Posts filed under “Quantitative”

When is ‘this time’ really different?


My Sunday Washington Post Business Section column is out. This morning, we look at a famous aphorism from Sir John Templeton. The print version has the hedder When is ‘this time’ really different? while the online version used the fuller Investors must recognize what ‘this time it’s different’ really means.

The column tries to draw the difference between the psychology of when investors are rationalizing paying anything in a speculative bubble versus the times when there are actual differences in fundamental economic metrics. Despite the differences between these two situations, people apply — and mis-apply — Templeton’s famous aphorism.

Here’s an excerpt from the column:

“So what is the formula for recognizing what “this time it is different” means? (And why is it that it’s never different? The answer, I believe, is two parts math, two parts psychology.

The math part begins with the traditional formula for valuation. In its most simple expression, it is price relative to earnings, or the P/E ratio. That is the oversimplified version. There are many other factors that also impact valuation: economic growth, inflation, interest rates, cost of capital, investment options, etc. And there are countless variations of how to measure it. Last year, Merrill Lynch’s quant team looked at 15 metrics that measured equity valuation — but the basic formula is typically a version of price relative to a profit related metric.”

I really like what the Post did in the dead tree version of the paper — the chart below, and the headline on the jump – Think this time is different? Take your temperature. Then check the data.

click for ginormous version of print edition

different data



Think this time is different? Take your temperature. Then check the data.
Barry Ritholtz
Washington Post, May 18 2014

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Psychology, Quantitative

Bull or Bubble?

Source: 361 Capital   This chart comes to us via Blaine Rollins of 361 Capital. I find it provides great context for the current markets, especially given the amount of bubble chatter we hear these days. How common are double-digit equity gains? How often do we see markets up 20 percent or more in a…Read More

Category: Investing, Markets, Quantitative

Benoît Mandelbrot, Father of Fractals

IBM and celebrate the life of Benoit B. Mandelbrot, IBM Fellow Emeritus and Fractal Pioneer. In this final interview shot by filmmaker Erol Morris, Mandelbrot shares his love for mathematics and how it led him to his wondrous discovery of fractals. His work lives on today in many innovations in science, design, telecommunications, medicine, renewable energy, film (special effects), gaming (computer graphics) and more.

Category: Mathematics, Quantitative, Video

AQR Capital’s Cliff Asness

Leverage. Derivatives. Shorting. The three “dirty words” of finance, according to this week’s guest, became a regular part of our vocabulary after the 2008 financial crisis, but how can investors get back to “clean” investing principles? Our Financial Thought Leader this week is Cliff Asness, Managing and Founding Principal of AQR Capital Management, a global investment management firm which runs hedge funds, mutual funds, and a diversified collection of investment strategies. In this rare interview, he’ll discuss the three legs of his “investment stool” and the tools we can use to diversify our portfolios.

Category: Quantitative, Video

90% of Everything is Crap

Source: Mental Floss     As someone who has spent his fair share of time debunking nonsense, I love the elegant way Theodore Sturgeon trashed this anti-SciFi trope in the March 1958 issue of Venture: “I repeat Sturgeon’s Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against…Read More

Category: Philosophy, Quantitative, Rules

US Quantitative Primer 2013

Last week, I mentioned Merrill Lynch’s Market Analysis Technical Handbook. I was somewhat smitten by the wire house attempt to explain the basics of technicals to a broader layperson audience. Several BP readers at Mother Merrill (as she used to be known) directed my attention to another annual release: US Quantitative Primer 2013. It is…Read More

Category: Analysts, Digital Media, Quantitative

Putting Investor Bearish Sentiment into Context

Individual Investors Are Not Buying It Click to enlarge   Lots of people have been discussing how negative investor sentiment is, showing the chart above. It shows markets making new all time highs as expectations that markets will be higher six months hence is at a mere 19% of AAII respondents. (See Individual Investors Are An…Read More

Category: Contrary Indicators, Investing, Quantitative, Sentiment

The Dangers of Non-Modeled Narrative Story Tellers

  “He can take a model and turn it into a narrative”   Right after the election, Felix wrote a post “When quants tell stories.” Clever as it was, I had issues with the underlying premise – namely, that the value of Nate Silver’s modeling lay more in the narrative tale as told by Silver…Read More

Category: Investing, Mathematics, Philosophy, Politics, Quantitative, Really, really bad calls

Michael Belkin 2:30

Category: Quantitative, Think Tank

Meb Faber: Buy Cheap Cyclically Adjusted P/E (CAPE)

Cyclically Adjusted P/E Click to enlarge:     Meb Faber of Cambria Investment Management looks at 10 years of earnings. Based on a methodology developed by Yale University Professor Robert J. Shiller, Faber concluded from an analysis of cyclically adjusted price-earnings ratios, designed to minimize the effect of economic swings on profits. Cyclically adjusted P/E, also known as CAPE,…Read More

Category: Earnings, Quantitative, Technical Analysis, Valuation