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14 Feb: Third Avenue Funds – Thoughts on the Market and New Positions

Portfolio Manager commentary as of December 31, 2016 regarding small cap investments. Third Avenue is a private investment firm rooted in their collective value-driven investment philosophy. Since their founding in 1986, they have consistently pursued a fundamental, bottom-up approach to deep value and distressed investing–the fund has it’s focus on the company’s balance sheet, the value of its underlying assets, and the discounted price of its securities.

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13 Feb: Behaving responsibly in a low interest rate environment – a central banker’s perspective

The growth trend has been declining in many mature economies not just since the crisis, but for several decades. This slowdown in growth has led to lower long-term interest rates. The structural causes of this trend of slowing growth is a subject of controversy among specialists. Demographic and technological developments are mentioned, as are the effects of the financial cycle, which may be out of sync with the business cycles. I do not want to pre-empt this ongoing discussion. Instead, I would like to focus on two issues, which in the current context are very relevant from a monetary policy perspective – regardless of the structural causes underlying the weak economic growth.

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02 Feb: Looming debt problem in China

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a report in which it increased its forecast for China’s GDP growth by 0.3 percentage points to 6.5 percent. However, the IMF report also warned that “slow progress in addressing corporate debt” posed a risk to the forecast. China’s claims to be over the worst of its corporate debt problem seem to be wishful thinking. One thing is certain: The debt problem is real; it’s a drag on growth; and policies so far have not gotten rid of it.

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23 Dec: Mean Reversion Volatility Strategy

Ever wondered if you can design a profitable trading strategy by trading volatility ETFs ? Well, yes you can. Those ETFs are highly ineffective vehicles on a long term investment horizon. However short term strategies have shown to be a rewarding way to trade these ETFs. Before we move onto strategy design we have to choose two volatility ETFs for backtesting. We will backtest our strategies with VXX and XIV ETFs since they are the most widely traded ones and have enough trading volume to keep our slippage low and guarantee fast order execution.

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14 Dec: How to invest in water the next big thing

Is it the next gold rush or just a hype ? We all remember the movie The Big Short which tells the story of four investors who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse in 2008. The first of these investors that predicted the burst of the housing bubble was Dr. Michael Burry, who is portrayed in The Big Short by Christian Bale. The last line of the movie, printed on a placard, is: “Michael Burry is focusing all of his trading on one commodity: Water.”