Cover story: As employers scramble to rebuild their workforces in the wake of the recession, industries as varied as trucking, construction, retailing, fast food, oil drilling, technology, and manufacturing are having difficulty finding qualified help.
Features: 1) Automation is revolutionizing industries from trucking to medicine and will eliminate jobs, but other positions will be created by the need to handle higher-level work that robots can’t perform; 2) Barron’s Best Fund Families of 2017 list is topped by Natixis Investment Managers, Vanguard Group, T. Rowe Price, TIAA Investments, and Fidelity Management & Research; 3) Cautious on MTW, CAT, OSK, NAV, TEX, GM, F: Companies are among those that could lose some percentage of earnings next year if they can’t pass along to customers a rise in steel prices that are the result of Trump administration tariffs; 4) Positive on CCE: Company’s success in the low-growth beverage business, where it has emphasized drinks with few or no calories, isn’t reflected in its stock price.
Tech Trader: Companies such as IBM and ADSK are taking a cue from younger tech firms such as CRM by increasingly using financial jargon that isn’t found in traditional accounting—and the lingo is leading to sometimes startling effects, including share price pops.
Trader: A heavy weighting in technology and a lack of exposure to the sectors such as utilities and staples have given the Nasdaq a boost, but the S&P 500 and the Dow are likely to climb higher as well; Consumer staples in the S&P 500 are expected to grow earnings by 11.4% this year, but investors need to be selective, given fundamental risks—STZ is better positioned than many others; “Good things may come in small packages, but small-company stocks still don’t have the heft necessary for their recent outperformance to continue.”
Interview: Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research discusses insights from his long career, bitcoin—which he thinks face greater regulation—and why he’s still bullish.
Advisor Ranking: Most of the advisors in Barron’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisors ranking “see a bull market that, in its ninth year, is getting long on the tooth, but they aren’t concerned about a bear market or a recession in the near future.”
European Trader: Bullish investors say Portugal still offers a good deal, because the country is benefiting from a greatly improved economic backdrop and stocks are cheap relative to global peers.
Asian Trader: Asia has been reducing its reliance on trade as it boosts domestic demand; intraregional trade accounts for 60% of all Asian trade and is growing faster than commerce with the rest of the world.
Emerging Markets: “If lithium, the metal used in electric-car batteries, is the new oil, then Chile is pushing to be its Saudi Arabia,” a process that could prove difficult.
Commodities: U.S. steel prices have already gotten a boost from the Trump administration’s proposed tariffs, which should keep prices high and domestic demand strong this year.
Streetwise: The regime of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro will eventually falter as the country continues to deteriorate, leading to the possibility the military may intervene.