The Yellen Fed

The FOMC, the Fed’s monetary policy unit, meets next week on January 28th and 29th. It will be Ben Bernanke’s last meeting and the beginning of Janet Yellen’s leadership of the central bank.  No immediate change in Fed policy is likely – winding down QE3 over the next few months as announced in December will Read more […]

US Economy Finished 2013 Healthier than Ever

The US economy finished 2013 healthier than it has been since the depths of the financial recession in 2008 and 2009.  There were a number of milestones in 2013; many have not been fully appreciated. First, the US energy production boom has probably adding some 0.5% annually to US real GDP.  US crude oil production Read more […]

Index Investing Did NOT Spike Price; BRENT FELL

Maybe the verdict is still undecided for some, but it is hard to look at the evidence and still be questioning the idea that index investing drives underlying commodity prices.   Now that the commodity index rebalance is over and the shift between WTI and Brent is behind, we can examine the impact.  As I Read more […]

Emerging Markets, the Dollar and the Fed

The talk that QE 1-2-3 may end sparked predictions that the U.S. dollar’s FX value will rise in 2014 and that this will, in turn, hurt emerging markets.  There are risks in emerging markets, as there are in all markets, but the risks stemming from the expected end of QE 1-2-3 seem to be overblown.  While Read more […]

Voting with Their Feet

Despite superb returns for the equity markets across the developed world, 2013 was a tough year for active managers.  While the average hedge fund recorded fairly solid gains over the year, such performance paled in comparison to the rampant equity markets.  It was also a year that saw historic lows for the potential returns available Read more […]

Getting Grim For Gold Miners?

If you are worried that gold prices are falling, the prognosis could be much worse for gold miner stocks. Although many investors believe the performance of gold miners is just like the performance of gold, this is not quite the case.  If investors look at correlations alone to determine they are getting their gold exposure Read more […]

Looking Back To Look Ahead

In terms of fixed-income investing, 2013 is a year for the history books. Consequently, the question of what will 2014 bring for the fixed income investor arises. Some significant understanding of future fixed-income investing can be inferred from the recent past. The equity market had a very successful 2013 as the S&P 500 Index returned Read more […]

Easing the Fed’s Worries Over Quantitative Easing

Yesterday’s release of the December 17-18 2013 FOMC minutes by the Fed revealed concerns about the side effects of the quantitative easing.  While these don’t suggest an accelerated end to the Fed’s bond buying – the popular guess is still that it winds down by year end – members of the Fed’s key policy-making group Read more […]

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 […]