6 May 2024

The Best Industries to Invest

I was listening to a finance-related podcast last week (as one does), and they said they thought that the best-performing industries in the US were beer and tobacco. The podcasters chuckled because they pointed out that market returns reflect what society wants, and companies respond by providing those goods and services. Beer and smokes – that’s what America has valued the most, as the story went. I thought it was… Read More

29 Apr 2024

Concentrated Risks Rising

We’ve all heard that the S&P 500 is more concentrated than it has been in decades. Indeed, the top 10 holdings in the S&P 500 now account for a whopping 33.8 percent of the index. That’s right, ten of the 500 stocks in the index equal more than one-third of the value of the index. I’m a fan of global diversification, but it’s been a frustrating decade, given how well… Read More

25 Mar 2024

Stocks are Expensive Again

I am as happy about the strong market rally as the next guy. Still, I was caught off guard when I saw that the S&P 500 is up 25 percent per year since the bottom around the pandemic. Of course, the Financial Times journalist said that they picked an unfair start date since stocks were down about a third at that point. But still, even if we pick a neutral… Read More

26 Feb 2024

Japan: The Taylor Swift of Stock Markets?

People often tell me not to worry about the stock market because it ‘always’ comes back. That’s true for the United States and most other developed markets, but for my whole career, it wasn’t true for the Japanese stock market, until now. Last week, the Nikkei 225 price-index crossed a level that it hadn’t seen since 1989. That’s a long, long time. I Googled the most famous person born in… Read More

29 Jan 2024

Trading Against Cramer Just Got Harder

Last March, I wrote about a new pair of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track the bets of Jim Cramer, the host of Mad Money, known as much for his bright lights, loud sounds, and yelling as he is for his investment advice or track record (here’s a link to my article). One of the ETFs would short his stock picks, betting that the picks would fall, and the other went… Read More

16 Jan 2024

Bitcoin: Coming to an ETF Near You

I first wrote about Bitcoin in 2017 and concluded that it probably wasn’t a good investment, but maybe my grandkids would be mad at me because I didn’t buy them a coin for $4,300. A little more than six years later, I’m a little mad at myself as the price is about ten times today.┬áBut I’m not actually mad because I don’t see it as a good investment, even though… Read More

4 Dec 2023

Why We Fear Inflation

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about this week and thought about simply starting with a picture of inflation, as measured by the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure, the core Personal Consumption Expenditure, or PCE. Like the core Consumer Price Index, core PCE strips out food and energy prices because they are so volatile, but don’t really change the numbers of the long run. Said, another way, they… Read More

27 Nov 2023

Fooling Yourself with Private Market Math

Private investments, or simply ‘privates’ in the current vernacular, are among the hottest investments in recent years. Private investments, which are often considered one of the most prominent alternative investments, means owning securities that aren’t publicly traded. Private markets can include equity (stocks), credit (bonds), and real estate. Each major group has subcategories. Private equity can be venture capital, buyout equity, or growth equity. Credit can mean direct loans, mezzanine… Read More

10 Jul 2023

Lessons from the Land of the Rising Sun

When I was in high school, Japan Inc. seemed invincible. Their economy was booming, which pushed up their real estate and stock markets, and a handful of over-the-top events like the purchase of Rockefeller Plaza by Japanese investors and the sale of Van Gogh’s Portrait of Doctor Cachet sold for $82.5 million (or $189.5 million in today’s dollars). From 1970-1989, the Japanese stock market, according to MSCI, gained 16.9 percent… Read More

22 May 2023

Debt Ceiling Crisis in Perspective

Chris and Cliff forwarded me an article last week asking: what would you do with your portfolio if you knew what was coming? The article referenced the still unresolved debt-ceiling situation and proceeded to list many pretty lousy events over the past 30 or so years. It made me think of a chart we made when we started Acropolis with small images depicting awful news with the growth of a… Read More