Monthly Commentary

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March 2012

After matching its stellar January performance in February, the S&P 500 Index is off to its best start since 1991. The Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed the psychologically important 13,000 mark, a level not seen since May 2008.

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February 2012

January’s surge may have surprised many observers, but not Douglas Coté, Chief Market Strategist, ING Investment Management U.S., who has long advocated, even in the face of headline global risks, that the market’s path ultimately comes down to the strength of its underlying fundamentals.

In this month’s ING Global Perspectives commentary, Global Markets Rally on Moderating Global Risk and Positive Fundamentals, Doug revisits the "ABCDs" of fundamentals:

  • Advancing Corporate Profits: For each of the past ten quarters, more than 70% of S&P 500 companies have delivered positive earnings surprises.
  • Broadening Manufacturing: The ISM manufacturing index has expanded for 30 consecutive months.
  • Consumer Strength Underestimated: December brought monthly retail sales to their highest level ever, north of $400 billion.
  • Developing Economies: Emerging market growth continues to be a key catalyst for U.S. corporate revenue.

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January 2012

2011 will be marked as a year where global risks battled daily with market fundamentals with volatility as the result. While global risks are by no means gone, the market’s path ultimately comes down to the strength of the underlying fundamentals.

With that in mind, be sure to read the ING Global Perspectives 2012 Forecast, where ING Chief Market Strategist Douglas Coté provides important points to help investors stay focused on market fundamentals in 2012. He discusses the key drivers of global return, the risks to look out for, and provides detailed market, economic and asset class forecasts for the coming year.

December 2011

A blockbuster holiday spending season, declining unemployment, and benign inflation are just a few of the indicators tracked by ING Global Perspectives that the real economy continues to move forward despite credit risk headwinds emanating from Europe. In this month’s commentary, ING Investment Management U.S. Chief Market Strategist Douglas Coté discusses how the ABCDs of market fundamentals continue to impress, with:

  • Accelerating corporate profits: The S&P 500 is on track to deliver record earnings in 2011.
  • Booming manufacturing: Exports surged to all-time highs in September.
  • Consumer strength: We’ve had eight consecutive months of retail sales increases.
  • Developing economies driving global growth: Trade within the emerging markets is transforming the economic landscape.

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November 2011

Market fundamentals are showing signs of life after global risk reached crisis levels in the 3rd quarter. Readers who’ve been following ING Global Perspectives commentary were able to ride along with an avalanche of positive economic data to benefit from one of the best Octobers in history.

In this month’s commentary, ING Chief Market Strategist Douglas Cote shows how October’s rally highlights the benefits of a disciplined quarterly rebalancing program. Rebalancing enables investors to capitalize on market volatility by forcing them to allocate more to their underperforming assets and less to their best-performing ones (buy low and sell high, in other words), when volatility often encourages the opposite

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October 2011

September’s headlines were ominous, ranging from near-certain Greek default to credit downgrades of sovereign banks. For those investors who have trimmed back and become defensive ING Global Perspectives now advocates a return to full sail with a fully invested, globally diversified portfolio.

In this month’s commentary, ING Chief Market Strategist Douglas Coté argues the global macro risks that have bedeviled markets for the past several months are secondary to bottom-up fundamentals — corporate profits, in particular. Although the European, U.S. and developed world debt crises are far from over, they are moving toward containment. Ultimately, successful investing demands a choice between prudent risk control and outright risk avoidance.

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September 2011

The volatility of August presented a great case for something ING Global Perspectives has long argued: real, not gamed, diversification.

As market leadership changed hands like a game of musical chairs, the benefits of broad, globally diversified portfolios became very real to investors. In this month’s commentary, ING Chief Market Strategist Douglas Coté, CFA provides more tips for Weathering Storms in Uncharted Territories. He looks at recent events like the credit downgrade, Euro contagion, and the downturn in some U.S. economic data in light of his earlier 2011 forecast. His take: catalysts for growth are many and significant, and these fundamentals will drive the longer-term performance of the market.

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August 2011

Today’s global market declines are further support for the "trimming of the sails" we advocated last week. Here’s a current commentary by Doug Coté, CFA, ING Investment Management Chief Market Strategist, that outlines the factors driving today’s markets:

  • Deteriorating economic data
  • Fear of systemic risk spreading from peripheral Europe
  • Lack of a significant, coordinated policy response from central banks or governments

None of this is unexpected. Until Europe can get serious about addressing its debt problems and moribund economic growth, investors should remain vigilant.

August 2011

Wide recent swings in the market are tough for investors to stomach. ING Global Perspectives was designed to help put unpredictable market moves into context at times like this, to help convert fear into a longer-term view.

Our longer-term view remains consistent: fundamentals drive equity markets, and by those measures, corporations continue to exceed all expectations. But such nuances are often lost in full scale panic moves in and out of the market. That’s why we advocated a small tick backwards as a prudent and proactive measure in our recent special edition commentary.

August 2011

Traditionally, fireworks are lit on the Fourth of July to commemorate America’s hard-fought independence. This July, however, political pyrotechnics dominated the landscape as America struggled to stave off a looming default that would put its financial independence in jeopardy.


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