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Almost two years ago to the month, I penned a commentary on my grandmother’s quilting after what had been at the time, a seemingly volatile period in the markets that resulted in almost a 10% drop in the S&P 500 index. The date was February 1, 2016. Fast forward to 2018 and we are again experiencing very volatile markets with some indexes seeing corrective (10%) or bear market (20%) declines from earlier peaks. Before revisiting that archived missive, here are some past and present figures to consider. 2018 Recap In 2018, the only asset class with positive returns was Cash. All other categories were negative for the year, with the exception of fixed income, which was flat. For more details, see 12/31/18 Quilt Chart below. December was one of the worst months on record and 2018 one of the worst years in a decade. Federal Reserve (FED) raised rates 4 times and lowered expectations for real gross domestic product (GDP) growth and inflation. FED has lowered 2019 rate hike expectations from 3 in September to 2 at the December meeting. Read on! →
A recap of the week ended October 26th. One of my favorite songs growing up was Elton John’s Crocodile Rock (Side A). Released in 1973 on a 45 rpm, it was paired with Elderberry Wine (Side B). Crocodile Rock went to #1 while Elderberry Wine was panned by most critics, forever banished to the Side B junkyard. Last week, every big story peaked like a #1 hit record capturing the attention of media and public alike. Meanwhile, over on Side B, those in the investment community who subscribe to a diversified approach to investing, probably finished the week scratched, unbroken and ready for another spin around the turntable. The A-side During the course of any given week, I try to focus on what seems most important as it relates to the work I, and everyone at Clearview Wealth Management, do for clients. This typically means tuning in to a few key economic data points, some global geopolitical news and, as a little diversion, a few sports’ stories. My view being, short term market and news cycles will always be with Read on! →
If you were in charge… If you oversaw your own country, what trade policy would you pursue? Would you be friendly and cooperative or unfriendly and betraying? Maximizing your country’s payoff may be more difficult than imagined. Game theory can be used to measure success and failure. It can also validate just how hard it can be to strike the right balance and allow both trade partners to win. The prisoner’s dilemma… The current trade and tariff dialogue between the U.S. and China is essentially a repeated prisoner’s dilemma – a workhorse model of game theory that captures the tradeoff between mutually beneficial cooperation and individually beneficial betrayal. If played once, there is only one outcome where neither side can do better with a different strategy: both sides betray one another. While unfriendly, the mutual betrayal results in equilibrium or balance. The shortfall of playing one time as if there is no tomorrow, is that trading partners have an infinite number of days in which to trade goods. If prisoner’s dilemma is played multiple times, even infinitely, game Read on! →
Stay up-to-date with six major changes to Social Security for 2018.
You’ve got to know when to hold’em Know when to fold’em Know when to walk away Know when to run… The Gambler (released 1978), lyrics by Don Schlitz, vocals by Kenny Rogers Growing up in rural western Kentucky, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that country music stations littered the AM/FM radio dials. The Gambler received significant air time not only on country stations but also pop stations as the country sound began a “crossover” from its honky-tonk roots to arguably, the more mainstream pop or Top 40 genre. While our method of following disciplined allocation strategies doesn’t correspond with the chorus, the lyrics do seem to reference the subtleties of reading a situation and taking steps (in a portfolio) that might work to one’s advantage. The Winning Streak To date, 2017 has been a positive year for equity and bond markets alike. It is always gratifying to see client portfolios increase in measured increments without the anxiety that often accompanies a sharp peak or a deep, extended valley. What may be less obvious is the un-harried Read on! →