Tag Archives: correlation

The Power of Effective Diversification: Part II

Last week, I posted an article discussing how diversification is one of the most misunderstood concepts in investing. In today’s post I continue with the second half of this two-part series titled, “The Power of Effective Diversification.”

In Part I of this article, I discussed the difference between naive diversification (holding lots of stuff in a portfolio) and real diversification (combining assets in a portfolio to create risk offsets).  I also showed how a well-diversified portfolio can maintain the ability to participate in market rallies while still mitigating risk.  In Part II, we will explore what an effectively diversified portfolio looks like today. Continue reading

The Power of Effective Diversification

Diversification is one of the most misunderstood concepts in investing.

If you read a good explanation of the strategy, you’ll learn that the goal of diversification is to combine different investments that tend not to be driven by the same factors in the economy. So when one investment lags, the others in the portfolio gain ground (or at least will be unaffected)

For example: Combining gasoline stocks with bicycle manufacturers in your portfolio. When gasoline is cheap, people drive more and bike less. When gasoline prices start to rise, people usually cut back on their driving and start biking to work. Either way, your portfolio is now less exposed to the risk of a downturn in demand for either bicycles or gasoline. Continue reading

How to Measure Your Investment Portfolio — Part Two

There are a large number of statistical measures available for looking at a mutual fund, ETF, stock or a combination of these in the total portfolio.

So what are the important measures and what do they mean?

I dove into this topic yesterday with a discussion of two important measures: Volatility and Beta. Today I’ll add six more to watch.

Continue reading

The Challenge of Diversified Investing in a Correlated World

Below is a Fidelity Investments heat map showing the investing terrain of the past year, particularly how correlated a variety of investment classes were to the S&P 500 Index over the 12 months ended August 2010. As has been much discussed, many investment classes have moved in close tandem to this US Stock index. It is a small world after all.

But for those defending the importance of a continued commitment to bonds despite the low yields (Jack Bogle, Bill Bernstein, and Fidelity itself, among them) this map provides much support. Investment grade bonds and 30 day T-bills are the truest counterweight to all equities in every region of the world. Precious metals in general, gold in particular, the Yen, agriculture and livestock provided balance too.

The graphic comes from Intelligent Speculator, who notes surprise at the BRIC and Emerging Market’s similarly close correlation to the US market, and also predicts a more valuable role for real estate moving forward.

(Please click on image to enlarge.) Comments, insights, questions welcome below.