Category Archives: Current Events

Today’s Jobs Report – Wage Growth Picks Up

Posted on September 7, 2018 by Gemmer Asset

Today’s jobs report was a solid one with nonfarm payrolls rising by 201k, higher than both the 190k surveyed by economists and the 157K of the previous month. The unemployment rate stayed put at 3.8%, but average hourly earnings (a measure of wage growth) came in at 2.9% growth year-over-year, a new cycle high as you can see below.     This report, and the positive headlines associated with it were overshadowed by the Trump…
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Should We Care About the Longest Bull Market?

Posted on August 27, 2018 by Gemmer Asset

If you follow the financial press it is hard not to notice all the noise around the duration of this bull market. The current rally is now officially the longest bull market in post-war history. We are finding it is hard to get too worked up about this.   First, the news. Last Wednesday the S&P set the record for the longest number of days without a 20% correction. A 20% decline is arbitrarily defined…
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Market Recap

Posted on August 17, 2018 by Gemmer Asset

  August has a habit of throwing up surprises for investors. Those of a certain age might remember Augusts of 1998 (Russian default), 2007 (first redemption freeze of sub-prime crisis), 2011 (U.S. sovereign downgrade) and 2015 (renminbi devaluation/S&P 500 flash crash). The chart below shows the drawdowns in equities, EM assets, and hedge funds in each August going back to 1997.     This August is giving us another emerging market scare. The currencies of…
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‘90’s Flashback

Posted on August 15, 2018 by Gemmer Asset

  Ahhh, that takes me back to simpler times. Pets.com, flip phones, Netscape web browsers. Now while Prince’s song was referring to the world ending at the turn of the millennium, for emerging market investors the world actually came close to ending in 1997 and 1998. Both Thailand and Russia ran into some financial difficulties and Long-Term Capital Management managed to implode in an entertaining fashion. The Fed cut rates as a result and this…
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Do Liquid Alternatives Help A Portfolio’s Risk Adjusted Return?

Posted on August 14, 2018 by Gemmer Asset

I won’t beat around the bush, the answer to this question is, like many things, nuanced. It really depends on the alternative fund/vehicle you use. Obviously with hindsight we can pick the best fund, but its another story when you’re trying to make a judgement about whether or not an alternative fund will be additive to your portfolio ex-ante.   Morningstar came out with an interesting paper on this topic. In it, Jason Kephart attempts…
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Market Recap

Posted on August 3, 2018 by Gemmer Asset

  A mixed week for equities. U.S. stocks were generally higher with the S&P picking up +0.8% and small-caps +0.6%. The NASDAQ managed a +1.0% gain as Apple’s market cap surpassed $1 trillion as you can see below – read more here, the first U.S. company to achieve this feat.     It is hard to believe that Steve Jobs died in 2011 when Apple had a market cap of ‘just’ $300bn.   International equities,…
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Apple Hits $1 Trillion

Posted on August 2, 2018 by Gemmer Asset

  Well, it finally happened. On the back of a very positive earnings release, Apple hit $1 trillion in market cap.  That’s a “1” followed by 12 zeros…   Its hard to remember those pre-iPhone days, but amazingly it wasn’t that long ago. The first iPhone was released in June of 2007. To put the recent news in perspective, the company’s market cap was $91 billion back then… that’s a $909 billion dollar increase!!  …
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Currency Moves

Posted on August 1, 2018 by Gemmer Asset

There have been some big currency moves lately, particularly in the emerging world (Argentina – I’m looking at you!).  In fact, not a single emerging market currency has appreciated versus the dollar over the past six months, with the average loss being -9.4%! Turkey and Latin America have been hurt particularly bad.     Down -42%, -34%, -18%… these moves are huge, particularly for currencies. The effect this type of currency depreciation has on a…
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Market Recap

Posted on July 27, 2018 by Gemmer Asset

  Corporate Earnings – A Solid Foundation   If you are a Facebook investor, it was a tough week. The stock opened Thursday morning 20% lower than where it closed on Wednesday. As part of its second quarter earnings report it predicted slower growth in future quarters.     For all the wailing, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the shares had been on a tear going into this week. Before the earnings…
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Always Look Under The Hood

Posted on by Gemmer Asset

“FANG” has become a popular term in finance circles over the past few years (or more recently “FAANG”). It’s an abbreviation for 4 (or 5) major US tech companies Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google – the second A in “FAANG” stands for Apple. And because these days there is an ETF for everything (see here and here), there is an ETF for this new acronym – its ticker is of course: FNG.   This new…
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