9/11 Reminds Us

Some people say
It’s what we deserve
For sins against g-d
For crimes in the world
I wouldn’t know
I’m just holding the fort
Since that day
They wounded New York
Some people say
They hate us of old
Our women unveiled
Our slaves and our gold
I wouldn’t know
I’m just holding the fort
But answer me this
I won’t take you to court
Did you go crazy
Or did you report
On that day
On that day
They wounded New York

-Leonard Cohen, “On That Day”

. . . . .

For a brief moment, seventeen years ago, the global tapestry was perfectly interwoven in a spirit of loss, love and commitment. Continue reading

Week In Brief: August 31st

Welcome to September. A month in which seasonality works against us. Ranking historically as the worst month of the year for equity performance. In fact, September stands as the only month that, since 1928, has seen more negative than positive returns. Further distinguishing itself by posting the largest average monthly loss over that time frame.

September is to stocks what playoff games are to the Bengals. Historically losing affairs.

If last week offered any evidence, this year shall be no different. Every session last week finished lower. Pushing the Nasdaq 100 down 2.5 percent. The S&P 500 down one percent. And the Russell 2000 down 1.6 percent. Notably, it was the worst start to September for the Nasdaq since 2008. Which was the worst September in my memory.
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The Camel’s in the Tent.

An ancient Arab fable features a Bedouin camel herder who allowed one of his camels to stick its nose into his tent. Gradually, the camel had half its body inside. And before long, the Bedouin herder realized that the entire camel was in the tent. And there was nothing he could do to get the camel to leave.

The “Camel’s Nose” fable became a metaphor for those situations in which the allowance of a small, seemingly innocuous occurrence opens the door for much larger, undesirable events.

Today such occurrences are called “Black Swans.” Popularized in the superb book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Referring to circumstances that are extremely improbable from a statistical sense, but that come to fruition nonetheless. Much to the detriment of those involved.
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Week In Brief: August 17th

Domestic markets finished mostly higher last week. While foreign stocks drifted lower. And the Nasdaq posted a slight decline.

Pushing aside trade-war reports, Q2 earnings were the story. With 91 percent of S&P 500 companies having reported, 79 percent have beaten earnings estimates. While 72 percent posted positive sales surprises. Bringing the earnings-growth rate for the index to 24.6 percent. Which — should it stand — will mark the second highest earnings growth rate since Q3 2010, which hit 34.1 percent.

Remember, late summer often ushers in the doldrums for equity markets. With the third week of July often marking a seasonal high. As trading volume declines while Wall Street’s denizens pass time in the Hamptons. Or St. Bart’s. Or wherever they go. With that pattern repeating throughout global financial centers. From London to Tokyo. The only differences being the vacation destinations and size of the bathing suits. Continue reading

Week In Brief: July 27th

The S&P 500 hit a weekly peak on Wednesday’s close. Then drifted lower. Closing up 0.6 percent on the week. And reaching its highest point since January. Up 4.56 percent YTD. And back within 2 percent of January’s record high.

It was a tough week for many big tech and media stocks. As valuation always matters at some point. But the rest of the market, which remains a lot cheaper than the FAANG stocks, has held steady thus far.

It’s been six months since the last S&P 500 high. Marking the third-longest stretch below a new high since 2009. Yet, the all-time high sits only 1.5 percent above the index. So close you can smell it. But bears do not plan to just give anything away. And have been very effective these last six month at holding the line. And thwarting the bulls.
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Global-Macro Review

“If you mix politics with your investment decisions, you’re making a big mistake.”

-Warren Buffett, 2017

. . . . .

Today’s headlines contain more compelling stories than an Appalachian family reunion. Forcing us to sit back and scan the horizon. As we attempt to identify the risks and opportunities extant in today’s global marketplace.

So, grab a coffee, water or cocktail. And join us as we spitball through a multitude of issues and scenarios burdening the psyches of global investors…
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Week In Brief: Week of July 30th

Stocks rose ever so slightly last week. As the Dow Jones Industrial Average returned held the 25,000 threshold in its attempt to reclaim the January highs. Not to be outdone, the S&P 500 climbed back above 2,800. Where it currently sits 2.60 percent below January’s record high. Having risen 4.3 percent on the year.

The potential U.S.-China trade war continued to heat up. As both sides pressed ahead with tariffs on $34 billion in imported goods. And each threatened of more to come. President Trump warned that he could unleash tariffs on $500 billion worth of Chinese goods if trade terms are not eased.

Yet, stocks continued to see the forest for the trees. As shares climbed on a Goldilocks jobs report. Not too hot. But not too cold. Payrolls came in at 213k vs. an expectation of 195k. Besting the three-month average of 211k. Unemployment rose from 3.8 to 4 percent. As more American workers re-entered the labor force. Wage gains slowed.
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