When I started in this business, individual investors dominated daily trading. Now, even decisions by professional stock pickers are eclipsed by passively run pools of capital, governed by algorithms executed by artificial intelligence.
The consensus seems to be this is simply the next phase of evolution. After all, computers trade at multiples the speed of ordinary humans and without the emotion that’s often the biggest failing of investors.
The problem is capital governed by algorithm faces the same conundrum as do large funds run by managers: The larger the pool, the smaller the list of stocks available to trade without moving the market, no matter how sophisticated the programming. And that’s leaving aside the fact that many algorithms are written with similar objectives–i.e. to beat the S&P 500 and other benchmarks—and are therefore likely to take similar actions at the same time.
We’ve yet to see passive investing strategies tested in a crisis. But we already know that over any meaningful period of years, pools of capital using passive strategies such as the Vanguard Target Retirement funds have dramatically underperformed market averages. We also know that price momentum created by passive strategies creates opportunities to buy lower and sell higher than in previous market cycles.
Taking advantage does require knowing whether a fallen company is still strong on the inside, or if a high flyer has exceeded any reasonable gauge of value and is likely to take a tumble. But by following a disciplined strategy of seeking quality and waiting for the right price, we’re going to find many more opportunities like March Focus stock AES Corp (NYSE: AES), which has since returned upwards of 30 percent.
Just three days after beating a US Department of Justice lawsuit, Conservative Holding AT&T Inc (NYSE: T) has closed its merger with Time Warner Inc (NYSE: TWX). The combined company will now attempt to do what fellow Portfolio recommendation Comcast Corp (NSDQ: CMCSA) has so successfully with NBC Universal the past four years.
The seven yieldcos we track in the Utility Report Card are up roughly 5 percent since the February 9 Income Insights. That’s when I highlighted the sector’s bullish reboot, thanks to a mass turnover of sponsors.
A half dozen coverage universe companies have yet to report for Q1, but readers can now check out earnings commentary for 195 other essential services providers, as well as payout ratios, updated advice and Quality Grades in the Utility Report Card.
Canada’s Superior Plus Corp (TSX: SPB, OTC: SUUIF) generated few headlines last month, when it paid $900 million for NGL Energy Partners’ (NYSE: NGL) propane distribution business. However, this merger is highly remarkable for three major reasons.
The big question facing investment markets in second half 2018: Will the US economy keeping growing at a 4 percent plus rate?
The message from the U.S. Department of Justice to the merger-manic communications and media business? "Slow your roll."
Since the July 4 holiday, there's been no shortage of potential catalysts for significant market upside or downside. However, nothing has happened to shift the cautiously optimistic view we reiterated in the July issue of Conrad's Utility Investor.
For most people, November elections are about which party will control the House of Representatives and the US Senate. That’s important. But for regulated utilities, the most critical outcomes are always the state and local races.
Roger's favorite utilities for investors seeking superior price appreciation by taking calculated risks.
Harness the tried and true wealth-building power of rising dividends.
Nothing compounds wealth like reinvesting a rising stream of dividends.
Warning: Falling Dividends.
Roger's current take and vital statistics on more than 200 essential-services stocks.