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Book Review: The Sector Strategist: Using New Asset Allocation Techniques to Reduce Risk and Improve Investment Returns by Timothy J. McIntosh

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The Sector Strategist: Using New Asset Allocation Techniques to Reduce Risk and Improve Investment Returns is an excellent reference aimed at reducing investment sector risk in favor of long-term success in the market. Important conclusions are advanced by the author—namely, that the stock market can advance strongly through a combination of higher earnings and low starting Price/Earnings ratios. During recessions, earnings can collapse leading to a higher Price/Earnings ratio based on trailing earnings.

The average bond total return since 1930 is just under 6%. Bond returns are most dependent upon the starting interest rate and the changes in general interest rates over time. When interest rates increase, the value of bonds go down and the converse. In the past 13 years, utilities, energy and health care have provided the most consistent returns in positive territory. Technology has been both the highest performer and worst performing sector simultaneously.

Basic materials, technology and industrial investments have performed best in a recessionary environment where the economy has retracted with reduced interest rates and a bottoming of consumer confidence. Coming out of a recession, Industrials and technology have lead the way out of a recession with consumer and energy sectors picking up later on in the recovery. From 1957 to 2005, consumer staples and health care sectors have performed best yielding at about 16%. Financials lagged behind with an 11% return.

Proponents of health care investments support their position by saying that the global population is aging, medical technology continues to advance incrementally, emerging market incomes are on the rise, and investment returns have been relatively stable–even in recessions. Pharma spending is the highest in Greece, Canada, France, Ireland, and Belgium relative to the GDP/Capita. Conversely, Pharma spending is lowest in countries like New Zealand, Poland, Denmark, Norway, the UK and the Czech Republic.

Proponents of energy investments claim that the global demand for energy continues to accelerate, future oil supplies will be harder to find and exploit cheaply, energy firms have rising dividends and energy investments represent a strong inflation hedge. Technology firm proponents argue that the global demand for internet services is on the rise, government spending is on the rise and technology firms have strong balance sheets with lots of cash.

The Sector Strategist is an excellent investment resource for experienced and novice investors alike. A strength of the presentation is found in the sheer volume of complex financial data depicted and interpreted by Timothy J. McIntosh. The graphs are easy to understand .

The key players in the various sectors are set forth with strong quantitative analyses presented to support the author’s assessment. The fact that Pharma spending is highest in Greece might have implications for using naturally based medicinal protocols to reduce overall healthcare costs and reduce government debt. Every consumer and corporate investor should have a copy.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.