Investment Insights Podcast: A quick review of July markets

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Leigh LowmanInvestment Manager

On this week’s podcast (recorded August 11, 2017), Leigh provides a quick review of July markets.

 

Quick hits:

  • After a strong first half to the year, positive economic growth continued into July.
  • Second quarter earnings came in strong with both revenue and earnings surprises accelerating from already strong levels.
  • the Senate’s failure to pass a healthcare bill cast a shadow on the “Trump trade”, bringing forth concerns on whether meaningful tax and regulatory reform can be accomplished.
  • Overall economic data leans positive and we expect markets will continue to trend upward over the near term.

For Leigh’s full insights, click here to listen to the audio recording.

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The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Holdings are subject to change. Brinker Capital, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.

 

Investment Insights Podcast: The complacency of markets so far in 2017

Jeff Raupp, CFARaupp_Podcast_GraphicDirector of Investments

On this week’s podcast (recorded August 7, 2017), Jeff discusses how in an upward trending market like this, investors often start overestimating their risk appetite.

Quick hits:

  • This past Friday marked the 34th record high for the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2017.
  • The largest market drawdown that we’ve experienced in 2017 is just 3%.
  • The key to long term investing is choosing a good long-term strategy that you can stay with through up and down markets.

For Jeff’s full insights, click here to listen to the audio recording.

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The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Holdings are subject to change. Brinker Capital, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.

Investment Insights Podcast: Emerging Markets – Going beyond the headlines

Holland_Podcast_150x126Tim Holland, CFA, Senior Vice President, Global Investment Strategist

On this week’s podcast (recorded July 28, 2017), Tim takes a closer look at Emerging Markets and why we own them.

Quick hits:

  • After under-performing U.S. and developed international equities for several years, Emerging Market equities are outdistancing both asset classes since the beginning of 2016.
  • The four largest emerging markets on an adjusted GDP basis are Brazil, Russia, India and China, often referred to as the “BRIC Countries.
  • While there are many positives to investing in emerging markets, there are also meaningful risks including political instability, infrastructure problems and currency volatility.
  • Considering the cyclical and secular tailwinds, we are overweight emerging market equities and remain constructive on the asset class.

For Tim’s full insights, click here to listen to the audio recording.

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The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Holdings are subject to change. Brinker Capital, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. 

Foreign securities are more volatile, harder to price and less liquid than U.S. securities; and are subject to different accounting and regulatory standards, and political and economic risks. These risks are enhanced in emerging markets countries.

Investment Insights Podcast: Changing dynamics of the active and passive debate

Chris HartHart_Podcast_338x284Senior Vice President

On this week’s podcast (recorded July 21, 2017), Chris provides some of the more interesting data points and perspectives that help shed light on this potentially changing dynamic.

 

Quick hits:

  • Just as stocks, styles, strategies, sectors, and industries go in and out of favor, so too should performance of active and passive strategies.
  • Passive investing might be peaking and future market conditions suggest a more favorable environment for active management going forward.
  • The incredible growth in the number of ETFs has created a strong headwind for active managers.
  • Correlations between stocks have been stubbornly high while the percentage of active managers outperforming has been below 50% since 2010.
  • The potential for inflation makes it increasingly difficult for markets to rely on the generosity of central banks and continued efficacy of monetary policy.  .
  • At Brinker we believe that both active and passive strategies play an important role in portfolio construction and asset allocation.

For the rest of Chris’s insight, click here to listen to the audio recording.

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The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Holdings are subject to change. Brinker Capital, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.

Investment Insights Podcast: When it comes to crude oil, why lower for longer is a good thing

Holland_Podcast_150x126Tim Holland, CFA, Senior Vice President, Global Investment Strategist

On this week’s podcast (recorded July 12, 2017), Tim addresses crude oil, what’s been weighing on the commodity as of late, and whether we should view that weakness as a net positive or negative for the U.S. economy.

Quick hits:

  • Any, and all, discussion of crude oil must begin with fracking. Fracking has enabled energy companies to tap long known, but historically inaccessible deposits of oil and gas across the United States
  • The impact on U.S. production of oil and gas – and on global energy markets – has been revolutionary.
  • U.S. crude oil production should hit 10 million barrels a day in 2018
  • If Texas were an oil producing nation it would rank among the top 10 producers in the world

For Tim’s full insights, click here to listen to the audio recording.

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The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Holdings are subject to change. Brinker Capital, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.

Investment Insights Podcast: A quick review of June markets

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Leigh LowmanInvestment Manager

On this week’s podcast (recorded July 7, 2017), Leigh provides a quick review of June markets.

 

Quick hits:

  • Synchronized global expansion was evident during the second quarter with markets across the globe experiencing positive economic growth.
  • Overall economic data leans positive.
  • We expect markets will continue to trend upward for the remainder of year.
  • The onset of new policies under the Trump administration and actions of central banks may lead to higher volatility, but our view on risk assets remains positive over the intermediate term.

For Leigh’s full insights, click here to listen to the audio recording.

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The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Holdings are subject to change. Brinker Capital, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.

 

Investment Insights Podcast: Should investors fear the FANG stocks?

Holland_Podcast_150x126Tim Holland, CFA, Senior Vice President, Global Investment Strategist

On this week’s podcast (recorded June 30, 2017), Tim addresses the phenomena that is the FANG stocks.

 

Quick hits:

  • The FANG stocks have outdistanced the index in 2017; however, on an equal weighted basis, the S&P 500 is up approximately 7.4%, near what the cap weighted index has returned and a sign that market gains have been broad based
  • While the FANG phenomena may make for good TV content and market chatter, we don’t think it represents a risk to the recent rally
  • So, should investors fear the FANG stocks? At Brinker Capital, we believe the answer is no.

For Tim’s full insights, click here to listen to the audio recording.

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This is not a recommendation for Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google. These securities are shown for illustrative purposes only.

The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Holdings are subject to change. Brinker Capital, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.

Investment Insights Podcast: Amazon announcement sending shockwaves across a few industries

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Andrew Goins
, Investment Manager

On this week’s podcast (recorded June 26, 2017), Andrew discusses the impact of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.

 

Quick hits:

  • The announcement of Amazon’s $13.7B acquisition of Whole Foods last Friday resulted in significant declines across most of the grocery retailers, as investors grapple with how this merger will impact the grocery industry.
  • Although the money managers we work with don’t make investments based on a thesis that the company will likely be acquired, Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods has resulted in speculation around who their next target will be.
  • While Amazon is just one company and won’t take over the entire world, it is clearly a disruptor and shouldn’t be ignored.

For Andrew’s full insights, click here to listen to the audio recording.

This is not a recommendation for Amazon or Whole Foods, these securities are shown for illustrative purposes only.

The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Holdings are subject to change. Brinker Capital, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.

Investment Insights Podcast: Does Brexit still mean Brexit? The UK election result and what it means for the markets.

Holland_Podcast_150x126Tim Holland, CFA, Senior Vice President, Global Investment Strategist

On this week’s podcast (recorded June 16, 2017), Tim addresses the political dynamic in the UK and the impact the recent election – and its rather surprising outcome – might have on Brexit and global markets.

Quick hits:

  • On June 8, U.K. voters went to the polls and confounded the experts and the pollsters by moving away from the ruling Conservative Party and embracing the Labour Party.
  • Despite all of the political drama, we still see Brexit moving forward and the U.K. exiting the European Union.
  • Near term, we also see the unexpected and unsettling U.K. election results potentially aiding pro EU, pro establishment political parties across Europe.
  • In the U.S., we don’t envision any meaningful economic or market impact from the political upheaval in the U.K.

For Tim’s full insights, click here to listen to the audio recording.

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The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Holdings are subject to change. Brinker Capital, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.

Machine Learning’s Growing Pains

Solomon_B 150x150Brad Solomon, Junior Investment Analyst

“Machine learning,” on its surface, sounds nothing short of miraculous.  For anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed when working with a large amount of intractable data, it evokes a certain fantasy: press a button, and let the machine learn. Poof, without any further instruction, your computer spits out relationships in the data seemingly untraceable to the human eye.

Yet paradoxically, there is also a competing perception that only a certain breed of mathematics PhDs and programming prodigies are worthy of using machine learning (ML) techniques.  The field of computer science has never been short on patronization; this post recommends first making sure that you have several advanced degrees and then learning the C or C++ languages, both of which are seen as some of the least user-friendly computer languages and neither of which are the language into which most machine learning is actually incorporated.

Now that machine learning has made its way to the top of Gartner’s Hype Cycle for emerging technologies, and has also become pervasively marketed as part of the tool set of quantitative investment strategies, it’s probably a good time to debunk some misconceptions about what machine learning is, and what it isn’t.

Let’s start with a positive.  ML encompasses a wide range of statistical modeling techniques that can be applied toward facial recognition, predicting credit card fraud, and classifying tumors as malignant or benign, to name just a few implementations.  At the heart of machine learning are a number of different models that all serve as means to the same ends: predicting a value or classifying something categorically.  The list of models themselves is an intimidating mouthful: to name a few, there are neural networks, decision trees, Bayesian ridge regression, and support vector machines.

If your head is spinning, you’re not alone.  However, you might be surprised to learn that you likely covered some elements of machine learning in any introductory statistics course: for instance, ordinary least squares regression (linear regression) also falls under the hood of machine learning. Machine learning practitioners also like to throw around a number of fancy terms that go by other names elsewhere in the realm of broader statistics discipline.  For example, training and test data are analogous to the more familiar terms in-sample and out-of-sample; supervised learning simply means that you are starting with an independent and dependent variable and want to establish a relationship between the two and then apply that relationship to a “fresh” (test) variable.

Now, to debunk one of several myths: ML is not new; the term was coined in 1959 and has been used pervasively in the tech industry for decades.  However, growth in the popularity of the Python programming language, which is open-source, free, and offers a number of user-friendly machine learning packages, has fueled interest in the concept.

One result has been the proliferation of machine learning techniques and their (purported) use in quantitative investment applications.  At Brinker, we’ve come across more than a handful of managers using machine learning: the use of random forest classification to identify the likelihood that a company will cut its dividend, or forecasting of market volatility regimes through Markov chain Monte Carlo methods.  However, we would be remiss to mention that for every manager that usefully employs machine learning, there are a half-dozen others that simply like being able to include it in a slide in their strategy’s pitch-book.  Bloomberg bluntly articulated this recently: “Hedge Funds Beware: Most Machine Learning Talk Is Really ‘Hokum’.”  A healthy dose of skepticism is warranted.

That engenders a second key point: when interacting with managers who profess to use ML in their everyday process, ask as many “dumb” questions as possible.  In layman’s terms, can you describe what’s going on “under the hood”?  Why did you select this model in particular?  While the mathematics behind certain models can be quite hairy, the high-level intuition should not be.  And lastly, while machine learning hasn’t yet been fully commoditized, that doesn’t mean you should be paying a 2 & 20 fee to access its capabilities.

The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Holdings are subject to change. Brinker Capital, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor.