Category Archives: Strategy

Navigating Brexit

Despite some warnings from volatility gauges, the market had “priced in” a vote for remain from the UK’s population.  This has made for some dramatic headlines, and large movements since the vote to leave the EU was announced.  As the market scrambled to make sense of the political chaos, three key themes have emerged from the Read more […]

Braced for Brexit

To say that global financial markets were surprised by results of the June 23rd Brexit referendum would be an understatement. Most market observers had anticipated a victory for Remain. When the Leave camp won, global financial markets reeled from the shock. Low volatility strategies are designed to attenuate returns in either direction, and as such, Read more […]

Inside the S&P 500: The Real Estate Sector

Part of the power of the S&P 500 is analyzing the market and gaining insights into which stocks rising or falling.  The key to these analyses is GICS – the Global Industry Classification Standard – which is used to define the sectors and industries in the index. GICS is jointly maintained by S&P Dow Jones Read more […]

Janet Yellen’s Message: Last Friday’s Employment Report Didn’t Change Much

Last Friday the markets were expecting to see May payrolls rise by something between 160,000 and 190,000 new jobs. Instead the report was an upsetting shocker with only 38,000 new jobs and a downward revision to the previous two months.  Stocks sold off at the opening, gold rose, talk of a fading expansion resumed and Read more […]

Divining Brexit

The markets’ view of the pending British referendum on EU membership displays the hallmarks of a low probability, high impact event.  Correlations, and volatility expectations, are the key indicators. When macroeconomic risk is dominant, as a select few narratives come to preoccupy investors, correlations increase.  For example, in August and September 2015, markets worldwide were roiled Read more […]

Inflation or Why Raise Interest Rates

The minutes of the Fed’s April 26-7 meeting convinced almost everyone that the Fed will raise interest rates at its next meeting in June, but left them wondering why.  Most of the subsequent discussion centered on the labor market and how close the economy is to full employment. There was also some whispering about inflation. Read more […]

Don’t Blame Tight Supplies for Rising Home Prices

The S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index shows prices of existing single family homes rising 5.3% annually in the last few months, well above the rate of inflation. Recent comments cite the low inventory of homes for sale as a leading factor in higher prices. Housing markets are local and some communities may be seeing house Read more […]

The Fed’s New Normal

Since the demise of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers in 2008, Federal Reserve policy has focused on containing market turmoil and disruption.  Current Fed policy built on a massively expanded balance sheet (first chart); the quantitative easing that inflated the balance sheet and the Fed funds rate glued to the zero lower bound (second chart). Read more […]

How Active Should Active Management Be?

Most active managers fail most of the time, at least if we take their underperformance of passive benchmarks as evidence of failure.  The evidence of this failure is so widespread, and so consistent, that even dyed-in-the-wool active managers no longer deny it. Instead, we often hear that the cause of unsuccessful active management is that it isn’t active Read more […]