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Old 06-08-2010, 02:39 PM   #21
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Couldn't stop laughing (from someone who keeps a 100% individual stock allocation in retirement).
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Old 06-08-2010, 02:42 PM   #22
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I'm intrigued by the very hostile reception to this article, and I'm a little concerned that the main points are being missed.

1. buy-and-hold typically loses money, according to both Bernstein/DFA and Blackstar Funds. No controversy there.

2. the reason indexing works better than buy-and-hold is due to active management and index weighting paradigms. No controversy here either; this is why indexes are reconstituted periodically. Lots of literature about this topic exists.

3. buying strong stocks works better than indexing, according to Dr. Kenneth French's own website. Again, not controversial, although Fama and French do refer to it in one of their articles as "an embarrassment to the Efficient Markets Hypothesis." There is also a lot of academic research on this topic, starting with Josef Lakonishok in 1993. In June, Morningstar is incorporating momentum (the academic term for relative strength) as a return factor in their fund ratings. This is consensus opionion, not left field stuff.

In short, I believe all three major contentions are well-supported by the facts.

Blackstar's research showed that buying strong stocks made sense. It was really Bernstein/DFA that recharacterized the research as supporting indexing--Blackstar would not agree. I don't think Mr. Bernstein has grounds to be upset with me; I'm characterizing the research the way it was originally intended.

I apologize if my tone did not make certain readers happy, but I think it would be worthwhile to take the conclusions seriously.

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Just curious how you showed up recently after an article is posted

I think other have shown that your statements are not without controversy... in fact, all of them have a lot of controversy.

If you take a look at studies concerning active fund managers vs index funds... over time less than 5% of fund managers earn more than index funds... so 95% make less (not that they LOSE money, they just make you less than your other option)...

Now if you give me a list of 100 active manager... I doubt that I could pick out the best 5 for the coming decade... and I bet YOU could not either.... SO, say you are really good at picking and get 3 of the best 5.. that means you got two that make you less money than the index... NOW, averaged together your active managed funds are probably below the index... and you picked 60% of the winners!!!

I do not think you are suggesting that you pick just ONE and put all your money in there are you That to me shows a lack of intelligence and would make me not want to invest there.

Don't get me wrong... I have a majority of my money in 'active' managed funds... some are based on computer models, so in a way they are not being managed by the whim of the manager... but the suggestion of the article is that all managers are better than buy and hold.... just false...
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Old 06-08-2010, 02:44 PM   #23
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I think the NYT columnist Maureen Dowd takes the cake for this. She has been known to leave words out of quotes, changing the meaning of the sentences in the process. She is a "journalist."

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Old 06-08-2010, 02:48 PM   #24
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All rightee then, that makes it okay to do
No, I think it was a swipe at Maureen Dowd -- note the "quotes" around the word journalist...
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Old 06-08-2010, 03:02 PM   #25
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Yes, and what a convenient excuse for not standing behind your claims. Whatever you guys pay your industry lobbyists, you need to give them a raise....
I've never heard of the govt forbidding a "satisfaction guaranteed or your money cheerfully refunded" clause either.

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Give it up Mike, you'll do nothing with your sales pitch here other than draw fire from those of us who are or who aspire to FIRE.
Speaking of trolls, Mike, I'd check the IP address and background of that guy "Rob" who leaped on your blog to make the first comment. How appropriate that you two found each other so quickly-- I believe he's still 100% cash, and I'm sure he's looking for good advice on picking winning stocks!
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Old 06-08-2010, 03:24 PM   #26
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But one only needs to look at the long term chart of the major market averages to see that buy and hold doesn't "typically lose money" over a decades-long time horizon.
It's clear that some respondents either did not read and/or understand the Blackstar Funds research piece or my blog post. One of the main points was that index funds are actively managed. The returns that you love so much are due to active management! Indexes replace losers and add winners. For example, the DJIA used to have U.S. Steel, which peaked in 1959, and Navistar in it. They were removed. Successful companies, like Hewlett-Packard and Boeing have been added. If you literally bought-and-held the original companies in the Dow (1896), you wouldn't own Boeing and Hewlett-Packard. Instead, you would discover that you lost your entire investment in U.S. Leather Company (one of 12 original components). They made bridles for horses and went bankrupt in 1952. So, yes, actual buy-and-hold typically loses money even over long time horizons. And if you hold Boeing long enough, it will probably go out of business too, about the time we start using the Star Trek transporter to get around!

What I find most interesting is that responses are 1) mostly hostile, 2) glib in citing oft-repeated but incorrect information, and 3) none have refuted the three basic issues I outlined in my first reply. I'm not going to continue to get into a flame war because I don't think what I have to say is going to be listened to, even though I believe it is factually correct.

It's a shame because understanding capital markets, investor sentiment, and saving like mad can help all of you reach your early retirement goals or help you live better in retirement. But good luck to you all.

P.S. Indexing and relative strength management are not mutually exclusive, by the way. PDP, PIZ, and PIE are all index funds in an ETF format that use relative strength. They own 100 high relative strength stocks and are reconstituted and re-weighted each quarter. (Disclosure: my company provides the indexes for these products.) AQR Management also has several open-end index mutual funds like AMOMX. Clifford Asness at AQR wrote his thesis at the University of Chicago on momentum; his thesis advisor was Eugene Fama, the famous efficient markets theorist. When I wrote that none of my three propositions was controversial, I guess I should have said "within the community of finance professionals and academics." Clearly, the news hasn't gotten to everyone yet!
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Old 06-08-2010, 03:31 PM   #27
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When I wrote that none of my three propositions was controversial, I guess I should have said "within the community of finance professionals Charlatans and leeches." Clearly, the news hasn't gotten to everyone yet!
There, I fixed it. And I won't even charge you 1.5% per year.
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Old 06-08-2010, 03:32 PM   #28
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I'm not going to continue to get into a flame war because I don't think what I have to say is going to be listened to, even though I believe it is factually correct.
Therein lies your problem as many of us obviously don't buy what you believe to be "facts". And watch that door knob on your way out...
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Old 06-08-2010, 03:36 PM   #29
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Man I am so lucky to have recently discovered the ignore poster feature. It is getting a heavy work-out this past week. Must be something in the air...

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Old 06-08-2010, 03:46 PM   #30
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No, I think it was a swipe at Maureen Dowd -- note the "quotes" around the word journalist...
Righto. Sorry if I wasn't clear. My point was that quotes can be misleading.

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Old 06-08-2010, 03:51 PM   #31
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In answer to your question, I discovered this board from a trackback link at Wordpress for our blog. I didn't know it existed before. Wordpress shows you the links for anyone who posts your article links.
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Old 06-08-2010, 03:57 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by mmoody95 View Post
It's clear that some respondents either did not read and/or understand the Blackstar Funds research piece or my blog post. One of the main points was that index funds are actively managed. The returns that you love so much are due to active management! Indexes replace losers and add winners. For example, the DJIA used to have U.S. Steel, which peaked in 1959, and Navistar in it. They were removed. Successful companies, like Hewlett-Packard and Boeing have been added. If you literally bought-and-held the original companies in the Dow (1896), you wouldn't own Boeing and Hewlett-Packard. Instead, you would discover that you lost your entire investment in U.S. Leather Company (one of 12 original components). They made bridles for horses and went bankrupt in 1952. So, yes, actual buy-and-hold typically loses money even over long time horizons. And if you hold Boeing long enough, it will probably go out of business too, about the time we start using the Star Trek transporter to get around!

What I find most interesting is that responses are 1) mostly hostile, 2) glib in citing oft-repeated but incorrect information, and 3) none have refuted the three basic issues I outlined in my first reply. I'm not going to continue to get into a flame war because I don't think what I have to say is going to be listened to, even though I believe it is factually correct.

It's a shame because understanding capital markets, investor sentiment, and saving like mad can help all of you reach your early retirement goals or help you live better in retirement. But good luck to you all.

P.S. Indexing and relative strength management are not mutually exclusive, by the way. PDP, PIZ, and PIE are all index funds in an ETF format that use relative strength. They own 100 high relative strength stocks and are reconstituted and re-weighted each quarter. (Disclosure: my company provides the indexes for these products.) AQR Management also has several open-end index mutual funds like AMOMX. Clifford Asness at AQR wrote his thesis at the University of Chicago on momentum; his thesis advisor was Eugene Fama, the famous efficient markets theorist. When I wrote that none of my three propositions was controversial, I guess I should have said "within the community of finance professionals and academics." Clearly, the news hasn't gotten to everyone yet!
By definition, an "index fund" tracks an index. But the S&P500 does not change very often, and it doesn't try to follow the latest hot stocks or trends...
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:31 PM   #33
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It's clear that some respondents either did not read and/or understand the Blackstar Funds research piece or my blog post. One of the main points was that index funds are actively managed.!
Wow an investment manger who does not understand the difference between an index and an Index fund. Indexes are not managed for the same reason as funds.

Sheesh
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:46 PM   #34
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Wow an investment manger who does not understand the difference between an index and an Index fund. Indexes are not managed for the same reason as funds.
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Index Turnover
Old 06-08-2010, 06:24 PM   #35
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Index Turnover

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By definition, an "index fund" tracks an index. But the S&P500 does not change very often, and it doesn't try to follow the latest hot stocks or trends...
Wrong and wrong.

"Turnover of the portfolio is defined as the market value of securities sold out of the portfolio as a percentage of the portfolio's total market value. The turnover rates for the indexed TSE 300 and the S&P 500 funds are 8.2% and 8.3%, respectively." [This is from a Canadian study.]

8.3% annual turnover means that, on average, the constituents are completely recycled over a 12-year period. (100 / 8.3 = 12.048192) That's approximately 83 adds and deletes per year (500 x 0.083 = 41.5 on the delete side + another 41.5 on the add side = 83) from only 500 members, assuming average market capitalizations.

If you are now 50 years old, for example, and nearing your hoped-for early retirement, the average name in the S&P has turned over completely more than four times in your lifetime. (Some stocks have obviously been members for a long, long time; others come and go much, much more rapidly.)

And the committee does follow trends and they do add hot stocks. In 2000, for example, there were a total of 114 adds and deletes to the index. (11.4% turnover in membership that year.) Some of the companies involved were Veritas Software, Applied Micro Circuits, Intuit, Palm, JDS Uniphase, Starbucks, Massey Energy, W.R. Grace Chemical, Great A&P, Nacco Industries, and Pep Boys. The additions end with Starbucks.

Now try to tell me with a straight face that S&P doesn't have much turnover and doesn't follow trends.

The fact is that you don't know what you are talking about. You drank the kool-aid and now you're just repeating what you've heard or seen written by some financial commentator. But you've never actually checked the facts. Most of this stuff is simple to confirm on any search engine. Or go to S&P's own website. As the saying goes, "you're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts."
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:54 PM   #36
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moody, you will have about as much luck getting converts here as a Unitarian would in a jihadist training camp.

Unless you really enjoying arguing, there are definitely greener fields.
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:13 PM   #37
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Wrong and wrong.

"Turnover of the portfolio is defined as the market value of securities sold out of the portfolio as a percentage of the portfolio's total market value. The turnover rates for the indexed TSE 300 and the S&P 500 funds are 8.2% and 8.3%, respectively." [This is from a Canadian study.]."
No flame war, but back to school for you

A fund will always have more turnover than an index. A fund must pay shareholders who cash out their investment. Compare this to an active fund that turns over 100-250% and you quickly see why active managers have such a hard time keeping up. They even generate tax bills when they are providing negative returns - can get very nasty. You seem to not understand the difference between an index and a fund.

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And the committee does follow trends and they do add hot stocks. In 2000, for example, there were a total of 114 adds and deletes to the index. (11.4% turnover in membership that year.) Some of the companies involved were Veritas Software, Applied Micro Circuits, Intuit, Palm, JDS Uniphase, Starbucks, Massey Energy, W.R. Grace Chemical, Great A&P, Nacco Industries, and Pep Boys. The additions end with Starbucks.
If you did your vaunted research You would notice that there have been 5 additions to the S&P this year. All of them were because of acquisitions. In fact acquisitions and not "hot" stocks are the reason for the vast majority of changes. If I remember properly 2000 was a peak year for M&A. Additionally, you would also discover that stocks dropped from the S&P often outperform the index for the next 12 month period They are often the "value" stocks that provide excess returns in the studies you did not follow.

Your argument would make some sense if you stated that market cap indexes by definition become overweight of successful stocks. For example the S&P 500 doubled the weight of the Financial Services sector during the real estate bubble. However, this is not an indication to buy the hot stocks, but rather the reverse. You should have sold the hot stocks and reinvested the profit in underperforming assets.

I would expect much better from an undergrad finance major, to say nothing of an advisor. Is my face straight
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:23 PM   #38
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moody, you will have about as much luck getting converts here as a Unitarian would in a jihadist training camp.

Unless you really enjoying arguing, there are definitely greener fields.
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:32 PM   #39
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It's clear that some respondents either did not read and/or understand the Blackstar Funds research piece or my blog post. One of the main points was that index funds are actively managed. The returns that you love so much are due to active management! Indexes replace losers and add winners. For example, the DJIA used to have U.S. Steel, which peaked in 1959, and Navistar in it. They were removed. Successful companies, like Hewlett-Packard and Boeing have been added. If you literally bought-and-held the original companies in the Dow (1896), you wouldn't own Boeing and Hewlett-Packard. Instead, you would discover that you lost your entire investment in U.S. Leather Company (one of 12 original components). They made bridles for horses and went bankrupt in 1952. So, yes, actual buy-and-hold typically loses money even over long time horizons. And if you hold Boeing long enough, it will probably go out of business too, about the time we start using the Star Trek transporter to get around!

What I find most interesting is that responses are 1) mostly hostile, 2) glib in citing oft-repeated but incorrect information, and 3) none have refuted the three basic issues I outlined in my first reply. I'm not going to continue to get into a flame war because I don't think what I have to say is going to be listened to, even though I believe it is factually correct.

It's a shame because understanding capital markets, investor sentiment, and saving like mad can help all of you reach your early retirement goals or help you live better in retirement. But good luck to you all.

P.S. Indexing and relative strength management are not mutually exclusive, by the way. PDP, PIZ, and PIE are all index funds in an ETF format that use relative strength. They own 100 high relative strength stocks and are reconstituted and re-weighted each quarter. (Disclosure: my company provides the indexes for these products.) AQR Management also has several open-end index mutual funds like AMOMX. Clifford Asness at AQR wrote his thesis at the University of Chicago on momentum; his thesis advisor was Eugene Fama, the famous efficient markets theorist. When I wrote that none of my three propositions was controversial, I guess I should have said "within the community of finance professionals and academics." Clearly, the news hasn't gotten to everyone yet!
Couple of points Mike. I'm sure most of understand that Dow Jones/News Corp replaces Dow components and S&P replaces SP500 companies. In some case they are replaced because they go broke but in most case the were acquired or split up. For instance of the Dow 12 only two went out of business the rest were broken up or acquired. Owners of American Tobacco would have done quite well .

I don't believe your claim if you hold most stocks a long time they go down. If any of the oldest people in the US Dad's had bought them one share in the 12 Dow stocks went in started back in 1896 for roughly $1,000 and reinvested the dividends they would be multi millionaires. They would receive dividend income in the tens of thousand thanks to RJ Reynolds, PG&E, Detroit Edison and many other who are direct descendants of the original Dow 12. The single GE share is now 4600 shares worth more than $70,000 and would have received several hundred thousand worth of dividends over the last 114 years.

Now obviously only owning the top 25% best performing stocks each year would be great. The obvious question is if you have such a great system why share it?, why not become the next Warren Buffett.

A couple of things you should know about the forum. Most of the members are terrific savers. Many of us are also pretty decent investor either by using low cost index funds, are low cost active funds from Vanguard. There is also a fair number of us who are individual stock pickers. There aren't a lot of fans of momentum or technical analysis systems.

I looked at the ETF you mentioned. I see the biggest, PDP has 130 million in assets an expense ratio of .6%. It is rated 2 stars by Morningstar. In 2008, it lost 46% ranking in bottom 11th percentile. In 2009 it gained 28% ranking in the bottom 6%. Considered that the active posters in the forum have combined a lot more than $130 million under management and I bet our expenses are lower than .6% Why should we believe your claim that your or Dr. French's system can identify winning stocks?

At the risk of sounding really arrogant, I retired ten years ago at the age of 39 and moved to Hawaii...and you?
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:37 PM   #40
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The fact is that you don't know what you are talking about. You drank the kool-aid and now you're just repeating what you've heard or seen written by some financial commentator. But you've never actually checked the facts. Most of this stuff is simple to confirm on any search engine. Or go to S&P's own website. As the saying goes, "you're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts."
Uh, oh. Not only am I wrong, but I'm wrong with underlining...

And what, pray tell, is the turnover of the average actively managed fund. And, yes, the top 500 corps, based on market cap, do change. No surprise there, either.

Feel free to invest in any fashion you choose, my friend. As will I...
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