Shaky Legs

By |2019-06-12T22:54:12-04:00June 12th, 2019|Global Market Update|

This is the time of year the baby fawns start come out. Photo: Bryan Hanson. Source: Morguefile. Fawns are adorable. They gambol and play and remind us of the cycle of life. But they’re shaky on their new feet. Like everything that starts fresh, the first few steps can be unsteady. In this, they’re a lot like small companies. Small stocks are a lot more volatile than big stocks. They can jump or drop by up to 20% in a day and no one [...]

Don’t Do Stupid Stuff

By |2019-01-06T22:12:32-04:00January 6th, 2019|Global Market Update|

How do we avoid doing stupid things? Tourist taking selfie near riot. Photo: Matthew Roth. Source: Flikr. CC-BY-2.0 We’ve all done them: rushed off to the airport and forgot our driver’s license. Gotten off a train or plane and left a critical item behind: a wallet, a cellphone, the car keys. We take a wrong turn on the way home – a route we’ve driven hundreds of times – and suddenly we’re in a bad neighborhood, or we’re going the wrong way on the [...]

Winter Storm Watch

By |2018-12-07T14:30:03-04:00December 7th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Are we ready for this? Early winter storm. Public Domain. Source: Max Pixel November this year was the coldest and snowiest ever in the Northeast. In general, we try to prepare for winter early, cleaning the yard, raking leaves, splitting and stacking wood. But these early storms caught us a little off guard. In particular, I hadn’t changed to snow tires. Usually, putting them on by Thanksgiving and taking them off after tax day is good enough. But not this time. Apparently, we weren’t [...]

Avoiding a Crash

By |2018-11-26T07:54:53-04:00November 26th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Did everyone get home safely? Photo: John Mosesso, NBII. Source: Wikimedia The Sunday after Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel days of the year. It’s estimated that over 4 million people flew home on Sunday, with almost 50 million taking to the roads. I drove into Boston’s Logan Airport early Sunday morning, and the traffic at 5:30 am was something to see – cars honking and cutting each other off, security officers yelling and waving frantically, folks scrambling to get themselves and [...]

Of Chaos and Control

By |2018-04-05T07:10:45-04:00April 5th, 2018|Global Market Update|

How do you deal with chaos in the market? Photo: Raj Vitthalpura. Source: Free Range Stock Photos It’s easy to freak out when you see how volatile the market has been, lately. One day the market is down 3%, the next it’s up. Yesterday the Dow was down over 500 points in the morning. Traders were freaking out over the prospects of a trade war. By the afternoon, folks had calmed down and the average was up a couple hundred points. How do you [...]

Fed Obsessions

By |2018-03-09T07:14:23-04:00March 9th, 2018|Global Market Update|

What effect does the Fed have? Poster from 1880s. Source: Wikimedia For years we’ve obsessed about the Federal Reserve. Whether we picture the Chair as a heroic figure fighting off the forces of darkness and doom, or see the Fed as the center of a global conspiracy to enact vicious cycles of ruin, or view Fed staff and officers as primarily technocrats overseeing the country’s banking and monetary system, the Fed is at the center of a lot of our thinking. And a lot [...]

Risk, Uncertainty, and Balance

By |2018-03-02T07:31:03-04:00March 2nd, 2018|Global Market Update|

The Era of Low Volatility is Over. Photo: NOAA. Source: Wikimedia That’s what I thought when I looked at last month’s returns. Equity markets around the world were down around 5% last month, led by economic stalwarts like Johnson & Johnson and Samsung Electronics. Growth-oriented companies, like Amazon and Microsoft, still keep chugging along. But the market’s unbroken string of monthly advances – with barely a pause to admire the scenery – ended in February. A series of scary stories has spooked market participants. [...]

Markets, Matter, and Risk

By |2018-02-06T07:39:25-04:00February 6th, 2018|Global Market Update|

Risk is conserved. S&P 500 member returns, 2-6-18. Source: Finviz That’s what I thought as I looked at the recent sell-off. Ever since the recovery of the oil patch in March of 2016, the markets have seemed like a one-way, upward bet. Normal volatility has been suppressed. For decades, the market returns averaged 8%, with 15% variance. That is, most returns were spread between 22% and negative 7%. While the average was pretty reliable, any particular year could happen to fall between really positive [...]

A Diverse Picture

By |2017-07-17T12:21:18-04:00June 5th, 2017|Global Market Update|

What’s happening in the world? “Convergence” by Jackson Pollack. Source: Albright-Knox Art Gallery Chaos. At least, what appears to be chaos. England just saw its third terrorist strike in three months. I had to double-check the dateline on the news article I was reading this weekend to be sure it wasn’t from last March. The details of the story seemed so similar. Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris climate agreement, a move supported by conservatives by widely panned by many others, including political, [...]

“With or Without You”?

By |2017-07-17T12:21:55-04:00June 28th, 2016|Global Market Update|

Now what? U2 Performing “With or Without You.” Source: Wikipedia The short answer is, volatility will increase. But it doesn’t take the deductive powers of Sherlock or Mycroft Holmes to figure that one out. It’s cold comfort to investors who have lost money to know that most other investors did as well. And comments about this taking us back to the days of the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 aren’t helpful. This isn’t 1992, and Brexit isn’t taking us back there. But the “lookback” commentary [...]