Entries by Simon Lack

Another Problem with Low Rates

The Federal Reserve’s wealth transfer strategy of shifting purchasing power from savers to borrowers has other unintended consequences apart from plundering the thrifty in favor of the profligate. If you run a fixed income fund, ten-year treasury notes with a 2% handle doesn’t create much raw material from which to manufacture some income for your […]

Savour the Moment

Sometimes you feel as if you’d like the world to stop right where it is. For most investors, arriving at work and checking their portfolios over coffee this morning should be one of the most pleasant beverages they’ve consumed in many months. After the misery of the third quarter culminating in September’s testing of every […]

The Quiet Buying of Shale Gas Assets

The FT notes in an article this morning how M&A activity in the shale gas arena reached almost $50BN during the third quarter, a 135% jump on a year ago. Some deals were large and notable, such as Kinder Morgan’s (KMP) purchase of El Paso. Others took place out of the spotlight, but what is clearly taking place […]

Monday Morning Thoughts, October 24th

There’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal highlighting that banks are increasingly the first source of funds for takeovers – providing more funds that the high yield bond market. Kinder Morgan’s recent acquisition of El Paso is cited as an example, but there’s increasing evidence that banks are increasing their risk appetite. The […]

Reining in the Rating Agencies

Through the ongoing and mind-numbing complexity of the European sovereign debt crisis, the bureaucrats in Brussels can be relied upon to introduce some absurdity into their deliberations. The latest is a report in the FT that under certain circumstances  the EU will suspend the ability of rating agencies to evaluate sovereign credits. Now it’s true that markets […]

The IMF Will Need to Bail Out Europe

The FT has a very good summary of the current state of play in the European debt crisis. Yet another weekend summit critical to the survival of the Euro is upon us. Once again, bottom-up analysis of investments is held hostage to the macro issues at play. The EU is designed to seek consensus and […]

Another Disappointing Year for Hedge Funds

2002 seems like a long time ago, but that’s the last time hedge funds outperformed a simple blend of 60% stocks and 40% bonds. Through 2000-02 during the dot-com collapse hedge funds added value, but since then as assets have flowed in the weight of all that money has steadily dragged down returns. Following a […]

Are Dividend Paying Stocks Expensive?

Barron’s over this past weekend included an article warning that dividend paying stocks were getting expensive. Author Michael Santoli cited recent work from Vadim Zlotnikov at Bernstein Research comparing price/book valuations on low beta and high beta stocks. On this basis low beta stocks are at the 99th percentile of valuation (i.e. expensive) over the past 50 […]

Carousing in Columbus, Ohio

I spent a most enjoyable day in Columbus, OH at the invitation of the local CFA Society. I should extend my thanks to Tim Steitz, Senior Investment Officer – Equities at the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio for organizing such a well attended event, and also Travis Upton, current President of the CFA Society […]

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