Amidst Conflicting Signals, Keeping Cash May Be Prudent

In an environment where markets look expensive and are sending conflicting signals, keeping a store of cash might not be a bad idea. This according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. According to the article, lower bond yields and swollen equity markets are “sending conflicting signals; the former reflecting the lackluster picture for inflation; the latter hopes for growth.” Further, it says, the high level of global central-bank liquidity is “past its peak” with the Fed raising rates and the European Central Bank moving away from loose monetary policy. “In this environment,” the article states, “faced with […]

Klarman Warns of Risks to Investors

Risk is the most important consideration when investing, and investors are being too trusting. This according to a recent Business Insider article reporting on a client letter from hedge fund manager Seth Klarman. The hedge fund manager (who oversees approximately $30 billion) shares his view that, when share prices are low (as they were in 2008 and early 2009), risk is “usually quite muted while perception of risk is high.” By contrast, however, he argues that “when securities prices are high, as they are today, the perception of risk is muted, but the risks to investors are quite elevated.” According to […]

Zweig: Emerging Markets Look Good, But Don’t Rush In

Funds are pouring into emerging market funds, with one-twelfth of total holdings having come in over the past 90 days, writes Jason Zweig of The Wall Street Journal. Presumably, he says, the heavy inflow is in “hot pursuit of high recent returns” (the asset class is up 12.4% this year). While participating in these funds is a good idea, Zweig says, investors should be careful not to rush in. “These stocks aren’t so much absolutely cheap as relatively cheap,” he argues. According to Chris Brightman, chief investment officer at Research Affiliates, emerging markets are “half the price” of U.S. stocks. […]

Sexy Companies Don’t Necessarily Make Good Investments

Snap Inc. (the maker of the popular social app, SnapChat) has been getting a lot of attention of late, according to a recent article in the Financial Times, and not just because of its imminent initial public offering at a time when such events are a rarity. The article states, “It’s a company reaching out to the public markets even as it loses money hand over fist,” citing data from Dealogic that says Snap is expected to raise more money than “all venture capital-backed firms joining the public markets in 2016.” Citing new research from Charles Lee and Ken Li […]

Buyer Beware of Companies Carrying Heavy Debt Loads

A decade of historically low interest rates has encouraged businesses to increase leverage and this could prove dicey for investors, says a recent Barron’s article. According to Morningstar fund analyst Kevin McDevitt, companies have been refinancing or borrowing for share buybacks, not necessarily to invest in existing businesses. “The leverage,” he says, “is an added risk not only to the individual companies, but also to the funds that own them.” Morningstar research found that, in the wake of the 2008 crisis, funds with high debt/capital ratios “dramatically underperformed low debt/capital ones and the market, losing about half their value, while […]