In designing portfolios, we talk about the term ‘weight’ (as a percentage of the total portfolio) to asset classes, strategies, and styles. We throw around the word like everyone knows the meaning as we intend.
A little over a month ago, my wife and I got a puppy.
The old adage for why the stock market is up on a given day simply says, “there were more buyers than sellers.”
Over the next week the U. S. of A. celebrates two important milestones.
Just twenty years ago, there were 7,322 listed public companies in the United States. By the end of 2016, that number was cut in half. Only 3,671 companies are publicly traded on U.S. exchanges.
Housing is an important component of the U.S. economy. Monitoring this sector’s strength and growth trend has forecasting value. Like any industry, housing has its own cyclical pattern, which was on display over the last decade.
The massive money flows into passively-managed mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) cannot be denied.
During the previous business cycle, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates 17 times in increments of 0.25%, taking the Fed funds rate from 1.00% to 5.25%. The committee increased rates at each meeting over 24 months from June 2004 to July of 2006. While the Federal Reserve controls the Fed funds rate, it influences the bond market. The following table shows the effect of a rising Fed funds rate on a range of maturities and returns during the last cycle.
I have a confession to make. Despite Warren Buffett being the most successful investor of all time, I never was really interested in him. He felt like the mega-band that everyone already knew about; like proclaiming U2 was your favorite band at the peak of Bono’s popularity. As the kids say today, it was “basic” (i.e., extremely conventional) to call Warren Buffett your favorite investor. I still read Security Analysis, the bible of value investing by his teacher Ben Graham, and the works by other value acolytes (Seth Klarman, et al.). The value style of investing makes intuitive sense to me, as it does for many others. Thus, I adopted value investing as my credo.
Broadly speaking, the U.S. economy continues expanding nicely.
When looking at leading economic data from the 50 states, 45 are in expansionary mode. Below is a sample of five states in different regions of the country. We typically see a synchronous decline prior to any trouble. The worst state today is North Dakota, shown in green, due to less fracking activity and the heavy reliance on oil.