So, we are now in the ebullient month of December and as often stated, “It is tough to put stocks away to the downside in December. It can happen, but it’s pretty rare.” In fact, there were only two years that saw negative returns for the S&P 500 (SPX/2642.22) in December.
On Friday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) approved bitcoin futures trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE). Bitcoin has risen by a factor of ten since the start of the year.
Robert Penn Warren (April 1905 – September 1989) was an American poet, novelist, and literary critic who once said, “History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future.”
Nothing causes more anger, confusion, and bewilderment than the trade deficit – that is, except for the federal budget deficit. In past decades, these were often called “the twin deficits.” They are not identical, but they are related.
Charles Merrill issued the aforementioned memo to clients on March 31, 1928. At the end of the first quarter in 1928 the D-J Industrial Average was around 240. It subsequently rose to a September 3, 1929 peak of 381.17, which was the price peak for the Industrials that would not be surpassed until 1954, not that we are predicting anything like that here.
We have always liked the clip from the movie Animal House where in the “Deltas on Trial” scene the smooth talking Eric “Otter” Stratton get up and says, “Point of parliamentary procedure.” From there Otter goes on a diatribe ending with the comment, “Isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society?
Economists view the growth in labor productivity, or output per worker, as the single most important variable in an economy. It’s what lifts the standard of living, helps keep prices low, reduces government budget strains, and drives corporate profits. Over the next few decades, achieving faster productivity growth will be key as labor force growth slows. The outlook is encouraging, but uncertain.
As expected, nonfarm payrolls rebounded from hurricane-related effects. The unemployment rate edged lower, but that may have been noise. Leisure and hospitality was the sector most affected by Hurricane Irma, which might explain the choppiness in average hourly earnings (up 0.5% in September, flat in October).
So I am sittin’ on a dock of the bay here in Boca Raton Florida watchin’ the tide roll away as I wait to speak at a conference of insurance CEOs and CFOs. I have spoken at this annual event for the past 10 years, and it is always a “gas” because the attendees are terrific people.
We have used the aforementioned quote many times over our nearly 50 years in this business, but surprisingly, it is just as relevant now as it was when first written. Bet it surprised you that the quote is dated 1935! Read it a few times away from the maddening crowd and reflect on it, because certain phrases will grab you with their wisdom.