Category Archives: Mutual Fund Commentary

Briefly Noted…

By TheShadow

Updates

BenWP, a member of MFO’s discussion community, contributed that the Capital Group has several new equity and fixed-income ETFs.  One of the newest ETFs is the Capital Group Core Balanced ETF, an active multi-asset ETF. Some of the other active equity ETFs are the Capital Group International Equity ETF, Capital Group International Focus Equity ETF, Capital Group Dividend Growers ETF, Capital Group Dividend Value ETF, Capital Group Global Growth Equity ETF, Capital Group Core Equity ETF, and Capital Group Growth ETF. The Capital Group has several new fixed-income ETFs: Capital Group Core Bond ETF, Capital Group Core Plus Income ETF, Capital Group Short Duration Income ETF, and Capital Group U.S. Multi-Sector Income ETF. There are two municipal ETFs: Capital Group Municipal Income ETF and Continue reading →

November 1, 2023

By David Snowball

Dear friends,

Happy New Year! And oíche Shamhna shona duit!

November 1st is Samhain (pronounced “sow-in” in case you’re curious), the traditional beginning of the new year in Gaelic culture. It’s proceeded not only by Samhain Eve but also by … well, three days of drinking. And then followed by three days of regretting it, at least a little.

Samhain marked the end of the harvest season and the onset of “the darker half” of the year, a time of increasing isolation and decreasing food stocks. It made all the sense in the world to do what people do in the face of adversity: throw a big communal gathering, feast, and dress up in scary costumes, and tell the agents of darkness to go Continue reading →

Investing Beyond The Great Distortion

By David Snowball

Devesh Shah and David Sherman engaged in a free-range conversation that touched on benchmark-free investing over hot drinks and fresh pastries. Benchmark-free investing starts with the question, “If you simply didn’t care about ‘the conventional wisdom’ concerning which assets you were supposed to own, what assets would you own?”

Mr. Sherman and Oaktree’s Howard Marks seem to endorse the same conclusion: “likely high-yield bond, surely not stocks.” That’s certainly contrary to conventional wisdom, which is centered on Continue reading →

Hot Coffee and Hot Chocolate – A Brunch and Walk with David Sherman

By Devesh Shah

The leaves are turning crimson and gold in Central Park. On the Upper West Side, surrounding the American Museum of Natural History, are oak trees. They line the pedestrian walkway and are swinging to the rhythm of a light chill wind, marking the beginning of fall in New York. Acorns and dry leaves crunch under our feet. There is a farmer’s market which starts on 81st and Columbus Avenue, continues down to 77th Street, and then wraps around the museum to Central Park West. Varied hot dogs, kababs, and coffee carts line the path where the farmer’s market ends. It’s not your standard Broadway street fair with trinkets; it’s a proper market where locals get their meat and vegetable shopping done for the week. The first stand on Columbus is Continue reading →

Short-Term Market Momentum

By Charles Lynn Bolin

The S&P 500 has fallen from 4,598 on July 27th of this year to 4,117 on October 28th for a decline of 10.5%, while yields on the ten-year Treasury have risen from 4.01% to 4.85% for a rise of 20.9%. The Fidelity Intermediate Treasury Bond Index (FUAMX) has had a price decline of 4% during this three-month period. I expected a larger decline in the S&P 500 and a lower rise in yields. Money market yields are hovering around 5%, and “cash is king.”

Economic growth is robust, along with relatively stable employment, while inflation Continue reading →

Fire-and-Forget Gone Wrong: First Foundation Total Return

By David Snowball

In the military realm, “fire and forget” designates a weapon that you don’t need to think about once it’s been launched. In investing, “fire and forget” could be used to describe several sorts of mistakes centering on our impulse to look away once we’ve made a decision. One of those mistakes is to buy a fund (presumably for a good reason), then sell it (presumably for a good reason), and then never re-examine your decision.

Managers – both corporate and fund – make mistakes. You can’t avoid it. They can’t. The best of them realize it, learn from it, correct it, and return to doing fine work. After inheriting Continue reading →

Briefly Noted

By TheShadow

Updates

Matthews Asia has named Sean Taylor as its incoming chief investment officer, taking over from Robert Horrocks at the start of next year. Taylor was CIO for Asia Pacific and head of emerging markets at DWS and will assume his new role at Matthews on January 1, 2024. Mr. Horrocks, who has been with Matthews Asia since 2008, will retain his portfolio management responsibilities, which include Matthews Asia Dividend and Matthews Asian Growth & Income.

Matthews hired a new CIO, Cooper Abbott, in the summer of 2022. Since then, the firm has undergone Continue reading →

October 1, 2023

By David Snowball

Welcome to October, a fierce month!

It’s a month of apple harvests and Atlantic hurricanes (214 of them). Of a temperature roller coaster and of market crashes (1907, 1929, and 1987 – days with the word “Black” attached to their names, stand out). Of bonfires and of Great Fires (Mrs. O’Leary and her cow were framed, I tell ya). Of wars (from the Battle of Hastings in 1066 through the Second World War, October was always seen as your last chance for a quick land grab before wintry weather closed you down for the season) and rumors of wars (the Cuban Missile Crisis which, happily, didn’t trigger a global war in part because of President Kennedy’s familiarity with the political intransigence and misunderstanding that triggered the First World War). Of a thinning wall between the Here and the There and of Continue reading →

T. Rowe Price Capital Appreciation PRWCX vs TCAF

By Charles Lynn Bolin

I was asked recently what I thought of T. Rowe Price Capital Appreciation (PRWCX) compared to T. Rowe Price Capital Appreciation Equity ETF (TCAF), which has gained $235 million in assets under management since its June 2023 launch. TCAF is one of two new T Rowe Price offerings that play off the unparalleled success of the PRWCX, which is closed to new investors. The other new entrant, the T. Rowe Price Capital Appreciation and Income Fund, has not yet debuted.

The most striking similarities are the name and the fact that they are both managed by David R. Giroux, who has an outstanding record. From here, the similarity fades. PRWCX is a moderate to growth-oriented mixed-asset fund, while TCAF is a predominantly domestic equity fund. There are differences in how the equity sleeve of PRWCX compares to TCAF, which are explored in this article.

Let’s start with Continue reading →

Beyond The Rainbow – A Map to the Good Life in Retirement

By Charles Lynn Bolin

This is the last article in a series that describes what I learned in the year following retirement. After fifty years of working, military service, and getting two university degrees, I took the first year as “Me Time”. I once worked with an Australian who was fond of saying that he had his $100 in the bank, meaning that he was financially secure. I have reached the end of the rainbow after decades of investing and financial planning. I just signed up for Social Security, which, combined with pensions, will cover normal spending needs, plus I have my $100 in the bank. Continue reading →

The 25 Year Tempest: Emerging market investing through three cataclysms

By David Snowball

Who now remembers Long-Term Capital Management, the failure of genius, the price of hubris, and the lesson that the innocents bear the cost of their elders’ folly?

Too few, judging from investor behavior.

The collapse of LTCM was the first of three global financial crises over the past 25 years that erupted primarily in the developed world, but whose consequences were primarily borne by emerging markets economies and Continue reading →

Funds worth watching for

By David Snowball

The Securities and Exchange Commission, by law, gets between 60 and 75 days to review proposed new funds before they can be offered for sale to the public. Each month, we survey actively managed funds and ETFs in the pipeline. Summer’s trickle of new funds becomes autumn’s torrent as advisers rush to have new products on the market by December 31. That’s because a fund launched after that date won’t get to report annual or year-to-date results for 2024, which is a serious marketing problem.

Many new funds, like many existing funds, are bad ideas. (Really, you want the latest “anti-woke” ETF or a new way to invest with Bill Miller’s son?) Most will flounder in rightful obscurity. That said, each month brings some promising options that investors might choose to track.

Two, or perhaps two point five, to add Continue reading →

’Another such victory and I am undone’: The high cost of Pyrrhic victory

By Devesh Shah

Investors and commentators have long bemoaned the catastrophic effects of a zero-interest-rate environment: a disincentive to save, distorted capital allocations, excessive risk-taking, and inflated equity prices. In winning the fight against inflation, the Federal Reserve has given investors the victory they sought: interest rates high enough to encourage saving and penalize speculation. Our question, suggested by King Pyrruhs’ catastrophic victories in 279 BCE, is: can investors survive their victory? Continue reading →

Briefly Noted . . .

By TheShadow

One of the two managers at Akre Focus (AKREX), Chris Cerrone, has resigned. Effective September 27, 2023, John Neff is listed as the sole manager of the consistently excellent, $13 billion large-growth fund. The fund has seen steady performance, but also steady outflows, since the retirement of founder Chuck Akre. Morningstar has placed the fund “under review,” which is certainly sensible and appropriate. That said, Mr. Neff has been co-managing the strategy since 2014. The portfolio holds fewer than 20 stocks, and the historic turnover ratio is 1%. The fund has trailed its large-growth peers on two occasions (2020 and 2023). In both cases, the market was narrow and frothy, and the fund produced entirely respectable absolute returns (20% and 10% YTD) for its investors. We do not believe that’s any immediate cause for concern.

Keith Long, co-founder Continue reading →

September 1, 2023

By David Snowball

Dear friends,

Welcome to the end of the summer. And to the beginning of … the weakest month of the year for the stock market, with an average monthly loss of about 0.7%. And the threshold of the most volatile month of the year, October, which sees an intramonth movement of 8.3%; that is, since 1928, the record says that your portfolio will bounce 8.3% in October (but only 5.2% in February). My inbox overflows with apocalyptic forecasts and also of celebrations of The New Bull. Recognizing that it’s all bull of a sort, I move on.

Augustana welcomes the largest first-year class in its 163-year history, materially (and disconcertingly) fed by the Augustana Possible scholarships that Continue reading →

In Conversation with Rakesh Bordia, Portfolio Manager of the Pzena Emerging Markets Value Fund (PZIEX/PZVEX)

By Devesh Shah

Rakesh Bordia co-manages Pzena Emerging Markets Value Fund (“the fund”) with tenured co-managers Caroline Cai, Allison Fisch, and (recently added) Akhil Subramanian. The strategy has approximately $1.35 billion under management and has been around just since 2014. Investing in emerging markets has been no cakewalk for this window. The passive Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO), over the past 15 years, has earned just south of 3% annualized.

Pzena EM Value Fund has earned just north of 4% a year since its inception. The interesting Continue reading →

Evaluating Tax-Exempt Funds

By Charles Lynn Bolin

With yields at high levels and inflation falling, I sold a poor-performing stock to buy two Tax-Exempt bond funds. In this article, I look at municipal money market and bond funds for tax-efficient accounts. I began this search by looking at funds that are available at Fidelity or Vanguard with no transaction fees. I further based the selection on both longer and shorter performance relative to peers, Fund Family Rating, Fidelity Fund Picks, and Morningstar Ratings among other factors.

This article is Continue reading →

Briefly Noted . . .

By TheShadow

The AXS 1.25X NVDA Bear Daily ETF underwent a 1-5 reverse stock split on or about August 14.

The Champlain Strategic Focus Fund is in registration. The fund invests primarily in securities of mid- to large-capitalization companies. Annual fund expenses will be 1.10% for the advisor share class and 0.85% for the institutional share class. The fund will utilize several portfolio managers with Champlain Investment Partners, LLC.

The GMO U.S. Quality ETF is in registration.  Expenses have not Continue reading →

August 2023

By David Snowball

Dear friends,

Thanks so much for your patience. Chip and I spent a couple of weeks in the Scottish Highlands and Shetland Islands, and we knew in advance that that would slightly delay our August launch. Little did we understand the depth of Scottish generosity, as our hosts shared a case of COVID with us as we left the country. (It felt just like 2021 again!) The illness left us completely drained and endlessly exhausted, respectively. But we’ve now rallied and are delighted to share August with you. Continue reading →