11 Jul 2022

Value’s Long and Winding Road

In a bear market like this one, when stocks are down -20 percent and bonds are down -10 percent, it’s hard to find good news. I learned a long time ago that in an up market, investors care about relative returns (earning 12 percent versus 10 percent, for example), but in a down market aren’t interested in that at all (losing, say, -8 percent instead of -10 percent). In both… Read More

25 Apr 2022

Now Showing on Netflix: A Cautionary Tale

Although earnings were reasonably good overall last week, there were some standouts both to the upside and downside. But the winner for biggest earnings news went to Netflix (ticker symbol: NFLX). The company reported earnings of $3.53 per share, which was well better than analyst expectations of $2.91 per share, and the company’s own guidance, which was for $2.86 per share. But Netflix also said that they had lost subscribers… 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

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

29 Apr 2019

Is Warren Buffett Worried?

You know the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting is coming up when every financial media outlet has a story on the company or its leader, businessman and investor extraordinaire, Warren Buffett. My favorite from the weekend was an article in The Financial Times that draws extensively from an interview with Buffett.  You can find the article here, but it may be behind a paywall. One of the points made in the… 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

11 Sep 2017

Cliff Asness Says, Fire Your Mechanic

This article was originally published on June 3, 2014.  In my humble opinion, it holds up well; although I am disappointed that value stocks still haven’t turned around more than three years later.  As much as I don’t like that fact, however, the central thesis of my article is that these strategies can underperform for long periods of time.  One of my favorite people in our industry is Cliff Asness,… Read More

22 May 2017

Quants and the Media

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) printed four articles in what appears to be a 17 article series on what they call ‘the quants.’  I was so excited to see these articles because I think you could fairly describe some of the strategies that we pursue as quantitative in nature. Unfortunately, I was turned off immediately.  The second paragraph of the first article talked about how the quants use ‘high… Read More

15 May 2017

Watching for Traps, Growth & Value

Last week was particularly tough on retailers thanks to a report that showed online spending increased 1.4 percent while it declined -0.50 percent for brick and mortar stores.  Department stores like Nordstrom’s and JC Penny both fell more than -10 percent on earnings and forward guidance news. Even though we don’t own either of these two retailers, we own others and the bad news made its way into the stocks… Read More

17 May 2016

PIMCO Shows that Discipline Can Pay Off

Lately, I’ve been interested in looking at strategies that have struggled in the past, in part because some of our strategies are struggling right now. Take value, for example, the strategy of buying cheap stocks with the idea that they outperform the overall market over time.  It’s a tried and true approach dating back to the 1930s, but the last year has been so rough that the 10-year track record… Read More