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Alternative strategies

Alternatives have long been part of institutional portfolios, helping investors dampen volatility and potentially increase returns over the long term. Recent developments mean retail investors can now access many of these strategies.

Bear Markets

Perhaps the most well-known and intuitive adage in investing is to "buy low and sell high." Today, this saying seems to suggest investors would be wise to sell their equities as the S&P 500 sits at or near record levels.

Diversified sources of income

With interest rates at historic lows, investors should think about diversifying across asset classes and internationally to achieve higher income.

Diversifying fixed income

Investing beyond traditional "core" U.S. investment grade bonds into core complement and extended sectors may provide benefits regardless of the rate and inflationary environments.

Dividend-paying equities

With the prospect of rising rates, investors can no longer focus exclusively on the bond market for income-generating solutions. Dividend-paying equities can provide investors with income, and rising dividend payout ratios, coupled with a consistently growing economy, could result in attractive returns.

The economic impact of oil

The United States is the largest consumer of oil in the world, and one of the largest producers. Because of this, large swings in the price of oil can have big impacts on the U.S. economy. The recent plunge in oil prices will provide a boost to consumers and many businesses, but have an adverse effect on exporters and energy companies.

Emerging markets

Economic growth in emerging markets has been almost double that of developed markets over the past decade. But in recent years, a stronger U.S. dollar and a steep decline in commodity prices have left some emerging economies under pressure. While the long-run picture remains promising, investors should look to actively differentiate within the asset class going forward.

Equities

Though the S&P 500 has recovered from its 2009 lows, durable economic growth, attractive valuations in select sectors, and unprecedented levels of corporate cash suggest that investors should hone their focus on U.S. equities.

Fed rate hikes

After a brutal recession and a painfully slow recovery, the U.S.economy is finally beginning to strengthen. With this recovery, however, comes the need for Federal Reserve (Fed) policy makers to begin to return monetary policy to normal—a prospect that has created consternation and angst among investors.

Fixed income investing

Today, fixed income investors face the impact of eventual rising rates, yet still need bonds for diversification. Investing across core, core complement and extended fixed income sectors may help generate income, reduce volatility and hedge interest rate risk.

International opportunities

A global snapshot reveals strengthening growth momentum in many international markets. Yet many U.S. investors may have insufficient exposure to them.

Investing in Europe

Though Europe’s economy has started the year with some momentum, 2015 may still be a volatile year. Despite headwinds, Europe’s return to growth may improve earnings in the years to come, presenting opportunities for long-term investors.

Staying balanced in volatile markets

Building and maintaining an appropriate asset allocation can help increase returns and reduce volatility over time. Market volatility can be an opportunity to rebalance back to an allocation that reflects your investment and income objectives, time horizon and tolerance for risk.

The U.S. economy

Since the last recession, the U.S. economy has more than recovered its lost output, pushing equity markets to new highs, in spite of persistent investor skepticism. This is why it is important to maintain perspective. Despite some headwinds and negative headlines, the economic expansion looks poised to continue.