2019 Q1 Quarterly Update

Global equity markets rebounded in the first quarter of 2019, and have now recovered almost all the losses they suffered in the last quarter of 2018.  Some have attributed market advances in the first quarter of 2019 to the decision of the Federal Open Market Committee to pause its “quantitative tightening” program, signaling Fed fund… Read more »

Anatomy of Portfolio Trading

No matter how carefully a portfolio coordinates with an investor’s objectives and risk tolerance, poorly conceived and executed trades can undercut its long-term success. Although intelligent trading is critical, most investors find it opaque. Confusion arises, in part, because the popular term ‘trader’ connotes someone who trades to maximize short-term profit and loss [P&L]. P&L-oriented… Read more »

What’s the Market Outlook for 2019?

Recently, the CFA Research Institute—a global association of investment professionals holding the Chartered Financial Analyst designation—offered the following observations from Joachim Klement, CFA: At the beginning of 2018, a survey of strategists working at major banks around the globe indicated that their median predicted return for the S&P 500 in 2018 was 10.3%. The realized… Read more »

Building Blocks Chart

The Building Blocks Chart is a pictorial depiction of the relative performance of asset classes over calendar-year periods. What’s the likelihood that last year’s winners will repeat? Should the investor avoid asset classes exhibiting recent poor performance? As the table illustrates, the relative performance of asset classes can shift dramatically from year to year. Investors… Read more »

Building Blocks Chart with Hypothetical 60/40 Portfolio

Our annually updated Asset Class Building Blocks Chart ranks the more important asset classes by their performance for each of the trailing 20 calendar years, with the best performing asset class for each year appearing at the top of its column, and the worst at the bottom. The chart includes the performance of a hypothetical… Read more »

The Risk Return Continuum

One way for an investor to find an asset allocation suitable to his risk tolerance is to track the behavior of a set of model portfolios. The investor considers the historical returns achieved by various diversified portfolios, each of which differs according to its percentage allocation to fixed income (bonds) versus equities (stocks). A low… Read more »

Diversification Through Time

Investors have two basic options. They can concentrate their portfolios – in, say, the S&P 500 or U.S. Treasuries, or real estate – or they diversify broadly over a weighted cross-section of global stocks, bonds and real estate. Which strategy is more likely to produce better long-terms results? Which strategy is less risky? To investigate… Read more »

2018 Q4 Quarterly Update

The markets gave us a reminder these past few months that they can and do decline, sometimes with little warning and astonishing rapidity. After more than nine years of fairly consistent upward movement, all major stock indices were in the red for both the fourth quarter and the year. Some of the popular indices whipsawed… Read more »

2019 Forecast: Predictions Will Be Wrong, Random or Worse

Each year, Barry Ritholtz writes one or more great columns on how well predictions made in the previous year panned out. Here is this year’s version: By Barry Ritholtz www.bloomberg.com December 7, 2018, 6:30 AM PST Every year, the prognosticators come out of hiding. You have to wonder why they bother, given their record. This… Read more »

What you need to know about RMDs

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) are annual withdrawals that owners of tax-deferred retirement accounts[1] must take once they reach age 70½.[2] Benjamin Franklin popularized the notion that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”; in exchange for allowing contributions and growth in tax-deferred accounts to escape taxation for so… Read more »