The Global Market Update is curated by Douglas Tengdin, CFA an employee of Charter Trust Company.
The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Charter Trust Company.
Investments may involve investment risk, including the possible loss of value.

Apocalypse Later

By |September 3rd, 2018|

Sometimes the world doesn’t end. Source: Pixabay. A few years ago, the financial world was buzzing about “robo-advisors.” These web sites and smartphone apps were going to revolutionize investing and wealth management. The services start with a set of interview questions, then make investment allocations into various Exchange Traded Funds. By using algorithms to provide rule-based recommendations using low-cost index funds, their hope was to [...]

Order, Decay, and Competition

By |August 30th, 2018|

History was never over. Berlin wall, November 1989. Source: Department of Defense In early 1989 Francis Fukuyama gave a talk and wrote a paper with the provocative title, “The End of History.” In this seminal paper he argues that with the collapse of Soviet-style communism, liberal democratic capitalism had no meaningful ideological competitor on the world stage. Smaller countries like North Korea or Vietnam might [...]

The Future that Happened?

By |August 29th, 2018|

Will demographics doom China? Traffic in Beijing. Source: Wikimedia. People use to worry about overpopulation. You still see the bumper stickers: “Two’s Company, 7 Billion’s a Crowd.” But not so much anymore. Global population growth has slowed dramatically. Urban lifestyles, better health care, and birth control have dramatically reduced population growth just about everywhere. In the 1960’s, the world’s population was growing at over 2% [...]

Good News, Bad News, Motivated News

By |August 28th, 2018|

Is lower unemployment good news? Photo: Lee Haywood. Source: Flikr.CC-BY-2.0 It is if you’re unemployed. But it’s bad news if you’re trying to hire workers and expand your business. The same can be said about inflation: higher prices are good if you’re a producer, but bad news if you’re a consumer on a fixed income. Economic news isn’t necessarily good or bad. It just is. [...]

Successful Failure

By |August 27th, 2018|

We like to celebrate market winners. But what it really allows is failure. Illustration: Naobim. Source: Pixabay Centuries ago, if you couldn’t pay your debts, you were thrown into debtor’s prison where you wrote letters imploring family and friends to bail you out. In ancient Rome, if you pledged yourself as loan collateral and couldn’t pay the loan, you became your creditor’s slave. Colonial Virginia [...]

Navigating by the Stars

By |August 27th, 2018|

Where is the Fed taking our economy? Public Domain. Source: NASA In a widely-anticipated speech at the Fed’s annual conclave in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Chairman Jerome Powell discussed how he and the Fed Board of Governors see their role as policy-makers in a dynamic economy. He described the economy as having three natural rates: the natural rate of unemployment, the natural rate of inflation, and [...]

Season of Growth

By |August 23rd, 2018|

What makes an economy grow? Source: USDA People often assume it’s natural for economies to have steady, long-term growth, but there’s no law of nature that requires this. In fact, when we look at nature world we see cycles of growth and decline. Gardens sprout in the spring, bear fruit in the summer, and die back in the fall. Populations of rabbits and deer grow [...]

Holding On

By |August 22nd, 2018|

Are you a long-term investor? Illustration: Gerd Altman. Source: Pixabay Everybody says they are. When the market is high, they claim that they’re not worried about a few small fluctuations. But if stocks fall 5%, you’d think we just declared war. They everyone wants to get out, but only until the market heads back up. Then they’re long-term investors again. We don’t think about what [...]

Rolling the Dice?

By |August 21st, 2018|

How do we manage risk in our lives? CC0 1.0 Public Domain. Source: Pxhere The first step is to acknowledge that risk is omnipresent and it’s not our friend. Oblivious investors are their own worst enemies. The Financial Crisis came about in part because real-estate and bond investors thought the world had fundamentally changed to have a lower risk profile. They became complacent and bought [...]