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Our detailed analyses and expectations for U.S. and global markets – including regular outlooks for the beginning of the year and midyear updates – will help you decipher domestic and overseas market surges, slumps, signals, and surprises. 
sailboat approaching storm

The Stretch Run for Markets in 2021: Outsized Stock Returns Give Way to Caution

Even though we see the economic outlook as generally favorable after a strong stock market run and re-opening activity, we recognize that market volatility may increase, and some investors may be turning cautious—due to a variety of risk factors.
Economics, Markets
city skyline at night

China’s Property Market Not a Lehman Moment but an Economic Threat

Evergrande, China's largest property developer, faces a possible default. A selloff of China's property market would have major repercussions for China's economy—and perhaps the global economy.
Economics, Markets
now hiring

Why Unemployment Data is Challenging the Fed

With economic activity back near pre-pandemic levels and relief programs about to expire, the Fed now faces the challenge of interpreting full employment to determine monetary policy.

Markets, Economics
reflection of sunset

U.S. Stock Market Capitalization at 2X GDP: How Ominous Is It?

The logic is that the over long periods the valuation of the stock market should mirror the performance of the economy. However, there can be significant deviations in the interim owing to cyclical forces.

Markets, Economics
Chinese flag and markets

China's Clampdown on Tech Firms and The Risk It Poses for Investors

Since Xi Jinping became China’s leader in 2012, he has taken steps to reverse the trend of allowing China’s communist system to evolve into a more market-oriented model in which private businesses coexist alongside state-owned enterprises. 
Markets, Economics
puzzle pieces

Solving the Puzzle of Falling Bond Yields: Why It Matters

Investors have faced a nearly 40 basis point drop in Treasury bond yields over the past month. Two competing explanations have been put forth, and it is important to understand both because they have different implications for financial markets.
Markets, Economics
house under construction

Is U.S. Housing Headed for Another Bust?

This question is being asked in the wake of record home price appreciation in the United States.
Markets, Economics
Federal Reserve building

2021 Midyear Outlook: Recovery's on Track but Is Inflation?

Forecasts of a powerful U.S. recovery this year appear on target. Looking ahead, the key call for investors will be whether the pickup in inflation will be temporary or sustained.
Economics, Markets

Will Higher Inflation End U.S. Asset Bubbles?

Most observers expect at least a temporary surge in inflation as the economy reopens from the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is greater uncertainty about the outlook beyond this year.
Economics, Markets
bitcoin graphic

Cryptocurrency Buyers Should Beware of China’s Authorities & the Fed

The bottom line is that in addition to their inherent risks, cryptocurrencies now face added regulatory burdens. For these reasons, we believe privately issued digital currencies should be considered speculative instruments.
Economics, Markets

Cryptocurrencies Are a Bubble, but Could They Serve a Purpose?

We consider cryptocurrencies to be highly speculative instruments, and investors should be cognizant of their inherent risks. 
Economics, Markets
balloon inflating

Inflation Creep: What to Monitor so There’s No Surprise

The case for the Federal Reserve to taper bond purchases and to raise interest rates will become compelling well before its expected timetable of 2024. 
Economics, Markets
economic liftoff

Preparing for Economic Liftoff and What Ensues

The U.S. economy is poised for a powerful expansion but markets are likely to be choppy as the economy accelerates and inflation approaches the Fed's threshold.
Economics, Markets
US Capitol rotunda

Will Outsized Budget Deficits Spawn Inflation?

The $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus plan has been greeted enthusiastically by investors as the U.S. stock market has set record highs. However, with the U.S. budget deficit reaching extreme levels, some economist are concerned the U.S. economy could overheat and lead to inflation.
Economics, Markets
big tech

Why Big Tech Market Leadership Is In Question

Nick Sargen discusses the dominance of large tech stocks last year. He then presents reasons why market leadership may be changing.
Markets, Equities
busy street

2021 Outlook: Anticipating a Return To Normalcy

Fort Washington's Senior Economic Advisor Nick Sargen shares a 2021 outlook for the economy and markets and how we're positioning investment portfolios.
Markets, Economics
presidential podium

Why Markets Seem Immune From Politics

The past four years have been one of the most politically-contentious periods in U.S. history. Yet, the U.S. stock market did not skip a beat. 
Markets, Policy
Capitol Building

Why Don’t Outsized Budget Deficits Matter?

The costs of outsized deficits may not be apparent now, but they will become more visible in the future if federal spending is not brought under control.
Economics, Markets
Winding road

Navigating the 2020 Stretch Run & Looming Policy Changes

The U.S. economy made huge strides in recovering from business shutdowns but without the slowing of COVID-19 the economy is still not out of the woods. Our Senior Economic Advisor reflects on the third quarter, previews what’s on the horizon for the balance of 2020, and expands on possible changes in fiscal policy if Biden wins the November elections.
Markets, Policy
computer analysis

The Market Correction Is Here: Now What?

The U.S. stock market is in correction territory and the issue investors now face is whether the pull-back represents a buying opportunity or is the harbinger of more to come. 
Voting Poll

Market Impact of Biden’s Fiscal Program

This article analyzes Joe Biden’s proposed fiscal plan and the potential impact on the stock and bond market. 
Markets, Policy
stock market ticker

Why Biden’s Plan to Scrap the TCJA Leaves Markets Unfazed

Joe Biden intends to unwind key provisions of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act to finance new initiatives as promised during his campaign. Surprisingly, thus far, the stock market has not reacted even though Republicans have decried the proposal and polls show Biden with a decisive lead. This article explains why.
Markets, Policy

Will Markets Shrug Off a Looming “Fiscal Cliff”?

Investors need to weigh whether a slimmed down stimulus bill or no bill would threaten economic recovery. Read why Nick Sargen says that the recovery is unlikely to be derailed in either event as long as there aren't widespread shutdowns of businesses.
surfer in ocean

2020 Midyear Outlook: Navigating Cross Currents

There is a high degree of uncertainty about how the economy will fare in the balance of 2020 and into 2021. Many investors are upbeat that it is headed for a quick recovery, but most economists believe recovery will be gradual and uneven following an initial bounce. What weighs on Fed officials is the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus cases that could hinder the re-opening of businesses.
Markets, Economics
two paths

May Jobs: Recovery Is Underway, but the Path Is Uncertain

The May jobs report surprised many investors who were prepared for a large increase in the jobless rate. While the news was a relief to the Federal Reserve, the numbers underestimate the full impact of COVID-19 on labor. Even though the U.S. stock market is back to levels before the pandemic, the path to recovery is still unclear. 
Markets, Economics
closed cafe

How Will Small Businesses Withstand the Pandemic?

Small businesses have been significantly affected by the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government has prioritized these businesses, passing a second bill supplementing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). However, opinions on PPP vary. In the first quarter, many larger cap stocks outperformed small cap stocks, but small caps have shown signs of recovery.
Markets, Policy, Equities
stock market

Market Bounce: Light at the End or Canary in a Coal Mine?

While the U.S. stock market reversed about half of its prior sell-off, it is likely to remain volatile. There is considerable uncertainty about how long it will take to reopen businesses fully and how severe the fallout of coronavirus will be on the global economy and commodity prices.
shape of marble

Coronavirus & the Shape of Things to Come

Investors are now assessing when recovery will begin and what shape it will take, posing the question: What lies ahead? The answer hinges on the spread of the coronavirus and how quickly businesses and jobs can be restored.
upside down world

The Coronavirus Shock Versus Others

The coronavirus shock is different from previous ones. However, the four-step framework we use to analyze the shocks on markets is still relevant today. 
Markets, Economics
tipping point

Tipping Point for the Global Economy

The conflict over oil and growing worries about COVID-19 marks the first time the global economy experienced simultaneous supply shocks. Markets are now signaling a tipping point has been reached with the global economy on the cusp of recession.
Economics, Markets
busy airport

Global Recovery: Delayed or Derailed?

Investor sentiment about the coronavirus has shifted as the virus spreads. While forecasters have been lowering projections for global growth in 2020, we see a U.S. recession as unlikely and are positioning balanced portfolios close to their strategic allocations. 
Federal Reserve building

U.S. Monetary Policy & Market Expectations

The U.S. stock market’s surge since October has been linked to the Fed’s balance sheet expansion, but the main driver is expectations that the global economy will improve. The coronavirus scare is posing a test that will likely be temporary.
Policy, Markets
Runner as an example of record run in stocks

2020 Market Outlook: What Will Stop the Record Run in Stocks?

With the S&P 500 Index up by 380% since the bull run began in March 2009, investors are wondering what can stop it. This commentary examines the usual suspects – risk of higher interest rates and recession – as well as uncertainty about the upcoming elections.
People pacing as an example of further slowing

The 2020 Global Outlook: Further Slowing Ahead

Nick Sargen provides his takeaway from a conference sponsored by the Center for Financial Stability in Washington, D.C. that featured the global economy.
Edge of cliff as an example of being on the brink

Quarterly Commentary: Back From the Brink

Senior Economic Advisor Nick Sargen shares his insight on monetary policy easing, trade tensions and the impact on the U.S. economy, and possible investment implications. 
Markets, Economics
slackline as an example of a tipping point

Markets Signal a Possible Tipping Point

Plunging bond yields and heightened stock market volatility have caused investors to worry. Our view is a further slowing of the economy is likely, but we do not yet see signs of recession.
Markets, Fixed Income, Equities
wall street in nyc

U.S. Stock Market Confronts Lackluster Earnings

Fed-fueled investor optimism could be overstated and running head long into slowing earnings growth and reignited trade war tensions. This article cuts to the chase on the major drivers and potential obstacles for today’s markets. 
glass half full an example of the economic outlook

2019 Midyear Update: Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

Do investors see the glass half full or half empty?  Equity investors are more optimistic while bond investors are more wary of the economic outlook as explained in our midyear outlook.
is global slowdown nearly over

Is the Global Slowdown Nearly Over?

U.S. and overseas markets have rallied since the beginning of this year, as investors anticipate moderate U.S. growth and low inflation. 
conflicting market signals which view is correct

Conflicting Market Signals: Which View Is Correct?

The stock market rally in the first two months of this year has recouped most of the losses during the steep selloff late last year. 
china slowdown cyclical or secular

China Slowdown: Cyclical or Secular?

One of the challenges investors confront is to assess whether China's economic slowdown is primarily cyclical or secular.
Skiing - adapting to a high volatility world

2019 Outlook: Adapting to a High Volatility World

Following a remarkable run from November 2016 through September 2018, the U.S. stock market ended last year with the steepest quarterly decline since the 2008 Financial Crisis.
lighthouse - market signals an end to the Trump bump

Markets Signal an End to the “Trump Bump”

During this quarter, the stock market's gains for the year have been erased amid perceptions U.S. growth has peaked.
Markets after the midterms

Markets After the Midterms

After rising to a record high in September, the U.S. stock market experienced a steep sell-off in October. Recent market volatility could be a preview of what’s in store for next year.
Volatile graph - trump trade lives on

The Trump Trade Lives On

Strong economic growth and robust corporate profits propelled the U.S. stock market to a record high in the third quarter.
Wall Street subway stations

Midyear Update: Global Equity Markets at an Inflection Point

Following a strong start in January, global equity markets have retraced some of their gains while volatility has increased from record lows.
Equity Market turns volatile

Equity Markets Turn Volatile

In January, the U.S. stock market experienced its first correction of 10% in more than a year, ending the first quarter down marginally.
what market volatility signaling

What Market Volatility Is Signaling

Recent stock market gyrations have caused investors to reassess the underpinnings of the market’s steady rise since the 2016 elections.
2018 Outlook

2018 Outlook: Solid Economy, But No Encore for Markets

2017 was a stellar year for global equities fueled by renewed investor confidence amid a synchronized world expansion.
water splashes against the banks

Surge in Risk Assets Intensifies

Equities, High Yield bonds, and other risk assets posted another strong showing in the third quarter.
Paddling - Calm for how long?

Markets at Midyear: Calm for How Long?

Markets were unusually calm in the first half of this year even though the U.S. economy grew less than expected and healthcare legislation stalled, which has delayed passage of a tax bill.
A tale of two counties - UK and France

A Tale of Two Countries: UK & France

Theresa May’s decision to call an early election as Prime Minister has come back to haunt her: Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn mounted a credible campaign that denied the Conservative Party a parliamentary majority.
Trump Rally at Inflection tax documents

The Trump Rally at an Inflection Point

The “Trump Trade” fades following President Trump’s surprise victory on November 8, investors responded by buying equities and other risk assets, while treasury yields and the dollar surged.
weathervane on buiding

2017 Outlook: Is Trump’s Election a Game-Changer?

Donald Trump’s surprise victory has unleashed animal spirits, with U.S. stocks and the dollar surging as investors anticipate a pro-growth strategy and an end to government dysfunction.
markets re-price risk

Markets Re-Price Risk

The rally in risk assets continued in the third quarter driven by expectations that near record low interest rates will continue for the foreseeable future.