Tag Archives: 2014

Dec 30, 2014

Myth Busted, Twice: Top 14 of 2014

Commodities are on track to post one of their worst years in history with the Dow Jones Commodity Index (DJCI) losing 17.3% and the S&P GSCI losing 32.1% through Dec. 29, 2014. According to the DJCI with data back to 1999, only 2001 and 2008 posted bigger losses, down 18.4% and 36.0%, respectively.  In the longer history of…

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Dec 29, 2014

How Hell Freezes Over

Between Christmas and New Year, the familiar roar of events turns staccato and the market is gently buffeted by meager trading volumes; the relentless pursuit of profit that agitates the flight of global capital is sedated.  The books are largely closed; the offices of major financial institutions are staffed by fragile acolytes bereft of their titans.  Decisions, if…

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Dec 17, 2014

Blood in the bourses of Moscow

Things are not all well with Russian equities.  The S&P Russia Broad Market Index has lost more than half its value in U.S. dollar terms since the summer.  There is figurative blood on the streets.  If we were to follow the example of the founding members of the Rothschild banking dynasty, we would be lending…

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Nov 25, 2014

A Santa Claus Rally? Yes, Virginia…

Theories that aim to predict stock market performance range from the complicated and impenetrable to the arcane and simply ridiculous.  But some are wonderfully clear: for example, December is usually a good month.  In the festive spirit, and not to be taken too seriously,  we’ve duly found that the evidence supports the existence of a “Santa Claus…

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Oct 15, 2014

The VIX is at a crossroads – mind the gap.

As you, dear patient reader, have no doubt noticed, volatility is back. The VIX® has reached levels not seen since the peak of the Eurozone crisis over two years ago. The exact reasons might be debatable, but either way October is living up to its perennial reputation as the cruelest month for equities. Source: CBOE Each time…

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Sep 10, 2014

Market Myopia

As investors, we necessarily rely on history.  How we analyse that history is particular to each investor – some will look for technical patterns, some at fundamental data, still others will build quantitative models.  But all of us need data, and history is our only source. We may have to rely on history; we don’t…

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Aug 5, 2014

Does active management work in Europe?

Academic arguments may well have “proven” the theoretical advantages of passive investing.  But theory is nothing without experiment; a comprehensive and impartial assessment of where and when active managers have delivered the promised “alpha” – or not – is a necessary and critical component of the debate. Our S&P Index Versus Active scorecard and associated…

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Jul 7, 2014

Why is the VIX so high?

No, our crack proofreading team didn’t muff the headline.  After several weeks of seemingly unanimous commentary about how investor complacency has resulted in VIX® levels that are “too low,” we want to ask the contrarian question.  Rather than being too low, why is the VIX so high? The question is germane because there has been…

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Jun 12, 2014

The Power of Blind Luck

This is a story about the power of randomness, and its application to investing. A good few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Bob “The Rock” Cooper. Bob, an otherwise unassuming sales manager from London, had just won the world championship in the princely sport of “Rock Paper Scissors”. Yes, there is such a…

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Jun 6, 2014

All things shall pass – a factoid

On February 27, 2007… The Dow dropped 416 points. Freddie Mac announced it would no longer buy subprime loans that have a “high likelihood” of borrowers not meeting monthly payments. The VIX rose over 7 points that day. It’s been above 11.15 ever since. Until about an hour ago.

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