Category Archives: Strategy

Hope Over Experience

Second marriages, Dr. Johnson reminds us, sometimes represent the triumph of hope over experience. The same applies to many arguments for active investment management. Last week, e.g., The Wall Street Journal announced, with a note of triumph, that “So far this year, actively managed U.S. stock mutual funds have outperformed funds trying to clone the market’s overall Read more […]

The Essence of VIX: What You Really Need to Know

What is the essence of VIX? This may seem like an abstract, philosophical question, but I can assure you it is not. It is a practical one, and if you can understand what makes VIX unique, you will know why this index matters so much. Informed investors know that VIX: Employs a wide range of options Read more […]

Grant vs. Bogle

Jason Zweig, writing in the Wall Street Journal  reports on an on-going debate between John Bogle, founder of Vanguard funds, and Jim Grant of Grants’s Interest Rate Observer.   Zweig notes: “[Grant] pointed out that investing in an S&P 500 index fund means buying stocks picked by the committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices headed by Read more […]

Considerations for a Global Approach to Property Investing

While U.S. REITs have garnered a lot of attention in recent years and become quite a popular investment category, comparatively little attention has been paid to real estate securities based outside of the U.S., despite significant development in international markets.  In February 1995, just three markets—Australia, the Netherlands, and the U.S.—were represented in the S&P Read more […]

Sluggish GDP Growth

First quarter U.S. GDP will be reported on Wednesday morning April 29th; the consensus is for only one percent real growth.  The last few years have been marked by poor GDP growth. The chart compares actual GDP to potential GDP and shows that six years after the Great Recession GDP remains well below its potential. Read more […]

Greece

Forecasts of an imminent Greek default and possibly Grexit, (Greece exiting the euro) abound.  Following the first rule of successful forecasting, no one is willing to put the date and the event in the same sentence. Moreover, while both possibilities have been widely discussed, there is little agreement on what might happen.   If Greece defaults Read more […]

Active Share: Not Necessary, and Definitely Not Sufficient

The concept of active share was introduced several years ago as a measure of the degree to which a portfolio of stocks differs from its benchmark.  One of the intriguing results of the initial research on active share was that high active share managers seemed more likely to outperform than low active share managers.  This led, predictably Read more […]

A Tale of Two Benchmarks: Benchmark Selection

This is the fourth post in a series of blog posts relating to the in-depth analysis of performance differential between the S&P SmallCap 600® and the Russell 2000. The previous posts demonstrate that the different historical risk/return profiles of the two U.S. small-cap benchmarks can be partially explained by the July reconstitution effect and the additional Read more […]

Sector Dispersion and Active Management

Market volatility is a function of both dispersion and correlation, as shown in this schematic: Dispersion measures the degree to which the components of an index perform similarly.  If the components are tightly bunched, dispersion will be low and, other things equal, the index’s volatility will be low.  Correlation is a measure of timing; it measures Read more […]

Introducing the S&P Dow Jones Indices Versus Active (SPIVA®) Latin America Scorecard

S&P Dow Jones Indices is proud to expand the SPIVA Scorecard report to the Latin America region.  The SPIVA methodology is designed to provide an accurate and objective apples-to-apples comparison of active funds’ performance versus their appropriate style benchmark indices.  The SPIVA Latin America Scorecard covers the Brazilian, Chilean, and Mexican markets.  A summary of Read more […]