The Factor-Based Investing Channel

Anticipating the Next Recession

In this issue, the Economics team looks at current recession risks in the U.S. and eurozone, and explores how rising oil prices will affect U.S. consumers.

Blockchain Will Completely Revolutionize How We Mine Gold and Precious Metals

This week I had the pleasure to attend Consensus 2018 in New York, the premiere gathering for the who’s who in blockchain, bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Attendance doubled from last year to an estimated 8,500 people, all of them packed in a Hilton built for only 3,000. Ticket sales alone pulled in a whopping $17 million, while event booths—the largest of which belonged to Microsoft and IBM—generated untold millions more.

S&P 500 Snapshot: Down 0.5% from Last Week

The S&P 500 dropped to start the week and recovered slightly by Friday. The index saw a loss of 0.54% from last Friday and 0.26% loss from yesterday. The index is up 0.64% YTD and is 5.57% below its record close.

Fixed-Income Outlook: Positioned for Choppier Waters

After several quarters of low volatility, tight spreads, and abundant liquidity, financial conditions are shifting.

Country Updates

Market updates from across the region.

ECRI Weekly Leading Index Update

This morning's release of the publicly available data from ECRI puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 148.7, down 0.6 from the previous week. Year-over-year the four-week moving average of the indicator is now at 3.80%, down from 3.87% last week. The WLI Growth indicator is now at 4.3, down from the previous week.

Treasuries Signaling Full-On Inflationary Boom in the US

Ten-year US treasury rates broke out this week on the back of news that looks unequivocally like an inflationary boom. Earlier in the week the Atlanta wage tracker ticked back up to 3.3% year over year. Wages moving higher, check. Oil prices broke above $71/barrel. Commodity prices higher, check.

Outlook May 2018

Market signals have been decidedly mixed thus far into the year. By this time a year ago, the S&P 500 had already returned 5%. Today, in early May, the S&P 500 is down fractionally, while volatility and bond yields are up.

Where Can We Beat the Market?

We closed yesterday’s post on whether markets are efficient with the conclusion that it could be possible to beat the market. But, to do so, we would need either better information or to view things differently—specifically referencing time horizons as one way to do that. Let’s start with a couple of areas where better information is a real possibility. Then, we’ll take a deeper look at the second idea, which is both more subtle and more interesting.

Markets Unfazed by Rising Risk of Populism in Italy…for Now

While Italy’s bond yields have risen, investors have so far reacted relatively calmly to the rising probability of a populist Italian government. Based on the fundamentals, the potential downside scenario looms larger than markets seem willing to consider.

Fund Managers' Current Asset Allocation

In the past 9 months, US equities have outperformed Europe by 6% and the rest the world by 5%. Despite this, fund managers remain underweight the US. US equities should continue to outperform their global peers on a relative basis. Fund managers' inflation expectations are near a 14 year high...

EM Country Rotation Based On A Stock Factor Model

With the rapid development of single country ETFs, capturing factor alpha at the country level may prove to be an efficient, practical alternative to individual stock selection. In this study, we look at how effectively our internally-developed EM stock selection model can guide country overweights/underweights. Back testing shows that stock-level factor alpha can indeed be captured at the country level.

The Known Unknowns of US Sanctions Against Iran

The sanctions against Iran reinstated by US President Donald Trump raise two all-important questions that have no convincing answers. But they also raise a third question, about which financial markets are likely to be wrong.

Am I the Only One Who Thinks Fee Compression is Hogwash?

Everyone keeps saying that advisor fees are on the decline. Hogwash!

This Oil Rally Could Have Much Further to Go

For more than a week now, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil has been trading north of $70 per barrel, a level we haven’t seen since November 2014. Gas prices are likewise trending up, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.