A Look Back at the Markets in November and Ahead to December 2018

December 12, 2018

Both October and November were roller-coaster months. October took us down, and November took us further down only to bounce and finish slightly up. Now, as we move to the end of the year, we are seeing more downward movement, although there are signs that may be passing. As investors, we should probably be checking for whiplash, as this has been a wilder ride than we have seen in years.

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The Next World: Collateral Damage

December 7, 2018

We closed the last post in this series with the observation that, even if the U.S. “won” the trade war, there would be collateral damage—both here and throughout the world. That turned out to be a timely point, as we have seen in the financial markets over the past week.

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Why Aren’t Your Investments Doing Better?

December 6, 2018

As we approach year-end and you look at your investment statements, there is bound to be much discussion about how your investments performed. As has become usual in the past couple of years, there will be questions about and comparisons between what we expected and what we actually got. In other words, with the economy doing well, why aren’t your investments doing better?

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The Inverted Yield Curve: Sign of Trouble Ahead?

December 5, 2018

Yesterday’s market drop reversed all of Monday’s gain and then some, reportedly on growing doubts regarding the exact terms of the trade war truce announced by President Trump. That might be the case, but I suspect the headlines pointing out that part of the yield curve had inverted played a bigger role in the decline. This inversion is usually a sign of economic trouble, so it would make sense for the market to pull back. The problem is that, while technically true, the inversion we saw typically indicates that trouble will show up in a couple of years—if it does at all. If the market was reacting to the inversion, it was overreacting.

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The Next World: Taking Sides

November 30, 2018

We closed yesterday's post with the idea that the U.S. has been the indispensable market for all rising economies since WWII—starting with Europe under the Marshall Plan and then extending to Japan and subsequently to China and eastern Europe. As the essential market, the U.S. could compel obedience in other areas, notably security, and other countries were happy—or at least willing—to comply.

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Putting the Next World in a Global Context

November 29, 2018

In the last post, we laid out both the U.S. imperative (keep the status quo and improve it if possible) and the Chinese imperative (make a successful economic transition to a developed, wealthy economy). We also outlined how China has changed its strategy from what has been so successful over the past 40 years, and we closed with a teaser on the U.S. response.

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The Next World: China’s Imperatives

November 28, 2018

We closed yesterday’s post with the conclusion that the confrontation to watch is between China and the U.S. and that, at least for the next decade, the conflict is likely to be economic and not military. This is often characterized as a trade conflict. Indeed, that is how it is playing out in the headlines. In fact, however, trade is a symptom and not a cause.

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