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US rates surge and most portfolio managers don’t know what to do

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Interest rates are hitting multiyear highs at a time when most portfolio managers have never dealt with this phenomenon before.

The U.S. 10-year Treasury note yield rose to its highest level since 2011 on Tuesday, while the short-term two-year yield traded near levels not seen in about a decade, raising concern about how portfolio managers will navigate this changing investment landscape.

But most of them have never operated in a rising rates environment. Themedian tenure of an active equity manager is eight years, according to Fundstrat, citing figures gathered from Morningstar.

The last time rates were in a significant uptrend was from 2003 to 2006 before the financial crisis struck.

“There are a lot of people that haven’t been through many things in this youthful industry,” said Timothy Parton, a portfolio manager at J.P. Morgan. “The time when rates are rising coincides with a period in the cycle that is tough for any manager. You don’t want to be too cautious, but you don’t want to be too aggressive too early.”

The Fed slashed the overnight rate down to zero in 2008 during the aftermath of the financial crisis. The central bank’s goal at the time was to stimulate the economy. Now that the economy is out of its financial-crisis trough, the Fed has started to gradually hike rates closer to historical levels and market rates have responded.

Since late 2015, the Fed has raised rates a total of six times — including once this year —bringing the overnight rate to a range of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent. Market participants are expecting the Fed to raise rates at least twice more in 2018 and many think they may even raise four times.

“We’re concerned about rising interest rates,” said Walter Price, senior portfolio manager at Allianz Global Investors. “Last year, we got a lot of multiple expansion. We think that’s unlikely in a rising rate environment.”

J.P. Morgan’s Parton and Allianz’s Price have seen their share of rising-rate cycles. Parton has worked in portfolio management since the late 1980s, while Price has 45 years of experience in the financial industry.



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Three options strategies for the week: August 20

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The “Options Action” traders share three options trading strategies to kick off the week.

Dan Nathan recommends a call spread in Alibaba.

Mike Khouw recommends a put spread in the Energy ETF

Mike Khouw recommends an iron condor strategy in the Russell 2000 ETF

Trader disclosure: On July 17, 2018, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s “Options Action” were owned by the “Options Action” traders: Dan Nathan is long XLF Sept put spread. Dan is long CAT put spread. Dan is long QQQ Sept put spread. Dan is long SMH Oct put spread. Carter disclosures not available. Long S&P, HAL. Bearish on TSLA.



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cornhole wants to make it to the big leagues

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Ankit Mittal, of Ellicott City, Md., tosses a bean bag as his friend Shean Flynn, of Newport News, Va., waves his Terrible Towel as the two were playing Corn Hole while enjoying tailgating before the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Ricky Carioti | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Ankit Mittal, of Ellicott City, Md., tosses a bean bag as his friend Shean Flynn, of Newport News, Va., waves his Terrible Towel as the two were playing Corn Hole while enjoying tailgating before the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Every day after he leaves his job as a warehouse general manager, Cody Henderson runs up to three miles. Then, he sets up cornhole boards and practices throwing beanbags for a couple hours, focusing on timing, balance and precision.

“It helps a lot with the endurance and mental game,” Henderson, 27, told CNBC. “If you can sit there and not get bored in a quiet area for two or three hours, you are really going to set yourself up to succeed on the pro level.”

Succeed he has. Henderson, who lives in Jackson, Ohio, is the top-ranked player out of the 20,000 pros in the American Cornhole League (ACL). He says he earned between $20,000 and $25,000 in prize money last year. He’s peaking just as the sport is surging in popularity.

While cornhole is generally thought of as a beanbag tossing game played at family gatherings or tailgate parties, it’s gotten so big that players like Henderson are making their way to ESPN. During last year’s The Ocho, a one-day event for alternative sports on ESPN 2, the Championship of Bags was the most viewed competition.

In the 18 to 49 age group, more peopled watched cornhole on that day than the competing game coverage of Major League Baseball, the WNBA or the final stage of the Tour de France, according to Sports Media Watch.

For Henderson, cornhole requires 20 hours a week of training and tournaments on weekends. Still, he said most people don’t take him seriously when he says he plays professionally.

“They’ll say, ‘Oh yeah really?’ and just change the subject,” he said. “When people were seeing me on ESPN, everyone’s attitude changed.”



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TiVo falls on report Amazon is developing live TV recording device

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TIVO, Inc. gave a way free TIVO (DVR) Digital Video Recorder, boxes to thousands of happy Comcast Cable customers, who also donated a toy or clothing for charity outside their corporate headquarters.

Kim Kulish | Corbis | Getty Images

TIVO, Inc. gave a way free TIVO (DVR) Digital Video Recorder, boxes to thousands of happy Comcast Cable customers, who also donated a toy or clothing for charity outside their corporate headquarters.

Shares of TiVo fell as much as 10 percent in afternoon trading Friday following a Bloomberg report that Amazon is eyeing a live TV recording device.

TiVo pared losses and closed just 4 percent down at $12.20. The drop extends a challenging run for TiVo, which is now off 20 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in the last 12 months.

Amazon is known to scare investors and send stocks tumbling with news of a planned entrance into a new industry. Earlier this week, movie theater stocks dropped on a report that Amazon is considering a bid for Landmark Theaters.

Representatives for Amazon and TiVo were not immediately available to comment.



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