NEWS & MEDIA
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Winning at the Horse Races
For most people the end of summer means one last dash to the beach, back-to-school shopping, and some final wagering at the horse track. At least this has been the case for me. The last bet on the last race at the Del Mar Racetrack in Southern California comes at Labor Day. Betting on a horse means putting money on a hopeful winner before the announcer shouts “go” and either picking up a gain or losing it all several minutes later.
State of Confusion
Financial markets don’t know if they are coming or going, telegraphing that investors are in a state of confusion. The U.S. stock market is tapping out historic highs, but as we write this, the reality is that the S&P 500 is a scant 2% higher than levels established 9 months ago. Along the way to that meager gain, buy and hold investors endured an agonizing and unrelenting free-fall at the end of 2018 and a sharp 7% loss in value in May.
The Stealth Bull Market in Bonds of the Past Year
For many, summer means days at the beach and, ideally, nights at the ice cream parlor. Picking a flavor of ice cream is never an easy decision. The same can be said for bonds. Like ice cream, bonds come in 31 flavors (or so). U.S. government bonds are really different flavors of vanilla, from just plain vanilla to French to New York. Interest rates are the driver of the prices of government bonds; a rise in rates pressures prices down and vice-versa. A risk of default is virtually nil so credit risk does not influence the price.
A Tactical Strategy for Current Volatility
From basketball to tennis or chess to tic-tac-toe, winning a game involves strategic decisions, probability analysis and math. The best teams and players are not passive, generating the same moves over and over, but tactically adjusting to make the next best move. Investing is much the same.
True Diversification is a Process, Not a Set of Assumptions
A simple definition of investment diversification is conveyed in the overused statement, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” The basic buy-and-hold, set-it-and-forget-it style of investing is often premised in a 60% global stock and 40% bond allocation (known as “60/40”) and sold as enough diversification to handle whatever market turmoil might come your way over the long-term.