The Much-Maligned Market Portfolio

It seems generally acknowledged that no investment strategy should be expected to offer an optimal trade-off between return and risk in all periods.  Yet I often hear criticism of market-cap weighting, presumably because modern portfolio theory (MPT) postulates a hypothetical market portfolio as efficient in the mean-variance sense.  Financial engineers, product developers, and asset managers Read more […]

Aligning SDG Goals – The Next ESG Challenge

INTRODUCING THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS The term “sustainable development” has been in existence for decades — 30 years ago, in 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development proposed developing new ways to assess progress toward sustainable development in the “Brundtland Report.” Historically, there was a lack of comprehensive goals or targets for “the future Read more […]

Commodities Ex-Energy Are Fine Despite Contango

Energy is back in a bear market now led by oil’s slide mainly due to rising output from Libya and Nigeria, two OPEC members exempt from cutting supply.  The S&P GSCI Energy Total Return is on pace for its worst quarter since the fourth quarter of 2015 losing -13.4% quarter-to-date (through June 19, 2017.) This is driven Read more […]

The Growth of Small Caps in India

Over the past few decades, Indian capital markets have matured, and a large number of Indian market participants are now looking at capital markets as an investment avenue.  Investment in capital markets has grown substantially among all types of market participants—retail, institutional, and even government institutions, where recently the Employee Provident Fund Organization has started Read more […]

Rieger Report: Munis – “The Kids are Alright”

As we approach the mid-year point of 2017 the muni bond market has not been shaken by a heavy news cycle of downgrades, negative watches and ever present Illinois and Puerto Rico downbeat press.  Technical factors play a big role in overcoming this pressure but there are other compelling rationale in support of munis in the Read more […]

Inflation, Rising Rates Can Spark Oil’s Rebound

In anticipation of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting starting Wednesday that may raise the federal funds target rate, here’s what you need to know about how the decision impacts commodities. Historically rising interest rates are positive for commodities for two main reasons.  One is the return on collateral increases, pushing up the total return. The other reason Read more […]

Rieger Report: Muni Market’s Moot Reaction to Bond Insurers Credit Watch Negative

So far, the municipal bond market has seen only a modest reaction to the recent negative credit watch being placed on the ratings of several bond insurers. Month to date as of June 12, 2017, the S&P Municipal Bond Insured Index tracking over $148billion in par value of insured bonds has performed in sync with the overall Read more […]

Are Leveraged Loans Losing Their Luster…or Poised to Shine?

Leveraged loans (also called senior loans or bank loans) typically pay a two-part coupon—a market-driven base rate (30-90 day LIBOR) plus a contractual credit spread.  As shown in Exhibit 1, the weighted average credit spread of U.S. leveraged loans, as measured by the S&P/LSTA Leveraged Loan 100 Index, has fallen steadily and now sits at Read more […]

Managing Equity Risk in Brazil

Brazilian equity market experienced a significant pullback during the month of May due to political concerns.  The correction amounted to being the worst one-day drop since Dec. 30, 2009.  On May 18, 2017 alone, S&P Brazil BMI dropped 8.85%.  On the same day, the S&P/BOVESPA Low Volatility Index posted -5.72%, over 300 bps less than Read more […]

Rieger Report: Corporate Junk Bonds – “Danger, Will Robinson!”

The bond markets are certainly not “Lost in Space”1. There is good rationale as to why the bond markets are in the position they are today; compressed spreads are the result of low rates coupled with strong demand out pacing supply for yield assets.   However, the homogenization of the US corporate bond markets is worrisome and should Read more […]