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Risk Mitigation strategies as Fed Tapers

SmartStops Comment:   WisdomTree suggests its time to consider a strategy of hedging with ETFs to mitigate risk as the Fed begins to taper. That can be one approach to ensuring that a market correction will minimally affect your portfolio.  But determining when to hedge especially with the costs incurred, becomes the main question. That’s where SmartStops can help – by providing an objective analysis for when risk levels are increasing in the market.  

This excerpt from a white paper of WisdomTree:

Over the last nine months, the Federal Reserve (Fed) has gradually reduced the pace of its asset purchases in
conjunction with improving strength in the U.S. economy. With tapering on pace to conclude October 29, we believe that investors should now look beyond 2014 and start to focus on when, not if, the Federal Reserve will begin to tighten monetary policy. In our view, the way that investors have prepared their portfolios for tapering could be inadequate for the likely market reaction to increases in short-term rates. In the remainder of this discussion, we intend to focus on the following topics:
+ Preparing your portfolio for tightening is different than tapering
+ Traditional approaches to rising rates may not adequately insulate portfolios from losses going forward
+ Duration4-hedged and negative duration exchange traded funds (ETFs) may provide investors with
more comprehensive and intuitive tools to mitigate interest rate risk

For the entire white paper, click here.

Why You Should Shift From Profits To Protection

SmartStops Comment: We couldn’t agree more with this author.

From Seeking Alpha, Contrarian Profits
The bulls are back out in force, as the hiccups from a few weeks ago seem a distant memory. Indexes have resumed breaking records on a regular basis, and all seems right with the world.

Great – trust me, few things make me happier than a happy market. I like making money as much as the next guy.

But I’m also a little more suspicious than the next guy. And right now, that suspicion is warranted.

… Today, the average price-to-earnings ratio of an S&P 500 stock is a hair below 19. The long-term average is right around 15. We’re solidly sitting in overbought territory. Stocks are expensive right now.

More at:
More at Seeking Alpha: Why You Should Shift From Profits To Protection

Blackstone’s James Says Debt, Equity Markets Overvalued

“We’re between the bottom of the seventh and the top of the eighth,” Marks said in a Bloomberg Television interview last week. “It’s time for the seventh-inning stretch. You have to have plenty of defense on the field today.”

SmartStops Comment:  Defense is the best Offense!

View complete article at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-09/blackstone-s-james-says-debt-equity-markets-overvalued.html?cmpid=yhoo

Is Best Buy really a “sell?”

Best Buy has had to deal with competition from online stores.

Best Buy has had to deal with competition from online stores.

The past year has been a dramatic time for electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY). After nearly tripling its stock price, peaking at $45 a share in November 2013, the company's stock plummeted almost 30 percent after releasing its fourth quarter earnings report. The store had weak sales during what should have been a strong holiday season and fell far short of its goals. 

Over the past decade, Best Buy and similar retailers have faced difficulties competing with websites like Amazon.com (AMZN). The theory is that consumers use brick-and-mortar stores like showrooms. After finding the products they like, customers then take their business online. Read More…

Despite The Recent Run Up, Could This Be A Good Time To Buy?

The markets experienced a period of excessive turmoil and uncertainty this past year.  However, despite facing the “Fiscal Cliff”, a continued European debt crisis, high US unemployment and a presidential election, the S&P 500 managed to produce a gain of 13.47%.

So, what can we expect for the year ahead?  Nobody knows for sure, but measurements of market risk are sending signals that this may be a good time to buy.

The VIX, a measurement of implied future volatility, remains low at just 13.26.  This has partly been influenced by the continued quantitative easing by the Fed which results in a great deal of liquidity in the markets and lower volatility.VIX

According to SmartStops.net’s market risk signals, the percent of S&P 500 components currently in the above normal risk state is down to 14%.  This is historically very low and below the 100 day risk ratio average of 42% producing an SRBI of 0.33.  An SRBI below 1 indicates risk has been on the decline.

S&P 500 SRBI

Visit the SmartStops Market Risk Barometer

When we review 2012 and compare the SmartStops Risk Ratio for the S&P 500 to its performance, we clearly see the inverse relationship between risk and performance.  The current low risk ratio of just 14% indicates it may be a good time to buy.

S&P 500 Risk vs Performance

Published previously in the SmartStops Members Year End Letter.

As always, market and equity performance are influenced by many factors and their direction can change on a dime.  We should all invest accordingly.

To learn more about sidestepping periods of elevated risk and improving returns per day in the market, Visit www.smartstops.net.

Nowhere to Run: The Correlation Bubble

SmartStops Comment:: Indeed, Beta and correlation approaches are not enough to manage risk in today’s markets. However we have somewhere for you to run – to intelligent self-adjusting risk methodologies that the SmartStops optimization engine offers.

Originally published at Seeking Alpha: http://seekingalpha.com/article/815851-nowhere-to-run-the-correlation-bubble

Fundamental analysis of “buy and hold” companies is a quaint, Warren Buffetish notion that probably works in the long term. But as Keynes said, in the long term we’re all dead. The big risk in today’s über-correlated markets is systemic shock. One can practice due diligence on a company and buy at a reasonable valuation, but if global markets collapse the next day and don’t recover for years, one has paid a lot in opportunity cost. In other words, tail risk is not reflected in fundamental analysis.

Fundamental analysis is valuable so long as the basic fabric of capital markets remains intact. In an insane world (where U.S. Treasuries and German Bunds are considered “risk-free”, of infinite rehypothecation, where MF Global’s John Corzine walks off with $200M segregated assets, of the London Whale, LIBOR, Goldman’s muppets, regulatory capture of SEC and Fed, U.S. / China animosity and the dollar’s loss of world reserve status) it’s unlikely that business-as-usual will continue without a disruptive bout of creative destruction.

Precisely when and how it will occur is anyone’s guess, but, unfortunately, old school techniques like cross-asset class and regional diversification have lost their glimmer. Just as socioeconomic disparity is partitioning the globe into lords and serfs, so too has the market been divided into polarized castes of highly correlated risk-on assets and (scarce few) risk-off havens.

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