months and 40 basis points year to date. While rates are moving up largely due to the strong domestic and global economy, sharp moves upward in yields can temporarily disorient markets.

January 25, 2018

2018 Investment Outlook

In the 2018 Investment Outlook, we highlight some of the key risks and opportunities we foresee for investors over the coming year. We identify our key investment themes for 2018, and provide our annual scorecard of how well our key…

In the 2018 Investment Outlook, we highlight some of the key risks and opportunities we foresee for investors over the coming year. We identify our key investment themes for 2018, and provide our annual scorecard of how well our key investment themes for 2017 performed.

January 5, 2018

January 2018 Economic Outlook

Favorable growth momentum, plus structural reforms implemented by a number of countries, should allow the current expansionary cycle to carry over into 2018.

Favorable growth momentum, plus structural reforms implemented by a number of countries, should allow the current expansionary cycle to carry over into 2018.

December 5, 2017

December 2017 Economic Outlook

Global growth momentum should continue into 2018, supported by continued low interest rates and widespread fiscal reforms affecting both tax and spending policies.

Global growth momentum should continue into 2018, supported by continued low interest rates and widespread fiscal reforms affecting both tax and spending policies.

November 7, 2017

November 2017 Economic Outlook

The muted pace of the economic recovery following the 2008/2009 global recession appears to be extending the expansion phase, with most economies expected to experience continued positive growth through 2018.

The muted pace of the economic recovery following the 2008/2009 global recession appears to be extending the expansion phase, with most economies expected to experience continued positive growth through 2018.

October 4, 2017

October 2017 Economic Outlook

U.S. economic growth is approaching the 3% level that economists consider to approximate full potential, led by strong capital investment and steady consumer spending. Proposed corporate tax cuts are expected to provide further support to economic growth. Meanwhile, the Fed…

U.S. economic growth is approaching the 3% level that economists consider to approximate full potential, led by strong capital investment and steady consumer spending. Proposed corporate tax cuts are expected to provide further support to economic growth. Meanwhile, the Fed has outlined the timing of its bond-selling program to shrink the balance sheet and has indicated its resolve to continue raising the federal-funds rate on a gradual basis.

September 1, 2017

September 2017 Economic Outlook

CIO Ben Pace writes that he expects the Federal Reserve to continue on its path toward rate normalization despite stubbornly low inflation.  We likely will hear about plans for reducing the Fed’s balance sheet in the coming weeks and will…

CIO Ben Pace writes that he expects the Federal Reserve to continue on its path toward rate normalization despite stubbornly low inflation.  We likely will hear about plans for reducing the Fed’s balance sheet in the coming weeks and will see a rate hike in December 2017.  Emerging markets equities have performed very well this year and fundamentals remain strong.

August 1, 2017

August 2017 Economic Outlook

Strong corporate earnings have helped to propel U.S. equities to new highs, despite waning prospects for  fiscal expansion.  Valuations of emerging market equities still look attractive.

Strong corporate earnings have helped to propel U.S. equities to new highs, despite waning prospects for  fiscal expansion.  Valuations of emerging market equities still look attractive.

July 5, 2017

July 2017 Economic Outlook

Most countries around the world continue to enjoy non-inflationary economic growth with very little near-term recessionary risk despite the prevailing notion that it is getting rather late in the cycle of recovery and expansion from the severe crisis of 2008-2009.

Most countries around the world continue to enjoy non-inflationary economic growth with very little near-term recessionary risk despite the prevailing notion that it is getting rather late in the cycle of recovery and expansion from the severe crisis of 2008-2009.

July 1, 2017

June 2017 Economic Outlook

Lower energy prices have reduced any burgeoning inflation threat, which will allow the Federal Reserve to slowly and methodically reduce its bloated balance sheet.  We expect two further rate hikes this year, as well as a plan to start reducing the intermediate maturity government securities accumulated…

Lower energy prices have reduced any burgeoning inflation threat, which will allow the Federal Reserve to slowly and methodically reduce its bloated balance sheet.  We expect two further rate hikes this year, as well as a plan to start reducing the intermediate maturity government securities accumulated on its balance sheet in response to the 2008 financial crisis.

June 22, 2017

Cerity Partners Recognized as Top 300 Financial Advisers by Financial Times

The Financial Times on June 22, 2017 awarded Cerity Partners one of the top Registered Investment Advisers in the US for the third year in a row. Rating criteria include assets under management, asset growth, compliance record, industry credentials, and transparency.

The Financial Times on June 22, 2017 awarded Cerity Partners one of the top Registered Investment Advisers in the US for the third year in a row. Rating criteria include assets under management, asset growth, compliance record, industry credentials, and transparency.

May 1, 2017

May 2017 Economic Outlook

The surprising surge in populist/nationalistic sentiment which characterized the geopolitical environment last year is beginning to wane this year. Centrist candidates are consolidating power in Europe and the new US administration is moderating its more extreme protectionist rhetoric.  In the…

The surprising surge in populist/nationalistic sentiment which characterized the geopolitical environment last year is beginning to wane this year. Centrist candidates are consolidating power in Europe and the new US administration is moderating its more extreme protectionist rhetoric.  In the U.S., first-quarter earnings results validated the year-to-date rally in US equities.

April 1, 2017

April 2017 Economic Outlook

The global economy is starting to reap the benefits of the extremely loose monetary policies. However, in the U.S., the strong “soft” data we have seen from the various consumer and business confidence surveys need to translate soon into stronger…

The global economy is starting to reap the benefits of the extremely loose monetary policies. However, in the U.S., the strong “soft” data we have seen from the various consumer and business confidence surveys need to translate soon into stronger “hard” data on consumer and business spending. The contentious and uncertain political environment may be dampening the relationship between how people and businesses feel and how much they actually spend.

March 1, 2017

March 2017 Economic Outlook

The global economy continues to improve although upcoming elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany are posing uncertainties.  U.S. equities continued to advance through February, fueled by improving corporate earnings and expectations for pro-growth policies under the Trump administration.

The global economy continues to improve although upcoming elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany are posing uncertainties.  U.S. equities continued to advance through February, fueled by improving corporate earnings and expectations for pro-growth policies under the Trump administration.

February 2, 2017

February 2017 Economic Outlook

Capital spending has started to make meaningful contributions to U.S. economic growth, and productivity has improved due to investment in capital equipment.  The economic recovery from the 2008-2009 recession continues.

Capital spending has started to make meaningful contributions to U.S. economic growth, and productivity has improved due to investment in capital equipment.  The economic recovery from the 2008-2009 recession continues.

January 1, 2017

January 2017 Economic Outlook

The weaker euro and pound, along with stronger economic activity in Germany, should lead to positive equity returns in 2017.  In the U.S., improved business and consumer sentiment is translating into higher spending.

The weaker euro and pound, along with stronger economic activity in Germany, should lead to positive equity returns in 2017.  In the U.S., improved business and consumer sentiment is translating into higher spending.

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Bloomfield Hills

39533 Woodward Avenue
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304

Chicago

227 West Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60606

Chicago

65 East Wacker Place
Chicago, IL 60601

Cleveland

Terminal Tower
50 Public Square
Cleveland, OH 44113

Fort Worth

3526 West Vickery Boulevard
Fort Worth, TX 76107

Los Angeles

11601 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90025

New York

335 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Orange County

3200 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626