Seeking Alpha: That's the name of this wonderful website that brings together investors from around the world to share their thoughts and ideas. Of course, the term seeking alpha is more than that once we move into the investment world.
Alpha is the excess return of an investment compared to a benchmark like the S&P 500. Looking at the following chart Realty Income (NYSE:O) has provided 20.7% positive alpha year to date, compared to the S&P 500.
Investment alpha can be generated in a number of ways. It can be through spotting opportunities for the company through acquisitions or new markets for their existing product lines before the investment world at large recognizes them. Alpha can also be generated by recognizing a coming shift in the valuation that the market as a whole places on a company's shares.
Take REITs as an example that have seen large shifts in their valuation over the last year or so. No one knows for sure the exact reason for that valuation shift, but there are plenty of ideas, such as: (1) the low interest rate policy has pushed bond proxies to high valuations, with no real end in sight, or (2) REITs becoming their own asset class this month after being broken out from the financial sector classification, or (3) any number of other reasons.