Passive Pensions

We read this morning that the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is considering increasing its commitment to passive equity vehicles. This follows, by less than two weeks, a study suggesting that public pension funds generally could improve their performance by doing exactly what CalPERS is reported to be considering. Of course whenever you speak about Read more […]

Are Dividends the Answer to Growth for Income Hunters?

Dividend focused strategies as well as strategies offering exposure to alternative income sources have become popular and proliferated over the past few years given the low interest rate environment.  Throughout history, dividends constitute an important part of total equity return. In decades such as the 40s and the 70s, dividends constitute 50% or more of Read more […]

What’s in a Name

Picking the right ETF among the hundreds that are currently available is certainly a formidable task for many investors – one that has been made more difficult by iShares recent announcement that it is removing index names from a number of its ETFs. Why should this raise concerns for investors and for the financial industry Read more […]

25 and Counting for the Dow

The number 25.  Christmas Day.  The atomic number of manganese.  The jersey number typically reserved for a baseball team’s best slugger.  And to date in 2013, the number of new highs hit by the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  Year to date through Friday (July 12) the Dow, ending the session at 15,464.30, has closed at Read more […]

Ready to Roll or Need to Weight?

In the past few years a number of indices have been launched with a goal of minimizing the impact of contango.  The first indices launched with this goal were the simple (1-5 month) forward indices and the relatively static S&P GSCI Enhanced. In the time period from Aug 2004-May 2011, mentioned in my prior post, these Read more […]

New Highs for the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrials

The S&P 500 closed at a new all-time high this afternoon at 1675.02, up from the previous record at 1669.16 set on May 21st and the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 15460.92 setting a record and up from 15409.39 on May 28th. What does a new high mean? Good copy for journalists, positive reinforcement Read more […]

After The Fireworks

It was back to business in the U.S. after the July 4 holiday, which fell on a Thursday this year and made for a much needed four day weekend. The bond markets had a lot to look forward to this week as the Treasury auctioned a total of $66 billion of issuance in three, 10, Read more […]

Inside the S&P 500: Selecting Stocks

This is the first of a series of posts describing how S&P Dow Jones Indices and its US Index Committee maintain the S&P 500. Future posts will cover how stocks react when added to the index, the mix of sectors and industries in the index, the Index Committee and how the index can be used Read more […]

Keeping Up With Contango’s Twist

As mentioned in an article today in the Wall Street Journal, there may be a shift taking place in the commodities markets. In simple terms, there may be more predominant shortages of commodities. Generally as inventories are abundant, there are higher storage costs, which reduce returns from a condition called contango where the longer-dated contracts Read more […]