Home Prices Rising

This morning’s S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices report showed prices rising at about a 5% annual rate over the last 12 months.  Across the country the pattern varies with strong price gains in the Pacific Northwest and small price increases in New York and Washington DC.  The press release and data are available at Read more […]

The Consequences of Concentration: 4 – More Underperformers

Can active managers improve performance by moving from relatively diversified to relatively concentrated portfolios?  Doing so is likely to increase risk, shift the relative importance of luck and skill, and raise trading costs.  A fourth consequence is that the probability of active underperformance is likely to increase. A simple example provides some insight.  Imagine a market with five Read more […]

Rieger Report: Muni Bonds – the States Leading and Lagging 2016

The municipal bond market tracked by the S&P Municipal Bond Index has seen a 4.11% year-to-date return.  Investment grade municipal bonds tracked in the S&P National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index have seen a 3.95% return. What states are leading the pack?  The answer includes some of the states that have been performance drags in the past.  Municipal Read more […]

The Consequences of Concentration: 3 – Higher Costs

Some active managers argue that the remedy for widespread active underperformance is more aggressive, more concentrated portfolios.  If this is the correct prescription, it has a number of adverse side effects — for example, risk is likely to increase, and the relative importance of skill and luck in decision making is likely to shift in luck’s favor. A Read more […]

Rieger Report: Muni G.O.’s or Revenue Bonds in 2016?

The debate over which sector of municipal bonds, general obligation bonds (G.O.’s) or revenue bonds can provide a better return is a constant one.  So far in 2016, the S&P Municipal Bond Revenue Index has outperformed verses the S&P Municipal Bond General Obligation Index. Peeling the onion back a bit may help provide more insights. In general, revenue Read more […]

Party like it’s 2007

House sales and prices are rising.  Home sales in June were 5.57 million at annual rates, the highest since February 2007 when national home prices peaked.  Currently prices as measured by the S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index are climbing at a 5% annual rate and are a mere 3% from their all-time peak. What next?  Read more […]

The Consequences of Concentration: 2 – Luck Ascendant

Is the remedy for active managers’ well-known performance difficulties to become more active? Some observers think so, and argue that less diversified, more concentrated portfolios should be the wave of active management’s future.  But there are a number of adverse consequences to concentration — for example, risk is likely to increase.   A second consequence is that in manager Read more […]

Rieger Report: Bond Market Malformation Worsens

As we approach August, the U.S. bond markets have extended their malformed shape despite another round of chatter about the possibility of a Fed hike, this time towards year end.  Subsequent to the June 2nd, 2016 blog Bond Market Malformation, Trouble Ahead? bond yields have compressed further. Demand continues to outstrip the supply of U.S. investment grade Read more […]

Credit Cards and Retail Sales

This morning’s release of the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices showed that default rates for bank cards – such as VISA, MasterCard or others – climbed year to date while other categories of consumer borrowing such as mortgages and auto loans did not. Even though the bank card rate at 3.11% is 61 basis points Read more […]

The Usual Suspects

Yesterday’s close brought the S&P 500 to another new pinnacle – the seventh new high reached since June 30th, when the market surpassed its previous peak from July 20, 2015. In the context of the market’s recent bullish run, a number of commentators have remarked on the surprising outperformance of defensive strategies and sectors. But Read more […]