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8 to 80 Spotlight: Netflix

A new series covering companies in the 8 to 80 Portfolio… 1) Why is Netflix an 8 to 80 Brand? Netflix is increasingly becoming a part of every household, and its viewers span multiple generations, from Gen Z to Boomers… It is fast becoming a global brand, with international growth outpacing US growth over the […]

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Covid-19: The Third Wave

The third wave of COVID-19 in the US is here. Let’s take a closer look at what that means through a series of questions and answers… When did the 3rd wave begin? New cases started trending higher again in mid-September after falling for the two months prior. They hit their highest level ever this weekend […]

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5-Chart Friday (10/23/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) Bonds Breaking Down? Long-term bond yields are creeping up, with 30-year treasuries at their highest levels since June. Why are yields rising? The combination of rising inflation expectations, a recovering economy, and the prospect of trillions more in debt to […]

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Introducing the 8 to 80 Portfolio

In an investment world that is increasingly shifting towards passive index funds and ETFs, what’s the case for owning individual stocks? For Howard Lindzon (founder partner at Compound), the answer simple: do it for profit, and do it for joy. Howard has a unique view of the investing landscape, sitting at the intersection of private […]

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The Many Problems With Covid Country Comparisons

It has become commonplace to compare covid-19 outcomes in one country to another. By now you’re all familiar with the arguments… “Country A did better. Country B did worse. Country A and their leaders should be praised; Country B and their leaders should be condemned.” Lost in these simplistic conclusions are the many important factors […]

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5-Chart Friday (10/16/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) If You Give It, They Will Spend It The boom in Retail Sales continues with new all-time highs and a September surge. The lesson: if you give the American consumer free money, they will spend it. The recessions of yesteryear […]

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5-Chart Friday (10/9/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) $27 Trillion and Counting… US National Debt has crossed above $27 trillion for the first time. A year ago it was below $23 trillion. As a percentage of economic output (GDP), our national debt has never been higher, steadily […]

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The One Constant: More Debt

US National Debt has crossed above $27 trillion for the first time. A year ago it was below $23 trillion. As a percentage of economic output (GDP), our national debt has never been higher, steadily increasing over the past 40 years… 1980: 31% 1990: 52% 2000: 58% 2010: 87% Today: 138% Why is the ratio […]

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5-Chart Friday (10/2/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) US Jobs Comeback Continues, Slowly 661,000 jobs were added back in September, building on the gains from May through August. This was the smallest rate of change since February, but still a very large move in any historical context. […]

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5-Chart Friday (9/25/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) The Other Side of Mania What follows a mania? Investors in Nikola are slowly finding out, with the stock now down 83% from its high in June. 2) Nothing Easy About Investing Remdesivir has been widely regarded as one […]

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No Country for Old Yields

Over the past 40 years, there has been a one-way trend in US Treasury Bond Yields: down. US 10-Year Treasury Yield…September 1980: 11.6%September 1985: 10.4%September 1990: 8.9%September 1995: 6.2%September 2000: 5.9%September 2005: 4.3%September 2010: 2.8%September 2015: 2.2%September 2020: 0.7% — Charlie Bilello (@charliebilello) September 18, 2020 If you’re a bond investor, that has been a […]

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5-Chart Friday (9/18/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) Snowflakes and Bubbles Snowflake ($SNOW) went public this week as the largest software IPO ever. On its first day of trading it reached a market cap high of over $88 billion, trading at an astounding 219x sales. In a […]

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Great Expectations

“Ask no questions, and you’ll be told no lies.” – Charles Dickens, Great Expectations What returns are you expecting from equities going forward? “At least 20% a year.” That was a conversation I had last week with an investor. It gives you an idea where we are in terms of sentiment. How did they arrive […]

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Snowflakes and Bubbles

Snowflake went public today. Who? Snowflake, a cloud-based data storage and analytics company. You had me at “cloud.” What’s the ticker? $SNOW. Awesome, catchy and easy to remember. Are they profitable? No. They lost $349 million in the fiscal year ending in January and $171 million in the first six months of this year. Even […]

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Investing is Easy?

Peloton reported earnings this week and in after hours trading its market cap moved above $26 billion, nearly as high as Ford. A year ago Peloton went public with a market cap of $7 billion. After posting this chart on twitter, the responses can be summarized as follows: “Ad hominen insult. Ford is going to […]

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5-Chart Friday (9/11/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) End of a Trend? The Nasdaq 100 ETF closed below its 50-day moving average today for the first time since April, ending one of the longest runs ever. It is now down over 10% from its recent high, marking […]

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5-Chart Friday (9/4/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) From Fear to Greed From extreme Fear in March to extreme Greed today. The equity put/call ratio (a ratio of bearish option bets to bullish option bets) has never been lower… We haven’t seen a mania like this since […]

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5-Chart Friday (8/21/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) How Do You Like Them Apples? Apple is now a $2 trillion company, adding $1 trillion to its market cap over the last year. $AAPL How big is $2 trillion? Who will be the first to $3 trillion? The […]

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5-Chart Friday (8/14/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) Rising … Inflation? Deflation has been the buzzword nearly all year, particularly from the Fed in justifying their extraordinary easing measures. So it might come as a surprise to see US inflation expectations rising in a vertical fashion. At […]

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COVID-19: Turning the Corner on the Second Wave

July was a tough month for COVID-19 in the US, with both infections and deaths moving significantly higher. But there are some positive signs that indicate we may be turning the corner. Let’s take a closer look… 1) New Cases Trending Lower New cases in the US peaked on July 23 at a 7-day average […]

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5-Chart Friday (8/7/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) Apple Mania Investors can’t seem to get enough Apple, driving its shares to new heights each and every day. Its market cap is fast approaching $2 trillion. A year ago it stood at $890 billion. Apple’s stock is up […]

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5-Chart Friday (7/31/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) The Amazon Economy It’s hard to imagine a scenario that would have benefited Amazon more than forcing brick-and-mortar stores to close and telling people to stay home. And benefit they did, with 40% revenue growth in the past year, […]

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The Shortest Recession in History?

How quickly things change. Back in March, there were widespread fears of a second Great Depression. A few months later, as stocks surged, everyone was talking about the “v-shaped recovery.” What does the data suggest? Let’s take a look. First, we need to put the pre-covid economic environment in context. In February when the economy […]

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5-Chart Friday (7/24/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) Great Expectations Tesla reported earnings this week with high expectations going in. A year ago, the stock was trading at less than 2x sales. Before earnings, it was trading at an incredible 12x sales, with its stock up over […]

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5-Chart Friday (7/17/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) Bonds for the Long Run? Total returns over the last 20 years… US Stocks: +227% Long-term US Corporate Bonds: 378% Corporate bonds yields were at 8% 20 years ago. Today they’re at 2.05%, an all-time low. The future is […]

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5-Chart Friday (7/10/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) The Big 4 On March 9, 2009, the combined market cap of Apple, Microsoft, Google (Alphabet), and Amazon was $326 billion. Their combined market cap today: $5.77 trillion, up more than 17x since 3/9/09. 2) Dividends … Down S&P […]

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How to Think About Home Price Appreciation

Your home is your castle, and if you’re like most Americans, it is also the largest component of your net worth. Naturally, you would like to see your home appreciate in value over time. But how much would be a reasonable expectation? Let’s take a look at history… Since 1891, U.S. home prices have increased […]

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Put These Charts on Your Wall … 2020 Edition

Put these charts on your wall for reference the next time you think… Stocks can’t go up during a recession… It’s “oversold” or “at support” and has to bounce… It’s “overbought” or “at resistance” and can‘t possibly go higher… Investors are rational and would never pay $239.50 for something worth $22.83… It can’t go below $0… Interest rates can’t go […]

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5-Chart Friday (7/3/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) The King of Buybacks Apple has bought back $338 billion in stock over the past 7 years, which is greater than the market cap of 492 companies in the S&P 500. 2) Top S&P 500 Stocks … Last 20 […]

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5-Chart Friday (6/26/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1. Dow Winners and Losers… It’s a tale of sectors in the Dow this year. Large tech names (Microsoft and Apple) are acting as if they are immune to recession while the shutdown has hit Industrials (Boeing, Raytheon), Energy (Exxon […]

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COVID-19: Breaking Down the “Second Wave”

Talk of a “second wave” of COVID-19 in the US has begun. Why? Let’s take a closer look through a series of questions and answers… What’s going on with new cases? New daily cases in the US hit their highest level ever yesterday (38,672), surpassing the prior high from April 25 (36,006). But I thought […]

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Are Tech Stocks Immune to Recession?

In 2000, the dot-com bubble began to burst. Tech stocks finished the year down 42%. (note: using S&P 500 technology sector ETF ($XLK) as a proxy for the tech sector.) In 2001, the recession officially began, and tech stocks finished down 23%. In 2002, the carnage finally ended, but not before another 38% decline. The […]

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5-Chart Friday (6/19/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1. The Worst Risk/Reward in History? Yields on investment grade US corporate bonds hit a new all-time low this week: 2.23%. 2. The Irrational Investor Would you pay someone $205 for an asset worth only $21.87? Investors in the Ethereum […]

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Are Investors Rational?

Would you pay someone $205 for an asset worth only $21.87? Of course not; what a ridiculous question. And yet, investors in the Ethereum Trust ($ETHE) are doing just that, paying a stunning 837% premium above the net asset value (NAV) of the underlying holdings (Ethereum, a cryptocurrency). Why would anyone do such an irrational […]

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COVID-19 Q & A

There’s been a lot of confusing reports lately on COVID-19. Some are saying the worst is over while others are saying a second wave is coming that will be worse than the first. Let’s run through some questions and answers to parse out where we are with the virus and where we may be headed… […]

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5-Chart Friday (6/12/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1. From Nikola to … The mania is back, this time in a company called Nikola ($NKLA), named after famous inventor Nikola Tesla. Hyped as a potential competitor to Tesla, the hybrid truck design company’s stock has skyrocketed. On Tuesday, […]

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$26 Trillion and Counting

Non-taxable stimulus checks, extra unemployment benefits paying many workers more than when they were working, forgivable loans for small business, grants and loans for large corporations, payments to state and local governments, grants for healthcare providers, and more. “How are we paying for all of this?” I’ve been getting this question more and more lately. […]

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The Worst Risk/Reward in History?

The yield on investment grade corporate bonds has moved all the way down to 2.35%. If the month ended today, that would be the lowest monthly close in history. Why is this important? Because the single best predictor of future returns for bonds are its starting yield. On average, the higher the starting yield, the […]

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5-Chart Friday (6/5/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1. Winners and Losers The best and worst performing stocks in the S&P 500 and Russell 1000 this year… 2. Jobs Coming Back … Slowly The US Unemployment Rate moved down to 13.3% in May from 14.7% in April. The […]

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What is Real?

High Yield credit spreads are lower today than they were during market corrections in 2011 and 2016. The same is true for Investment Grade credit spreads. Why is this notable? There were no recessions in 2011 or 2016 and today were are faced with what could be the largest economic contraction since the Great Depression. […]

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5-Chart Friday (5/29/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1. Mortgage Rates at Historic Lows The 30-Year Mortgage Rate in the US hit another all-time low this week: 3.15%. 2. 81 … As in 81 Central Banks around the world cutting interest rates thus far in 2020. We’ve never […]

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Make a Habit of It

What were your new year’s resolutions entering 2020? If you’re like most people, your list probably included at least one of the following: Lose weight. Get back in shape. Eat healthier. Be less stressed. Get more sleep. Spend more quality time with your family. Get out of debt, save more. Read more. Learn something new. […]

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War and Peace

As Americans celebrate Memorial Day this weekend, we honor all those who served and paid the ultimate price in the name of freedom. This year, we find ourselves fighting a different kind of war. It’s most certainly a world war, but one very different from the last. From its start in 1939 to its end […]

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5-Chart Friday (5/22/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1. $7 Trillion and Counting The Fed’s balance sheet moved above $7 trillion this week for the first time, with $2.9 trillion in asset purchased in just the last 3 months. In 2008, the Fed increased its assets by over […]

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Dazed and Confused

If the dichotomy between markets and the economy has left you dazed and confused, you’re not alone. For on one side of the ledger, you have… 16.5% of the US labor force on unemployment, the highest on record (data back to 1967). US Employment to Population Ratio down to 51.3%, a new low. The prior […]

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New York Strong

Surreal. In driving through Manhattan a few weeks ago, that’s the only way I could possibly describe it. Stores closed. Streets empty. Sounds of silence. Even the crossroads of the world, Times Square, was desolate. As a lifelong New Yorker, it felt like a dream. A dream that has now lasted for nearly 2 months. […]

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5-Chart Friday (5/15/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing. 1. Industrial Production US Industrial Production is down 15% year-over-year. Capacity Utilization Rate fell to 64.9%, lowest level on record (data back to 1967). 2. Retail Sales US Retail Sales are down 17.8% year-over-year, largest decline on record (data back […]

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5-Chart Friday (5/8/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing. 1. US Unemployment Highest since Depression US Unemployment Rate moves up to 14.7%. The peak % in prior recessions…2007-09: 10.0%2001: 6.3%1990-1991: 7.8%1981-1982: 10.8%1973-75: 9.0%1969-70: 6.1%1960-61: 7.1%1957-58: 7.5%1953-54: 6.1%1948-49: 7.9% pic.twitter.com/5VuZB958WV — Charlie Bilello (@charliebilello) May 8, 2020 US Employment to […]

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5-Chart Friday (5/1/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing. 1. 1 out of 3 … on Facebook 1 out of 3 people on the planet are now using using facebook on a monthly basis. 2.6 billion MAU / 7.8 billion global population = 33.33% Facebook Monthly Active Users, Billions […]

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5-Chart Friday (4/24/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing. 1. Unemployment Rising at Record Pace 12.5% of the labor force in the US is on unemployment as of the end of last week. 2. Pizza vs. Software Software is eating the world and the world is eating pizza. Two […]

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5-Chart Friday (4/17/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing. 1. Bank Earnings Crushed Bank Earnings…$C: $2.5b profit (-46% YoY), added $7b to loan loss reserves$BAC: $4b profit (-45% YoY), $3.6b loan reserves$GS: $1.2b profit (-46% YoY), $937m loan reserves$WFC: $653m profit (-89% YoY), $3.1b loan reserves$JPM: $2.9b profit (-69% […]

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5-Chart Friday (4/10/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing. 1. Good Friday New York COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to trend lower… 2. Forza Italia Italy reported the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases since March 13 (3,039), 7-day average lowest since March 13-19. (See related post) 3. One Downtrend We […]

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Life is Beautiful

Italy. No country has been hit harder by this virus. The bad news there has been unrelenting, day after day, week after week. It almost seemed as if it would never end. But alas, there is a glimmer of hope. I’ve been tracking the number of new COVID-19 cases in Italy, and over the past […]

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5-Chart Friday (4/3/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing. 1. A Turn for the Better in Hard-hit Italy 🙏 Italy has reported an average of 4,428 new COVID-19 cases over the last 5 days, the lowest 5-day average since March 15-19. Hoping and praying this continues… 2. Crude Oil […]

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How Anytown, USA Could Save the World

Test, test, test. That has become the mantra in battling the novel coronavirus. The more testing we do, the more information we have, and the better decisions we can make about the best way to move forward. This is a sensible strategy, but only testing the sickest among us is giving us incomplete information, and […]

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5-Chart Friday (3/27/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing.. 1. Big Swings Continue The Dow was up 11.37% on Tuesday, its 4th largest gain in history (see recent post). If we look back at the top 25 daily gains historically, 15 occurred during the Great Depression (August 1929 – […]

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Hope, Faith, and Destiny

Hope “Hope is the thing with feathersThat perches in the soulAnd sings the tune without the wordsAnd never stops at all.” – Emily Dickinson One month ago, Wuhan and the Hubei Provence were the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. In the past week, new reported cases there have moved down to zero. In broader China, […]

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5-Chart Friday (3/20/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1. Back to 0% In a 2nd emergency cut, the Fed moved 100 bps to bring interest rates back down to an all-time low of 0.00-0.25%. Other Central Banks cutting rates this week: New Zealand, Canada, Norway, UK, Australia, South […]

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Apocalypse Interrupted

I’m interrupting your regularly scheduled programming of the coming apocalypse to bring you some encouraging news… The world is not coming to an end – not by a long shot. We are figuring this thing out, and faster than anyone could have ever predicted. In South Korea, they have been testing 20,000 people per day […]

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When All News Is Bad News

The Volatility Index (VIX), also known as the “fear index,” ended today at 82.69. Since its inception in 1990 it has never had a higher close. When was the previous record? November 20, 2008. In the midst of the Global Financial Crisis, after the Lehman Bankruptcy, and 11 months into the worst recession since the […]

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5-Chart Friday (3/13/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1. Oil Crashes Crude Oil fell over 24% on Monday, the 2nd largest 1-day decline in history. Energy stocks fell in tandem, with the largest 5-day decline for the Energy sector ever ($XLE -34.6%). 2. Remember Tilray? It’s now down […]

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5-Chart Friday (3/6/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1. New All-Time Low in Mortgage Rates It’s official… The 30-Year Mortgage Rate in the US hit a new all-time low this week: 3.29%. 2. Let the Easing Begin… In the first emergency move since 2008, the Fed cut rates […]

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5-Chart Friday (2/28/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) Volatility Returns This was the largest weekly spike in the history of the Volatility Index. +135% (Note: VIX started in 1990). 2) Historic Decline in Dow The Dow declined 13% over the past 6 trading days. Going back to […]

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How to Think About Investing Cash on the Sidelines

This is a story many of you will be familiar with. You have money to invest that’s been sitting in cash. This is money you don’t expect to need or access for more than 20 years, if ever. You know that cash is likely to significantly underperform a diversified investment portfolio over the next 20+ […]

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5-Chart Friday (2/21/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) 1.90% … for 30 Years? The 30-Year US Treasury Yield closed at an all-time low today: 1.90%. On October 26, 1981, it closed at an all-time high of 15.21%. My how times have changed. 2) Software is eating the […]

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5-Chart Friday (2/14/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) Growth vs. Value The ratio of growth stocks to value stocks is at its highest level in 19 years. The top 10 holdings in the large cap growth ETF (IWF)… The top 10 holdings in the large cap value […]

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The Price of Admission

When investors think about risk, 2008 is usually the first thing that comes to mind. And for good reason. It was the worst year that most investors alive today have ever experienced. With dividends included, the S&P 500 lost 37% in 2008, its largest decline since 1931 (during the Great Depression). Since the end of […]

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5-Chart Friday (2/7/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1) All-Time Highs … Again Well, that was quick. After a brief 3% pullback on “coronavirus concerns,” the S&P 500 and other major US indices rocketed back to new all-time highs this week. For the S&P 500, it was the […]

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5-Chart Friday (1/31/20)

5 charts from the past week that tell an interesting story in markets and investing… 1. Copper and Coronavirus Down 12 days in a row, this is the longest down streak in history for Copper (data going back to 1971). Who is the largest importer of Copper? You guessed it … China. Fears about the […]

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Bonds, Bubbles and Biases

What returns are you expecting from bonds over the next five years? If you’re like most investors, your answer is probably too high. Why? Because of something called recency bias, the human tendency to give more weight to the recent past in making projections about the future. And why is that a problem today? Because […]

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Having a Why to Live

What brings meaning to your life? There’s no more important question. But how often do we take the time to sit and actually think about it? Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months turn into years. ‘We’ll focus on it tomorrow; there’s still plenty of time.’ And so the question remains, burning […]

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2019: The Year in Charts

Here are the charts and themes that tell the story of 2019… I. From Humble Beginnings “Bear Market. Inverted Yield Curve. Trade War. Government Shutdown. Recession.” These were just a few of the ominous buzzwords heard at the start of 2019. The S&P 500 had just suffered its worst December since the Great Depression (-9%) […]

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20 Rules for Markets and Investing

1) Be humble or the markets will eventually find a way to humble you. Having more confidence is a good thing in many areas of life. Markets are not one of them. More confident investors tend to trade more and take on undue risk, leading to worse performance. Men are generally more confident in their […]

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Compound Your Life

Compounding. It’s more than just an investing concept. It’s the idea that exponential growth is possible in many of the most important areas of life. Love and relationships, health and fitness, knowledge and wisdom, mindfulness and spirituality – all have elements that can benefit from the power of compounding. In investing, the formula for compounding […]

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