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Learning the Wrong Lessons

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A recent study by Professor Hendrik Bessembinder found that over very long periods of time, most individual stocks underperform the benchmark, while a minority of stocks are responsible for the bulk of equity market gains.  While the results of this study have been lauded as revelatory in the financial media, they really should not be; after all, most new enterprises fail, so it should not be all too surprising that most small companies (which constitute by far the majority of underperforming stocks) should fail, too. Read More

Lessons From the March

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Monday, September 18, 2017

This past weekend, I was privileged to be able to participate with other Alpha Architect team members in the Pennsylvania National Guard's annual March for the Fallen event.  The course was 28 miles of steep inclines, treacherous footing on broken rocks, and one very precipitous descent, which, strangely enough, was the most challenging portion of my experience.  I elected to "enhance" my experience by strapping an extra 35 pounds of gear to my back, which served to strain my endurance, tax my muscles, and generally test my willingness to see the event through.  Upon completion of the event (which for me took nine hours and nineteen minutes), my feelings were of satisfaction and relief in having completed the event, combined, strangely enough, with not just a little regret that it was all over.  Here are a few of my takeaways from the weekend and from the event itself. Read More

The Case For and Against Gold

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Wednesday, September 13, 2017

After having fallen precipitously from its all-time high set in 2011, the price of gold has surged about 15% so far this year, a performance that has even surpassed the S&P 500's year-to-date gain.  Not surprisingly, along with the renewed strength in gold, there is renewed interest in owning it.  Yet despite all the blog posts and articles written on the subject of gold over the past decade and a half, it seems that few people understand exactly why gold behaves as it does.  In this post, I hope to shed some light on the matter in order for investors to have a better understanding of the risk and rewards involved with allocating significant capital to the precious metal. Read More

Long-Term Bonds & The Duration Risk in Your Portfolio

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Wednesday, September 06, 2017

After a brief surge after last fall's election, long-term Treasury yields are again approaching all-time lows [the gap in the data is explained by a temporary halting of issuance in the mid 2000s]: Read More