Stocks and Houses

When tech stocks collapsed in 2000 and the market fell 50%, investors put their faith in houses:  maybe too much faith.  Then house prices collapsed from mid-2006 as mortgage excesses took down the economy. Stocks fell 50% again.  The subsequent recovery in the economy, houses and stocks disappointed at least two of the three: the Read more […]

Stock Picker’s Market?

This morning’s Wall Street Journal cites an adviser who opines that “the current stock market environment favors…active fund managers, who pick individual stocks in an attempt to beat broad market indices.”  This immediately raises the question of how to define a stock picker’s market, and how to determine whether today’s conditions are more auspicious for Read more […]

No Tricks, Just Treats From The Fed This Halloween

It recently struck me that the announcement day for the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting would coincide with what is known locally as “Mischief Night”. Mischief Night is the night before Halloween when kids play trick on neighbors by hanging toilet paper in the trees or soaping car windows. If anyone was positioned to play a Read more […]

Where’s my free lunch?

Ever since Harry Markowitz published his June 1953 paper on portfolio selection, investors both institutional and retail have subscribed to the theory that diversification – and its use in combination with mean-variance optimized allocations – universally widens and almost always improves the possibilities of risk and return. At its core, the theory states that an Read more […]

You Take My “Breadth” Away

An overview of the market shows that breadth, the number of issues up compared to the number down, is running very strong this year.  Year-to-date (YTD), 451 of the S&P 500 issues are up (47 down), which on an annual basis is the best since 458 issues increased in 2003.  The 2003 number is also Read more […]

A Simple Hedge Strategy

Alternative investments for high net worth investors are like the weather — everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it.  In fairness, alternative investments — hedge funds, private equity, and the like — are often hard to access and complicated to explain.  But if they can deliver on their promise of uncorrelated Read more […]

Money Grows on THESE Trees

My parents used to tell me that money doesn’t grow on trees, but they didn’t know about the Eucalyptus trees in Australia like the one shown below. The science journal, Nature Communications, reported Eucalyptus trees in western and southern Australia absorb gold through their roots and transport it up all the way through their leaves. Read more […]

View from Down Under

The world view in Sydney is quite different than in New York.  No one is worried or disgusted with the US government’s recent shutdown or debt ceiling follies – in fact only a few even comment about it. Likewise much of the anxiety American analysts suffer about the unemployment rate, weak GDP growth and “policy Read more […]

Passive Risk Management

In major cities at this time of year, an army of street vendors bristling with umbrellas await their chance to emerge in entrepreneurial fervour, providing tourists and commuters alike with immediate respite from unanticipated rain. It’s a viable business strategy: the chaotic nature of weather means that occasional rainfall remains practically impossible to predict*, hence Read more […]

Lower Gas Bill? Why Not?

As mentioned in my last post, logistics and technology are the two key factors in propelling commodities from local markets to global markets. The U.S. is now expected to be the biggest producer of natural gas in 2013, so what does that mean for the residents? Will gas bills be cheaper? Will there be a Read more […]