Northern Light Investing

By |2019-01-31T08:14:35-04:00January 31st, 2019|Global Market Update|

Have you seen the northern lights? Photo: Lukas Talab. Source: Picjumbo Every so often, we get a display of the aurora borealis as far south as New Hampshire. Normally, the northern lights are only visible in high latitudes like Alaska, northern Canada, or Siberia, but occasionally they show up down here. Originally thought to be a false dawn blown about by the north wind – hence the name – an aurora is caused by electrons from the solar wind interacting with the earth’s magnetic [...]

Carousel Investing

By |2019-01-31T10:15:25-04:00January 30th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Can carousels teach us about investing? “Photo: Latham Jenkins. Source: Flikr. CC-BY-2.0” 40 years ago, Joni Mitchell wrote “The Circle Game,” a lyrical song about carousels and a young man’s gradual coming of age. The most memorable part is the refrain, which goes: “We can’t return, we can only look behind from where we came / and go ‘round and ‘round and ‘round in a circle game.” Circles and cycles are part of investing. The economy cycles through growth and recession every 5 [...]

New Growth, Old Growth, Bureaucratic Growth

By |2019-01-30T05:49:26-04:00January 30th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Everybody wants to grow. Fresh shoots on a Pieris plant. Source: Wikimedia We want to grow personally. We want our children to grow intellectually, emotionally, and morally. We want the economy to grow. We want companies in our portfolios to grow their revenues, earnings, and dividends. And we want our investment portfolios to grow. But how do we get there? Everything – whether it’s plants, or people, or companies, or economies – goes through transformation to get to growth. They form patterns, they imitate [...]

Monopoly Blues

By |2019-01-28T14:35:11-04:00January 28th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Is Facebook a monopoly? Photo: Denys Vitali. Source: Pixabay. CC0 Facebook is the largest social network in the world, with over 2 billion active users. Their messenger apps have over a billion users each, as does Instagram. Together, they have enormous pricing power with advertisers. Because they have such a large active user base, they can charge high ad rates and still be the cheapest way for businesses to reach their target markets. They dominate advertising on social media, but Google is actually bigger. [...]

Simple Beauty

By |2019-01-28T05:56:08-04:00January 28th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Simple rules rule. Photo: James Butterfly. Source: Good Free Photos There’s something deeply relaxing about a beautiful work of art. It draws us into the artist’s vision, and communicates a world view without tying us up in endless speculations. The greatest works of art seem to accomplish this effortlessly: the Mona Lisa’s inscrutable smile; the Sistine Chapel’s celebration of the classical beauty of our human frame; Monet’s lilies in their reflecting pool. They call us to deeper reflection. How do artists do this? Form, [...]

The Conversation

By |2019-01-25T05:54:34-04:00January 25th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Do you ever feel like you’re coming in midway through a conversation? River otter and magpie having a conversation. Photo: Tom Koerner/USFWS. Source: Flikr. CC-BY-2.0 Markets and the economy talk to each other all the time. Companies report earnings or losses, investors decide how reputable the managers are, and the share prices adjust. Political leaders alternate between cooperation and confrontation, and the market reacts with hope or concern. But information flows both ways. Share prices rise, giving managers more currency to finance stock-based acquisitions. [...]

Sleepyhead Investing

By |2019-01-23T07:54:42-04:00January 23rd, 2019|Global Market Update|

Are you getting enough sleep? Photo: Tambako the Jaguar. Source: Flikr. CC-BY-2.0 Most people don’t. Doctors recommend 7-9 hours of sleep for most adults every night, but on average we get about 6 hours. In the early 19th century most folks had to fight just to feed and clothe themselves and keep a roof over their heads. Today, life isn’t so grim. We don’t struggle with starvation any more. Our diseases are those of abundance, not scarcity, and we’re just too busy to get [...]

Fiduciaries Rule

By |2019-01-22T06:57:15-04:00January 22nd, 2019|Global Market Update|

Are you a fiduciary? Photo: D. Sharon Pruitt. Source: Wikimedia. There’s lots of talk about fiduciary standards these days, but what does that actually mean? “Fiduciary” is one of those five-dollar words that my friends who took Latin used to throw at me when we argued about something. They would score debating points, but their words left me confused. In fact, many of us are fiduciaries without realizing it. Parents are fiduciaries for their children. Teachers are fiduciaries for their students. Politicians are supposed [...]

Fake News?

By |2019-01-22T05:57:28-04:00January 22nd, 2019|Global Market Update|

Is all this news rotting our brains? “Fake news” from 1894. Illustration: Frederick Opper. Source: Wikipedia. We used to call television “the boob tube.” The expectation was that too much foolish programming was hurting our power to think rationally. And after watching reruns of old “soap operas,” you might think so. Those shows were awful! Now folks claim that news for the mind is like sugar for the body. We need a little to survive, but a steady diet of sound-bytes and Facebook feeds [...]

Snowflake Economics

By |2019-01-18T07:29:36-04:00January 18th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Does winter make economic activity more difficult? Photo: Aaron Burden. Source: Unsplash. We hear it every time a storm hits: “Winter storm ‘Wilma’ cost the US economy X billion dollars.” But is this true? Yes, I may be late getting into work because I was shoveling out my driveway and brushing off my cars. And yes, people drive more slowly on the highway and the airports are jammed. But in our information economy where folks can work from home and malls are closing because [...]