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Are you beginning your journey towards wealth management? Are you interested in learning more about best practice wealth management techniques? Do you want to protect your assets and provide a legacy for your loved ones? We invite you to enter the Pinnacle Trust Knowledge Center to read blogs, watch financial advisory videos, and gain further insights into our proven wealth management solutions.

Macro Indicators

MACRO INDICATORS 

The first seven months of the year have been kind to risk assets despite a lackluster economic backdrop.  The fact that these stock market gains have occurred alongside record-low volatility has made some investors nervous that a pullback is lurking just around the corner. However, today's low levels of volatility can be explained by the Fed trying, and succeeding, in creating a more stable environment for the markets. 

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Two Different Stories: Stocks vs Bonds

As we have entered the second half of 2017, we have seen record highs in the equity markets. Earnings have begun to report this week, with the trend of beating the street so far.  An expected increase in earnings suggests stronger growth ahead.  This positive trend could continue given the pullback in the dollar.  When we see declines in the US dollar, as we have this year, it helps boost earnings of US companies that sell products overseas.

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Bumpy Second Half?

People are always asking for my "crystal ball forecast" for stocks.  And while we have generally done a good job with managing risk, I have always said that we forecast for fun and we make actual allocation decisions based on indicator evidence while avoiding "investing based on our emotions."

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So Far, No Harm! What's Next?

Investment returns were relatively strong in the 2nd quarter (continued strength from 1Q17). Risk assets (stocks) led the way with Non-US stocks outperforming US stocks.

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Fixed Income Outlook

There are several factors that can affect the direction of bonds for the remainder of the year. Equities have been on a positive run and are quite overdue for a correction. If and when this occurs, this would increase flows into bonds as investors would move to safety.

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Financial Security and Retirement

Financial Security.  It's way up the list for most of us in terms of priorities.  For me, right after my faith, health, family and friends.  And the older we get, the more we focus on it.  Age fifty seems to be the magic number for most of us, IMO (in my opinion).  At forty-nine, we're thinking about the next new vehicle we're buying or our next vacation.  At fifty, it's suddenly, "What am I doing about retirement?  How can I be assured of financial security?"

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A Step in the Right Direction

 

For Q1 2017, the estimated earnings growth rate for the S&P 500 is 9.1%.  If 9.1% is the actual growth rate for the quarter, it will mark the highest (year-over-year) earnings growth for the index since Q4 2013 (8.9%). 

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Global Debt and Its Effects on GDP

 

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Trump Bump Takes Stocks to New Highs

 The S&P has returned more than 10 percent since the election of President Trump on November 8, adding some momentum to a bull market that is already eight years old.  There's no doubt that investors are feeling optimistic, but many investment professionals are talking about lower long-term expectations. That's not a judgment of President Trump's economic policies.  Rather than that, it's about equity valuations and fundamentals.  So, where do we go from here?

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The Pitfalls of Human Emotions and Investing Part 2

 If you missed part one last week, please go back and read about how human emotions create a massive problem in investors’ accounts. We discussed how emotions and behavioral mistakes lead to poor investment decisions. Some of those mistakes include panic selling, not making a decision because of regret of a previous failure, lack of diversification, and/or being overly optimistic about future returns. This week we are going to focus on the solution.

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