There was an article in Forbes interviewing Jeremy Grantham that made me think. He suggests that value investing might be heading for a period where it will underperform. I.e., value stocks are not as relatively undervalued as they normally are. If he is correct, what should I do? I could shut off the value discipline, and run my industry models in GARP [growth at a reasonable price] or even momentum mode. That cuts against my grain; perhaps what I would do is give a little more weight to the industry models as I make my selections. That would tilt me away from hard value measures. My methods are eclectic, so I have to adapt to what the market is likely to reward 2-4 years from now.
“Minsky moment.” Ah, cute phrase. Well, I loved Edward Chancellor’s, “Devil Take the Hindmost,” and he has an interesting article at Institutional Investor. The themes he talks about are dear to me. My only quibble is that we aren’t yet there for a collapse. There is enough cash available to mop up problems at present. Whether that will continue to be true is another question.
My biggest concern is the dollar, and the carry trade. If the dollar dips below 112 yen, I suspect that there will be a self-reinforcing panic as short yen positions get covered. The Economist had a piece on this recently that made a lot of sense. Eventually we will have an unwind here, but it will come with a lot of kicking and screaming in Asia.
David J. Merkel, CFA, FSA, is a leading commentator at the excellent investment website RealMoney.com. Back in 2003, after several years of correspondence, James Cramer invited David to write for the site, and write he does — on equity and bond portfolio management, macroeconomics, derivatives, quantitative strategies, insurance issues, corporate governance, and more. His specialty is looking at the interlinkages in the markets in order to understand individual markets better.
David is also presently a senior investment analyst at Hovde Capital, responsible for analysis and valuation of investment opportunities for the FIP funds, particularly of companies in the insurance industry. He also manages the internal profit sharing and charitable endowment monies of the firm.
Prior to joining Hovde in 2003, Merkel managed corporate bonds for Dwight Asset Management. In 1998, he joined the Mount Washington Investment Group as the Mortgage Bond and Asset Liability manager after working with Provident Mutual, AIG and Pacific Standard Life.
His background as a life actuary has given David a different perspective on investing. How do you earn money without taking undue risk? How do you convey ideas about investing while showing a proper level of uncertainty on the likelihood of success? How do the various markets fit together, telling us us a broader story than any single piece? These are the themes that David will deal with in this blog.
Merkel holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University. In his spare time, he takes care of his eight children with his wonderful wife Ruth. View all posts by David Merkel →