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Perspectives

A collection of our quarterly publication

Is it Live or is it Memorex?

Second Quarter 2020

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Back in what may seem like ancient times to some—the early 1980s—the Memorex Company ran an advertising campaign for its recording tape. (Memorex? Recording tape? Maybe we are talking about ancient times!) The campaign included a series of TV commercials featuring famous vocalists. As a singer belted out some incredibly high notes, the commercial would show a wine glass shattering. The implication was that the high notes shattered the glass. But viewers couldn’t tell if it was a real (live) voice or artificial (a recording captured on Memorex tape). The commercials ended with the question...

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The Alphabet Debate…and Midway

First Quarter 2020

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The alphabet debates have begun. No, we’re not talking about a new format for debates among presidential candidates. It’s the debate among pundits, economists and investment strategists over what path U.S. economic activity will be tracing out in the future. As we wrote a few weeks back in “A Big Valley…But Also Considering What Lies Just Beyond”, governments here and abroad have literally switched “off” significant portions of the commerce round the globe via mandated business closures and social distancing measures to stem the spread of Covid-19...

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The Shaping Ds

Fourth Quarter 2019

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Ring out the old, ring in the new. Or should we say, ring out the “old” currently deescalated geopolitical tensions (China and trade), and ring in the “new” escalated geopolitical tensions (Middle East). While no one knows how events surrounding these geopolitical tensions will unfold, the good news for investors is...

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Sub 2.1 = Running on Empty?

Second Quarter 2019

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China trade policy, Federal Reserve Policy, the timing of the next recession. The latest headline, news story, or tweet about these three topics has been whipping stock markets to and fro for many months now. In light of such hyper-focus, one might be tempted to think that these are the factors that will determine the future for investors. We’re not about to suggest the China/Fed/recession issues are unimportant. But we think investors....

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Rock the Gemba

First Quarter 2019

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Everybody talks about it. Nobody really knows how to do it. Everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it. What we’re talking about is digital transformation, the latest evolutionary (many argue, revolutionary) process in which businesses of all shapes and stripes are engaging, operating, and innovating, worldwide. Years ago, behavioral economics Professor Dan Ariely used the tongue-in-cheek description about “big data”, a precursor and key ingredient for digital transformation....

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Low Bar

Fourth Quarter 2018

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Can the economic expansion and the associated uptrend in corporate earnings again prove resilient? We believe the answer is “yes”. To be clear, we are not saying the issues of today are not of concern, or that everything is fine and dandy. Recent events and market mayhem churn our guts too. But a dispassionate assessment of the current situation and the underlying fundamentals...

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Are We There Yet?

Third Quarter 2018

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In just a few months the present economic expansion will likely go down in the record books as the longest in U.S. history so far. Like the proverbial annoying question during family travel—Are we there yet?—this business cycle expansion has been hounded nearly every inch of the way by repeated prognostications that its end is just ahead...

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The Picture Within the Picture

Second Quarter 2018

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In his book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker argues that the nature of the media and the way people process information may result in distorted views of the world around us. He points out that the media’s primary objective is attracting viewer attention. Their “if it bleeds, it leads” mode certainly attracts attention...

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The Wall

First Quarter 2018

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Each day Wall Street tallies the number and dollar value of investment securities traded on the financial exchanges. But what Wall Street is really good at is trading insecurities. “How many insecurities traded today?” From Election Day 2016 through the first few weeks of this year, the U.S. stock market displayed very little downside volatility. There were numerous “insecurities” traded along the way, but the market climbed the wall of worries and...

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