Daily Archives: Mar 7, 2014 at 02:27 pm EST

February Payrolls: Better But Still Sluggish

If you’re an economic extremist in search of hard data to validate your outlook, today’s nonfarm payrolls update for February is a disappointment. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not especially encouraging either. Private-sector jobs increased by a net 162,000 last month (seasonally adjusted), up a bit from January’s revised 145,000 advance. Last month’s gain beat expectations, including The Capital Spectator’s median forecast. But there’s nothing exciting here in terms of new evidence that the labor market’s about to break free of its sluggish behavior in recent months.
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Some Thoughts On Sizing Up Asset Allocation Funds

Morningstar’s Greg Carlson writes that “allocation funds are different beasts than most of the funds we rate.” In my view, the main challenge in this corner is finding a benchmark for analyzing portfolios that routinely hold multiple asset classes. If we’re talking about a single-asset-class strategy—large-cap US stocks, for instance—there’s usually an assortment of reference indexes to consider for crunching the numbers on risk and return. By comparison, asset allocation portfolios–whether home grown or in prepackaged in a mutual fund or ETF–are complicated for one key reason: there’s no obvious benchmark.
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