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A collection of our quarterly publication

Pencils and Policies

Third Quarter 2021

Social distancing, flatten the curve, shelter in place, non-essential workers. These were terms that helped shape the investment world in 2020. A different set of terms is shaping 2021: Help wanted, shortages, on backorder, higher prices. As the global economy re-opens in herky-jerky fashion from COVID-19 shutdowns, we’re sure it’s not news to you that the supply chains that underlie the production of many goods and the delivery of numerous services are significantly constrained by bottlenecks...

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Let It Rip Through The Fog

Second Quarter 2021

A year ago at this time, on the heels of one of the sharpest rebounds for domestic stocks in history, many folks wondered whether the advance was “real” or not. A host of worries dominated headlines including a resurgence of coronavirus cases and social unrest. In fact, the first vaccine’s FDA authorization was still months away, and so too, were the November elections. Fast-forward a year, return the value of the economy to pre-pandemic levels, slap another record advance on the market (S&P 500), and things are no different...

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Harvest time…a turning point at hand?

First Quarter 2021

Strong corporate earnings growth is sometimes very scarce, like diamonds. At other times, it’s like pears or apples during a strong harvest—abundant and easy to find. We heard this above commentary many years ago from a stock analyst. Certainly, seems that the corporate results of 2020 and 2021 will—barring serious setbacks in progress against the pandemic—reflect both extremes of this characterization...

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Active Noise Cancellation

Fourth Quarter 2020

More than a decade ago, as part of our research process, a couple of us flew to Washington D.C. and met with the CEO and CFO of a company we were evaluating. Even before the visit, we knew that the company provided a lot of information about how the business was performing, more details than the average company shared at the time. In fact, we believed the volume and frequency of data they disclosed was causing some analysts who followed the company to focus on short-term results. We asked them why they chose to give so much insight or “visibility” into the business. The CEO smiled and answered, “Well, the flip side of visibility is visibility, isn’t it?”

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The Super-Spreader

Third Quarter 2020

Have you seen the new Tom Hanks’ movie “Greyhound”, that’s streaming on TV? The movie brings to its audience in vivid fashion, context on the considerable challenges the U.S. and its allies had to overcome from the formidable Nazi military threat on the Atlantic front during World War II. The daunting challenges from the other side of the world, by the Japanese Empire in the Pacific theatre were discussed in our April Perspective, The Alphabet Debate and Midway. Why so much focus on this period? We believe that valuable perspective relevant to today’s investing environment can be gleaned from it...

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The Alphabet Debate…and Midway

First Quarter 2020

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

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

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

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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