28 Feb 2022

The Market Response to Russian Invasion of Ukraine

It feels callous to discuss the market impact of the Russian invasion, amid the human tragedy of people fleeing their home country in the first land war in Europe since WWII. But this is a market newsletter, and the invasion, like previous geopolitical shocks, is having a material impact on markets. Perhaps the first thing to recognize about the Russian invasion is that it didn’t happen in isolation, meaning that… Read More

22 Feb 2022

Another Bond Market View of the Economy

A few weeks ago, I was in a meeting and someone said, “why talk so much about the bond market? Who cares?” Of course, we care about the bond market because 30 percent of the money that we invest is in bonds, so we are bound to keep track of it. And, as former bond traders, it feels natural. I understood the question, though, because the stock market is where… Read More

14 Feb 2022

Looking Forward, Value is Easier to Own

Even though value stocks have outperformed growth stocks this year by a solid margin, growth stocks are still running laps around value stocks when you look at the last five or ten years. The S&P 500 Value index, for example, was up 10.8 percent for the five years ending on Friday, and 12.0 percent for the last 10-years. While those returns are attractive in absolute terms, they are pretty paltry… Read More

7 Feb 2022

The S&P 500: An Increasingly Concentrated Bet

Over the weekend, I was looking at some research from JP Morgan that showed the percentage weight of the top ten stocks in the S&P 500 over time, and I admit that I was surprised. When we started Acropolis, 20-years ago in August, the top ten stocks made up about 24 percent of the index. I thought that was pretty high back then and was one of the reasons that… Read More

31 Jan 2022

Market Froth Turning Flat

Markets have been testing the Fed ever since Chair Powell indicated that rates are headed higher and their balance sheet will start shrinking. There’s nothing new about this. In the 1980s, then-Fed Chair Alan Greenspan responded to the stock market crash with monetary policy. Ever since then, markets have believed, with increasing strength, that the Fed would bail out the market. In fact, the phenomenon was given a name: the… Read More

24 Jan 2022

Big Bets Prove Costly

The stock market is suffering a setback, mostly due to the change in tone from the Federal Reserve. That isn’t the whole story, in my opinion, however, because I don’t think it fully explains why the worst returns have been in the hottest part of the market, as I outlined last week. Although I don’t have any particular evidence, I think that the selloff is related to deleveraging by hyper-aggressive… Read More

18 Jan 2022

Interest Rates & Tech Stocks

On the last day of last year, the 10-year US Treasury closed with a yield of 1.52 percent. As noted above, it closed last week with a yield of 1.78 percent, an upward change of 0.26 percent, or in percentage terms, 17.1 percent higher. Short-term rates have not changed much so far, but the Federal Reserve has indicated that short-term rates could be at or above one percent by the… Read More

11 Jan 2022

Portfolio Insights

We are pleased to provide a digital copy of Portfolio Insights, our quarterly newsletter. Table of Contents: Stock Market Summary Bond Market Review Visualizing Inflation The Big Picture Click here to read the issue: Q4 2021 Portfolio Insights

10 Jan 2022

The Fed’s Policy Pivot: Higher Rates Ahead

The big story last week was Federal Reserve’s hawkish tone. In fact, though, the Fed’s pivot started a few weeks ago, but last week solidified it through the release of the minutes from their December meeting. There are two key factors that investors are watching: what the Fed plans to do about their bond-buying program known as quantitative easing (QE) and their plans for short-term interest rates. Regarding short-term interest… Read More

3 Jan 2022

The S&P 500 Doubled in Three Years. Now What?

I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll repeat again what Carly Simon sang in her 1971 hit Anticipation: “These are the good old days.” WE now have 96-years of high-quality market data, and a quick look at the numbers showed a few interesting things: The nominal change in the S&P 500 was in the 92nd percentile of all rolling three-year returns. Inflation annualized at 3.6 percent during that time,… Read More