It may be too late to pick up the "free desert" of higher returns from small caps and value stocks, suggests Larry Swedroe, as their historical outperformance is now common knowledge. In the past few years, markets have quickly bid up the share prices of these names alongside numerous publications and studies proving their superiority as investments. "One of the characteristics of an efficient market is that once an anomaly is discovered, the very act of exploiting it will cause it to rapidly shrink and eventually disappear."
Particularly apt reading tonight as stocks head south on worry about a partial U.S. government shutdown, The Brooklyn Investor makes the case for trying to ignore whatever the latest macro-boogeyman happens to be, and instead focus on buying and holding reasonably valued stocks. Paraphrasing Seth Klarman: "You just have to figure out what a business can earn in five or ten years on a normalized basis and see what it's worth; if you can buy it for lower than that, then it doesn't matter what the headlines say."
The Shiller cyclically adjusted P/E ratio does raise TBI's eyebrow as it shows the market to be 47% overvalued, but it was similarly so in 1966. While the averages did nothing over the next 16 years, the "Superinvestors of Graham and Doddsville" (Walter Schloss, Tweedy Brown, Sequoia Fund) racked up ridiculous returns (this, of course, may be of little comfort to index investors).
Can the market go down? A lot? No doubt, says TBI, but the odds against being able to exploit a bear market are far too long - better to spend time looking for stocks trading at 1.1x book that should be selling for 1.5x book.
What George Soros' The Alchemy of Finance was to global macro investors, Michael Burry's journal of trades in 2000/2001 may be to value fans. "My strategy isn't very complex. I try to buy shares of unpopular companies when they look like road kill, and sell them when they've been polished up a bit ... I care little about the level of the general market and put few restrictions on potential investments."
Plucked out of message-board obscurity and staked by Joel Greenblatt, Burry posted returns at his Scion Capital hedge fund of 8.2% in 2000 (partial year), 44.7% in 2001, and 13.1% in 2002, as the S&P lost 7.5%, 11.9%, and 22.1% during the same periods. When the S&P bounced 28.7% in 2003, Scion gained 50.7%.
This journal shows Burry willing to venture into just about any industry or situation as long as he sees value there. One place he definitely didn't spot value was in the previously-favored big cap tech names as their stock prices imploded. "Now that the bubble is pricked, tech stocks will face scrutiny they never faced before. It is a good time to start picking prices based on a solid understanding of the fundamentals ... greater bargains are sure to come."
Burry went on make an even bigger fortune for himself and his investors by shorting MBS from 2005 on (though his investors, including Greenblatt, never forgave him for straying from stockpicking).
Vanguard adjusts fees on 3 ETFs, including the Total Stock Market ETF (VTI), where strong inflows allows the expense ratio to fall to 0.05% vs. 0.21% at TMW and 0.20% at IYY. VBR is cut to 0.20% vs. competitors SLYV and IWN at 0.25%. VOE is hiked to 0.12%, but remains below IJJ, IWS and MDYV which charge 0.25% each. Apr. 15, 2013, 5:28 PM
Mar. 18, 2013, 4:57 AM
Ron Rowland offers additional highlights on the recently expanded lineup of commission-free ETFs over at Fidelity including the following caveat: Funds not held for 30 days by retail investors or 60 days by RIAs using Fidelity as a custodian will be subject to a $7.95 per-trade commission. Some RIAs have complained that the longer holding period directed at them is unfair. Rowland spells out the full list of affected ETFs here. Mar. 18, 2013, 4:57 AM
Mar. 14, 2013, 8:44 AM
Guggenheim increases expense ratios on 4 ETFs on account of "higher acquired fund fees associated with the S&P benchmarks these ETFs track". The affected funds (with new expense ratio in parentheses) are: RFV (0.40%), RZV (0.38), EWMD and EWSM (0.43%). Two Russell and MSCI ETFs seeing a decline in fees are: EWRS (0.43%) and EWEM (0.70%). Mar. 14, 2013, 8:44 AM|1 Comment
Jan. 19, 2012, 9:40 AM
Defining overbought as being more than 5% above a 50-day moving average, Bespoke says 24% of tracked ETFs fit the bill. Leading the list is the homebuilders (XHB), more than 13% above its 50 day MA; Brazil (EWZ) leads the country ETFs, 8.2% above. A few more days of market gains and look for talk about the entire market being overbought. Jan. 19, 2012, 9:40 AM