17 Jan 2023

Acropolis Investor Social Preview #1

After two years of staying home, Acropolis is hosting our 5th Annual Investor Social (invite below). I thought it would be fun to preview some of the slides leading up to the event, partly in hopes of drawing folks and partly to give the out-of-towners who weren’t invited some of the content (I’ll be happy to email the presentation after the event to those who missed it). This week, I… Read More

14 Nov 2022

Good News for Stocks & Bonds (Less so, for Crypto)

Stocks were sharply higher last week, more than erasing the prior week’s declines. Although Wednesday suffered a tough selloff of more than two percent, Thursday’s 5.6 percent rally and Friday’s 0.9 percent move higher took the S&P 500 Total Return for the week to 5.9 percent. The big move is easily attributed to the better-than-expected Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) index, which was finally a step in the right direction (more… Read More

3 Oct 2022

Returns: Before, During and After Recessions

My article from last week,¬†which you can read here, prompted a few people to ask derivations of, “Why don’t we sell our stocks – or at least reduce them – until the recession is over and sidestep some losses?” It’s an understandable question, but it makes me uncomfortable because I have some powerful memories of the 2008 global financial crisis when clients who bailed out of the market still felt… Read More

26 Sep 2022

Fed Indirectly Signals Recession

When the Federal Reserve raised interest rates last week, they also published their Summary of Economic Projections, which you can find here. You won’t find the word ‘recession’ in the document, but there is a pretty strong signal that the Fed thinks a recession is on the horizon in 2022. The second page includes a nice table that shows what the Federal Reserve Board members and presidents estimate for economic… Read More

19 Sep 2022

Core Inflation Knocks Market

Stocks sold off sharply this week, as noted above, mostly because markets had anticipated good news on the inflation front and didn’t get it. When I first saw the release, I thought it looked pretty good because the headline rate of inflation was only a tenth of one percent for the month, which brought the rolling one-year rate down to 7.8 percent.¬† While 7.8 percent is still far too high,… Read More

29 Aug 2022

The Word From Jackson Hole

In the 1970s, the Federal Reserve Board of Kansas City put on a series of three-day symposiums and invited economists, central bankers, and journalists to the Great American West to discuss the day’s topics. Former Fed Chair Paul Volker, who famously broke the back of inflation, liked to fly fish, so he steered the conference to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1981, where it’s stayed ever since. The event became a… Read More

15 Aug 2022

Fed Tightening and Stocks

While inflation may or may not have peaked, Federal Reserve officials are still talking about raising interest rates. Several Fed officials called for rate hikes through 2023, and St. Louis Fed President said that the overnight rate should be four percent by the end of this calendar year (it’s currently between 2.25 and 2.50 percent). Although the Fed is already raising rates, a process also known as tightening, I wondered… Read More

1 Aug 2022

Patriots for a Weaker Dollar

I sometimes include changes in the dollar in the market summary that precedes the data table above. I cover the dollar less and less, though, because it’s so abstract. That said, the dollar has been immensely strong recently, and it’s impacting our portfolios. Any patriot likes the sound of a strong currency – after all, a strong currency should reflect a strong country. And a weak or debased currency is… Read More

25 Jul 2022

Looking at Inflation, Backwards and Forwards

Inflation is hard to measure, which is why there are many ways to measure it. In addition to the Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) indexes that I’ve discussed in recent months, there are also Producer Price Indexes (PPI), the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) indexes, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) purchased price index, the GDP price index, and the GDP Price Deflator index. Oh my! While I don’t intend for this letter… Read More

13 Jun 2022

Inflation: A Deep Dive

I like to say that this newsletter is a mix of information on investing, financial planning, and economics. Regular readers know that I tend to focus most on investing, then financial planning, and economics is a distant third place. The current inflation environment, however, is forcing me to cover more economics, although the reality is that inflation materially impacts investing and planning. Today, I will look at inflation in isolation,… Read More