10 Apr 2017

Markets are Quiet, Enjoy Them for Now

The stock market has been unusually quiet this year.  For example, the S&P 500 didn’t fall by more than one percent until March 21st, just before the quarter ended. The Chicago Board of Options (CBOE) Volatility Index (VIX), which measures expected volatility, had the second lowest average reading for the quarter since the index was created in 1992. The chart below plots the VIX over the last three quarters in… Read More

27 Feb 2017

The Words of Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett released his annual letter to shareholder on Saturday and, as always, it was a delight to read.  You can find the entire letter here; but today, I thought I would share some of the highlights. *** One word sums up our country’s achievements: miraculous.  From our standing start 240 years ago – a span of time less that triple my days on earth – Americans have combined human… Read More

6 Feb 2017

What is a Border Adjustment Tax?

Most of the time, the topics that I choose for Daily Insights are things that I think I know a lot about.  Sometimes, I write about a topic in an effort to learn more about it. That’s the case today: I had never heard of a border adjustment tax until a few weeks ago, wanted to know more and thought I would share what I’ve learned. Some of you undoubtedly… Read More

30 Jan 2017

A Quote to Consider from Sir John Templeton

I am continually amazed by the huge number of thoughtful and apropos quotes that concern investing.  I’ve been writing and editing our quarterly newsletter, Portfolio Insights, for more than 15 years and I can still find plenty of great quotes without too many repeats. While I enjoy a great quote, I can’t say that any of them rise to the level of being an investing philosophy to live by, except… Read More

3 Jan 2017

2017 Wall Street Forecasts

It’s forecast time on Wall Street and despite the folly of it, individuals and professionals alike pay attention anyway. On average, and according to Bespoke Investment Group, the 15 most prestigious analysts and strategists are calling for a measly five percent gain, which would put the S&P 500 at 2,356 at year end, compared to 2,234 from last week. Collectively, that’s the lowest average forecast since 2005, when the strategists… Read More

12 Dec 2016

Dow 20,000

When I graduated from college in 1995 and started in this industry, I was told that the current saying for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) was ‘10,000 by 2000,’ referring to the turn of the century. It seemed impossible to me because, at that point, the DJIA was trading below 4,500.  Just a few months before, one of my finance professors said the market was overvalued. Less than six months… Read More

21 Nov 2016

Bond Rally and Rout to Nowhere

It’s not a stretch to say that 2016 has been full of surprises! One of the big surprises from our perspective up until the election was the decline in interest rates and corresponding strong return that bonds delivered. I wrote about the surprising decline in yields as early as February and was going a little bananas as yields throughout the world went negative (here, here and here).  We never went… Read More

15 Nov 2016

Trump and the Reflation Trade

At this point, my view is that most of the market activity since the election can really be broken down into two distinct categories. The first category are stock sectors that clearly stand to win or lose from expected changes in government policy.  The most obvious winner is bank stocks, which will benefit from lighter regulation.  The big loser is hospital stocks that will lose Obamacare related revenue. The second… Read More

11 Nov 2016

Small Cap Surge Continues

One of the interesting elements of yesterday’s trading was that small cap stocks continued to pop, jumping 1.59 percent. I don’t have a particular explanation for this movement, but it’s significant enough that I think it’s worth mentioning and it’s an example of positive volatility.  Too often we think of volatility to the downside, but the movement in small cap stocks in the past few days is a good reminder… Read More

10 Nov 2016

Mr. Trump Meets Mr. Market

Most people probably caught the wild swings in the Dow and S&P 500, from a five percent drop in futures trading overnight to a 1.1 percent higher close, with most of the action in the 30 minutes before the market opened. Small cap stocks, which gained 3.1 percent during the trading session are particularly interesting because their relative performance to large cap stocks can be viewed as a signal of… Read More