Beware of Binary Market Indicators

By Jack Forehand (@practicalquant) —   Whenever the market declines, the news is filled with information that can lead investors to panic. That is no surprise since doom and gloom sells. Even with the small pullback we have recently had (we can’t even call it a correction since the market hasn’t declined 10%), there has been no shortage of negative headlines and calls for impending doom. I have previously written about the dangers of letting these headlines… Read More

The Challenges of Market Cycle Timing

By Jack Forehand (@practicalquant) —   Everyone wants to follow the investing advice of market legends. After all, that level of success is typically not achieved by accident. Investors want to learn from their wisdom. They want to do what they do. In some cases that can be a slippery slope, though, and it is important to consider the advice of market legends in the context of your own personal situation. . Howard Marks’ new Book, Mastering… Read More

The Pitfalls of Back Testing

By Jack Forehand (@practicalquant) —   Active investment managers have a pretty dismal long-term record. Depending on which study you look at somewhere between 80% and 90% of managers underperform their benchmarks over the long-term net of fees. But what if I told you there was a way to turn those results upside down? What if there was a world where managers beat their benchmark 90% of the time? What if there was a world where managers… Read More

Could Simple be the New Complex?

By Jack Forehand (@practicalquant) —    Since I was twelve years old, I have been very active in competitive sailboat racing. It is a great respite from the world of managing quantitative investing portfolios that I exist in during the week. And it offers me an opportunity to be outside, work together with other people in a team, and stimulate my mind with the tactics and strategy that are involved. When I was younger, my experience with… Read More

The Benefits of the Other Side

By Jack Forehand (@practicalquant) —   Polarization has become the new thing. Everyone seems to have such strong opinions one way or the other on every issue that they just can’t see how the opposite opinion to their own is even possible. They can’t see how a rational human being could think differently than them. Obviously, the biggest place we currently see this is in politics. More and more political opinions are cast in stone and are… Read More

The Dangers of Headline Investing

By Jack Forehand (@practicalquant) —   It was November 2016. After improbably winning the Republican nomination, Donald Trump was a significant underdog in the general election. Almost every pundit gave him very little chance to win. For those of us who invest in the stock market, that was considered a very good thing. After all, the stock market hates uncertainty. The consensus view among market experts was that in the unlikely scenario that Trump did win, we… Read More

Knowing When Your Investment Process Has Failed

By Jack Forehand (@practicalquant) —   It is widely accepted in investing that process is more important than outcome. Investing strategies that have no long-term basis can work very well in the short-term, and strategies that have proven themselves over time can struggle for long periods of time. So the most readily available information to evaluate an investment process (short-term performance) is usually the least reliable. The balance of evaluating process vs. outcome is crucial to investing… Read More

The Double Edged Sword of Avoiding Value Traps

By Jack Forehand (@practicalquant) —   Value investing is full of pitfalls. It is easy to think that as a value investor all you need to do is buy cheap stocks and eventually the market will come around to your way of thinking, but that just isn’t the way things work in the real world. Many value stocks are cheap because they deserve to be. Some of them no longer have sustainable businesses, and as a result… Read More

If You Take Risk, Get Compensated for It

By Jack Forehand (@practicalquant) —   Investing can seem incredibly complex at times. With the rise of complicated computer-based strategies, more and more factors being discovered every day, and even more advanced techniques like machine learning rising to prominence, it can feel like investing is something that shouldn’t be attempted without a PhD. But underneath all that complexity are some very simple facts that have always held true historically and will continue to regardless of how complex… Read More

I Think, I Know, I Have No Idea

By Jack Forehand (@practicalquant) —   There are some areas of life where you can never have all the answers – no matter how much you know, how smart you are, or how good the school was you got from your degree from. Investing is one of those areas. As humans, we want to believe we can know everything. We want to believe if we work harder or read more, we can finally get to a place… Read More