Tag Archives: low volatility

Bouncing Off Brexit

After yesterday’s record close for the S&P 500, memories of last month’s Brexit panic seem far away.  (In fact the U.K. referendum to leave the European Union took place only 19 days ago as of this writing.)  In the immediate aftermath of the referendum, global markets fell sharply, while low volatility indices mitigated the impact of the Read more […]

Indicizing Income

This morning’s Wall Street Journal described one aspect of the “Brave New World” occasioned by ultra-low (or negative) interest rates: Tellingly, strategists at Citigroup have created a basket of stocks for what they call “bond refugees”—investors who want yield but without the big swings in prices associated with equities. To do so, they looked for stocks Read more […]

Braced for Brexit

To say that global financial markets were surprised by results of the June 23rd Brexit referendum would be an understatement. Most market observers had anticipated a victory for Remain. When the Leave camp won, global financial markets reeled from the shock. Low volatility strategies are designed to attenuate returns in either direction, and as such, Read more […]

Low Vol: A little goes a long way

We’ve written at length of the many historical benefits of the low volatility anomaly. The S&P 500 Low Volatility Index selects the 100 least- volatile members of the S&P 500 index; lacking any sector constraints, the index seeks to provide pure exposure to the low volatility factor. In doing this, it has experienced a large tracking Read more […]

Making the Patient Sicker

Years ago, I saw a cartoon picturing two Victorian-era doctors discussing a patient.  “What did you prescribe for Jones’ rheumatism?” asked the first; the second answered “A cold bath and a brisk walk every morning.”  “Good God, man, that will give him pneumonia!” said the first.  “I know,” replied the second doctor, “I made my reputation curing that.” Somehow Read more […]

Details of the Two-Factor Model

After identifying value and low volatility as factors that can effectively explain the return and volatility of an investment-grade corporate bond portfolio, we proposed a two-factor model to capture the security selection process of active corporate bond managers. The underlying universe for our study is the S&P U.S Issued Investment Grade Corporate Bond Index from Read more […]

A Better Mousetrap: Smart Beta Offers Superior “Risk-On/Risk-Off” Relative-Strength Signals

Technicians frequently compare the performance of the S&P Consumer Discretionary sector with the Consumer Staples sector for guidance on the market’s “risk-on” or “risk-off” trend. When the more cyclical Consumer Discretionary sector, which contains such sub-industries as autos, homebuilding and retail, outperforms the more defensive Consumer Staples group, which includes food, beverage and tobacco firms, Read more […]

Understanding the Risk and Return Drivers of Smart Beta Strategies

Within the passive investment arena, smart beta strategies have witnessed a substantial growth in assets, and there is now a swathe of such strategies in the marketplace, many of which bear similar names and share similar objectives.  One may therefore expect that all these strategies are similar and that any differences would only elicit interest Read more […]

A Curious Incident

“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?” “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.” “The dog did nothing in the night-time.” “That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle, “Silver Blaze” (1892) Sometimes, as Holmes appreciated, what is missing is as interesting as Read more […]

Dreams to Sell

If there were dreams to sell, a poet asked, what would you buy?  Much more prosaically, if you could design your dream investment process, what would it look like? A simple way to think about the question is to separate success into two dimensions: frequency and magnitude.  Frequency means how often we “win” (i.e., how Read more […]