Category Archives: S&P 500 & DJIA

The Dow Quickly Takes a Long Time to Hit 20,000

Walt Whitman said in Song of Myself “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”  Well, as does The Dow Jones Industrial Average – so I’ll present two contradictory data points from today’s record close. First, the move from 19,000 to 20,000 was quick, happening in just Read more […]

The Red Zone

In grid-iron football, The Red Zone refers to the area between the 25 yard line and the goal line, the last remaining ground the offense must battle through in order to score a touchdown.  This is a somewhat apt metaphor for what we’re currently witnessing with the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Unless you’ve been living Read more […]

Dow Jones Industrial Average® 2016 Year in Review

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 2016 at 19,762.60 – up 2.337.57 points for a 13.42% annual return, the best year since 2013 when the market surged over 26%. Biggest Themes – markets were driven by the crash (and partial recovery) in oil prices, Fed-watching, China, Brexit and questions regarding the US economy. Oh yeah, Read more […]

Visualizing Factor Exposures

Measuring the away-from-benchmark exposures of active portfolios (or “smart beta” indices) is not inherently complicated.  To what degree, for example, is a portfolio cheaper than its benchmark, or more tilted toward high quality stocks?  Practitioners typically approach the question in one of several ways: Calculating weighted average differences – e.g., the yield on my portfolio is Read more […]

Round Numbers and the Dow

As the Dow Jones Industrial Average approaches the 20,000 level everyone seems to be suddenly fascinated with the figure. People who rarely ask if the market is up or down want to know if the Dow will cross this supposed benchmark today. Journalists   with years sent covering the markets want to know what 20,000 means.  Read more […]

Rising Rates and Inflation: Implications for Equities

Even a cursory glance at financial markets indicates that market participants are expecting some form of interest rate increase in the near future—there has been a sell-off in the 10-Year U.S. Treasury Bond market, and certain sectors that are expected to benefit from such a rate increase have gained.  For instance, the S&P 500 Financials Read more […]

Back to Normal…Almost

It’s been a roller coaster week in the aftermath of the startling conclusion to the U.S. Presidential election on November 8, 2016.   As recently as a week before the election, equity markets were quite calm, although volatility levels recognized the possibility of a surprise Trump victory.  When that victory occurred, U.S. futures declined significantly before Read more […]

Winners and Losers in Trump’s Electoral Surprise

Donald Trump’s unexpected success initially threatened to send the U.S. equity markets into steep decline.  Yet as I write, the S&P 500 has moved very little since yesterday’s close (it is up a little), while the VIX has fallen dramatically. So why (or how) has volatility remained so low this morning when everyone expected it to Read more […]

Why Consistency of Dividend Growth Matters

With anemic global economic growth, investors have become leery about U.S. companies’ ability to grow earnings and increase dividends. Indeed, S&P 500 earnings declined for the fifth consecutive period in the second quarter of 2016 and even if the third quarter results are positive, the growth rate is likely to be very small. A potential Read more […]

The Making of a Passivist

I have few memories of my school French, but one of the fondest is of Moliere’s Monsieur Jourdain, who was delighted to learn in middle age that he had been speaking prose for the last 40 years.  Similarly, I did not realize until recently that I was a “passivist,” as the Wall Street Journal has now anointed the Read more […]