Get Ready For #MACtion

The weekly Market Update is posted at Alpha Baskets and includes the following; Another negative indicator is that mutual fund cash is at an all time low according to a chart citing ICI data that was Tweeted out all over the place this weekend. The reason this is a negative is that if there is no more cash in mutual funds then a potential source of demand is thought to be dried up. Again on its face, a negative but a negative without much predictive value and of course new cash comes from 401k contributions every pay day. Another thing to consider about mutual fund cash levels is that in most instances the fund manager is paid to invest in their specialty not make asset allocation decisions. When an investor (or their advisor) buys a fund they have already made the asset allocation decision. Please click through to read the entire update. Bryce Canyon National Park from last October. Walnut Canyon National Monument on Saturday April...

Retire On Less Than One Bitcoin A Month!

My latest post for Alpha Baskets takes a first (for me) look at cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. For the last month or so I’ve been geeking out on cryptocurrencies and blockchain. I’ve done a lot of reading and listening (podcasts) to try to learn more. I’ve become convinced that blockchain is the real deal in terms of how the financial system evolves and that the concept of cryptocurrencies is also the real deal. For many years I’ve said that the actual internet, not the stocks from the 1990’s but the promise of what it could become has wildly exceeded what was expected back then. Please click through to read the entire post. Navajo Bridge with Vermillion Cliffs National Monument in the background to the right. Progressive Field from 2014. Trophy truck at the Mint 400 back in...

Dow 23,000 Hats For Everyone!

The weekly Market Update is posted and includes the following; The yield on the Ten Year US Treasury Note jumped on Friday to close at 2.38% which is as high as it has been since early July. Barron’s cited a strategist from JP Morgan who opined that based on this point in the cycle, yields should be higher. He noted distortions that have been created by QE and other extraordinary stimulative efforts as being a “weight” on yields. Another fund manager is worried about the flattening trend warning of a recession in the offing. Actually, in the last month the curve has steepened but of course the trend for 2017 has been to flatten as the FOMC has hiked rates. Should the yield curve actually invert we will certainly bang the recession drum here, it won’t be different this time, but until that time it is important to remember that we are in unchartered waters in terms of emerging from a zero percent world. The more conservative approach would be to expect consequences to continue to emerge from years of free money. Please click through to read the entire update. The Watchtower at Desert View which is near the east entrance of the Grand Canyon National Park At the North Rim Lodge taken around sunrise View of the Grand Canyon from Desert...

Indexing; Valid But Flawed

My latest post for Alpha Baskets is published and is a two-fer that includes the following; And speaking of behaviors, by now you know that Richard Thaler, a very well regarded behavioral economist won the Nobel Prize in economics. I got to e-meet Dr. Thaler on an AdvisorShares AlphaCall a couple of years ago. Most of what he talked about is captured in this post from Marketwatch (via Morningstar). One of the things he is known for is the nudge which refers to the recently adopted practice of automatically enrolling people in workplace 401ks, forcing them to take the step of opting out if they don’t want to be in it. For anyone reading this post, 401k enrollment is probably a no brainer but anecdotally I can tell you that isn’t the case more broadly. This Marketwatch article credits him adding $29 billion to Americans’ retirement accounts which would be an amazing contribution to society. Please click through to read the entire post. Our annual pilgrimage to the Grand Canyon included a detour to the nearby Horseshoe Bend which is in between Vermillion Cliffs National Monument and Page, AZ. The waterway is the Colorado River. From a slightly different angle. From the drive back from Horseshoe Bend toward the Grand Canyon, in the distance is a vast overlook with Vermillion Cliffs in the background. That drive opens up to this…actually kind of difficult to capture how vast it truly is....

FOMC Divergence

The weekly Market Update is posted at Alpha Baskets and includes the following; The cryptocurrency sphere was buzzing last week as Bitcoin took the $5000. Bespoke Investment Group posted a table showing 12 different cryptocurrencies with more than $1 billion totalling $145 billion with Bitcoin far and away the leader with $89 billion. It is certainly a mania but probably doesn’t rise to the level of true bubble from the standpoint that is something catastrophic happened tomorrow it wouldn’t have much of an impact on the economy. If you scan social media you will find divergent opinions ranging from telling you this is just the beginning, all the way to run screaming from the room with your arms waving frantically. We certainly don’t know what will happen but a small investment (speculation) with the realization that it could just as easily go down 100% as go up 1000% won’t permanently impair a portfolio. Did we say small? Very small. Please click through to read the entire post. We made our (almost) annual pilgrimage to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon over the weekend and spent a little more time at the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, it’s one we need to spend a lot more time at, other than just driving by on AZ Highway 89. It is stunning…beyond stunning really. The first picture is from House Rock Rd just off 89. This is what it looks like for miles. Looking at the Cliffs from Highway 67(the turn off to the North Rim), this area burned in 2016, before then this view didn’t exist....