Five Questions: A Balanced Look at the Future of ETFs with Nate Geraci

The ETF landscape has been undergoing significant change in recent years. Although the lowest fee products and the largest providers continue to dominate, several new trends have the potential to shake things up in the coming years. Proponents of things like ESG think they will change the ETF space in major ways. And supporters of Direct Indexing think it has the potential to upend the ETF industry as a whole. But there have been many… Read More

The Hot “Quant” Industry is Suffering a Winter

The exciting frontier of quantitative investing, which has drawn huge inflows over the last ten years, is suffering a rough patch that is raising questions, according to an article in the Financial Times. The article reports that, according to Nomura, just 15 percent of quant mutual funds beat the US stock market last year, “a performance that trailed even behind traditional stock picking funds, which suffered their own poor run.” Nomura’s head of quantitative strategies,… Read More

Hindsight Capital’s Decade of Wins

A recent article in Bloomberg chronicles the past decade’s track record of a “mythical” hedge fund called Hindsight Capital LLC with a tongue-in-cheek account of its wildly successful trades. The article begins with an account of the “simple truths” grasped by Hindsight’s managers at the start of 2010: That the global economy would suffer “shock” so severe that inflation wouldn’t return. The Fed would not allow asset prices to fall. “The euro zone and its… Read More

CalPERS Fires Bulk of Equity Managers

The $380 billion California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest in the U.S., has fired most of its external equity managers, cutting their allocation from $33.6 billion to $5.5 billion. This according to a recent article in Chief Investment Officer. The news was reported in an October memo to CalPERS board members that noted only three of the 17 external equity managers survived the cuts and that the move is in response to the… Read More

New Link Between Stocks and Bonds reflects Change in Market

A pattern has emerged over the last decade in which value share performance has increased when the yield curve has steepened, a relationship that represents changes in investor behavior. This according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. The discovery has answered investor questions as to why in September, when the overall market was calm, value stocks rallied versus growth. “That correlation, nonexistent 10 years ago, has become more pronounced,” the article reports, “especially… Read More

Dead ETFs Cause for Celebration

The number of defunct ETFs hit 1,000 this year and should be considered “healthy and natural in a thriving—albeit brutal—market.” This according to a recent Bloomberg article. “On the practical side,” the article explains, “the victims are often thinly traded products that tend to have wider spreads.” More broadly, however the ETF market has evolved into a meritocracy– in contrast to mutual funds, “many of which have props to help them grow assets: distribution fees,… Read More

Markets Have Lost Their Cool, and Here’s Why

A recent bump in market volatility underscores “why investors should mistrust serene markets,” according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. On Wall Street, the article explains, market calm can result from “swarms of investors betting against volatility” rather than from organic factors reducing volatility such as improved trade relations and/or geopolitical calm. Earlier this month, the article reports that the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) hit an eight-week high after reaching its lowest… Read More

Charts that Scare Wall Street

A recent article in Bloomberg offers a compilation of what it calls “Wall Street’s chilling charts” that highlight ongoing concerns about high levels of corporate debt, volatile markets and the “ills in industrial sectors of the economy.” The charts are captioned by comments from industry professionals. Here is a sampling of the data and comments featured in the article: Quality: Jill Carey Hall of Bank of America Merrill Lynch says that quality has grown scarce… Read More

Small Caps Stall Amid Weaker Economic Data

Small cap stocks, which surged after President Trump’s election and through last summer, have stalled a economic data has weakened and investors have begun bracing for a possible recession. This according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. The asset class is generally considered “riskier in periods of stress and more prone to a pullback because of their inconsistent earnings, higher debt levels and lack of diversification in their business activities,” the article… Read More

Deep Dive into Value Performance

For the first in a three-part article series, Morningstar used its database to “dig into the current spell of underperformance for value funds” by analyzing the historical landscape, putting recent returns into a long-term context and examining allocation data. The article reports, “The September stock market swings saw value strategies stage their strongest monthly performance in years, but that wasn’t enough to affect the long-term trends.” The past three years, it explains, have been particularly… Read More