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Investors Seek Safety as Uncertainty Looms After Brexit

The implications of Britain’s vote to leave the EU remain uncertain. In the short-run, it seems likely that economic activity in the United Kingdom, EU and global economy is likely to slow as economic decision making is put on hold. Yearly growth forecasts for each of these regions were being lowered over the weekend by roughly one half percent on average.

Brexit: How Vulnerable are Markets if a Leave Vote Prevails?

Britain goes to the polls on Thursday to decide whether or not to stay in the European Union. Opinion polls have fluctuated regarding which camp is likely to prevail. Market based indicators had until recently exhibited little concern, but that began to change in the last two weeks as the “leave” camp has gathered momentum. The FTSE 100 index of UK stocks slid 6 percent between June 8 and 14, after having rallied 14 percent from its February low. Over that time span the FTSE 100 volatility index spiked from 19 to 31. The pound fell from 1.45 to 1.41 to the dollar. The EuroStoxx 50 index fell by a similar amount, while gold rose and bond yields continued to fall.

Markets Take a Sharp Negative Turn

What had begun as a promising week for equities quickly turned ugly, as stocks turned lower on Thursday and Friday in an abrupt turn away from risk. The weakness was especially pronounced on Friday, pulling the S&P 500 lower by almost a full percent on the day. It was enough to result in the first weekly decline in the last four. In the process, the index once again fell back below 2100, a level it has failed to hold a number of times. On the losing end were stocks most sensitive to growth expectations. Energy, financials, technology, consumer discretionary and industrials all fell more than the overall market.

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Latest Research

Boomers: How will you pay yourself in retirement?

New Ameriprise research uncovered differences between how retirees and pre-retirees are designing their retirement income plan. Marcy Keckler, vice president of financial strategy, discusses the findings.