Sukuk – Let’s Do the Profit Sharing!

It all started with the Quran, the religious book of Islam, which guides all aspects of Muslim’s life. It is one of the fundamental sources of the Islamic (Shariah) law. The Shariah law has strict rules on finance; it forbids both interest “Riba” and uncertainty “Ghara”. It also prohibits a number of practices, such as Read more […]

What Me Worry

While the stock market was up sharply on Thursday and rose a bit more on Friday amidst rumors of some talks in Washington,  not everyone thinks we’re  out of the woods.  In fact, other parts of the financial system are taking precautions in case the worst – a government default – happens.  Hopefully both these Read more […]

The Shrinking Supply of Alpha

Recently we attended a conference at which many hedge fund representatives were present. Not surprisingly, there was much discussion of the ability of hedge funds, and by extension active managers generally, to generate alpha. This raises an obvious question: what is the market’s capacity to produce alpha?  Is there a natural limit to investors’ ability Read more […]

High Yield Munis Burned by Tobacco Bonds

Tobacco settlement  bonds tracked by the S&P Municipal Bond Tobacco Index are down nearly 9% year to date as yields have risen by over 255bps as the credit risk of these long duration bonds is questioned.  Recent arbitration results have been positive but uncertainty over future disputes and tobacco consumption are pulling these long duration Read more […]

Welcome Janet Yellen

Today’s nomination by President Obama of Janet Yellen as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve is very welcome.  Yellen’s knowledge of the Fed, the banking system and the economy is second to none.  No one, except possibly Ben Bernanke, has more experience on the job. While Janet Yellen’s nomination is very likely to be Read more […]

The Tactical Case for Bond Ladder ETFs

Bond Ladder ETFs are providing a unique solution for managing duration risk. These ETFs, now available for the municipal, corporate and high yield sectors, enable more precise control over duration risk than previous fixed income ETF offerings. Moreover, they have performance benefits relative to traditional fixed income index funds and ETFs if the rising rate Read more […]

Exchange Keys to Unlocking the Growth of Regional Commodities into Global Benchmarks

What drives the success of some index commodities like Brent Crude Oil or Milling Wheat to become global benchmarks? Can the energy revolution in the U.S. change the way the world views benchmarks such as WTI Crude Oil or Natural Gas? To find out the answers, we recently had the special opportunity to interview Gary Morsches, Read more […]

Target Date Fixed Income ETFs

In real estate, it’s location, location, location.  In bond portfolios, it’s duration, duration, duration. With the onset of defined maturity or “target date” ETFs, investors now have the ability to tweak their portfolios to their liking.  Muni , taxable and high yield offerings are now available in the market place, enabling investors to essentially “ladder Read more […]

High Quality Munis Held Back by Puerto Rico Storm

The S&P Municipal Bond Puerto Rico Index is down over 16% since mid-year and over 20% for the last 12 months.  The ‘storm’ has continued into October as the index is down 2% month to date. The Puerto Rico bond market debacle weighs on the rest of the municipal bond market despite its relative high Read more […]

Less [Information] May be More…

For most investors and many economists the first Friday of the month means the Employment Report at 8:30 AM eastern time.   The much-watched first official bit of economic data for the month just ended sets the tone for the markets and for the weekend investment advice columns.   This weekend the economic-investing blogosphere had little to Read more […]