Everyone Complains About the Weather

The universal complaint heard today is the “Arctic Vortex” and freezing temperatures across much of the US including financial centers in New York, Chicago and Boston. Are the cold and the weather just something to complain about or do they really affect people and the stock market?  There are various academic studies about how the Read more […]

ETFs and William Shakespeare in 2014

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” Juliet says to Romeo when trying to illustrate it is the essence of a something which is important, not what it’s called.  If Shakespeare were alive today, and Juliet were an investor, would he have her say the same things about an ETF?  Would she Read more […]


2013 is the first year commodities have been in backwardation since 2003.  For those of you who need a refresher on the definition of backwardation, you are not alone, so here it is: “When a near-month futures contract is trading at a premium to more distant contracts, we say that a commodity futures curve is in Read more […]

The Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2013? Yeah, that went well…

A steadily improving economy and no small amount of performance-enhancing stimulus from the Fed re-enthused equity investors in 2013, leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average to finish in record territory. Let’s go to the tape: Impressive Climb – The DJIA finished the year at 16,576.66, up 3,472.52 or 26.50%.  That performance leaves us with the Read more […]

What Is The Golden Link Between $275,000, 750 Million AND -32.8%?

The hint in the title is GOLD and the answer is the year 1981.  In 1981, a Superbowl ad was $275,000, 750 MILLION people watched Prince Charles and Lady Di get married and GOLD lost 32.8%.  In 2013, the cost of a Superbowl ad was $4 million, Prince William and Kate Middleton welcomed Prince George, Read more […]

Why Bubbles Aren’t as Dangerous Today

Both the surprisingly strong 2013 US stock market performance and the surging rebound in US home prices are sparking fears of another round bursting bubbles among many investors and market pundits.  While we don’t know the chances that either stocks or home prices will plunge in 2014, the collateral damage from either will be less Read more […]

A Battered Municipal Bond Market Enters 2014

Since the S&P Municipal Bond Index was launched in 2000 it never has had two years in a row of negative returns.  However, a new year begins with all the uncertainty and expectations of any other year.  Municipal bond funds are entering 2014 following a long string of monthly cash outflows indicating that retail investors Read more […]

ETFs poised to overtake Hedge Funds in 2014

If current trends continue, 2014 will herald a significant milestone for the ETF and hedge fund industries, as the total amount of capital invested in the former threatens to overtake the latter. Hedge funds search relentlessly to deliver on a promise of alpha while their privileged investors – supplying notoriously high fees and the tactical Read more […]

Commodities Countdown: Top 13 of 2013

Despite another year of flat performance from the S&P GSCI, it was a roller-coaster year with energy holding up the broad index while gold had its worst year since 1981.  Below are the top 13 stories from 2013: 13.  Risky Assets, Safe Havens or Lost Identities?   All commodities in the S&P GSCI and the DJ-UBS Read more […]

Misplaced Fears and Real Worries

The charts show the twin concerns of the Fed: inflation and unemployment.  Despite fears that easy money would send inflation surging, it is quietly fading away.  The real worry is unemployment. While declining, at 7% recently it remains above any estimate of full employment.  Low inflation and low unemployment can be in conflict with one-another.  Read more […]