Category Archives: S&P 500 & DJIA

Stock Picking AI? Elementary, My Dear Watson

Keen watchers of the ever-developing exchange-traded product space may have noticed an intriguing development last week, as the first purely “artificial intelligence”-based stock-picking ETF launched.  Powered by IBM’s “Watson” platform, the fund sponsors claim to use a proprietary quantitative model to select stocks that will outperform, based on machine learning applied to vast data sets. One cannot help wondering Read more […]

The Dow Crosses 23,000

Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 23,000 for the first time – offered here are a few factoids associated with that milestone: A Record – there have been four (4) 1000 point thresholds crossed in 2017, the most of any year since the DJIA’s inception in 1896. Less Impact Per Milestone – of Read more […]

Low Volatility, VIX and Behavioral Finance

As this week’s award of the Nobel Prize in Economics to Richard Thaler confirmed, the existence of behavioral biases in finance is no longer a controversial theory.   People often prefer a small chance of a large gain to a near-certain chance of a small gain, even if the expected return from the latter is higher.  Read more […]

Market Agnosticism

This weekend’s Financial Times brought John Authers’ provocative article on the frequency of financial crises.  Along the way, John gives us some excellent advice: “We should all work on the assumption that we do not know what will happen next.” John’s view of crisis prediction applies equally to the quotidian work of investment management.  Since we don’t Read more […]

Confusing Means and Ends

This morning’s Wall Street Journal informs us that the growth of exchange-traded funds has “propelled” this year’s surge in equity prices.  “Booming demand for passive investments is making exchange-traded funds an increasingly crucial driver of share prices….Surging demand for ETFs this year has to an unprecedented extent helped fuel the latest leg higher for the Read more […]

A New Eden, Or Fewer Excuses

In our May dispersion dashboard, we note that “If there is ever such thing as a “stock-pickers’ market”, then the month of May 2017 – at least in some regions – might be the closest approximation we have seen for a decade.” The subject of what, exactly a “stock-pickers’ market” might look like, and how Read more […]

Regime Change? Not according to the VIX term structure…

Since the U.S. election, a degree of optimism over potential business-friendly legislation – ranging from tax reform to infrastructure spending – has played a significant part in sending benchmarks such as the S&P 500 to new all-time highs.  Whether this optimism will be justified by actual legislation, of course, is a different issue. At a minimum, recent Read more […]

Cheap for a reason? Beware the value trap

What is a value trap? While value can be an appealing investment strategy, identifying value opportunities is not as easy as it might appear. One of the drawbacks of value investing is the so-called “value trap.” A value trap occurs when a stock appears cheap, but is trading at low multiples due to underlying problems Read more […]

The First 100 Days

In 100 days one can: Sequentially boil 48,000 three minute eggs Enjoy nearly 1,372 viewings of The Usual Suspects (a tally I’ll admit to being embarrassingly close to achieving) Assemble evidence to render an arbitrary judgment on the accomplishments of a newly-elected US President Tomorrow marks the end of Donald Trump’s first 100 days in Read more […]

How Now The Dow? A Q1 Retrospective.

With March in our rear view mirror, let’s take a quick look at some highlights from the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s performance during the first quarter of 2017: In Short – The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the first quarter of 2017 at 20,663.22 – up 900+ points for a 4.56% YTD return. Biggest Themes Read more […]