In the Presence Of …

By |2018-10-31T22:54:34-04:00October 31st, 2018|Global Market Update|

Have you ever met a true genius? Jocelyn Bell-Burnell, who discovered of pulsars as a graduate student. Photo: Roger Hayworth. Source: Wikimedia I was fortunate enough to meet several when I was in high school. Our chemistry teacher organized an outing to a local college, where a Nobel laureate in Physics and three other great minds – one was the laureate’s PhD advisor – were giving a public seminar. After the Q&A session, I was able to meet one of the speakers one-on-one and [...]

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Platform Souks

By |2018-10-30T07:45:36-04:00October 30th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Have you ever visited an old market? Photo: Marc Ryckaert. Source: Wikimedia. In North Africa they call them “medinas.” In Latin America they’re called “mercados.” In the middle east they’re “souks.” Whatever name they go by, it’s a colorful experience. There are lines of people filing through the popular areas. Dozens of small shops line the streets, which often have been covered. Different vendors cluster along different streets: shoes, kitchen wares, garments, goldsmiths and silversmiths tapping away on various projects. These markets have been [...]

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Wrong Turn?

By |2018-10-29T07:03:13-04:00October 29th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Have you ever found yourself in a dark alley? Photo: Scott Liddell. Source: Morguefile It can be upsetting. You don’t know who (or what) is lurking in the shadows. Somebody put that graffiti on the walls, and you don’t feel they had your best interests in mind. Maybe you made a wrong turn, or your GPS didn’t work properly. All you want is to get back to where you were before. That’s the way the market feels right now. We were moving along at [...]

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Keeping Going

By |2018-10-26T07:33:16-04:00October 26th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Are our investments sustainable? Photo: Usukhbayar Gankhuyag. Source: Unsplash Having a sustainable lifestyle is important. We need to eat well, get enough rest, get regular exercise, and be engaged socially in meaningful relationships. We also need to live within our means, spending less than we earn, and setting cash aside for a rainy day, for times when we may be sick or out of work. If our lives get out of balance, something eventually has to give way. “Sustainability” is an important investment concept, [...]

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Car Talk

By |2018-10-25T06:25:45-04:00October 25th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Do you know how your car’s engine works? Photo: Mark Buckawicki. Source: Public Domain Project The last time I lifted the hood it was pretty intimidating. The complex tangle of tubes, lines, and differently colored entry-points was impossible to decipher. The car’s manuals weren’t much help. They didn’t even have normal page numbers; the index referred to page 4-23 or 2-6, and I couldn’t even find the size of the gas tank or fuel reserve or whatever they called it. And don’t get me [...]

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Endangered Giants

By |2018-10-23T06:48:52-04:00October 23rd, 2018|Global Market Update|

Have you ever been somewhere that inspires awe? Photo: It’s an amazing feeling. People speak in hushed tones, there’s a sense of majesty, you know you’re in the presence of something amazing. The Grand Canyon, the Giant Sequoias of California, a grand cathedral, or just a clear, starry evening: they stir our spirits and cause us to reflect on our place in the world. That’s the way I often feel about markets – the complicated interweaving of supply, demand, fundamentals, and technical that [...]

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No Pain, No Gain?

By |2018-10-22T07:34:23-04:00October 22nd, 2018|Global Market Update|

Have you ever gotten a “runner’s high”? Photo: AFC Clayton Lenhardt. Source: USAF I have. It’s that euphoric feeling we get when we “push through the pain” of long-term, rhythmic exercise, like jogging or rowing or swimming. It’s not running, specifically, that gives us those feelings of elation and relaxation. It’s the duration. Studies show that moderate, repetitive exercise that lasts 30 minutes or more has psychological as well as physical benefits. After exercising, people tend to be more relaxed and more upbeat throughout [...]

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The Incredibly Shrinking Fed

By |2018-10-19T16:42:35-04:00October 19th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Do you remember getting your height checked? Photo: Sgt Alesia Gusic. Source: US Navy I do. And it was a shock to me, recently, when I realized that I was shorter than before. It shouldn’t be, though. As we get older, the discs in our spine dehydrate and compress. Our spines can also become more curved. Most people lose about a half inch every 10 years or so after they turn 40. Getting smaller isn’t something we usually celebrate, though. Everything we do is [...]

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A Mature Harvest

By |2018-10-18T06:49:46-04:00October 18th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Why are recessions so hard to predict? Photo: Bruno Glätsch. Source: Pixabay We observe the weather, we feel the seasons. The grapes are swelling on the vine. We know when it’s time to pick apples and gather the harvest. When we walk outside, we know that winter is on its way. Why is it so difficult to see the seasons of economic growth, to know when an economic “hard frost” is coming? Seasons are regular, economies are irregular. The weather for certain days may [...]

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All Systems Go

By |2018-10-17T06:20:08-04:00October 17th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What makes some companies take off while others struggle? Apollo 7 launch. Source: NASA There are lots of examples: Facebook created the dominant digital social network, while other platforms failed. Costco is a huge discount club while Wal-Mart has struggled. Johnson & Johnson has succeeded across a broad range of health-care businesses, while others have faltered, brought down by scandals or shrinking markets. What’s the difference? It comes down to leadership. Successful companies need vision: leaders who create a sense of community where their [...]

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