Aswath Damodaran Discusses Valuation amid COVID-19

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Aswath Damodaran had some advice for the audience at the 73rd CFA Institute Annual Virtual Conference:

Don’t abandon valuation fundamentals during the COVID-19 crisis.

“It is precisely times like these that matter most,” he said. “You need to go back to the first principles of valuation. Everything I have learned about valuation has been in the context of a crisis.”

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Alejandra Grindal Examines Global Economic Prospects

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The economy of every country in the world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic — “No country has been left unscathed,” according to Alejandra Grindal, senior international economist for Ned Davis Research Group. As part of the 73rd CFA Institute Annual Virtual Conference, Grindal provided an assessment of the pandemic-induced global recession and the outlook for global equities.

Grindal predicts that no country is likely to return to pe-COVID levels any time soon, but we may already be seeing signs of who the clear winners and losers of this crisis will be.

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Curt Mercadante Discusses Building a Brand and Influencing Others

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“Great influencers don’t push. Great influencers attract people – first to themselves and then to their ideas.”

— Bob Burg

Everyone has a brand, whether you know it or not, or even whether you like it or not. That’s according to author and branding expert Curt Mercadante, who defines your brand as how you’re influenced and how you influence others. At the 73rd CFA Institute Annual Virtual Conference, he shared some simple and effective ways to build and harness your personal brand. 

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Amy Morin on Enhancing Mental Strength in a Time of Crisis

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Mental strength is important in times of crisis. For the 73rd CFA Institute Annual Virtual Conference, psychotherapist Amy Morin described exercises that can help professionals develop their mental strength and adapt to difficult situations.

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Donald Altman Explains How to Stay Effective with Mindfulness

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Psychotherapist Donald Altman changed his life after studying mindfulness practices in a monastery. He now teaches these practices as a way to relax, destress, and think more clearly. For the 73rd CFA Institute Annual Virtual Conference, Altman discussed the neuroscience behind mindfulness and highlighted its benefits, explaining how mindfulness can be used to stay calm in the face of extreme stress.

Altman noted that many of us are experiencing heightened anxiety in the current environment — our nervous systems crave constancy and regularity, and our brains are wired for face-to-face interaction. To cope with their absence, Altman recommended developing mental clarity and a sense of equanimity. He highlighted mindfulness as a way to quiet down the emotional inner core of our brains.

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Stressed? Daniel Crosby Says Let it RAIN

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Although people may not realize that they are experiencing stress, Daniel Crosby, Chief Behavioral Officer at Brinker Capital, says that recognizing the symptoms is an important first step in coping with extra pressures during the global pandemic. To diagnose and control stress, he recommends the RAIN model — it stands for recognize, allow, investigate, and non-identification.

The first task in this framework, recognizing the symptoms, might be more difficult than it seems. Crosby says that observing patterns around food intake, sleep, and exercise can provide excellent cues. Stress can manifest itself through loss of sleep, lack of appetite, excessive eating, anxiety, or being short tempered. Noticing these symptoms can lead to a constructive diagnosis.

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Vikram Mansharamani: Supply Shifts Could Create 2 Economies

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The world’s economies don’t need the coronavirus to drive them to protectionism and trade wars — they were headed that way on their own. For the 73rd CFA Institute Annual Virtual Conference, economist and author Vikram Mansharamani discussed how global forces have already been changing the flow of international trade and what that means for the future.

According to Mansharamani, four global transitions have been at work:

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This Time, It’s Physically Different

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Is the recession induced by COVID-19 anything like previous recessions? Campbell R. Harvey, Duke University Professor of Finance, finds that it is similar to past crises, but it has some very important differences. As part of the 73rd CFA Institute Annual Virtual Conference, he discussed what the recovery will look like, whether it will take as long as previous ones, and what the potential risks are.

Harvey highlighted the predictive relationship between an inverted yield curve and a recession, suggesting that while this recession had been previously predicted, it is unlike others because it has a biological cause — not a financial or economic one. This should mean important differences in the outcome and timing of the recovery.

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Six Investment Insights from Howard Marks

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When a veteran investor sits down to talk with a senior editor from one of the world’s top financial news organizations, the results are bound to be interesting. And that’s exactly what happened when Howard Marks, CFA, co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, spoke with John Authers, senior editor for markets at Bloomberg.

During their recorded conversation, which was part of the 73rd CFA Institute Annual Virtual Conference, Marks shared how his thought processes have developed over more than four decades of experience in high-yield fixed income markets. He offered six insights for investors:

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Investment Optimism during the COVID-19 Crisis

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The COVID-19 global pandemic is redefining market mechanics, policy responses, and business operations. CFA Institute convened a panel of experts — including Nicholas J. Colas, co-founder of Datatrek Research; Meredith Sumpter, head of research strategy and operations at Eurasia Group; and Jack Ablin, CFA, chief investment officer at Cresset Capital — to discuss the pandemic’s effects on global economies.

Starting off with a positive note, Ablin said that we are going into this with our eyes wide open — more so than in the 2008 Global Financial Crisis or The Great Depression of the last century. The large, rapid response in the United States has amounted to roughly 35% of GDP. Sumpter was encouraged by the aggressive fiscal and monetary policies pursued by developed economies around the world, saying that the pandemic has revealed the resiliency of human nature. 

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