Market Concentration Update and Action Items

About a month ago I commented on the record concentration in the top 5 names of the S&P 500.

I want to briefly follow up on that and also summarize some action items I’m taking within portfolios.

This updated chart from Charles Schwab shows that concentration in the top 5 names has now reached 22% of the entire S&P 500!

top 5 stocks weight of S&P 500

Source: Charles Schwab, Bloomberg, as of 6/30/2020. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Continue reading “Market Concentration Update and Action Items”

2020 is the “Anti-1980”

2020 is the “Anti-1980” or as Seinfeld might say, the “Bizarro-1980.”

Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation enjoyed a wonderful investing era as they were hitting their career stride, and investing the bulk of their retirement savings, throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Contrast that to Millennials who may be hitting their stride now and starting to put decent money away. It’s really a stark contrast in the market environment between the two eras.

Below is a quick graphic comparing stock market valuations and total debt load within the U.S. economy between 1980 and 2020. The differences are obvious and significant. I’ll summarize below the graphic.


Continue reading “2020 is the “Anti-1980””

Fed Enacts Emergency Rate Cut. New Record Lows on Treasuries

This morning at about 9 AM central, in response to the Coronavirus, the Federal Reserve announced an emergency 0.50% rate cut.

The initial response by the market was to send stocks and gold soaring. As the day wore on U.S. stocks crumbled losing about 3.5% at one point and ending the day down 2.8% while gold hung on for a 3%+ gain.

The 10-year Treasury yield continued to slide throughout the day (sending bond prices up) and even got below 1% for the first time ever! Think about that…in the almost-250 years of this great Republic we’ve just set a record low on bond yields. Continue reading “Fed Enacts Emergency Rate Cut. New Record Lows on Treasuries”

Warren Buffett versus U.S. Households… In Charts

Executive Summary: Warren Buffett is holding records amount of cash. Meanwhile, households are holding near record LOW levels of cash and near record high levels of stocks.

Last week we learned Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway set another new record for the amount of cash and short-term investments (e.g. U.S. Treasurys) its holding. Specifically, Berkshire is holding over $128 BILLION of cash and short-term instruments. That’s a lot of dry powder!

The reason he’s holding so much cash is because he hasn’t been able to find attractively-valued investment opportunities. So, like any disciplined investor, he’s not chasing obscene valuations. Successful investors don’t get caught up in the emotions of manias and bubbles. Successful investors also don’t let fear prevent them from buying good assets when they’re priced right much like Mr. Buffett was doing in early-2009 when everyone else thought the world was ending.

Last week, I also happened to come across some charts from @SentimentTrader (Twitter) showing how households are currently invested. There is some really interesting data here that presents a stark contrast to Mr. Buffett’s approach right now. Before we continue, remember Mr. Buffett’s wise words, “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy only when others are fearful.”
Continue reading “Warren Buffett versus U.S. Households… In Charts”