29 Feb 2016

Applied Investment Rigor

Barron’s cover article this weekend featured AQR, one of the fund companies that we use.  You can find the article here, but a subscription is required. The article was great, really explaining the firm and many of their processes – so much so that one of the online commenters asked, ‘what is this, an ad?’ My only disappointment was that the article really highlighted their alternative mutual funds, strategies like managed futures… Read More

26 Feb 2016

Is Value Investing Dead?

Value stocks are undoubtedly having a tough time these days.  As I first wrote last November (click here for the article), value stocks are undergoing their worst period of underperformance since the tech bubble during the late 1990s. For the 10 years ending January 31st, the Russell 1000 Value index is up 7.03 percent compared to 7.92 percent for the Russell 1000 index of large cap stocks and 8.68 percent… Read More

25 Feb 2016

Another Year of the Bump

When I first took over Daily Insights, I wrote an article entitled ‘The Year of the Bump,’ which was about several of the Acropolitans that were having kids that year.  Unfortunately, I wrote that article before our current website, so it isn’t online, but I thought about that in a meeting today. We were visited by representatives from Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) and our primary contact said that he and… Read More

24 Feb 2016

An Unusual Energy IPO

I’ll bet that when you think of IPOs, or initial public offerings, you think of hot tech stocks like Facebook, Tesla or GoPro (granted, some of these stocks are a little less hot these days). I do too, so I was a little surprised to read in the Wall Street Journal that the biggest IPO this year is essentially a blank check for what is known as a Special Purpose… Read More

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23 Feb 2016

Time and Transparency

Today, we have a special Daily Insights courtesy of Michael Lissner: John Wanamaker, a man few of us have heard of, has impacted our lives and saved us time.  Wanamaker became a prominent Philadelphia retailer with a reputation for honesty and transparency.  He made his mark as a merchandising genius, as well as inventor. One great contribution he made was to save people time.  In particular, he wanted to save… Read More

16 Feb 2016

Fed Policy: From ZIRP to NIRP?

In the third quarter last year, I wrote at least two articles that used the acronym ZIRP, which stands for ‘zero interest rate policy.’  At the time, all of the conversation was about how the Fed was ending ZIRP with their first interest rate hike in seven years. Today is the two-month anniversary of the hike and the discussion has moved from ZIRP to NIRP, which stands for ‘negative interest… Read More

10 Feb 2016

Predictions are Really, Really Hard

Nearly as soon as we sent out yesterday’s Daily Insights where I said that the banking system is far less leveraged today than it was in 2008 (click here for the article), I saw this article in the New York Times: ‘As Worries Mount, European Banks Face Sell-Off More Savage Than 2008’ (click here for the article, though a subscription may be required). The article says that European banks are… Read More

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9 Feb 2016

Why This Isn’t Another 2008

In December of 2008, I went to a new client meeting and made a call: ‘I don’t think we are in a second Great Depression.’ With the benefit of hindsight, that doesn’t seem like much of a prediction, because we know after the fact that gross domestic product (GDP) only fell -4.3 percent during the 2008 global financial crisis, which is small compared to the estimated -15.0 percent decline in… Read More

5 Feb 2016

Interest Rates in Perspective

So far, 2016 has been full of surprises, but most of the attention has gone to wildly volatile oil and stock prices.  Less noticed, but equally important, has been the boost on bond prices, as seen by the dramatic fall in bond yields. The 10-year US Treasury note, the bellwether benchmark, started out the year yielding 2.27 percent, 10 basis points (a basis point is one hundredth of one percent)… Read More