Monday, July 20, 2020

Chilean police train dogs to sniff out COVID-19. Maybe this could help us open schools in the fall!

Dogs have 330 million olfactory receptors, and an ability to detect smells 50 times better than humans. They can also smell 250 people per hour and they work for dog treats and belly scratches!

"The virus has no smell, but rather the infection generates metabolic changes" which in turn leads to the release of a particular type of sweat "which is what the dog would detect," Fernando Mardones, a Universidad Catolica professor of veterinary epidemiology

We are floundering in the United States to figure out how to deal with Covid-19 - maybe we should reach out to the hyper sensitive noses of our canine friends. They give feedback immediately, can scan huge numbers of folks quickly, and potentially save many dollars. Besides that, they make us happier!

Britain, Chile, and other countries are at the fore front on bringing talented dogs on line to sniff out coronavirus. Why should we be six months behind this game-changing effort? I love college sports and students in the classroom - couldn't we scan a crowd or students entering a classroom? Just a thought...

This is the recommendation of Phil Berg, former undergraduate college roommate at UW-Madison (a long time ago). 

It took 10 years for e-commerce to jump 11% and eight weeks during the pandemic for the next 11% of growth

Marquette's FinTech course is highlighting the incredible impact of COVID-19 on e-commerce and e-finance

David Krause's students taking his FinTech Topics course this summer are learning about the amazing changes in people's financial activiites as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The amount of e-commerce activity and the use of contactless payments have exploded around the glove since early March.

For example, based in San Francisco, Bolt is a developer of an online payment platform that is used by its clients to drive e-commerce businesses with new revenue. The firm has had several successful funding rounds recently, which is occurring at a time when e-commerce saw a massive surge in demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Online shopping was already a growing trend, but the pandemic has quickened the pace of adoption. Thanks to self-quarantines and shelter-in-place orders, people across the world were forced to purchase everything from food to consumer goods online. They had no choice but to get used to e-commerce and contactless payments, and now they are hooked. 

"Brick and mortar were already on thin ice," said Ryan Breslow, founder and CEO of Bolt. "COVID accelerated it. We're in a lucky space. Investors understand commerce is changing at an unprecedented rate. It took ten years for e-commerce to jump 11% and eight weeks during the pandemic for the next 11% of growth."

Dr. Krause's FinTech course will again be offered in the fall semester - and look for it to be offered online to non-Marquette enrolled students in the near future!

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Amazing example of real-time data analytics and visualization using Covid-19 data

This summer I am teaching an online FinTech course and we are covering the use of big data, analytics, visualization etc. And I just came across this site which I shared with the students as an example:

This is a truly amazing site that Georgia Tech has created. It provides a real-time Covid-19 assessment tool. For example, take any 'event' size or number of people by county. I used 25, a possible school class size, and the site gives the probability of one person testing positive in the group. For 25 students in Milwaukee county, the probability today is 61%! The numbers are updated constantly based on information coming into CDC and other sites. 

Run this app before you attend the dinner party or small gathering you are considering tonight - it might change your mind about going out until this pandemic has passed. I'm not trying to be political here, I'm just pointing out that I'll continue to use science and data analytics to help make intelligent decisions.

Current Holdings and Performance of Marquette AIM Small Cap Fund as of 7/18/2020

Fund Performance Through Mid-July 2020 Continues Favorable Trend
Total YTD Return is Nearly Out of the Red

The following list contains the complete list holdings of the Marquette University AIM Small Cap Fund (ranked by July MTD performance).

Friday, July 10, 2020

Marquette Student-Managed AIM Fund is a Top 5% Performance Over the Past 1-, 3-, 5- and 10-Year Periods

Marquette University's Applied Investment Management (AIM) Small Cap Fund Has Consistently Been Among the Top Performing Actively-Managed Funds Over the Past Decade

It is likely that many of you are receiving your second quarter investment performance reports from various funds. We encourage you to look at the long-term net return performance so that you can draw valid conclusions about the funds’ abilities to generate above average performance.

The student-managers in Marquette University’s Applied Investment Management (AIM) program have been able to produce some of the best returns of any passively or actively-managed small capitalization funds. Over the past decade, whether it is 1-, 3-, 5- or 10-year periods, the AIM Fund has been in the top 5% of all actively managed funds. In fact, the 5-year return is in the top 2 percentile.

This represents the relative net returns of all actively managed small cap funds.
The dot is the AIM Small Cap Fund and the top line represents the 95th percentile.

Our curriculum is based on long-term fundamental analysis. We don’t take short-cuts or engage in trying to beat the next quarter’s earnings announcement. The students invest in fundamentally sound companies with opportunities to grow revenues and cash flows at rates faster than their industry peers and the overall economy. 

We don’t believe in growth or momentum over value – the stocks are only added to the portfolio if the underlying company is well-managed and the valuation methodologies indicate they are under-valued. Nothing fancy, just hours of research on the company, industry, management and future prospects by the students.

Long-term track records like this are not the result of luck – they are based on doing the work and then having the ability to convince thirty other students that the investment thesis is sound. You should take a closer look at the students enrolled and those who have graduated from the AIM program – they know how to conduct financial analysis and have an eye to the future in their ability to identify companies that are likely to excel within their respective industries and markets.

These returns are even better if risk-adjusted performance is examined. The portfolio is sector-neutral meaning that all of the excess return is generated through security selection and not market timing. The beta of the portfolio over the years has been less than the benchmark and the standard deviation has been at the same level. The students hold, on average, 75 stocks and the portfolio turnover is about once every 2.5 years. 

Our philosophy and process have been consistent since the AIM program was created in 2005 and we don’t chase fads or 'hot stocks' – we focus on solid, long-term fundamentals. Active management remains alive and well, but discipline and consistency must be maintained in both bear and bull markets.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Marquette AIM Student-Managed Funds Post Strong YTD Performance versus Benchmarks

Small Cap Fund Beats Benchmark by 8.49%, while International Fund Generates 0.73% Alpha

Continuing the strong performance trend over the past decade, the AIM Funds outperformed their respective benchmarks as of the end of the second quarter of 2020.