Posts Tagged ‘Equity Exposure’
Sunday, February 5th, 2012
This Week: CLAYMORE S&P/TSX CDN DVD ETF Ticker: CDZ / TSX
Miserly bond yields won’t pay for a nice dinner these days. For that, you need the generosity of dividend-paying equities. Add the promise of capital gains and you may even opt for the nicer bottle of wine.
Bond investors are suffering from the lowest yields in a generation. Quality, five-year corporate bonds are yielding about 2.4%. That’s about half the average for the past decade. Compare that to equity dividend yields, which, at about 2.7% for the S&P TSX 60 Index, are the best in a decade, barring a period of extreme valuations in late 2008. In other words, equity dividends are higher by a third of a percentage points than quality bond yields, and that’s before the dividend tax credit and before any capital gains. (See Chart of Yields below)
What brought us to this upside-down wonderland? Last year’s poor showing by Canadian equities, combined with the Euro-zone crisis saw panicked investors flock to the safety of quality bonds. They were the best performing assets last year. Quality corporate bonds with maturities of about five to seven years returned about 9% in 2011.
Bonds prices are now hitting their ceiling and cannot go much higher. However, nor will they fall soon with the U.S. Federal Reserve committed to near-zero rates into 2014 and our own Bank of Canada likely to follow suit. More reason then for investors to look elsewhere for income.
The other factor pushing up dividend yields are record corporate profits that are as high now as they were just prior to the 2008 recession. Companies have been spending those profits buying back their shares and on dividends – both good for equity investors.
Eventually, the upside-down will right itself, as investors shun bonds in favor of dividend-paying stocks. That will push bond yields up and dividend yields down. To benefit from this, we have been re-allocating our Canadian equity exposure to ETFs of higher dividend-yielding quality companies.
Two we considered were iShares DJ Canada Select Dividend ETF (XDV/TSX) and the Claymore S&P/TSX Dividend ETF (CDZ/TSX). Both have consistently outperformed for years.
XDV, with a current yield of about 3.9%, holds the 30 biggest companies by market cap that also pay a dividend. As a result, 55% of the ETF is in banks and insurers.
The yield on CDZ is lower at 3.2% and its price-to-earnings ratio is higher at about 15.3 times but it is much more diversified. It holds 60 companies, all of whom have consistently raised dividends over the last five years and have at least $300 mln in market cap, though the average is $8 billion.
Energy and industrial firms are the biggest sectors with nearly half the ETF weight, followed by financials (though not the big banks or insurers) and then consumer discretionary firms like Tim Hortons, Shaw and Cogeco.
Of the two, we opted for CDZ mainly because of its diversification. XDV’s overweight in financials, especially in a period of increasingly heavier regulation of banks and insurers, makes us nervous.
Its diversification has also helped CDZ far outperform XDV as well as XIU/TSX, the biggest S&P/TSX 60 ETF. Over the last five years, CDZ has returned 23%, compared to XDV’s 9.4% and XIU’s 8.0%. XDV’s financial overweight helps link its return closely to the S&P/TSX 60, which has a 32% financials weighting.
One thing to note: iShares bought Claymore a few weeks ago. It has not said it will change Claymore products and given the success and distinctive approaches of CDZ and XDV, I doubt these two ETFs will be affected and even if they are, it likely won’t harm unitholders.
The Claymore takeover may also be to the benefit of Canada’s other ETF managers, including BMO, Horizons, RBC and Vanguard as they carve out their own space from a growing ETF market place.
The biggest winners will be investors, more of whom are investing through ETFs, either directly or through investment managers. In fact, Morningstar said recently that U.S. firms managing ETF portfolios saw assets grow my 43% last year as investors opted for top-down, asset-allocation strategies that minimized stock-specific risk.
Dividend Yields rarely exceed Bond Yields
Charts courtesy of Bloomberg L.P. Click on Chart for Larger Image
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Tags: Bank Of Canada, Bond Investors, Bond Yields, Bottle Of Wine, Canadian Equities, Canadian Equity, Corporate Bonds, Corporate Profits, Dividend Paying Stocks, Dividend Tax Credit, Dividend Yields, Equity Exposure, Equity Investors, Euro Zone, Generation Quality, Investors Flock, Nice Dinner, Quality Bond, TSX 60, Zero Rates
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Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
Look to Increase Equity Exposure Following an Expected Near-Term Pullback
by Ryan Lewenza, VP, Senior U.S. Equity Analyst, TD Waterhouse
January 27, 2012
TD’s (TD Waterhouse) Ryan Lewenza has just released (late last week) his U.S. Equity Strategy team’s strategy report. In it he/they detail their case for increasing equity exposure following their call for a near-term pullback.
- With the S&P 500 Index (S&P 500) up 5.5% since the beginning of the year and over 20% since its October 2011 low, the U.S. equity market looks technically overbought, and susceptible to some near-term profit taking, in our view. In determining whether the equity markets are overbought/oversold we look at a number of technical indicators, which at present, are painting a rather clear picture of a stretched and overbought market. While we see the potential for some near-term pressure over the next few weeks, we believe investors should take advantage of the potential weakness and look to add to their equity exposure, given an improving U.S. economy and the recent liquidity injection from the European Central Bank.
- One of our preferred market indicators in isolating extreme overbought/oversold market conditions is the percentage of New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stocks above their 50-day moving average. Generally, when this indicator is above 80, it indicates an overbought market, and oversold when below 20. Currently, this indicator stands at 87, a level last seen in late October 2011, and just before the S&P 500 corrected 10% over the following month.
- After hitting an economic soft patch last summer, the U.S economy has shown some resiliency, especially in light of the headwinds emanating from Europe. ISM manufacturing has ticked higher recently, and with the sub-component New Order Index surging in recent months (57.6 in December, up from 49 in summer 2011), we believe there may be more upside for the ISM index over the next few months, which if correct, could continue to support a higher stock market.
- With the recent strength in the U.S. economy and stock market we are tweaking our sector recommendations, by adding some cyclicality to our investment strategy. In particular, we are downgrading utilities from overweight to market weight, and upgrading the materials sector from underweight to market weight.
- While we are downgrading utilities, we still believe investors should have some exposure to the sector, given their defensive qualities and high dividend yields. One name that stands out is Exelon Corp. (EXC-N). Exelon is one of the largest utility companies in the U.S. and is the country’s largest nuclear operator.
You can read/download Ryan Lewenza’s report in full, in the slidedeck below; Fullscreen for the larger read:
Tags: Bank One, Equity Analyst, Equity Exposure, Equity Strategy, Headwinds, Investment Outlook, Ism Index, Ism Manufacturing, Market Indicators, New York Stock, New York Stock Exchange, Nyse Stocks, Preferred Market, Pullback, Resiliency, Strategy Report, Strategy Team, Td Waterhouse, Term Profit, York Stock Exchange
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Friday, December 9th, 2011
by Russ Koesterich, Chief Investment Strategist, iShares
In recent weeks, governments across the world have stepped up efforts to address the European debt crisis. Major central banks announced a coordinated effort last week to support Europe, while European finance ministers agreed on a way to enhance the region’s bailout fund and the European Union seemed on the verge of more fiscal integration.
Investors are now focused on the European Union summit happening in Brussels this week and what action, if any, the European Central Bank (ECB) will announce on Thursday.
To truly resolve the crisis, the ECB needs to find some face-saving way to expand its purchasing program, while the PIIGS countries need to implement necessary and difficult reforms. Major issues relating to European fiscal integration and the necessity to bring down Spanish and Italian bond yields also remain unresolved.
The future of Europe is uncertain, and I expect the crisis to continue into next year with at least a mild recession in Europe. But I believe European leaders will address the outstanding issues in time to avoid a sovereign debt collapse.
Still, a long-term European debt crisis is a valid concern and investors with such concerns should adjust their portfolios accordingly. If you expect the European debt crisis to drag on, here are four investing ideas to consider.
1. Within your international equity exposure, overweight CASSH countries. Investors looking for international developed market exposure may want to consider a long-term overweight to Canada, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland and Hong Kong — what I’m calling the CASSH countries. These smaller developed world countries appear fundamentally stronger than their larger counterparts. They have better growth prospects, less debt and less strained public finances.
2. Within your international equity exposure, overweight emerging markets outside of Europe. With the developed world the epicenter of the recent global sovereign debt crisis, emerging markets may provide a defensive play in the event of a continuing sovereign debt crisis. First, the emerging world has become more attractive than it was in the past. Many emerging markets now appear to be pictures of fiscal rectitude in comparison to Europe and other larger developed markets. In addition, I expect emerging market inflation to decelerate in 2012. Finally, over the last year, emerging market valuations have compressed in an absolute sense and relative to developed markets.
If the European crisis worsens into a severe banking crisis and recession, the impact of a global recession would be ubiquitous, and emerging markets do have exposure to European banks. According to the Economist, emerging markets owe Europe’s banks $3.4 trillion and such credit could be cut off in a banking crisis, potentially hurting emerging market economies in the longer term. Still, I expect the long-term impact of a worsening crisis to be less severe for emerging markets outside of Europe. Within emerging markets, I particularly like Brazil and Taiwan.
3.) Overweight “safe-haven” assets. A continuing European crisis would mean continued market volatility as investors react to each bit of news. As such, I continue to advocate adopting a defensive stance in equities, particularly through global mega caps and telecommunications. A continuing crisis would also favor gold, partly because it would likely mean continued negative real interest rates.
4.) Within fixed income, overweight investment grade and munis. Investment-grade bonds currently offer a rich yield relative to Treasuries and historically have lower default rates during recessions than high-yield bonds. Similarly, munis offer the potential for a rich, after-tax yield and dire predictions about the bonds have turned out to be unfounded. Both munis and investment-grade bonds also look cheap.
International investments may involve risk of capital loss from unfavorable fluctuation in currency values, from differences in generally accepted accounting principles or from economic or political instability in other nations. Emerging markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors as well as increased volatility and lower trading volume. Securities focusing on a single country and narrowly focused investments may be subject to higher volatility. Bonds and bond funds will decrease in value as interest rates rise. A portion of a municipal bond’s income may be subject to federal or state income taxes or the alternative minimum tax. Capital gains, if any, are subject to capital gains tax.
Tags: Bailout, Bond Yields, Canada Australia, Central Banks, Chief Investment Strategist, Debt Crisis, Drag On, Emerging Markets, Equity Exposure, European Finance Ministers, European Leaders, European Union Summit, Growth Prospects, International Equity, Ishares, Market Exposure, Public Finances, Sovereign Debt, Valid Concern, World Countries
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Sunday, November 20th, 2011
by Matt Tucker, iShares
A few weeks ago, my colleague Russ blogged about the preference skittish investors are showing for cash. Given the volatile market conditions and uncertain political environment, it’s understandable that investors are finding comfort in cash.
But Russ gave three reasons why moving to cash might be a mistake, and he said it is worth considering keeping some equity exposure. I agree with Russ that staying on the sidelines could be a mistake, and I would emphasize that for investors looking to reduce portfolio risk there are a number of fixed income ETF solutions available.
For investors who crave the comfort of cash, short duration vehicles could be a good way to dip your toes into the fixed income market. Here are three reasons why:
1. No long-term commitment
Fixed income ETFs trade throughout the day on a stock exchange, giving you flexibility and the ability to nimbly adjust your exposure. Say, for instance, you become concerned about risk. You can sell a risky asset class and access a fixed income ETF intra-day. If the market changes, you can then sell the ETF and re-deploy your proceeds.
2. Potential for higher yields than money market funds
iMoneynet reports that the 30-day average yield on money market funds as of November 8 is 2 basis points. Investors who do not seek a stable net asset value and who are looking for higher yields may find fixed income ETFs to be an interesting option. For investors who want to keep interest rate risk low, but who are comfortable taking on some credit risk, the iShares Floating Rate Note Fund (FLOT) offers investors a 30-day SEC yield of 1.45% as of November 10 with a duration (a measure of interest rate sensitivity) of only 0.14 years. For investors comfortable taking on a low level of both interest rate and credit risk, the iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Credit Bond Fund (CSJ) has a 30-day SEC yield of 1.42% as of November 10 with a duration of 1.85 years. There are also lower risk options like the iShares Barclays Short Treasury Bond Fund (SHV) that has a 30-day SEC yield of 0.04% as of November 10 but that invests solely in US Treasury securities. Past performance does not guarantee future results. For standardized fund performance, please click on the following tickers: FLOT, CSJ, SHV.
The key is that an investor has the control to select exactly the exposures they want, and, by extension, avoid the exposures they don’t want.
3. Less volatile than longer-term funds if interest rates rise rapidly
Short-duration investments will have lower interest rate sensitivity than longer-term funds. For example, the 0.12 year duration of FLOT means that we can generally expect FLOT’s price to decline by 0.12% if interest rates rise by 1%. By comparison the iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond Fund (LQD) has a duration of 7.51, meaning that we could generally expect its price to decline 7.51% if interest rates rose by 1%. (Potential iShares solutions: FLOT, SHY, or CSJ)
The bottom line is that investors who are looking for yields above those provided by money market funds have a range of options to choose from. Just keep in mind that yield isn’t free — it always comes along with some type of extra risk. By understanding what risks you are willing to take and constructing a short duration portfolio appropriately, an investor can design a wide range of potentially higher yielding alternatives to traditional cash vehicles.
Disclosure: Author is long FLOT and SHV
The performance quoted represents past performance and does not guarantee future results. Investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when sold or redeemed, may be worth more or less than the original cost. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance quoted. Performance data current to the most recent month end may be obtained by calling toll-free 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or by visiting www.iShares.com.
An investment in fixed income funds is not equivalent to and involves risks not associated with an investment in cash or money market funds.
For differences on mutual funds and ETFs, please click here.
Buying and selling shares of iShares Funds will result in brokerage commissions.
Bonds and bond funds will decrease in value as interest rates rise. Securities with floating or variable interest rates may decline in value if their coupon rates do not keep pace with comparable market interest rates. Narrowly focused investments typically exhibit higher volatility and are subject to greater geographic or asset class risk. The Funds may be subject to credit risk, which refers to the possibility that the debt issuers will not be able to make principal and interest payments. The iShares Floating Rate Note Fund’s income may decline when interest rates fall because most of the debt instruments held by the Fund will have floating or variable rates. An investment in the Funds is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.
Tags: asset class, Asset Value, Basis Points, Bond Fund, Credit Risk, Csj, Equity Exposure, Fixed Income Market, Interest Rate Risk, Interest Rate Sensitivity, Ishares, Market Changes, Matt Tucker, Money Market Funds, Net Asset, Political Environment, Portfolio Risk, Risky Asset, Skittish Investors, Term Commitment, volatile market conditions
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Thursday, October 20th, 2011
by Russ Koesterich, iShares
To be sure, if there is a worsening crisis in Europe or we have another severe recession, investors will probably be better off out of the market for a period of time. But unless you feel confident that you can predict these events, it’s worth considering three reasons to keep some equity exposure.
1.) The Difficulty of Market Timing: Even for professional investors, market timing is extremely difficult. As the chart below illustrates, had you missed just the first 20% of the market recovery in 2003 — an achievement most professional investors would have been proud of — you would have underperformed staying invested in both the downturn and the recovery by nearly 10%, assuming an initial investment of $100,000 in March 2000 and investment period through February 2006.
2.) The Costs: Going to cash is not a costless transaction, particularly if you keep a large portion of your assets in cash for a prolonged period. Even in a low inflation environment, the dollar’s value will erode over time. Consider that since the mid 1980s — when inflation has averaged less than 3% — Americans have still lost 50% of their purchasing power through rising prices. While holding cash will protect the nominal value of your money, holding cash in today’s environment of zero interest rates means losing real value.
3.) The Valuation Argument: While there are no shortages of reasons to be pessimistic about the global economy, equity market performance is less about absolute conditions and more about how those conditions compare to expectations. In other words, if stocks are cheap enough, they may provide a good return even in the face of a lot of bad news. Today, global stocks are trading for around 12x trailing earnings. Historically, valuations have been roughly 75% higher. While a lot could go wrong, much of the bad news already appears to be reflected in the price of stocks.
While none of these reasons mean that markets will move higher in the near term, they do suggest that moving to cash is neither costless nor riskless. At the very least, moving a significant portion of your assets to cash will likely erode your purchasing power over the long term. At worst, moving to cash means you may miss out on a reasonable entry point, as stock valuations already appear to reflect a good deal of pessimism.
Tags: Bad News, Downturn, Equity Exposure, Global Economy, Global Stocks, inflation, Initial Investment, Investment Period, Large Portion, Market Performance, Market Timing, Mid 1980s, News Today, Nominal Value, Professional Investors, Prolonged Period, Purchasing Power, Recession, Valuations, Zero Interest
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Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
Repositioning Profits From Junior Gold Trade For Time Being
Alfred Lee, CFA, DMS, Investment Strategist, BMO ETFs, Global Structured Investments
September 3, 2010
- In the August edition of our BMO ETF: Monthly Strategy Report titled “Not So Golden Month For Gold Bullion,” we recommended to our readers that it was a good buying opportunity for gold and small-cap gold companies through exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Since we launched the report on August 10, the BMO Junior Gold Index ETF, which tracks the Dow Jones Junior Gold Index has risen 14.9% and roughly 35.5% since we first recommended it in mid-February.
- As this trade has worked out far faster than we expected, we recommend trimming positions in small-cap gold at this point given its recent run up. As our readers are aware, we have been very bullish on gold this year and in particular, the small-cap producers. While, we still remain very positive on gold and particularly small-cap gold companies over the long-term, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a correction over the near-term.
- At this point, we recommend investors take the profit portion of the trade and reallocating to fixed income for the time being and waiting for a pullback before reinvesting. For example, a $50,000 position executed on August 10 would have generated a $7,450 profit ($50,000 x 14.9% = $7,450). Investors can take the $7,450 profit and reallocate to short-term federal or provincial bonds. For those investors who want to maintain an equity exposure, we recommend reducing beta through sectors such as utilities, given the current weakness in the markets.
- Investors that want to execute this trade can easily do so in one trade through the following ETFs:
- Investors can access short-term federal bonds through the BMO Short-Federal Bond Index ETF (ZFS). This ETF tracks the DEX Short Term Federal Bond Index, which tracks bonds issued by the Government of Canada with maturities of between one- and five-years.
- For those investors that want exposure to short-term provincial bonds, there is the BMO Short-Provincial Bond Index ETF (ZPS). This ETF tracks the DEX Short Term Provincial Bond Index, which tracks bonds issued by the Canadian provinces with maturities of between one- and five-years.
- For investors preferring to maintain equity exposure, we would recommend defensive positions at this time. Exposure to utility stocks can be accessed through the BMO Equal Weight Utilities Index ETF (ZUT). This ETF tracks the Dow Jones Canada Select Equal Weight Utilities Index which is made up of 17 Canadian utility stocks using an equal weight methodology.
Chart A: Short-term Sentiment Is Overly Optimistic
Source: Bloomberg, BMO ETFs
Chart B: Short-Term Fixed Income Has Provided Stability Since Market Softened
Chart C: Utility Stocks Have Lower Beta Than Broad Market
*All prices as of market close September 2, 2010 unless otherwise indicated.
Tags: Alfred Lee, August 10, BMO, BMO ETFs, Bond Index, Canadian Market, Cap Gold, Dow Jones, Equity Exposure, ETF, ETFs, Exchange Traded Funds, Federal Bonds, Fixed Income, Gold, Gold Bullion, Gold Companies, Gold Index, Gold Trade, Government Of Canada, Investment Strategist, Maturities, Pullback, Repositioning, Small Cap, Structured Investments
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Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
Albert Edwards, London-based strategist of Société Générale, has always been a firm favourite among Investment Postcards’ readers. His latest research report appeared a few days ago and saw him firmly back in the bear camp after turning short-term bullish at the end of October. (See the previous posts “Albert Edwards: Turning More Bullish” [October 24] and “Market Fundamentals are Appalling” [July 5]).
Edwards’s “Global Strategy” report is sub-titled “Technicals say it is time to bail out. Cut exposure and prepare for rout. US depression looking likely. China’s 2009 implosion could get ugly.” The executive summary below provides the gist of his thinking.
“After increasing our equity exposure at the end of October we believe that the market is set to quickly slide sharply towards our 500 target for the S&P. While economic data in developed economies increasingly reflects depression rather than a deep recession, the real surprise in 2009 may lie elsewhere. It is becoming clear that the Chinese economy is imploding and this raises the possibility of regime change. To prevent this, the authorities would likely devalue the Yuan. A subsequent trade war could see a re-run of the Great Depression.
- Economic data has been truly dreadful through the fourth quarter. Over a year ago we forecast deep US recession. As it had not suffered one since the early 1980s, we thought this outturn would shock. Yet recent data has been consistent with something far worse than deep recession. There is no agreed definition of a “depression” as opposed to a deep recession. But The Economist magazine is probably more qualified than many to take a view. They consider a peak-to-trough decline in GDP in excess of 10% a reasonable definition. We had been thinking of deep GDP declines of the order of 5% peak to trough but we are now thinking that this view might be too optimistic.
- But, until yesterday, equity markets had been paddling quite happily sideways for most of the last few months. They have been broadly flat since we increased our equity weighting sharply on 23 October. Within that time the intra-day peak-to-trough rally in the S&P was a creditable 28% from 740 low of November 21, but we do not claim to have captured that. Nevertheless we feel very comfortable that the technicals at the end of October cried out to close our extreme underweight equity exposure. They now tell us to cut exposure again.
- 2008 was a shock for investors. But 2009 could be an even bigger shock. There is evidence that the Chinese economy is imploding. Investors should consider what would happen if China descends into social chaos. Yuan devaluation could spark a 1930’s style trade war. Do you really trust the politicians to ‘do the right thing’?”
Tags: Albert Edwards, Bear Camp, China, Chinese Economy, David Fuller, Economic Data, Economist, Economist Magazine, Equity Exposure, Gist, Global Strategy, Global Strategy Weekly, Great Depression, Implosion, London, Market Fundamentals, October 24, Recession, Regime Change, Rout, S&P, Societe Generale, Strategist, Strategy Report, Target, The Economist, Trade War, Trough, United States
Posted in Credit Markets, Economy, Markets | Comments Off
Monday, January 5th, 2009
Legendary Yale University Endowment investor, David Swensen, says there are extraordinary investment opportunities in the credit world and is “pursuing a recovery” by acquiring distressed debt.
“There are some really extraordinary opportunities in the credit world,” said David Swensen, the school’s investment chief, in a phone interview from his office at the New Haven, Connecticut, university. “Everything, from bank loans to investment-grade bonds to less-than-investment grade bonds, is priced at really extraordinarily cheap levels.”
Among Swensen’s core principles identified in “Pioneering Portfolio Management: An Unconventional Approach to Institutional Investment” (Free Press, 408 pages, $35) is the importance of diversifying holdings while focusing on equities. In a recession, the advantages of diversification get overwhelmed by investors’ selling equities in favor of U.S. Treasury bonds in a “flight to quality,” he said.
“When you have a market in which any type of equity exposure is being punished, it’s going to hurt long-term investors,” he said.
In the current environment, distressed corporate securities can produce “equity-like” returns, Swensen said.
“You want to make sure you’re with companies that have the ability to survive in a really tough economic environment” he said, declining to name any of the companies.
Until financial institutions resume lending, the economy will remain stagnant, Swensen said.
“I don’t think the Fed or the administration has figured out how to fix credit markets,” he said. “We are going to experience economic and financial stress as long as the credit markets are broken and it’s not until we start seeing the credit markets functioning properly will we be able to see a path to economic recovery.”
Swensen advocates federal guarantees for deposits in money- market funds as a way to encourage investment in the vehicles that buy corporate debt.
Source: Bloomberg.com, January 2, 2009
Tags: Advantages Of Diversification, Bank Loans, Connecticut, Connecticut University, Corporate Securities, Credit Markets, David Swensen, Distressed Debt, Equity Exposure, ETF, Federal Guarantees, Financial Stress, Free Press, Institutional Investment, investment chief, Investment Grade Bonds, Legendary Yale University Endowment, Money Market Funds, New Haven Connecticut, Term Investors, U S Treasury, U S Treasury Bonds, Unconventional Approach, University Endowment, Us Federal Reserve, usd, Yale Endowment, Yale University
Posted in Bonds, Credit Markets, Economy, ETFs, Markets | Comments Off