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When the Music Stopped but the Bankers Were Still Dancing

Author: Benjamin Lavine, CFA, CAIA

“When the Music Stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing.” – Then Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince in a Financial Times interview circa July 2017 (via Time Business).

July 2018 Market Commentary

Author: Benjamin Lavine, CFA, CAIA

As we write this July 2018 Market Commentary, the U.S. technology and communication sector, which had sharply reversed following poor 2Q earnings releases from FAANG bellwethers Netflix (NFLX) and Facebook (FB), will likely be rescued by a strong month-end earnings release from Apple (AAPL). Indeed, despite strong releases from other large growth bellwethers like Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon (AMZN), investor sentiment had swung suddenly from ‘growth’ style of investing to ‘value’ style of investing.

A Perfect Storm Is Brewing for Lower Investment Grade Credit Risk

Author: Benjamin Lavine, CFA, CAIA

Investors exposed to lower investment grade credit risk take note. A perfect storm consisting of a tightening Fed, a flattening U.S. Treasury yield curve, and heavy corporate debt issuance from less credit-worthy borrowers is presenting an asymmetric risk environment for fixed income investors and corporate lenders.

Second Quarter 2018 Market Commentary

Author: Benjamin Lavine, CFA, CAIA

The 2nd quarter of 2018 saw global equity markets lose some ground from the first quarter, much of it attributed to the growing trade war dispute that is taking shape between the U.S. and the rest of the world. In June, MSCI All-Country World Index lost 0.54% but still ended the quarter with a slight gain of 0.53%, much of the gains coming from the U.S. market.

High Yield Credit Risk – Investors Can Receive More Than What They Want

Author: Benjamin Lavine, CFA, CAIA

The end of market cycles typically begins with some choice anecdotes capturing the spirit of market excess that aggregate market metrics will initially miss. Eventually, enough of these ‘anecdotes’ accumulate raising the attention of major market observers (i.e. your bulge bracket economist or strategist). Some of them will casually dismiss the anecdotes as just that…anecdotes; others will ‘monitor’ them for signs of further excess.

May 2018 Market Commentary: Is the Late Cycle Tiring Already?

Author: Benjamin Lavine, CFA, CAIA

Global equity markets turned in mixed performance. U.S. equities outperformed all other major regions while Europe and Emerging Markets came under pressure due to country/region-specific issues as well as ongoing trade war rhetoric and pressures from higher U.S. interest rates.

The Return of Active Management? (Updated May 2018)

Author: Benjamin Lavine, CFA, CAIA

We are publishing a quick update to our thoughts on traditional active management; the so-called active vs passive debate that has been written ad nauseum throughout the financial press. We are writing this piece in advance of an upcoming Advisor Success Series podcast with a small/mid-cap portfolio manager who will provide his perspectives on the state of traditional active management and what he believes are some of the key ingredients to success in adding value for the firm’s investors.

April 2018 Market Commentary - Momentum to Market: "I'm Not Dead (Yet)!"

Author: Benjamin Lavine, CFA, CAIA

Global equity markets were flat in April, masking some intra-month volatility due to ongoing trade war rhetoric and pockets of earnings disappointments. Europe led all major markets while emerging markets lagged, perhaps feeling the effects of higher U.S. interest rates.

Fund Analysis: Assigning the Wrong Motivations to Traditional Active Management

Author: Benjamin Lavine, CFA, CAIA

As a financial writer tasked with analyzing market- and industry-related trends, I can sympathize with how challenging it can be to maintain some semblance of methodological neutrality and objectivity, particularly in areas that lie just outside your sphere of expertise.

First Quarter 2018 Market Commentary

Author: Benjamin Lavine, CFA, CAIA

The beginning of the quarter saw a euphoric start for global equities as investors celebrated the passage of the Republican tax plan that lowered the tax burden for U.S. corporations as well as optimism over capital spending plans.