15 Mar 2021

Sensational Small-Caps

Over the last six months or so, small-cap stocks have enjoyed one of their strongest periods of relative performance in history. In the five months that ended in February, the S&P 500 is up 14.1 percent, which is a terrific return, but the S&P 600 Small-Cap index, is up 50.3 percent, which is tremendous. This month isn’t over, so it’s too soon to say for sure, but as of Friday,… Read More

17 Dec 2018

What’s Driving the Market Lower?

Stocks are suffering for two basic reasons: slowing global growth and tightening central bank policy.  While both of these rationales are true, they’re also very generic. Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to look at the big sectors driving the market performance and try to describe what’s happening in each one for a little more granularity. There are 11 sectors, and I won’t be discussing all of them, because… Read More

23 Jul 2018

Whither Value? Ask Warren Buffett

I feel as though I’ve written this article a few too many times: value investing is struggling. Pioneered by Warren Buffett’s mentor Benjamin Graham, value investing is the method of buying stocks inexpensively, with the hope that the current problems that’s causing the cheapness pass, and the stock will rebound sharply. Decades into Buffett’s illustrious career, finance academics found that the process of buying cheap stocks led to higher than… 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

4 Dec 2017

The Crazy Thing? Stocks Could Go Much Higher

Long time readers know that I’ve been cautious on US stocks for some time, calling them overvalued in 2014. Last year, I referred to a quote from Sir John Templeton, who famously said that ‘Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism and die in euphoria.’ I said then that I could see the rally continuing on for years but that we were probably moving from… Read More

22 Nov 2017

The Curve is Falling… The Curve is Falling!

The yield curve has been a very hot topic lately in the financial news media.  Multiple times a day, there are commentators pointing to the yield curve as a sign that markets are on the verge of imploding.  Is it time to panic? The Federal Reserve has continued to push short term rates higher throughout 2017.  Long term rates have responded by falling 10 bps.  This has led to a… Read More

29 Aug 2017

Forecasting Expected Returns

“Price is what you pay.  Value is what you get.”  -Warren Buffet How can investors know the value of an investment?  Bond yields remain very low and stocks continue to climb higher across the globe.  Using typical valuation measures, markets everywhere look very expensive.  However, investors continue to pour money into them, so they must see value.  The value of an investment is subject to an uncertain future, so how… 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

25 Aug 2016

Dow Falls 1,000 (One Year Later)

Last year at this time, deep fears about China’s economy caused US markets to drop sharply.  The Shanghai market -8.5 percent one day drop spread to our shores and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell -1,000 points in a single day. The week before, markets that had dropped by the massive one day plunge sent all of the stock market indexes into a correction, generally defined as a decline… Read More

5 Jul 2016

Why Did Stocks and Bonds Gain Last Week?

One of the interesting things about the stock rally last week is that bonds also rallied.  Over longer periods, stocks and bonds are lowly correlated, which means that they are generally independent from each other. Over very short periods, especially when there is a lot of activity, stocks and bonds are usually negatively correlated.  If you had told me that stocks would rebound sharply last week and gain 3.27 percent, which reversed most… Read More