Category Archives: Equities

Unreliable Investment Strategies

S&P Dow Jones Indices produces a semi-annual report comparing the performance of active managers to their target indices or benchmarks. The report is referred to as the SPIVA Scorecard (SPIVA standing for S&P Indices Versus Active Managers).  So, what does the SPIVA Scorecard tell us about performance?  As illustrated in the table above, for any regional equity class Read more […]

Introducing the S&P/ASX 200 ESG Index: Mainstreaming ESG in the Australian Equities Market (Part 1)

The S&P/ASX Australian Index Series has played a significant role in characterizing the Australian equity market performance since its inception in April 2000. Since then, the S&P/ASX 200 has served as the foundation for benchmarks and index-based investing strategies from sectors to quality, value, and momentum factor approaches. Following the launch of the S&P 500® Read more […]

Capital Market Performance during the Five Years of Narendra Modi’s Government

The Narendra Modi government will soon complete its five years in power. With polling underway to elect the next government, India is in election mode. Everyone is discussing politics and predicting the election results. The backers of the current government claim that the return of Modi will provide stability and ensure development. On the other Read more […]

Little Churn in the Latest Low Volatility Rebalance

Market gains in the first four months in 2019 more than made up for what it lost in the turbulent last quarter of 2018 as the S&P 500 jumped 18%. Predictably enough, the S&P 500 Low Volatility Index® trailed the broader benchmark (up a “mere” 16% in the first four months), although Low Vol has Read more […]

Low Volatility and Minimum Volatility Are Not the Same

Global equities have been turbulent recently as a combination of stalled trade negotiations and announcements of tit-for-tat tariffs increased the prospect of a trade war between the U.S. and China.  After its historic start to the year, the S&P 500 is down 3.7% so far in May, while many other markets have also faltered month-to-date.  Read more […]

MMT or Why Budget Deficits are Ok If They Don’t Grow Too Fast

Economics used to be Political Economy. Today politics in encouraging economics to look at different ideas such as Modern Monetary Theory. MMT argues that a country which borrows in its own currency will never default: as long as the US sells bonds denominated in US dollars, it won’t matter how big the federal budget deficit Read more […]

Historic Start for U.S. Equities Continues into the Start of May

The S&P 500® was up 3.93% in April, marking the fourth consecutive month of gains. The YTD gain of 17.51% was the best since 1987 and the fifth-best in the entire history of the index. The index set a new all-time high in April, surpassing the previous high close from Sept. 20, 2018. This completed Read more […]

Buffetted Performance

Tomorrow, Warren Buffett and 30,000 of his closest friends will gather in Omaha for Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting.  The loyalty of long-term Berkshire shareholders is the stuff of legend, as is the investment performance that produced it.  $100 invested in Berkshire stock at the end of 1968 would have grown to more than $850,000 by Read more […]

Performance Trickery, part 2

Here is a 22-year history of a (hypothetical) actively-managed portfolio and its benchmark: Results have been decisively mediocre. The portfolio outperformed in only five years out of 22, for a hit rate of 22.7%. Its cumulative return (68.2%) lagged that of the benchmark (74.0%), and its volatility was higher (4.79% vs. 4.25%). The manager’s marketing department Read more […]

Year-End 2018 Canada SPIVA®: Challenging Three Active versus Passive Misconceptions

Our Year-End 2018 Canada SPIVA scorecard was released today.  In addition to showing that the majority of Canadian active equity managers failed to outperform their benchmarks, the scorecard’s results provide the opportunity to dispel some common misconceptions.  Here is a brief summary. 1) Higher volatility does not necessarily result in outperformance by active managers A Read more […]