The Big Picture for the Week of July 29, 2012

A few quick items this morning.

Yesterday I met with my colleagues at our offices in Phoenix to discuss various things that most RIA firms need to touch on including some sort of market recap/look ahead from me. An important nugget on this front that is worth remembering is that central banks all over the world have employed desperate and unprecedented action to try to stimulate growth and economic activity.

At best, the actions taken have not created as much growth or activity as expected and at worse they have been a failure but either way it is reasonable to expect that desperate and unprecedented action is distorting markets. It is easier to remember that this distortion exists when looking at the treasury market but all markets have been impacted and no one should be shocked if there is even more volatility whenever central banks cease their desperate and unprecedented actions.

A reader left a very kind comment yesterday about a certain ETF that will not lower your cholesterol having an outsized gain in yesterday’s session. It is very human to react to a very good day or very bad day for your portfolio but if you are an investor (as opposed to a trader) it is important to think in terms of the time frame you actually are investing for. As I like to joke; quick, how’d you do in the second quarter of 2010? That you don’t know without looking hopefully is a reminder that it is the longer term that is most important.

The Olympics are now underway of course. First item to mention there is my favorite Olympic story which is about the 1956 Hungarian Water Polo Team. The short version is that before the games Russia invaded Hungary but the water polo team was out of city training and so was safe. They met in what was called the Blood in the Water Match.

In addition to water polo another less popular sport to watch but which has great action is team handball. I mentioned this one four years ago too. It really is very exciting and worth using up some bandwidth if the interweb turns out to be the only place to see it.

The picture is of my grandparents on my father’s side. It is an old picture of course but my father just turned 86 and he had a brother who was ten years older than him. Judging by the handlebar mustache I may not be the first firefighter in the family.

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