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The Guide to Happy Giving

The giving season is underway, with the holidays and year-end bearing down on us. So how can we transform one of the more stressful, and sometimes guilt-ridden, elements of the season into something more life-giving? Whether you’re giving to a family member, a friend or a cause, please consider the following four directives as a…

An Interesting Test of Market Efficiency

Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) is the world’s biggest state investor, trumping all other managed government retirement and sovereign wealth funds. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to spur the Japanese economy out of its two-decade-and-growing economic slump, known as Abenomics, has pushed the GPIF to plow more money into risky investments, aiming both to…

“Free Lunch” Investing Takes Time to Cook

As the director of research for The BAM Alliance, I’ve been getting lots of calls recently from investors questioning their international equity investments. This hasn’t been a surprise, as any time an asset class does poorly, a significant number of investors will question why they own that asset. One particular inquiry I received addressed the…

The Truth About Stock Prices

ETF

In the last few weeks, I’ve unpacked studies addressing both the nominal price illusion and the nominal price premium. So today I’ll answer a related question: Do nominal stock prices really matter? Because the level of a company’s stock price is arbitrary—it can be manipulated, for example, by firms via adjustments in the number of…

Low Priced Stocks No Bargain

ETF

As I wrote about last week, the absolute level of a firm’s stock price is arbitrary, as it can be easily manipulated by the firm through altering the number of shares outstanding (for example, by splitting the stock). Despite this obvious fact, the research into investor behavior has found a strong preference among individuals for…

Bottom-Up Works Best With Multiple Factors

ETF

CAPM was the first formal asset pricing model. Market beta was its sole factor. With the 1992 publication of their paper, “The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns,” Eugene Fama and Kenneth French introduced a new-and-improved three-factor model, adding size and value to market beta as factors that not only provided premiums, but helped further explain…

How Risk & Uncertainty Affect Returns

ETF

Asset pricing models imply that equity portfolios’ time-varying exposure to the market risk and uncertainty factors carries with it positive risk premiums. Turan Bali and Hao Zhou contribute to the body of literature on this topic through the study “Risk, Uncertainty, and Expected Returns,” which appeared in the June 2016 issue of the Journal of…

Cross Trading Boosts Mutual Funds Returns

ETF

The vast majority of financial trades take place in open and highly regulated markets. However, asset managers from mutual fund families sometimes offset their trades with affiliated funds in an internal market. Such cross-trading can allow fund families to shift performance from poorly performing funds to better performing funds, artificially inflating their returns. Research shows…

Beware Of The Low Price Illusion

ETF

The absolute level of a firm’s stock price is arbitrary, as it can be easily manipulated by altering the number of shares outstanding (for example, by splitting the stock). Despite this obvious fact, research into investor behavior has found a strong preference for low-priced stocks on the part of individual investors. For instance, research has…

Japan’s Pension Fund Trips On Active Mgmt

ETF

Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF) is the world’s biggest state investor, trumping all other managed government retirement and sovereign wealth funds. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to spur the Japanese economy out of its two-decade-and-growing economic slump, known as Abenomics, has pushed the GPIF to plow more money into risky investments, aiming both to…

Published Results Impact Future Results

ETF

Financial research has uncovered many relationships between investment factors and stock returns. For investors, an important question is whether the publication of this research can impact the future size of factor premiums. Asking this question is crucial on two fronts. First, if anomalies are the result of behavioral errors, or even investor preferences, and the…

Trend-Following Strategies Work

ETF

As an investment style, trend-following, also referred to as time-series momentum, has existed for quite some time. Time-series momentum examines the trend of an asset with respect to its own past performance. This is different from cross-sectional momentum, which compares the performance of an asset with respect to the performance of another asset. Academic research…

Some Alternatives to Big Banks and Their Record-High Fees

Fees are at an all-time high at the nation’s big banks, while the interest they pay is at an all-time low. Worse yet, evidence recently has come to light of the criminal abuse of a practice common among large banks since the fall of Glass-Steagall: cross-selling. Cross-selling is rooted in consumer research that large financial institutions tend…

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