Index Funds

  • 21 Jun
    Diversification vs. Concentration

    Diversification vs. Concentration

    • Index funds and diversification have worked extremely well in the past 35 years, however their success can be thanked to geography, as we hear only about the success in the U.S., and to declining interest rates.
    • If the S&P 500 had the same earnings yield as when the Vanguard fund gained traction, it would be at 557 points, yes 77% below current levels.
    • It’s better to wait in cash than buy a diversified index fund now.

    Introduction

    Some investment gurus advocate spreading your portfolio across various asset classes in order to limit your risks for the same return. On the other hand, others say diversification is for idiots and for those who don’t know what they’re doing. I’ll analyze their arguments and see what the best option is for you. More →

  • 27 Apr
    The S&P 500 Only Has Sentiment To Thank For The Gains In The Last 5 Years

    The S&P 500 Only Has Sentiment To Thank For The Gains In The Last 5 Years

    • Positive sentiment alone has added 950 points to the S&P 500 in the last 5 years.
    • The S&P 500 has returned 12% in the last 5 years, but only 4.5% in the last 10 years and just 2.7% in the last 17 years. Don’t let current positive sentiment lead you to such terrible long term returns.
    • The opportunity cost might be significant, but the long term picture of not following the herd looks much better.

    Introduction

    I know that if I buy a stock with a price to earnings (P/E) ratio of 10 and stable future business prospects, my very long-term return should be around 10%, plus inflation and eventual growth. If I buy a stock at a P/E ratio of 5, my returns will be around 20%, while if I buy a stock with a P/E ratio of 20, my returns will be around 5%. It’s as simple as that, in the long term. More →

  • 26 Apr
    If You’re An Investor, Now’s The Time To Get Out Of The S&P 500, Index Funds, & ETFs

    If You’re An Investor, Now’s The Time To Get Out Of The S&P 500, Index Funds, & ETFs

    • If you only look at averages, passive investing will always outperform active due to lower fees, but you can only expect average returns.
    • The market is skewed and inefficient due to huge flows into passive funds, outflows from active funds which should be doing the thinking, and euphoric management doing large stock buybacks. This creates a highly risky situation.
    • Avoid owning index funds, ETFs, and stocks that are largely owned by passive funds.

    Introduction

    There are two investing worlds. One is the world of active investing where the fund manager you hired analyzes company after company and invests in those they think are the best. The passive manager simply disperses your funds over an index where you will perform exactly as the market performs. With passive investing, fundamentals, dividends, growth, sales, scandals, and business trends don’t matter at all. More →

  • 19 Apr
    The Next Bear Market Is Coming. Here’s Where It Will Start.

    The Next Bear Market Is Coming. Here’s Where It Will Start.

    • $2 billion a day flows into Vanguard to be mindlessly invested in the market through index funds.
    • When the only reason people invest is because staying on the sidelines means getting sore while others get rich, it usually spells trouble ahead.
    • When the investors plowing $2 billion per day understand what are they buying at extreme valuations, the next bear market will arrive and it will be terrible as the buying reverses to selling.

    Introduction

    A recent The New York Times article described how Vanguard, the $4.2 trillion mutual fund, is the fastest growing fund due to the attractiveness of passive investment vehicles and the average 0.12% fee the fund charges. The low fee is something I applaud as I strongly believe fees in the financial world should be minimal or performance related where nothing is paid if the manager doesn’t deliver. More →

  • 15 Mar
    There’s Only One Reason The Markets Are Rising & Nothing Can Be Done About It

    There’s Only One Reason The Markets Are Rising & Nothing Can Be Done About It

    • Everybody knows the market is extremely overvalued and risky, but nobody cares as long as it goes up.
    • Funds keep flowing into U.S. equities despite the fundamentals. This will be very painful when the trend reverses.

    Introduction

    We all know that in the long run, our investment returns are perfectly correlated to the underlying performance of the businesses we own in relation to the price we pay for ownership. If the price is high, our returns will be weak. If what we buy is cheap in relation to underlying earnings, our returns will be great or even amazing. This is a universal truth. However, there are some issues with it.

    The first is that even if most agree on the strong correlation between earnings and stock returns, very few like to think about the long term and instead prefer to only think about the short term. In the short term, stock returns are driven by equity flows and there is nothing that we can do about it even if it has been statistically proven that long term returns are perfectly correlated to underlying earnings and the greatest investors, like Ray Dalio and Warren Buffett, keep reminding us of this fact. More →

  • 07 Mar
    The Superinvestors Of Graham And Doddsville – Is Buffett A Hypocrite?

    The Superinvestors Of Graham And Doddsville – Is Buffett A Hypocrite?

    • According to Warren Buffet in 1984, investing and beating the market is simple: just use value investing and a margin of safety.
    • For this market, value investing is irrelevant. However if things change, value investing will become essential.
    • Spoiler alert: What I’ve written in this article you will either immediately like or totally disregard. Unfortunately, the latter will have a negative impact on your wealth.

    Introduction

    One short, 15-page article holds more investing insight than all the content published by the media in a year. It’s Warren Buffett’s article The Superinvestors of Graham and Doddsville.

    As the article was written in 1984, it gives you the real, non-political and unconstrained Buffett. Today’s Buffet is a hypocrite because he is forced to say index funds are a good investment even though stocks are at valuations he would never approve of. He has become so big that anything opposite to positive statements would lead to a possible market meltdown. Plus, don’t be confused by the fact that he recently bought $12 billion of stocks, as he bought into extremely cheap sectors, you can read more about that here.

    Today, I’ll summarize Buffett’s article and put it into today’s context. More →

  • 01 Mar
    Value That’s Measured In Millions

    Value That’s Measured In Millions

    • My goal for what I write on Investiv Daily is to increase yearly returns by 4 percentage points for those who want to remain invested in the U.S. and diversified across sectors, by 8 percentage points for those who want the same but dare to go international, and by 12 or more percentage points for those who want to look at specific stock investments.
    • History, statistics, the Buffetts of the world, macroeconomics, cycles, etc., show that returns of above 16% on an annualized basis are possible, so why should you settle for average?
    • The current investing environment praises index or average investing. However, I would wait for a complete business and market cycle to pass before praising an investment strategy. It’s fun how quickly people have forgotten about 2001 and 2009.

    Introduction

    You probably know that I’ve been writing here on Investiv Daily for a while now. Apart from the content and commentary that I publish here, I have a very specific goal in mind. My goal is to eliminate the word “average” from your returns and without increasing your risk. More →

  • 15 Feb
    The Institutional Performance Derby: The Client Is the Loser

    The Institutional Performance Derby: The Client Is the Loser

    • It’s important to understand how investing institutions operate and think so you don’t get trapped.
    • Nobody at these institutions eats their own cooking and there is no incentive to do anything. It reminds me of communism.
    • Institutional investing is a self-reinforcing mechanism, which is great in a bull market but terrible in a bear market.

    Introduction

    Seth Klarman’s book Margin of Safety is an iconic investment book. As it’s extremely difficult to get, I’m synthesizing it for you while injecting my own up-to-date commentary.

    You can read my introduction to Klarman’s Margin of Safety here, my review of chapter one, Where Most Investors Stumble, here, and my review of chapter two, The Nature of Wall Street Works Against Investors, here. Today’s article will discuss his The Institutional Performance Derby: The Client Is the Loser chapter. More →

  • 13 Dec
    The Crowd Loves Index Investing. Should You?

    The Crowd Loves Index Investing. Should You?

    • Index investing really means buying high and selling low. The latest NASDAQ 100 inclusions and exclusions are a perfect example.
    • If you invest in an index, you are bound to receive market returns which will be in line with market earnings. However, history shows that market returns won’t be that great from today onward.
    • Even if index investing is still the most popular thing to do, it’s time to switch to smarter investment vehicles.

    Buying High & Selling Low

    Last week, NASDAQ announced the results of the annual re-ranking of the NASDAQ-100 Index® (Nasdaq: NDX). The following four companies will be added to the Index, Cintas Corporation (Nasdaq: CTAS), Hasbro, Inc. (Nasdaq: HAS), Hologic, Inc. (Nasdaq: HOLX), and KLA-Tencor Corporation (Nasdaq: KLAC), while the following four companies will be removed from the Index: Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBY), NetApp, Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP), Stericycle, Inc. (Nasdaq: SRCL), and Whole Foods Market, Inc. (Nasdaq: WFM). More →

  • 09 Nov
    The Economics Are Great, But Valuations Point Toward Stock Picking To Limit Risk

    The Economics Are Great, But Valuations Point Toward Stock Picking To Limit Risk

    • GDP, productivity and earnings are growing which is great news.
    • However, valuations are high and interest rates are likely to rise soon.
    • Given the variations in revenue and earnings growth, and the upcoming changes in interest rates, now may be the time to switch from index investing to stock picking.

    Introduction

    As the earnings season is almost over—and GDP, productivity and labor data is in—it’s a good time to look at what kind of conclusions can be made out of the multitude of information. By putting the noise aside (the election) and focusing on news that impacts future earnings, we’ll relate recent developments to the potential risks and rewards for your portfolio. More →

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