American Investment Services, Inc.

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Financial Planning
Investment Management
Institutional Asset Management

"AIS publications do not appeal to the millions of investors who are addicted to chasing stock market fluctuations"

E.C. Harwood

American Investment Services (AIS) is an SEC Registered Investment Adviser* founded in 1978.

We proudly use funds provided by Dimensional Fund Advisors, Vanguard, and other low-cost providers.

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Covering developments in investment theory and financial markets, and analyzing their potential significance for individual investors. A review of the capital markets is published quarterly with sample investment allocations. Print and Digital subscriptions available

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Individual investors please call
413-645-3327

Institutional investors please call
413-645-3255

The Coronavirus and Market Volatility

Fears about the COVID-19 outbreak led the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index into a correction (a drop of 10% or more from a recent high) in just six days, the fastest time to a correction from an all-time high ever. However, a few days afterward, stocks rallied, with the S&P 500—which recovered more than 40% of its losses from its February 19 close to its midday low on February 28—and other indexes notching record point gains. Since then, stocks have been extremely volatile.

When markets fluctuate, sticking to the plan you’ve laid out becomes more important than ever.

Benefits of Working with an Independent Investment Adviser

Understand exactly what you are paying for

We charge a fee based on a percentage of total assets managed. This fee structure is simple, transparent and easy to understand.

Know where your money is held

Our clients' assets are held at independent qualified third-party custodians. Each have strong balance sheets, and their primary business is servicing client assets rather than trading for their own accounts. Clients have real time online access to accounts and transactions.

Separation of asset management and fund management functions

This separation improves transparency and accountability, limits the potential for conflicts of interest, and provides for multiple independent reviews and oversight of accounts.

Unaffiliated brokerage accounts have full regulatory protections

The customer protection rule ensures that your assets are held in customer accounts that are segregated from the brokerage firm's assets. Client accounts are covered by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation and private excess insurance above those limits.

When It’s Value vs. Growth, History Is on Value’s Side

Logic and data provide the basis for a positive expected value premium, offering a guide for investors targeting higher potential returns.

There is pervasive historical evidence of value stocks outperforming growth stocks. Data covering nearly a century in the US, and nearly five decades of market data outside the US, support the notion that value stocks—those with lower relative prices—have higher expected returns.

Recently, growth stocks have enjoyed a run of outperformance vs. their value counterparts. But while disappointing periods emerge from time to time, the principle that lower relative prices lead to higher expected returns remains the same. On average, value stocks have outperformed growth stocks by 4.54% annually in the US since 1928, as Exhibit 1 shows.

In US dollars. Yearly premiums are calculated as the difference in one-year returns between the two indices described. Value minus growth: Fama/French US Value Research Index minus the Fama/French US Growth Research Index.

Fama/French US Value Research Index: Provided by Fama/French from CRSP securities data. Includes the lower 30% in price-to-book of NYSE securities (plus NYSE Amex equivalents since July 1962 and Nasdaq equivalents since 1973).

Fama/French US Growth Research Index: Provided by Fama/French from CRSP securities data. Includes the higher 30% in price-to-book of NYSE securities (plus NYSE Amex equivalents since July 1962 and Nasdaq equivalents since 1973).

Some historical context is helpful in providing perspective for growth stocks’ recent outperformance. As Exhibit 1 demonstrates, realized premiums are highly volatile. While periods of underperformance are disappointing, they are also within the range of possible outcomes.

We believe investors are best served by making decisions based on sound economic principles supported by a preponderance of evidence. Value investing is based on the premise that paying less for a set of future cash flows is associated with a higher expected return. That’s one of the most fundamental tenets of investing. Combined with the long series of empirical data on the value premium, our research shows that value investing continues to be a reliable way for investors to increase expected returns going forward.

Glossary

Value Stock: A stock trading at a low price relative to a measure of fundamental value such as book equity.

Growth Stock: A stock trading at a high price relative to a measure of fundamental value such as book equity.

Value Premium: The return difference between stocks with low relative prices (value) and stocks with high relative prices (growth).

Staying in Your Seat

The Uncommon Average