Harvard Revamps Funds To Ride New Bull Market
As the stock market rose over 100 points the last two weeks. Harvard investors reacted aggressively and capitalized on the bull market to make a tidy profit for the University, an official said yesterday.
University money managers remain skeptical of the economy's future, however, and doubt that the rally will continue into the fall, said Walter M. Cabot '54, who, as head of the Harvard Management Company, oversees investment of Harvard's endowment.
Between August 1 and last Friday, August 10, the Dow Jones Industrials Average rose 102.81 points. The rally was primarily due to government figures released at the end of the month which indicate a healthier economy in the months ahead.
Cabot said the management company took advantage of rising stock prices by increasing the amount of the endowment invested in stocks from slightly over 50 to slightly over 60 percent.
Simultaneously, Harvard shifted its bond holdings from short term notes to longer-term ones.
Cabot said that these moves enabled the University--which currently sports an endowment of about $2.5 billion, the largest in academic--to make some extra money, though he has not yet tabulated the exact figures.
"Without being able to put a number on it and without being the fastest racehorse in the world, we have captured a substantial position of what's been going on in the past two weeks," Cabot said.
Both moves are in line with strategy recommended by many market analysis who say this is a good time to busy stocks because if the recovery lasts through the fall, interest rates will fall and business will expand.
At the same time, the slowing down of the economy's growth indicates that the recovery will last longer than would otherwise be expected, hence the shift to longer-term bonds.
Cabot said the strategy employed over the past couple of weeks was working well but was considered a somewhat bold move because it left only 10 percent of the University's assets in cash, generally considered the safest--but least profitable--form of investment.
He added that it was necessary to include bonds when calculating unprotected assets because of the stabile bond market.