Smart Growth

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:36+00:00 November 30th, 2016|Global Market Update|

What’s happening to demand for smart phones? Photo: Alexandre Vanier. Source: Pixabay Once, it seemed like smartphones would reach everywhere and do everything. But even Apple seems to be running out of room to grow. People will buy around 1.4 billion smartphones this year. That’s up less than 1% from 2015, when sales grew by over 10%. And it’s way down from the earlier part of the decade, when sales were growing by almost 50% per year. Android phones are still growing. The free [...]

Investing Rationally?

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:37+00:00 November 29th, 2016|Global Market Update|

What do investors want? Photo: Simon Steinberger. Source: Pixabay Fifty years ago analysts assumed that all investors should care about is getting high returns with low risk. People who traded a lot, or concentrated their portfolios, or did something other than what conventional finance recommended were labeled irrational. But what we do seems rational to us at the time. A dress from Filene’s Basement may be just as functional as a $2,000 designer dress, but it may not be as beautiful, or it may [...]

Postmodern Portfolios

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:37+00:00 November 28th, 2016|Global Market Update|

What’s the best way to hit your investment target? Photo: Eddi Laumans. Source: Wikipedia There’s a school of thought that says people are basically the same: apart from our individual quirks, we all want a little income and a little growth from our investments. So we should combine a balance of stock and bond funds together to have a low-cost, broadly-diversified portfolio. There’s a lot to be said for this: it’s cheap and it gets people started on the investment process. And people usually [...]

Thanks and Thanksgiving

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:37+00:00 November 23rd, 2016|Global Market Update|

What is Thanksgiving for? Photo: Chef Sean Christopher. Source: Wikipedia Oh, I know that millions will be full of turkey and stuffing and potatoes and football, but why do we make a national holiday out of it? Part of it has to do with remembering our national legends, the self-image we have of pioneers carving out a life for themselves in the wilderness. We imagine ourselves having the initiative, ingenuity, and cooperation that enabled the early Pilgrims to come, learn, and grow in the [...]

Ivy League Returns, 2016

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:37+00:00 November 21st, 2016|Global Market Update, Uncategorized|

Photo Source: Dartmouth Investment Office For the fiscal year ending 6/30/2016, Ivy League endowments were all over the place, from Cornell at -3.3% to Yale at 3.4%. How are these large endowments managed, and what makes it so hard to hold onto a good Chief Investment Officer? Dartmouth’s endowment returned -1.9%, and they’re looking for a new CIO for the third time in ten years. Dartmouth’s endowment is one of the largest in the country. And it plays a crucial role in [...]

After Trump …

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:37+00:00 November 18th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Who’s next? Mussolini before crowd. Public Domain. Source: Quarterly Review Donald Trump’s election is just the latest development in a global trend towards nationalistic populism. It’s not that atypical. When an economy struggles to recover following a downturn, the political system is volatile as people search for solutions. This is what happened in Japan in the ‘90s. After their economy crashed, the Liberal Democratic Party was voted out of power for the first time in 38 years. A series of new governments were formed [...]

Trade War Worries

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:37+00:00 November 17th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Are we headed for a trade war? Author: Tony Cohen. Source: Wikipedia The rhetoric from the Presidential election would make you think so. Donald Trump campaigned on renegotiating trade deals with countries around the world. While some of the more extreme measures – like an across-the-board 45% tariff on all imports – would require Congressional action and are therefore less likely, he will have the authority, as President, to pull the US out of the North American Free Trade Agreement or the World Trade [...]

Markets, Morals, and Money

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:37+00:00 November 16th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Why do business people care about morality? Source: Wikipedia Ben Franklin once said, “I’m not moral because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the best policy.” A market economy can only be sustained by certain standards, like trust, honesty, and fairness. It’s wrong to deceive people -- and it’s also bad business. If I buy a bag of potato chips and find that it’s mostly air, I’m less likely to purchase that brand again. That’s why our government has a bureau [...]

Emerging Where?

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:37+00:00 November 15th, 2016|Global Market Update|

What’s happening in emerging markets? Souk in Rabat, Morocco. Photo: Cloudzilla. Source: Wikipedia For much of 2016, emerging markets have performed well. Higher oil prices and a steady dollar have allowed these markets to stabilize and even do slightly better as the year progressed. But the election of Donald Trump and Republican majorities in both houses of Congress on November 8 may represent a pivot point. There is potential for significant fiscal stimulus, protectionist trade policies, and a different outlook for interest rates by [...]

Un-Locke-ing Markets

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:37+00:00 November 14th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Un-Locke-ing Markets Is price-gouging a problem? US Postage Stamp. Source: Wikipedia John Locke is an important source for the ideas that went into our Declaration of Independence. But he also has a keen sense of economic justice. During his time in Europe the price of wheat would vary by location. What was available in one city might be scarce in another. Locke noticed two towns—one where grain was plentiful and the price was five shillings a bushel, and another where people were practically starving [...]