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May 19, 2023

Golden Homecuffs

Home buyers are feeling a bit like Hannibal Lecter, what with homeowners handcuffed to low mortgage rates.  A recent Wall Street Journal article by Nicole Friedman, pointed out that the reluctance of these homeowners to sell differentiates the potential downturn in housing from other periods of rising interest rates.  This idea of going from a historically low interest rate to a much higher one will most likely stunt the supply of homes for the near future.  As of March 31, nearly two thirds of primary mortgages were at rates below 4%.  For investors, the net effect could provide an opening for builders, an opportunity for home remodeling, and possibly dull the Fed’s attempt at to slow inflation.  Moral to the story, interest rate moves, both up and down, are not without unintended consequences.
May 19, 2023

Large Numbers

The tech heavy Nasdaq has been leading the way in 2023 after a horrendous prior year performance.  As we leave the month of April, the Nasdaq has gained about 16% year to date, led by familiar big tech names like Amazon, Meta, Google, and don’t forget Microsoft.  The sales numbers have been impressive…Amazon clocking in with over $100 billion in quarterly sales, Google (Alphabet) with more than $60 billion, and Microsoft with over $50 billion.  As the arms race for AI takes off, there seems to be cash available for the perceived next big idea.  At the midway point of earnings season, about 75% of companies have beat expectations and through the first quarter, $77 billion has flowed into equities.  This, along with tight employment, will hopefully portend a “soft landing” for the economy and maybe even softer inflation rates.
February 20, 2023

Innovation Solves Problems

During a recent interview, growth stock investor Cathie Wood remarked that “innovation solves problems”.  That is one of the beauties of investing, entire industries seemingly come out of thin air when the times get tough.  Most recently, the pandemic brought us Zoom Video which is now a $22 billion dollar household name.  Think of Moderna, another pandemic problem solver. And as we come out of an unprecedented economic shutdown that inadvertently is causing a major shortage of workers, witness the lowest unemployment since 1969, Amazon is adding about 1000 robotic “workers” per day.  “That means Amazon could have more robots than employees by the year 2030” continued Wood.  Innovation and savings are the keys to economic growth and it’s hard to bet against the ingenuity that is here at home and around the world.
January 23, 2023

Fly Birds Fly

It has been a good month for Philadelphia…Not only are the Eagles vying to be in the NFSC championship game but the Philadelphia Exchange indices are leading the way in the market.  Look at the PHLX Gold/Silver index up 12% year to date, PHLX Semiconductor index up 10%, and the PHLX KBW Bank index up 6%.   A late day rally on Friday has helped give stocks a nice run to start the year and three positive weeks for the Nasdaq.  To quote two of our most famous traders from the Philly exchange (by way of the movie, Trading Places) Louis Winthorpe III “Looking good, Billy Ray.”  Billy Ray Valentine “Feeling good, Louis.”
January 5, 2023

The First Five Days are the Hardest

The first week of the year better be good.  According to Dow Jones Market Data, since 1929, if the S&P is positive after the first five trading days of the New Year, there is a 75% chance that the market ends the year higher, with an average return of 11.9%.  If true and if it happens, I like those odds.  I also like the odds of the stock market generally going higher, witness the 11.8% average return from 1928 through 2021 according to Investopedia. After going through a tough year like the past one, it is important to hold on to the long term wealth building potential of Mr. Market.  Great companies are great whether we are in a bull or bear market.