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In the last newsletter, I offered my perspective on the Dow Jones Transportation Index (DJTI) in the form of proxies that most everyone finds familiar. As expounded on in March, planes, trains and automobiles are important foundations of a successful U.S. economy and equity market. When reflecting on topics for May’s missive, it became clear while reading Berkshire Hathaway’s latest annual report that expanding on the trifecta might not only be fun, but also prove informative in a very portfolio specific way. It will not come as a surprise to readers who have owned Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A & BRK.B) for a number of years, or to those who may have just purchased the company stock last year, that its per-share market value experienced a drop of 12.5% in 2015. While somewhat disappointing, we concluded the decline created an attractive discount to the company’s fair market value. Select legacy holdings and new positions were subsequently increased and added, respectively. While it is impossible to predict long term results, we are pleased to share that BRK.B (share class owned by Clearview clients) Read on! →
With the benefit of hindsight, the 1980s was a good decade to be a young adult. As a child, I remember very little about the politically charged 60s and the social revolution that marked that decade. During the 1970s, I was a wonderfully out of touch adolescent without the influences of cable television and FM radio. As I became more aware of the world around me in the early 1980s, disco sounds of the Bee Gee’s and disaster movies like The Towering Inferno (Paul Newman and George Kennedy were much better together in Cool Hand Luke, a late 60s classic and social statement) were fading. Alternative music born across the pond in the UK and movies of a lighter fare began to take hold in the US. Believe it not, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal prompted these thoughts of the 80s, the music and the movies behind the decade. One of my favorite writer/producers was John Hughes. While having many movies to his credit, Mr. Hughes was responsible for writing and producing classic teenage cult movies like Read on! →
My grandmother was exceptional in many ways. She was full of life and quick to speak her mind, despite who might be within earshot. For as long as I can remember, she was a seamstress at a local women’s clothing store making adjustments to colorful textiles until they fit “just right”. It was always a special treat to visit her at Bright’s and explore the lofted balcony where she and Ms. Coreen worked to fine tune hemlines, inseams and sleeve lengths. Mimi’s work to outfit the ladies of Paducah did not stop at Bright’s. Many family dinners and visits included talk of fabrics, McCall patterns and sales at Hancock’s, Paducah’s one and only (I think) fabric store. This love of cloth and sewing spilled over to all family members in the form of shirts, blouses and dresses. As a teenager, I am sure some of the outcomes (think leisure suit) and fabric choices were greeted with a somewhat forced smile and gratitude. As her grandchildren grew and the need for clothes (that she knew we would wear) waned, she shifted Read on! →
A little know congressional act which became law late in 2015 affects some of the most popular Social Security strategies and may directly impact you. You need to understand whether or not the new rules apply to your situation and whether you need to take action with Social Security by the April 29th deadline. The rule changes to Social Security are the result of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which was enacted on Dec. 17th, 2015. This Congressional Act was not focused on Social Security but nevertheless, impacted many individuals and couples because of a few key provisions within the new legislation. The act changes the rules in two key areas of Social Security benefits strategies. File and Suspend. (In this strategy the person making the election is not requesting benefits for themselves, but is only activating benefit eligibility for family members who may benefit from that person’s earnings record) The file and suspend option in Social Security (SS) allowed an individual covered by SS to file for and then immediately suspend their own benefit, thereby making other family members Read on! →
On December 17, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens in theatres nationwide. The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm Ltd., the creator of the Star Wars franchise in 2012, with high expectations it would produce significant, positive financial returns. The soon to be released film, the first “Star Wars” movie in 10 years, will feature characters not seen in 32 years and is expected to rival the opening weekend record of $209 million for June’s “Jurassic World”. In addition to the theme parks we know so well, Disney owns a large stable of media and studio entertainment companies that help to diversify the sometimes hit and miss nature of the block buster movie business. These include among others, ABC Television Network, The Disney Channel, ESPN, Disney Publishing Worldwide, Disney (retail) Store, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios, and Marvel Studios. Earlier this year, concerns over subscriber losses at ESPN resulted in a drop of just over 10% in Disney’s stock price. This precipitated a review of the firm’s holdings in Disney and a decision to purchase additional Read on! →