Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Writing samples for my presentation to Providence Society of Financial Analysts

Are you interested in writing good investment commentary?

Read on for links to samples of investment writing that I like. These are examples that I'm using in my November 3 presentation on "The Six Deadly Sins of Investment Commentary" to the Providence Society of Financial Analysts.

Writing about quarterly performance

Brinton Eaton Wealth Advisors does a nice job linking their quarterly market commentary to the performance of their clients' portfolios.

Here are some nice lines from their third quarter 2006 commentary (emphasis added):
  • The markets were quite mixed for the quarter, while your portfolio continued its relatively smooth upward ride....
  • As expected, in quarters such as this when large-cap stocks are among the leading performers, your portfolio will not follow their increase step-for-step, for the same reason you didn't follow their decrease earlier this year.
Their second quarter 2005, they provide some context for less positive results:
  • ... the most influential index for most investors is... the S&P 500 stock index. Unfortunately, these large-company stocks turned in another lackluster quarter...
  • The good news ... is that every other asset class did better than the S&P 500 -- in some cases, substantially better....
If you'd like to read more of Brinton Eaton's commentary, go to their website, click on the "News Room" bar on the left, and select "Quarterly Overviews."

Writing about strategy

PIMCO does a nice job laying out their investment strategy on page two of their third quarter 2005 Market Outlook . They bullet and bold each strategy, then add a brief description.

For example,
  • Interest Rate Strategies - We plan to target duration near the index but retain tactical flexiblity, moving duration above the index as rates near the top of our forecasted range.... PIMCO plans to continue to emphasize shorter maturities in the U.S. ....
I also like some of the plain language used in the "Acorn Quarterly" section of these Columbia Funds' quarterly reports. For example, "We try to analyze companies as if we were buying the whole business rather than just a fraction of ownership."

Layout makes a difference

The visual presentation of your text makes a difference.

Look at
Perspective on Investments. Then imagine reading the same text without the use of white space, bullet points or indentation. It would be much less appealing.

Online resources referred to in my presentation

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Louise Yamada: Financial markets becoming less Ameri-centric

The U.S. is becoming less important as a driver of global market performance.

That's according to Louise Yamada, managing director, Louise Yamada Technical Research Advisors. Yamada, a 24-year veteran of technical research at Smith Barney (Citigroup), spoke on "The Evolution of New Structural Trends" to the Boston Security Analysts Society on October 5.

Why the shift away from the U.S.?

Yamada identified some key developments:
  • Rising global liquidity
  • Chinese exports exceeding those of the U.S.
  • U.S. becoming a smaller piece of global GDP
We may experience a shift to non-U.S. markets outperforming the U.S., said Yamada. However, if you pick the right stocks in the U.S., you may do well. That'll probably require investing in companies with innovative technology, she said.

Some other arguments made by Yamada:
  • The bull market in bonds is ending, but interest rates could be in a trading range for awhile
  • Gold is in a bull market, though it'll fluctuate sideways before rising
  • Oil prices may never return to their old lows
  • Inflation may be shifting from heavy industrials to consumer essentials (food, water, energy)

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