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The Best of What They Said and I Read Week Ending 9/16/18

Short excerpts from articles I found interesting.  I may not agree with the author and the following material is not intended as investment advice.

Barron’s  – September  14, 2018 – The Dow Gains 238 Points, Tariffs Be Damned – by Vito Racanelli

“…The stock market radiated confidence this past week, finishing about 1% higher despite choppy action. There was a plethora of good economic news—from lower-than-expected inflation to sky-high business and consumer confidence numbers—that drove shares up. Not even a ratcheting up of tough tariff talk Friday on the part of the U.S. could dampen investor enthusiasm for long.”

“The S&P 500, for example, rose each day last week, even recovering Friday from a midday drop following a Bloomberg report that President Donald Trump still wants to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of imports from China. Earlier in the week, it appeared both countries had softened their stances enough to give investors hope that a deal still could be struck.”

“For the week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose about 1%, or 238 points, to 26,154, its highest close since Feb. 1. The S&P 500 also gained about 1%, or 33, to 2904.98, its second-highest close. The Nasdaq Composite tacked on 107.50, to 8010.04.”

The Wall Street Journal  – September 14, 2018 – Leadership and Life Lessons from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos – by Laura Stevens

“I go to bed early, I get up early, I like to putter in the morning” reading the newspaper, drinking a cup of coffee and eating breakfast with his children, he said. Mr. Bezos schedules “high IQ” meetings before lunch, and tries to finish making his tough decisions by 5 p.m.  Mr. Bezos said his primary job each day as a senior executive is to make a small number of high-quality decisions…“If I have three good decisions a day, that’s enough,” he said. “They should just be as high quality as I can make them.”

“…That explosive growth helped push Amazon last week to briefly become the second U.S. company to reach a $1 trillion market value, after Apple Inc., and has made Mr. Bezos the richest person in the world.  It is a title Mr. Bezos said he has never sought. “I would much rather if they said like, ‘inventor Jeff Bezos’ or ‘entrepreneur Jeff Bezos’ or ‘father Jeff Bezos.’ Those kinds of things are much more meaningful to me,” he told the audience.”

“…While Amazon’s stock is currently near record levels, he said he continues to tell employees the same thing he has told them in more than two decades of all-hands meetings.  “When the stock is up 30% in a month, don’t feel 30% smarter, because when the stock is down 30% in a month, it’s not going to feel so good to feel 30% dumber—and that’s what happens,” Mr. Bezos said.”

U.S Global Investors – September 14, 2018 – by Frank Holmes

“…Markets are subdued right now, with the S&P 500 having gone more than 55 days without a 1 percent move in either direction. Trading volumes are also lower-than-average, suggesting Wall Street is in wait-and-see mode before making major adjustments.  Could this just be the calm before the storm?”

“…Against this background, Nobel laureate Robert Shiller told Bloomberg on Thursday that the market “could get a lot higher before it comes down… It’s highly priced, but it could get much more highly priced. It’s a risky market now.”  Ray Dalio has a slightly different perspective. The billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, reminded investors this week that we’re in the “seventh inning” right now, and as such, investors should probably get “more defensive.”  

“…Due to huge drop in cryptocurrency prices this week, many media outlets are now comparing the move to the dot-com bubble. The selloff in cryptocurrencies deepened into Thursday trading, with digital currencies dropping around 80 percent, reports Bloomberg. “The tumble has now surpassed the Nasdaq Composite’s 78-percent peak-to-trough decline after the dot-com bubble burst in 2000,” the article reads.

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