January 2020 Economic & Market Commentary

What a difference a year makes! Unlike last year, there was no lump of coal in investors’ stockings in 2019. Instead most got a pot of gold. It was a difficult year to lose money, as virtually all asset classes ended the year with a profit – a total reversal from 2018 when the Grinch […]

Diversification Is the Only Free Lunch

“Diversification is the only free lunch” in investing, says the quote attributed to Nobel Prize laureate Harry Markowitz. I like to put it this way to my clients: If you’re using only stocks and bonds to build a portfolio, you’re utilizing a small fraction of the available investment universe. As shown on the following pie […]

Economic & Market Commentary October 2019

Financial assets grudgingly moved higher during the third quarter. Equities, as measured by most indices, increased 1%-2%, except for small capitalization stocks which posted negative returns. The widely followed S&P 500 index produced a 1.7% total return, which was below each of the prior two quarters, resulting in a return of just over 20% for […]

3 Reasons Interest Rates have Reversed and are Headed Down

Number 1: The potential trade war seems to have become significantly more likely, post the recent round of Trump tweets on May 5th. Trade talks that seemed close to an agreement suddenly went up in smoke. We believe that a trade war is now over a 50/50 probability. While logic would imply that China and the […]

Trade Disputes Upset Markets

Macro Overview The ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China escalated in May as the U.S. signaled that it had not finalized a deal yet with China. The lack of a deal led to the U.S. announcing an increase in tariffs from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion of Chinese imports. The […]

The Inflation Conundrum

Federal Reserve balance sheet is heading toward $4 trillion and the federal deficit is $1 trillion a year. Inflation for consumer goods and services is under 2%. Inflation has appeared in asset pricing – stocks, bonds, real estate, and cryptocurrency. Combination of asset price inflation and technological advances has caused deflation in some consumer services.

The Grinch: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell seems to have been inspired by his viewing of the Dr. Seuss’ movie The Grinch this December. As Christmas was approaching, Chairman Powell, the Grinch himself, and his other Federal Reserve (The Fed) cronies were busy discussing raising rates and normalizing the balance sheet. The Fed —this group of Grinches—seemed resolute in […]

Economic and Market Commentary April 2019

The past six months was a period of extremes for financial markets around the globe. U.S. stocks ended 2018 in the red, as they experienced their worst year since 2008. Negative volatility was also felt globally and across most other asset classes as bonds and commodities suffered similarly. Financial asset weakness was primarily caused by rising […]