Implied Plunge Protection

Ever since its formation in response to the “Black Monday” crash of October 1987, the United States “Working Group on Financial Markets” has been accompanied by (persistently-denied) rumours that the group used government funding to make large equity purchases whenever the market fell – giving rise to its informal moniker of the “Plunge Protection Team”.  Read more […]

2019 Mid-Year Persistence Scorecard – Key Highlights

When it comes to investing, market participants often consider past performance to be indicative of future results.  The same goes for fund selection.  Notwithstanding the evidence showing that most active managers in most regions typically underperformed their benchmarks, consistently beating peers is one way to differentiate a manager’s luck from skill.  Here are a few Read more […]

Corn Pops to a New High

Several catalysts, including U.S. Corn Belt production issues, drove corn futures prices to a new five-year high in June 2019. Investors were net short corn in May 2019, and the short covering contributed to the break higher. Prices broke through the 2017 peak after heavy floods in the Midwest prevented farmers from planting corn in Read more […]

Understanding the ESG Consequences of Factor-Based Investing: Part 2

    In our previous blog, we looked at the S&P Factor Indices’ ESG exposures, showing that factor exposures can have an influence on ESG scores. In this blog, we’ll discuss these scores at the sector level and see how implementing an ESG or carbon reduction strategy on poorer ESG-performing factor indices can help investors Read more […]

S&P and Dow Jones Islamic Market Indices Largely Outperformed Conventional Indices in Q2 2019

Developed Market Indices Continued to Outperform Conventional Indices, Emerging Markets Lagged Global S&P and Dow Jones Shariah-compliant benchmarks outperformed their conventional counterparts YTD in 2019, as Information Technology—which tends to be overweight in Islamic indices—has been a sector leader, while Financials—which is underrepresented in Islamic indices—continued to underperform the broader market. The S&P Global BMI Read more […]

S&P China 500 Declined 2.8% in Q2 2019; Gains Stood at 20.2% YTD

The S&P China 500 declined 2.8% in Q2 2019, as the U.S.-China trade tensions and threat of company sanctions weighed on returns, even as expectations for eased tensions improved. The decline followed the 23.6% Q1 2019 surge in the index, ultimately leading to overall healthy gains of 20.2% YTD. Chinese stocks generally lagged global benchmarks Read more […]

The Opportunity Cost of Active Management

Investors typically flock to active funds to pass on the stock-picking decision making to a seasoned fund manager, with the hope that the fund manager’s experience and stock-picking capabilities will enable the investor’s portfolio to grow at a faster pace than that set by the benchmark. By using this approach, investors are able to circumvent Read more […]

Carlos Urzúa Resignation and Low Volatility’s Response

Mexico’s Finance Minister, Carlos Urzúa, abruptly resigned on July 9, 2019 over policy disagreements with the current government.[1] Market participants reacted negatively, generating volatility in the Mexican peso’s exchange rate, which fell 2.3% right after the announcement,[2] and the country’s equity market, and bringing a trial by fire for the S&P/BMV IPC Risk Weighted Index Read more […]

Palladium – All That Glitters is Not Gold

Much has been made during recent months of the renewed interest investors have shown in gold on the back of growing financial market turbulence, a plethora of geopolitical flashpoints, and a string of economic releases that have fallen short of expectations. But gold has not been the shiniest precious metal this year; back in January, Read more […]

Using Credit Ratios to Build Defensive Corporate Bond Portfolios

For corporate bond managers, credit analysis is a key step in the investment process, one that lays the foundation for their credit outlook and investment strategies. Credit analysis assesses bond issuers’ creditworthiness and evaluates their ability to make timely interest and principal payments. Credit analysis is critical in helping bond managers assess the state of Read more […]