Getting Shanghaied?

By | 2018-07-13T09:09:41+00:00 July 13th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Is Tesla turning Chinese? Photo: John Cummings. Source: Wikimedia Tesla says that it plans to set up its first non-US factory in Shanghai. It’s a logical next step for the electric vehicle maker. China is the number one electric car market in the world, with almost half a million in vehicle sales – more than twice the level in the US. Next year, Beijing will require that every automaker that sells gasoline-powered cars in China also offer electric vehicles, or else purchase credits from [...]

Trading Data?

By | 2018-07-12T07:29:21+00:00 July 12th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Remember “Trading Places”? Photo: Jeremy Kemp. Source: Wikimedia The movie centers around commodities trading. For many folks, it’s their favorite depiction of financial markets. The director, John Landis, employed actual commodities traders as extras for several scenes of the New York Mercantile Exchange. At the movie’s climax, trading stops and the traders gather breathlessly around a television monitor, watching the Secretary of Agriculture personally read from the monthly crop report regarding that year’s orange harvest. It’s very dramatic and great fun, but anyone involved [...]

Titanic Financials

By | 2018-07-12T09:37:30+00:00 July 11th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Is our financial system too big to fail, or just too big? RMS Titanic. Public Domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons With LIBOR alternatives, Ponzi schemes, and financial corruption still in the news, many folks are saying, “Stop the financial system, I want to get out!” But exiting the current financial system just isn’t practical. Sure, we could turn off our cell phones, raise our own wheat, and buy and sell stuff using Bitcoins or Ether, but that’s just not practical. Changing to an Amish lifestyle [...]

Playing Chicken with Trade

By | 2018-07-10T07:24:43+00:00 July 10th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Remember James Dean? Public Domain. Source: Wikimedia In “Rebel Without a Cause,” James Dean and a teenage rival play a game of chicken, racing two stolen cars towards a cliff. Both plan to jump out at the last moment. But the other guy’s jacket gets caught in his car door, and he goes over the cliff with his car. Sometimes trade negotiations seem like a game of chicken. Both sides want concessions. Neither side wants a trade war – raising prices for their own [...]

The Movable Feast

By | 2018-07-09T08:32:30+00:00 July 9th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What keeps our economy going? Photo: Rita E. Source: Pixabay Ernest Hemingway lived in Paris as a young man during the 1920s. He called it “a movable feast.” The intellectual fellowship he experienced with notable writers and artists like Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and many others stayed with him for the rest of his life. He could always look back on that time and draw on its nourishment. Leverage is our economy’s movable feast. But when we gorge ourselves, it feeds [...]

Market Dreams

By | 2018-07-02T07:50:24+00:00 July 2nd, 2018|Global Market Update|

Are market changes real, or are they more like dreams? Dreams of World War 1 soldiers, by Jan Styka. Source: Lublin Museum There’s a common thought that market gains or losses aren’t real gains or losses – they’re only “on paper” until investors sell their holdings, making them “real.” But that’s a cognitive error – a kind of egocentric bias that says that something is only real if it affects me. In fact, price changes are real changes. When IBM went from $100 to [...]

Substance and Signals

By | 2018-06-29T16:39:20+00:00 June 29th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What is college good for? Photo: Javier Capella. Source: US Navy As millions of parents around the country face billions in tuition bills for the coming school year, it’s a question worth asking. The answer seems obvious: the financial benefits from college appear greater than ever. The earnings premium from a college diploma is now 73%: folks with undergraduate degrees earn 73% more, on average, than those who never went to college. This is up from 50% in the 1970s. Of course, your mileage [...]

Self-Driving Groceries?

By | 2018-06-29T05:23:27+00:00 June 29th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Remember WebVan? Photo: Mark Coggins. Source: Wikimedia The now-defunct grocery-delivery service has become an example of some of the excesses of the dot-com era. Executives with no experience in the grocery business were going to undercut and revolutionize how we buy groceries by offering consumers a check-the-box website and home delivery. The company was founded in 1996, went public in 1999, and declared bankruptcy in 2001. At its peak, they employed 4,400 people, had $180 million in sales, and served ten major metropolitan areas. [...]

Helping Habits Succeed

By | 2018-06-27T15:02:27+00:00 June 27th, 2018|Global Market Update|

How can we establish good habits? Photo: Jack Moreh. Source: Free Range Stock Photos The key to reaching long-term goals is establishing good, sustainable habits. Whether it’s saving for retirement or losing weight or improving your smile, we have to adjust our daily routines in order to reach our final destination. Habits can be powerful and empowering. Along the 2,600-mile Pacific Coast Trail, scores of hikers quit right around mile 100, just where the mountains start to get big. They hadn’t established the routine [...]