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Markets (and some premiums) Bounce Back

What a difference a few months can make! A few months at the end of 2018 turned U.S. stock returns negative and made international stocks to decline further for the year. Now, just a few months after that recent low, stocks in the U.S. and abroad have staged a significant recovery. U.S. stocks (represented by the S&P 500 Index) declined -13.5% in the fourth quarter of 2018. After the first two months in 2019, they were up 11.5%. This pattern
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The Index Bogeyman

Over the last several years, index funds have received increased attention from investors and the financial media. Some have even made claims that the increased usage of index funds may be distorting market prices. For many, this argument hinges on the premise that indexing reduces the efficacy of price discovery. If index funds are becoming increasingly popular and investors are “blindly” buying an index’s underlying holdings, sufficient price discovery may not be happening in the market. But should the rise
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Perspective on Premiums

Investors may be tempted to extrapolate recent returns into the future, which can lead them to abandon their investment philosophy at potentially inopportune times. While negative outcomes are disappointing, investors should view them with the proper perspective and stay the course. When you leave your server a tip, do you round it to a whole-dollar amount and often in multiples of $5? Does a 60th birthday seem more significant than a 59th? If you answer yes to these questions, you’re
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2018 Report Card For Hedge Funds

Hedge funds entered 2019 coming off their ninth­ straight year of trailing U.S. stocks (as measured by the S&P 500 Index) by significant margins. And for the 10­ year period ending 2017 — one that included the worst bear market in the post­ Depression era — the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index produced a negative return (­0.4%), underperforming every single major equity and bond asset class. So how did hedge funds fare in 2018? The following table shows the returns
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Common Factor Investing Myth

William Sharpe, Jack Treynor, John Lintner and Jan Mossin are typically given most of the credit for introducing the first formal asset pricing model — the capital asset pricing model (CAPM). It was important because it provided the first precise definition of risk and how it drives expected returns. Fama & French Take It Further The CAPM looks at returns through a “one actor” lens, meaning the risk and return of a portfolio is determined only by its exposure to
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Do Surprises Really Move Markets?

French economist Louis Bachelier long ago remarked: “Clearly the price considered most likely by the market is the true current price: if the market judged otherwise, it would not quote this price, but another price higher or lower.” Prices will not change if the expected happens. It is the unexpected that causes prices to move. In an efficient market, any new information the market receives will be random, not in the sense of being good or bad, but in the
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Getting to the Point of a Point

                    A quick online search for “Dow rallies 500 points” yields a cascade of news stories with similar titles, as does a similar search for “Dow drops 500 points.” These types of headlines may make little sense to some investors, given that a “point” for the Dow and what it means to an individual’s portfolio may be unclear. The potential for misunderstanding also exists among even experienced market participants, given that
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Why Should You Diversify?

As 2019 begins, and with US stocks outperforming non-US stocks in recent years, some investors have again turned their attention towards the role that global diversification plays in their portfolios. For the five-year period ending October 31, 2018, the S&P 500 Index had an annualized return of 11.34% while the MSCI World ex USA Index returned 1.86%, and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index returned 0.78%. As US stocks have outperformed international and emerging markets stocks over the last several years,
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2018 Market Review

After logging strong returns in 2017, global equity markets delivered negative returns in US dollar terms in 2018. Common news stories in 2018 included reports on global economic growth, corporate earnings, record low unemployment in the US, the implementation of Brexit, US trade wars with China and other countries, and a flattening US Treasury yield curve. Global equity markets delivered positive returns through September, followed by a decline in the fourth quarter, resulting in a – 4.4% return for the
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Talk to Your Advisor

In addition to the usual resolutions, the new year is a great time to talk to your financial advisor, revisit your goals and your long-term plan, and discuss any changes in your life or circumstances. This way, you can make sure that your plan accurately reflects where you are now and where you want to be. A great place to start is the Financial LifeMap below. Your financial advisor — working in close partnership with other experts, such as your
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