23 Apr 2018

Retelling the Story of Concentration Risk

My wife and I were both very fortunate to have inherited some money. When we got married, almost 19 years ago, we found out that about 10 percent of our combined net worth was in General Electric (GE) stock. It was the largest position for both of us, actually. I received the stock when my grandfather died, which was right around the time that Jack Welch took over as the… Read More

12 Mar 2018

Busting Another Wall Street Myth

Over the last few months, I’ve read multiple articles making the claim that the correlation between stocks and bonds is shifting and that the new relationship will negatively impact portfolios. One recent Bloomberg article, titled ‘Easy Allocation Models ‘Doomed’ as Diversification Breaks Down’ really set me off and caused me to take a closer look at some of these claims. The thrust of the claim is that the recent negative… Read More

14 Aug 2017

Getting to Know Your Volatility

After a summer of historically low and realized volatility in the market, we finally saw a sharp spike in volatility as tensions rose between North Korea and the US last week. While the exact cause and timing behind the volatility could not have been predicted, we did know that the low levels of volatility would not continue forever. Whether or not volatility is back for a while, it is always… Read More

26 Jun 2017

Buying China

Quick – name the country with the second largest stock market in the world! Obviously, we know that the US has the largest stock market in the world.  But did you guess Japan, Great Britain or France?  Those are good guesses since they are the three largest developed markets in the world. Maybe you guess China, which is the fourth largest market in the world as measured by the weight… Read More

30 Jan 2017

A Quote to Consider from Sir John Templeton

I am continually amazed by the huge number of thoughtful and apropos quotes that concern investing.  I’ve been writing and editing our quarterly newsletter, Portfolio Insights, for more than 15 years and I can still find plenty of great quotes without too many repeats. While I enjoy a great quote, I can’t say that any of them rise to the level of being an investing philosophy to live by, except… Read More

17 Jan 2017

I am a Capitalist

Last week, I had a very enjoyable meeting with a valued client and long-time reader.  In the meeting, he said that I should publish some of my old Daily Insights now and again, something I plan to do from time to time when I don’t have an idea (like now) on periodic Throwback Thursdays.   The commentary below dates back to August, 2011, when stocks lost more than 15 percent… Read More

31 Oct 2016

Equity Risk Dominates Your Portfolio

When I describe ‘balance’ in a portfolio, here or in person, I am almost inevitably talking about an allocation that is somewhat evenly split between stocks and bonds.  I don’t have to specify that I am talking about how much money is in each allocation (forgetting for a moment all of the sub allocations). In recent years, however, some investment managers have pointed out that a portfolio that is evenly… Read More

3 Oct 2016

Two Lessons from the Third Quarter

Even though the first day of fall was on September 22nd this year, it’s only when we enter the fourth quarter that I start to think about the changing leaves, shorter days, corduroy pants, flannel sheets and raking the leaves. I do love summer, which I mentally compartmentalize into the third quarter and 2016’s was particularly enjoyable given the strong market performance across the board. The chart below includes the… Read More

12 Sep 2016

The End of Summer Break

The end of summer was notably quiet, but summer is over and judging from Friday’s market reaction, it appears that volatility may be back. The chart below shows the expected volatility priced in to options as measured by the Chicago Board of Exchange (CBOE) Volatility Index (VIX). You can see the volatility was high at the start of the year when we suffered a 10 percent correction.  Expected volatility cooled… Read More

19 Jul 2016

Turkey’s Failed Coup and Your Portfolio

Personally, I was a little surprised that stocks held up as well as they did yesterday after the failed coup in Turkey. Even though the political regime ultimately didn’t change, I thought that tanks rolling through the capitol would be enough to remind everyone that emerging markets (EM) are risky. Instead, the MSCI Emerging Markets index gained 0.26 percent and the two main ETFs that track EM stocks both gained 0.88 percent… Read More