January 7, 2019

If you are a “first timer” experiencing a major market correction for the very first time or even someone who lived through the market crisis of 2008 but was less effected then, the horror of opening a statement and seeing a seriously lower number than last month can be unnerving, unsettling, even panic inducing. How can we make sense of a bear market? What are the best ways to cope with what feels like a drumbeat of bad news?

As one who has...

October 11, 2018

Dollar Tree customers are feeling the effects of tariffs imposed last month. Steel and aluminum tariffs imposed earlier in the year touched primarily industrial goods, but the new round of tariffs imposed on Chinese products are now touching everyday consumer items. The article in USA Today notes Dollar Tree imports 42% of its products (USA Today 10-8-18), mostly from China. Management remedies will be pulling items off shelves, higher price...

Here we are at the mid-point of the third quarter and I think it’s safe to say that despite some headwinds and uncertainty the economy remains in good shape. A good economy generally goes hand in hand with a good stock market. Market trends follow companies’ earnings, and the most recent round of reporting showed a strong double-digit year over year growth. The effects of tax cuts should be seen in continued profits, particularly in the smal...

I was recently at a gathering of friends and the discussion turned to the new tax law. Several of them admitted they may not be able to deduct annual contributions to their favorite charities due to these recent changes. While I don’t know if this fact will alter their commitment to support their church, school or important cause, I know the realization of the loss of deductibility for charitable donations came as a shock to them, and may al...

The news flow this quarter seems focused on two areas: rising interest rates and the looming deadlines for tariff negotiations. As you probably know “news” is often another way of expressing “things we are watching for negative effects on our portfolios.”

            Let’s start with what is worrisome. The US ten year Treasury bond interest rate now hovers around 3%. Why is this significant? For starters, this rate has not been this high sinc...

February 20, 2018

Today, the big news came out of the bond market. The Bloomberg headline is “US Pays Up to Auction $179 Billion of Debt in a Span of Hours.” Shorter term notes sold at interest rates not seen in a decade. The two-year Treasury note rate rose to 2.25%. While that number may sound like good news for savers who want to buy short term CD’s, the stock market takes a different view. A move in interest rates this large and this abruptly is worrisome...

December 14, 2017

Well, here we are at a little past the middle of the quarter - and we are still waiting. Markets are stable and inching higher on the remaining expectation that we will get some sort of tax cuts, at least for corporations if not for the rest of us. Most pundits who appear on Bloomberg and similar news outlets seem to agree that there is no compelling economic reason for these cuts. We are at full employment, the economy is growing between 2....

December 14, 2017

The Dow and the S&P 500 broke out of their complacency this week and yesterday closed with the biggest loss in several months. Was the more than 1% decline in response to escalating talk of armed conflict with North Korea, domestic political turmoil, or just the realization that valuations are stretched and it may be time to take some profit? As of today we see markets shrugging off the tweets and settling back in to a low volatility, slight...

Here we are pushing into the halfway point of this year and we have no clear indication of the likely timing or ultimate delivery on any of the anticipated “pro-growth” drivers of the surge in equity valuations of earlier in the year.  What we see now is a bit of “wait and see” that has kept investors engaged but not pushing higher.

            What will it take to move market complacency up or down from here? My best guess it will move up wi...

February 16, 2017

When I was younger, in a time long ago and a place far, far away Carly Simon sang about Anticipation – “We can never know about the days to come but we think about them anyway, and I wonder if I’m really with you now or just chasing after some finer day.”

 Anticipation is always where the action is; we get to imagine and then cherry pick the best part of the future ideal for our own interests. I believe the Trump Bump is the result of selecti...

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