Category Archives: Strategy

Volatility Rides Again

Global equity markets stumbled out of the gate in 2016, and still haven’t found their stride. Markets are experiencing an intense case of risk off sentiment, as investors flee from riskier assets in pursuit of safe havens. The yield of 10 year US Treasury Notes is down to less than 1.8%, while oft-maligned gold is Read more […]

Better Than the Headline

The smaller than expected rise in payrolls in this morning’s January Employment Report disappointed people, but the details were far better than the 151,000 gain in payrolls.  Even though to total of new jobs was about 40,000 lower than the consensus forecast, some details in the number were surprisingly good: manufacturing employment jumped by 29,000. Read more […]

Be Careful What You Wish For

One of the few things more reliable than active managers’ general run of underperformance is their confidence that, despite what happened last year, this year will be different.  Two years ago, e.g., active managers were arguably poised to excel because correlations had declined from their financial crisis peaks; a year ago it was active managers’ putative ability to Read more […]

Valuing Low Volatility: Does Timing Matter?

If early January is any indication, 2016 should be another year when low volatility strategies will be in vogue. Popularized in the turmoil following the financial crisis in 2008, low volatility strategies, as the name denotes, serve well in times of equity upheaval. And despite bearing lower risk low volatility strategies have outperformed their benchmarks Read more […]

“Round Up the Usual Suspects”

Movie fans may remember this as one of the closing lines in Casablanca. Though less artistic, market watchers have their own suspects for the stock markets turmoil of the last few weeks: Corporate Earnings are always a good place to start and the latest projections point to 2015 EPS for the S&P 500 being down Read more […]

Recession Angst

Stock market turmoil is generating fears and predictions of a 2016 recession.  The S&P 500 and the Dow dropped  more than 10% from recent record highs to correction levels, but none of this guarantees a recession.  In fact, the stock market is notorious for predicting recessions –and many other things – that never happened.  The Read more […]

The Sources of Volatility and the Challenge for Active Management

If we needed a reminder of the continuing volatility of the world’s financial markets, the first weeks of 2016 obliged us by providing one.  What’s often overlooked, especially when volatility spikes, is that there are two distinct sources of volatility.  Understanding them can not only enhance our appreciation of market dynamics, but also provides some important insights for Read more […]

As goes the first week, so goes …

The world’s equity markets have encountered a rocky introduction to 2016; including the worst ever start for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (against a record that stretches back to 1897) and steep falls across developed and emerging markets.  Equity markets are down more or less everywhere, and in many cases materially so. What difference does Read more […]

China’s Stock Market and Its Currency

The New Year opened with large declines and massive volatility in China’s stock market.  According to US press reports, continuing declines in the value of China’s currency, the RMB, are a major factor in the poor performance of the market. While the RMB has slid against the dollar, falling from 6.21/USD at the beginning of Read more […]

Not Your Father’s Low Volatility Strategy

Low volatility strategies were a popular and growing category in 2015, and if the first several days of 2016 are any indication, it wouldn’t be surprising to see their popularity continue in the new year. That said, the topic of low volatility investing often comes with much discourse. A frequent argument is that a low Read more […]