Angeles Advisors | Blog

  • Blog posts are written by Angeles' CIO Michael Rosen

    Michael has more than 30 years experience as an institutional portfolio manager, investment strategist, and investment consultant.

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Humans! What Are They Good For?

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It looks like the world is turning against humans. I’ve talked before about the rise of robots in manufacturing (2016 Angeles Independent School Endowment Symposium…see graph below). But robots are taking on increasingly more complicated tasks. We may be comfortable with robots assembling our cars (although the UAW may take exception), but most us will soon be forced to shift our perception of our family physician from Robert Young (aka, Marcus Welby, MD, which is showing my age) to Da Vinci (no, not Leonardo…see photos below). The Rise of Robots, The Descent of Humans It seems that investors, too, have Read More


Beware Parabolas and Populists

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In scouring the world for investment opportunities, the chart above caught my attention. It shows the year-to-date performance of the Caracas stock exchange, more than tripling from around 30,000 to over 100,000 today. Did we miss a chance to make a lot of money? Well, no. The stock market has tripled because the currency has lost all value. The official USD exchange rate of the bolivar is 10:1; 10 bolivares buys 1 US dollar. But the official exchange rate is a fantasy: the actual exchange rate is 7,500:1 (see graph below from www.venezuelaecon.com). That’s a 75,000 percent depreciation from the Read More


Economics in Action

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The intersection of supply and demand determines price and quantity: there is no more fundamental principle of economics (see graph below). We rarely see this principle in action because prices for most consumer goods and services change little week-to-week. All that means is the market maintains a constant equilibrium (which is set by the price) of supply and demand: either there is little change in supply or demand, or the changes are very modest, and market forces adjust quickly to maintain that equilibrium. Commodity prices are much more volatile than consumer goods prices, meaning there are frequent “shocks” either to Read More


Job Growth is Falling. The Sky is Not.

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Today’s jobs report was disappointing: only 138,000 net new jobs created in May (the consensus had it pegged at 182,000), another 66,000 lost in revisions to the prior two months, the three-month average is trending lower with declines across all industries. Oh no! Treasury yields plunged today to the lowest levels since November, erasing all of the move following the election. Let’s look at the employment data more closely. The first graph below shows the monthly change in non-farm payrolls over the past five years. The series is volatile, and the May print is below the average of this period, Read More


Hope and Reality

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Why is everyone so happy? Well, maybe not everyone, but a lot of people are as optimistic as they’ve been in a long while. Start by looking at consumer confidence, as collated by the Conference Board below. Confidence is at the highest level in the past five years (see graph below); in fact, confidence is only a little shy of its all-time peak in September 2000 (which, ominously, marked the top of the great Internet bubble). Conference Board Survey of Consumer Confidence, 2011-2017 One finds the same results in nearly all the surveys, from consumers to small businesses to baseball Read More


Chasing the Red Baron

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You can’t eat relative returns is an old aphorism. It sounds like it could come out of Poor Richard’s Almanac (Benjamin Franklin), and I’m not really sure of its origin, but it means that we (investors) ought to be focused on the absolute growth of our money, not on its growth relative to some benchmark or peers. When we buy groceries (or make grants or award scholarships or cut pension checks), we spend (“eat”) actual dollars, not an amount relative to our performance against an index. Too often, we fall into the trap of trying to copy the strategies of Read More


Non-Zero Sum

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There are prominent voices (and tweets) urging us to pull back, dig in, and lock the gate. This rising chorus of nationalism and protectionism sees a dangerous world intent on our demise or destruction. We are assured we will be safe behind our wall, in our bunkers, while others can sort out the consequences of the chaos beyond our shores. Our enemies hate us (which is why they’re our enemies), our friends don’t appreciate us, so we first are going to protect ourselves from these threats, and then we are…well, we’ll have to see what’s next. This narrative is dangerous, Read More


LOVE

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It’s probably no surprise to you that I see offering world-class investment advice as a valuable service for the long-term well-being of our clients. And while I think of investing as critically important, I acknowledge that there are a few issues that may be equally, or even more, central to our long-term well-being. Love is one such area. And so, in the interest of supporting your happiness and prosperity, backed our usual analytical rigor, we offer the following guide to three important activities related to love: • How to Choose a Mate • When to Marry • What to Give Read More


Shock, Part 4 (Divided We Are)

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We began this series with a review of the likely economic policies and their implications of the new Trump administration, and discussed the long-term challenges investors face. We would have undertaken this exercise for a Clinton administration, but the election of Donald Trump represents a stark break from the broad consensus of the past 70 years favoring free (or freer) movement of goods, capital and people; the establishment of multinational treaties and supranational institutions to establish rules governing international relations; and enforcement of this world order primarily by the United States military. As such, we expanded our review of the Read More


Shock, Part 3 (The End of Pax Americana)

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We are all trying to make sense of the election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency, and a few weeks ago I outlined the possible economic agenda and its consequences the administration may pursue (http://blog.angelesadvisors.com/2016/11/shock-part-1/). In the month since the election, US stocks have risen more than 5%, and bonds have turned one of their worst months on record, as 10-year Treasury yields soared 60 basis points to almost 2 ½%. The markets’ message is that tax cuts, deregulation and large government spending on defense and infrastructure will boost economic growth with only moderately higher inflation. Apparently, trade wars Read More