Financial Tech

Financial Tech

  • Strong Domestic Demand in China

    Jan 17, 2014 | 13 min
    The People’s Republic of China (PRC) appears to have taken the words of American industrialist Henry Ford to heart. Ford said, “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.” Last week, we learned from CNBC China’s annual trade was more than $4 trillion in 2013. That pushed the PRC ahead of the United States and gave it standing as the world’s biggest trader. According to The New York Times, China’s annual trade surplus, in U.S. dollar terms, was the largest since 2008 and 12.8 percent ahead of 2012’s surplus. In other words, China exported more than it imported. Full show notes, di...
  • Is Topping 3% a Bad Thing?

    Jan 01, 2014 | 15 min
    Like the mother of a bride reviewing flower arrangements and fretting that a brilliantly sunny day could be marred by dark clouds hidden just beyond the horizon, pundits have been parsing the exceptional year-to-date performance of U.S. stock markets and fussing over the future. It’s true. U.S. stock markets look like they may be headed toward a fizzy champagne finish even after retreating a bit last Friday. Through Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Index had closed at record highs 50 times this year and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index wasn’t far behind with 44 record high closes, according to NASDAQ Full show notes, disclosures and video at
  • Things You Wish You Never Would Have

    Dec 18, 2013 | 12 min
    You really need to take predictions with a grain of salt. Consider these esteemed opinions: "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." Thomas Watson, Chairman, IBM, 1943 "Who wants to hear actors talk?" H. M. Warner, Founder, Warner Brothers, 1927 "Everything that can be invented has been invented." Charles Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899 It’s an important to remember the fallibility of experts as we head toward a new year and pundits begin pontificating about the events of the past and predicting what may be ahead. Full show notes, disclosures and video at
  • Taking a Stroll Down Memory Lane

    Dec 11, 2013 | 12 min
    Send your questions or comments to If every piece of positive news was a petal, then you might say the American economy was in bloom last week. Moving into the holiday season, consumer confidence was at a five-month high. Early in the week, manufacturing showed improvement. On Thursday, the U.S. Commerce Department unfurled the news the American economy grew faster than expected during the third quarter of 2013. The next day, it was reported the unemployment rate was at the lowest level since 2008. Hourly earnings increased, as did the length of the work week. Participation in the work force improved slightly, although it remains at historical lows. Full Show...
  • Black Friday Retail Shopping Bravado

    Dec 05, 2013 | 13 min
    In 2006, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year was ‘You.’ The magazine declared that 2006 was about: “…Community and collaboration on a scale never seen before… It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes.” Last week, J.P. Morgan named EVERYONE the winner of the "Most Promotional Retailer Award." While communities across America are very interested in Black Friday sales, these events are less about empowerment and more about brawling for consumer goods. It’s a popular activity. In fact, a case could be built that one of the newest Thanksgiving holiday traditions involve...
  • Double Sided Coin of Employment Numbers

    Nov 13, 2013 | 11 min
    After last week’s surprisingly strong employment report, it’s almost possible to picture Ben Bernanke slapping trail dust from his leg, ducking his head, and saying, “Just doin’ my job.” After all, running the economy is as laden with complications and unexpected events as a cattle drive. Richard Graboyes, an economist who was once the Director of Education for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, wrote that driving cattle seems “arduous, but simple – walk some cattle from point A to point B. But, the endeavor is fraught with natural and human risks for both rancher and driver.” Full show notes and disclosures at
  • Contrarian Investing and Interest Rates

    Oct 30, 2013 | 15 min
    Contrarians probably are waiting for the other shoe – or, in this case, U.S. stock markets – to drop. If you’re not familiar with contrarian investing, the theory goes something like this: Consensus opinion is often wrong. When the majority of investors have a bullish outlook and believe stocks are going to move higher, the chances are stock values will drop. Likewise, when the majority has a bearish outlook and believes stocks are going to move lower, the chances are stock values will rise. Full show notes and disclosures at
  • Resilient Markets in the Face of Danger

    Oct 23, 2013 | 11 min
    Curse of Chucky, Scream 2, Final Destination 5, Freddy vs. Jason… You know Halloween is nearly upon us when you can’t surf channels without exposing yourself to or relishing in a multitude of horror flick sequels. Propagating alarming situations seems to be all the rage in Washington, too. Last week, a last-minute deal raised America’s debt ceiling, saving us from a debt default and ending the government shutdown – until next January. In the meantime, hoping to avoid a sequel just three months down the road, the members of Congress agreed to put their heads together and produce a 10-year budget plan by mid-December. Full show notes and disclosures at
  • US Government Shutdown a Halloween Trick

    Oct 16, 2013 | 13 min
    Do world stock markets believe Congress is just offering up some Halloween excitement? Last week, they responded to the government shutdown in the United States and the possibility the U.S. might default on its debt for the first time ever with the bravado of teenagers standing in line for a haunted house. Markets around the globe finished the week higher with some notable exceptions that included Chinese and Mexican markets and America’s NASDAQ. Full show notes at
  • Déjà vu with a US Government Shutdown

    Oct 03, 2013 | 16 min
    “It’s déjà vu all over again,” Yogi Berra reportedly said as he watched Yankee teammates Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris smack back-to-back home runs for the umpteenth time. Americans are experiencing déjà vu all over again, too. Sure, the prospect of another fiscal showdown doesn’t electrify a crowd like a couple of major league home runs. All the same, investors’ response to the possibility the U.S. government might partially shut down on October 1 was muted. Some U.S. stock markets gave back a little for the week; others moved higher. All remained up year-to-date. Full show notes and disclosures available at
  • The Fed’s ‘lather-rinse-repeat’ on QE

    Sep 29, 2013 | 15 min
    We’re going to do it…We’re going to do it…We’re not going to do it…Yet. Last week, the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee gave stock markets a gift that, on a scale of thrills, might have been on par with Marilyn Monroe singing happy birthday to JFK. On Wednesday, the FOMC announced (without a trace of breathiness): “Taking into account the extent of federal fiscal retrenchment, the Committee sees the improvement in economic activity and labor market conditions since it began its asset purchase program a year ago as consistent with growing underlying strength in the broader economy. However, the Committee decided to await more evidence that progress will be sustained before adjusting the pac...
  • The Change in American Employment

    Sep 10, 2013 | 13 min
    Confluences are the building blocks of the world’s waterways. When two or more rivers meet, changes in velocity and turbulence tend to result in geologic scouring; erosive activity that may alter the shape of the river and its bed. The action may produce a ‘scour hole’ downstream from the confluence. For a river runner, a hole creates “potential for trouble and the need for deft maneuvers.” America may be heading toward a scour hole that is being shaped by a confluence of factors and events, domestic and global, economic and demographic. Full show notes and disclosures available at
  • Post Labor Day Employment Data and NFL

    Sep 04, 2013 | 12 min
    Last week was crunch time in the National Football League (NFL). With the 2013 regular season approaching rapidly, NFL teams cut about 700 players from their rosters over the Labor Day weekend. That was a big cut—about a 40 percent drop in player employment—as rosters were pared from 90 to 53 players. However, it’s not likely to have a significant effect on U.S. unemployment data—and that’s really what the week ahead is all about. Last week, markets jittered and slumped on news that Syria was thought to have used chemical weapons against civilians. According to The New York Times, 70 percent of stocks that trade on the New York Stock Exchange finished Friday lower, and 73 percent of those li...
  • The Next Big Thing in Disruptive Tech

    Aug 27, 2013 | 13 min
    Well, the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy is a lot more complex than the simple tools mentioned in the oft-memorized William Carlos Williams’ poem, The Red Wheelbarrow, but an awful lot is depending on it. In some of those countries that have been affected negatively by changing expectations about quantitative easing, the importance of chickens, wheelbarrows, and other basic tools to a family’s economic well-being has not been forgotten. Full show notes and disclosures at
  • How Uncertainty Affects the Market

    Aug 23, 2013 | 13 min
    How has uncertainty affected things? Well, it has left U.S. Treasuries a whole lot less popular than they once were. China and Japan reduced their holdings of U.S. Treasuries by about $40 billion recently. According to Reuters, a Chinese economist said the sale of Treasuries could be attributed to expectations that bond yields will rise and prices will fall as QE ends. In the same article, a Japanese policymaker said expectations about changing Fed policies created market volatility that forced some Asian central banks to defend their currencies and that led to the sale of Treasuries. In total, about $67 billion of foreign investment money was pulled out of Treasuries in June. Full show note...
  • How to Handle Quarterly Earning Reports

    Jul 23, 2013 | 14 min
    Singing the earnings song… How to Handle Quarterly Earning Reports and Measuring Innovation - The Guide Rock Capital Weekly Market Commentary Jul 22 - FT036 Each year, in January, April, July, and October, most publicly-traded companies announce their corporate earnings results. These announcements can have a dramatic effect on companies’ share prices – and markets – especially when companies don’t meet analysts’ expectations. The way a company’s share price moves after an earnings announcement can strike a discordant note. For instance, a company can have a great quarter, but if it earns a few pennies per share less than expected, its share price may tumble. Likewise, a company can be in di...
  • IMF Fiddles while the US Markets Rocket

    Jul 16, 2013 | 14 min
    One of these things is not like the other… If you find yourself humming that old Sesame Street standard when you think about financial markets and world economies, you’re probably not alone. To the consternation of many, the Dow Jones Industrials Average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rocketed to new highs last week just as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its global economic growth forecast for 2013 and 2014. Full show notes and disclosures at
  • Guide Rock Market Commentary for July 8

    Jul 08, 2013 | 14 min
    The second quarter offered a level of drama often found in homes with teenagers. When investors realized their good friend, quantitative easing, might have an earlier-than-expected curfew, they threw a hissy fit that resounded through global markets. The outburst interrupted the trajectory of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which finished June lower after hitting record highs in May. As stocks fell, yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond hit a 22-month high. Higher treasury yields and a strengthening greenback proved attractive to investors and capital flowed out of emerging markets during the quarter. As interest rates moved higher, the cost of borrowing rose sharply in many emerging co...
  • Guide Rock Market Commentary - Jun 24

    Jun 25, 2013 | 12 min
    Federal Open Market Committee Policy Meeting and Is There a Housing Bubble? - Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary Jun 24 – FT033 It was like watching a game of telephone where one child speaks into another child’s ear and that child speaks into another child’s ear and, by the time the last child repeats the original statement, it has transformed into something completely different. Chairman Ben Bernanke stepped up to the microphone at the press conference after the Federal Open Market Committee’s policy meeting and said: “As I mentioned, the current level of the federal funds rate target is likely to remain appropriate for a considerable period after asset purchases are concluded. To return ...
  • Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary 6/17

    Jun 19, 2013 | 25 min
    Financial Tech brings you the latest market commentary from the award winning Andrew Hunt, CFP and President of Guide Rock Capital Management, located here in Omaha, Nebraska. If you would like to receive a free copy of the written commentary in advance, send us an email at and put “Subscribe” in the Subject. Full show notes and disclosure at
  • Markets Wobble on Quantitative Easing FT

    Jun 13, 2013 | 12 min
    Markets Wobble on Quantitative Easing, Are the Markets like Sports? Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary Jun 10 - FT031 Like a funhouse mirror, investors’ concerns about whether and when the Federal Reserve will begin to end its quantitative easing program contorted market responses to economic news last week. Unexceptional economic reports were treated as good news and pushed stock markets higher; strong economic reports were treated as bad news and pushed stock markets lower. Full show notes at
  • How to Pick the Right Financial Index

    Jun 04, 2013 | 17 min
    The Fed will taper… the Fed will not… the Fed will taper… the Fed will not… Last week, investors and traders obsessed about the Federal Reserve and the possibility it might begin to end its quantitative easing program. The Fed began its first round of quantitative easing during the financial crisis in an effort to prop up the American economy. In general, quantitative easing helps increase money supply and promote lending and liquidity. Investors’ fears about what may happen when the program ends were apparent when, despite abundant positive economic news, major U.S. stock markets lost value last week. Full show notes and disclosures at
  • Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary 5/20

    May 20, 2013 | 14 min
    University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Survey and Phenomenon Called Heuristics - Guide Rock Weekly Market Commentary May-20 FT029 Much like elementary school children trying to capture the attention of someone they have a crush on, the American economy sent lots of mixed signals last week. Conflicting reports emerged about consumer sentiment during the week. The Conference Board, a non-profit research organization, reported consumers remained somewhat pessimistic about the direction of the economy. In contrast, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment survey rose to a six-year high, according to ABC News. The Index moved from 76.4 in April to 83.7 in May indicating consumers are ...

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