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The Best of What They Said and I Read week ending 4/2/2017

Short excerpts from articles I found interesting.

I may not agree with the author and the following material is not intended as investment advice.


The Tao of Pooh – Penguin Books -  1982 – by Benjamin Hoff

  • “…When you work with Wu Wei, you put the round peg in the round hole and square peg in the square hole.  No stress, no struggle.  Egotistical Desire tries to force the round peg into the square hole and the square peg into the round hole.   Cleverness tries to devise craftier ways of making the peg; fit where they don’t belong.  Knowledge tries to figure out why round pegs fit round holes, but not square holes.  Wu Wei doesn’t try.  It doesn’t appear to do much of any anything.  But Things Get done.”

 The Kiplinger Letter – March 31, 2017

  • “More Economy:  The aging American population will weigh on the economy in coming years.  With more and more folks approaching retirement, they’ll opt to spend less on dining out, household furnishings, etc., as they move to bolster savings accounts.  The highest levels of spending occur between the ages of 45 and 54 (about $70,000 per average household) before dropping by around $10,000 each decade thereafter.  When people reach 75, annual spending declines to about $38,000 per household.  The obvious exception:  Oldsters will spend more on health care in their later years.”“Less spending by senior will cut GDP growth by a fifth of a percentage point by 2020 as the percentage if the population age 54 and older expands to 38%.”
  •  “Eventually, millennials will partially offset the spending declines by seniors, but it will be 2022 or so before their annual spending levels star to make a difference.”

Barron’s – Dow Rises 4.6% in Sixth Straight Up Quarter - April 1, 2017 – by Ben Levisohn

  • “It was the quarter the Trump trade died…and the market didn’t seem to mind.”
  • "Yes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 4.6% to 20,663.22 during the first three months of 2017, its sixth straight quarter of gains, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 5.5% to 2,362.72, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 9.8% to 5911.74, its best quarter since 2013.”
  • “But the market produced those gains without much help from the sectors that surged following the November presidential election—the ones that were supposed to benefit the most from the policies proposed by President Donald J. Trump. The S&P 500 Industrials index, which was supposed to benefit from increased infrastructure spending, rose 4%; financials, which would benefit from scaled-back regulation, advanced just 2.1%; and energy tumbled 7.3%. Instead it was the anti-Trump stocks that led the way higher, with technology gaining a whopping 12%...it has been the market’s best performer."
  • “…But maybe the rally has less to do with Trump and more to do with the fact that global economic data has been consistently strong. Last week, the final reading of fourth-quarter gross domestic product showed growth of 2.1%, above forecasts for 2%. The Conference Board’s measure of consumer confidence surged to its highest level since 2000, and that was just in the U.S. SunTrust’s Lerner notes that 84% of countries have been showing expanding manufacturing activity, the best level since 2014. “A solid synchronized global recovery has been in place that goes beyond the winner of the U.S. election,” he says.”

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