More by the Same Author
2013-12-03 Jeremy Siegel - The Market is 10% to 15% Undervalued by Robert Huebscher (Article)
According to Wharton’s Jeremy Siegel, ’the fair market value for the stocks today is 10% to 15% higher, and that might even be on the conservative side.’
2013-11-26 Why a Shrinking Deficit Means Lower Earnings by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Proponents of tax increases or government spending cutbacks will have to reckon with something they never anticipated: depressed corporate earnings that will reduce equity prices. As our government deficit shrinks - whether through sequestration or by any other means - so will corporate profits, the primary driver of equity prices.
2013-11-19 Research from Yale on Commodities by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Many would consider the practice of placing assets in a commodity fund to be speculation rather than investing. That perception was amplified by a recent Bloomberg article, which reported the dismal performance of many managed-futures funds and commodity-trading advisors (CTAs). Contrary to that image, Geert Rouwenhorst, a Yale University professor, claims he has found a way to construct a commodity-based fund that earns a significant premium over inflation.
2013-11-19 Howard Marks: Equities are Under-owned and Un-loved by Robert Huebscher (Article)
According to Oaktree’s Howard Marks, U.S. equities are ’under-owned and un-loved, and I like to buy assets like that.’
2013-11-12 Reflections on a Week in Cuba by Robert Huebscher (Article)
My recent one-week visit to Cuba revealed why our relationship with this island country – less than 100 miles off the coast of Florida – has been problematic for the U.S. for the last half-century. Once the Castro brothers are gone, the government of Cuba may change in dramatic ways. But such a transition would have to be accompanied by a change in U.S. policy to Cuba. Pictures from my trip are also provided.
2013-10-29 Can Financial Engineering Cure Cancer? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Securitization and the collateralized obligations it produced led to the financial crisis and the near-collapse of the financial markets. But financial engineering’s bad reputation could turn around. Andrew Lo, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and director of its Laboratory for Financial Engineering, thinks financial engineering can cure cancer.
2013-10-22 Bond Legend Dan Fuss on Rising Rates by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Having just celebrated his 80th birthday, Dan Fuss can claim a unique achievement – his tenure in the fixed income markets has spanned a full market cycle, from the great bear market that began in the early 1950s through the equally great bull market that commenced in 1981. Fuss said today’s environment most closely resembles what he confronted in the late 1950s, when long-term rates were 3% and beginning their march upwards.
2013-10-08 The Futility of the Endowment Model by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In the past two decades, the so-called endowment model has been adopted by hundreds of endowments, foundations and advisors – particularly those serving ultra-high-net-worth clients. By aggressively allocating to illiquid alternative asset classes, those investors hoped to duplicate the results of Yale and other top-tier institutions. New research exposes the futility of those efforts.
2013-09-24 Michael Aronstein’s Warning to Fund Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Fixed-income investors may think rising interest rates are their biggest worry. But bond funds face a new risk, driven by their need for liquidity to service investors’ daily redemptions, according to Michael Aronstein.
2013-09-17 Charles de Vaulx: “We Have Never Been as Cautiously Positioned” by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Charles de Vaulx is the chief investment officer and a portfolio manager at International Value Advisers. In this interview, he discusses his outlook for the market and the economy, and why his fund has never been as cautiously positioned as it is today.
2013-09-17 Gundlach – Where to Expect the Next Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Unless there is a crisis, don’t expect a major decline in interest rates, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. And if such a crisis occurs, Gundlach warned, it will most likely take place in this emerging market.
2013-09-03 The Hidden Risk in Gold by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Since their introduction a little over a decade ago, gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have accumulated more than $500 billion in assets. Investors’ most common rationale for owning gold is that it acts as a hedge against financial instability or a sudden shock to the markets, such as the 9/11 attacks. But what if the flow of assets into gold ETFs plays a greater role in the price of gold than do investors’ fears of instability? Is gold the hedge investors believe it to be?
2013-07-16 Herbert Huebscher (1926-2013) by Robert Huebscher (Article)
My dad passed away on July 8. My eulogy is below.
2013-07-02 Gundlach’s One-Word Explanation for June’s Decline by Robert Huebscher (Article)
According to Doubleline’s Jeffrey Gundlach, a single word explains the declines global capital markets experienced in June.
2013-06-18 GMO’s Montier on Why to Hold Cash by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Central bank policies have distorted markets to such a degree that investors are devoid of any buy-and-hold asset classes, according to James Montier. But according to Richard Bernstein, the flood of liquidity unleashed through quantitative easing (QE) now offers investors compelling opportunities.
2013-06-11 Gundlach – Don’t Sell Your Bonds by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Don’t sell your bonds just yet, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. Global economic growth is slowing, he said, and the U.S. will be competing for a larger slice of a shrinking worldwide pie. A weaker economy dims the prospects for higher interest rates. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield – currently 2.08% – will be 1.70% by the end of the year, according to Gundlach, providing profits for holders of long-term bonds.
2013-06-11 An Opportunity to Make a Contribution by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Our company’s CEO, Robert Huebscher, will be participating in a charity bicycle ride. Please consider a contribution to help fund research to improve treatment and find a cure for pancreatic cancer.
2013-06-04 Vincent Reinhart on Debt and Growth in the U.S. and Japan by Robert Huebscher (Article)
High debt levels translate to slower growth, according to Vincent Reinhart. That conclusion will be disheartening to those who jumped on the errors several University of Massachusetts scholars found last month in Carmen Reinhart (Vincent’s wife) and Ken Rogoff’s research. But Vincent Reinhart is the author, along with his wife and Rogoff, of a study published in 2012 that documented the degree to which high debt-to-GDP levels correlate with slower economic growth in developed countries.
2013-05-14 Is Kyle Bass Wrong About Japan? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
It’s standard practice for short sellers to kick dirt on their targets, and Kyle Bass is doing just that by asserting that Japan’s economy is on the verge of a financial crisis. In a talk on May 3, he said that Japan’s demise is imminent. So far, though, Bass has been wrong – and he has his detractors, who are far less certain of Japan’s destiny.
2013-05-14 David Rosenberg – My Love Affair with Bonds is Over by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The chorus of rate-spike-fearing inflationists has a new member. David Rosenberg, a stalwart advocate of fixed-income investing for the last quarter century, publicly declared on May 3 that his “love affair with the bond market has come to an end.” Prepare for a redux of 1970s stagflation, he said, and he advised investors how to construct portfolios to prepare for that scenario.
2013-05-14 Nouriel Roubini: Four Reasons Investors Should be Worried by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Despite a modest recovery from the nadir of the financial crisis, the global economy still faces tail risks, according to Nouriel Roubini. Roubini’s forecast is not as gloomy as the one that earned the moniker “Doctor Doom,” when he correctly predicted the housing market collapse and the ensuing global recession. But, in a talk May 1, he identified today’s biggest danger points in Europe, the U.S., China and geopolitics which he said threaten to destabilize the global economy.
2013-05-14 Mohamed El-Erian: The Three-Speed Global Economy by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The global economy is operating at three distinct speeds, according to Mohamed El-Erian, and investors need to understand the implications of the divergent paths that key countries are following. Japan and most European countries are going backward, he said, and could continue in that direction for decades. The U.S. is “healing,” but not quickly enough to get to “escape velocity.” Certain emerging markets, meanwhile, are adapting technology and innovation and are growing rapidly.
2013-05-07 Niall Ferguson: Four Reasons Why the U.S. is Failing by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Niall Ferguson is the champion of anti-Keynesian economists. Last week, he explained why America’s pursuit of Keynesian policies is leading to disastrous consequences.
2013-04-23 The New Challenges to Reinhart and Rogoff by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Advocates for debt reduction and austerity have had no more authoritative sources than Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff. But last week, these two professors had to defend claims that errors in their research – ranging from a typo in a spreadsheet to the failure to include data from New Zealand – invalidated their much-acclaimed findings.
2013-04-16 Michael Pettis - Can China Save Itself? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Most analysts predict China’s growth will slow; they disagree only as to the depth and timing of its eventual recession. A rare exception to that group is Michael Pettis. Pettis, who describes himself as a skeptic, believes China can rebalance its economy.
2013-04-09 John Hussman – Why Prospective Returns Are Low by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Monetary and fiscal policies have driven our economy into an unstable equilibrium, pushing investors into higher-yielding securities, according to John Hussman. But those higher yields are illusory, he said, because corporate profit margins are too high to be sustainable.
2013-03-26 How to Invest Like Buffett by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Listen to Jim Cramer or his cohorts on CNBC and you’ll hear statements like, “Don’t settle for the mediocre returns of a market index!” and “It’s not that hard for investors to pick stocks that will beat the market!” Unless you possess the skills of Warren Buffett, that’s not true. But in the book Think, Act and Invest Like Warren Buffett, Larry Swedroe says you indeed can invest like Buffett – just not by stock-picking.
2013-03-19 Paul Matlack from Delaware Investments on the Direction of the Bond Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Paul Matlack is senior vice president, senior portfolio manager and fixed income strategist for Delaware Investments. His firm oversees $145 billion in fixed-income strategies, and in this interview Matlack discusses his outlook for the economy and the bond market, and how advisors should be positioning client portfolios.
2013-03-12 Gundlach: Investors are asking the Wrong Question by Robert Huebscher (Article)
If you're trying to assess the Federal Reserve's so-called exit strategy from quantitative easing, then you're asking the wrong question, according to Doubleline's Jeffrey Gundlach. Quantitative easing is a permanent policy tool, he said, and investors should be asking what that means for their investment strategy.
2013-03-05 What Economists can Learn from Downton Abbey by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Economists warn that the U.S. economy could be heading toward one of two catastrophes: the two-decade long stagnation that has befallen Japan, or the hyperinflation that struck Zimbabwe and the Weimar Republic. Such cautionary tales alert policymakers to the failed efforts of their predecessors. But the most relevant comparison is rarely cited – to Great Britain in the 1920s, as depicted in the highly popular PBS series Downton Abbey.
2013-02-26 Five Ways to Improve Your Investing Decision Making by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Successful investing requires a contrarian mindset; anything else is, at best, a recipe for mediocrity. This is especially true for an investment committee, the core of an advisory firm's decision-making process. Five prominent advisors – Harold Evensky, John Hill, Steve Cassaday, Steve Kaye and Berk Nowak – are embracing unconventional approaches to ensure that their investment committees operate in the most effective ways possible.
2013-01-22 Wally Weitz on Value Investing in the Post-Crisis Era by Robert Huebscher (Article)
As the president and founder of Weitz Funds, Wally Weitz has spent nearly three decades putting his instinct for opportunity to work for shareholders. Influenced by the value-investing model of Benjamin Graham and Warren Buffett, Wally manages the Partners III Opportunity Fund (WPOPX), which has had an annual return of 10.85%, versus 6.23% for the S&P 500. In this interview, he discusses his investment methodology and how it has evolved since the financial crisis.
2013-01-15 Gundlach’s Predictions for 2013 by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Don't expect the low volatility that characterized the capital markets in 2012 to continue. Global economic uncertainty remains, and markets are poised like a 'coiled snake' to reward or penalize investors in certain asset classes, according to Jeffrey Gundlach.
2013-01-08 A New Year’s Message from the Publisher by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Advisor Perspectives just wrapped up a momentous year, and I'd like to share with you some of our accomplishments from 2012 as well as our plans for next year.
2013-01-02 Brian McMahon on Thornburg’s Investment Income Builder Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Brian McMahon is the chief executive officer and chief investment officer for Thornburg Investment Management, where he the co-portfolio manager for the $11.4 billion Thornburg Investment Income Builder Fund (TIBAX). The fund's goal is income production, and it has outperformed its benchmark, the Morningstar Moderate Target Risk, over the last ten years (10.87% versus 2.88%). In this interview, he offers his views on the economy and the markets, and how he has positioned his fund.
2012-12-27 The Ten Most-Read Articles in 2012 by Robert Huebscher (Article)
As is our custom, we conclude the year by reflecting on the 10 most-read articles over the past 12 months. In decreasing order, based on the number of unique readers, those are…
2012-12-27 The Ten Best Articles You Probably Missed by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Great articles don't always get the readership they deserve. We've posted the 10 most-widely read articles for the past year. Below are another 10 that you might have missed, but I believe merit reading.
2012-12-26 Gundlach's High-Conviction Investment Idea by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Count Jeffrey Gundlach among those who expect Japan's currency to collapse because it can't service its debt. Japan's challenges may parallel those that the US faces, and Gundlach feels strongly that they have created a compelling investment opportunity.
2012-12-18 Jeremy Siegel on 'Dow 15,000' by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeremy Siegel was one of very few individuals to have correctly predicted the strong performance of the equity markets over the last year. The Wharton professor and author of the renowned book, Stocks for the Long Run, forecasts continued strong performance for the year ahead.
2012-11-20 Kyle Bass on the Next Big Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)
If economics could be studied in a laboratory, scientists might concoct something like the circumstances now unfolding in Japan – and policymakers should be paying close attention. According to Kyle Bass, Japan's currency – and its bond market – are about to collapse under the weight of the country's unsustainable fiscal deficit.
2012-11-13 The Downside to Socially Responsible Investing by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Who wouldn't want a cleaner environment or a more just society? We can all agree these are worthy goals. But it's an established fact that pursuing them through one's investing is costly; environmental-, social- and governance-based investing (ESG) does fine on a gross basis, but loses money net of fees. Now, a recently published paper argues that that ESG is basically a waste of time.
2012-11-06 Lacy Hunt on Our Economic Future by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Last week I spoke with Lacy Hunt, an unequivocal advocate of deficit reduction. Hunt defended – as persuasively as few others can – the need to address our fiscal imbalances. But equally respected economists are advocating for the other extreme, and he shares some common ground with them.
2012-10-23 Chip Roame on the Next Big Problem by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The financial crisis decimated consumer wealth, and scandals such as J.P. Morgan's 'whale' and MF Global's collapse have plagued the investment industry. But the next challenge advisors and money managers face may be even worse.
2012-10-02 Confronting the Unemployment Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Policymakers seeking a path to economic recovery must first answer one crucial question: Is our persistently high unemployment structural or cyclical? If it's cyclical, then monetary and fiscal measures designed to boost consumer spending will restore the US to full employment in due course. But if we face a structural problem, then quick fixes won't work until we correct deeper imbalances that have left 12.5 million Americans without jobs.
2012-10-02 Woody Brock on Why to Own Stocks Now by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Dr. Horace 'Woody' Brock is the founder Strategic Economic Decisions and the author of American Gridlock. In a recent talk, he explained why investors should own stocks - particularly those with stable dividends - and why bonds are very risky in today's environment. This is the transcript; a video of this talk is also available.
2012-09-25 Jim Bianco – Markets Will Benefit From Disastrous Fed Policy by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The Fed's quantitative easing policy will be 'disastrous,' according to Jim Bianco, but prices for riskier assets will rise over the near term as a result. In remarks last week, Bianco, the head of the Chicago-based economic research firm that bears his name, also gave the US economy a near-failing grade of C-, and warned that inflation will be 'problematic.'
2012-09-25 Value Investing in a Macro-Driven Environment by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The GoodHaven Fund (GOODX) is managed by Larry Pitkowsky and Keith Trauner. For most of the previous decade, Larry and Keith held research, portfolio management, and executive positions with the Fairholme Fund. I spoke with them last week.
2012-09-18 Gundlach – The End of the Bond Bull Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Likening bullishness on Treasury bonds to a 'mass psychosis,' Jeffrey Gundlach made his strongest statement yet that interest rates are about to rise. In a conference call with investors last Tuesday, he said that the rate on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond could increase by 100 basis points by the end of the year.
2012-09-11 Can Our Retirement System be Fixed? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Google 'Teresa Ghilarducci' and you'll find countless references to her as the most dangerous woman in America. That dubious distinction stems from her 2008 book, When I'm Sixty-Four, in which she advocated replacing voluntary 401(k) plans with government-mandated savings accounts. Ghilarducci was attempting to address a problem that thus far has eluded solution, so it's important to consider her arguments, which have drawn praise from some quarters, too.
2012-07-17 Gundlach – Avoid Riskier Assets by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Since early this year, Jeffrey Gundlach has warned investors to avoid exposure to riskier assets – among them, equities, non-dollar-denominated securities and sovereign debt. Still reluctant to move to a more aggressive position, Gundlach said on Thursday that 'substantial opportunities await,' but they may be as much as a year away.
2012-06-26 Jeremy Grantham: US Stocks are Expensive and Bonds are Disgusting by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeremy Grantham, who has consistently identified overpricing in the US equity markets - he flagged both the Dot Com bubble and the irrational pricing that preceded the financial crisis, for instance - said last week that US stocks are 'a little expensive' and bonds are 'disgusting.' But his sternest warning to investors concerned the longer-term threat posed by global resource constraints.
2012-06-26 A Top Analyst: North America Heading to Energy Independence by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Ed Morse, a managing director of Citigroup Global Markets, said last week that by the end of this decade the US and Canada will have a surplus of oil, leaving it with 'no room for imports.' But the longer-term picture is far less certain, as extraction moves from conventional wells to newer sources, such as deepwater fields and shale-based oil.
2012-06-05 Our Five-Year Anniversary by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Last month marked the five-year anniversary of our publication. I would like to share some of our accomplishments from the past year and our goals for the next.
2012-05-29 Can Krugman Fix Our Economy? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Our economy faces depression-like conditions, according to Paul Krugman, in its alarmingly high unemployment rate. It needn’t be that way, though, Krugman says – a few simple steps could quickly solve our problems.
2012-05-29 A Way to Save for College by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Funding your child's education is perhaps the most important investment you will make, but unfortunately, the investment industry offers few helpful options. Conventional 529 plans are saddled with high fees and force participants to take on an inappropriate degree of risk, as I've written in the past. But a good alternative is now available for funding a private college education.
2012-05-22 David Rosenberg - I am not a Permabear by Robert Huebscher (Article)
While most sell-side analysts are correctly classified as permabulls, Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg has been branded as the opposite - a permabear. He rejects that label. He recently said he's indeed bullish - on bonds and income - and has been so for quite a while.
2012-05-22 Niall Ferguson - The West's Six Killer Apps by Robert Huebscher (Article)
For five centuries, the West dominated Eastern economies. But, beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the East has now caught up, according to Niall Ferguson. It did so by downloading six "killer apps."
2012-05-15 Lacy Hunt on Debt, Austerity and Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Global economies are experiencing unsustainable debt disequilibrium, according to Lacy Hunt. Economic textbooks preach that equilibrium, rather than transition, should be the predominant condition. But our attempts to reduce our indebtedness by taking on more – and less productive – debt are weakening our economy and creating unstable conditions.
2012-05-15 James Montier on the Failures of Modern Finance by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The seeds of the next crisis have already been sown, according to James Montier - and they are fundamental flaws buried deep within the current theory and practice of finance. Bad models were the root of the financial crisis, Montier said, and a slew of behavioral biases are reinforcing financial instability.
2012-05-08 Richard Bernstein: US Assets will Outperform over the Next Decade by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Prior to founding the firm that now bears his name, Richard Bernstein was the chief investment strategist at Merrill Lynch & Co. In this interview, he discusses why he expects US assets - both equities and fixed income - to be the outperformers among global markets over the next decade.
2012-05-08 Mohamed El-Erian and David McWilliams: The Key to Resolving Europe's Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Dealing with a crisis requires three things, according to Jack Welch, General Electric's former CEO. Define your reality - not as you would like it to be, but as it is. Do something about it. Then, third, acknowledge that the crisis wasn't half as difficult as you thought it was. Germany is the key player in Europe's crisis today, and it is still struggling to accurately define its reality.
2012-05-01 The Future of the Automobile by Robert Huebscher (Article)
If you hailed a cab in New York at the turn of the last century - say, around 1900 - it's likely that it would have been an electric car, built by the Electric Wagon Company of Philadelphia. The technology behind those taxis, which became the first electrified fleet in 1897, is likely to power the next generation of cars - sometime in this century.
2012-04-24 Gundlach - Two Dangers for Equity Markets by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Don't buy stocks – for real, this time. That was the message Jeffrey Gundlach delivered to investors last Tuesday.
2012-04-17 The Real Reason to Worry about Oil by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Few question the prevailing wisdom that tensions with Iran have caused the recent rise in oil prices. But another possibility exists - and it's a much greater long-term threat to economic growth.
2012-04-10 Paul Kasriel's Parting Thoughts on the Economy by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Paul Kasriel, the chief economist at Northern Trust, will retire at the end of this month. In this interview, he explains why he is optimistic about the prospects for the US economy and why supposed headwinds - from the price of oil to the housing market - pose much less of a threat than most people believe.
2012-03-27 GMO: Two Questions We Can't Answer by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Its reputation was built on stellar returns achieved with long-term bets on undervalued asset classes. Current market conditions, however, pose two unanswerable questions for GMO – leaving the firm with an uncertain strategy for its equities and fixed-income allocations.
2012-03-27 Jack Bogle: The Triumph of the Index Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jack Bogle has spent his career selling investors on virtues of index funds. In a talk last week, he spoke triumphantly, as if the battle is all but over.
2012-03-20 Bob Rodriguez on the Dangers in Today's Markets by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Bob Rodriguez is the managing partner and chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based First Pacific Advisors. In this interview, he discusses how the challenges faced by the US economy will impact the capital markets.
2012-03-06 The Biggest Celebrity Estate Planning Disasters by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The lives of socialite Brooke Astor and the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia may have had little in common, but what happened after both of their deaths is unfortunately similar. A look at the disastrous probate wars that engulfed them – and other celebrities – carries important lessons for all of us.
2012-02-28 Woody Brock on Healthcare Reform and Trade Relations with China by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Dr. Horace 'Woody' Brock is the founder Strategic Economic Decisions, an economic research and consulting service. In the second part of this two-part interview, he discusses his recently published book, American Gridlock, and focuses on how to fix two of our nation's most pressing problems: the crisis in health care - made worse by ObamaCare - and our trade relations with China.
2012-02-21 Woody Brock on Solving America's Fiscal Problems by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Dr. Horace 'Woody' Brock is the founder Strategic Economic Decisions, an economic research and consulting service. In this interview, he discusses his recently published book, American Gridlock, and how America can grow its economy through 'good' deficit spending.
2012-02-21 Gundlach: The Two Questions that Matter Most by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Two questions stand out amid the complexity of the current economic and market environment, according to Jeffrey Gundlach, both of which relate to critical elements of fiscal and monetary policy and should guide portfolio construction for investors.
2012-01-31 Lacy Hunt on the Roadblock to Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)
'The fundamental key to prosperity is not governmental financial transactions, or even private sector financial transactions,' according to Lacy Hunt, the widely respected economist at Hoisington Investment Management, with whom we spoke last week. 'The key to prosperity is the hard work and creativity of our individuals in businesses.'
2012-01-31 Why Target-Date Funds Fail by Robert Huebscher (Article)
New research explains why target-date funds have failed to meet investors' objectives. While most of the criticism has been directed to overly aggressive glide paths, that is merely a symptom of the underlying problem - the misalignment of incentives between investors and fund companies.
2012-01-24 Beyond Reinhart and Rogoff by Robert Huebscher (Article)
My article two weeks ago, The Misreading of Reinhart and Rogoff, elicited a number of challenges, both from those who argued that excessive debt imperils our economic growth and from those who claimed that my proposed solution was unworkable. Among those challengers was Lacy Hunt, who raised several valid concerns. I will explain why I disagree with Hunt and others, and why the dollar's position as the reserve currency increases our borrowing capacity. But our ability to borrow cannot be a license to spend unwisely, and I will conclude by expanding on the policy choices the US must pursue.
2012-01-17 Martin Wolf on the Eurozone and Beyond by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Martin Wolf is widely considered to be one of the world's most influential writers on economics. Since joining the Financial Times in 1987, where he is chief economics commentator, he has received numerous awards for excellence in financial journalism. In this interview, he discusses the Eurozone crisis and prospects for global economic growth.
2012-01-17 GMO: Something's Fishy in China by Robert Huebscher (Article)
A wide gulf separates the two most prominent views regarding China's future. Faced with slowing economic growth, one side says its leaders will deftly navigate a soft landing, while the other claims it will face an implosion similar to those that befell Japan 20 years ago and the US in 2008. Count GMO, a firm that has built its reputation on its ability to identify a bubble about to pop, in the latter camp.
2012-01-10 The Misreading of Reinhart and Rogoff by Robert Huebscher (Article)
If the cry for deficit reduction rests on an intellectual framework, it would be the work of Reinhart and Rogoff, whose book, This Time is Different, has been hailed for its historical study of financial crises. A key finding - that growth slows once the ratio of debt-to-GDP exceeds 90% - has been widely cited by those calling for decreased government spending. But those calling for deficit reduction have largely ignored a number of caveats that Reinhart and Rogoff gave with respect to their 90% threshold, and as a result many warn that the US faces a Greek-like sovereign-debt crisis.
2012-01-10 Gundlach on the Key Risk for Bond Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Watch out if you own a bond fund that underperformed its benchmark by 2% or more last year, as most did. Rather than put their careers at risk by suffering a second year of poor performance, those fund managers will turn to indexation, according to DoubleLine’s Jeffrey Gundlach. And since the Barclay’s Aggregate Index holds nearly 35% of its assets in Treasury bonds with near-zero yields, its investors will endure poor returns.
2011-12-27 The Ten Best Articles You Probably Missed by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Great articles don't always get the readership they deserve. Here are 10 articles that you might have missed, but I believe merit reading.
2011-12-27 The Ten Most-Read Articles in 2011 by Robert Huebscher (Article)
As is our custom, we conclude the year by reflecting on the 10 most-read articles over the past 12 months.
2011-12-27 Vitaliy Katsenelson on Krugman’s Missed Call by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Vitaliy Katsenelson is the chief investment officer at Investment Management Associates, a Denver-based money management firm, and the author of two highly acclaimed books on value investing. In this interview, he identifies what Paul Krugman failed to see with regard to China, discusses the prospects for the European and domestic economies, and explains why Microsoft is a grossly undervalued stock.
2011-12-20 Gundlach on the Key Threat to Global Economies by Robert Huebscher (Article)
If class warfare is to be the dominant theme in next year’s presidential campaign, it will revive the premise of Ernest Hemingway's 1937 novel, To Have and Have Not, which he wrote in the midst of the second downturn of the Great Depression. That was also the title Jeffrey Gundlach gave his conference call with investors last week, during which he warned that wealth inequality will threaten European and domestic economies. Last week also saw Morningstar pass over Gundlach as a candidate for its fixed-income manager of the year award, so we’ll look at whether that decision made sense.
2011-12-20 Dennis Gartman Explains His Call on Gold by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Dennis Gartman has been publishing his daily commentary, The Gartman Letter, since 1987. He's been in the news lately because of a call he made last week on the price of gold. In this interview, he discusses the reasons behind that forecast.
2011-12-13 Can this be Serious? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Of the hundreds of investment books that we are asked to review, a recent one stood out for its utter audacity: '401(k) Day Trading: The Art of Cashing in on a Shaky Market in Minutes a Day,' by Richard Schmitt. The premise of this book is as preposterous as its title. But it raised two important questions, meriting this review.
2011-12-06 Why Shiller and Soros May Be Wrong about Farmland Investing by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Earlier this year, Yale's Robert Shiller identified farmland as an asset class in the early stage of bubble formation. George Soros, Jim Grant and Jim Rogers have espoused similarly bullish views. But advisors - even those managing the assets of very wealthy clients - shouldn't bet the farm on these expert forecasts just yet.
2011-11-29 Jeremy Siegel on Why Stocks are 'Extremely Attractive' by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeremy Siegel is the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His book, Stocks for the Long Run, now in its fourth edition, is widely recognized as one of the best books on investing. We spoke to him last week about equity valuations and the prospects for the economy.
2011-11-22 Krugman versus Summers – Will the US mirror Japan? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Larry Summers and Paul Krugman may share ideological leanings, but they disagree sharply about our economic prospects. Both agree that political gridlock is responsible for the failure to grow our economy, but is that impasse is so severe that the US is destined to endure the slow growth, high unemployment and deflation that has plagued Japan for the last two decades? It depends who you ask.
2011-11-22 Morningstar’s Attempt to Predict Performance by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Few question that skillful mutual fund managers exist, but virtually all attempts to identify them ex ante have failed. Last week, Morningstar took up the challenge with its Analyst Ratings, which aim to identify funds with the 'long-term potential for superior risk-adjusted performance.' Given the futility of such efforts over the last several decades, advisors should approach this new effort with skepticism.
2011-11-22 Investment Trends in the Financial Advisory Profession by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Advisors are optimistic about the returns Treasury bonds will provide over the next decade, but they are less sanguine about the projected performance of US equities. Their inflation expectations are consistent with the historical data. These findings and many others arise from our study, Investment Trends in the Financial Advisory Space: Key Implications for the Investment Management Industry, a research report now available from Advisor Perspectives.
2011-11-15 Michael Aronstein on Today's Key Macro Trends by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Michael Aronstein is the president and chief executive officer of Marketfield Asset Management. Since its inception in 2008, his fund has returned 31% while the S&P has been down 15%. I spoke with him about the key macroeconomic and strategic issues facing investors today.
2011-11-15 A Strategy with a 25-year Record of 25% Returns by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Indiana-based SBAuer Funds launched its inaugural mutual fund in December of 2007, after having established a successful track record with a separately managed account business. I spoke with Bob Auer, who has employed the same stock selection system used by the fund for the last 25 years, over which time returns have averaged 25% annually.
2011-11-08 Bill Gross' Revised Paradigm: The New Normal Minus by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Following the financial crisis of 2008, PIMCO articulated its 'new normal' forecast of slow growth and mediocre capital market returns. Appending the even drearier modifier 'minus' to that outlook, Bill Gross said that expectations now appear worse than even he previously feared. Gross was pessimistic in both the near and long terms, and he startled the audience with his premonition that 'capitalism is at risk.'
2011-11-08 Politics, Taxes and the Markets by Robert Huebscher (Article)
One of the most engaging speakers at last week's Schwab IMPACT conference was Andy Friedman, who offered some provocative predictions about next year's elections and what we can expect from the deficit super committee.
2011-11-01 A Better Way to do Financial Planning by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Simplicity is dangerous when it comes to financial planning. Easy-to-use tools that project your retirement savings based on minimal inputs such as your income and savings rate amount to a “bait-and-switch,” according to Larry Kotlikoff, a Boston University professor of economics. To properly prepare for retirement, one should focus on maintaining a constant standard of living throughout their life – what economists call consumption smoothing.
2011-10-25 A Jeopardy Champion and our Economic Future by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Several years ago, a group of IBM scientists watched the television quiz show Jeopardy at a local bar and decided that they could develop the technology to beat a human contestant. They succeeded, and the system they built, Watson, is situated at the leading edge of a wave of breakthroughs in artificial intelligence that will lower health care costs and accelerate economic growth.
2011-10-25 Residential Housing: The Problem and the Solution by Robert Huebscher (Article)
If arresting the decline in residential housing prices is a precondition to a broader economic recovery, then the prospects of a double-dip recessions are more likely. Over the next year home prices will decline 5% to 7%, according to Laurie Goodman. She identified two key policy initiatives that would break what she termed an ongoing 'death spiral' in the housing market.
2011-10-18 Gundlach: Markets Aren’t Cheap Enough Yet by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Prices for risky assets are straddling the extremes of two potential outcomes. A 'hurricane' may hit, in the form of a blow-up in Europe or a move to put the US federal government on an austerity program, driving prices lower. Or world economies will plod along, in which case optimistic pricing makes sense. But prices should be 'truly cheap' against those parallel problems, according to Jeffrey Gundlach, and that is not yet the case.
2011-10-18 Dan Fuss on the Liquidity Problem in the Bond Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Each morning, the traders at Loomis Sayles' bond desk rate the degree of liquidity in the bond market, with a rating of one being the worst and 10 the best. Ratings of one or two – as corporate bonds have been receiving of late – are an ominous sign, according to Dan Fuss. 'Liquidity is the God of the markets,' Fuss said, adding that he expects to deal with illiquidity for a while.
2011-10-18 How to Fix Our Dysfunctional Tax Code by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Give an economist a clean slate, unencumbered by political ideology or allegiance, and charge him or her with designing an ideal tax system. What emerges will look nothing like the dysfunctional personal and corporate tax codes now administered by the IRS. Instead, it could resemble Larry Kotlikoff's 'purple tax plan,' one of five economic reform plans he designed to appeal to both Democrats and Republicans alike.
2011-09-20 Counterparty Risk in Large Total-Return Funds by Robert Huebscher (Article)
We can add another to the list of concerns facing advisors: counterparty risk – a potential loss from the failure of a bank or broker-dealer. Underscoring this threat, DoubleLine's founder and chief investment officer, Jeffrey Gundlach, recently warned advisors to avoid all funds with counterparty risk. Heeding his warning, however, is not easy; it is virtually impossible to gauge the extent of counterparty risk in most funds.
2011-08-23 The Simplest, Safest Withdrawal Strategy by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Few financial planning topics have garnered as much attention as safe withdrawal rates, but a key question remains unanswered: Can retirees sustain a 4% withdrawal rate with minimal risk? With the recent introduction of 30-year TIPS, the answer is now yes.
2011-08-23 A Fundamental Investment Strategy for Today's Environment by Robert Huebscher (Article)
We spoke with Tim Hartch and Michael Keller, who are co-managers of the Morningstar 5-star BBH Core Select Fund (BBTEX) from Brown Brothers Harriman. The fund's strategy is strictly bottom-up, with investments in established, cash-generative businesses that are leading providers of essential products and services with strong management teams and loyal customers.
2011-08-16 Gundlach - 'The Cusp of a Global Banking Panic' by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Don't interpret last week's volatility as merely a reaction to S&P's downgrade of US Treasury debt, according to Doubleline founder and chief investment officer Jeffrey Gundlach. Investors are actually fearful of a global banking crisis, he said, because many countries face a perilous choice - defaulting on their sovereign debt or inflating their way out of trouble.
2011-08-02 A Winning Endgame by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Reducing our nation's debt burden is no longer only the rallying cry of Tea Partiers and fiscal conservatives. As the debate over the debt ceiling proved, it is now the goal of the president and many fellow Democrats. John Mauldin and Jonathan Tepper's book, Endgame, published earlier this year, makes a compelling argument as to why reducing the deficit is so critical and why we face a long, slow and ultimately painful period of deleveraging. I will explain their thesis and then provide the counterargument.
2011-07-26 Income Opportunities in Municipal Bonds and Stocks by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In this interview, Brian McMahon and Chris Ryon of Thornburg Investment Management assess the opportunities for income-oriented investors, particularly in the municipal bond market. They answer questions such as when a separate account is better than a fund, and why a barbell is inferior to a laddered portfolio.
2011-07-19 Gundlach: A Debt Ceiling Impasse Could Drive Rates Lower by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Failing to raise the debt ceiling would be a 'huge financial calamity,' according to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the general consensus view. But that opinion is 'exactly wrong,' at least as far as the Treasury market is concerned, DoubleLine's Jeffrey Gundlach said in a conference call with investors last Tuesday.
2011-07-12 Harold Evensky on the New Rules for Wealth Management by Robert Huebscher (Article)
If you don't have a copy of The New Wealth Management on your bookshelf, you should. From gauging the risk tolerance of your clients to measuring the performance of their portfolios, this book provides comprehensive guidance for virtually every aspect of a financial advisory practice. Harold Evensky, the lead author, spoke with me last week and highlighted some key themes in the newly released second edition.
2011-06-21 Investing Based on Jeremy Grantham's Forecast for Diminishing Resources by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In his most recent commentary, Jeremy Grantham became one of the first mainstream investment professionals to publicly forecast a world economy threatened by diminishing natural resources. A survey of our readers showed that an overwhelming majority agree with Grantham's views. But constructing a portfolio positioned to capitalize on those themes is exceedingly difficult.
2011-06-07 New Challenges for the Endowment Model by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The multi-billion dollar endowments of elite institutions like Harvard, Yale, and Princeton are supposed to never be strapped for cash, but that's not how things played out during the financial crisis, when all those schools and many others were forced to raise liquidity under adverse market conditions. The endowment model, despite those failures, is still basically sound, according to Luis Viceira, but it needs several key improvements before institutions and individuals can rely on it.
2011-05-31 Fantasy-world Returns for Equity Indexed Annuities by Robert Huebscher (Article)
When research fails to meet the basic standards of academic rigor, its conclusions should be questioned. One such case is a recent paper, Real-World Index Annuity Returns, whose conclusions you should trust at your own risk.
2011-05-31 Our Four-Year Anniversary by Robert Huebscher (Article)
This month Advisor Perspectives marks four years of publication, and I’d like to share with you some of our accomplishments over the last year and our goals for the future.
2011-05-24 Robert Shiller: I'm Betting the Farm by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Yale's Robert Shiller, the economist who foresaw the implosions of the tech bubble in 2000 and the housing market in 2007, is now closely watching a different asset class. This time, however, it is one that is in an early stage of bubble formation, not of collapse.
2011-05-24 A Washington Forecast for Advisors and Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Only entitlement reform can bridge the federal deficit, and your clients should prepare for changes to Medicare and Social Security, according to Andy Friedman. Cost-sharing and means-testing are among the big changes that Friedman sees on the horizon. Don't expect much progress in the near term, though, as Friedman forecast continued gridlock on the budget at least until the 2012 elections are decided.
2011-05-17 Dylan Grice on Japan's Coming Hyperinflation by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The Japanese scenario haunts US policy makers, who recall that country's two-decade miasma of lethargic growth and escalating fiscal deficits with apprehension. What scares them most, perhaps, is the potential endgame Japan now faces: an insolvent government crippled by uncontrollable inflation. While Japan's current situation closely parallels the experience of other countries that went on to confront hyperinflation, according to Dylan Grice, we shouldn't expect a crisis in the near term.
2011-05-17 Pippa Malmgren on Inflation and its Geopolitical Impact by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The Cold War may have been over for a quarter century, but the inflation-driven challenges that characterized that historical era are heating back up. Today, global volatility is back, according to Pippa Malmgren, who says that commodity-driven inflation will lead to political instability in emerging markets.
2011-05-10 Howard Marks on the Human Side of Investing by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Howard Marks is widely regarded for his thought-provoking essays on the discipline and process of value investing. He is the chairman and co-founder of California-based Oaktree Capital, and he delivered the keynote address at the Value Investing Congress in Pasadena last week.
2011-05-10 Howard Marks on the Human Side of Investing-Q & A by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Howard Marks is widely regarded for his thought-provoking essays on the discipline and process of value investing. He is the chairman and co-founder of California-based Oaktree Capital, and he delivered the keynote address at the Value Investing Congress in Pasadena last week. Here are excerpts from the Q&A.
2011-05-03 My Breakfast with Dave by Robert Huebscher (Article)
A month ago, one of the most closely followed market observers, Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg, moved his Breakfast with Dave commentaries behind a pay-wall, ending an era of free access to his insights. Last Friday, however, he presented his views publicly to an audience of 500 advisors and investors, your author included.
2011-05-03 Gary Shilling - Five Things that can Derail the Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Die-hard deflationists - those who foresee a continued bull market in bonds - are so few in number these days they could all share an elevator, according to Gary Shilling. One is Gluskin Sheff's David Rosenberg, whose views are considered elsewhere in this issue. But the loudest such voice belongs to Shilling himself, who has advocated for a long position in Treasury bonds continuously since 1980, a stance that has always proved prescient so far.
2011-05-03 Martin Barnes - How Safe is the Equity Market? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
When members of the Federal Reserve Board seek counsel on tough issues, one of the economists to whom they turn first is Martin Barnes. Speaking publicly last week, Barnes addressed two themes in the US economy and markets: the potential for a sustained bear market in equities and the likelihood of higher taxes. These two distinct questions are both critically important to investors.
2011-04-19 Gundlach: Treasuries will Rally When QE2 Ends by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The bonds that PIMCO's Bill Gross sold to take a 3% short position in the Treasury market may have found a buyer in Doubleline's Jeffrey Gundlach. In a conference call with investors last week, Gundlach said that Treasury prices would rise in the near term, once QE2 expires on June 30.
2011-04-12 Ten Trends that will Reshape the Fund Industry by Robert Huebscher (Article)
For advisors scouring among thousands of mutual funds, bargains and inefficiencies will be harder to find in coming years. Intense competition among funds for shelf space will not translate to lower fees, and the new class of broad asset allocation funds is unlikely to live up to its marketing promises. Those were among the surprising forecasts from Geoff Bobroff, with whom I met last week.
2011-04-12 A Top Value Manager Looks Outside the US by Robert Huebscher (Article)
David Winters, manager of the Wintergreen Fund, began his career working for Max Heine, where Seth Klarman and Michael Price also worked. In this interview, Winter discusses the why he believes many of today's best opportunities are outside the US and how he is hedging against the threat of inflation.
2011-03-29 GMO's Market Outlook: 'Disappointingly Overvalued' by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Opportunities across US and foreign assets classes are unattractive, according to Ben Inker, the head of asset allocation at the Boston-based global money manager Grantham, Mayo, van Otterloo & Co. (GMO). Neither the equity nor fixed income markets hold the potential for investors to earn acceptable inflation-adjusted returns, Inker said.
2011-03-29 Inflation versus Deflation: Two Experts Disagree by Robert Huebscher (Article)
An important question for all investors is whether low inflation rates will persist or whether the economy is heading toward much higher inflation. The answer to that question will dictate asset class allocations, portfolio construction and ultimately the rates of return investors should expect.
2011-03-22 Gundlach Sets the Record Straight by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeffrey Gundlach corrects two inaccuracies in a recent interview that appeared in Barron's, and offers his assessments of valuations for the Japanese markets, municipal bonds and high-yield bonds.
2011-03-15 Mason Hawkins and Staley Cates on Today’s Opportunities for Value Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Southeastern Asset Management's Mason Hawkins and Staley Cates, two of today's most respected value investors, discuss their portfolio and the principles behind their Graham and Dodd methodology. They explain why they like certain commodity-based companies and why they disagree with Bruce Berkowitz on the opportunities in the financial sector.
2011-03-08 Ed Hyman: The Key Threat to Economy Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Ed Hyman is not worried about China, quantitative easing or fiscal deficits. Equity market performance this year will be strong, he predicts, and the US economic recovery will proceed. But there is a caveat in his outlook – and it is an immense one.
2011-03-08 Five Strategies for Older Clients by Robert Huebscher (Article)
What do a woman who volunteered with the Peace Corps in Africa, a teacher from Spanish Harlem who took up Samurai sword fighting, and a former IT manager who earned a medical degree at age 76 have in common? They are all part of a group that David Monday calls 'second-half champions.' Monday offers a five-part plan for building a practice that caters to today’s reinvigorated seniors.
2011-03-01 Understanding Variable Annuities with GMWBs by Robert Huebscher (Article)
It's very tempting: a variable annuity with minimum lifetime payout that can increase - but never decrease - based on market performance. That temptation comes in the form of an increasingly popular variable annuity rider known as a guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit. We explain the flaws in a widely publicized study by Morningstar/Ibbotson, and provide our own analysis of the product.
2011-02-22 Bruce Berkowitz on the Exceptional Value in the Financial Sector by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Fairholme's Bruce Berkowtiz, US stock-fund manager of the decade, discusses his large position in the financial sector and why he believes the big bets he is making do not amount to Russian roulette. He also comments on his recent nomination of former Florida Governor Charlie Crist to the board of St. Joes.
2011-02-22 Toward an Understanding of Risk - Part 2 by Robert Huebscher (Article)
How should clients think about risk in their portfolios? Advisor Perspectives put that question to a cross-section of prominent advisors and academics. Their answers encompassed diverse opinions and underscored how crucial that question is to the investment process. In part one of this series, which appeared last week, we heard from seven practitioners in the financial planning community. This week, we hear from seven well-known academics, including two Nobel Prize winners.
2011-02-15 Toward an Understanding of Risk by Robert Huebscher (Article)
How should clients think about risk in their portfolios? Advisor Perspectives put that question to a cross-section of prominent advisors and academics. Their answers encompassed diverse opinions and underscored how crucial that question is to the investment process.
2011-02-01 Can Economics Save the Economy? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Christina Romer, Greg Mankiw and Paul Krugman were among a group of thought leaders who spoke at a conference in Cambridge last week. They cited a lack of sufficiently powerful and politically feasible policy options, calling into question whether economists will be able to produce the clear path to the stronger recovery that the Obama administration seeks.
2011-02-01 The Inflation the Fed Fears Most by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The term inflation is widely used but generally misunderstood. Economists, politicians and the general public understand it to mean one thing. Inflation, however, has a very different meaning to our central bank, as I will explain.
2011-01-18 Refuting Meredith Whitney by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Wealthy investors, seeking safe tax-free income, have historically centered their portfolios on municipal bonds. The fiscal problems faced by many states and local governments, however, are leading many to question that strategy, none more vocally than the analyst Meredith Whitney, who predicted 'hundreds of billions' in municipal bond defaults in a recent 60 Minutes interview. We present the rebuttal to Whitney.
2011-01-18 Richard Bernstein: The Antidote to Pessimism by Robert Huebscher (Article)
For an antidote to the bearish sentiment coming from David Rosenberg, look at Richard Bernstein. In contrast to Rosenberg's vision of Japan's lost decade, Bernstein expects the S&P to outperform emerging markets, at least in the near term.
2011-01-18 Jeffrey Gundlach: The Greatest Investment Opportunity of 2011 and 2012 by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In June of 2007, against a backdrop of strong equity and corporate bond performance, Doubleline's Jeffrey Gundlach was one of the first to warn investors that sub-prime mortgages were 'a total unmitigated disaster, and they are going to get worse.' In an equally bold statement, last week he identified the asset class he considers the greatest investment opportunity for the next two years. Again, it was one for investors to avoid.
2011-01-11 A Bold Forecast for Consumer Spending by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In a world where mainstream media has become overly fond of alliterative headlines, 'frugality fatigue' has emerged to characterize the view that consumers have loosened their belts and begun to spend some money. That's far from the consensus view. However, if it proves to be correct, as one prominent retail analyst claims, it would be the clearest indication that the economy is recovering strongly.
2011-01-04 The Coming Decade of Sideways Markets by Robert Huebscher (Article)
'We are in the middle of a sideways market, and we still have another decade to go,' says Vitality Katsenelson. In this interview, Katsenelson shares his insights on the decade ahead and the many factors that may keep China from leading us out of the recession.
2010-12-28 The Ten Most-Read Articles in 2010 by Robert Huebscher (Article)
As is our custom, we conclude the year by reflecting on the 10 most-read articles over the past 12 months. In decreasing order, based on the number of unique readers, those are...
2010-12-28 The Ten Best Articles You Probably Missed by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Great articles don't always get the readership they deserve. Here are 10 articles that you might have missed, but we believe merit reading.
2010-12-21 Debunking Ken Fisher by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In his latest book, Debunkery, Ken Fisher achieves his goal of dispelling many common investment myths and, in doing so, offers his philosophy on how individuals should manage their money. While most of the advice he offers is unequivocally correct, he also makes egregious errors on some serious matters.
2010-12-21 Gundlach: Are Taxes Too Darn Low? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
One way to avert the crisis posed by growing fiscal deficits is a significant tax increase, according to Doubleline's Jeffrey Gundlach. Although he did not advocate this policy, in his conference call with investors last week he said the strain of fiscal deficits poses as yet unanswered challenges to the economy and the markets.
2010-12-14 The End of the Asian Bull Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)
A broadly diversified emerging market investor would have earned nearly 12% annually over the last five years, far outpacing investors in the US and other developed markets. Over the next five or even ten years, investors relying on emerging economies will not be as fortunate, however, according to Louis-Vincent Gave, CEO of the Hong Kong-based research and investment management firm GaveKal.
2010-12-06 An Uncertain Future for Housing Prices by Robert Huebscher (Article)
A renewed decline in housing prices would surely impede economic growth. Yet that is a strong possibility, according to housing expert Laurie Goodman of Amherst Securities. Goodman was joined in Boston last week to discuss the housing market by Karl Case, who, along with Yale professor Robert Shiller, created the Case-Shiller index.
2010-11-30 Black Gold, Texas Tea by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The flow of money into gold-related funds is, at least in part, driven by good intentions - hedging against dollar debasement, inflation, and systemic risk. As investors drive the price of gold to record levels, though, they are overlooking an equally compelling commodity hedge, one that the Beverly Hillbillies once dubbed 'black gold, Texas tea' - oil, that is.
2010-11-30 Why Bubbles Inflate and How to Avoid Them by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In this interview, Meir Statman discusses the psychological underpinnings behind the creation of bubbles in the financial markets, why some bubbles are good and others are not, and how investors should frame their decisions when facing a potential bubble.
2010-11-23 Why Three Top Bond Managers Like Equities by Robert Huebscher (Article)
You'll rarely - perhaps never - hear a fund manager say that market conditions do not favor investing in their chosen asset class. That's why it was so remarkable when several prominent managers recently admitted that they favored equities over their own discipline - fixed income.
2010-11-23 Ned Davis - Still Positive on Stocks by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Just over a year ago, Ned Davis correctly forecast a continuation of the cyclical bull market in stocks. In February of 2008, he foresaw that year's market upheaval, and a year later he predicted the rally that began in March of 2009. Today, Davis is moderately bullish on stocks, as long as the Fed maintains its policy of quantitative easing.
2010-11-16 Jeremy Siegel on the Upside for Equities and the Virtues of QE2 by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In our annual interview, Jeremy Siegel, the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton School, offers his forecast for equities - a 10% to 20% gain in 2011, along with a continued rally through the end of this year. He also explains why the current round of quantitative easing is exactly what is needed to stimulate the economy.
2010-11-09 New Strategies in Alternative Investments by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Alternative investments, broadly speaking, and hedge funds, more specifically, have performed as intended over the last 20 years, modestly increasing returns and significantly reducing risk when added to a traditional stock-bond portfolio. Selecting the appropriate vehicle is the challenge, and that task has been made easier by the introduction of new exchange-traded strategies.
2010-10-29 Greg Valliere: The U.S. Political Outlook by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Three questions dominate the political landscape, according to Greg Valliere, and the big one is what will happen to the Bush tax cuts. Valliere is the chief political strategist at the Potomac Research Group. Despite significant challenges, Valliere said the fundamentals in Washington are "better than they have been in several years."
2010-10-29 Henry Paulson: An Inside Look at the Financial Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson candidly spoke about the details of his efforts to rescue the economy during the financial crisis, and offered some optimistic thoughts about the potential for growth in the US economy in the face of new financial regulation.
2010-10-29 Cliff Asness: Understanding Managed Futures by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In a portfolio with equities and fixed income, managed futures offer strong diversification value and high returns, according to Cliff Asness. Asness is the founder and Managing Principal of AQR Capital Management, a provider of managed futures products.
2010-10-29 Asset Allocation in an Uncertain Economy by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Advisors should not bet on whether the recession will be L-, V-, or W-shaped. Instead, Ron Albahary said they should use strategic asset allocation and overweight or underweight those asset classes that have historically done well at certain points in the economic cycle. Albahary is the CIO of Convergent Wealth Advisors, a Washington, DC-based wealth manager.
2010-10-29 Four Critical Investment Themes for the Next Decade by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Four investment themes will dominate market behavior over the next decade, according to Martin Murenbeeld, the chief economist at DundeeWealth Economics, a Canadian investment manager and financial advisor. Investors, he said, would be wise to overweight gold and other commodities.
2010-10-26 What Drives High-Yield Bonds (and Why You Should Listen to the Ratings Agencies) by Robert Huebscher (Article)
High-yield bonds are attractively priced - or they aren't - depending on how likely you think a double-dip recession is and how severe you think it might be. What drives the high-yield market was the subject of a talk last week by Martin Fridson, a global credit strategist with BNP Paribas Asset Management who is a highly regarded expert on distressed debt.
2010-10-19 Developed Markets and Capitalism in Crisis by Robert Huebscher (Article)
We are not in a globalized world today, according to Ian Bremmer. "The state is back," said the 40-year old president and founder of Eurasia Group, a political consulting firm. Both in the U.S. and throughout the world, governments are exerting their influence through regulation, trade restriction, subsidies, and bailouts, and are threatening the nature of free markets.
2010-10-19 Bernanke's Impossible Dilemma by Robert Huebscher (Article)
David Wessel, economics editor of the Wall Street Journal, examines the challenge Ben Bernanke faces. His goal is to provide full employment and price stability. Yet he faces a slowly growing economy, unemployment close to 10%, consumers deleveraging and spending frugally, renewed fears of banking system instability, and the threat of an asset bubble is growing somewhere in the markets. Monetary and fiscal policy options have been seemingly exhausted, and the public is losing confidence in all aspects of government.
2010-10-19 Allen Sinai: US at the Crossroads by Robert Huebscher (Article)
America is at a crossroads in a shifting global economy, and it's not just our economy that is in trouble. We have moved from a mindset of prosperity to a much gloomier self-conception, and dysfunctions within our government and society are pushing us downward. That sobering assessment was delivered by Allen Sinai, the president of Decision Economics, an economic research firm he founded in 1996.
2010-10-12 Misconceptions in the Great Bond Bubble Debate by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Interest rates, many claim, have bottomed, making bonds the latest asset class worthy of the dreaded "bubble" label. Others counter that deflationary forces will prevail and that bonds offer the best risk-adjusted returns in the market. Which side of this debate you take matters profoundly, but making that call is not simply a matter of predicting the direction of interest rates, as is the typical focus of analysts.
2010-10-12 Simon Johnson on Why This Crisis Wasn’t the Last by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Is the last financial crisis over? Did we at least fix the problems that caused the crisis? Were those the worst of our problems? Answering those three questions was the focus of a talk by Simon Johnson, formerly the chief economist at the IMF.
2010-10-05 The Misguided Promise of 529 Plans by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Along with the overall market, 529 plans suffered disastrous returns in 2008, leaving many families with insufficient funds to pay their tuition costs. The real problem, though, is not with the past performance of 529s. A misguided promise underlies the vast majority of 529 plans - that their heavy allocation to equities will provide acceptable risk-adjusted returns for the time horizons over which most parents invest.
2010-09-28 The Future of Oil by Robert Huebscher (Article)
No commodity impacts the global economy more than oil. When geopolitical threats loom, two questions often dominate discussion: Will the price of oil rise? And what will be the economic consequences? We review the key drivers of recent, current, and forecast oil prices, including a template for the necessary eventual alignment of supply and demand.
2010-09-28 Unraveling the 12b-1 Debate by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The SEC has proposed sweeping changes to the way commission-based advisors will be compensated for the services they provide. Those changes will rename and modify the 12b-1 fees that many mutual funds now charge. To understand their impact, we spoke with Avi Nachmany of NY-based Strategic Insight, whose clients include the largest mutual funds.
2010-09-21 The Housing Elevator: Going Up or Down? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Several prominent analysts have written recently that the bear market in housing is nearing its end. Writing with varying degrees of conviction and citing a range of statistical measures, they reach the broad conclusion that now is the time to buy a house. We provide a summary of those opinions - from James Grant of Grant's Interest Rate Observer, Dave Leonhardt of The New York Times, and Anatole Kaletsky of GaveKal Research - along with our own contrasting thoughts.
2010-09-21 Jeffrey Gundlach: No Double-Dip Recession … but by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The economy won't suffer a double-dip recession, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. But that doesn't mean the DoubleLine co-founder, CEO and CIO expects strong economic growth. To the contrary, Gundlach said that we haven't yet recovered from the recession. "The people who are looking for robust and sustained growth are really kidding themselves," he said.
2010-09-07 Jeffrey Gundlach on Bonds, Stocks and Gold by Robert Huebscher (Article)
DoubeLine's Jeffrey Gundlach recently reduced his position from "overweight" to "small underweight" in Treasury bonds, and cited "divergent behavior across the yield curve." In this interview, he discusses that behavior and the rationale behind his move, as well as his thoughts on other asset classes, including equities and gold.
2010-08-31 The Riskiest Pension Assets (and the Implications for Muni Bonds) by Robert Huebscher (Article)
State finances are in trouble, in large part due to unfunded pension liabilities. To assess the depth of those problems, one can look at what is likely the riskiest component of states' pension assets - their exposure to alternative investments and, in particular, to private equity. We assess those risks and look at the larger question of whether unfunded liabilities can trigger municipal defaults.
2010-08-24 What Investors Really Want by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Using a mean-variance optimizer to construct a retirement portfolio that sits on the efficient frontier is tantamount to dining on a well-prepared meal that was pureed in a blender, believes Meir Statman, a professor of finance at Santa Clara University. Statman's research focuses on behavioral finance, and how advisors can help investors make smarter decisions.
2010-08-03 Woody Brock: How to Achieve Growth without 'Bad' Deficits by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Of all the challenges facing our nation, none is as daunting as trying to achieve economic growth and reduce unemployment without adding layers of debt to our already bloated deficit. Legislators and economists have debated the merits of stimulus measures, changes in tax rates, and monetary policies, but they are no closer to a consensus than they were at the onset of the financial crisis. H. 'Woody' Brock, however, says a genuine solution is possible.
2010-06-29 Jeff Gundlach: The US will 'Politely Default' on its Debt by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeff Gundlach's keynote address at last week's Morningstar conference documented the immensity of U.S. debt obligations and the lack of choices available for alleviating that burden. As he has stated in the past, he does not view inflation to be a threat in the capital markets today. He cited six options open to policy makers, but believes a seventh - some form of default - is most likely.
2010-06-15 Asset Allocation Matters, But Not as Much as You Think by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The market downturn has caused a rethinking of many core principles underpinning investment advice, chief among them the role of asset allocation. We talk with Yale's Roger Ibbotson about the impact of market returns and active management in explaining return variance and the role of asset allocation going forward.
2010-06-08 Why Wall Street Won't be Reformed by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Michael Lewitt, author of the highly respected HCM Market Letter, has just released a new book, The Death of Capital. In this interview, he identifies the challenges facing those who seek to regulate Wall Street, and why most of the proposed reforms are likely to fail.
2010-06-01 Our Three-Year Anniversary by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Last month marked the three-year anniversary of our publication, and we'd like to share with you some of our accomplishments over the past year and our goals for the future.
2010-05-25 Seth Klarman is More Worried than at Any Time in his Career by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The concern that the dollars he earns for his clients will lose their purchasing power is always on hedge fund manager Seth Klarman's mind. The possibility that the government will continue to print money to solve our economic problems has left him more worried than at any time in his career. We report on Klarman's remarks at last week's CFA conference.
2010-05-25 Ken Rogoff Expects Slow Growth and Sovereign Defaults by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Among the crush of analysis devoted to the financial crisis, perhaps none has been as influential as that of Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, co-authors of the book This Time is Different. Looking back at 800 years of data on emerging and developed economies, they showed that financial crises - and the recoveries from those crises - follow a highly predictable pattern, and the title of their book was a jab at those who suggest otherwise. Rogoff also spoke at the CFA conference.
2010-05-18 Jeremy Grantham Guarantees Gold will Crash by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeremy Grantham, the investor celebrated for his ability to spot and exploit bubbles in asset classes, guaranteed yesterday that the current bull market in gold will end. His proof? He bought some - for his own account - at the end of last week. That comment was tongue-in-cheek, but he went on to identify two asset classes likely to go into bubble territory.
2010-05-18 Anthony Boeckh on the Great Reflation by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Tony Boeckh has been the guiding force behind Bank Credit Analyst, and in this interview he discusses his new book, The Great Reflation. Boeckh stakes out a deflationary forecast, and explains how the flow of liquidity in the financial system will determine asset class performance.
2010-05-11 A Historical Perspective on the Slight Depression by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Armed with textbooks and formulas, economists attack a problem by drawing lines, forming equations and trying to fit data to the real world. Niall Ferguson, a historian by training, thinks you can learn more simply by analyzing what has already happened. So what's a historian's take on the current crisis? Ferguson says it has yet to run its course.
2010-05-11 Why Some Hedge Funds Made Money in 2008 by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Steven Drobny is the co-founder of Drobny Global, an international macroeconomic research and advisory firm that counts many of the leading global hedge funds and money managers as clients. He is also author of a recently released book that identifies why some hedge funds made money in the 2008 crisis, while the majority did not. In this interview, he discusses the common themes among successful strategies.
2010-05-04 Lacy Hunt: Keynes was Wrong (and Ricardo was Right) by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Underpinning the Obama administration's economic policies is the work of John Maynard Keynes, the legendary British economist who called for large fiscal and monetary interventions to counter the Great Depression. On this critical issue, Keynes was wrong, says Lacy Hunt, the internationally renowned economist with Texas-based Hoisington Investment.
2010-05-04 Iran, Iraq and Embracing the Devil by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Just as imbalances arise in economics, so they do in geopolitics. Its power weakened, the US now faces a difficult choice in the Mideast, where its best option is now to strike a deal with the regional player it most demonizes, Iran, according to George Friedman, founder and CEO of the geopolitical consulting firm STRATFOR.
2010-04-27 Paul McCulley’s Design for Financial Regulation by Robert Huebscher (Article)
PIMCO's Paul McCulley parents his 20-year-old son with an overarching principle: If you want access to the "Bank of Dad," then you must comply with the regulations of the "Bank of Dad." Wall Street abandoned similar tenets with in the run-up to the credit crisis, and now McCulley says that core principle - to play the game, you must accept regulation - needs to be restored before another crisis unfolds.
2010-04-27 Gary Shilling: America’s Lost Decade by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The US faces 10 years of slow growth and deflation that could rival Japan's "lost decade" - two words which Gary Shilling did not utter but which unmistakably characterize his forecast. Shilling is founder and President of the New Jersey-based economic consulting firm A. Gary Shilling & Co.
2010-04-27 China: House of Cards or Emerging Superpower? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Few topics are as contentious as the fate of the Chinese economy. The bulls argue that its growth will propel the global economic recovery and that China will ultimately supplant the United States as the leading world superpower. According to the bears, the Chinese economy has been fueled by unsustainable fiscal stimuliand is a prototypical bubble poised to burst. Five panelists at the Strategic Investment Conference debated this question.
2010-04-13 Why We Make Bad Decisions by Robert Huebscher (Article)
"When faced with critical decisions, our minds naturally want to go down one path, when a better way to think about the problem is to go down another path," said Michael Mauboussin. Mauboussin is the Chief Investment Strategist at Legg Mason Capital Management and the author of the newly released book Think Twice, and we review some of the key findings of his research.
2010-04-06 Liz Ann Sonders on the US Economic Recovery by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Liz Ann Sonders is Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Strategist at Charles Schwab & Co. In this interview, she discusses her positive outlook for the US economy, which she believes has been recovering since last summer.
2010-03-23 Tobin’s Q: A Stone’s Throw from a Sell Signal by Robert Huebscher (Article)
One of the most reliable measures of broad market valuation is Nobel Prize-winning economist James Tobin's Q-ratio. Data released less than two weeks ago show that the ratio is generating a bearish signal over the next three, five and ten years. Over the next year, though, the signal is neutral.
2010-03-09 A Looming Lack of Liquidity by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Headlines warn that the rapid buildup in the money supply, caused by the Federal Reserve's efforts to confront the financial crisis, is destined to result in inflation. That may be the case, but a more ominous signal from the money supply warns of impending economic contraction.
2010-03-09 Healthcare, Unions and the Next Bull Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In order to reduce health care costs, consumers must be empowered to shop for and select health care services in a competitive environment, according to Jack Ablin. Ablin, the chief investment officer of Harris Private Bank, delivered the keynote address at last week's Boston Security Analysts Society market forecast event, where he also spoke of the need to reform labor practices in the public sector.
2010-02-23 Interest Rates, Inflation and the PIMCO Total Return Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The current generation of financial advisors has never experienced rising interest rates, but that will change, based on the forecasts we collected in our survey last week. We review our survey results and look at the implications for the largest bond portfolio, the PIMCO Total Return fund.
2010-02-16 How to Squander $170 Billion by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Some of the managers supposed to be among the sharpest have cost their clients $170 billion dollars over the last two decades. These are "plan sponsors" who handle pension funds, endowments, and foundations, and Scott Stewart, a former money manager who now teaches finance at Boston University, has documented their value destruction in a recently published study.
2010-02-02 Chuck Akre on the Akre Focus Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Chuck Akre is the Managing Member and Chief Executive Officer of Akre Capital Management, which he founded in 1989. He has a track record of above-average performance over the last 20-plus years managing mutual funds, separately managed accounts and partnerships, and he discusses the strategy he employs in his new Akre Focus Fund.
2010-01-19 Steve Leuthold: The Market will Rally This Year by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Steve Leuthold is chairman of the $4.5 billion Leuthold Group and one of the most widely-followed market analysts. In his keynote presentation at last week's Fortigent conference, he offered an upbeat forecast for the first half of 2010.
2010-01-19 A Market for Contrarians by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Along with Steve Leuthold, Rob Arnott, Doug Kass and DoubleLine co-founder Joe Galligan were among the speakers at Fortigent's conference. These three speakers' bearish sentiment extended across a wide range of asset classes, opening lots of possibilities for those who prefer contrarian bets.
2010-01-12 Bruce Berkowitz on the Keys to Success for the Fairholme Fund by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Bruce Berkowitz, manager of the Fairholme Fund, was just named Morningstar's US fund manager of the year. In our interview, he discusses current market conditions, the thesis behind several of his largest positions, his views on health care reform, and the elements of the macro environment that concern him most.
2010-01-12 The True Cost of Insuring the Uninsured by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Let's say your spouse sends you out to buy a quart of milk and you take along a bag of soda cans to return. You use the deposit from the cans to buy the milk. Was the milk free? Of course not. But that's essentially the argument the government is using when it claims universal health care will reduce the deficit by $132 billion over the next decade.
2009-12-29 Jeremy Siegel on the Undervaluation in US Equities by Robert Huebscher (Article)
"I think that earnings growth next year will be stronger than anticipated and will break the all-time high for the S&P, which was in the second quarter of 2007, when earnings for the trailing 12 months were in the low 90s," says Siegel. "In 2011 or 2012 we will break that amount. With $90 in earnings and a 15 P/E ratio, you get 1,350 for the S&P."
2009-12-29 The Top 10 Articles You Didn’t Read (But Should Have) by Robert Huebscher (Article)
We closely monitor which articles draw the most readership. This allows us to fine-tune our content to the preferences of our audience. Reflecting on those articles that were most popular over the last year, however, we believe other articles also deserved your attention. We provide the "Top 10" articles you didn't read - but should have.
2009-12-22 ECRI: Recovery and Jobs Growth are Underway by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Lakshman Achuthan, the managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), provides an upbeat forecast in our interview. He says the economic recovery has been underway since the summer and he expects to see jobs growth in the coming quarters. ECRI is a global research firm serving buy- and sell-side institutions and Fortune 500 companies.
2009-12-22 Morningstar Ratings – Our Response by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Last week, we published the response from John Rekenthaler, Morningstar's VP of Research, to our recent study of Morningstar's ratings. We disagree with the Rekenthaler's analysis and provide our rebuttal.
2009-12-15 Barton Biggs on Undervaluation in the S&P 100 by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Barton Biggs, the former Chief Global Strategist for Morgan Stanley who now runs the hedge fund Traxis Partners, says the high-quality, large-capitalization stocks in the S&P 100 are now undervalued by one standard deviation. In our interview, Biggs also discusses his fears and how investors should protect themselves from the worst-case scenarios.
2009-12-15 The Next Black Swan? Underfunded Public Pensions by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The plights of California and other states reveal an ominous threat our economy faces: underfunded public pension liabilities. We examine the size and scope of this problem, focusing on whether the underlying assumptions used to calculate liabilities are realistic.
2009-12-15 TCW Post-Gundlach by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The reasons for Jeff Gundlach's termination from TCW and his future plans have become subjects of great speculation. We will leave it to others to answer those questions and instead focus on one important issue that was raised in a conference call TCW held with investors last Friday.
2009-12-08 Morningstar Ratings Fail over a Full Market Cycle by Robert Huebscher (Article)
When active managers are tested, as they were during the 2008 bear market and 2009 bull market, so are the systems used to predict their performance. Perhaps no system is as widely used as Morningstar's "star" rating system. In an update to a study we originally did two years ago, we show that Morningstar's ratings fail to offer any predictive ability when measured over a full market cycle.
2009-12-08 The Investment Value of Art by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In a newly released study, Yale Professor Will Goetzmann shows that changes in art prices over long periods of time are mostly explained by changes in income inequality. As income inequality - the percentage of income earned by the top 0.1% of the population - grows, so does the value of art. Art has little diversification value with respect to equities.
2009-12-01 Allen Sinai: Jobless Recovery and the Failure of Current Economic Policies by Robert Huebscher (Article)
As the Democratic leadership in Congress has looked for ways to simultaneously create jobs and reduce the deficit, a key person they have turned to and continue to rely on is Allen Sinai. Sinai now fears the US is in the "mother of all jobless recoveries" and that the economic policies of the Obama administration are not working.
2009-11-24 Gary Shilling's Version of the New Normal by Robert Huebscher (Article)
A dramatic reduction in consumer spending has doomed the US economy to slow growth and deflation, according to Gary Shilling. America's 25-year spree of profligate spending is over, and it will be supplanted by a decade-long retrenchment that will ultimately bring the consumer savings rate from 4% to double-digits, where it has not been since the mid-1980s, he said.
2009-11-24 Dan Fuss and the Long-Term Outlook for Interest Rates by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Dan Fuss, the highly respected bond manager at Loomis Sayles in Boston, says we are in the early stages on a long-term rise in interest rates. His view was shared by two other panelists, Carl Kaufman of Osterwies and Margie Patel of Evergreen. If you accept this consensus, you must ask whether your fixed income allocation is appropriate.
2009-11-24 Interview: Brian McMahon of Thornburg Investments by Robert Huebscher (Article)
We speak with Brian McMahon, CEO and CIO of Thornburg Investment Management about the Thornburg Income Builder Fund (TIBAX) and the challenges of finding income-producing securities in today's markets.
2009-11-17 Ned Davis: The Cyclical Bull Rally is Not Over by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In February of last year, Ned Davis, president and senior investment strategist of an eponymous Florida-based institutional research firm, correctly forecast last year's market decline. In February of this year, he called the market rally that began in March. Now, he says, that cyclical bull rally is not over.
2009-11-17 Bruce Greenwald on Positioning First Eagle’s Funds by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Bruce Greenwald is a professor of finance at Columbia, the Director of Research at First Eagle Funds, and a leading expert on value investing. Last week we published part one of our interview, where he discussed the structural problems in the economy and his forecast for higher unemployment. This week he discusses the positioning of First Eagle's investments, and why Warren Buffett's purchase of Burlington Northern was a mistake.
2009-11-10 Bruce Greenwald on Structural Problems in the Economy and Unemployment by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Bruce Greenwald is a professor of finance at Columbia University, the Director of Research at First Eagle Funds, and perhaps the foremost expert on value investing. In part one of our two-part interview, he discusses the structural problems facing the economy, the parallels to the Great Depression, and the implications for the unemployment rate.
2009-11-10 Roubini: Fed Policies are Destabilizing the Financial System by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Nouriel Roubini, the once-obscure economist who gained celebrity and the title "Dr. Doom" after correctly forecasting the financial crisis, believes that current Fed policies are destabilizing the markets and pushing the economy toward another collapse.
2009-11-03 Absolutely … Maybe by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Since Putnam introduced its absolute return funds earlier this year, over 4,200 advisors and $650 million in assets have flocked to the new financial products. Putnam's four funds seek to beat inflation by 100, 300, 500 and 700 basis points, and their performance over their first nine months (3.1%, 6.4%, 8.4% and 12.2%, respectively) was encouraging for their investors. Impressive as those results may be, the question is whether they are sustainable.
2009-10-27 The “V” Points Downward by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Long-term equity investors face a critical juncture. They can believe a V-shaped economic recovery is imminent, if not underway, and valuations for broad-based equity indexes properly reflect an end to the "decrepit decade" of return-less risk in US markets. Or they can believe true economic recovery - growth, not just stability - is still a long way off and US equity valuations are in bubble territory, not reflective of the rough terrain ahead. We provide our thoughts.
2009-10-20 Don’t be Misled by Morningstar’s Box Score Results by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Morningstar has published its latest Box Score Results, showing the performance of active managers across each of the nine style boxes. We report these results, along with those of another study by William Thatcher of the Hammond Group, which explains why Morningstar's results can be highly misleading.
2009-10-20 Life in and after the NBA Financial Planning for Professional Athletes by Robert Huebscher (Article)
During a 13-year career that began in 1987, Chris Dudley was called on to defend some of the greatest centers in NBA history - among them Shaquille O'Neal, Robert Parish, and David Robinson. While developing a reputation as an exceptional shot-blocker and rebounder, Dudley also devoted time to preparing for his post-basketball career - as a financial advisor - and he shares with us his thoughts about financial planning for the professional athlete.
2009-10-06 Green Shoots and Head Fakes in Housing by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The greenest of all green shoots - the recent rise in housing prices - is little more than a mirage, according to Whitney Tilson, founder and CEO of T2 Partners, a New York-based hedge fund and mutual fund manager. "It's likely the news of home price stabilization will turn out to be the mother of all head fakes," Tilson said. He spoke to a group of financial analysts in Boston last week.
2009-10-06 Retailers Face the New Frugality by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Whether they sell high-end designer clothing or tractors and pet food, retailers across the country are girding for leaner times. Consumer spending has dropped to 10% below its historical trend line, creating a landscape with far too many stores and far too much merchandise for consumers' thinning wallets to support. Along with the CEOs of Fortune 500 retailers, we attended a conference in New York last week looking at trends in consumer behavior, and we file our report.
2009-10-06 Tobin’s Q Now Bearish Long-Term by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The latest data for Tobin's Q-Ratio, a valuation metric shown by academic studies to be highly predictive of market performance, show that investors should brace themselves for sub-par returns over the next 10 years.
2009-09-29 The Case Against Inflation by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Investors should expect extremely low inflation - just slightly above zero - for the indefinite future, according to Connie Everson, the Managing Director and co-founder of the Capital Markets Outlook Group, a Boston-based economic consulting firm that serves institutional investors throughout the world. Everson delivered her remarks to an audience of financial analysts in Boston last Thursday.
2009-09-29 Interview: Jeff Mortimer, CIO of Charles Schwab Investment Management by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Jeff Mortimer is Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer-Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc. (CSIM). Mortimer has overall responsibility for approximately $240 billion in Schwab Funds and managed accounts. We spoke with Mortimer two weeks ago about the economy and why he believes the market has already priced in the bad news trumpeted by the media.
2009-09-22 Predictably Irrational - How Investors Frame Decisions by Robert Huebscher (Article)
One of the most provocative sessions at last week's Schwab Impact conference was given by Dan Ariely, who deftly summarized his current research in the important field of behavioral finance. Ariely's message was that, no matter how good their intentions or how deep their experience, people - investors specifically - consistently make the wrong decisions. They behave irrationally, and predictably so.
2009-09-22 Will Momentum Move Your Portfolio? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Instead of mixing value and growth stocks, investors would be far better served by combining value and momentum stocks, according to Cliff Asness, co-founder and Managing Principal of AQR Management. In fact, momentum has "kicked butt" when compared to growth over the last 80 years, Asness said.
2009-09-22 The Financial Market Solution to Carbon Emissions by Robert Huebscher (Article)
While health care remains the hot topic on Capitol Hill, another piece of legislation is poised to gain similar attention. Regulating carbon emissions to address the threat of global warning is a top priority of the Obama administration, and its favored approach is to create a "cap-and-trade" market. John Parsons, an expert in the field, explains how this financial market solution might work.
2009-09-15 Mohammed El-Erian: We Have Not Reached Escape Velocity by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Kicking off this year's Schwab Impact conference in San Diego, Mohammed El-Erian told an audience of nearly 1,000 advisors on Sunday night that the US financial system has not fully emerged from the financial crisis. El-Erian and his co-presenter, Larry Fink of Blackrock, addressed a range of topics, including the safety of the financial system, the future of regulation, and the outlook for inflation.
2009-09-15 Investing Lessons from Golf and Blackjack Players by Robert Huebscher (Article)
At key moments investors refuse to take those chances that will make them money. Behavioral finance has a term for this - risk intolerance. Research supporting these claims comes from two divergent pastimes - the games of golf and blackjack.
2009-09-01 Politics and Fund Managers by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Those readers who would like to know whether to invest with Democrat or Republican fund managers finally have some guidance, thanks to a new academic study. We report the results, along with a host of reasons why you shouldn't read too much into this data. We also provide the names of the top fund manager donors to each party over the period from 1992 to 2006.
2009-09-01 Actively Managed TIPS – A Correction by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Our August 18 article, Actively Managed TIPS?, contained a glaring factual error that we need to correct. In addition, a reader has challenged some of the assertions in that article, and we respond to those challenges.
2009-08-25 Building a Practice in America’s Fastest Dying City by Robert Huebscher (Article)
While many - perhaps most - advisors use client appreciation programs as part of their marketing efforts, Mo Young has embraced this idea and made it his sole marketing focus. Young's practice is based in Youngstown, Ohio - which has the distinction of losing population more rapidly than any other city in the US - yet Young has added several hundred new clients over the last four years with his strategy.
2009-08-18 Actively Managed TIPS? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
When PIMCO talks, the market listens. But we mustn't forget that the bulk of PIMCO's revenue comes from actively managing bond portfolios so, when they claim that alpha can be earned by actively managing TIPS, a healthy dose of scrutiny is warranted. Our article shows why that scrutiny is justified.
2009-08-11 The Business You Don’t Want: 401(k) Plans by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Wealth managers who are considering managing 401(k) plans need to re-think those plans, according to Brian Murphy. Murphy, who runs Pathways Financial Partners, a Tucson, AZ-based investment advisory firm, says the 401(k) business has become a highly commoditized industry that makes it easy for clients to switch to an alternative, lower-cost provider.
2009-08-04 Uncovering the Mayhem in 2008 in the TIPS Market by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In an interview two weeks ago, Yale Endowment manager David Swensen singled out TIPS as the best way to protect against inflationary and deflationary scenarios. We review a comprehensive study of the history of the inflation-indexed bond market, including an explanation for the extreme volatility in TIPS last year.
2009-07-28 How Long is the Long Run? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
How long must one be invested in the equity markets to have full confidence that they will earn superior returns (as compared to bonds) and overcome the risks of bear markets? We look at the historical record to see how stocks have fared against bonds for various holding periods, and we look at research by Zvi Bodie and Mark Kritzman on this topic.
2009-07-28 Flaws in the Case Shiller Methodology by Robert Huebscher (Article)
To forecast economic growth, it's essential to understand the trajectory of the housing market. Most observers rely on widely publicized data like the Case Shiller index, but those metrics can be very misleading if you don't understand how they are calculated. If you don't understand that there are factors beyond Case and Shiller's control that impact the data, according to John Burns, the founder and CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting, a 20-person firm based in Irvine, California.
2009-07-21 Q2 2009 Performance among the Most Popular Mutual Funds in the Advisor Perspectives Universe by Robert Huebscher and Mary Pitek (Article)
Each quarter we analyze changes in the Advisor Perspectives database - a $50+ billion universe of high- and ultra-high net worth assets managed by Registered Investment Advisors. Our analysis has three parts. We look at changes in asset allocation, the performance of the most popular mutual funds, and the mutual funds that showed significant gains or losses in popularity during the quarter.
2009-07-14 When the Referee Says “Game Over” Too Soon by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Robert J. Gordon, an economist at Northwestern University, published a study in early May that found that the recession is all but over. Gordon's statement was remarkable for its audacity and, more so, because for the last three decades he has been a member of the prestigious Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - the committee charged with setting the official start and end dates of recessions. We examine Gordon's claims.
2009-07-07 Marty Whitman: The Outlook for Distressed Securities by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Marty Whitman is the founder, Co-Chief Investment Officer, and Portfolio Manager of the Third Avenue Value Fund and a veteran value investor with a long, distinguished history as a control investor. In our interview, he discusses the opportunities in distressed securities created by the financial crisis.
2009-07-07 Gary Shilling: Recovery is a Year Away by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Among economists, Gary Shilling owns one of the most prescient forecasting records, having accurately predicted the credit crisis and the performance of key asset classes over the last several years. Now, he says, the chances that the current wave of "green shoots" will be the finale to the recession are "pretty low."e
2009-07-07 Burton Malkiel Talks the Random Walk by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Passive investing has no more outspoken advocate than Burton Malkiel. At age 72, Malkiel remains every bit as committed to the efficient market hypothesis as when he wrote A Random Walk Down Wall Street in 1973. Malkiel, who has taught finance at Princeton for the last 20 years, was a featured speaker at the Forbes Advisor Conference last week. He insists that investors should buy and hold index funds and defended his position against a series of challenges put to him.
2009-07-07 The Q Ratio Sends a Modestly Bearish Long-Term Signal by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Strong market performance during the second quarter has claimed a victim. Tobin's Q ratio, one of the most reliable barometers of market valuation, is now 0.72 - up from its March low of 0.33 - indicating the market is modestly overvalued for long-term investors.
2009-06-23 The Road to Zimbabwe by Robert Huebscher (Article)
John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics is best known for exposing inaccuracies and biases in government reporting of data - most notably the understatement of the CPI index. Williams says the US economy is on the brink of hyperinflation which will render the dollar worthless, as happened recently to Zimbabwe's local currency.
2009-06-16 Seth Klarman: Why Most Investment Managers Have It Backwards by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In his keynote speech last week to the Boston Security Analysts Society, Seth Klarman discussed how he repositioned his portfolio last fall to capture opportunities created in the wake of the financial crisis. Klarman is the lead editor of the sixth edition of Graham and Dodd's Securities Analysis, and his fund, The Baupost Group, is among the top performing hedge funds over its 27 year history.
2009-06-16 Peter L. Bernstein Remembered by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The investment industry lost one of its leaders last week, when Peter L. Bernstein passed away at the age of 90. As an author, Bernstein provided clarity and insight to our understanding of risk and the way markets operate, through his books and his newsletter, Economics and Portfolio Strategy. We are republishing our interview with him last January, when he foresaw many of the elements of the current crisis.
2009-06-09 Bill Gross and the New Normal by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Nearly a half-century of global economic prosperity has ended, and investors must gird themselves for muted returns from the capital markets, according to Bill Gross, a Managing Director at PIMCO. Gross shared his outlook at the Morningstar Investor Conference.
2009-06-09 Let’s Talk Stocks: Berkowitz, Marsico and Weitz by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Three of the industry's most accomplished value investors - Bruce Berkowitz of the Fairholme Fund, Tom Marsico of Marsico Capital Management and Wally Weitz of Weitz Funds - spoke at a panel discussion at the Morningstar Investor Conference on May 28. We present some excerpts of their thoughts on key questions raised during the panel.
2009-06-09 Jeff Gundlach: The Party is Over by Robert Huebscher (Article)
The easy money has been made in the credit markets, as investors have reaped strong year-to-date returns, topped by 17% in emerging market debt and 30% in high yield bonds. Now the markets are in a much riskier position, said Jeff Gundlach, Chief Investment Officer of the TCW Group, in his quarterly update to investors that he titled "It was Great While it Lasted."
2009-06-09 Changes in Asset Allocation by Robert Huebscher and Mary Pitek (Article)
Each quarter we review changes in the Advisor Perspectives (AP) Universe, which represents $50 billion in high-net worth assets managed by RIAs. Our analysis looks at changes in asset allocation, the mutual funds and ETFs that gained or lost market share, and the performance of the most popular actively managed mutual funds. This analysis focuses on changes in asset allocation.
2009-06-09 Changes in the Most Popular Mutual Funds by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Each quarter we review changes in the Advisor Perspectives (AP) Universe, which represents $50 billion in high-net worth assets managed by RIAs. Our analysis looks at changes in asset allocation, the mutual funds and ETFs that gained or lost market share, and the performance of the most popular actively managed mutual funds. This analysis focuses on the most popular mutual funds.
2009-06-09 Q1 2009 Performance among the Most Popular Mutual Funds in the Advisor Perspectives Universe by Robert Huebscher and Mary Pitek (Article)
Each quarter we review changes in the Advisor Perspectives (AP) Universe, which represents $50 billion in high-net worth assets managed by RIAs. Our analysis looks at changes in asset allocation, the mutual funds and ETFs that gained or lost market share, and the performance of the most popular actively managed mutual funds. This analysis focuses on performance across the most popular mutual funds.
2009-06-02 Jeremy Grantham's Warnings to Investors by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Of the thousands of investment letters penned in the industry, only one draws as much readership as Warren Buffet's annual letter to his shareholders: The quarterly commentary written by Jeremy Grantham. Grantham, the Chairman of the Boston-based investment firm Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo, was a featured speaker at Morningstar's Investor Conference last week, and he spoke at two breakout sessions. Those who, like me, attended both were richly rewarded, as he gave two distinctly different talks, addressing many subjects not covered in his commentaries.
2009-06-02 John Bogle and the Lantern on the Stern by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In his remarks at the Morningstar conference last week, Vanguard founder and index fund pioneer John Bogle criticized many aspects of the mutual fund industry. Bogle, who turned 80 this year, is primed to fight his next battle - reducing investor reliance on past returns - which he likens to a lantern on the stern of a ship.
2009-05-26 Dan Fuss and the Eisenhower Recession Redux by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Those of us old enough to remember Studebakers and the military-industrial complex will recall the Eisenhower Recession, which began in 1957, lasted eight months and was followed by the 10 month "Rolling Adjustment" recession beginning in 1961. The W-shaped path of the US economy during this period is the correct analogy to today's crisis, according to Loomis Sayles and Company's Dan Fuss.
2009-05-26 TIPS – When a Discount is Really a Premium by Robert Huebscher (Article)
We answer a question posed by a number of readers in response to our article last week, Opportunities and Risks in TIPS, and show that TIPS purchased at a discount offer superior performance relative to those purchased at a premium, given deflationary assumptions.
2009-05-26 The Big Issues Facing the Hedge Fund Industry by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Last week, the Argyle Executive Forum hosted its 2009 Hedge Fund Leadership Forum in New York. This event attracted more than 200 leaders from the hedge fund industry, with a series of panel discussions centered on the key issues managers now face. Although the sessions were "off the record," we have summarized the key themes from the discussions.
2009-05-19 Opportunities in TIPS by Robert Huebscher (Article)
TIPS offer a perfect hedge against inflation for US investors, but advisors need to understand their risks. We look at the history of TIPS prices and explain why this asset class is more volatile than you might think.
2009-05-19 Waiting for the Fifth Wave by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In response to skepticism we've expressed in the past about technical analysis, one of our readers invited us to attend the Market Technicians Association symposium in New York last week. Our skepticism remains, but it was an enjoyable event and we report on the forecasts of Elliot Wave theorist Robert Prechter.
2009-05-12 Will the Commercial Property Market be the Next to Fail? by Robert Huebscher (Article)
If you've read a headline foretelling the next shoe to drop or domino to fall lately, it was probably about commercial real estate. We speak with two experts on this market and analyze the data to uncover the truth about whether investors should brace themselves for a collapse in commercial real estate.
2009-05-12 Advisor Perspectives: Our Two-Year Anniversary by Robert Huebscher (Article)
As we mark our second anniversary, we take a moment to reflect on some of our accomplishments over the last year and explain our plans for the future.
2009-05-05 Defending Against Inflation: A New Look across Asset Classes by Robert Huebscher (Article)
In the long-term performance race against inflation, stocks are the hands-down winner, outpacing inflation 9.7% to 3.0% since 1926. But that history is characterized predominantly by modest inflation, with one big exception - the 1970s, when double-digit inflation contributed to a bear market. We look at new research showing the effectiveness of different asset classes as inflation hedges, and Zvi Bodie explains the implications for retirement portfolios.
2009-04-28 Gary Shilling – Economic Forecast and Current Market Opportunities by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Gary Shilling is well-known for his forecasting record, having correctly predicted major economic events over the past several decades. Beginning in 2002, he warned his clients that the housing market "has taken on self-feeding, bubble dimensions that will sooner or later collapse," and continued to sound this warning through 2007, when his predictions came true. Dr. Shilling shares with us his current forecast for the economy and the market.
2009-04-28 Active versus Passive Management in Bear Markets by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Nobody needs an active manager in a bull market - an index fund will do just fine. But active managers earn their keep in bear markets, and the current one represents another chance to see whether they add value. We review Standard & Poor's SPIVA study to see whether it answers this very important question.
2009-04-28 Forecasting 100 Years Ahead by Robert Huebscher (Article)
George Friedman is CEO of the private intelligence and forecasting firm STRATFOR and advises clients on the important trends in geopolitics and their impact on world economies. Friedman spoke at the recent Altegris Strategic Investment Conference about the important trends for investors over the next 100 years.
0000-00-00 Woody Brock on Why to Own Stocks Now - Video by Robert Huebscher (Article)
Dr. Horace 'Woody' Brock is the founder Strategic Economic Decisions and the author of American Gridlock. In a recent talk, he explained why investors should own stocks – particularly those with stable dividends – and why bonds are very risky in today's environment. This is the video; a transcript of this talk is also available.