9 Apr 2018

Tariffs, Profits and Global Growth

Concerns about a trade war flared back up again last week.  The US released a list of proposed tariffs on some $50 billion worth of Chinese imports.  The 25 percent levies reach broadly, including medicine, aviation, semiconductors and consumer goods like dishwashers, snow plows and motorcycles. Beijing was quick to respond with reciprocal tariffs, announcing $50 billion on 106 products including soybeans, automobiles, chemicals and aircraft.  Some analysts pointed out… Read More

20 Feb 2018

The Dip Was Bought

Last week’s Daily Insight was a little long and a little technical, so today I am going to keep it short and sweet. The market appears to have shifted back into rally mode with concerns about inflation, rising bonds yields or volatility, seemingly falling by the wayside.  At this point, this correction seems a lot like the last two, although as I said last week, it’s a little too early… Read More

13 Feb 2018

Stock Market Correction: The Early Autopsy

While I think it’s far too early to say that the correction is over, the sharp rallies over the past two days are welcome signals that suggest the forced selling that characterized last week’s sharp daily losses may be over. My view of the recent market selloff has two components.  First, as I outlined on last Monday, February 5th (click here for the article), I believe that the initial cause… Read More

6 Feb 2018

Market Summary: Extended Analysis

The S&P 500 lost more than four percent, the largest single day loss for the index since August, 2011.  The losses started out modestly through lunchtime, but accelerated sharply in the early afternoon. At one point, as seen in the Bloomberg screenshot below, the S&P 500 spiked higher, but then lost back everything that was earned in the final hour or so of trading. Although we don’t know exactly what… Read More

29 Jan 2018

The Market’s Next Phase

Almost a year ago to the day, I wrote an article that discussed a well-known quote from a famous investor, Sir John Templeton.  He said that ‘Bull markets are born on pessimism, grown on skepticism, mature on optimism and die in euphoria.’ Clearly, the bull market that we’ve enjoyed for the last nine years was born in the pessimism of the 2008 global financial crisis.  The rally grew on optimism and… Read More

21 Aug 2017

Is Volatility Too High? Goldilocks Says it’s Just Right

Well, I am fresh back from vacation in Northern Michigan.  I had the pleasure of driving over the Upper Peninsula twice during this trip to pick up one of my daughter’s from camp.  That’s three trips over the UP this summer, but, sadly, only one pasty. From my perch up north, the big story for me was seeing volatility spike up for the first time in what seems like forever…. Read More

14 Aug 2017

Getting to Know Your Volatility

After a summer of historically low and realized volatility in the market, we finally saw a sharp spike in volatility as tensions rose between North Korea and the US last week. While the exact cause and timing behind the volatility could not have been predicted, we did know that the low levels of volatility would not continue forever. Whether or not volatility is back for a while, it is always… Read More

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

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

31 Oct 2016

Equity Risk Dominates Your Portfolio

When I describe ‘balance’ in a portfolio, here or in person, I am almost inevitably talking about an allocation that is somewhat evenly split between stocks and bonds.  I don’t have to specify that I am talking about how much money is in each allocation (forgetting for a moment all of the sub allocations). In recent years, however, some investment managers have pointed out that a portfolio that is evenly… Read More