Sunday, 13 Jul 2014 | 2:00 PM ET

Though just 3% outperform, ETFs keep growing

Posted By: Jeff Cox

Exchange-traded funds have exploded over the past several years and investors literally can't get enough.

In fact, respondents to a recent survey from Charles Schwab said the industry needs to grow even more, with 66 percent saying there's room for still more ETFs. The sentiment comes at a time when both the total amount of funds and the assets investors are plowing into them are increasing rapidly and investor appetite just seems to grow stronger.

"The industry's changing. There's innovation that's going to be needed," Michael Iachini, Schwab's managing director of ETF research, said in an interview. "We think more product means more competition and better pricing."

Indeed, it's pricing that has brought many people to ETFs and swelled assets under management globally to $2.6 trillion and domestically to $1.86 trillion, according to State Street, which is the second-largest issuer of the funds with $406 billion under management.

»Read more
  Friday, 11 Jul 2014 | 6:34 AM ET

A year of winners (and losers) post-'Alpha'

Posted By: Dawn Giel
2013 Delivering Alpha panel hosted by Michelle Caruso-Cabrera
Heidi Gutman | CNBC
2013 Delivering Alpha panel hosted by Michelle Caruso-Cabrera

It's less than one week before CNBC and Institutional Investor's fourth annual Delivering Alpha Conference on July 16, and a combination of choppy markets and mixed investment successes promise to make the event colorful.

According to HFR data, hedge funds picked up some steam in June, rising 1.3 percent, which is just slightly lower than the broader market, with the S&P 500 gaining 1.9 percent in the month. However, the year-to-date numbers show hedge funds still have a ways to go to catch up to markets that are continually hitting new highs—the average hedge fund is up 3.2 percent, while the S&P has gained 6.1 percent through the end of June.

Of course, there are some exceptions—and some of 2014's biggest winners are slated to share their next big ideas at this year's Delivering Alpha Conference.

One is Larry Robbins, whose Glenview Fund is up more than 11 percent year to date. Joining Robbins are some of Wall Street's elite, most of whom are known for their sharp views of the markets, including Leon Cooperman, John Paulson, Carl Icahn, Mary Callahan Erdoes, Michael Novogratz and Ken Griffin.

Judging from last year, there should be plenty of investible advice at this year's event. Here's the rundown of how some of the key players fared in the nearly 12 months since last year's gathering

(All stock gains/losses have been calculated from July 17, 2013-Monday unless otherwise noted.)

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  Thursday, 10 Jul 2014 | 2:27 PM ET

Bank profits looking gloomy, and here's why

Posted By: Jeff Cox

As second-quarter earnings season cranks up, expectations are high that this may be the point at which companies stop simply beating lower expectations and show aggressive growth.

Not for the banking sector, though, which instead finds itself at something of a crossroads as Wells Fargo kicks off the profit reports Friday morning.

Financials broadly and banks in particular find themselves struggling against the twin headwinds of increased regulation and uncertainty regarding monetary policy. Reforms out of Washington are just now starting to kick in, and the Federal Reserve is expected to stop its money-pumping operation in October and begin raising interest rates the following year.

For some of Wall Street's biggest names, then, quarterly results are likely to be weak, while the future is pockmarked with uncertainty.

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  Thursday, 10 Jul 2014 | 11:29 AM ET

A look at 5 hedge fund stars of the future

Posted By: CNBC.com staff
Joshua Birnbaum
Joshua Roberts | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Joshua Birnbaum

They bet right on subprime, poached high-profile talent and helped shore up AOL when it looked like the company was sliding into the abyss.

And while you might not know their names now, you will soon.

They are the five hedge fund stars of the future as identified by Institutional Investor, which is joining CNBC to present the fourth Delivering Alpha conference Wednesday. While the gathering will focus on established stars like Leon Cooperman, Carl Icahn and John Paulson, there's also plenty of attention to the big movers ahead.

As CNBC marks its 25th anniversary and looks to gauge what's ahead, Institutional Investor profiled the five names to watch (Get the full report here):

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  Wednesday, 9 Jul 2014 | 12:28 PM ET

Psst! Pimco has a really hot investing TIP for you

Posted By: Jeff Cox
Simon Battensby | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Though inflation pressures remain fairly muted for now, Pimco believes it's time for investors to prepare for what's ahead.

The bond giant, which manages just under $2 trillion in assets, advised clients this week to begin putting money into Treasury Inflation Protected Securities as a hedge for price pressures ahead.

Known more commonly as TIPS, the bonds in a fairly quiet manner have been the fourth-best performing asset class in fixed income for 2014. TIPS have returned 6.4 percent so far, barely trailing the 6.6 percent for municipals. Preferreds led the way in the first half with an 11.9 percent return, while emerging market sovereign bonds gained 8.3 percent, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research Bond Indices data.

By contrast, TIPS were the worst-performing group in 2013, losing 9.4 percent during an awful year for fixed income.

Pimco does not expect a huge surge in inflation but believes that the level over the next year will exceed the 2 percent target the Federal Reserve has set before it will consider raising interest rates.

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  Tuesday, 8 Jul 2014 | 10:17 AM ET

Why investors can still count on the Fed: El-Erian

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's willingness to risk to financial instability down the road by continuing easy monetary policies for immediate economic gains is an "all-in bet," former Pimco Co-CEO Mohamed El-Erian told CNBC on Tuesday.

"It's a race between financial instability caused by too much money being pushed into the wrong places versus the economy healing," El-Erian said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "For now, the market is very comforted by what Yellen is saying which is: 'I'm willing to take the trade off.'"

Yellen was pretty clear on this during a discussion with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde last week, El-Erian said.

Read MoreYellen sees little threat to financial stability

"Congress is too dysfunctional right now" to execute on the policies needed to spur economic growth, El-Erian said. "So the Fed keeps the game going, hoping you get enough healing. And that's the big bet right now, that markets are 'all-in' as well."

The big question is whether investor resolve is starting to crack. Stocks were lower again in early trading Tuesday, continuing Monday's retreat from record highs, which saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average close above 17,000 Thursday for the first time. But concerns the Fed may increase interest rates sooner than expected following last week's strong jobs report are starting to creep into the market.

Read MoreBoom! Job growth accelerates, rate falls to 6.1%

El-Erian said it's too early to get really worried because the Fed is still "very hesitant and doesn't want to move on monetary policy until its convinced that the economy has reached liftoff."

»Read more
  Tuesday, 8 Jul 2014 | 11:53 AM ET

Goldman already preparing for CEO of the future

Posted By: CNBC.com staff
Lloyd C Blankfein, CEO of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
Getty Images
Lloyd C Blankfein, CEO of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.

WANTED: Chief executive to run major Wall Street firm with reputation for extreme competitiveness and risk. Position may not be available for many years. Apply from within only, please.

Such might read the ad for a new CEO at Goldman Sachs, where top managers at the firm have been meeting with younger executives in hopes of finding a replacement for current chief Lloyd Blankfein—someday. Senior management for the past year or so has been holding regular dinner meetings with potential future leaders, according to a Wall Street Journal report Tuesday.

But for those hoping to get to the top rung, patience will be key. Blankfein, the CEO since 2006, has indicated he's in no hurry to step down, and Goldman President Gary Cohn is the heir apparent to take over should Blankfein make an early exit.

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  Monday, 7 Jul 2014 | 1:36 PM ET

Ackman leads small group of hedge outperformers

Posted By: Kate Kelly

The S&P 500 may have rallied 6 percent during the first half of the year, but the average hedge fund appears to have trailed that substantially—the exceptions being seasoned stock and bond pickers who managed to outperform their peers with careful research and fortunate timing.

Through the end of May, the average fund was up just 2 percent, according to HFR. The hedge fund researcher won't release its end-of-June data until Tuesday, but anecdotal evidence suggests that while the figure may have improved, it will still fall well shy of the benchmark stock market index.

Some of the larger macro players, like the main funds at Moore and Tudor, that bet on worldwide economic trends through a wide swath of stocks, bonds, and currencies, were underwater during the first half of the year, according to a popular hedge fund performance report issued by the British bank HSBC.

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  Monday, 7 Jul 2014 | 11:54 AM ET

Why this bullish pro sees big market drop soon

Posted By: Jeff Cox

The summer of 2014 is starting to look a lot like the summer of 2011, according to one Wall Street strategist who sees a sharp stock market slump lurking over the next couple of weeks.

Though he is otherwise strongly bullish, Jeffrey Saut, chief market strategist at Raymond James, believes a run higher that has been virtually unabated for the past two years now faces a major challenge.

In 2011, as now, the major averages hovered around psychological barriers. In 2011, it was a sort of gravitational pull lower for the S&P 500, which peaked at 1,356 then began an aggressive slide to 1,100, a level it would crack in early October before making a bottom shortly thereafter.

In this case, the S&P 500 is flirting on the upside with 2,000, the Nasdaq has held above 4,000 since April and the Dow industrials index has eclipsed 17,000. Citing corroborating opinions from Marketfield Asset Management and Thackray's Seasonal Investment Guide, Saut sees the market heading into a summertime swoon that has been replicated before.

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  Wednesday, 2 Jul 2014 | 11:57 AM ET

Pimco flagship fund is still bleeding billions

Posted By: Jeff Cox
Paul McCulley and Bill Gross.
Paul McCulley and Bill Gross.

Investors in June continued to pull money from Pimco's flagship bond fund, despite the high-profile return of one of the firm's top executives.

The Pimco Total Return fund registered its 14th consecutive month of outflows as investors pulled $4.5 billion, which actually was an increase from May's $4.3 billion, according to Morningstar. Those outflows came despite the return of Paul McCulley, who rejoined Pimco in late May as managing director and chief economist, and as the fund gained 0.34 percent, about double that of its peers.

Assets for the fund contracted to $225 billion, though it remains the largest mutual fund in the world and boasted $292.9 billion in April 2013. Pimco manages just below $2 trillion overall.

Total Return has underperformed its benchmark and its peers in 2014. The fund has returned 3.51 percent, compared to 3.93 percent for the Barclays Aggregate Bond index, and the 4.09 percent of its category. It lost 2.3 percent in 2013, which also was worse than its competitors.

»Read more

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