BFS Highlighted in Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance Coverage of Setting Investment Goals and Priorities for 2024

As a portfolio manager and research analyst at Bradley, Foster & Sargent, I focus on investment strategies that will best serve each of my client’s individual wishes. My approach is shaped by the client’s goals with a mix of expertise and forecasting.

I was recently quoted extensively in an article on investing in 2024 that was nationally syndicated on the Nasdaq website as well as Yahoo! Finance, AOL and others.

Here is the full excerpt from GOBankingRates:

Christopher Sargent, portfolio manager and research analyst, Bradley, Foster & Sargent, said that we haven’t seen interest rates this high for quite some time.

“It’s a really great time to invest in safer, higher quality securities. At the same time, investors no longer have to settle for 2% or 3% interest on bonds, so bonds are a much more viable option than they were a few years ago,” he said.

According to him, a good approach can be tiered-out government bonds with a high yield and high safety threshold, especially when coupled with high-quality securities. He described these as “stocks that have a high barrier to entry or an asset that can’t be replicated in the near or even long term tend to have a lower risk profile.”

“For instance, rail freight might have a tough year, but regulation makes it very difficult to build a new railroad, so there’s some degree of stability built in,” he added.

He further noted that there may be opportunities to add bonds from high-quality companies to your portfolio.

“As interest rates have risen, most companies have paused issuing debt. In 2024, I think we’re likely to see quality companies issuing high-paying bonds,” he said. “These can be a good compliment to government bonds in a portfolio. Keep an eye out for bonds from high-quality, profitable companies.”

Mega-Cap Stocks

Mega-cap stocks — stocks of companies that have a market capitalization of $200 billion or more — that are high quality, have great credit ratings and are able to pay a dividend are a good place to look right now, Sargent said.

“Even if the next six months are bumpy, major trends like AI and onshoring are putting a lot of mega-cap stocks in tech and the industrial space in a very strong position to be able to do better two or three years down the line than they are right now,” he said.

GOBankingRates published another article based on a year-in-review survey the outlet conducted of more than 1,000 people about their most pressing financial priorities heading into the new year. I discussed why timing is favorable for bonds right now and other low-risk investments in this piece as well. (Part of this quote was also used in a subsequent article about solid investments to make during an economic upturn.) This section is on planning for retirement:

This year, roughly 10% said their chief goal is to build a nest egg so they can retire comfortably — that’s double from last year when only 5% said the same.

The renewed interest in retirement planning might come from the stock market’s impressive rebound from an ugly 2022 and new opportunities that the Fed’s anti-inflation measures provided investors this year.

“As interest rates have risen, most companies have paused issuing debt,” said Christopher Sargent, portfolio manager and research analyst at Bradley, Foster & Sargent, a Barron’s Top 100 Registered Investment Advisors firm. “In 2024, I think we’re likely to see quality companies issuing high-paying bonds. These can be a good compliment to government bonds in a portfolio.”

This section is on investing in stable stocks positioned for long-term growth:

About 4%, the smallest share of all, wants to put more money in the stock market next year above all else. A similar percentage said the same at this time in 2022, which was the worst year for the stock market since 2008. Now however, the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq are all approaching record highs once again.

It’s likely that investors with cash on hand hear opportunity knocking.

“For long-term gains, high-quality mega-cap stocks that have great credit ratings and pay a dividend are generally a good strategy,” said Sargent. “While there can always be bumps in the short-term, consider which companies are likely to be performing better two to three years out than they are now. Look for major trends such as AI and onshoring that give industries like tech and manufacturing a strong outlook. If a company has a particularly high barrier to entry or an asset that can’t easily be replicated by a competitor, that lowers its risk profile. For example, if rail freight has a difficult year, a competitor isn’t likely to build a new railroad anytime soon, so you can count on a degree of stability.”

I’d like to thank GOBankingRates for the opportunity to contribute to these informative articles and to reach a broader audience through their syndication partners. Every investor’s goals and risk tolerance is different, but it was great to highlight some of the main opportunities in the market right now that will appeal to a wide range of investors.

Christopher T. Sargent

As a research analyst in our Portland, ME, office, Christopher is responsible for researching and analyzing specific companies, building financial models, and assisting the portfolio management teams with high conviction investment ideas and custom client solutions.


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