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    We recently asked readers of our popular market commentary, the Weekly Research Briefing, to submit market-related questions for author Blaine Rollins, CFA. We had several interesting questions come in so we thought we would use this week’s blog to share some of Blaine’s responses.

  • 4 Blogs to Get You Up to Speed on Long/Short Equity Strategies  

    One of the most puzzling market-related stories to come from COVID-19 is the disconnect between the stock market and the economic numbers. The market would be much, much lower if it weren’t for the Federal Reserve’s actual and promised buying of credit assets (e.g., Treasuries, Investment Grade Bonds, BB junk bonds, auto loans, residential and commercial mortgages, credit card debt, etc). They have provided a floor to the markets that help companies raise money by selling bonds and to keep the foreclosure and repo man away from all the personal assets of people who just lost their jobs.

  • Breaking Bad  

    The Betas They Are A-Changin’…

    May 06, 2020
    Harindra de Silva, CFA, Ph.D., and the Analytic Investors Team,
    Guest Contributors

    The beta of a stock or portfolio is a widely used measure of risk—capturing the sensitivity of the security to “market wide movements.” Regardless of the source of the movement of the market, this measure captures what the market and the security have in common. A security that has low beta is described as having low sensitivity to the market and vice versa.

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    In a recent blog, we addressed the opportunity of funding a long/short equity position from existing fixed income holdings given the less-than-optimistic outlook for that segment of the market. I certainly agree that holding an overweight to core fixed income, at current interest rates and credit spreads, just doesn’t provide the same attractive risk/return trade-off that investors have gotten used to over the last 10 (20? … 30?!) years. Today, we offer a second approach to funding a long/short equity position.

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    By the end of 2019, equity markets finished off an incredible decade with returns well above historical averages, and volatility well below them. Investors that had any kind of diversification or hedging in their portfolios were likely frustrated about lagging, long-only U.S. equities and may have gone either full beta or deployed ‘hedging strategies’ that had been performing well relative to the broader market (likely due to their higher beta). Now with the sharp decline that markets have experienced since February 19th, investors have perhaps been reminded why protecting capital on the downside is still so important.