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Markets & Economy

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Get timely stock market analysis, perspectives and ideas from our team of experts.

Schwab Market Perspective: Unprecedented! Or Maybe Not?
by Liz Ann Sonders, Brad Sorensen and Jeffrey Kleintop
May 26, 2017

Political uncertainty is having an impact on markets, but investors need to stay focused on fundamentals.

Consumer Discretionary Sector Rating: Marketperform
by Brad Sorensen
May 25, 2017

Schwab's view on the consumer discretionary sector, which covers companies that sell non-essential goods and services. 

Consumer Staples Sector Rating: Marketperform
by Brad Sorensen
May 25, 2017

Schwab's view on the consumer staples sector, which includes consumer items that tend to be viewed as household necessities.

Materials Sector Rating: Marketperform
by Brad Sorensen
May 25, 2017

Schwab's view on the materials sector, which describes an array of commodity-related manufacturing industries.

Information Technology Sector Rating: Outperform
by Brad Sorensen
May 25, 2017

Schwab's view on the information technology sector, which covers most makers and providers of computer, data, and electronic equipment and services.

Schwab Sector Views: Don’t Cut the Cord Just Yet.
by Brad Sorensen
May 25, 2017

The entertainment environment is certainly changing, but that doesn’t mean “old” media is dead.

Real Estate Sector: Underperform
by Brad Sorensen
May 25, 2017

Schwab's view on the real estate sector, which covers companies involved in real estate and includes equity REITs.

Utilities Sector Rating: Underperform
by Brad Sorensen
May 25, 2017

Schwab's view on the utilities sector, which covers a variety of industries that generate and deliver power and water. 

Financials Sector Rating: Outperform
by Brad Sorensen
May 25, 2017

Schwab's view on the financial sector, which encompasses the financial services industry and is often referred to by the acronym FIRE, for finance, insurance and real estate.

Energy Sector Rating: Marketperform
by Brad Sorensen
May 25, 2017

Schwab's view on the energy sector, which encompasses companies that help produce and distribute energy.

Health Care Sector Rating: Outperform
by Brad Sorensen
May 25, 2017

Schwab's view on the health care sector covers health care equipment and services as well as  pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. 

Industrials Sector Rating: Marketperform
by Brad Sorensen
May 25, 2017

Schwab's view on the industrial sector, which includes providers of capital goods, commercial services, transportation services and infrastructure.

Telecommunication Services Sector Rating: Underperform
by Brad Sorensen
May 25, 2017

Schwab's view on the telecommunications sector, including operators of telecom networks and providers of communications and data transmission services.

Is The Stock Market Just Quiet Or Is It Too Quiet?
by Jeffrey Kleintop
May 15, 2017

Does the low volatility and trading volume of this quietly rising stock market mean it’s vulnerable to a sharp pullback on any piece of bad news?

Strange Brew: Heightened Uncertainties, Yet Plunging Volatility…What Gives?
by Liz Ann Sonders
May 08, 2017

Volatility as measured by the VIX is plumbing record lows, but is it a sign of heightened investor complacency, or are there other explanations?

6 Things Investors Should Know About Municipal Bond Insurance
by Cooper J Howard
May 04, 2017

The number of newly issued munis carrying  insurance has climbed over the past few years. What should investors know about municipal bond insurance?

What the Coming Tax Cuts Mean for the Stock Market
by Jeffrey Kleintop
May 01, 2017

The leaders of most major countries are implementing or calling for corporate tax cuts. This may be welcome news for stock market investors since it could mean a boost to after-tax profits.

½ Full: Seeing Through a Weak Q1
by Liz Ann Sonders
April 24, 2017

Although economic surprises have weakened noticeably, and hard economic data has been sluggish; leading indicators continue to flash green for the US economy.

Three Reasons to Own Bonds When the Fed is Raising Interest Rates
by Kathy A Jones
April 19, 2017

Even in a rising rate environment, bonds can offer three key benefits: diversification, capital preservation and income.

Missiles and Markets: An investor guide to geopolitical risks
by Jeffrey Kleintop
April 17, 2017

The long history of U.S. missile strikes and NATO military operations shows us that the market impacts of these geopolitical conflicts have been small and brief.

What Investors Should Know About the High-Yield Bond Rally
by Collin Martin
April 11, 2017

While high-yield bond prices have risen sharply over the past year, investors should be mindful of potential risks, such as low oil prices.

One of These Things ... Market's Moves Not All About Trump
by Liz Ann Sonders
April 10, 2017

Much of the improvement in the economy and the latest stock market rally has been credited to Trump; but perhaps there is an alternate story.

Emerging Market Bonds: Can the Hot Start In 2017 Continue?
by Kathy A Jones
April 06, 2017

Emerging market bond prices have surged in 2017, but valuations are stretched and risks remain.

Not Always Tax Free: 7 Municipal Bond Tax Traps
by Cooper J Howard and Rob Williams
April 04, 2017

If you're interested in tax-free municipal bonds, you might want to keep an eye out for these seven tax traps.

Top Five Trade Issues Investors Should Be Watching
by Jeffrey Kleintop
April 03, 2017

World trade is steadily rising, but changing trade agreements hold the potential to shape the direction of global trade and stock markets.

Hard Times: Time for the Hard Data to Catch Up to the Soft Data
by Liz Ann Sonders
March 27, 2017

The spread between soft (surveys/confidence readings) and hard economic data is historically wide … will the spread narrow, and if so, how?

The Fed has China in a Tough Spot
by Jeffrey Kleintop
March 20, 2017

The Fed rate hike has put China in a tough spot in early 2017. How China responds will be important for global markets as investors assess the trade fallout and growth trajectory for the world’s second largest economy.

Fed Rate Hikes May Benefit Japanese Stocks
by Michelle Gibley
March 16, 2017

Japanese stocks have benefitted as the yen has weakened against the U.S. dollar. Are more gains on the way?

Fed Raises Rates, Signals Additional Hikes in 2017
by Collin Martin
March 15, 2017

The Federal Reserve just raised short term interest rates—again. Here’s what investors should know.

Big Machine: Why Large Caps Are Likely to Outperform
by Liz Ann Sonders
March 13, 2017

Momentum, breadth, sentiment, earnings, valuation and macro conditions all now support a bias toward large cap stocks within the U.S. equity market.

Is Your State Muni Bond Fund Investing Elsewhere? Why It Matters
by Cooper J Howard
March 13, 2017

While it’s common for fund managers to invest in out-of-state bonds, a large allocation to territories with declining credit conditions could be concerning. 

Why Market Returns May Be Lower in the Future
by Veerapan Perianan
March 13, 2017

 

What You Should Know About Convertible Bonds
by Collin Martin
March 08, 2017

Convertible bonds may generate attractive returns when stocks rise, but they differ greatly from traditional fixed income investments.

The future of Europe: EU 2.0 and its impact on the markets
by Jeffrey Kleintop
March 06, 2017

What does Europe’s future look like and what might it mean for investors?

Closed-End Bond Funds: How They Work and What You Should Know As Rates Rise
by Kathy A Jones
March 02, 2017

Closed-end bond funds are a popular way for investors to garner extra yield when interest rates are low, but rising rates can negatively affect their performance. Here’s what you should know about these investments.

What would a shake-up at the Fed mean for bond investors?
by Kathy A Jones
February 28, 2017

Significant turnover will likely hit the Fed in the next few years. The changes may result in a shift in the way the Fed sets policy. 

Radioactive: Is Passive’s Dominance Over Active Set to Wane?
by Liz Ann Sonders
February 27, 2017

The macro landscape has led to passive investing strategies handily outperforming active strategies…but the winds are shifting toward a better environment for active.

The stock market sees nothing to worry about—that may be about to change
by Jeffrey Kleintop
February 21, 2017

Stock markets are currently behaving as if there is nothing to worry about, but that may be about to change now that we are within 45 trading days of the French Presidential election.

Better Days: Earnings Growth Picks Up Sharply in 2017
by Liz Ann Sonders
February 13, 2017

We step away from the macro and focus on the micro of earnings and valuation... courtesy of the surge in the former, the latter looks reasonable.

Europe Votes: Could More Countries Reject the EU?
by Michelle Gibley
February 08, 2017

Wariness of the political status quo seems to be spreading, but the possibility of another country following the UK’s Brexit example isn’t certain.

Should Muni Investors Be Concerned About Pensions?
by Cooper J Howard
February 07, 2017

Dallas recently joined the list of major cities to see its credit ratings downgraded in the face of pension struggles. What does it mean for muni investors?  

Simple Indicators In A Complex World
by Jeffrey Kleintop
February 06, 2017

When people feel there is a situation that is out of their control or too complicated to analyze, they often fall back on rules of thumb to make decisions.

Corporate Defaults: What Investors Should Know When A Bond Issuer Goes Bankrupt
by Collin Martin
February 02, 2017

With the corporate default rate rising, investors may be wondering what they should do if their corporate bond issuer goes bankrupt.

Short-Term Bonds: Why They Could Outperform As Interest Rates Rise
by Cooper J Howard and Rob Williams
February 02, 2017

Bonds with shorter durations may outperform medium-term and long-term bonds if the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates.

Five Reasons to Stay Invested Despite Heightened Uncertainty
by Jeffrey Kleintop
January 23, 2017

There are five reasons to stay invested despite the heightened uncertainty.

Anatomy of a Bond Bear Market: What to Look For When Yields Rise
by Kathy A Jones
January 19, 2017

With yields surging from last summer’s record lows, are bonds at the start of a long-term bear market? To answer that question, you must first determine what constitutes a bear market in bonds.

Discount Munis: What You Need to Know About Taxes
by Cooper J Howard
January 13, 2017

Municipal bonds can offer tax-free income, but bonds purchased at discounted prices could be subject to variable tax rates.

Floaters vs. Bank Loans: What You Should Know as Rates Rise
by Collin Martin
January 10, 2017

Rising interest rates add to the appeal of floating-rate coupons, but not all investments in this category offer the same risks and rewards.

The CURE for a calm market: Four risks for 2017
by Jeffrey Kleintop
January 09, 2017

After a calm post-election climb for stocks, developments in China, United Kingdom, Russia, and Europe may bring a return of volatility.

Will the U.S. Dollar Bull Market Continue in 2017?
by Kathy A Jones
January 05, 2017

The U.S. dollar looks set to continue rising this year, but the risks to the rally increase as the bull market ages.

Luminous Times: Looking Ahead With Optimism About 2017
by Liz Ann Sonders
January 03, 2017

The rally has been called the "Trump trade" but the economic and earnings inflection points pre-dated the election. Optimism is warranted, but greed should be kept in check.

Inflation Is Rising: Time to Consider Treasury-Inflation Protected Securities?
by Collin Martin
December 20, 2016

Inflation is trending higher and TIPS are still priced below their historical averages. Is now the time to consider some inflation protection? 

Emerging Markets: Why They Deserve a Place in Your Portfolio
by Michelle Gibley
December 16, 2016

Emerging market stocks tumbled after the U.S. election because of concerns about protectionism and a stronger dollar, but we think the potential benefits offset the risks.

Changing Conditions: A Bond Market FAQ
by Kathy A Jones
December 13, 2016

Yields have surged and potential changes in taxes, government spending and interest rates could make the bond market more volatile. What does it mean to investors?

5 Reasons International Stocks May Underperform in 2017
by Jeffrey Kleintop
December 12, 2016

There are five key reasons developed international stocks may lag U.S. stocks again in 2017.

Corporate Bonds: Income May Drive Potential Returns in 2017
by Collin Martin
December 08, 2016

With yields poised to rise, income payments—rather than price gains—may drive potential total returns in the corporate bond market in 2017.

Bond Market Outlook: Higher Rates and Known Unknowns
by Kathy A Jones
December 01, 2016

The incoming administration’s proposals for taxes, spending and trade could create waves in the bond market. Caution may be in order.

Happy Unrecession: The Alice in Wonderland economy
by Jeffrey Kleintop
November 28, 2016

While the odd and upside-down developments confronting investors may seem mad, the stock market gains are not as misguided or illogical as they may at first seem.

Muni Bonds: Making Sense of the Post-Election Landscape
by Cooper J Howard and Rob Williams
November 22, 2016

The potential for lower taxes and an increase in infrastructure spending could hurt muni prices in the short term, but we still feel they can make sense for high-income earners.

Can Bond Funds Make Sense When Interest Rates Rise?
by Rob Williams
November 17, 2016

Bond funds can experience price swings when interest rates rise, but potentially higher total returns over time can help you recover.

Premium Bonds: What’s the Attraction?
by Collin Martin
November 15, 2016

Paying more for a bond than you stand to get back at maturity may seem like a losing proposition, but premium bonds can offer attractive returns and price stability.

President Trump and Global Trade: How Will Campaign Promises Play Out?
by Jeffrey Kleintop
November 10, 2016

Even if he carries out his most aggressive campaign proposals, we believe the consequences could be less damaging than they might at first seem.

Change Is in the Air: A Post-Election Look at Bonds
by Kathy A Jones
November 09, 2016

The election results look set to continue the shift toward increased fiscal spending and higher inflation, but some caveats are in order.

Recession Odds Pass Key Threshold
by Jeffrey Kleintop
October 31, 2016

A reliable historical indicator suggests the events of October may have been more soothing than scary for long-term investors.

Opposing Views: How the Candidates’ Tax Plans Could Affect Muni Bonds
by Cooper J Howard and Rob Williams
October 20, 2016

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have put forward very different tax plans. What do those plans mean for municipal bond investors?

Three Reasons Stocks May Avoid Another Lost Decade
by Jeffrey Kleintop
October 17, 2016

The end of September marked 10 years with no growth in earnings and nine years with no gain in the stock market—what will the next 10 years offer investors?

Are Bond Yields About to Rise?
by Kathy A Jones
October 06, 2016



Going Godzilla: What has the Bank of Japan Unleashed?
by Jeffrey Kleintop
October 03, 2016

The Bank of Japan faces a rising risk that their policy has created a monster that may be getting harder to control.

Back to School with Municipal Bonds
by Cooper J Howard and Rob Williams
September 27, 2016

School district bonds can bring high credit quality and diversity to a portfolio of municipal bonds.

Quality Check: High-Yield vs. Investment-Grade Bonds
by Collin Martin
September 20, 2016

High valuations and weakening fundamentals suggest the case for high-yield bonds isn’t as compelling as that for investment-grade bonds. Yield seekers rethinking their risk tolerance should take note.  

World Tour: An Around The World Look At the Economic Landscape
by Jeffrey Kleintop
September 19, 2016

The global picture may have brightened a little, thanks largely to Asia, but with little momentum to that improvement.

Is it Time to Consider Bank Loan Funds?
by Collin Martin
August 25, 2016

Bank loans offer relatively high income potential and may actually benefit from a Fed rate hike. But investors should also consider their risks. 

Extra Credit: The Lowdown on Enhancement Programs for School District Bonds
by Cooper J Howard and Rob Williams
August 23, 2016

Looking for extra protection for your school district bonds? Consider munis backed by state credit-enhancement programs.

Your portfolio may be less diversified than you think
by Jeffrey Kleintop
August 22, 2016

Investors with a large home bias in their portfolio may not be nearly as diversified as they believe.

Does Zika pose an Olympic-sized risk to stocks?
by Jeffrey Kleintop
August 08, 2016

While the threat of Zika at the Olympic Games may garner headlines, past world pandemics show us that the market impact has not been significant—even when the global economy was especially vulnerable to a shock.

Munis: How to Invest in Infrastructure-Backed Bonds
by Cooper J Howard and Rob Williams
August 02, 2016

Politicians are talking more about the need to invest in America’s infrastructure. Here’s what you need to know about investing in revenue-backed municipal bonds.

Three Reasons Why Now is Not the Time to Retreat from Global Diversification
by Jeffrey Kleintop
July 11, 2016

The Brexit is another in a series of political, economic and financial shocks coming from outside the United States. So is it time for long-term investors to retreat from global diversification to the perceived relative safety of the U.S. stock market?

Market Stress: How Emotions Can Hurt and Help Your Portfolio
by Rob Williams
July 06, 2016

Emotional reactions to market stress can knock a portfolio off course. Here’s how you can prepare.

What investors need to know about helicopter money
by Jeffrey Kleintop
June 13, 2016

The return of deflation in Japan has led some to call for the use of “helicopter money” which we see as unlikely to be effective at boosting growth, but may raise the risks to the global financial system.

Waiting for a Fed Rate Hike: Bond Investments That May Make Sense Now
by Collin Martin
June 09, 2016

The Federal Reserve is likely to raise rates again this year, but that doesn’t mean fixed-income investors need to wait on the sidelines for a better entry point.

State Municipal Bonds: Should Slowing Tax Revenue Growth Worry Investors?
by Cooper J Howard and Rob Williams
June 02, 2016

State tax revenue growth has been slowing—should municipal bond investors be worried?

Bond Ladders: A Useful Tool for Retirement Income
by Rob Williams
April 18, 2016

Bond ladders can help you manage cash needs in retirement, allowing you potentially to take more risk elsewhere in your portfolio.

Looking for Extra Yield? The Case for Preferreds
by Collin Martin
April 11, 2016

Preferreds share characteristics with both stocks and bonds, and offer higher yields than most traditional fixed income investments.

Are Central Banks Out of Options?
by Michelle Gibley
March 24, 2016

We are monitoring three indicators to gauge the effectiveness of central bank efforts to stimulate economic growth: loan rates, loan demand and fiscal policy. 

How to Build a Bond Portfolio
by Rob Williams
March 21, 2016

The bond market is large and complex, so it helps to focus on bonds that provide diversification, stability and income. 

Is That High-Yield Bond Too Good to Be True?
by Collin Martin
February 25, 2016

High-yield bonds may look appealing, but they come with additional default and volatility risks.

Corporate Bond Investors: Check Your Sectors
by Collin Martin
February 18, 2016

The recent drop in commodity prices is a reminder that sector risk can shake up the corporate bond market.

Negative Interest Rate Policy Adds Up To Less than Zero for Investors
by Jeffrey Kleintop
February 08, 2016

While central banks’ QE programs lifted stock prices in recent years, the latest shift by central banks to negative interest rate policy seems to be weighing on stocks and may be working against their intentions of promoting economic growth.

Currency Wars: Is a Weaker Currency Good or Bad?
by Michelle Gibley
February 03, 2016

What can currency wars do for an economy?

Central Banks to the Rescue?
by Jeffrey Kleintop
January 25, 2016

Rather than rescuing investors, comments from central bankers are more likely to create volatility in the markets until the global economic path is clearer.

2016 International Investing: Why Laggards Don't Necessarily Produce Winners
by Michelle Gibley
January 21, 2016

We explain why buying the worst-performing country’s stock index doesn't necessarily result in a strong return in the following year. 

How Rate Hikes Impact International Stock Markets
by Jeffrey Kleintop
December 21, 2015

The central banks of 20 nations raised interest rates in 2015, but not all countries are as well–positioned as the U.S. to handle the impact of rate hikes.

Investing in Bonds: Should You Choose Individual Bonds or Bond Funds?
by Rob Williams
December 09, 2015

When investing in bonds, should you choose individual bonds or bond funds? Here are a few guidelines.

Decoding Devaluations: What Do Currency Moves Mean for Your Money?
by Jeffrey Kleintop
December 07, 2015

Find out more on how currency devaluations could impact your investment portfolio.

India Becomes World’s Fastest Growing Economy: What Investors Need to Know
by Jeffrey Kleintop
November 23, 2015

India has taken the title of the world’s fastest growing economy from China. Despite obvious similarities, the differences between these two economies mean the new leadership holds unique impacts for the global economy and markets.

Why China's Slowdown May Be a Good Thing
by Michelle Gibley
November 05, 2015

Changes in China’s reserve currency status, growth, and economic make-up are signs of its gradual transformation into a developed country, a long term positive.

Deflation: What Investors Need to Know
by Michelle Gibley
October 06, 2015

Deflation, or falling prices, troubles markets due in part to the potential hit to corporate earnings. We believe global deflation is unlikely.

Video | Straight Talk: Surviving Market Volatility
by Liz Ann Sonders
September 11, 2015

This stock market update offers insights into what's behind the wild volatility in today's market, how to avoid the pitfalls it can spur, and considers where the market may be headed as the year winds down.

Getting to Know Pre-Refunded Bonds
by Cooper J Howard
September 10, 2015

Looking for high-credit quality bonds? Consider "Pre-Re's."

Panic Is Not a Strategy—Nor Is Greed
by Liz Ann Sonders
August 24, 2015

In a world where time horizons have shrunk precipitously, think longer term.

Video | Bond Snapshot: Back to Bond Basics – Why Own Bonds?
by Kathy A Jones
August 10, 2015

Why own bonds if the Fed is raising interest rates? Join Kathy Jones for a discussion of the bond market and how the Fed rate hike might affect your investments.

Corporate Bonds vs. Municipals: Which Make More Sense Now?
by Rob Williams and Collin Martin
April 29, 2015

With after-tax yields comparable to corporate bonds, are municipals now an opportunity for traditional corporate bond investors? 

How to Create a Sustainable Retirement Spending Plan
by Rob Williams
February 25, 2015

To set up a sustainable retirement spending plan, we recommend tapping multiple sources of cash flow.

Debunking Common ETF Misconceptions
by Michael Iachini
August 28, 2014

Avoid common misconceptions when researching ETFs.  

The Case for Global Real Estate
by Anthony Davidow
August 21, 2014

Do you think of real estate as the investment in your home? It may make sense to diversify your portfolio with some global real estate investments too.

Building Bond Ladders for Income
by Kathy A Jones
February 04, 2014

Building a bond ladder can help you earn income now. Plus, bond ladders give you the flexibility to reinvest in higher-yielding bonds if interest rates rise.




Investors should consider carefully information contained in the prospectus, including investing objectives, risks, charges and expenses. You can request a prospectus by calling 800-435-4000. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.

Performance may be affected by risks associated with non-diversification, including investments in specific countries or sectors. Additional risks may also include, but are not limited to, investments in foreign securities, especially emerging markets, real estate investment trusts (REITs), fixed income and small capitalization securities. Each individual investor should consider these risks carefully before investing in a particular security or strategy.