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Checking In With The ‘Gurudex’

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One of my favorite sayings about the market forecasts of so-called experts is from Jason Zweig, financial columnist for The Wall Street Journal: “Whenever some analyst seems to know what he’s talking about, remember that pigs will fly before he’ll ever release a full list of his past forecasts, including the bloopers.” You will almost…

‘Free Lunch’ Investing Takes Time To Cook

ETF

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…

Hedge Funds Fail Across Asset Classes

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Hedge funds began this year coming off their seventh-straight year of trailing U.S. stocks (as measured by the S&P 500 Index) by significant margins. What’s more, for the 10-year period ending 2015 (one that included the worst bear market in the post-Depression era), the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index managed to return just 0.1% a…

Is Momentum Really Dead?

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Earlier this week, we examined a study that sought to determine whether the publication of academics’ findings on the momentum factor have led to a disappearing premium. To review, Steven Dolvin and Bryan Foltice, authors of the 2016 study “Where Has the Trend Gone? An Update on Momentum Returns in the U.S. Stock Market,” found…

The Dangerous Educational Gap

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A large body of research on the behavior of individual investors has demonstrated that low levels of financial knowledge, in addition to biases in the selection and processing of information, drive suboptimal financial choices. Among the findings from the literature are: Men tend to be more financially literate than women, independent of country of residence,…

Consumer Loan Investing Comes Into Focus

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Online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending is emerging as a provider of credit to individuals as well as small businesses, with the potential to benefit borrowers (by reducing the high cost of bank credit, credit card debt and payday loans) and lenders (by providing opportunities to earn higher yields). A significant hurdle for investors, however, is the…

This Is What Makes Muni Bonds Attractive

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At one point near the end of July, using data from Bloomberg, the 10-year Treasury note was yielding 1.47% and 10-year AAA-rated municipals were yielding a virtually identical 1.46%. From a tax perspective, given their federal tax exemption (and for most residents buying their own state’s bonds, a local tax exemption as well) we would…

When Risk Offers No Rewards

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Idiosyncratic (also referred to as nonsystematic) risk is specific to a single asset or to a small group of assets. Idiosyncratic risk has little or no correlation with market risk. Therefore, it can be substantially mitigated or eliminated by sufficiently diversifying a portfolio. Because it can be mitigated, investors aren’t rewarded with higher expected returns…

Why Momentum Is Struggling

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Momentum is the tendency for assets that have performed well (poorly) in the recent past to continue to perform well (poorly) in the future, at least for a short period of time. Mark Carhart, in his 1997 study “On Persistence in Mutual Fund Performance,” was the first to use momentum, together with the three Fama-French…

Monetary Policy & Mutual Fund Flows

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The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve sets a target for the federal funds rate (FFR) in an effort to influence the money supply, and in turn the broader economy. This, along with more uncommon actions like quantitative easing, is monetary policy. In a world of efficient markets, all known information is…

‘Incredible Shrinking Alpha’ Continues

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Even though Wall Street tries to keep alive the debate about the merits of active versus passive investing, a clear trend has emerged over the last several decades in which investors are slowly but steadily abandoning the hope of outperformance that active management offers in favor of the certainty of earning market (not average) returns…

A Persistent Kind Of Momentum

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Time-series momentum examines the trend of an asset with respect to its own past performance. This is very different than cross-sectional momentum (often referred to as Carhart momentum), which compares the performance of an asset with respect to the performance of another asset. Ian D’Souza, Voraphat Srichanachaichok, George Jiaguo Wang and Chelsea Yaqiong Yao, who…

Trend Following Works Weakest After Crises

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Time-series momentum examines the trend of an asset with respect to its own past performance. This is different than cross-sectional momentum (often referred to as Carhart momentum), which compares the performance of an asset with respect to the performance of another asset. Research into time-series momentum has found it to be persistent across both time…

Ignore Forecasts—They’re Usually Wrong

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I have been quite surprised by the number of queries I’ve received recently from advisors and clients regarding the dire economic and market forecasts of Frank Porter Stansberry. So, I thought I would share my response. To begin, here’s the entry for him on Wikipedia: “Frank Porter Stansberry is an American financial publisher and author….

Explaining The ‘Disposition Effect’

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There is a large body of academic evidence demonstrating that individual investors are subject to the “disposition effect.” Those suffering from this phenomenon, which was initially described by Hersh Shefrin and Meir Statman in their 1985 paper, “The Disposition to Sell Winners Too Early and Ride Losers Too Long: Theory and Evidence,” tend to sell…

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