Cyclicality of Profit Margins and Why Most Common Valuation Metrics Are Unreliable

Often in the past I’ve discussed current market valuations and implications for market returns over the next decade. In those statements I’m careful to refer only to the most reliable valuation metrics with reliability defined as having the greatest correlation to actual subsequent returns throughout history.

This distinction must be made because it’s the least reliable valuation metrics that often get tossed around by retail investors, the financial media and even professional advisors. Continue reading “Cyclicality of Profit Margins and Why Most Common Valuation Metrics Are Unreliable”

Wild Ride So Far in 2020

The S&P 500 just logged one of its worst quarters in history and one of its best quarters in history back-to-back in the first half of 2020.

Specifically, the S&P 500 lost 20% in Q1 while making about 20% in Q2. The only other times in history this has happened were both during the Great Depression (Q3 or 1932 and Q2 of 1938) (Source: @Sentimentrader).

I’ve written about the potential for huge price swings in both directions previously.

This puts the S&P 500 down a little over 3% on the year while the global stock market is down over 7%. Meanwhile, gold and bonds are up on the year.

 

Continue reading “Wild Ride So Far in 2020”

BREAKING: The NBER Officially Declares Recession Ending the Longest Expansion in History

Well, it’s official. The body responsible for maintaining a chronology of peaks and troughs in U.S. economic activity is the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). The NBER just announced that the expansion that began in June of 2009 officially peaked and ended in February of 2020. The U.S. is officially in recession. Continue reading “BREAKING: The NBER Officially Declares Recession Ending the Longest Expansion in History”

Deflation or Inflation?

A question I’ve received frequently the last couple months from many different people is about the potential for inflation given the unprecedented response to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic. It is an important question because it impacts the best investment approach going forward as well as other personal finance decisions.

I understand the rationale behind the question. After all, trillions of dollars have been pledged between the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury in the last few months in what essentially amounts to a “helicopter drop” of money on the economy. So, it is understandable that people are beginning to have concerns about the potential for inflation.

Ultimately, I believe we will get inflation mainly because the Federal Reserve will stop at almost nothing to make it happen, HOWEVER, we must allow for the possibility of getting deflation first. Continue reading “Deflation or Inflation?”