While we’re still squeezing into our pants and fretting over our newest chin, the S&P 500’s three-largest firms have been shedding their COVID-weight gain at a measured pace for months. Whereas most people drop the pounds through vigorous activity, these firms have managed to slim down just by standing still.
Early evidence suggests the Biden administration and the newly “purple” Senate will resist the pull of the far-left, at least from an economic perspective. Stock investors are cheering... though in light of their current euphoria, they might as well have celebrated a write-in victory for Ralph Nader alongside Green Party control of the Senate.
With last year’s Bridesmaid (REITs) having laid an egg, the long-term “alpha” of the Bridesmaid portfolio narrowed to +3.7% from a bit over +5% (annualized) when we first published this study more than a decade ago.
In April 2018, armed with a large number of ETFs and long-enough historical data, we applied our back-testing methodology for individual stocks to the universe of ETFs to determine if the same (or some) of those components could useful for assessing ETF performance prospects. One of the factors we reviewed was fund flow (adjusted by AUM), which revealed that those ETFs experiencing the largest asset inflows proceeded to significantly underperform.
Last month, we briefly discussed a burgeoning investment vehicle—Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs), also known as “blank-check companies.” Since the sole purpose of a blank-check company is to find an operating business to merge with, and subsequently bring it public, the best method to gain some understanding about the outcome of these relationships is to look at past deals.
The June 2016 Brexit referendum kicked off a tortured process for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. However, the wheels of international politics turn slowly, and the original date of formal withdrawal was set as March 29, 2019. As the calendar rolled into 2019 it became obvious that the March closing date was not going to be met, and concerns mounted over delays, procedures, deal-or-no-deal, a new prime minister, and even calls for another vote.
Is the performance of certain countries mainly driven by particular sectors? And, does U.S. sector performance drive the performance of other countries? (i.e., when U.S. Financials underperform, do foreign countries with large Financials sector weights underperform?). We did some data crunching to address the second question.
Quantitative investing has become an integral component of professional investment management, and smart beta funds have become popular vehicles for advisors as they assemble actively-managed client portfolios.
We have mentioned a number of times that China had experienced a very unpleasant “second-hand” tightening due to its peg to the dollar. Its trade competitiveness has suffered tremendously. With a weaker dollar the Chinese Yuan can re-gain some of its competitiveness while maintaining its peg to the dollar. A rare win-win in today’s convoluted world of finance.