Cover story: Barron’s partnered with Backend Benchmarking to publish the first ranking of major robo-advisor firms that uses both performance data and qualitative metrics like ease of use and financial-planning capabilities; The top ten firms are Vanguard, Betterment, SigFig, E*Trade, Schwab, Wealthfront, WiseBanyan, Personal Capital, FutureAdvisor, and Acorns.
Features: 1) The container-leasing business is in the second year of a four-to-five year cycle, with growth coming from replacement containers and increased global shipping volume, says Cowen’s Helane Becker; 2) Positive on FB: Shares of the social site would seem to be a bargain after last week’s drop, especially because the company is a rarity: a megacap with a reasonable valuation whose revenues have 25% upside next year; 3) Positive on FCAU: Despite the death of CEO Sergio Marchionne and mixed quarterly results, analysts expect the automaker to grow earnings faster than U.S. rivals, and shares are 75% cheaper than the broad S&P 500 index; 4) Few companies say they have seen positive effects from Donald Trump’s tariffs, while many cite none, or describe only modest negatives—though it’s ultimately too early to tell what the overall results will be.
Tech Trader: Most tech companies that remain in their specialized niches will have a hard time adapting to the changing landscape—rather than bending the world according to their vision, as AMZN has done, they remain focused simply on avoiding problems.
Trader: “Tariffs remain a central concern and an important driver of economic and market action, and they probably affected Q2 GDP by causing exporters to speed up deliveries, particularly of farm products, ahead of the new duties”; A majority of active fund managers beat their benchmarks last year, allowing them to reverse the cash outflows they’ve suffered amid the growth in passive investing; Cautious on LLY: The key question for investors is whether the pharma company’s superior growth is baked into the stock price.
Interview: Sarat Sethi and Ned Dewees, managing partners at Douglas C. Lane & Associates, are positive on the U.S. economy and consumer, and the potential of big data; Their portfolios don’t include AMZN or NFLX (holdings: ILMN, IAC, MSFT, ORCL, FRC, XPO). Profile: Will Muggia, manager of the Touchstone Mid Cap Growth fund, uses a model based on analyst track records that closely monitors each analyst’s contribution to portfolio risk relative to the benchmark (top 10 holdings: WP, PXD, FIS, FLT, JBHT, TRU, TIF, COO, TDY, AME).
European Trader: Positive on Charter Court Financial Services Group, OneSavings Bank: Firms are the top choices for investors in the British challenger bank sector, says Goodbody analyst John Cronin.
Emerging Markets: Trade wars and a strong dollar aren’t hitting all emerging markets: Latin America is on a tear, with ETFs covering Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina up during the past month.
Commodities: Investors shouldn’t expect gold prices to rebound anytime soon “because the strength of the U.S. dollar will keep a lid on any rally and at the very least could push prices for the metal down further.”
Streetwise: The ongoing closure of newspapers will affect investors because without reporters there will be less information available upon which to base decisions.