January 20, 2019

Investors Shouldn't Sweat the Market

“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.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."

"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."

"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"

"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."

"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""

"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "

"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."

"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."

"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."

"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."

"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."

"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"