#127 - Radio Show - Meb and Elon Musk Talk Shorting... Conflicting U.S. Valuation Indicators... and Listener Q&A

63 minutes

Episode 127 has a radio show format. In this one, we cover numerous Tweets of the Week from Meb as well as listener Q&A.

We start with Meb telling us about his recent back-and-forth over Twitter with Elon Musk, discussing short-selling. Meb uses this as an example to give us more information on shorting in general, as well as short-lending.

We then answer a question we’ve received (in various forms) for years – “why is the S&P (or whatever) outperforming your strategy?” For anyone looking longingly at S&P returns for the last many years, you might want to listen to this one.

Next up, we tackle some of Meb’s Tweets of the week. There’s a discussion about mixed valuation signals – on one hand, there’s the Russell 3000, with the number of companies trading for more than 10-times revenue now approaching levels from back in 2000. On the other hand, there’s a tweet claiming that “if history is any guide, with 90% confidence rate of positive correlation, this market is going to deliver between 3 to 4% per annum for the next 10 years.” Additional tweets support both sides so Meb tries to resolve it for us.

Then there’s a tweet about the challenges of sticking with your strategy during bad years. It references how the little voice of doubt in your head is all it takes “to turn the hardest resolve into the emotional putty that has destroyed generations of investors.”

There are several other tweet topics – how Research Affiliates views the probability of 5% real returns at just 1.5%... how one forecast for private equity is calling for just 1.5% returns while a different private equity manager is trumpeting the asset class’s superior performance… and how marketing is nearly as important as performance and fees when it comes to attracting investor assets.

We then jump into listener Q&A. Some you’ll hear include:

  • You often say that over the long term, asset allocation doesn't matter much. However, isn't it important to note that because the nature of compounding, a small difference in CAGR over time can amount to a large dollar amount difference in your savings?
  • What are your thoughts on using leverage with momentum?
  • Do you have any recommendations for someone looking to diversify their trend following sleeve by applying a few different rules? For example, I've been doing 1/3 50-DMA, 1/3 200-DMA, and 1/3 crossover.
  • You speak frequently about the benefit of taking a lump sum and investing now versus later. With current equity valuations (at least US) so frothy, is that still true?
  • I’m wondering about how to take losses and how to determine when it’s appropriate to take one and when it is not. Do you, as a quant, have set rules in place?

All this and more in Episode 127.

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Start listening to #125 - Tom Barton - The Biggest Problem Investors Have is Things Change...and They Don't Change
1:24:56