Influencer Marketing

We are all aware of the rise in social media marketing involving endorsements by people and organizations who purport to have expert knowledge or social influence, largely based on name recognition and/or the number of followers. While there is a lack of consensus about what an influencer is, the most common characteristic is payment for … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of September 25, 2023 Interest rates appear to be settling into a normal range – at least at the lower bound – after a generation of abnormally low rates. These higher interest rates provide more competition for common stocks. As a result, we are changing our US Treasury Signal from yellow to green and … Continued

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish

According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, homeowners are increasingly foregoing home insurance.  The risks associated with that decision are significant and should be fully understood before adopting the strategy.   When you don’t have insurance and your home is destroyed, you don’t just lose your house and its contents, you might also … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of September 18, 2023 The partnership between the UAW, the Big-Three automakers, and the US government began in 1980 with the bailout of Chrysler and was strengthened in 2008 during GM’s bankruptcy. For a host of reasons too numerous to go into detail here, the strike against the Big-Three should be settled in short … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of September 11, 2023 Earlier in the year we were warned about the refinancing “cliff” that would occur this past August as commercial mortgages came due. Estimates of the amount in question collectively exceeded $800 billion. However, August bought nothing but radio silence. Something is going on behind the scenes. Are landlords and bankers … Continued

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Over the last several months, the US has suffered through several catastrophic events, including wildfires in Canada, a wildfire in Hawaii and a hurricane in Florida.  All of these have a few things in common; predictability, a lack of preparation, finger pointing and an effort to blame climate change. Unfortunately, the political process works against … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of September 4, 2023 A sign at the train station in York, UK today reads “Industrial Action: This strike action will cause significant disruption….” Headline on the CNBC website dated 9/2/23 reads “Hollywood sheds 17,000 jobs in August amid ongoing strikes.” In Detroit, the UAW is threatening work stoppages at all Big 3 auto … Continued

What goes around comes around

Some talking points for climate discussions. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global coal consumption is on track to reach all-time highs.  Wikipedia reports that China accounts for more than 50% of the world’s consumption of coal and is the largest user of coal-generated electricity.  So far, China has resisted calls to reduce its … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of August 28, 2023 All signs point to an end to China’s economic boom. Many economist puzzled over the country’s success as planned economies rarely exhibited such sustained and exuberant growth (see such failures as Russia, Venezuela, and Cuba as examples). Global economic growth likely persists, however, given the increasing role that other emerging … Continued

Volcanos, Forest Fires and Fossil Fuels

Air quality alerts and record temperatures are stark evidence of material environmental problems, with many sources, particularly for individuals with compromised immune systems.  You don’t have to be a believer or nonbeliever in climate change/global warming to realize that there is a problem.  The question is, what to do about it?  Reducing dependence on fossil … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of August 21, 2023 Prior to the inflation surge that occurred in the United States in the mid-1970s, US 10-year Treasury Note yields averaged between 4 1/2% and 6% in the mid-1960’s. Today, the 10-year Treasury Note yields 4.25%, suggesting yields have nearly normalized. This assumes inflationary pressures continue to moderate. If inflation remains … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of August 14, 2023 A recession can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. As consumer sentiment declines, so does consumer spending. If the economic outlook is grim, consumers feel they have to spend less. Fewer transactions and a falling velocity of money lead to recessionary concerns. Thus, a negative feedback loop is born. The Consumer Sentiment … Continued