Quality Can Deliver in Times of Rising Rates

By Chris Marx (pictured) and Kent Hargis As talk of an early Fed “tapering” triggered a sell-off in bonds, safe-haven equities have also suffered. Can low-volatility strategies survive rising rates and an unraveling of the safety trade, in which investors rushed headlong into safe assets no matter the cost? We say, yes—but you’ll need an [...]

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Managing Equity Risk: Some Rules for the Road

Under the surface of May’s strong equity returns were major shifts in sector leadership, notably a rotation from defensive to traditional cyclical sectors. Given the market’s tendency to change gears, it helps to be flexible in managing portfolio risk. In fact, it should be a daily exercise.

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Sector Distortions Can Be Costly in Passive Investing

Joseph G. Paul (pictured) and Kevin Simms Passive investing strategies that emulate an index have become increasingly popular. But passive investing can go awry when sector concentrations leave investors exposed to unintended risks.

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Cyclical Stocks Appeal After Defensive-Led Rally

This year’s equity market rally was initially led by defensive stocks, as macroeconomic concerns persisted despite improved risk appetite. With valuations in these sectors looking stretched and cyclically oriented stocks starting to rebound in May, is a bigger shift starting to unfold? 

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Japan and the Euphoric Volatility Trap

Michael DePalma (pictured) and Arnab Nilim When equity markets are buoyant and optimism abounds, fears of volatility tend to subside. But recent events in Japan remind us that euphoria itself can generate turbulence.

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Beware of the New Systemic Risk

Michael DePalma It felt like there was nowhere to hide from the market declines last Monday, April 15, when stocks, bonds and commodities fell in unison across the world, well before the Boston bombings that day. We believe that this failure of diversification was instigated by increasingly powerful multi-asset funds, many of which use leverage, [...]

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Is There a Silver Lining to the Gold Price Plunge?

It’s been a volatile week for gold prices, which tumbled by the most in 30 years. Although gold is still not obviously undervalued, we think the recent market moves make stock prices of gold miners look attractive when compared with prices of the precious metal. 

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US Stocks: Third Time’s the Charm

At 1550, the S&P 500 has regained the peak it reached in March of 2000 (when the tech bubble burst) and again in October of 2007 (before the credit crunch hit). But we think the third time’s the charm: We think the stock market still has room to rise because equities are now more attractively [...]

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Little Cyprus Sparks Big Contagion Fears

The situation in Cyprus is still very fluid and very serious—perhaps more so than in Greece last year. While the country may be too small to have a meaningful direct impact on the rest of the euro area, the big issue for markets is the potential for contagion to more systemically important countries.

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Don’t Be Afraid of European High Yield…
Be Selective

The European financial crisis continues to challenge high-yield investors. Some were wary of Europe’s issues and stepped away last year, only to see European bonds dominate through the unpredictability. Others want in now, but worry that they’ve missed the rally.

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