Impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Individual versus LG/ASO Trends

When we initiated our forecast on the S&P Healthcare Claims Indices in 2014, we wanted to avoid the effects of the ACA on individual and Small Group claim costs, so we focused on Large Group and Administrative Services Only (ASO) trends.  The individual claim costs continued to show a sharp divergence in trends from the Read more […]

Dollar’s Revival Adds New Life To These Commodities

It makes sense that a strong US dollar is generally bad for commodities since as the U.S dollar strengthens, goods priced in dollars become more expensive for other currencies. However, historically the U.S. dollar has a negative correlation of only about -0.30 with the S&P GSCI as shown in the chart below using data since 1970: This may Read more […]

Listed Infrastructure: Bridging the Inflation Hedging Gap

Roger McNamee, the American businessman and sometime musician said “We need to stop thinking about infrastructure as an economic stimulant… [since] economic stimulants produce Bridges to Nowhere. Strategic investment in infrastructure produces a foundation for long-term growth.” In 2013, Transportation for America identified that one in nine U.S. bridges—a jaw-dropping 66,000 of them—are deficient, and Read more […]

The MENA Sukuk Market Expanded 14% YTD

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region recorded strong growth in the sukuk market in the first 10 months of 2015.  The market value, as tracked by the S&P MENA Sukuk Index, rose 14% YTD to 37 billion, compared with the mere 1% growth in the conventional bond market in the region.  The sukuk Read more […]

India: Market Update for Q3 2015

Key highlights of the past quarter that ended Sept. 30, 2015 were the continued fall in wholesale and retail inflation, the devaluation of the yuan and the subsequent reduction in interest rates by the Chinese government, the Fed keeping interest rates the same, and the reduction in the repo rate by the Reserve Bank of Read more […]

Terror Attack On Paris May Shift The Oil War

Geopolitical developments often have a major impact on oil prices since they can affect oil supply directly and since the threat of future supply disruptions can also build a risk premium into oil prices. As a notable example, in the early part of 2014, conflicts in Libya and Iraq led to temporary outages in their Read more […]

ETF industry in India over the years

It is well known that diversification lowers the risk. For example, say we want to travel from one place to another. We can take a bus. What if the route on which the bus plies is blocked for some reason? We can consider taking another bus which travels on a different route. What if all Read more […]

Is China a Building Block in Your Portfolio?

After China’s stock plunge in Q3 2015, many investors have had two different views toward China.  The bearish camp avoids buying Chinese stocks, as they think the Chinese market is volatile, and that the earlier stock market bubble has not fully burst when it comes to the problems of shadow banking, margin lending, and an Read more […]

Active Versus Passive Through Municipal Bonds

Municipal bond mutual funds gathered USD 2.8 billion in the four-week period ending Oct. 28, 2015, according to the Investment Company Institute, while muni bond ETFs added USD 593 million of inflows in October, according to SSGA.  Despite this low number, at the recent S&P Dow Jones Indices Municipal and Global Bond Forum, various panelists Read more […]

Fallen Gold May Help India’s Diwali and Monetisation Plan Shine

Could India’s gold obsession be over? The Indian government seems to think so, since they are betting that their people are willing to part with their precious metal to earn just 2.5% interest. Last Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched three programmes aimed at reducing physical gold demand and luring tonnes of gold from households into the banking system. That’s Read more […]