Author Archives: Charles Boccadoro

About Charles Boccadoro

Charles Boccadoro, BS (MIT), Post Graduate Diploma (von Karman Institute, BELGIUM). Associate editor, data wizard. Described by Popular Science as “enthusiastic, voluble and nattily-dressed,” Charles describes himself as “a recently retired aerospace engineer.” He doesn’t brag about a 30 year career that included managing Northrop Grumman’s Quiet Supersonic Platform and Future Strike Systems projects, working with NASA and receiving a host of industry accolades. Charles is renowned for thoughtful, data-rich analyses and is the driving force behind the Observer’s fund ratings and fund screeners.

MFO Premium Webinar – 2021 Year End Review

By Charles Boccadoro

On Tuesday, 4 January, we will be conducting our year-end webinar to review funds and the site. If you can make it, please join us. Register here for the morning session (11 a.m. Pacific) and/or here for the afternoon session (2 p.m. Pacific).

We will use MultiSearch Pre-Set screens and other custom criteria to review fund performance in 2021. MultiSeach is the main tool on MFO Premium.

We will also review Continue reading →

Early Cycle Metrics and Expanded MultiSearch Headers

By Charles Boccadoro

One of the earliest articles in my tenure with MFO was entitled “Ten Market Cycles.” It characterized the risk and return metrics of the S&P500 during full market cycles (comprising bear and bull markets) beginning in the mid-1950s. This piece evolved through the years using month-ending instead of day-ending prices, making it a little easier to see the big picture, and adding new cycles. The series, if you will, is Continue reading →

Super Bull Markets and Latest Upgrades To MFO Premium

By Charles Boccadoro

Last month, in “A Leap of Faith – MICUS Chicago 2021,” we noted that Morningstar’s CEO Kunal Kapoor recently described US equities as “one of the greatest bull markets.” The statement looks past March 2020, of course. Similarly, many who discuss the great bull markets of the 1980s and 1990s, don’t acknowledge the sudden decline of October 1987, so-called “Black Monday.”

Basically, both retractions were so short, each just three months, they just Continue reading →

A Leap of Faith – MICUS Chicago 2021

By Charles Boccadoro

The Welcome
Last week Morningstar’s CEO Kunal Kapoor welcomed 700 in-person attendees to Chicago and the Morningstar Investment Conference [MICUS 2021, the “US” short for United States]. This was the first such in-person event since before COVID. Another 1400 attended virtually. This hybrid approach to conferencing likely signals the way forward.

While many 2021 events were being rescheduled or canceled because of the unexpected Delta variant surge, Morningstar pressed on. And it was so welcomed! [Literally, attendees could watch the sunrise over Lake Michigan Continue reading →

MFO Premium Webinar: Mid-Year Review and Latest Site Upgrades – Thursday, 15 July 2021

By Charles Boccadoro

The next MFO Premium webinars will occur Thursday, July 15th.

Our premium search tool site helps individual investors and financial advisers 1) sort through the vast number of funds available today based on criteria important to them, 2) maintain candidate lists of promising funds to conduct further due diligence on, and 3) monitor risk and return performance of their current portfolios. Continue reading →

New MultiSearch Screens To Help Analyze Impact of Rising Rates and More

By Charles Boccadoro

Rates on US Bonds have been falling generally for more than 40 years, prompting many to coin the term: “The 40-Year Bond Bull Market.” Below is the FRED chart depicting 3-month T-Bill rates since 1940. The bond bull started in June 1981. In the forty years proceeding this bond bull, rates were doing just the opposite … rising generally, which we’ll call the “The 40-Year Continue reading →

Introducing MFO Premium’s Saved Preferences Feature

By Charles Boccadoro

MultiSearch, our main tool on MFO Premium, outputs nearly 600 columns of fund metrics, ratings, and info. Recent upgrades to this tool have made it easier to navigate, using features as Active Groups, Jump Scroll, and Hover Hints, all demonstrated during our recent webinar. But at the end of the day, users often want to hone in on just the parameters they are interested in, especially if they are downloading to their own data tables or spreadsheets.

Today, we went live with our Saved Preferences feature, which enables users to save up to 10 preferred views to Continue reading →

MFO Premium Webinar – Thursday, 15 April 2021

By Charles Boccadoro

On Thursday, April 15th, we will host two webinars about the MFO Premium search tool site.

The site helps individual investors and financial advisers 1) sort through the vast number of funds available today based on criteria important to them, 2) maintain candidate lists of promising funds to conduct further due diligence on, and 3) monitor risk and return performance of Continue reading →

Introducing “Dashboard of Launch Alerts”

By Charles Boccadoro

This new tool went live on our MFO Premium site this past month.
 

The Launches Dashboard compiles and tracks funds first appearing in our “Launch Alert” feature of the monthly MFO commentary. It follows a format similar to the Profiles Dashboard but lists funds by alert date, most recent on top to oldest on the bottom, since MFO launched in May 2011.

Hundreds of new funds are launched annually (e.g., 590 in 2020), but most are not worth mentioning. David highlights just a dozen or so each year.

Continue reading →

MFO Premium Webinar: Guest Lynn Bolin and Back To Basics

By Charles Boccadoro

This coming Tuesday, January 5th, we will host two webinars about the MFO Premium search tool site, which is now in its sixth year.

Since March especially, the tools have never been more popular. We intend to discuss their overall utility in culling down from the vast number of funds available today to then maintaining a select Continue reading →

An Improved MFO Portfolio Analysis Tool

By Charles Boccadoro

We introduced our Portfolio Analysis tool to MFO Premium subscribers in September last year, which sadly seems like decades ago. The intro piece, appropriately titled “Introducing MFO’s Portfolio Analysis Tool,” was in response to David’s May 2017 article “Time to put on your big-boy pants and check your investments.” In it he demonstrated a simple method to answer the “how bad could it get?” question. Based on the current funds held in your portfolio, how much pain (aka drawdown, aka Ulcer Index) might you experience in the next downturn?

The Portfolio Analysis tool does this Continue reading →

Newest MultiSearch Metrics

By Charles Boccadoro

The search for yield has never been tougher. The 10-year Treasury Rate is below 1% per year.

As a retiree of eight years now, with today marking Happy Medicare Day, I’m acutely aware for myself and many fellow retirees.

Fortunately, nearly all of the 140 Core Bond mutual funds through September in our Lipper (Refinitiv) database yield more than that 1%. And while none of these funds are “risk free” and many suffered drawdowns of Continue reading →

A Thirty Year Proposition

By Charles Boccadoro

New Bull Emerges in a Market Riskier Than It Appears

The S&P 500 is once again at all-time highs.

Month ending July 2020 total return data indicated the S&P 500 index had recovered all of its March drawdown, officially marking the end of the CV-19 bear and declaring a new bull market, which began last April. Unlike bears, which are announced as soon as the market swoons 20% from previous peak, bulls are known only in retrospect … although granted definitions vary. Commonly, a bull needs to climb 20% off its last maximum drawndown and subsequently go on to achieve its next all-time high; basically, it needs to get back above water before becoming official. That happened in July.

The following table summarizes the US bear and bull markets dating back to the Great Depression, which updates the version Continue reading →

Road Trip In The Age of COVID-19

By Charles Boccadoro

“If you want to really know something you have to observe or experience it in person; if you claim to know something on the basis of hearsay, or on happening to see it in a book, you’ll be a laughingstock to those who really know.”

Jonathan D. Spence, “Emperor of China”

Sensational headlines bombard us.

Each one is an attempt to get readers, listeners, and viewers to click, tune-in or subscribe. Embedded ads populate each article … and it does not matter whether you’re a subscriber or not.

A fierce competitive landscape vies for our attention. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and The Atlantic meet Apple News, Buzz Feed, Facebook, and Twitter.

One can find Continue reading →

Not So Welcome Back ZIRP

By Charles Boccadoro

June begins the fourth month with yield on the 10-year US Treasury Note below 1%. Dating back to 1926, the yield has never been below 1%.

Since the Federal Reserve implemented its Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) in December 2008 to help combat the Great Financial Crisis (GFC), the yield has remained below 3% 113 of 138 months … or more than 80% of the time. The goal of 3% level seems to have become something of a new normal. It used to be more like 5%, the long-time average.

The last time the 10-year yielded below Continue reading →

Back To Basics

By Charles Boccadoro

“All NAVs are opinions.” ― Richard Jacobs

While March was one of the most turbulent months on record for the S&P 500, with real-estate and oil sectors acutely affected, investors in fixed-income also experienced a rough ride. Funds reaching for yield were hardest hit, especially those employing leverage. There are plenty such funds, driven by a seemingly never-ending period of zero-interest-rate policy.

Warnings of the Continue reading →