The Signal and the Noise (Part 1)

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:17+00:00 June 12th, 2017|Global Market Update|

How can we concentrate on what matters? Radio frequency doubler. Source: Wikipedia Between Twitter and newspapers and talking-heads and junk mail proclaiming the next turn in the market, what’s a long-term investor to do? How can we stay focused on what we need to know without being distracted by all the noise? The first step is to understand that most of what’s on the airwaves is static—background verbal clutter of no more consequence than elevator music. The real news that matters for your investing [...]

Investing Rationally?

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:37+00:00 November 29th, 2016|Global Market Update|

What do investors want? Photo: Simon Steinberger. Source: Pixabay Fifty years ago analysts assumed that all investors should care about is getting high returns with low risk. People who traded a lot, or concentrated their portfolios, or did something other than what conventional finance recommended were labeled irrational. But what we do seems rational to us at the time. A dress from Filene’s Basement may be just as functional as a $2,000 designer dress, but it may not be as beautiful, or it may [...]

Buy, Sell, or Jump?

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:51+00:00 August 11th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Is the market on the edge of a cliff? Photo: Mercy from Wikimedia Commons: Source: Wikipedia That’s what a lot of smart people are saying. They cite our political mess, our slow-growth economy, negative interest rates in Europe and Japan, rising corporate leverage, and accounting tricks and they figure a crash must be coming. So, with the stock market flirting with record highs and bond yields near record lows, is it time to sell everything? The short answer is, probably not. It’s almost never [...]

On Tipping (Part 1)

By | 2017-07-17T12:21:53+00:00 July 20th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Psst: want a quick stock tip? Photo: Stuart J. Whitmore. Source: Morguefile Lots of folks ask me for a quick tip. It’s natural when they hear that I help people manage their money. After all, if you can find the next 10-bagger before it goes parabolic, you could spin the straw of your savings account into retirement gold. Or we think. But investing isn’t like that. It’s not about getting lucky. When we invest, we put our money to work among economic enterprises where [...]

Driving, Putting, and Asset Allocation

By | 2017-07-17T12:22:08+00:00 February 19th, 2016|Global Market Update|

“Drive for show, putt for dough.”     Bob Hope putting in the Oval Office. Photo: Oliver Atkins. Source: National Archives. That’s an old golf saying – attributed to Bobby Locke, the South African golfer dominant in the ‘40s and ‘50s. He won the British Open four times in eight years. He was so good that he was banned from the PGA Tour. He didn’t drive the ball very far from the tee, but on the putting greens he was a genius. He had [...]

Time Management?

By | 2017-07-17T12:22:25+00:00 October 9th, 2015|Global Market Update|

Time Management? Time is our most precious resource. Source: Pixabay We can’t make more of it, it’s difficult to manage, and everyone wants some of yours. We can try to stretch time, to enjoy an event or experience for longer, but the clock ticks relentlessly forward: time waits for no one. When we’re investing, the length of time an investment can be held is the single most important factor to consider. Given enough time, risky investments become safe, and safe investments become risky. Over [...]

Timing Is Everything

By | 2017-07-17T12:22:41+00:00 July 29th, 2015|Global Market Update|

How important is time to an investor? Photo: Petr Broz. Source: Wikipedia The length of time investors have to plan for is the single most powerful factor in their investment process. If time is short, investments with the highest potential return are the least desirable, because they entail the greatest risk. But given enough time, assets that appear risky become desirable. Time transforms investments from least attractive to most attractive—and vice versa. Our time horizon has a major impact on our investment strategy. This [...]

Trading vs. Investing

By | 2017-07-17T12:22:59+00:00 April 9th, 2015|Global Market Update|

Are you a trader or investor? Source: Gratisography I started out as a trader. In the ‘80s I bought and sold Treasury Notes and Bonds—as well as futures and options—almost every day for a mid-sized bank. I used technical and fundamental analysis, subscribed to charting services, and practically lived on my phone. Trading was a tonic that got into my blood. […]

It’s the Process, Stupid

By | 2017-07-17T12:34:13+00:00 October 6th, 2014|Global Market Update|

The dollar is strengthening. Is it time to sell? Stocks have pulled back. Is it time to buy? Interest rates are rising–wait, no they’ve fallen. And the economy is uncertain. What’s an investor to do? Source: Wikipedia When investors get caught up in the latest economic or political news, their portfolios can begin to look like a “Rube Goldberg” device: over-engineered and underperforming. This became clear last week, […]

The Heroic Investor

By | 2014-06-25T10:52:48+00:00 June 25th, 2014|Global Market Update|

Can investors be heroes? The early epics are sometimes called heroic literature. They start and finish with a singular character. The Illiad, Odyssey, and Aeneid are epic poems that focus on Achilles, Odysseus, and Aeneas respectively, with their particular character qualities. Generations of readers have heard or read of Achilles’ strength, Odysseus’ cunning, or Aeneas’ leadership through these works. Each one of them uses his particular ability to accomplish his mission. But they must also overcome distractions or obstacles would keep them from reaching [...]