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Economic Outlook for 2024

  Well, it looks like the economy is finally normalizing. So, the question now becomes "what's next for 2024?" I just got back from a fascinating luncheon at ACG Houston. ACG is the Association for Corporate Growth. We had an economist from First Horizon Bank in New York City speak to the group, and it was a very interesting presentation, one that I somewhat agreed with. Basically, they pointed out what we've talked about - inflation is pretty much under control. It's at 3% and falling. The job market has loosened up. We've gone from "you just can't find people" to "you can find them but they're a little bit expensive". So, that's at least manageable for most employers. A Goldilocks Economic Recovery The interest rate hikes are clearly over and there are some wild bets going on in the market over when and how low these long rates are…
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Investment Outlook for 2024

  We've had a sweet rally in the last quarter in both stocks and bonds. So with this beautiful end to 2023, what's the outlook for 2024? The Markets Historically, future returns are driven by attractive valuations, and so when we're looking for the threats and the promises we look at evaluations. The biggest threat to the markets or within the markets are the Magnificent Seven. We've talked about these, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Nvidia, Meta, and Tesla. A lot of the Magnificent Seven story is highly correlated with the AI stocks and the AI story. The rest of the markets are actually fairly valued. They haven't done a lot in the last few years. In fact, this recent rally, somewhat, has been a more normal rally and not so much a Magnificent Seven rally. And so with markets fairly valued, that means there's all sorts of opportunities as long…
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Rethinking Investing in Commodities

  With inflation falling fairly rapidly already at 3%, is it time to rethink commodities? What is a Commodity? Let's begin by defining commodities. The basic goods and raw materials typically sold on specialist exchanges. We're talking about oil, gold, wheat, pork bellies, and there's a number of ways we can own these commodities; four fundamental ways to own commodities. First, we can just own the commodity, direct physical ownership. That's a bit of a pain. Gold coins may be the easiest, but you've still got to buy them. They usually have a pretty big bid-ask spread when you buy a coin, and then you've got to store them somewhere safe. If you want to buy a barrel of oil and bet on the oil market, you've got to figure out where you're going to put those 55 gallon drums. Investing in Commodities Most people don't want to deal with…
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