Shariah Indices Closely Track Conventional Benchmarks in 2013

S&P Dow Jones Shariah-compliant benchmarks covering the U.S., MENA and global equity markets performed in line with their conventional counterparts in 2013. In fact, the S&P 500 Shariah, S&P Pan Arab Composite Shariah, and the S&P Global BMI Shariah, each closed the year within 50 basis points of their non-Shariah counterparts – quite remarkable in Read more […]

COCOA Is The New Valentine

Perception might be that lovers everywhere have always enjoyed the confection of affection, chocolate. However, it has taken some time for many Asian countries to adopt the taste, but it seems now they have fallen in love.  The Singapore-based Cocoa Association of Asia said that in the fourth quarter of 2013 demand rose 10% from Asia including Malaysia, Singapore Read more […]

Obfuscation is Good, or How to Destroy an Economic Indicator

In her testimony to the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen commented that with interest rates near zero the Fed must rely on such less traditional tools of monetary policy as forward guidance and asset purchases. Asset purchases are being phased out as tapering slowly ends quantitative easing. That leaves the Read more […]

Keep those flowers short on Valentine’s day

Historically (from 1928), as defined by the S&P 500, 52.1% of the trading days are up (average +0.745%) and 46.2% are down (average -0.789%).  For Valentine’s day there is a thorn. On February 14th the market has been up only 40.0% of the time and down 56.9% of the time (it was flat in 1944 Read more […]

Good News About the Federal Deficit

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the government’s bi-partisan budget researchers released its latest report and projections for the federal budget deficit.  The deficit is back to the average percentage of GDP experienced since 1974.  The bulge in spending and the drought of revenues caused by the financial crisis is behind us.  The chart shows that Read more […]

WARNING: Hot Coffee May Burn

There are too many funny coffee jokes to single one out but this one I found seriously relevant: Though I take my coffee black, I also take it seriously since it is one of the commodities in the S&P GSCI and DJ-UBS. Coffee has been the best performing commodity this year, up 23.9%.  As I Read more […]

Ties with Exchanges Create Win-Win

Recently I had the pleasure to visit some of our key exchange partners in Asia and kick-start some milestone initiatives there. Our strategic agreements with the Korea Stock Exchange (KRX) and the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) further strengthen our presence in this fast-growing region and boost our profile as a leading international financial market index Read more […]

The U.S. Congress and Investors Await Janet Yellen Comments

The S&P/BGCantor U.S. Treasury Bond Index finished last week slightly down -0.02% after the market traded up at the end of the week in reaction to the Nonfarm Payroll number. This January indicator of employees on business payrolls (113k) disappointed expectation of 180k giving bond prices an upward push after three days of declines. Treasuries Read more […]

Emerging Markets: Don’t Panic!

Currencies and equities across various countries classified as “emerging” have come under increased scrutiny in the past few weeks, with more excitable commentators seeing signs of a crisis. Should broad-based index followers be worried? Perhaps not. On the one hand, the tapering of U.S. quantitative easing has triggered flights of “hot money” from countries (like Turkey) that Read more […]

Re-Read Friday’s Employment Report

Last Friday’s employment report for January was greeted with groans and sighs.  The weak payrolls number in December was revised upward by only a thousand jobs and the January figure, at 113,000, was a big disappointment.  While the unemployment rate did drop to 6.6% from 6.7%, the change was as small as could be reported Read more […]