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      • Was Sisyphus a Value Investor?

        16 February 2021   |  

        “I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds one's burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” —Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus, 1942

        The plight of Sisyphus is not wholly unfamiliar to value investors. And so it’s reasonable for these investors to ask themselves: Are we like Sisyphus?

      • Understated Outcomes of an Evolving Covenant Environment

        12 January 2021   |  

        The pandemic’s financial toll has been widespread, but a surprising silver lining has been the relatively short-lived corporate default wave. Default volumes were certainly elevated throughout 2020 but steadily declined over the last several months as risk-seeking capital rushed to meet companies’ liquidity shortfalls. Even more notable, defaults have been relatively rare among COVID-impacted businesses, with most default activity occurring in areas already struggling before the pandemic—not because of it.

      • Potential Implications of a Wider Chinese Stock Blacklist

        08 January 2021   |  

        In November 2020, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting US investors from investing in a group of Chinese companies. The targeted companies are believed to supply and/or support China’s military. Subsequently, there have been media reports of the US government potentially adding companies to the blacklist. Most recently, media reports indicated the US government was considering adding Alibaba and Tencent

      • The Peaceful Transition of Power?

        17 December 2020   |  

        With the US election almost officially behind us, it’s an opportune time to discuss politics. Ha! Just kidding. Let’s talk value stocks, which peacefully assumed power on November 9, 2020, with Pfizer’s vaccine announcement

      • Perspectives on the Trend Toward Stakeholder Capitalism

        26 October 2020   |  

        Beginning in the 1970s, Milton Friedman and his economist colleagues at the University of Chicago successfully steered private enterprises to prioritize the pursuit of profits as their sole social responsibility. While we will not venture to agree or disagree here, several forces are seemingly working together to shift this mindset. Though still in its infancy, our research and work on ESG for the past two years suggest a more balanced “stakeholder primacy” is taking hold. 

      • The Spread of E-Commerce Accelerates in the Pandemic

        19 October 2020   |  

        Featured Author: Jessica Lin
        Jessica Lin is an analyst on the Artisan Partners Sustainable Emerging Markets Team.

        E-commerce was growing markedly faster than overall retail sales before COVID-19, especially in EM. But the global response to COVID-19—drastic containment measures and cautious economic reopenings—led to a surge in online shopping fueled largely by millions of consumers shopping online for the first time. China’s Alibaba reported an increase of 28 million mobile active users in Q2, while Latin American e-commerce company MercadoLibre reported 16 million new active users during the quarter. 

      • Value Versus YOLO

        01 October 2020   |  

        The pandemic has accelerated secular trends—such as the shifts to e-commerce and digital payments, social media’s dominance of advertising spend and the rise of gaming. It’s also intensifying normal cyclical fluctuations, pulling forward home improvement projects and pressuring retailers—particularly those reliant on shopping mall locations—to declare bankruptcy. None of this is terribly surprising. More likely to catch market participants’ eyes, the combination of COVID-19 and social media is amplifying the oldest cyclical phenomenon known to mankind: greed!

      • Market Rally Met With Narrowing Leadership

        24 September 2020   |  

        Active, bottom-up oriented investors can be caught flat-footed by unforeseen bouts of volatility—indeed, 2020 has already seen several unprecedented selloffs and remarkable recoveries. However, a bottom-up approach needn’t preclude using tools to help identify and, to the extent possible, mitigate the portfolio risks associated with meaningful market reversals. Admittedly, market unwinds will likely never be entirely foreseeable. But we believe it is possible to anticipate periods where the risk of a market reversal is high—and as active managers, to then reevaluate the risk-return tradeoff for portfolio holdings with material unwind risk.

      • The Importance of Profit Growth in Equity Returns

        31 July 2020   |  

        There is frequent debate among market participants about which style factors will be in favor in the future: growth, value, momentum, active, passive, etc. While we do not possess the ability to pinpoint the timing of when one style may be in favor over another, we believe the key element in determining the future path of a share price over the duration of an economic cycle is highly dependent on knowing which way profits are headed.

      • Emerging Markets Case Study: India Amid COVID-19

        01 May 2020   |  

        Featured Author: Gurpreet Pal
        Gurpreet Pal is an analyst on the Artisan Partners Sustainable Emerging Markets Team.

        As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, emerging markets are set to take center stage. The US, Italy and other developed markets appear to be flattening the curve and starting to reopen their economies. In comparison, many emerging markets appear to be in much earlier phases of an outbreak. Within EM, India is an especially intriguing country to watch as it seems to be managing the pandemic better than previously feared.

        India has the seemingly right conditions for a high number of cases and rapid transmission: