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April 2022

Where Do Markets Go From Here?

Here’s an exercise you may find informative. Ask a couple friends what happened to the stock market in 2020. You’ll get a wide array of answers, but here’s an answer you’re unlikely to receive: “The S&P 500 rose 16.26% in 2020, an above average annual return and a good year of market performance by any standard.” Why shouldn’t we expect this answer? It likely has something to do with the sharp pandemic-induced 34% drop we saw at the beginning of 2020, which comes to mind quicker than the gains the index posted by the end of the year. Unfortunately, as human beings, our brains aren’t hardwired for good investing. Studies show that human beings find a 1% loss to be more painful than a 1% gain is enjoyable – this leads us to focus on potential losses (because they have a greater emotional impact on the human mind) more than we focus on potential…
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Climbing Interest Rates Threaten to Shred the A-Plan

  If you're a United Airlines pilot, specifically an ex-Con and you know who you are, watching interest rates go up and the balance of your defined benefit pension drop, is somewhat startling. What are you to do? There's a saying in the business, an airline gets the union they deserve, and during the financial crisis of 2008, the great relations that existed between Continental Airlines and their leadership team was about the only major airline to hold onto the lump sum for their employees. Gordon Bethune, Herb Kelleher and subsequently Greg Brenneman, they were the gold standard in airline management. Both Southwest and Continental survived that awful period better than anybody else. Now ex-Cons, as I said, you know who you are, their lump sum was frozen. But at least it existed. They had benefited subsequently from a systemic fall in long term interest rates that just kept coming…
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A Fantastic Jobs Report Adds Further Upward Momentum for Inflation. How to Protect Yourself.

  We've got a new jobs report and an inverted yield curve. How is that going to change things this year? Yesterday's jobs report announced a 3.6% unemployment rate. Now that's remarkable in any time. In the United States, a large country, that's just 6 million people unemployed. To put this in perspective, there are 11.3 million job openings in the country right now. What does that mean? That translates into what has proven to be a red hot job market, like nothing we've ever seen before. Now interestingly, there's another almost 6 million people who are out of work, but not looking. And if you do the math, the unemployed, the out of work not looking, and the job openings match almost perfectly. The challenge is getting them back, and a large part of the challenge is a lot of those unemployed are young mothers, young families, or other…
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