4 Mar 2024

Trading to Win at Acropolis

Ten years ago, I wrote about a new book by one of my favorite authors, Michael Lewis, who went on 60 Minutes and declared that the market was rigged. Here’s what I wrote back then: The Market is Not Rigged. I knew that he was making outrageous claims to sell his book, but people were scared by his comments. The book in question, Flash Boys, was fun and interesting. It… Read More

3 Apr 2023

Successful Trading at Acropolis

For nine years now, Acropolis has hired a third party to evaluate the market impact of our trading. Whenever we talk to clients about rebalancing, tax-loss harvesting, raising cash for withdrawals, or putting new money to work, our traders work with the portfolio management teams to figure out what trades ought to occur and then the traders take those trades to market. Last year, our traders went to market almost… Read More

22 Feb 2021

Acropolis Trading Results

Outside of last week’s look at the state of the economy, most of these Insights of late have been about trading, mostly thanks to the bizarre price action of GameStop and normally obscure parts of the market, like SPACs (click here, here, or here to see these articles). Two weeks ago, the focus was on getting good ‘execution,’ which means getting good prices when we trade. Execution, and some of… Read More

14 Jan 2019

Is the Market Rigged?

When I was in college, I read Liar’s Poker, by Michael Lewis.  It’s the true story of Lewis’ job out of college on the trading floor at Soloman Brothers, the most powerful bond trading firm in the world at that time. Many of the characters like John Meriwether, Lewis Reneri, and John Thain are still staples of the financial media, but no one became more famous than Lewis himself. He’s… Read More

1 Mar 2016

The Inside Story on Trading Costs

Some things are easy to measure, like the internal costs of a mutual fund or exchange traded fund (ETF) or how much we spend in commissions at our custodian to buy or sell stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs. It’s much harder to measure the market impact of your trading, or how much you pay as a price-taker (like us) between the price to buy a security (the offer) and how… Read More

2 Sep 2015

Downside Protection That Doesn’t Protect

After reading my article last week (that can be found here) that discussed how we use limit orders to protect us from wild price fluctuations (among other reasons), one of my favorite readers wanted to know why we don’t use stop-loss orders. A stop-loss order is different from a market order, which says ‘do my trade at any price’ and a limit order, which says ‘do my order at a… Read More

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28 Aug 2015

When Trading Goes Haywire

In Tuesday’s Daily Insights, I described trading on Monday as chaotic.  Not only were stocks down sharply, and volume heavy (it was the second most active trading day in history with $630 billion in stocks traded) but many stocks behaved erratically and a number of exchange traded fund (ETFs) prices became wildly disconnected from the market value of their holdings. A quick primer: ETFs are like mutual funds in that… Read More

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1 Jun 2015

ETF Deathwatch

Not too long ago, someone sent me an advertisement for an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that tracks the global airline industry.  The ticker for the ETF is very cute: JETS. Personally, I think an index that tracks the airlines industry is nuts.  Although it can’t be attributed to anyone specifically, it’s been said that the airline industry, in its entire history, has never made any money. I don’t have the data… Read More

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6 May 2015

Celebrating Short-Sellers

Just 13 trading sessions ago on April 17th, the yield on the German 10-year government bond, or bund, fell to less than 0.05 percent. Given that a third of all non-US bonds issued worldwide had a negative yield, the question wasn’t whether the yield on bunds would go lower, but how far into negative territory they would go.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right tools to make a chart, so I’ve… Read More

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