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James T. Swanson, CFA

Chief Investment Strategist

James Swanson, CFA, is an investment officer and chief investment strategist of MFS Investment Management® (MFS®). He is also a fixed income portfolio manager. 

James offers his insights and perspective on the markets and the economy to MFS clients around the world through in-person meetings, his Strategist's Corner online column and a blog launched in 2011. He is a frequent guest commentator on the markets on CNBC, Fox Business and Bloomberg Television and is often quoted in leading national and financial publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Investor's Business Daily. James joined MFS in 1985. He was named fixed income strategist in 2001 and chief investment strategist in 2004. 

He is a graduate of Colgate University and the Harvard Business School. James holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

October 2017

by James T. Swanson, CFA, Chief Investment Strategist

Based on a steady, broad-based flow of positive reports from around the world, the tide of global economic growth is rising. And as a strategist, I take stands on the markets based on my interpretation of the facts. So, when the facts change, I need to decide whether or not to change my outlook. The facts have definitely changed with the recent news flow. While I anticipated slower growth rates in Europe, China and the United States this quarter, the exact opposite occurred. Growth has accelerated in almost all regions. The eurozone is seeing a rise in consumption and exports; US manufacturing and employment are improved; and China, Taiwan and South Korea are all posting better trade numbers. While GDP growth does not dictate earnings growth or return on equity, it does provide a favorable backdrop. Additionally, the margin and profit pressures we had been predicting did occur, but only briefly, and now we are seeing margins and profits rise again in the third quarter.

by James T. Swanson, CFA, Chief Investment Strategist

Based on a steady, broad-based flow of positive reports from around the world, the tide of global economic growth is rising. And as a strategist, I take stands on the markets based on my interpretation of the facts. So, when the facts change, I need to decide whether or not to change my outlook. The facts have definitely changed with the recent news flow. While I anticipated slower growth rates in Europe, China and the United States this quarter, the exact opposite occurred. Growth has accelerated in almost all regions. The eurozone is seeing a rise in consumption and exports; US manufacturing and employment are improved; and China, Taiwan and South Korea are all posting better trade numbers. While GDP growth does not dictate earnings growth or return on equity, it does provide a favorable backdrop. Additionally, the margin and profit pressures we had been predicting did occur, but only briefly, and now we are seeing margins and profits rise again in the third quarter.

October 20, 2017

For the week ending 20 October 2017

  • Cash on sidelines drops as sentiment rises
  • Fourth round of NAFTA talks wraps up
  • Fed sees US economy maintaining growth pace
  • US Senate budget resolution paves way for tax bill
  • Spain may impose direct rule on Catalonia

 

Global equities extended their gains this week amid signs the global economic expansion continues apace. Tax reform hopes in the United States and record-high equity indices helped fuel a rebound in US Treasury yields, which saw the yield on the 10-year note rise 10 basis points to 2.38% this week. Oil prices held steady, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil changing hands at $51.70. Volatility, as measured by the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX) was also unchanged, at 9.9. 

For the week ending 20 October 2017

  • Cash on sidelines drops as sentiment rises
  • Fourth round of NAFTA talks wraps up
  • Fed sees US economy maintaining growth pace
  • US Senate budget resolution paves way for tax bill
  • Spain may impose direct rule on Catalonia

 

Global equities extended their gains this week amid signs the global economic expansion continues apace. Tax reform hopes in the United States and record-high equity indices helped fuel a rebound in US Treasury yields, which saw the yield on the 10-year note rise 10 basis points to 2.38% this week. Oil prices held steady, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil changing hands at $51.70. Volatility, as measured by the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX) was also unchanged, at 9.9. 

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Michael W. Roberge, CFA

Chief Executive Officer, President, Chief Investment Officer

Michael W. Roberge is chief executive officer, president and chief investment officer of MFS Investment Management® (MFS®). Mike has worldwide oversight of the company's investment management and research divisions and also sets investment and general business strategy for the firm.  He also is a member of the MFS' Board of Directors.  

Michael was named CEO in January 2017. He was named president of MFS in 2010, CIO in 2010 and co-CEO in 2015. In 2006 he was named chief investment officer - US Investments and co-director of Global Research. Prior to that, he was senior vice president and associate director of Fixed Income Research and served as portfolio manager for several MFS fixed income funds. He joined MFS in 1996 as a credit analyst in the municipal fixed income group.  

Prior to joining MFS, Michael was a municipal credit analyst and portfolio manager for the Colonial Group from 1995 to 1996, and was a credit analyst with Moody's Investors Service, Inc. from 1991 to 1994.  

He received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1990 from Bemidji State (Minn.) University and was awarded an MBA degree from Hofstra University in 1992. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a member of the Boston Security Analysts Society, Inc.

 

October 16, 2017

by Michael W. Roberge, CFA, Chief Executive Officer, President, Chief Investment Officer

More than a few prognosticators have predicted the end of active investment management, suggesting that bottom-up fundamental security selection might be antiquated, overpriced and ineffective. The apparent proof of these theories is that asset flows into index or passive products have skyrocketed, while actively managed mutual funds have experienced net outflows for several years. 
 

Bull market conditions have favored passive
Since the US equity market hit rock bottom at the end of the global financial crisis in March 2009, stocks have returned 331% cumulatively,[1] signifying one of the longest bull markets in history and generating strong returns for many investors. The average bull market has lasted five years, but this run is in its ninth year, and there are no imminent signs that it's coming to an end. Exhibit 1 shows the length and expansion of bull markets going back to 1932, with the current bull market bested only by the 1990–2000 expansion.

by Michael W. Roberge, CFA, Chief Executive Officer, President, Chief Investment Officer

More than a few prognosticators have predicted the end of active investment management, suggesting that bottom-up fundamental security selection might be antiquated, overpriced and ineffective. The apparent proof of these theories is that asset flows into index or passive products have skyrocketed, while actively managed mutual funds have experienced net outflows for several years. 
 

Bull market conditions have favored passive
Since the US equity market hit rock bottom at the end of the global financial crisis in March 2009, stocks have returned 331% cumulatively,[1] signifying one of the longest bull markets in history and generating strong returns for many investors. The average bull market has lasted five years, but this run is in its ninth year, and there are no imminent signs that it's coming to an end. Exhibit 1 shows the length and expansion of bull markets going back to 1932, with the current bull market bested only by the 1990–2000 expansion.

October 13, 2017

For the week ending 13 October 2017

  • US retail sales improve, CPI boosted by gasoline
  • IMF nudges up global growth forecast
  • Brexit talks at apparent impasse
  • FOMC on course for December rate hike

 

Global equities reached new peaks this week as US interest rates pulled back from recent highs. The 10-year US Treasury note receded to 2.28% from 2.38% a week ago. Oil recouped some recent loses, rising to $51.50 per barrel from $49.50 last Friday. Equity volatility remains muted, trading at 9.85, little changed from last week's reading of 9.50. 

October 13, 2017

For the week ending 13 October 2017

  • US retail sales improve, CPI boosted by gasoline
  • IMF nudges up global growth forecast
  • Brexit talks at apparent impasse
  • FOMC on course for December rate hike

 

Global equities reached new peaks this week as US interest rates pulled back from recent highs. The 10-year US Treasury note receded to 2.28% from 2.38% a week ago. Oil recouped some recent loses, rising to $51.50 per barrel from $49.50 last Friday. Equity volatility remains muted, trading at 9.85, little changed from last week's reading of 9.50. 

October 6, 2017

For the week ending 6 October 2017 

  • Nonfarm payrolls fall in wake of hurricanes
  • Catalonia expected to declare independence
  • Global economy continues to purr
  • Fed short list makes rounds
  • Trump expected to decertify Iran nuclear deal

 

Global equities extended their gains this week, with the MSCI All Country World Index hitting a record high. Solid economic data and hopes for a tax reform package helped push the yield on the US 10-year Treasury note to 2.38% from 2.32% a week ago. West Texas Intermediate crude oil slipped to $49.50 a barrel from $51.50 last Friday while equity volatility, as measured by the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), closed at a record on Thursday and traded at 9.50 early Friday.

For the week ending 6 October 2017 

  • Nonfarm payrolls fall in wake of hurricanes
  • Catalonia expected to declare independence
  • Global economy continues to purr
  • Fed short list makes rounds
  • Trump expected to decertify Iran nuclear deal

 

Global equities extended their gains this week, with the MSCI All Country World Index hitting a record high. Solid economic data and hopes for a tax reform package helped push the yield on the US 10-year Treasury note to 2.38% from 2.32% a week ago. West Texas Intermediate crude oil slipped to $49.50 a barrel from $51.50 last Friday while equity volatility, as measured by the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX), closed at a record on Thursday and traded at 9.50 early Friday.