Opening Day

By |2018-03-30T06:53:57-04:00March 30th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Can we learn investment lessons from baseball? Public Domain. Source: Wikimedia Yesterday was baseball’s Opening Day across the country. For the first time in 50 years, all the major league teams were scheduled to start their season on the same day. While it seems a little early in New England – there’s still snow on the ground, and Mount Washington is issuing avalanche advisories – the weather is warming up elsewhere, and the arms and bats are warming up, too. And while my favorite [...]

Shell Shocked

By |2018-03-29T08:21:11-04:00March 29th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Are we still recovering from the Great Recession? “No Man’s Land” outside of Flanders, 1919. Photo: W.L. King. Source: Library of Congress It took years for the fields outside of Ypres to recover from the World War I. The bombardment and trenching left scars on the land that are still visible. Similarly, the Great Recession can also be felt in some parts of the US economy. Total mortgage debt is still 4% lower than it was in 2008, despite the fact that our economy [...]

Which Comes First?

By |2018-03-28T06:37:36-04:00March 28th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Are you a chicken farmer or an egg farmer? People who raise chickens do it for two reasons. They either raise them for the eggs, or they raise them for their meat. Broilers grow pretty quickly, and then they’re harvested – usually in about 8 weeks. Layers take longer to mature. They usually don’t begin laying until they’re at least 6 months old, and they can take up to a year. Commercial farms manipulate the light in their poultry barns to mimic the summer [...]

Uneven Growth

By |2018-03-27T08:31:11-04:00March 27th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What do you do when your portfolio becomes lopsided? Photo: Alan Murray-Rust. Source: Geograph That’s the challenge that a lot of investors are facing. Facebook and Amazon and the other growth darlings have done so well for so long that they now represent an oversized position in many portfolios. It’s a simple matter of mathematics: If a holding in a 20-stock portfolio doubles in a single year while the rest of the portfolio remains stable, it’s weighting in the portfolio roughly doubles. If that [...]

Jerome Powell: Master of the Universe

By |2018-03-26T06:50:47-04:00March 26th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Who is Jay Powell? Public Domain. Source: Federal Reserve Jerome Powell, or “Jay,” is the 16th head of the Federal Reserve, charged with overseeing the nation’s money supply and financial system. Because of the Fed’s economic significance, the Fed Chair has been called the second most powerful person in the nation, with an outsized role regarding monetary policy. While our central bank is a hybrid system, with 12 regional Federal Reserve Bank Presidents, an Open Market Committee, and a powerful career staff, in reality [...]

An Economy with a View?

By |2018-03-23T10:57:11-04:00March 23rd, 2018|Global Market Update|

It’s not working. Italian Riviera at Moneglia. Photo: Fiore dod. Source: Wikimedia For the past 10 years incomes have diverged dramatically within the Euro-zone. Germany has done pretty well, most other countries have muddled along, and incomes in Italy have fallen. Per capita GDP in Italy is now 5% lower than it was in 2000. By contrast, the entire Euro-zone is 12% higher and Germany is 20% higher. This isn’t what Italians thought they were signing up for when they joined Europe’s common currency. [...]

Starting Seeds

By |2018-03-22T06:01:56-04:00March 22nd, 2018|Global Market Update|

It’s cold outside. So why are we thinking about gardening? Photo: Rasbak. Source: Wikimedia Outside we’re on the edge of another nor’easter, to be followed by more cold temperatures. Welcome to March in New Hampshire! Folks who have been here a while know that while this March has been pretty stormy, it will pass. And pretty soon, we’ll be looking at warmer temperatures and muddy roads. So right now, many long-term residents are thinking about their gardens: ordering seeds, getting out the grow-lights, and [...]

Confidence Games

By |2018-03-21T05:47:43-04:00March 21st, 2018|Global Market Update|

Are we over-confident? Photo: Marinwib. Source: Pixabay Confidence is good. It helps us get up in the morning. We can confidently expect the sun to rise and roosters to crow. If you aren’t confident in the fishing, you’ll never head out and you’ll never catch anything. But when it comes to investing, confidence can be our enemy. It tempts us to do stupid things, investing with our hearts and instead of our heads. And this encourages crooks to try to scam us. It’s not [...]

The End of Marketing

By |2018-03-20T07:14:46-04:00March 20th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Marketing is dead. Long live marketing! Photo: Evan-Amos. Source: Wikimedia Brands didn’t used to exist. “Build a better mousetrap” Ralph Waldo Emerson said in the 19th century, “and the world will beat a path to your door.” If you could grow better corn or pigs or make better chairs or knives or church organs, you didn’t need to advertise. The quality of people’s work was highly variable. If your products were good and your character was good, word-of-mouth would get around and there would [...]

German Lessons

By |2018-03-15T07:09:49-04:00March 15th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is Germany? Reichstag building in Berlin. Photo: Matthew Field. Source: Wikimedia For some, Germany calls up images of the Bavarian castles and cruises on the Rhine. For others it’s Oktoberfest and lederhosen, or the Autobahn, or cathedrals. Still others get their images from old war movies or re-runs of “Hogan’s Heroes.” For the markets, Germany means business. Sited between the low countries and the Alps, between the Western democracies and an autocratic East, Germany has been a crossroads of culture, trade, tourism, and [...]