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THE DISTILLERY

2018 1st Quarter Letter – What Calm?

If you’ll recall, the third quarter commentary was titled “The Calm Continues….”; that came to an abrupt end on Tuesday January 30th.  More can be found on 2017 below (below “2017 In Review”) but let’s quickly address the recent volatility and spectacular overvaluation of the US stock market.  It is precisely this overvaluation that allowed for the volatility.  Think of it as going farther and farther out on a limb that will eventually break.  Each step that is slightly askew leads to greater unbalance.   What is possibly the most interesting aspect of any large under or overvaluation is how investors... Read More >

Just Ignore Day-to-Day Stock Market Fluctuations

This week’s The Distillery is a relatively “oldie but goodie” from Carl Richards of BAM Alliance. He’s famous for his simplified sketches of Financial Planning and Investing topics, on hors d’oeuvre-sized napkins! As much as we don’t like calling attention to day-to-day market gyrations, we know that it’s hard to go about your day without hearing or seeing something related to this week’s move in the equity markets. We hope this influences your thoughts/feelings of this week’s move in a good way. Enjoy!     Read More >

Trillion and a Half Dollar Party

It has barely been a month since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 passed. Despite a volley of criticism over the bill, Mr. Market has voted with his feet. The U.S. equity rally since then has been substantial — so much so that many market observers seem fixated on negative issues such as valuation, the speed of the run-up, and why a bad ending is inevitable. This smells to me like one of the most expensive errors investors can make... Read More >

A Few Charts and a Few Thoughts

Amazon gained 56% in 2017. Google gained 33%. Apparently that wasn’t enough. Year-to-date they’ve tacked on another 12.5% and 10.6% respectively, adding a combined $147,782,647,497 in market capitalization. Amazon’s market cap was $70 billion in 2011. It just added the equivalent amount in fourteen days. That’s bigger than Colgate-Palmolive and General Motors and Marriott and 83% of companies in the S&P 500. Things are starting to get silly, and it’s not just happening at the company level, it’s showing up in the indexes... Read More >

What is an ETF?

Today’s infographic from StocksToTrade.com highlights the basics around ETFs, including how they work, what type of assets they can track, and the pros and cons associated with investing in them... Read More >

The Year in News 2017, According to 2.8 Billion Tweets

Today’s infographic from Echelon Insights uses massive amounts of data to paint a picture of the news that wasn’t possible 10 or 20 years ago. By analyzing the words in over 2.8 billion tweets, the end result is a convincing set of visualizations that showcase the most talked about topics over the course of 2017. Not surprisingly, the conversation in 2017 on Twitter revolved mainly around... Read More >

Flattening yield curve: Three things to know

While yield curve flattening is something to watch carefully, it is inversion that matters. As the below chart shows the yield curve inverts about 12-18 months prior to a recession however, right now the yield curve is Read More >

Bitcoin – Millennials Fake Gold

I’ve been asked about Bitcoin a lot lately. I’ haven’t written anything about it because I find myself in an uncomfortable place in agreeing with the mainstream media: It’s a bubble. Bitcoin started out as what I’d call “millennial gold” – the young (digital) generation looked at it as their gold substitute. Bitcoin is really two things... Read More >

The Evolution of Standard Oil

In today’s chart, we look at the “fragments” of Standard Oil, and who owns these assets today. At the turn of the 20th century, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil was a force to be reckoned with. In the year 1904, it controlled 91% of oil production and 85% of final sales in the United States. As a result, an antitrust case was filed against the company in 1906 under the Sherman Antitrust Act, arguing that... Read More >

Volunteer Opportunities for Boomers, Seniors and Retirees

If you are interested in volunteering for a charity or non-profit, work as a museum docent or as a hospital volunteer,  but you don't know where to start. A list of contact information and Web addresses is provided below to help you. Of course you can... Read More >