Archive | September 2015




Baseball, more than any other sport, by far, has drawn its share of colorful characters. I don’t know why that is, but it is. This week, we lost one of the greatest, maybe the greatest, of all-time, with the passing of Yogi Berra. Yogi was easy to underestimate. He was barely over 5 1/2 feet tall, pudgy (i.e., kind of fat), with a face that looked like a child put together with a play set. His malapropisms were frequent and famous (example: on Yogi Berra Day in his hometown of St. Louis he thanked the crowd for making this day necessary). Read More


Drop (in the bucket)


Markets will fluctuate, as Pierpont Morgan caustically observed. And “fluctuate” means down as well as up. Perhaps I, too, am being caustically obvious, but I’ve long believed that a broad perspective on markets can often bring more clarity than myopic obsession. It was in 2011 that the S&P 500 Index last fell more than 10%, apparently beyond the memory of many investors who believed these corrections were relegated to ancient history, like buggy whips and handlebar moustaches. Last month the S&P dropped more than 6%, and between 21 May and 25 August of this year, declined 12.4%, ending the 3rd-longest spell (since 1928) Read More




Investors in Emerging Markets could be forgiven for feeling as if they’ve gone 15 rounds with Ronda Rousey (see below).  Or, more like 3 years with the the best pound-for-pound fighter today (she might even give Sugar Ray Robinson, who gets my vote for best of all-time, a contest). It’s been brutal. How brutal, you ask? EM currencies have dropped 30% in the past 3 years, while the US$ has jumped more than 20% (see first graph below). This has translated into an overall 10% decline in EM equities, 40% behind global equities and more than 50% below the return of Read More




Markets have taken today’s employment release as evidence of a weakening jobs market. A mere 173,000 net new jobs were added in August, below the consensus figure of 217,000. But, coincidentally, 44,000 more jobs were added to previous months’ figures. So, you could say we were right on expectations. Clearly, today the markets disagree. The unemployment rate fell to 5.1%, from 5.3%, and the labor participation rate remained at 62.6%, the lowest level since 1977. Baby Boomer retirements (structural) and rising disability rolls (policy—see Graph below—yes, that’s 24 million people) probably account for the bulk of the low participation rate. So, Read More