April 2022 Dear clients and fellow shareholders: Stock prices generally continued their decline in the first quarter, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite posting the largest loss among the three major U.S. indices. Our stock portfolio held up well, declining approximately one-half percent. Generally absent from the constant commentary about rising consumer prices is the effect inflation has on the actual value of financial assets, particularly bonds. Conventional wisdom is that including bonds in a portfolio provides a volatility-dampening balance to the unpredictability and risk of owning stocks. That conventional wisdom is naïve. Since 1982, interest rates have been in an … Read More
January 2022 Dear clients and fellow shareholders: By almost every broad measure, 2021 was a great year for investors. All major U.S. stock indices increased more than 20 percent, finishing the year at all-time highs. Our stock portfolio performed even better (up approximately 30 percent, excluding cash and bonds), despite not owning the ridiculously priced tech stocks that always seem to grab headlines. We enjoy those types of returns at least as much as anyone else, but not to the point of ignoring the components that generated those returns. Not all price increases are created equal – and some are … Read More
July 2021 Dear clients and fellow shareholders: When the overall stock market increases 15% in a 6-month period (a 30%+ annualized return), it means 1 of 3 things is happening. Investors are accelerating future gains into the current period, they are correcting for prior periods when stock returns trailed increases in corporate earnings, or a combination of the two. This year’s exceptional returns-to-date fall into the third category. That is, investors are broadly building almost perfect expectations into the pricing of the large S&P 500 stocks, while correcting some previous price/value disequilibrium in some specific sectors. We won’t complain too … Read More
A crisis brings out the good in people. In some people, that is. In others, it brings out their worst. I’d like to warn you about the latter. As people look for as much information about the health, social and economic effects of this pandemic, criminals are seeking to take advantage, turning common information searches into information theft. Likewise, criminals are attempting to use the good intentions of good people as a way to steal money. We recently had a client who was the target of a very sophisticated attempt at wire fraud – an attempt that included the perpetrator … Read More
In the past 10 years, newsroom employment across all outlets declined 23%, with the largest drop, 45%, in traditional daily newspapers. Since 2008, the number of newspaper employees working in newsrooms has fallen from 71,000 to 39,000. Pew Research has the details: Pew: Newsroom employment drops nearly a quarter in ten years.