Objective research to aid investing decisions

Value Investing Strategy (Strategy Overview)

Allocations for August 2022 (Final)
Cash TLT LQD SPY

Momentum Investing Strategy (Strategy Overview)

Allocations for August 2022 (Final)
1st ETF 2nd ETF 3rd ETF

Investing Expertise

Can analysts, experts and gurus really give you an investing/trading edge? Should you track the advice of as many as possible? Are there ways to tell good ones from bad ones? Recent research indicates that the average “expert” has little to offer individual investors/traders. Finding exceptional advisers is no easier than identifying outperforming stocks. Indiscriminately seeking the output of as many experts as possible is a waste of time. Learning what makes a good expert accurate is worthwhile.

Survey of Research on Equity Analysts

There is a decades-long stream of academic research on equity analysts as sophisticated users of financial data, focusing on the usefulness of sell-side analyst earnings forecasts and stock recommendations. What is the gist of this stream? In his June 2011 paper entitled “Analysts’ Forecasts: What Do We Know After Decades of Work?”, Mark Bradshaw surveys research on equity analysts. Using results from dozens of studies spanning approximately four decades, he concludes that: Keep Reading

Active ETF Performance

Do active exchange-traded funds (ETF), which realistically incorporate management costs and trading frictions, offer value to investors? In his June 2011 paper entitled “Active ETFs and Their Performance vis-à-vis Passive ETFs, Mutual Funds and Hedge Funds”, Panagiotis Schizas examines the returns and risks of the first active ETFs, including comparisons with alternative passive ETFs, mutual funds and hedge funds. The active ETFs [and passive counterparts] he considers are:

PowerShares Active Low Duration (PLK) [iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasury Bond (SHY)]
PowerShares Active Mega Cap (PMA) [SPDR S&P 500 (SPY)]
PowerShares Active AlphaQ (PQY) [PowerShares QQQ (QQQ)]
PowerShares Active Alpha Multi-Cap (PQZ) [SPDR S&P 500 (SPY)]
PowerShares Active U.S. Real Estate (PSR) [iShares FTSE NAREIT Real Estate 50 (FTY)]

Using matched ETF, mutual fund and hedge fund performance data (daily for ETFs and mutual funds and monthly for hedge funds) as available from active ETF inception (4/14/08 for the first four and 11/21/08 for the fifth) through 3/4/10, he finds that: Keep Reading

A Few Notes on The Most Important Thing

Howard Marks introduces his 2011 book, The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor, by stating: “…I have built this book around the idea of the most important things–each is a brick in what I hope will be a solid wall, and none is dispensable. …I consider it my creed, and in the course of my investing career it has served like a religion. …You won’t find a how-to book here. There’s no surefire recipe for investment success. …Just a way to think that might help you make good decisions and, perhaps more important, avoid the pitfalls that ensnare so many. …the thing I most want to make clear is just how complex [investing] is.” Evolved from decades of investing experience, including that as co-founder and chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, some notable points from the book are: Keep Reading

Holdings Return Skewness as a Luck-Skill Discriminator

Can investors discriminate between lucky and skillful equity fund managers by examining the distribution of returns across fund holdings? In the September 2010 preliminary draft of their paper entitled “Home-Run Sluggers vs. Contact Hitters: Stock Performance Distribution inside Mutual Funds and Fund Managers’ Stock Picking Ability”, Peter Chung and Thomas Kim relate the skewness of the return distribution of equity mutual fund holdings to performance persistence. Specifically, they calculate the skewness of the distribution of four-factor (adjusted for market, size, book-to-market, momentum) alphas of individual fund holdings weighted according to position size. A fund manager who consistently picks outperforming stocks (gets lucky with one big winner) would have a negatively (positively) skewed distribution of alphas. Using reported holdings for 1,604 U.S. equity mutual funds and data to calculate the lagged six-month alphas for each of these holdings from the end of July 2002 through February 2006, they find that: Keep Reading

Value of Full-service Brokers?

Do individual investors truly benefit from using full service brokers? In the February 2011 draft of their paper entitled “What is the Impact of Financial Advisors on Retirement Portfolio Choices and Outcomes?”, John Chalmers and Jonathan Reuter compare outcomes for those Oregon University System’s Optional Retirement Plan participants who choose a firm that uses brokers to provide personal face-to-face financial services (HIGH level of service) and participants who choose the most popular lower-service firm (LOW level of service). Using demographic and monthly/annual account-level data from earliest availability (mostly 1997 or 1998) through 2009, they find that: Keep Reading

CFOs vs. CEOs as Inside Traders

Are Chief Financial Officers (CFO) better informed than Chief Executive Officers (CEO) when it comes to trading the stocks of their companies? In their March 2011 paper entitled “Are CFOs’ Trades More Informative than CEOs’ Trades?”, Weimin Wang, Yong-Chul Shin and Bill Francis investigate whether open market trades made by CFOs are better predictors of associated stock returns than trades made by CEOs. They examine insider purchases and sales separately instead of using net sales and focus on purchases to avoid non-informative liquidity sales. They calculate abnormal returns relative to 100 benchmark portfolios matched by market capitalization (size) and book-to-market ratio. Using data for 12,936 CEO and 7,049 CFO purchases and 24,527 CEO and 13,909 CFO sales of shares in their companies during January 1992 through July 2002, along with subsequent daily stock returns, benchmark portfolio returns and risk factor data, they find that: Keep Reading

Professional Investor Groups Sharing Value (or Moving Markets)

Do online forums of arguably well-informed investors pay off for their members? In their February 2011 paper entitled “Talking Your Book: Social Networks and Price Discovery”, Wesley Gray and Andrew Kern study the sharing of valuation beliefs by professional investors via a social network. Specifically, they focus on ValueInvestorsClub.com, “designed to facilitate idea sharing among…250 [screened but anonymous] fundamentals-based managers (primarily hedge fund managers) who post detailed summaries of their investment analyses to the website. Once an idea is posted, it is visible to the other club members. Forty-five days after the idea is initially shared within this small community, the club grants public access to the investment thesis through a ‘guest access’ feature available to anyone with an email address.” Using approximately 2,000 long and 250 short recommendations for publicly traded common stocks shared via ValueInvestorsClub.com during 2000 through 2008, along with associated stock return, firm fundamentals and institutional ownership (SEC Form 13F) data, they find that: Keep Reading

A Few Notes on The Power of Passive Investing

In his 2011 book The Power of Passive Investing: More Wealth with Less Work, author Richard Ferri presents “the detailed studies and undeniable evidence favoring a passive investing approach. …This information clearly shows that trying to beat the market has never been a reliable investment strategy in the past, and there’s no reason to believe it will beat a passive approach in the future. …Attempting to earn above market returns by picking actively managed mutual funds is an inefficient use of time and money. Knowing this fact, and acknowledging it allows you the freedom to go in a different direction–to change religion in a sense. …This book makes the case for passive investing. You’ll have to read other books for details on asset allocation recommendations and fund selection methods.” The book includes 140 citations of formal studies and expert commentaries. Some notable points from the book are: Keep Reading

Outperformance of Hedge Funds: Timing or Asset Selection?

Does hedge fund outperformance derive from systematically superior timing or from superior asset selection? In the December 2010 version of her paper entitled “Can Factor Timing Explain Hedge Fund Alpha?”, Hyuna Park decomposes alpha generated by hedge funds into security selection and timing with respect to eight risk factors (including U.S. and emerging equity risk premiums). Her essential measure of  factor timing performance is degree of fund success in raising (lowering) exposure to a factor when the factor’s return is high (low). For example, a fund with a high equity market beta when stock returns are high and low equity market beta when stock returns are low demonstrates good timing of the equity risk premium. She gives special attention to relatively illiquid hedge funds to ensure that frequent trading does not obscure factor timing ability and considers both aggregate and individual fund performances. Using net returns and other characteristics for 6,114 live and dead hedge funds during 1994-2008, she finds that: Keep Reading

Evolving Informativeness of Insider Trading

Have regulatory changes, such as the reduction in lag time for reporting insider trades specified by the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) from up to 40 calendar days to two business days, improved the informativeness of insider trading data? In his December 2010 paper entitled “Has the Informativeness of Insider Filing Changed Post Sox? Has the Latest Credit Crunch Improved this Informativeness?”, Ashrafee Hossain compares the information content of SEC Form 4 filings before and after SOX,  Regulation FD (October 2000) and the recent credit crisis. He also investigates variation of informativeness with firm size, insider trade size and rank of the trading executive. He focuses on cumulative abnormal (relative to market) return for a two-day trading interval starting with the filing date. Using pre-SOX Form 4 trading and stock price data from January 1, 1996 through August 29, 2002 (1,191 filings) and post-SOX data from the start of mandatory electronic filing on June 30, 2003 through May 31, 2009 (41,603 filings), he finds that: Keep Reading

Login
Daily Email Updates
Filter Research
  • Research Categories (select one or more)