Category: Small Cap Premium

A Follow up on Inflation: The Disparate Effects on Company Values!



In my last post, I discussed how inflation's return has changed the calculus for investors, looking at how inflation affects returns on different asset classes, and tracing out the consequences for equity values, in the aggregate. In general, higher and more volatile inflation has negative effects on all financial assets, from stocks to corporate bonds to treasury bonds, and neutral to positive effects on gold, collectibles and real assets. That said, the impact of inflation on individual company values can vary widely, with a few companies benefiting, some affected only lightly, and other companies being affected more adversely, by higher than expected inflation. In an environment where finding inflation hedges has become the first priority for most investors, the search is on for companies that are less exposed to high and rising inflation. The conventional wisdom, based largely on investor experiences from the 1970s, is that commodity companies and firms with pricing power are the best ones to hold, if you fear inflation, but is that true, and even if it is true, why is it so?  To answer these questions, I will return to basics and try to trace  the effects of inflation on the drivers of value, with the intent of finding the characteristics of stocks with better inflation-hedging properties.

Inflation and Value

When in doubt about how any action or information plays out in value, I find it useful to go back to value basics, and trace out the effects of that action/information on value drivers. (Read more...)

A Viral Market Update VIII: A Crisis Test – Value vs Growth, Active vs Passive, Small Cap vs Large!



In the weeks since my first update on the crisis on February 26, 2020, the markets have been on a roller coaster ride, as equity markets around the world collectively lost $30 trillion in market cap between February 14, 2020 and March 20, 2020, and then clawed back more than half of the loss in the following month. Having lived through market crises in the past, I know that this one is not quite done, but I believe we now have lived through enough of it to be able to start separating winners from losers, and use this winnowing process to address three big questions that have dominated investing for the last decade:
  • Has this crisis allowed active investors to shine, and use that performance to stop or even reverse the loss of market share to passive vehicles (ETFs and index funds) that has occurred over the last decade? 
  • Will this market correction lead to growth/momentum investing losing its mojo and allow value investors to reclaim what they believe is their rightful place on top of the investing food chain?  
  • Will the small cap premium, missing for so many decades, be rediscovered after this market shock?
I know each of these is a hot button issue, and I welcome disagreement, but I will try to set my biases aside and let the data speak for itself.

Market Action
As with my prior updates, I will begin by surveying the market action, first over the two weeks (4/17-5/1), following my (Read more...)

A Viral Market Update VIII: A Crisis Test – Value vs Growth, Active vs Passive, Small Cap vs Large!



In the weeks since my first update on the crisis on February 26, 2020, the markets have been on a roller coaster ride, as equity markets around the world collectively lost $30 trillion in market cap between February 14, 2020 and March 20, 2020, and then clawed back more than half of the loss in the following month. Having lived through market crises in the past, I know that this one is not quite done, but I believe we now have lived through enough of it to be able to start separating winners from losers, and use this winnowing process to address three big questions that have dominated investing for the last decade:
  • Has this crisis allowed active investors to shine, and use that performance to stop or even reverse the loss of market share to passive vehicles (ETFs and index funds) that has occurred over the last decade? 
  • Will this market correction lead to growth/momentum investing losing its mojo and allow value investors to reclaim what they believe is their rightful place on top of the investing food chain?  
  • Will the small cap premium, missing for so many decades, be rediscovered after this market shock?
I know each of these is a hot button issue, and I welcome disagreement, but I will try to set my biases aside and let the data speak for itself.

Market Action
As with my prior updates, I will begin by surveying the market action, first over the two weeks (4/17-5/1), following my (Read more...)