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“In the Financial Analysts Journal over 40 years ago, Charley Ellis of Greenwich Associates famously characterized money management as akin to a game of amateur tennis in which success is not due as much to how many points one wins with great shots, but how one avoids losing points by making bad shots. Even at the professional level, unforced errors are the bane of the tennis player. Adherents of passive investing avoid playing the losing game by minimizing fees and trading costs.
To a large extent, politics is also a losing game. Donald Trump and his senior administration officials continue to undermine his own presidency with a series of unforced errors occurring at a pace greater than his grammatical errors in his daily tweet storms. The time worn finance adage is that the market “hates uncertainty” and while it is difficult to catalogue all of the missteps of the administration, from the partial government shutdown to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, and the trade war with China to spats with the Federal Reserve, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin calling bank executives in an effort to reassure the market that there is no liquidity crisis, the list expands on a daily basis.
The market experience in recent weeks reminded investors of the movie “Groundhog Day” in which a weatherman played by Bill Murray finds himself living the same day over and over again. The market opens flat, there is an morning to afternoon rally, and then a rash of selling sends the indexes lower at the close. Lather, rinse, repeat. The nearly 3 percent selloff in the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Monday in a shortened session led to many conversations about the market around holiday dinner tables. Is a recession on the horizon? Is it time to sell stocks? The market bounced back on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average surging almost 5 percent, in yet another whipsaw.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"China’s Hydrogen economy Is coming: The world’s electric-vehicle king is seeking leadership in fuel cells, too. Investors are probably right to be excited."
"It would be the height of naivete to believe the book is closed. Democrats on Capitol Hill are not just going to take the attorney general's conclusions and move on to new things."
"Netanyahu has brazenly allied himself with Trump’s Administration and his family (including the cryptic peace negotiator, Jared Kushner, whose family he has known for years), as well as with the Republican Party and Republican funders..."
"Us is stranger than Get Out, with deeper philosophical undercurrents flowing through it. The rabbit that greets you at the movie’s start is an invitation. Will you follow, like Alice in her Wonderland?"
"Democrats and Republicans seem to have irreconcilable views on economics, but on one point they agree: Small business is better than big."
"Sanctuary, a digital astrology start-up backed by $1.5 million in venture capital, made the considered decision to launch its service on Wednesday — the dawn of the new astrological year, when Pisces gives way to Aries in the astral cycle."
"It is a Vessel for the depths of architectural cynicism, of form without ideology and without substance: an architectural practice that puts the commodifiable image above all else, including the social good..."
"Apartment Therapy posted a photo to Instagram of a bookshelf with the spines facing inward, and the dramatic response — dozens of users denouncing the trend as anti-intellectual, even comparing it to book-burning ..."
"Perhaps it is time to add parenting to the growing list of “replacement religions” competing for our attention and currency these days, a list that already includes workism and politics."
"Only a fraction of the world’s yeast species have been discovered. The ones still out there could revolutionize health care, green energy, and beer."
"We’ve recently fixated on expunging “fake news” but the medical world also has its charlatans. The snake-oil salespeople, masquerading as health professionals, are naturopaths."
"...should we continue to teach thinkers like Kant, Voltaire and Hume without mention of the harmful prejudices they helped legitimize?"