The Smart Beta Channel

Craftsmanship in Smart Beta

While somewhat at odds with today’s big-data, warp-speed approach to life and work, thoughtful craftsmanship—the product design and implementation elements that are tangible, measurable, and impactful—can create positive, persistent results in portfolio performance.

Gold and the Global Ticking Debt Bomb

Looking long-term, there are mounting risks involving debt that make gold appear very attractive right now as a safe haven and portfolio diversifier.

Earnings Growth Matched The Rapid Pace of Equity Appreciation in 2017

S&P sales grew 9% over the past year, the best growth in 6 years. Earnings rose 23%, the best growth in 7 years. Profit margins expanded to a new all-time high of 10.8%. Overall, corporate results in the fourth quarter were very good. Earnings during 2017, in fact, rose as much the SPX index itself. The outlook for 2018 appears to also be strong: the consensus expects earnings to grow as much as 18% this year.

Price Change of Long and Short VIX ETPs​

February 2018: A case study in VIX exposure

The Value of Short Volatility Strategies

The authors believe that with today’s heightened valuations across global equity markets, and volatility no longer cheap, now is a fitting time for investors to take a careful look at put writing strategies and consider swapping a portion of their traditional equity exposure for index put-writing. The piece concludes with a “Special Topic” dedicated to examining the recent VIX Blowup.

ECRI Weekly Leading Index Update: WLI Down Slightly from Last Week

Today's release of the publicly available data from ECRI puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 149.0, down 0.8 from the previous week. Year-over-year the four-week moving average of the indicator is now at 3.98%, down from 4.28% last week. The WLI Growth indicator is now at 7.5, down from the previous week.

Defined Contribution: Four Themes for 2018 and Beyond

In our view, the prospective low-return environment calls for a capital-efficient approach that pairs actively managed bonds with passive or enhanced equities in target-date, core and retirement-income allocations.

Inflationado? Muni Investors Should Seek Cover

US inflationary pressures are developing that could be destructive. Investors need to seek protection quickly. But how? For municipal investors, some inflation strategies fall short, leaving portfolios at risk.

Three Warning Signs for Commercial Real Estate and REITs

Forecasting the direction of real estate prices requires the same disciplined approach as for other goods and services. Here are three reasons why commercial real estate supply exceeds market demand, and the implications for your clients and their REIT investments.

The Counterargument: Why We Believe Giving up on Europe in Favor of the U.S. Is Wrong

We respectfully disagree with BlackRock’s stance on U.S. and European equities. Here’s why.

Q&A: Market Volatility Opens Opportunities in Asia

Matthews Asia CIO Robert Horrocks says current stock valuations favor Asia amid an increase in market volatility globally.

Kansas City Fed Survey: Solid Continued Growth in February

The latest index came in at 17, up slightly from last month's 16, which indicates that activity expanded in February. The future outlook increased to 38 from 29 last month. Here is a snapshot of the complete Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Survey.

The Four Horsemen of the Retirement Apocalypse

In biblical tradition, the four horsemen of the apocalypse are a quartet of immensely powerful entities personifying the four prime concepts – war, famine, pestilence and death – that drive the apocalypse. For today’s investors, the equivalent is historically high equity valuations, historically low bond yields, increasing longevity and, as a result, the increasing need for what can be very expensive long-term care.

Yes, Rates and Stocks Can Rise Together…. for Now

Think rising interest rates and higher stock prices are like oil and water? Think again, says Russ, at least for the time being.

Why Rising Rates Aren’t a Disaster for Bonds

Bond investors get anxious when rates rise suddenly, as Treasury yields have recently. But if your investment horizon is longer than a few months, rising rates are nothing to be afraid of.