Commentary

Commentary

View Commentary from 2017

Q3’17 Investment Commentary

November 17, 2017
One of our biggest mistakes was not investing in Amazon shortly after reading Josh Tarasoff’s 2012 VALUEx presentation, instantly recognizing the appeal and dismissing a potential purchase on account of the stock being “too expensive.”[1][2] We will forever hold ourselves accountable for this mistake, while simultaneously self-reflecting on what we can do to avoid this Read more>>

Q2’17 Investment Commentary

September 5, 2017
The technology sector come into focus in the second quarter of 2017. At the same time, the end of the “Trump Trade” we spoke about in our first quarter commentary continued, with cyclicals lagging the rest of the market. As investors aggressively shifted portfolios towards technology, they also moved money away from anything remotely related Read more>>

Twitter Slides from the Wide Moat Investing Summit

July 5, 2017
Elliot Turner was honored to present at the 2017 Value Conferences Wide Moat Investing Summit. He presented IMAX at the inaugural event four years ago followed by eBay/PayPal in 2015, and Envestnet in 2016.  At the Wide Moat Investing Summit, recognized value-investors presented some of their best investment ideas. Elliot presented on Twitter.  We are excited to Read more>>

Q1’17 Investment Commentary

April 24, 2017
Many of the themes from the end of 2016 persisted into the early first quarter of 2017. Around the second week of February, the so-called “Trump Trade” reached its crescendo with many of the politically driven ascents fully faded into the end of the quarter. The market’s overall levels largely held up with a shift Read more>>

2016 Year-end Investment Commentary

January 12, 2017
The calendar turning is an arbitrary metric-point from which to measure and assess the recent past and what it portends for the future. It is a moment when we can take a step back and think about our goals and specific paths to achieving them. At key moments during the year, we contemplate what our Read more>>

View Commentary from 2016

Q3’16 Investment Commentary: On the Matter of Correlations

October 20, 2016
The third quarter was a strong one, with the S&P rising 3.26% and the Russell 2000 tacking on 8.03%. After several consecutive years of summertime volatility, the summer of 2016 saw an historic volatility compression. This certainly was not a summer to “Sell in May and Go Away” (while we are here invoking that line, Read more>>

An Envestnet for the Long Run

July 21, 2016
Elliot Turner was honored to present at the 2016 Value Conferences Wide Moat Investing Summit. He presented IMAX at the inaugural event three years ago followed by eBay/PayPal in 2015. At this fourth annual event, recognized value-investors presented some of their best investment ideas. Elliot presented on Envestnet.  We are excited to share his slides here Read more>>

June 2016 Investment Commentary: Brexit is No Lehman

June 29, 2016
As of last week, the story for this quarter was going to be different. We were going to highlight the more orderly recovery in stocks taking place after a chaotic first quarter. On Wednesday, the 22nd of June, the S&P closed within spitting distance of all-time highs. That narrative suddenly evaporated the night of Thursday Read more>>

May 2016 Investment Commentary: Get Your Heavy Duty Staple Remover Ready

June 8, 2016
On August 25, 2014 the S&P crossed 2000 for the first time. We are nearly two-years past that milestone (now 21 months), yet the S&P continues to wrestle with the round-number level. In essence, very little has happened in the broader markets over this time. Yet, on the sector level the story is very different Read more>>

March 2016 Investment Commentary: You Can’t Smooth the Lumps

April 12, 2016
“Charlie (Munger) and I would much rather earn a lumpy 15 percent over time than a smooth 12 percent.” – Warren Buffett We called February a “tale of two halves” and the same can be said of the first quarter. The S&P finished the quarter up 1.3% after selling off by 10.7%. The Russell Read more>>

February 2016 Investment Commentary: The Yield Curve is Flat Wrong

March 10, 2016
On the month, the S&P lost 0.19%, while the Russell 2000 shed a modest 0.22%. On the surface, February appears to be an uneventful market month. In reality, the month was a tale of two halves. At one point, the S&P was down 6.52% intraday, while the Russell was down 9.05%. Throughout, the market’s correlation Read more>>

January 2016 Investment Commentary: Robust Networks for the Long Term

February 11, 2016
January 2016 got off to a fast start in the wrong direction. The first trading day of the year saw the S&P fall 1.4% and the selling continued from there. The S&P ended the month down 5.0%, though halfway through the month the index was down over 10% year-to-date. In the last 30 years, for Read more>>

View Commentary from 2015

December 2015 Investment Commentary: Mixed Messages

January 8, 2016
Our 2015 outlook was the second consecutive to include the notion that markets would be weaker than the broader economy. Specifically, we said that “we continue to expect markets to be weak and volatile compared to the economy”[1] and this is largely what happened. If one checked the S&P 500’s price at the close of Read more>>

November 2015 Investment Commentary: Fade Disruption

December 3, 2015
“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” “The future ain’t what it used to be.” –Yogi Berra How will the future look in fifty years? In his latest book, Antifragile, Nassim Taleb gives us a clue: Assume that most of the technology that has existed for the past fifty years will serve us Read more>>

October 2015 Investment Commentary: Decreasing Correlations and Our Investment in Envestnet, Inc.

November 11, 2015
At the end of last quarter, we called the market selloff “a liquidation move.”[1] During October, stocks recovered much of their losses from the prior few months. This is often how a bounce back from liquidation selling transpires. Once the forced seller stops, markets recover. While October was a strong month, it’s important to caveat Read more>>

September 2015 Investment Commentary: A Liquidation Move

October 12, 2015
In the third quarter, the S&P lost 6.9%. This was the worst quarterly decline since the third quarter of 2011 when the debt ceiling and Europe’s potential breakup loomed over markets. The third quarter was no kinder to bond markets. Toward the end of Q3, 2015 was shaping up to be the first time since Read more>>

August 2015 Investment Commentary: Zones of Reasonableness

August 27, 2015
Our 2015 Investment Outlook was built around the following expectation:  “… 2014 concluded with the U.S. economy on as solid a foundation as it has been in years, though we continue to expect markets to be weak and volatile compared to the economy. It is important to remember the economy and the stock market do Read more>>

June 2015 Investment Commentary: Deja Vu

July 13, 2015
The S&P spent the entire second quarter locked in a tight range, ending essentially flat. Markets would have registered modest gains were it not for the pronounced selloff on the last day of the quarter. It might sound “like deja vu all over again,” but Greece once again was the catalyst. June marks the fifth Read more>>

eBay PayPal Split Analysis: Buy Two Moats for the Price of One

July 7, 2015
Elliot Turner was honored to present at the 2015 Value Conferences Wide Moat Investing Summit. He presented IMAX at the inaugural event two years ago. At this third annual event, recognized value-investors presented some of their best investment ideas. Elliot presented on eBay and the spin-off of PayPal. We are excited to share his slides Read more>>

May 2015 Investment Commentary: Driving Towards Greater Returns

June 5, 2015
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. –Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken Map and navigation apps have changed the way we experience driving and managing traffic.  Not long ago everyone stored a map or two in their car glove Read more>>

April 2015 Investment Commentary: ETF Fund Flows

May 11, 2015
ETFs have been a tremendously popular tool for investors of all types. For long-term investors, these securities provide a lower-fee alternative to mutual funds, the ability to hone in on a sector, commodity or asset class, combined with intraday liquidity. For traders, they provide similar benefits, though with an emphasis on the intraday liquidity. Both Read more>>

March 2015 Investment Commentary: Negative Feedback Loops

April 8, 2015
 “No matter how cold the winter, there’s a springtime ahead.” – Pearl Jam With the first quarter now history, the S&P 500 boosted its streak of consecutive quarterly gains to nine—the longest such streak since the 1990s.  In contrast to the 1990s, this quarter’s gains were rather modest, with the S&P advancing 0.88%.  The largest, Read more>>

February 2015 Investment Commentary: Long Term Investing

March 9, 2015
During the month of February we were lucky enough to get our hands on an investment book called 100 to 1 In the Stock Market: A Distinguished Security Analyst Tells How to Make more of Your Investment Opportunities.[1] Since the book had been out of print since the early 1970s and a well-capitalized, smart cadre Read more>>

January 2015 Investment Commentary: Pursuing the Energy Sector for Value Opportunities

February 6, 2015
The month of January saw a continuation of 2014 year-end market trends. Crude oil continued its decline, shedding another 12.5%. Energy-induced volatility helped drag down the equity indices, with the S&P dropping 3.0% and the Russell 2000 losing 3.3%. The 10-Year Treasury started the month yielding 2.17% and ended at 1.68%. Between the fall in Read more>>

View Commentary from 2014

November 2014 Investment Commentary: The oil investors who don’t even know it

December 9, 2014
Last month we commented on the swift decline in oil prices and its consequences on the economy and your portfolios. This was by far our most read commentary to date, so we thank all of you who shared our note with your friends. We have yet to speak of the same topic two months in Read more>>

December 2014 Investment Commentary: Our 2015 Investment Outlook

December 8, 2014
The big events of 2014 In 2014, the S&P 500 returned 11.4% in what appears like a steady continuation of the bull market that began in March of 2009. This is somewhat misleading. Some of the broader and global indices are more representative of what the year was like in equity markets: the Russell Read more>>

October 2014 Investment Commentary: Flooded in Oil

November 12, 2014
October was an eventful month in global markets.  At the midpoint of the month, the S&P hit a low 7.7% below that of the month’s start and just shy of 10% from 52-week highs.  This October was well on its way to competing with other miserable Octobers of lore before markets magically rebounded to close Read more>>

September 2014 Investment Commentary: The Great Divide

October 9, 2014
Last quarter was not your typical quarter in financial markets. While the S&P registered a flattish +0.62% on the quarter, suggestive of complacency, there was in fact considerable action beneath the hood.  There were two large moves we want to highlight in particular, before doing our quarterly “What do we own?” segment. The Euro: Down, Read more>>

August 2014 Investment Commentary: Indexation Creates Opportunity

September 8, 2014
Of late, the financial press has been filled with headlines about the rise (and commensurate fall) of passive (active) investing. This is one of those topics on which everyone has an opinion, and of course, we are no different, though our opinion takes a variant angle than the conventional conversation.  First we will refer you Read more>>

July 2014 Investment Commentary: Geopolitics

August 14, 2014
During July some became concerned about rising geopolitical risks.  We caution that such risks tend to be a matter of perception more so than economic risk.  These influences can be drastic in the short-run, but they should not change the posture of true, long-term investors.  It’s a sad but true reality that not even a Read more>>

June 2014 Investment Commentary: What You See Is Not Necessarily What You Get

July 17, 2014
As we hit the halfway mark on the calendar year, it’s worth reflecting on the expectations we outlined in our 2014 preview. If you recall, we emphasized that “it is quite possible, almost probable that 2014 will be a better year for the economy than it will be for the stock market”[1].  Were we wrong Read more>>

May 2014 Investment Commentary: Framing Broadly and Thinking Globally

June 11, 2014
What’s a valuation conscious investor to do in the face of markets hitting all-time highs on an absolute basis, and expensive valuations on a relative basis? This is a fair question to ask, though we think it also falls victim to the framing effect. There are several implicit points embedded in this statement, one of Read more>>

April 2014 Investment Commentary

May 12, 2014
“In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep.” – Albert Einstein Were one to look at the S&P 500 or Dow Jones in April, the month looked fairly tame with the indices tacking on 0.70% and 0.75% gains respectively.  However, April was by no Read more>>

March 2014 Investment Commentary: Flushing out Momentum

April 10, 2014
Two themes are quickly emerging this year and both have been covered in these commentaries: 1) the economy needs to catch up to the stock market; and, 2) pockets of momentum have become quite irrational. There is an underlying thread that unites these two themes and that is the positive feedback loop. The simplest possible Read more>>

February 2014 Investment Commentary: Rational Expectations through Pockets of Momentum

March 10, 2014
In February, markets (as represented by the S&P 500) recouped all of their January losses and closed the month essentially flat for the year.  In our 2014 Outlook we emphasized the fact that strong market years like 2013 tend to pull forward future returns.  As such, the start to 2014 is very consistent with our Read more>>

January 2014 Investment Commentary: Emerging Markets, Discounting the Obvious

February 11, 2014
“To establish the right price for a stock, the market must have adequate information, but it by no means follows that if the market has this information it will thereupon establish the right price.” – Benjamin Graham Heading into January, the biggest story in the financial arena was the accelerating U.S. economy. During the month, Read more>>

View Commentary from 2013

December 2013 Investment Commentary: Our 2014 Investment Outlook

December 10, 2013
“The prevailing wisdom is that markets are always right. I take the opposition position. I assume that markets are always wrong. Even if my assumption is occasionally wrong, I use it as a working hypothesis. It does not follow that one should always go against the prevailing trend. On the contrary, most of the time Read more>>

November 2013 Investment Commentary: “Tapering”

December 6, 2013
In our May 2013 Commentary, we made our first reference to the potential for the Federal Reserve Bank to “taper” its policy of quantitative easing (QE). Specifically, we made two important points: first, the Fed would not commence tapering unless and until there were signs of a “sustainable recovery;” and, second, the Fed would “err Read more>>

October 2013 Investment Commentary: Our ‘Actively Passive’ Investment Strategy

November 7, 2013
In our last commentary, we highlighted the relationship between the market’s earnings yield and its long-term average return of approximately 6.67% since 1925. In response, several clients have asked us whether this should be viewed as an endorsement of passive, rather than active investing. This is a popular question in financial literature today, with many Read more>>

September 2013 Investment Commentary: Beware of Mistaking a Symptom for the Cause

October 4, 2013
October 4, 2013 Beware of Mistaking a Symptom for the Cause “If you can heal the symptoms, but not affect the cause, it’s quite a bit like trying to heal a gunshot wound with gauze.” – Trey Anastasio, Phish Reflections on 5 Years Past The month of September marked the five-year anniversary of the Lehman Read more>>

August 2013 Investment Commentary: Tesla Motors

September 10, 2013
September 10, 2013 Tesla Motors: A Disruptive Company but Speculative Investment August saw markets largely churn. A brief rally to start the month faded into a panic-free selloff on the war drums beating towards a Syria intervention. Bonds did the inverse of stocks, with yields ending the month about where they began. Throughout the month Read more>>

July 2013 Investment Commentary: Europe, One Year Later: Our Conviction Remains

August 7, 2013
August 7, 2013 Europe, One Year Later: Our Conviction Remains Since 2010, each summer has come with a different shade of panic. In 2010, we had the Greek crisis and riots sparking the Flash Crash. The summer of 2011 was scarred by the “Debt Ceiling Crisis” and S&P’s downgrade of the U.S. Government’s credit rating alongside Read more>>

Slide Deck from ValueConferences: Wide-Moat Investing Summit 2013

July 15, 2013
RGA Investment Advisors IMAX Wide Moat Presentation  Read more>>

June 2013 Investment Commentary

July 11, 2013
The positive momentum for the stock market carried through from the first quarter to the second.  The S&P 500 led the way with a 4.3% gain on the quarter, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 4.0%, and the Russell 2000 tacked on 3.6%.  As we discussed in our May commentary (http://www.rgaia.com/uploads/files/May_2013_Investment_Commentary.pdf), the most notable move Read more>>

May 2013 Investment Commentary

June 11, 2013
Those who simply sold this May to go away missed out on a decently strong month. The strength was most pronounced in the Russell 2000 and the Nasdaq, two indices with broad-based membership known for their leadership status in markets, adding 4.5% and 4.3% respectively. The S&P and Dow trailed, tacking on 2.6% and 2.2% Read more>>

April 2013 Investment Commentary: The Market at an All-Time High

May 3, 2013
Last month, we pointed out the significance of all the major market indices (sans the NASDAQ) surging to record highs. April was an interesting month in a very different way. While the major indices digested their gains, there was absolute carnage in the commodity space. Most notably, gold, the safe-haven of choice for investors over Read more>>

March 2013 Investment Commentary: What do we own?

April 11, 2013
This month we would like to introduce a new section to our quarterly commentary entitled What do we own? In this section, we will talk briefly about our three best and worst performing stocks during the past quarter. When we invest in companies, we place a great emphasis on the fundamentals of the business, with Read more>>

IMAX Investment thesis

April 5, 2013
There is yet more positive we can say about IMAX and feel as though the international story could justify its own long write-up, but we need to draw the line somewhere. The fact of the matter is, IMAX business economics are outstanding. While it may seem far-fetched today, IMAX has a very legitimate opportunity to Read more>>

February 2013 Investment Commentary

March 8, 2013
February 2013 Investment Commentary “Own competently managed, competitively advantaged businesses at discounted prices.” – Burton Malkiel The month of February saw little change across the board in the major stock indices—The Dow gained 1.35%, the S&P 500 added 1.28% and the Russell 2000 rose 1.00%. The most notable moves happened in Gold markets, with the Read more>>

January 2013 Investment Commentary: High Yield Corporate Debt Markets

February 8, 2013
January 2013 Investment Commentary High Yield Corporate Debt Markets When we published our year-end commentary highlighting the more constructive developments beneath the nihilistic economic rhetoric, we truly thought we were taking a contrarian stance. If you would remember, at the time, the only topic on anyone’s mind was the dreaded “fiscal cliff” and the impending Read more>>

View Commentary from 2012

November 2012 Commentary: The Fiscal Cliff (or not)

December 6, 2012
November 2012 Commentary The Fiscal Cliff (or not) Complex Adaptive Systems In October of this year, Jason and Elliot had the privilege of attending Santa Fe Institute’s (SFI) conference in conjunction with Morgan Stanley called Risk: The Human Factor. It was a fascinating day, with many great lessons that can be applied to our investment Read more>>

2012 Year-End Investment Commentary: Looking forward to 2013

December 2, 2012
2012 Year-End Investment Commentary Looking forward to 2013 “Saw things clearer, once you, were in my rearview mirror” – Pearl Jam “It is better to be roughly right, than precisely wrong” – John Maynard Keynes With 2012 in the history books, it time to take a look backwards at the year that was, and forwards Read more>>

October 2012 Commentary: In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

November 9, 2012
October 2012 Commentary In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy The Month of October The month of October was as spooky a timeframe in markets as it was in real life. Often times, particularly in the financial industry, we conflate the general state of being and mood of society with the fluctuations in markets. While this Read more>>

September 2012: Commentary Politics, QE, and more

October 4, 2012
September 2012 Commentary Politics, QE, and more The 3rd Quarter The third quarter of 2012 could very well go down in history as a pivotal moment in both Western Democracy and economic theory. As the quarter draws to a close, the world is essentially in the test-tube phase of whether two grand 20th Century experiments Read more>>

August 2012 Commentary: Politics Are Short-Term, Focus Long-Term

September 13, 2012
August 2012 Commentary Politics Are Short-Term, Focus Long-Term August closed with equity markets spending 18 days in a tight consolidation—the S&P 500 spent most of those days with prices holding in a 1.5% range. For the month, the S&P added 2.5%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average tacked on 0.92% and the Russell 2000 climbed 3.5% Read more>>

July 2012 Commentary: Bulls and Bears

August 10, 2012
The Month of July The month of July saw the Bulls and Bears engaged in a brutal bout of tug-of-war on two crucial battlegrounds: the global macroeconomic and the US earnings landscapes. Each battleground saw neither side gain a crucial edge, although we believe there was a crucial qualifier that deserves attention. From April to Read more>>