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.
Interest rates continue their upward trend. In March, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) hiked the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to a target range of 1.5% to 1.75%, citing strength in the US labor market, a low unemployment rate and moderate economic growth.
We are positioning our ultra-short and short-term bond portfolios with the goal of not only navigating rising rates but also ultimately benefiting from them.
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.
Passive investing has been ridiculed by Wall Street for decades. The common theme is that indexing has become such a force that the market’s price discovery function is no longer working properly. Given the number of questions I get about this issue, one would think that passive investing is now dominating markets.
The Fed chairman makes clear the bar for slowing monetary tightening is higher nowadays, and argues emerging markets are much better positioned to handle higher U.S. yields than they were before.
Effective May 14, 2018, new regulations will be adopted aimed at increasing the transparency of bond pricing. The new rules require dealers of corporate, municipal and agency bonds to clearly disclose bond markups and provide retail investors with relevant price comparisons.
First Eagle’s Global Fund (SGENX) is its flagship fund, with over $55 billion in assets. As of April 30, 2018, since inception (1/1/79), the Fund has returned 13.15% annually, versus 9.67% for the MSCI World Index. Over the last 15 years, it has been in the top 2% of its peer group. I spoke with its managers, Matthew B. McLennan and Kimball Brooker, Jr., on May 1.
BackEnd Benchmarking produces The Robo Report™, which publishes a quarterly report on the digital advice industry. The report includes performance data on real accounts opened by BackEnd Benchmarking. Providing performance data allows for comparison across different digital advice platforms, helping investors make informed decisions when selecting a robo advice product.
For investors, adding some exposure to bitcoin would mean reducing their allocations to tried and true asset classes such as stocks, bonds, and cash—the building blocks for well-diversified portfolios that can help them meet their goals. With no cash flows and extreme volatility, the investment case for bitcoin is hardly compelling.