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January 25, 2022 | Kenilworth, NJ The Board of Directors of Merck has declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.69 per common share, matching the previous quarterly dividend. Year to date, this marks the second dividend announcement for the Washington Crossing Advisors Rising Dividend portfolio. From the press release: “Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that the Board of Directors has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.69 per share of the company’s common stock for the second quarter of 2022. Payment will be made on April 7, 2022 to shareholders of record…

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Have you noticed more crowded roads and airports lately? The benefits of reopening are now seen across many sectors, and the municipal bond market is paying attention. This report explores how the process of reopening the economy is impacting municipal bond issuers and investors. Highlights The Muni curve steepened in the third quarter, slightly underperforming U.S. Treasuries, in very quiet trading activity. Flows into Muni Mutual Funds continued their torrid pace as increased taxes become more certain. The reopening economy has benefited Munis, too. Part 1 of our Muni Market Education Series: Why the High Coupon?

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Discusses outlook amid the current COVID-19 and zero-interest-rate environment. Kevin describes WCA’s rationale for emphasizing flexibility in portfolio companies. Quality, durability, and flexibility remain “watchwords” for investing as debt rises and the credit cycle ages. The interview starts at 27:41

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After remaining unchanged for much of June, Municipals rallied in July, with yields falling to new record lows across most of the curve. Munis outperformed Treasuries and Corporates and the Muni to Treasury ratio, a common valuation metric that has been essentially meaningless since the market dislocation in March, has returned to more normal levels. Muni Mutual Fund inflows have continued for 11 consecutive weeks and cash from coupon and maturity payments led to strong demand, as we have expected. While rates are at historic lows, the curve remains steep, which offers an opportunity in the longer end of the…

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Look to rotate tech into other areas of the market: Wealthwise Financial's Gilbert from CNBC.

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WCA fundamental conditions barometer increases slightly in October. Tactical asset allocation sees a small increase in equity versus bonds.

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This is a second part of a series on China and trade. To read part one, click here.  CONQUEST update: Last week we raised gold to overweight and high yield to underweight in the core portion of portfolios on rising geopolitical and trade concerns. We’ve pointed out that China owes much of its growth to investment (not trade). As discussed last week, much investment is being subsidized by Chinese households. These subsidies have allowed China to grow well over 7% for many years. From the early 1980s, when China had very low levels of investment, to today, as investment rates…

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A Year of Churn In the past year, forecast earnings for S&P 500 companies are up just about 9%, slightly above the S&P 500’s 5% year-on-year advance. The S&P 500 earnings yield, or inverse of the price-earnings-ratio, now stands near 6.25%, up from 5.9% a year ago. By comparison, the S&P 500 earnings yield is 385 basis points (or 3.85%) higher than the 2.4% yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond. A year ago, the S&P 500 earnings yield spread over Treasuries was about 290 basis points (2.9%), so today’s 385 basis point spread points to somewhat better valuations for…

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Chad Morganlander's market outlook from CNBC.

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The S&P 500 returned 13.7% in the first quarter, the best quarterly performance since 2009. This follows almost a 20% drop in the S&P 500 during the fourth quarter. The concerns about global growth and rising interest rates, which contributed to last fall’s market selloff, appear to be easing. The WCA Fundamental Conditions “Barometer” advanced sharply in the past few weeks as signs emerged that growth may be picking up in the United States. Accordingly, equity exposure was increased and bond portfolio duration reduced across tactical asset allocation models. Full Report Click Here

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A Turning Point?

Analysts have come to believe that S&P 500 companies failed to grow earnings during the just completed first quarter. Moreover, the forwards market for short-term interest rates sees no further U.S. rate increase on the horizon. Global bond markets are, once again, priced with negative yields in Germany, Japan, Spain, and France. The U.S. Treasury curve is flirting with inversion, where long-term rates fall below short-term rates, which can be a recessionary signal. Despite this backdrop, investors returned to equities in the first quarter of 2019. A Turning Point? Undoubtedly, the International Monetary Fund will weigh in on the state…

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As has been the case for the past year, worries over global growth continue to dog markets. Last Friday’s large miss on Germany’s purchasing managers index is more evidence that global growth has turned sour (Chart A, below). Some hoped that a better result would be seen from Germany given that order rates have held up. However, the 44.7 reading on the index is far below 50, creating cause for further concern about Europe. The miss follows earlier warnings on growth from the European Central bank, who recently issued a cut to their outlook. Bloomberg’s estimate of 2019 German growth…

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Expectation Setting

Investor expectations are usually anchored by central bank expectations which is why central bank statements deserve much attention. This Wednesday’s update on monetary policy from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is especially important given the FOMC’s recent pivot to “patience.” Market expectations are now set for an 85% probability of no further rate increases this year. The process of reducing short-term rate expectations, which began last fall, has now rippled through global financial markets, dampened volatility and helped buoy stocks so far in 2019. As the Federal Reserve gets ready to release an updated “dot plot” this Wednesday, the…

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Negotiating a trade deal based on market performance is a bad idea, says expert from CNBC.

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