Category Archives: Equities

Tapering Away

Next week the Federal Open Market Committee, meeting for the first time since July, is widely expected to announce the tapering of its quantitative easing program.  Whether the Fed begins to reduce its bond purchases now or later this year, most observers recognize its inevitability.  Indeed, as we’ve noted before, even the anticipation of tapering Read more […]

Commodity Beta: Hogs-Wild? Hardly. Energy Fills the Thrill!

If you believe the S&P 500, which is market cap weighted, is considered the U.S. stock market beta, then the S&P GSCI, which is world-production weighted (analogous to market cap weighted), is the logical choice for commodity beta.  Typically, using an index, namely the S&P 500, as the benchmark for beta is standard practice in Read more […]

Beta, Smart and Dumb

The idea of “smart beta” is gaining increased acceptance, although not without some controversy.  I have to confess that I really dislike the term “smart beta,” and not just because I didn’t invent it.  “Alternative beta” I can live with, or “factor” indices, or “strategy” indices — but “smart” beta leaves me cold. Which is Read more […]

Too High or Too Low? Look at Tobin’s Q

August was not the best of months in the stock market: the S&P 500 lost 3.1% and the Dow lost 4.4%.  This leaves investors wondering what’s next? The stock market bounces up and down more often with more amplitude and less method to its madness than the rest of the economy.   If one could get Read more […]

Jaw-Boning at the Fed

When the FOMC minutes were released on Wednesday (August 21st) at 2:00 PM analysts and investors combed through all ten pages looking for some hint of when QE3 might be tapered or what new trigger was be watched by the Fed.  This was old news from a time capsule:  The meeting was three weeks earlier Read more […]

S&P 500 Foreign Sales – Asia Continues Up, As Europe Continues Down

S&P Dow Jones Indices released their foreign sales reports today (bit.ly/1eGKVbf ). The top-line items are that foreign sales increased (46.6% from 46.1%), Asian sales continued to grow as European sales continued to decline, and S&P 500 issues reversed their income tax payments and sent more to Washington in 2012 than they sent abroad (51.2% Read more […]

S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average

The two best known and most widely followed stock indices in the world are the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  While both follow large cap US stocks and both have long histories, they are quite different in some important ways. The Dow is the oldest regularly calculated stock index dating back to Read more […]

The Fox and the Hedgehog

The ancient Greeks tell the story of the fox and the hedgehog.  The fox, it is said, knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. Anyone who reads the Wall Street Journal or listens to CNBC will recognize the vulpine nature of much of the financial world.  One key to investment success is Read more […]

Inside the S&P 500: What Made it Rise… or Fall?

The first question asked as the market closes is why did it go up? Or, if the results were less appealing, why did it fall?  Either way the usual answer of more buyers than sellers is no answer at all.  The real question is what sectors pushed the market higher or which stocks sent it Read more […]

Index Rehab: Is Backwardation Back In-Style?

My colleague, David Blitzer, is discussing index construction in his blog series “Inside the S&P 500”, and so far has reviewed selecting stocks and the float adjustment. While the index construction principles of transparency, liquidity, and systematic rules-based methodologies are widely similar between equities, commodities and other asset classes, there are details that distinguish the asset Read more […]