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Total Returns

Sep 05 2020

An Unspoken Dilemma

  • Sep 5, 2020

Need more proof that we really are contrarians? While others were celebrating new all-time highs in the S&P 500 during August, we were wringing our hands over a disturbing new all-time low.

Apr 07 2020

Are You “De-Worsified?”

  • Apr 7, 2020

In recent weeks, we’ve seen the “sell-side” investment community get about as cautious as it ever gets, recommending investors to “trim risky holdings on ‘up’ days” and “stay diversified.” However, these cheerleaders’ idea of diversification is usually to hold more equities in different sizes and styles.

Mar 06 2020

Are You “De-Worsified?”

  • Mar 6, 2020

The past 26 months have been wild ones for equity investors, but one could have essentially matched the S&P 500’s healthy return of +18.1% with a portfolio that was evenly split between the “fear” assets of Treasury bonds and gold. REITs have been solid, too, but EAFE and the Russell 2000 are now both total return losers since the beginning of 2018.

Feb 07 2020

Superhuman Feats Got Us Here

  • Feb 7, 2020

The simultaneous “New Era” ascension in margins and P/E ratios hasn’t generated anything exceptional from a return perspective. To the contrary, annualized S&P 500 total returns over this 25-year period of margin magic and (mostly) escalating P/E ratios merely match “Old Era” returns.

Jan 08 2020

Bridesmaid Track Record

  • Jan 8, 2020

Here are the historical annual performance results for the hypothetical Bridesmaid strategy.

Jan 08 2020

Momentum Across Asset Classes

  • Jan 8, 2020

For those not blessed with clairvoyant asset selection ability, we’ve developed a simple single-asset portfolio strategy that’s handily beaten the AANA Portfolio and the S&P 500 over the long-term.

Jan 08 2020

A Good Year To “Own It All”

  • Jan 8, 2020

It’s no surprise that U.S. Large Caps were the #1 asset class performer in 2019. We were surprised that last year was the only one of the decade in which the S&P 500 won the annual performance derby. Here we review the annual performance of “Bridesmaid” asset class and sector, “Perfect Foresight,” and Lowest P/E sector.

Jan 08 2020

A Spectacularly Average Thirty Years

  • Jan 8, 2020

In the spirit of good holiday cheer, we made a partial concession to the True Believers with a December “Chart of the Week” in which we narrowed our stock market valuation analysis to the historically elevated levels of last 30 years.

Mar 07 2019

A Scary Chart, Revisited

  • Mar 7, 2019

For a couple years, we’ve labeled the S&P 500 Price/Sales ratio as the scariest chart in the Leuthold database, and last year’s decline did little to improve its intimidating appearance.

Mar 07 2019

Same As It Ever Was?

  • Mar 7, 2019

February’s Oscar win validated our efforts to make the ‘Green Book’ suitable for all audiences, like our decision to relegate “bottom-quartile” valuation outcomes to the very back of the publication.

Nov 15 2018

Asset Allocation: As Bad As It Gets

  • Nov 15, 2018

Asset Allocation in 2018 is about as bad as it gets. No major asset class has done well.

Nov 07 2018

For Asset Allocators, As Bad As It Gets!

  • Nov 7, 2018

During 2018, no major asset class has done well, and in most respects the opportunity-set available this year has been among the worst in the last 50 years.

Oct 19 2018

Monitoring Mo’s Mojo

  • Oct 19, 2018

Momentum is one of the most successful investment styles over the long run, and does particularly well in the later stages of a bull market during the run-up to an eventual peak.

Aug 07 2018

“Unlevered” Treasuries Aren’t A Bubble

  • Aug 7, 2018

It’s been popular to argue that U.S. government bonds are a bubble while U.S. equities are not. But even if we agreed, the potential cyclical total return losses in Treasury bonds are a fraction of those likely to occur in an equity bear market.

Jul 27 2018

How The S&P 500 Could Hit 2,500… Ten Years Out

  • Jul 27, 2018

Yesterday was the six-month anniversary of the S&P 500 bull market high, and the index celebrated the event by nearly setting a new peak. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Total Return Index did make a new high on Wednesday.

Jun 22 2018

Altitudes Are Too High— And Attitudes Are Getting There

  • Jun 22, 2018

An important feature of this bull market—and a reason for its longevity—is the slow recovery in investor attitudes relative to valuation altitudes...

May 05 2018

A New Hurdle For An Old Bull?

  • May 5, 2018

The first quarter S&P 500 earnings “beat” rate stands to be the highest in history, as any CEO with a pulse has learned to lower the hurdle.

Apr 13 2018

The Bear Market No One Discusses

  • Apr 13, 2018

Yields on 10-year Treasury bonds have still not breached the 3.00% level that many believe will stick the proverbial “fork” in the secular bond bull market that began in 1981. That could well in happen in the next few weeks, but we believe it’s important to step away from the daily fray and reflect upon the damage that’s already been done.

Feb 07 2018

What Yield “Kills” The Secular Bond Bull?

  • Feb 7, 2018

Bond market strategists remain hell bent on identifying the key yield level on 10-year Treasuries at which one can finally declare an end to the 1981-20XX secular bond bull market.

Jan 06 2018

Bridesmaid Strategy: Sector Track Record

  • Jan 6, 2018

Table 3 shows annual performance results for the Bridesmaid sector strategy under all four rebalancing frequencies, along with the sector selection for the annual version of the strategy.

Jan 06 2018

Bridesmaid Strategy: For Equity Managers

  • Jan 6, 2018

Our analysis of the Bridesmaid effect originated more than a decade ago, with an initial focus on equity sectors rather than asset classes.

Jan 06 2018

Bridesmaid Strategy: Track Record

  • Jan 6, 2018

Last year’s Bridesmaid gain of +21.8% matched the benchmark (obviously, since it was entirely invested in the benchmark).

Jan 06 2018

Asset Allocation: Buy Strength Or Weakness?

  • Jan 6, 2018

We are contrarians at heart, but learned quickly that successful contrarian investing is far more complicated than simply buying assets that are down the most in price.

Nov 07 2017

Revisiting The Y2K Highs

  • Nov 7, 2017

Bobby Knight thought coaching would be perfect “if it weren’t for those damned games.”

Oct 06 2017

How To Double Your Money In Ten Years

  • Oct 6, 2017

Before the markets punish an irresponsible act, they must first reward it.

Sep 08 2017

Spoiler Alert! The Bond Bear Is Already Here...

  • Sep 8, 2017

Bond investors residing in the Lower For Longer© camp no doubt feel vindicated by the summer rally that’s taken yields on 10-year Treasury bonds to as low as 2.06% in early September.

Aug 05 2017

VLT Goes “Quiet”

  • Aug 5, 2017

Last year’s “low-risk” BUY signals from our Very Long Term (VLT) Momentum algorithm have proven very profitable, but enough time has elapsed that they should no longer be considered an important bullish factor.

May 05 2017

How To (Almost) Double Your Money In Under Ten Years

  • May 5, 2017

Buying the S&P 500 on one of the worst possible days in history ultimately yielded a total return of +87.4% (+6.8% annualized) through the end of April 2017...darn, sounds like an advert for Vanguard!

Jan 07 2017

Bridesmaid Sector Track Record

  • Jan 7, 2017

Table 4 shows the annual sector selection and accompanying performance results for the Bridesmaid approach dating back to 1991.

Jan 07 2017

Bridesmaid Track Record

  • Jan 7, 2017

U.S. 10-Year Treasury Bonds—last year’s Bridesmaid holding—eked out a 1% gain in 2016, a disappointing result but one that preserved a streak of positive annual returns dating back to 2001 (Table 2).

Jan 07 2017

Asset Allocation: Buy Strength Or Weakness?

  • Jan 7, 2017

The turn of the calendar seems to bring out the inner contrarian in some investors—those who will peruse last year’s list of lagging asset classes looking for rebound candidates.

Nov 05 2016

Real Bond Returns: Set To Flatline?

  • Nov 5, 2016

While a plunge into a recession could always result in a final “blow-off” phase to the 35-year secular bull market in bonds, any youthful, long-term buyer of 10-Year Treasurys should weigh that exciting possibility against the odds that bonds do no more than match the inflation rate over the next 30-50 years.

Nov 05 2016

The “Low Vol” Unwind: Just The Beginning?

  • Nov 5, 2016

In mid-summer we suggested that attaining new market highs would probably require a rotation away from the long-time Low Volatility market leaders and into High Beta areas like Technology and industrial cyclicals.

Oct 07 2016

A Stock/Bond Relationship Revisited

  • Oct 7, 2016

Herein we further explore this month’s theme of “point-in-time relationships” and subsequent market returns. We review and update a study we initially conducted and published in June 2009.

Mar 08 2016

Foreign Stocks Set For A New “Bear”-ing?

  • Mar 8, 2016

Based on comparative valuations alone, one could have made a case for investing in foreign stocks over domestic ones as early as 2010—when EAFE’s valuations sunk to an historical low, relative to the S&P 500. Today, that gap remains extreme.

Jan 08 2016

Asset Allocation: No Upside In 2015

  • Jan 8, 2016

Hedge funds have shuttered by the dozen in the past few weeks, with the worst carnage among those focused on Emerging Markets and commodities. But the problem is broader.

Aug 07 2014

The Worst Of The “Window” Is Upon Us

  • Aug 7, 2014

Three months ago, our “Of Special Interest” section reviewed the historically pronounced effect of the well-known “Sell In May” phenomenon during mid-term years of the presidential election cycle.

Feb 07 2014

Small/Mid/Large Caps

  • Feb 7, 2014

Small Cap Premium Continues Upward To 23%. Large Caps Lead On The Downside In January

Jan 08 2014

Small/Mid/Large Caps

  • Jan 8, 2014

Small Cap Premium Continues Upward To 21%. The red-hot equity market of 2013 was especially good for Small Caps with a +38.8% total return.

Jan 05 2012

Risk Premium for Stocks Making a Comeback…

  • Jan 5, 2012

Andy Engel revisits our Stock/Bond Performance Differential study which examines rolling stock/bond spreads over various time periods and subsequent asset class returns.  It appears that trends are finally reverting slowly toward the norm.