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There is a constant stream of new academic research about investing. Some of the papers attempt to explain the key drivers of returns. Some are more focused on investor behavior. Many papers are focused on realizing higher returns (“delivering alpha”). For an investor seeking...

When NPR’s update of the day’s headlines mentions the stock market’s lack of volatility, conditions must be extraordinarily calm. Such is the case right now. The Chicago Board Options Exchange’s Volatility Index (the CBOE’s VIX)—an obscure index to those who don’t...

Special Note: We’re announcing today that Fidelity Investments’ senior investment strategist Bruce Johnstone will be a keynote speaker at this year’s upcoming AAII Investor Conference. Johnstone was previously ranked as the #1 equity-income fund manager during...

With May starting in just a few days, those of you who are sensitive to the market’s semiannual cycles may be reciting the chorus of The Clash’s 1982 hit, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” A better question would be “Should I Stay or Should I Rotate?” Staying would mean...

A year ago, I began including doodles with my weekly commentary. The first one was a sketch discussing the impact of changes in earnings forecasts on stock prices. The purpose was to visually highlight and graphically explain one of the points I was making. Being a writer who...

Consider this scenario: You are presented with two market environments. In the first, the S&P 500 has risen nearly 10% and is holding onto its gain heading into what should be a good earnings season. In the second, the S&P 500 has not only pulled back, but also closed...

A prelude to this week’s commentary: BlackRock made financial news headlines by announcing a change in how some of its active mutual funds will be managed. Rather than rely on human stock picking, the company is shifting to a heavy reliance on quantitative strategies. Commentary...

Historically, small-cap stocks have outperformed large-cap stocks. This difference is referred to in investment circles as the small-cap (aka small-company) premium. The discovery of the small-cap premium is credited to Rolf Banz’s 1981 Journal of Financial Economics study, “The...

My father-in-law passed last week. Les was a person who was willing to take risks when the potential payoff seemed to warrant doing so. This led him to stop his graduate school studies at the University of Chicago and join what was then a brand-new government agency: NASA. His...

Yesterday’s interest rate hike by the Federal Open Market Committee was the third in a 15-month period. More notably, it was just the third rate hike since the financial crisis. The rate hike represents another step in the (so far) very gradual removal of stimulus. At current...