How To Squeeze Yields Up To 6.9% From Blue-Chip Stocks

Closeup of blue poker chip on red felt card table surface with spot light on chip

Preferred stocks are the little-known answer to the dividend question: How do I juice meaningful 5% to 6% yields from my favorite blue-chip stocks? “Common” blue chips stocks usually don’t pay 5% to 6%. Heck, the S&P 500’s current yield, at just 1.3%, is its lowest in decades.

But we can consider the exact same 505 companies in the popular index—names like JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Broadcom (AVGO) and NextEra Energy (NEE)—and find yields from 4.2% to 6.9%. If we’re talking about a million dollar retirement portfolio, this is the difference between $13,000 in annual dividend income and $42,000. Or, better yet, $69,000 per year with my top recommendation.

Most investors don’t know about this easy-to-find “dividend loophole” because most only buy “common” stock. Type AVGO into your brokerage account, and the quote that your machine spits back will be the common variety.

But many companies have another class of shares. This “preferred payout tier” delivers dividends that are far more generous.

Companies sometimes issue preferred stock rather than issuing bonds to raise cash. And these preferred dividends have a few benefits:

  • They receive priority over dividends paid on common shares.
  • Sometimes, preferred dividends are “cumulative”—if any dividends are missed, those dividends still have to be paid out before dividends can be paid to any other shareholders.
  • They’re typically far juicier than the modest dividends paid out on common stock. A company whose commons yield 1% or 2% might still distribute 5% to 7% to preferred shareholders.

But it’s not all gravy.

You’ll sometimes hear investors call preferreds “hybrid” securities. That’s because they act like a part-stock, part-bond holding. The way they resemble bonds is how they trade around a par value over time, so while preferreds can deliver price upside, they don’t tend to deliver much.

No, the point of preferreds is income and safety.

Now, we could go out and buy individual preferreds, but there’s precious little research out there allowing us to make a truly informed decision about any one company’s preferreds. Instead, we’re usually going to be better off buying preferred funds.

But which preferred funds make the cut? Let’s look at some of the most popular options, delivering anywhere between 4.2% to 6.9% at the moment.

Wall Street’s Two Largest Preferred ETFs

I want to start with the iShares Preferred and Income Securities (PFF, 4.2% yield) and Invesco Preferred ETF (PGX, 4.5%). These are the two largest preferred-stock ETFs on the market, collectively accounting for some $27 billion in funds under management.

On the surface, they’re pretty similar in nature. Both invest in a few hundred preferred stocks. Both have a majority of their holdings in the financial sector (PFF 60%, PGX 67%). Both offer affordable fees given their specialty (PFF 0.46%, PGX 0.52%).

There are a few notable differences, however. PGX has a better credit profile, with 54% of its preferreds in BBB-rated (investment-grade debt) and another 38% in BB, the highest level of “junk.” PFF has just 48% in BBB-graded preferreds and 22% in BBs; nearly a quarter of its portfolio isn’t rated.

Also, the Invesco fund spreads around its non-financial allocation to more sectors: utilities, real estate, communication services, consumer discretionary, energy, industrials and materials. Meanwhile, iShares’ PFF only boasts industrial and utility preferreds in addition to its massive financial-sector base.

PGX might have the edge on PFF, but both funds are limited by their plain-vanilla, indexed nature. That’s why, when it comes to preferreds, I typically look to closed-end funds.

Closed-End Preferred Funds

CEFs offer a few perks that allow us to make the most out of this asset class.

For one, most preferred ETFs are indexed, but all preferred CEFs are actively managed. That’s a big advantage in preferred stocks, where skilled pickers can take advantage of deep values and quick changes in the preferred markets, while index funds must simply wait until their next rebalancing to jump in.

Closed-end funds also allow for the use of debt to amplify their investments, both in yield and performance. Should the manager want, CEFs can also use options or other tools to further juice returns.

And they often pay out their fatter dividends every month!

Take John Hancock Preferred Income Fund II (HPF, 6.9% yield), for example. It’s a tighter portfolio than PFF or PGX, at just under 120 holdings from the likes of CenterPoint Energy (CNP), U.S. Cellular (USM) and Wells Fargo (WFC).

Manager discretion means a lot here. That is, HPF doesn’t just invest in preferreds, which are 70% of assets. It also has 22% invested in corporate bonds, another 4% or so in common stock, and trace holdings of foreign stock, U.S. government agency debt and cash. And it has a whopping 32% debt leverage ratio that really helps prop up the yield and provide better returns (though at the cost of a bumpier ride).

You have a similar situation with Flaherty & Crumrine Preferred and Income Securities Fund (FFC, 6.7%).

Here, you’re wading deep into the financial sector at nearly 80% exposure, with decent-sized holdings in utilities (7%) and energy (7%). Credit quality is roughly in between PFF and PGX, with 44% BBB, 37% BB and 19% unrated.

Nonetheless, smart management selection (and a healthy 31% in debt leverage) has led to far better, albeit noisier, returns than its indexed competitors. The Cohen & Steers Select Preferred and Income Fund (PSF, 6.0%) is about as pure a play as you could want in preferreds.

And it’s also a pure performer.

PSF is 100% invested in preferred stock (well, more like 128% if you count debt leverage), and actually breaks out its preferreds into institutionals that trade over-the-counter (83%), retail preferreds that trade on an exchange (16%) and floating-rate preferreds that trade OTC or on exchanges (1%).

Like any other preferred fund, you’re heavily invested in the financial sector at nearly 73%. But you do get geographic diversification, as only a little more than half of PSF’s assets are invested in the U.S. Other well-represented countries include the U.K. (13%), Canada (7%) and France (6%).

What’s not to love?

Brett Owens is chief investment strategist for Contrarian Outlook. For more great income ideas, get your free copy his latest special report: Your Early Retirement Portfolio: 7% Dividends Every Month Forever.

I graduated from Cornell University and soon thereafter left Corporate America permanently at age 26 to co-found two successful SaaS (Software as a Service) companies. Today they serve more than 26,000 business users combined. I took my software profits and started investing in dividend-paying stocks. Today, it’s almost impossible to find good stocks that pay a quality yield. So I employ a contrarian approach to locate high payouts that are available thanks to some sort of broader misjudgment. Renowned billionaire investor Howard Marks called this “second-level thinking.” It’s looking past the consensus belief about an investment to map out a range of probabilities to locate value. It is possible to find secure yields of 6% or more in today’s market – it just requires a second-level mindset.

Source: How To Squeeze Yields Up To 6.9% From Blue-Chip Stocks

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Critics:

A blue chip is stock in a stock corporation (contrasted with non-stock one) with a national reputation for quality, reliability, and the ability to operate profitably in good and bad times. As befits the sometimes high-risk nature of stock picking, the term “blue chip” derives from poker. The simplest sets of poker chips include white, red, and blue chips, with tradition dictating that the blues are highest in value. If a white chip is worth $1, a red is usually worth $5, and a blue $25.

In 19th-century United States, there was enough of a tradition of using blue chips for higher values that “blue chip” in noun and adjective senses signaling high-value chips and high-value property are attested since 1873 and 1894, respectively. This established connotation was first extended to the sense of a blue-chip stock in the 1920s. According to Dow Jones company folklore, this sense extension was coined by Oliver Gingold (an early employee of the company that would become Dow Jones) sometime in the 1920s, when Gingold was standing by the stock ticker at the brokerage firm that later became Merrill Lynch.

Noticing several trades at $200 or $250 a share or more, he said to Lucien Hooper of stock brokerage W.E. Hutton & Co. that he intended to return to the office to “write about these blue-chip stocks”. It has been in use ever since, originally in reference to high-priced stocks, more commonly used today to refer to high-quality stocks.

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Micro Investing’s Magic Lies in Helping Your Favorite College Grad (or You) Gain Confidence

Micro Investing's Magic Lies in Helping Your Favorite College Grad (or You) Gain Confidence

When you first graduate from college, you might not feel comfortable dumping lots of money into unknown stocks or ETFs. Even if you’re not a new college graduate, you may want to consider a different approach when you don’t have a lot of extra cash lying around. Why not try micro investing?

Micro investing takes the daunting feeling away from investing, and therein lies its true magic. Let’s take a look at what it can do for you and how it can find a place in your portfolio.

What is Micro Investing?

Put simply, when you micro invest, you invest using small amounts of money. In other words, you pony up money to buy fractional shares of stocks or ETFs instead of full shares.

As of today, a single share of Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) costs $3,383.87. You may know you can’t even afford one share of Amazon, much less two shares!

Enter micro investing apps. You can buy Amazon for a much smaller amount — even really small amounts, like $10. You can also buy multiple securities to aim for diversification (always a great thing!) and lower your risk in the long run.

Why Micro Invest?

Small amounts, compounded over time, can make an impact. Compound interest makes your money grow faster. You can calculate interest on accumulated interest as well as on your original principal. Compounding can create a snowball effect: The original investments plus the income earned from those investments both grow.

Let’s say you save $1 per day. Your $1 per day adds up to $365 a year. Instead of spending that $365, you could stick it into a micro investing app at 5% interest per year. Your small amount would grow to almost $466 by the end of five years. At the end of 30 years, the amount you originally invested would grow to $1,578.

If you micro invested even more, your investment could grow even faster.

How Does Micro Investing Work?

Have you ever heard of the app, Acorns, which invests small change for you? That’s micro investing. A micro investing app rounds up your purchases to the dollar or makes automatic transfers for you. Think of micro investing as “spare change investing” — many apps round up your transactions from a linked bank account and invest the difference.

In other words, let’s say you go to Chipotle and order a mega burrito with those delicious limey chips. You spend $10.34. The app would take your remaining $0.66 and invest it.

You don’t have to invest a lot to get started, either. Stash allows you to get started with just a penny. Interested in micro investing for your favorite college grad or yourself? Take a look at the following steps to get started with micro investing.

Step 1: Choose a micro investing app.

What’s often the hardest part? Choosing the right investment app. Often the most important question comes down to this: Do you want to get your hands directly on your investments or do you want an app to pilot and direct your money for you?

Quick overview: Acorns and Betterment put a portfolio together for you based on your preferences. Stash and Robinhood allow you to choose the direction you want your money to take by allowing you to choose your own investments.

You may want to choose an app that lets you steer the ship yourself, particularly if you want to take a DIY approach to your investments at some point.

Step 2: Input your information.

Once you’ve chosen a micro investing app, it’s time to let the robo-advisor do its job. You input information to your micro investing app that helps it “understand” how to put together the best portfolio for you. You input your age, income, goals and risk tolerance and it’ll allocate your investment dollars accordingly.

Your money will go into a portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) based on the level of risk you choose. Based on the information you supply, you could end up thoroughly diversified with shares in many (sometimes hundreds) of different companies.

Step 3: Set up recurring investments.

You can set up investments to go into your investment account on a recurring basis for just a few dollars per month. You can also choose to make one-time deposits. Your robo-advisor will automatically rebalance your account if you have too much invested in a particular asset class. Setting up recurring investing means that you’ll invest without thinking about it. (You’ll never miss pennies!)

Step 4: Don’t quit there.

You can easily track your earnings when you micro invest because those apps are seriously slick. You can even project your earnings through the app’s earnings calculator so you don’t have to wonder how much you’ll have later on.

However, this is important: Remember that micro investing may not make you rich (if, in fact that is your goal). You probably can’t save enough for retirement through micro-investing, either. You probably also won’t net enough to save for larger goals, such as a down payment on a home. You may generate a few hundred dollars a year, which might allow you to save enough to fund an emergency fund, but that’s about it.

The real win involves building the confidence needed to invest. Consider other ways you can invest, such as investing money in a 401(k) or a Roth IRA after you get comfortable with micro investing.

Micro Investing Could Work Wonders

Micro investing can work wonders by breaking down barriers to investing. One of the biggest complaints from young students just starting out is that it’s too expensive to invest.

Micro investing can give you or a new grad the confidence to try bigger things, starting with baby steps. If micro investing is what it takes for a new grad to get more comfortable with smaller investments (then grow investments later), then it’s a great option for young investors just getting started.

By:

Source: Micro Investing’s Magic Lies in Helping Your Favorite College Grad (or You) Gain Confidence

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Critics:

Microfinance is a category of financial services targeting individuals and small businesses who lack access to conventional banking and related services. Microfinance includes microcredit, the provision of small loans to poor clients; savings and checking accounts; microinsurance; and payment systems, among other services. Microfinance services are designed to reach excluded customers, usually poorer population segments, possibly socially marginalized, or geographically more isolated, and to help them become self-sufficient.[2][3]

Microfinance initially had a limited definition: the provision of microloans to poor entrepreneurs and small businesses lacking access to credit.[4] The two main mechanisms for the delivery of financial services to such clients were: (1) relationship-based banking for individual entrepreneurs and small businesses; and (2) group-based models, where several entrepreneurs come together to apply for loans and other services as a group.

Over time, microfinance has emerged as a larger movement whose object is: “a world in which as everyone, especially the poor and socially marginalized people and households have access to a wide range of affordable, high quality financial products and services, including not just credit but also savings, insurance, payment services, and fund transfers.

Proponents of microfinance often claim that such access will help poor people out of poverty, including participants in the Microcredit Summit Campaign. For many, microfinance is a way to promote economic development, employment and growth through the support of micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses; for others it is a way for the poor to manage their finances more effectively and take advantage of economic opportunities while managing the risks. Critics often point to some of the ills of micro-credit that can create indebtedness. Many studies have tried to assess its impacts.

New research in the area of microfinance call for better understanding of the microfinance ecosystem so that the microfinance institutions and other facilitators can formulate sustainable strategies that will help create social benefits through better service delivery to the low-income population.

Due to the unbalanced emphasis on credit at the expense of microsavings, as well as a desire to link Western investors to the sector, peer-to-peer platforms have developed to expand the availability of microcredit through individual lenders in the developed world. New platforms that connect lenders to micro-entrepreneurs are emerging on the Web (peer-to-peer sponsors), for example MYC4, Kiva, Zidisha, myELEN, Opportunity International and the Microloan Foundation.

Another Web-based microlender United Prosperity uses a variation on the usual microlending model; with United Prosperity the micro-lender provides a guarantee to a local bank which then lends back double that amount to the micro-entrepreneur. In 2009, the US-based nonprofit Zidisha became the first peer-to-peer microlending platform to link lenders and borrowers directly across international borders without local intermediaries.

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Netflix And Boeing Among Today’s Trending Stocks

According to a report from the Washington Post dropped June 12, 1-year inflation is up 5%, while 2-year inflation sits around 5.6%. This has impacted everything from raw materials like lumber and glass to manufactured products. Used cars are up 29.7% in the last year, while gas has shot up over 56%, and washing machines and dryers sit up around 26.5%.

This comes as the global microchip shortage compounds retailers’ problems as they struggle to automate their supply chains. And while the economy (and the stock market) is certainly rebounding from covid-era recession pressures, consumers are stuck footing high-priced bills as both demand and the cost of materials continue to rise. Still, the Fed maintains that prices should stabilize soon – though “soon” may mean anywhere from 18-24 months, according to consulting firm Kearney.

Until then, investors will have to weigh their worries about inflation on the equities and bonds markets against the growing economy to decide which investments have potential – and which will see their returns gouged by rising prices across the board. To that end, we present you with Q.ai’s top trending picks heading into the new week.

Q.ai runs daily factor models to get the most up-to-date reading on stocks and ETFs. Our deep-learning algorithms use Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to provide an in-depth, intelligence-based look at a company – so you don’t have to do the digging yourself.

Netflix, Inc (NFLX)

First up on our trending list is Netflix, Inc, which closed at $488.77 per share Friday. This represented an increase of 0.31% for the day, though it brought the streaming giant to down 9.6% for the year. The company has experienced continual losses for the past few weeks, with Friday ending below the 22-day price average of $494 and change. Currently, Netflix is trading at 47.1x forward earnings.

Netflix, Inc. trended in the latter half of last week as the company opened a new e-commerce site for branded merchandise. Currently, the store’s offerings are limited to a few popular Netflix tv shows, but the company hopes to increase its branded merchandise branded to shows such as Lupin, Yasuke, Stranger Things, and more in the coming months. With this latest move, the company hopes to expand its revenue channels and compete more directly with competitors such as Disney+.

In the last fiscal year, Netflix saw revenue growth of 5.6% to $25 billion compared to $15.8 billion three years ago. At the same time, operating income jumped 21.8% to $4.585 billion from $1.6 billion three years ago. And per-share earnings jumped almost 36% to $6.08 compared to $2.68 in the 36-month-ago period, while ROE rose to 29.6%.

Currently, Netflix is expected to see 12-month revenue around 3.33%. Our AI rates the streaming behemoth A in Growth, B in Quality Value and Low Volatility Momentum, and D in Technicals.

The Boeing Company (BA)

The Boeing Company closed down 0.43% Friday to $247.28, trending at 9.93 million trades on the day. Boeing has fallen somewhat from its 10-day price average of $250.67, though it’s up over the 22-day average of $240 and change. Currently, Boeing is up 15.5% YTD and is trading at 180.1x forward earnings.

The Boeing Company has trended frequently in recent weeks as the airplane manufacturer continues to take new orders for its jets, including the oft-beleaguered 737 MAX. United Airlines is reportedly in talks to buy “hundreds” of Boeing jets in the next few months, while Southwest Airlines is seeking up to 500 new aircraft as it expands its U.S. service. Alaskan Airlines, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, and Ryanair have also placed orders for more Boeing jets heading into summer.

Over the last three fiscal years, Boeing’s revenue has plummeted from $101 billion to $58.2 billion, while operating income has been slashed from $11.8 billion to $8.66 billion. At the same time, per-share earnings have actually grown from $17.85 to $20.88.

Boeing is expected to see 12-month revenue growth around 7.5%. Our AI rates the airline manufacturer B in Technicals, C in Growth, and F in Low Volatility Momentum and Quality Value.

Nvidia Corporation (NVDA)

Nvidia Corporation jumped up 2.3% Friday to $713 per share, trending with 10.4 million trades on the books. Despite its sky-high stock price, Nividia has risen considerably from the 22-day price average of $631.79 – up 36.5% for the year. Currently, Nvidia is trading at 44.44x forward earnings.

Nvidia is trending this week thanks to surging GPU sales amidst the global chip shortage, as well as its planned 4-for-1 stock split at the end of June – but that’s not all. The company also announced Thursday that it also plans to buy DeepMap, an autonomous-vehicle mapping startup, for an as-yet undisclosed price. With this new acquisition, Nvidia will improve the mapping and localization functions of its software-defined self-driving operations system, NVIDIA DRIVE.

In the last fiscal year, Nvidia saw revenue growth of 15.5% to $16.7 billion compared to $11.7 billion three years ago. Operating income jumped 20.8% in the same period to $4.7 billion against $3.8 billion in the three-year ago period, and per-share earnings expanded 22.6% to $6.90. However, ROE was slashed from 49.3% to 29.8% in the same time frame.

Currently, Nvidia is expected to see 12-month revenue growth around 2%. Our AI rates Nvidia A in Growth, B in Low Volatility Momentum, C in Quality Value, and F in Technicals.

Nike, Inc (NKE)

Nike, Inc closed up 0.73% Friday to $131.94 per share, closing out the day at 5.4 million shares. The stock is down 6.7% YTD, though it’s still trading at 36.8x forward earnings.

Nike stock has slipped in recent weeks as the athleticwear retailer suffers supply chain challenges in North America. And despite recent revenue growth in its Asian markets, it also continues to deal with Chinese backlash to its March criticism of the Chinese government’s forced labor of persecuted Uyghurs.

In the last fiscal year, Nike saw revenue grow almost 3% to $37.4 billion, up 5.8% in the last three years from $36.4 billion. Operating income jumped 40.9% in the last year alone to $3.1 billion – though this is down from $4.45 billion three years ago. In the same periods, per-share earnings grew 33.7% and 82.8%, respectively, from $1.17 to $1.60. And return on equity nearly doubled from 17% to 30%.

Currently, Nike is expected to see 12-month revenue growth around 10.3%. Our AI rates Nike average across the board, with C’s in Technicals, Growth, Low Volatility Momentum, and Quality Value.

Mastercard, Inc (MA)

Mastercard, Inc ticked up 0.33% Friday to $365.50, trading at a volume of 2.7 million shares on the day. The stock is up marginally over the 22-day price average of $363.86 and 2.4% for the year. Currently, Mastercard is trading at 43.64x forward earnings.

Mastercard has faltered behind the S&P 500 index for much of the year – not to mention competitors like American Express. While there’s no one story to tie the credit card company’s relatively modest stock prices to, it may be due to a combination of investor uneasiness, already-high share prices, and increased digital payments. But with travel recently on the rise, it’s possible that Mastercard will be making a comeback.

In the last three fiscal years, Mastercard’s revenue has risen 3.3% to $15.3 billion compared to $14.95 billion. In the same period, operating income has fallen from $8.4 billion to $8.2 billion, whereas per-share earnings have grown from $5.60 to $6.37 for total growth of 16.4%. Return on equity slipped from 106% to 102.5% at the same time.

Currently, Mastercard’s forward 12-month revenue is expected to grow around 4.7%. Our deep-learning algorithms rate Mastercard, Inc. B in Low Volatility Momentum and Quality Value, C in Growth, and D in Technicals.

Q.ai, a Forbes Company, formerly known as Quantalytics and Quantamize, uses advanced forms of quantitative techniques and artificial intelligence to generate investment

Source: Netflix And Boeing Among Today’s Trending Stocks

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Critics:
The S&P 500 stock market index, maintained by S&P Dow Jones Indices, comprises 505 common stocks issued by 500 large-cap companies and traded on American stock exchanges (including the 30 companies that compose the Dow Jones Industrial Average), and covers about 80 percent of the American equity market by capitalization.
The index is weighted by free-float market capitalization, so more valuable companies account for relatively more of the index. The index constituents and the constituent weights are updated regularly using rules published by S&P Dow Jones Indices. Although called the S&P 500, the index contains 505 stocks because it includes two share classes of stock from 5 of its component companies.

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How to Diversify Your Portfolio: Strategies and Benefits

There’s a reason manufacturers make different product lines, and stores carry a range of goods: It protects their profits. If one item suffers a seasonal decrease in demand or is an outright flop, they may still be ok if the majority of the other items do well.

It’s a business strategy called diversification. And just as diversification is important in industry, it’s important for your investment portfolio as well.

The primary goal of diversification isn’t to maximize returns; it’s to limit risk. When you diversify your portfolio, you reduce your risk of experiencing massive losses when a few of your investments underperform. Read on to learn more about the benefits of diversification and for a step-by-step guide to diversifying your own portfolio.

Understanding risk

At its most basic level, risk refers to the chances that a particular investment or portfolio could suffer financial loss. Beyond this definition, risk can be broken into multiple categories:

  • Company risk: What is the financial strength of the company or government entity that you’re looking to invest in (often through stocks) or loan money to (often through bonds)? Does it have a low, moderate, or high chance of bankruptcy?
  • Volatility risk: On average, how often does the particular asset that you’re looking to invest in have losing years? For example, large-company stocks lose money once every three years on average.
  • Liquidity risk: How easy would it be to get your cash back out of the investment if you needed the money to cover an emergency expense?
  • Interest rate risk: How would your investment be impacted by a rise or fall in interest rates? Bond values, for example, tend to go down as interest rates go up.
  • Inflation risk: Is your portfolio’s rate of return at risk of being outpaced by inflation? This could be a legitimate possibility for portfolios that are invested solely in cash equivalents.

All investments involve some level of risk.

If safety is your ultimate goal, however, look to bank or credit union deposit accounts (savings accounts, CDs, money market accounts, etc.). Since these accounts are insured up to $250,000 by the federal government, they offer the closest thing to an investment “guarantee.”

How diversification benefits you

Diversification involves owning a mix of investments to reduce risk and volatility. Here a few common ways to diversify:

  • Company diversification: Owning shares of multiple companies so that your portfolio won’t be significantly harmed if one stock declines or goes bankrupt.
  • Industry diversification: Owning stocks from a variety of industries (technology, healthcare, energy, consumer staples).
  • Size diversification: Investing in companies of different sizes, or market caps, such as small-cap, mid-cap, and large-cap companies.
  • Global diversification: Investing in a mix of domestic and international stocks
  • Asset class diversification: Moving beyond stocks and bonds, the traditional financial assets, to invest in additional types: real estate, commodities, private equity, and cash.

The more diversified your portfolio becomes, the less of a chance you’ll have of experiencing a huge loss in any given year.

Downside to diversification

Unfortunately, with investments, the chance of big losses usually goes hand-in-hand with the possibility of big wins. Diversification’s benefits often come at a cost: diminished returns.

To illustrate: a recent study, using historical data from 1970-2016, which compared the performance of three hypothetical portfolios:

  • Conservative: 30% stocks, 50% bonds, 20% cash
  • Moderate: 60% stocks, 30% bonds, 10% cash
  • Aggressive: 80% stocks, 15% bonds, 5% cash

If avoiding declines was your only goal, the conservative portfolio would be the clear winner. The maximum one-year loss it suffered was 14%, vs. 32.3% for the moderate, and a whopping 44.4% for the aggressive.

But when it came to annualized returns for each portfolio, the conservative gained 8.1%, the moderate, 9.4%, and the aggressive,10%.

Those slight differences may not seem like a big deal. But over a 40-plus year investment horizon, they add up. For example, if each portfolio had begun with $10,000, their final account tallies would have been:

  • Conservative: $389,519
  • Moderate: $676,126
  • Aggressive: $892,028

Riskier investments tend to offer higher potential returns. So, smoothing out the risks, as diversifying does, means no sickening drops — but no exhilarating lifts, either. Most investors are willing to accept the tradeoff.

How to diversify your investment portfolio

Ready to start building a diversified portfolio? Here are four diversification tips to guide you along the way.

1. Determine your risk tolerance

Your risk tolerance is how much money you are willing to lose in the short-term in exchange for the potential for higher long-term growth. There are various factors that can affect your risk level. These include your:

  • Time horizon: How soon will you need to take your money out of your investments? Someone who won’t be retiring for another 30-40 years may be willing to take on more risk than someone with a retirement window of 5-10 years from now.
  • Income needs: If you’re still working, you may decide to invest in higher-risk, growth-oriented investments. But if you’ve already reached retirement, you may prefer to focus on lower-risk investments that can provide a stable income, such as bonds, dividend stocks, and CDs.
  • Portfolio size: As your portfolio grows, you may choose to raise your risk tolerance since you’ll have more capital available to sustain short-term losses.

The investments you select should be guided by your risk tolerance. Those with a high tolerance for risk may invest a large percentage of their portfolios in equities. Conversely, the percentage of bond and cash holdings will typically be higher for investors with lower risk tolerance levels.

How can you determine your risk tolerance? Many investing brokers and robo-advisor websites offer free risk- level questionnaires. Some will even offer asset allocation recommendations based on your answers. You can also work with a financial advisor or money manager to build a portfolio that’s customized to your individual risk level.

2. Take advantage of mutual funds and ETFs

Once you’ve determined your risk tolerance, it’s time to begin buying the investments that will comprise your portfolio. And it’s at this stage of the game that baskets of securities such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can really come in handy.

Let’s say, for sake of illustration, that you want an asset allocation of 70% stocks, 25% bonds, and 5% cash. To truly build a diversified portfolio with that asset allocation, you’d need to buy dozens (at the very least) of stocks and bonds. And for the stock portion of your portfolio, you’d also want to make sure that you were investing in companies of different sizes, industries, and geography.

Even if you had enough capital at your disposal to invest in such a diverse set of stocks of bonds, how would you go about choosing your individual investments? Most non-professional investors simply don’t have the time that this kind of market research would require.

But by investing in mutual funds and ETFs, you can eliminate these problems. Funds make it easy to invest in hundreds or thousands of stocks, bonds, or alternative investments at once, even with limited capital (getting the variety of assets diversification requires can be expensive). And some mutual funds even offer a predetermined mix of stocks and bonds to serve as a “one-stop-shop” for all your asset allocation needs.

3. Consider moving beyond stocks and bonds

When financial professionals talk about asset allocation, they’re often referring to your ratio of stocks to bonds. But it’s worth noting that with both of these assets, your money is heavily invested in companies.

To increase your diversification, you may want to consider investing a portion of your portfolio in additional asset classes as well. For example, you may want to consider investing in raw materials by buying shares of a commodity mutual fund.

If you want to gain more exposure to real estate, you could invest in a real estate investment trust (REIT). Other alternative asset classes worth considering include private equity, collectibles (like stamps, art, or antiques), cryptocurrency, and hedge funds.

4. Regularly reevaluate your asset allocation

How do you know when you’re properly diversified? The reality is that diversification is an ever-evolving process that will change as your time horizon shrinks.

To estimate your ideal asset allocation for your age, some experts recommend subtracting your age from 110 to 120. The result is the percentage of your portfolio that should be in stocks.

Using this rule of thumb, a 30-year-old would look to invest 80% to 90% of his or her portfolio in stocks, with the rest invested in bonds and/or cash equivalents. But an 80-year old would reduce his or her stock holdings to 50% to 60%.

The estimates above are just that…estimates. To determine your own ideal ratio, you’ll need to take your specific financial situation and investment needs into consideration.

Even if your portfolio’s asset allocation is perfectly matched to your age and needs, it can become out of alignment as certain assets outperform others. That’s why it’s important to monitor your portfolio and rebalance your original asset mix when necessary.

The financial takeaway

Investing is a game of risk and returns. Take on too much risk and you could lose big, especially in the short-term. Take on too little risk (like, say, by only investing in cash equivalents) and you could really hurt your long-term returns.

Diversification is the best way for investors to find their own personal balance of risk and reward. To build a diversified portfolio that works for you, consider your risk tolerance, time horizon, and investing goals.

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Source: How to Diversify Your Portfolio: Strategies and Benefits

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The Interest Rate Volatility And Inflation Hedge ETF: An Interview With Fund Manager Nancy Davis

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Nancy Davis founded Quadratic Capital Management in 2013 and manages the portfolio for the firm’s Interest Rate Volatility and Inflation Hedge Exchange Traded Fund. Forbes Senior Contributor William Baldwin outlined her career and the establishment of this novel ETF in this September, 2019 article.

After the extraordinary volatility of all markets in March of this year, I wanted to follow up with Quadratic and see how the fund with volatility in its very name had managed those historic few weeks. Nancy agreed to answer a few questions and here’s how it went:

John Navin: What’s stagflation? Why should investors be concerned now?

Nancy Davis: Stagflation is an economic condition in which slow economic growth (or even contraction) occurs simultaneously with rising prices. I’m sure there’s a better definition but that’s pretty close.

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Stagflation is a disastrous outcome for investors. Higher prices coupled with lower growth is a potentially terrible environment to generate positive real returns. With the virus curtailing economic activity while simultaneously disrupting and altering supply chains around the world, we could see prices for many goods rise even as the economy slows.

Policy changes that result in reductions of international trade or immigration could also be catalysts for stagflation.Investors might hope that a large bond portfolio would provide some protection in this stagflation environment, but stagflation could be difficult for holders of fixed income instruments.

Bonds could be just as likely to sell off as equities, foiling the popular “risk parity” strategy.

Quadratic Interest Rate Volatility And Inflation Hedge ETF daily price chart:

Navin: With oil prices in deflationary mode, how might inflation arise anyway?

Davis: The decrease in oil prices create a onetime deflationary shock. It is not recurring. We may see rising prices in other parts of the economy as supply chains are disrupted. Rising food prices are one example that come to mind. I’ve read about potential shortages of meat and dairy products, for example.

An economist would say that a reduction in supply should lead to a rise in the market-clearing price. Trade tensions and economic policies that prioritize national self-sufficiency could also contribute to inflationary pressure. I’m not making a prediction on inflation.

Our products don’t need a hyper inflationary environment to perform well. I believe we are among the top 5% of all ETFs in performance year to date and there’s not a lot of inflation right now.

Quadratic Interest Rate Volatility And Inflation Hedge ETF weekly price chart:

Navin: Without giving away secrets or getting too technical, how do you construct an ETF for stagflation?

Davis: In a period of stagflation, one could expect increased volatility, rising prices and higher inflation expectations. IVOL’s TIPS and options might do well in stagflation if the interest rate curve is likely to steepen and volatility increases in such an environment. We certainly do not hope for a stagflation scenario in the US, but, under such an interest rate scenario as described, IVOL’s portfolio may help.

Navin: What’s the market for your ETF? ? Mutual funds? Ordinary investors?

Davis: We have a diverse group of investors in IVOL. We have seen other fund managers use the fund.

IVOL is also an ESG fixed income fund. The ETF is an inflation protected bond strategy that is innovative and unique. We embody democratization of financial markets by providing access to inflation expectations for our shareholders.

TIPS only give you the CPI basket – it’s today’s inflation basket per the US government. Whereas IVOL gives you CPI with TIPS and the enhancement with inflation expectations given that the yield curve is largely a result of investor’s expectations for inflation in the future.

Also IVOL maybe a potentially attractive addition to a portfolio looking for diversification during a time when many other holdings may have behaved very similarly.

Navin: Average daily volume of your ETF is 47,000 shares. This is relatively low. What are your plans, if any, for increasing liquidity?

Davis: The secondary market liquidity is an important number to watch, but it does not properly reflect the underlying liquidity of the ETF. As the fund grows, I expect the secondary market liquidity to improve over time.

Institutional investors can achieve ample liquidity in IVOL. One can access massive liquidity by using the primary markets in ETFs. It is called “NAV based creates” or “NAV based redeems” for buys and sells respectively. That way investors execute their order in the primary market at the NAV (similar to a mutual fund).

I have been in the industry since 1998 but was not aware of this “technology” for trading until I learned about ETFs. And keep in mind that the fund is less than a year old.

Navin: Your ETF experienced the volatility that hit all markets in March. What’s different about “interest rate volatility?”

Davis: We have long been advocates for owning volatility, but IVOL is not a standard “long vol” product. An investor who is convinced of the benefits of owning volatility still has other decisions to make. Market commentators (and even sophisticated investors) often lump all long volatility into the same bucket. IVOL is one of the few ETFs available today that use interest rate volatility instead of equity volatility.

Equity volatility is generally limited only to options on US equities.One of the major drawbacks of any option is the negative carry. All options suffer from time decay and decline in value as time passes, all else being equal. But interest rate options have one factor that makes them different from equity options: the concept of rate roll down.

In the interest rate market, the forward rate can be significantly different from the spot rate. In the case of the options held by IVOL, whenever the interest rate curve is upward sloping, then the rates roll down could be positive and might improve the carry of the options.

This means that under these market conditions, the interest rate options owned by IVOL could have their negative time decay mitigated partially or completely by the roll down in the interest rate curve.

Of course, the inverse would also be true: if the curve is downward sloping, then the rates roll up would be an additional hurdle for the options. Historically, the curve has had a positive slope most of the time, making the positive roll down more frequent than the negative roll up.

Navin: A classic inflation hedge has been gold. Why might your ETF be an improvement over the barbarous relic?

Davis: No one gets paid coupons or dividends to own gold. It actually has storage costs which are a drag on the long run performance. This is probably OK when interest rates are very low, like now. But I would rather own things that don’t cost me money to own them. I don’t want to predict the future and anything could happen, so it is always advisable to have a diversified portfolio. Gold could be a piece of a portfolio.

I do not hold positions in these investments. No recommendations are made one way or the other.  If you’re an investor, you’d want to look much deeper into each of these situations. You can lose money trading or investing in stocks and other instruments. Always do your own independent research, due diligence and seek professional advice from a licensed investment advisor.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

My Marketocracy work is profiled in The Warren Buffetts Next Door: The World’s Greatest Investors You’ve Never Heard Of by Forbes Investments Editor Matt Schifrin. I’m a graduate of the University of North Carolina.

Source: https://forbes.com

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Stagflation is an economic condition with persistent high inflation combined with high unemployment and relatively stagnant demand for products. ————————————————————— Subscribe for new videos every Tuesday! http://bit.ly/1Rib5V8 Dictionary of Economics Course: http://bit.ly/2t8PNGR Additional practice questions: http://bit.ly/2JPjeby Ask a question about the video: http://bit.ly/2M2VVHP Help translate this video: http://bit.ly/2t8aqmK

The Fear Fund: Nancy Davis’ ETF Aims To Protect Investors From Scary Stuff, Like Recession And Inflation

Stocks have recovered from last fall’s crash, low interest rates stretch out to the horizon and the VIX volatility index is half what it was at Christmas. Sit back and coast to a comfortable retirement.

No, don’t, says Nancy Davis. This veteran derivatives trader runs Quadratic Capital Management, where her somewhat contrarian view is that investors, all too complacent, are in particular need of insurance against financial trouble.

The Quadratic Interest Rate Volatility & Inflation Hedge ETF, ticker IVOL, is designed to provide shelter from both inflation and recession. Its actively managed portfolio mixes inflation-protected Treasury bonds with bets, in the form of call options, on the steepness of the yield curve.

Those options are cheap, for two reasons. One is that, at the moment, there is no steepness: Yields on ten-year bonds are scarcely higher than yields on two-year bonds. The other is that the bond market is strangely quiet. Low volatility makes for low option prices.

                                   

“Volatility has been squashed by central bank money printing,” Davis says, before delving deep into the thicket of option mathematics. If volatility in interest rates rebounds to a normal level, her calls will become more valuable. Alternatively, she would get a payoff if the yield curve tilts upward, which it has a habit of doing when inflation surges, stocks crash or real estate is weak.

If IVOL is all about peace of mind for the investor, it’s all about risk for its inventor. Davis, 43, has poured her heart, soul and net worth into Quadratic, of which she is the founder and 60% owner. If the three-month-old exchange-traded fund takes off, she could become wealthy. If it doesn’t, Quadratic will struggle.

The fund showed its worth in the first week of August, climbing 2% as the stock market sank 3%. But it needs a much bigger shock to stock or bond prices in order to get big. It has gathered only $58 million so far. A crash had better arrive soon; IVOL’s call options expire next summer. Quadratic, moreover, needs to somehow scale up without inspiring knockoff products from ETF giants like BlackRock.

Davis was a precocious trader. As an undergraduate at George Washington University, she took grad courses in financial markets while earning money doing economic research for a consulting firm. She put some of her paychecks into a brokerage account. “Some women love to buy shoes,” she says. “I love to buy options.”

This was in the 1990s, a good time to indulge a taste for calls. Davis made out-of-the-money bets on technology stocks, which paid off well enough to cover the down payment, in 1999, on a New York City apartment. Nice timing.

There may be a sour grape, but there’s also truth in her current philosophy that hedge funds are not such a great deal for investors. ETFs, she says, are more liquid, more transparent and cheaper.

Davis spent a decade at Goldman Sachs, most of it on the firm’s proprietary trading desk, then did a stint at a hedge fund. At 31 she quit to actively manage two kids. Returning to Wall Street after a three-year hiatus, she worked for AllianceBernstein and then did what few women do, especially women with children: She started a hedge fund.

Quadratic, whose assets once topped $400 million, used a hedge fund platform at Cowen & Co. When Cowen ended the partnership last year, Davis set about reinventing her firm. There may be a sour grape, but there’s also truth in her current philosophy that hedge funds are not such a great deal for investors. ETFs, she says, are more liquid, more transparent and cheaper.

IVOL’s 1% annual fee is stiff, but Davis says it’s justified for a fund that is not only actively managed but also invested in things that ordinary folk cannot buy. If you want to duplicate her position in the Constant Maturity Swap 2-10 call due July 17, you’d need to know what banker to ring for a quote, because this beast is not traded on any exchange. Each of these calls, recently worth $7.71, gives the holder the right to collect a dollar for every 0.01% beyond 0.37% in the spread between ten-year interest rates and two-year interest rates. The spread has to move a long way up before the option is even in the money. But at various times in the past the spread has hit 2%. Could it do that again? Maybe, at which point the option pays $163.

Starting a firm like Quadratic is like buying an out-of-the-money call: long odds, big payoff. Davis is doing what she was doing in college. You can’t stop a trader from trading.

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Source: The Fear Fund: Nancy Davis’ ETF Aims To Protect Investors From Scary Stuff, Like Recession And Inflation

196K subscribers

Nancy Davis, founder and CIO of Quadratic Capital Management, introduces her new ETF that takes advantage of interest volatility and inflation expectations: IVOL. In this interview with Real Vision’s co-founder & CEO Raoul Pal, Davis deconstructs the structure of the ETF, highlights the cost of carry associated with the strategy, and discusses her macro outlook and where she thinks the yield curve is headed next. Filmed on May 29, 2019. Watch more Real Vision™ videos: http://po.st/RealVisionVideos Subscribe to Real Vision™ on YouTube: http://po.st/RealVisionSubscribe Watch more by starting your 14-day free trial here: https://rvtv.io/2KHDkoc About Trade Ideas: Top traders unveil their specific plans for cashing in on the market’s next move. In these short videos, our traders cut straight to the point and lay out their thoughts on the best risk-reward trades of the moment. Each episode concludes with a visual recap of trade details including profit-loss potential and trade duration. About Real Vision™: Real Vision™ is the destination for the world’s most successful investors to share their thoughts about what’s happening in today’s markets. Think: TED Talks for Finance. On Real Vision™ you get exclusive access to watch the most successful investors, hedge fund managers and traders who share their frank and in-depth investment insights with no agenda, hype or bias. Make smart investment decisions and grow your portfolio with original content brought to you by the biggest names in finance, who get to say what they really think on Real Vision™. Connect with Real Vision™ Online: Twitter: https://rvtv.io/2p5PrhJ Instagram: https://rvtv.io/2J7Ddlw Facebook: https://rvtv.io/2NNOlmu Linkedin: https://rvtv.io/2xbskqx The ETF Play on Interest Rate Volatility (w/ Nancy Davis) https://www.youtube.com/c/RealVisionT… Transcript: For the full transcript visit: https://rvtv.io/2KHDkoc NANCY DAVIS: So we invest with options with a directional bias on everything. So our new product that we recently launched, IVOL, is the first inflation expectations and interest rate volatility fund out there. It’s a exchange traded product. RAOUL PAL: Does anybody even know what that means? NANCY DAVIS: So what we do is for an investor, if you’re an equity investor, you want to have tail protection, for instance. It’s hard to own equity volatility as an asset allocation trade because it decays so aggressively. So it’s a more benign way to carry volatility as an asset class from the long side using fixed income vol. It’s not as sensitive as equity vol, but it’s a lot lower level. Like, the vol we’re buying is 2, 2 basis points a day in normal space. So it’s very, very cheap, in my opinion, and it gives you a way to have an asset allocation to the factor risk of volatility without having as much decay as you would in the equity space. And then for a fixed income investor, the big risk there is obviously Central Bank policy, fiscal spending, trade wars, as well as inflation expectations. And we saw a need to really give a fixed income investor a way to capitalize on the deflation that’s been priced into the market for the next decade. I mean, so current US inflation is around 2%. The five-year break-even is 1.59%. So that’s an opportunity in an option space. And so it’s long options with TIPS. And so that gives investors exposure. It gives you inflation-protected income, but also options that are sensitive to inflation expectations. And we think it’s pretty– you know, you’re never going to time these macro calls perfectly. But given the Central Bank in the US is so focused right now on increasing inflation expectations, and there’s been so much talk about the yield curve inverting– and that’s kind of crazy. If you step back and you’re like, all right, we have a $3.9 trillion balance sheet. We have a fiscal budget deficit. We have unclear or radically changing monetary policy. If you look where we are now with so many cuts priced into the interest rate markets in the US versus where we were four months ago, it’s wildly different. And at the same time, interest rate volatility is literally at generational lows. Equity, while people talk about equity vol, I think VIX today is 17. It’s low, I guess, in the context. But when you look at a percentile, like one-year vol over the last decade in equities, it’s about the 70th percentile. So it might be low, but it doesn’t mean it’s cheap. Interest rate volatility is literally at, like, 2, 1, you know, 0.

Chinese Insurance Giant Ping An Partners With Decentralized AI Startup SingularityNET

Chinese Insurance Giant Ping An Partners With Decentralized AI Startup SingularityNET

Chinese insurance giant Ping An has partnered with Ethereum (ETH)-based decentralized artificial intelligence (AI) startup SingularityNET. The latter company announced the collaboration in a press release published on Medium on March 14.

Per the release, the collaboration will at first focus on Optical Character Recognition (OCR), Computer Vision (CV) and model training. SingularityNET notes that the scope of the partnership is expected to expand to multiple industries and initiatives in the future.

The announcement has been made shortly after SingularityNET officially launched a beta version of its Ethereum-based decentralized marketplace on Thursday, Feb. 28. In January last year, the company also announced a partnership with agriculture-focused blockchain startup Hara at the World Web Forum.

Ping An is reportedly the world’s most valuable insurance company, it serves 170 million customers, and ranked tenth in the Forbes Global 2000 list of world’s largest public companies. As Cointelegraph reported in November last year, Ping An and the Sanya municipal government also signed a strategic cooperation agreement for “Smart City” construction involving blockchain.

The press release notes that Ping An’s “One Minute Clinics” for medical consultations, which are unstaffed and use AI, are already in use in eight Chinese cities.

During the same month, Cointelegraph also reported that Ping An’s banking subsidiary Ping An Bank will launch a boutique bank using blockchain, cloud services and Internet of Things (IoT) tech.

Source: Chinese Insurance Giant Ping An Partners With Decentralized AI Startup SingularityNET

Crypto Analyst Brian Kelly: ‘No Shot’ for Bitcoin ETF in 2019

Crypto entrepreneur and regular contributor to CNBC, Brian Kelly, claimed that there is no chance for a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) approval in 2019. Kelly made his remarks in an interview with Cointelegraph at the Crypto Finance Conference, Switzerland, Jan. 18. Discussing the overall state of the cryptocurrency market, Kelly predicted that 2019 will turn out better than 2018. The analyst argued that “we are somewhere close to the end of [the bear market]………

Source: Crypto Analyst Brian Kelly: ‘No Shot’ for Bitcoin ETF in 2019

VanEck Subsidiary MVIS Reveals the OTC Exchanges Behind the Bitcoin ETF Index – Colin Muller

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It has been revealed that the highly anticipated VanEck SolidX Bitcoin ETF will use an index comprised of pricing data from three of the largest OTC bitcoin exchanges. The index is known as the MVIS Bitcoin US OTC Spot Index, and its pricing data will be derived from Genesis Trading, Cumberland, and Circle Trade. The new index is a product of MVIS, which is a subsidiary of the VanEck Associates Corporation. VanEck applied in the summer of 2018 to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to launch a bitcoin exchange traded fund (ETF), and specified at that time that MVIS would supply the pricing index………

Read more: https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2018/11/vaneck-subsidiary-mvis-reveals-the-otc-exchanges-behind-the-bitcoin-etf-index/

 

 

 

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