29 Oct 2018

Stocks Enter Correction

A correction is usually defined as a peak-to-trough decline of 10- percent using closing prices.  Under that definition, we’re not quite at a correction, since the S&P 500 is ‘only’ down -9.28 percent since the recent high on September 20th. I think that such a strict definition is a little bit silly, so I’m calling it a correction since we’re very close using closing prices, and we crossed the 10-percent… Read More

15 Oct 2018

Interest Rates and Equities: A Selloff Explained

Somewhat like Hurricane Michael, the stock market selloff last week seemed to come out of nowhere quickly, and it hit hard. The question on everyone’s mind is what caused the sharp move?  In truth, nobody really knows the answer, but that also means that my guess can’t be wrong. There are several broad themes that could explain the selloff, including further weakening of US relations with China expressed in the… Read More

10 Oct 2018

Portfolio Insights

We are pleased to provide a digital copy of Portfolio Insights, our quarterly newsletter. Table of Contents: Stock Market Summary Bond Market Review Remembering Lehman Brothers As Good As It Gets? The Big Picture & Fast Facts Click here to read the issue:  Q3 2018 Portfolio Insights

8 Oct 2018

What Ever Happened to Bitcoin, Anyway?

Around this time last year and in the months to follow, you’d be hard pressed to find a news site, especially in the financial realm, that did not have an article about bitcoin or some other form of crypto currency or blockchain. Today, you’ll still see an article here or there, but by in large, the hype has subsided. As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the publishing of bitcoin’s… Read More

17 Sep 2018

Remembering Lehman Brothers: What Have We Learned?

Five years ago, at the five-year anniversary weekend remembering the collapse of Lehman Brothers, I wasn’t ready to deal with the bad memories of that terrible time. Granted, what happened 10-years ago in financial markets was not like being in a war, a natural disaster, sick with a terrible disease or the victim of a terrible crime, but it was still upsetting to me (no doubt because I live in… Read More

10 Sep 2018

How Much Will Retirement Cost? The WSJ May be Wrong

One of my favorite writers and thinkers is a behavioral economist named Dan Ariely. I heard him speak at a conference years ago, read his first book Predictably Irrational and am about half way through his most recent book, Dollars and Sense. It may be a little hard to tell from the photo, but if you look closely, you can see that his face is disfigured from a third-degree burn… Read More

27 Aug 2018

Just How Rich Are You?

According to a Gallup poll last year, almost two-thirds of Americans identify themselves as middle class.  Despite identifying as such, most Americans can’t define ‘middle class,’ which isn’t too surprising because the definition varies so broadly. I found a nice calculator on The Washington Post’s website that allows you to type in your income and your location to find out where you stand. Before going any further, I should note that I… Read More

20 Aug 2018

Performance Like You’ve Never Seen

When I graduated from college and started working for Mark Twain Bank’s brokerage unit, there was an older gentleman who occupied one of the offices in the branch.  I’m not sure he was actually employed by the bank at that point, but I was told that he had been an important executive at one time. He came in around nine, read the newspaper (we all did in those days), made… Read More

13 Aug 2018

Turkey: Contained or Contagion?

Market risks often come from the most unexpected places. Last week, a possible economic meltdown in Turkey rattled global markets. I wouldn’t have guessed that as recently as a week ago, and while I still think that Turkey won’t affect US markets too much more than they did Friday, I also wouldn’t have thought that problems in Greece would have created an existential crisis for the euro. I am not… Read More