Sell in May and go away. You’re sure?

We’re all familiar with that old adage.  The theory says that trading slows during the summer months, markets can be a bit more turbulent and you’re better off closing out your positions, getting to the beach and enjoying your Pimm’s Cup in relative peace. But as my colleague Craig Lazzara pointed in his recent post, Read more […]

Paying Too Much at the Pump?!

Why are gas prices so high? I know I’m not alone as “a commodity lady” wondering this as I pull out my credit card to pay at the pump. (Which is not often since I ride my bicycle to work most days) Gasoline prices typically rise in the summer because more people travel to take Read more […]

That Was Easy

If every month were like July, equity investors would have an easy life.  The most striking thing about July’s U.S. equity market performance was how consistently good it turned out to be.  The S&P 500 was up +5.09%, with the Mid Cap 400 ahead of that pace (+6.20%) and the Small Cap 600 further ahead Read more […]

Shorter Municipal Bonds Hang In There While Long Municipal Bonds Suffer

Fund outflows in the municipal bond asset class, in part driven by the Detroit bankruptcy, pushed municipal bond performance down in July according to the S&P National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Index. Particularly hard hit was Puerto Rico.  The S&P Municipal Bond Puerto Rico Index was down over 4.1% in July (down 6.61% YTD). State specific Read more […]

Despite strong double-digit gains in the equity markets last year, S&P 500 issues posted record pension and OPEB underfunding in 2012

Despite strong double-digit gains in the equity markets last year, S&P 500 issues posted record pension and OPEB underfunding in 2012. The double-digit equity gains of 2012 were no match for the artificially low interest rates which vaulted pension liabilities into record underfunding territory. Companies have only 77 cents for each dollar they owe in Read more […]

Inside the S&P 500: Float adjustment

Most stock indices where the weight of each stock depends on its market value are “float adjusted” meaning that the index only counts those shares that are available to investors and excludes closely held shares or shares held by governments or other companies. The S&P 500 moved to float adjustment in in 2004-2005.  Initially many Read more […]

What Municipalities are Higher Risk?

Data as of July 25, 2013 What Municipalities are Higher Risk? The bankruptcy of the City of Detroit has raised questions about what other municipalities might be the next to focus on.  In general, bonds with higher yields are riskier than bonds with lower yields.  Using bond yields as the sole variable, the following general Read more […]

THE Golden Question?

What is your long term outlook for gold and where do you see prices moving in the months ahead? This is one of the questions I was recently asked in a Reuters CCTV2 interview.  While we are not in the business of forecasting, we are in the indexing business where we measure markets – and Read more […]

Does Past Performance Matter?

The phrase “past performance is not a guarantee of future results” has never rung more true for active mutual funds.  Our semi-annual publication, the Persistence Scorecard, takes a look at the performance of top quartile active funds over three- and five-year consecutive 12-month periods.  Based on the most recently released report, out of 269 large Read more […]

When Diversification Fails

Diversification means different things in different contexts.  We can speak, for example, of diversification within an equity portfolio — i.e., of holding a number of stocks with potentially-offsetting risks, as opposed to concentrating on only one issue or on a handful of similar stocks.  Or we can think of diversification across asset classes — e.g., Read more […]