WSJ Wealth Adviser Briefing: Merrill Edge Raises the Stakes, Push to Sell Short, College Debt Fights - Wall Street Journal

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Bank of America ’s Merrill Edge unit has introduced Fund Story, a tool that makes it easier do comprehensive research on mutual funds and ETFs. It might seem like the bank risks cannibalizing its Merrill Lynch Wealth Management business, where advisers already had access to similar research. But the move fits in with the company’s plans to further integrate its wealth management and banking businesses.

Below, some of the best analysis and insight from WSJ writers and columnists, the Dow Jones Newswires team and occasionally beyond, on investing, the wealth-management business and more.

PLANNING & INVESTING

Computer Models to Investors: Short Everything: Investors have started to shake off last year’s steep losses, helping markets regain some ground in 2019. But the robots are still almost uniformly bearish.

MARKET TALK
From Dow Jones Newswires

Fund data for the week that ended in Jan. 2 showed emerging markets equity funds attracted investments of $104 million, according to EPFR and OCBC Bank data. Within the emerging market space, Asian equities attracted $400.5 million in investments, escaping the declines witnessed in other emerging markets. Such stock markets in Latin America and Africa didn’t fare as well and saw outflows of $69.6 million and $53.4 million. A pullback in oil prices as well as the dollar has helped turn investors less wary of emerging markets. This comes as global equities experienced the largest outflow in three weeks at $20.9 billion with global bonds losing a net $7.6 billion, its largest outflow in two weeks. Developed market equities saw $21 billion leaving their coffers, registering the largest outflow in three weeks.(kenan.machado@wsj.com)

Aluminum stockpiles are shrinking amid a deepening market shortfall, and BMO estimates inventory held outside of producers and consumers is at 50 days of demand–a 10-year low but still a decent buffer historically with market inventories having been particularly high in recent times. While the investment bank says there’s “no inventory shortage…with a further drop expected this year we are getting nearer the point where new supply will have to be incentivized.” (rhiannon.hoyle@wsj.com; @RhiannonHoyle)

BUSINESS & PRACTICE

What GE Needs to Do to Avoid Junk Territory: If General Electric loses its investment-grade credit rating, its borrowing costs will rise, increasing pressure on its ailing industrial and lending businesses and threatening thousands of investors in its stocks and bonds.

TALKING POINTS 

Bezos Divorce Clouds His Stake in Amazon: The divorce could have implications for the ownership structure of Amazon, where Mr. Bezos is the company’s largest shareholder with a 16.3%.

TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE

Who Foots the Bill? Families Fight Over College Debt: As tuition increases outpace household incomes and parents face a battery of other financial pressures, conflict over college debt is intensifying among American families.

ADVISER CALENDAR

FSI’s OneVoice / Jan. 28-30/ New Orleans

T3 Advisor Conference / Jan. 29-Feb. 1 / Dallas

ABA Insurance Risk Management Forum / Feb. 3-6 / Orlando, Fla.

TD Ameritrade LINC / Feb. 6-9 / San Diego, Calif.

The MoneyShow Orlando / Feb/ 7-10 / Orlando, Fla.

ABA Wealth Management and Trust Conference / Feb. 10-12 / San Francisco, Calif.

Inside ETFs / Feb. 10-13 / Hollywood, Fla.

Investment Advisor Forum / Feb. 11-Feb. 12 / New York, N.Y.

ABOUT US

The Wealth Adviser Briefing covers topics of interest to wealth managers, financial planners and other advisers. The content is curated by the Dow Jones Newswires team using articles from the Newswires, Barron’s, MarketWatch and The Wall Street Journal. The briefing is delivered to subscribers by email each workday morning at 6:30am ET. You can sign up here for email delivery.

For more information about our services for financial professionals, please visit DowJones.com

We welcome feedback. Please email newsletters@dowjones.com or contact Glenn Hall, global chief editor of Dow Jones Newswires at glenn.hall@wsj.com.