Tag Archives: Equity

The Road Less Traveled

It is a truth universally acknowledged that liquidity is critical to market health; typically when liquidity falls, volatility rises.  The Financial Times recently cited claims that the increased use of passive investment vehicles had caused trading volumes in individual S&P 500 constituents to decline.  Should we be alarmed? In reality, the notion that single-stock traders Read more […]

Not Melting Yet

Despite the hovering cloud of geopolitical menace as we entered 2019, the U.S. equity market enjoyed an almost seamless rise through the first four months of the year. May’s retreat reacquainted investors with volatility and served as a reminder that the market is near all-time highs, having enjoyed a more or less sustained increase for Read more […]

Volatile but Not Necessarily Disastrous

In 2018, the S&P 500 declined for the first time in 10 years. The year’s 4% decline is obviously de minimis compared to 2008’s 37% plunge, though investors may feel it more keenly since the fourth quarter’s 14% decline erased what had been a profitable year.  Nonetheless, the risk landscape changed dramatically in 2018 compared Read more […]

Breaking Down Volatility

“Data! Data! Data!” he cried impatiently. “I can’t make bricks without clay.” – Sherlock Holmes (in “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches”) Despite yesterday’s hand wringing loss for equity markets— the S&P 500 dropped 3.3%—the index is still up 5.8% year to date 2018. Nevertheless, losing in one day a third of what the equity market Read more […]

No Longer Calm but Not Chaotic

Although market volatility has retreated somewhat since the spike in early February, it has remained elevated. In the last 30 trading sessions, the S&P 500 moved by more than 1% (in either direction) 14 times. VOLATILITY FOR S&P 500 (21-Day Rolling) Volatility manifests itself in both dispersion (a measure of the magnitude of differences among Read more […]

Vectors of Volatility

Risk is once again part of investors’ vocabulary. Through yesterday’s close, the S&P 500 lost a total of 6%, made all the more jarring by the practically straight line rise in most of 2018 prior to the losses. Volatility has, of course, ticked up, but in the context of the broader 27 year history, not Read more […]

2017…Among the Sleepiest of Years

If 2016 was unremarkable, 2017 was downright sleepy…at least as far as equity markets were concerned. In 2017, the S&P 500 notched the lowest level of volatility in 27 years. Both dispersion and correlations were among the lowest levels in the same period. This is in spite of a year that was far from lacking Read more […]

Rising Rates Arrive

Which of the figures below belong together?   It’s obvious, even if analogies aren’t your strong suit, that A is like C and B is like D.  A and C are not like B and D. The economic relevance of this simple visual exercise is this: At its March 2017 meeting, the Federal Open Market Read more […]

Valuations Are High but Dispersion Is Low

“Stocks Have Froth but No Bubble,” in today’s Wall Street Journal argues that while stocks are sitting at the highest valuations seen in many years, the market is not in a bubble.  Despite similarities to early 2000 by some measures, other distinguishing features of trading bubbles (such as high trading volume and high leverage) are Read more […]

Minimizing the Pain of Regret

There are many extraordinarily talented minds engineering optimal portfolios, objectives of which include maximizing return per unit of risk, among others.  The capital asset pricing model (CAPM) posited the market portfolio as optimal in the mean/variance sense, but over the years, this notion has been questioned.  CAPM, like the efficient markets hypothesis (EMH), will likely Read more […]