Starting Small

By |2019-10-02T07:37:56-04:00September 12th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Is there a bear market hiding somewhere? Photo: Courney Celley/USFWS. Source: Flikr. Public Domain. A bear market is a period of time where securities prices tend to fall. They can last from a few months to several decades. Some people think Japan’s stock market has been in an enduring bear market since 1989. Bear markets are marked by economic weakness and falling corporate profits. Often, they feed on themselves: falling markets lead to pessimism which leads to more declines which lead to more pessimism. [...]

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Foggy Prospects

By |2019-10-02T07:37:56-04:00September 11th, 2019|Global Market Update|

We had some pretty thick ground-fog the other day. Photo: StockSnap. Source: Pixabay. License. We didn’t have fog very often where I grew up in Minnesota. The prairie is flat and clear, and the temperatures evenly distributed. But in northern New England, the mountains cool much faster than the surrounding land. The heavier cold air flows downhill into the valleys, where the atmosphere is thick with moisture. The cold, dry air forces the water vapor to condense, and a thick fog forms. It’s interesting [...]

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The Foolishness of Crowds

By |2019-10-02T07:37:56-04:00September 10th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Have you ever cheered with a really big crowd? Photo: Pexels. Source: Pixabay. License. The cheering and excitement take on a life of their own. We get swept up in waves of emotion and excitement, carried along by the power of thousands and thousands of people just like us, rooting – and dreading – the same things. There’s something primal, elemental about it. People are tribal. We’ve developed group cohesion strategies in order to survive. Social media, news outlets, politicians, marketers all use this [...]

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Abstract Markets

By |2019-10-02T07:37:56-04:00September 9th, 2019|Global Market Update|

What do you see? “Police Gazette,” by William de Kooning. Source: Wikipedia. Abstract expressionist art demands as much from its viewers as it does of the artists who create it. It’s emotionally intense, and tries to capture the “spirit” of the subject, rather than particular details. But the artworks are open to a lot of interpretation. Reality can seem obscure and difficult to elicit. One of the most important such artists of the 20th century was Willem de Kooning, a talented painter who came [...]

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Marching Portfolios

By |2019-10-02T07:37:56-04:00September 6th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Did you ever play in a band? Photo: Manseok Kim. Source: Pixabay. License. I did in high school. It was a small affair, and we weren’t very good. There were only about a dozen of us: a couple of flutes, clarinets, and a bassoon, some trumpets and trombones, a drummer, and I played the French horn. Our school didn’t have a big instrumental tradition, and the school itself was pretty small. But we had a lot of fun, and we learned a lot about [...]

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The Loneliness Effect

By |2019-10-02T07:37:56-04:00September 5th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Is loneliness a growing problem? Photo: Matthew Henry. Source: Freerangestock. CC0. Several major publications have recently claimed that loneliness has risen dramatically, that it’s an epidemic, that there is a “loneliness crisis.” In the UK, the government even created a “Minister for Loneliness” as a way to battle social isolation and the resulting health problems. Loneliness tends to increase stress, our to which our bodies respond by releasing stress hormones. Over the long run, this can impair cognitive performance, compromise the immune system, and [...]

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The Wealth of Asia

By |2019-10-02T07:37:56-04:00September 4th, 2019|Global Market Update|

What is Hong Kong? Photo: Robster1983. Source: Wikimedia. CC0. Hong Kong is a former British Colony founded in 1840 as a trading station. It has a free market economy with almost no tariffs or duties, highly dependent on international trade and finance. In fact, the value of imports and exports, $1.2 trillion, is approximately four time the size of Hong Kong’s economy. It has very little arable land and no significant natural resources. All it has is a decent harbor, an advantageous location, and [...]

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Working Harder or Smarter? Or Something Else?

By |2019-10-02T07:37:56-04:00September 3rd, 2019|Global Market Update|

How can we be more productive? Photo: Doug Tengdin. When we think of how to be more productive, we may think of long days and hard labor. When economists look at an entire economy, they consider equipment, technology, and training. And productivity is incredibly important to an economy. One of the simplest equations in economics is how to calculate economic growth: Labor force growth plus productivity equals economic growth. How many hours we work times how much we do per hour equals the economy. [...]

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Forestry Lessons

By |2019-10-02T07:37:57-04:00August 30th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Big things start out small. Photo: Alanzon. Source: Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA 3.0. That’s what I thought on a recent hike in the White Mountains. The forest was thick and dark. Up above the treetops, it was a bright, sunny day. Down on the forest floor the light had been filtered through several layers of overstory. But there was a funny thing about the forest floor: it was covered with seedlings, small sprouts that had germinated this season, reaching up into the faint light. “Good luck, [...]

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Latte Art

By |2019-10-02T07:37:57-04:00August 29th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Does your work get noticed? Photo: Burst. Source: Picography. CC0. I recently stopped at a roadside donut shop to get a quick cup of coffee, and the server took a little extra time with my latte. He handed it over with a vague, curious smile. Intrigued, I popped off the lid on my coffee cup before taking my first sip. Sure enough, there was a small “tree” in the milk foam, hidden from view. Since the store wasn’t busy, I asked him about his [...]

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