Sigma Signals

Week of January 16, 2024 Tensions are heating up in the Middle East again as the US and Britain recently joined forces to dissuade Yemeni Houthi’s from interfering with commercial shipping in the Red Sea. In an historical parallel decades ago, Ronald Reagan flexed muscle by staging a military intervention in Libya that quickly changed … Continued

Drill Baby, Drill – Update

According to a recent report published by S&P Global Commodity Insights, the US is currently producing more oil than any country in history. This spike in US output has been driven by smarter and more efficient operations in the oil industry.  Part of the gain is due to the industry’s ability to squeeze more oil out … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of January 8, 2024 The pause that refreshes?  So it appears from the price action in the capital markets last week.  There were a few sideshow New Years fireworks largely on the political stage (Trump on the ballot?; Unemployed Ivy League college Presidents) but, otherwise, a quiet week.  Our Signals remain unchanged. Bob Bilkie, … Continued

Talk the Talk!  Walk the Walk?

Nearly 200 countries and thousands of delegates burned untold quantities of jet fuel to meet and agree to a new, completely unenforceable climate deal, at the COP28 talks in Dubai. The agreement marks the first time the annual UN meeting has asked countries to move away from fossil fuels.  The agreement doesn’t require a phase-out … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of January 2, 2024 Happy New Year to all!  In a recent article from the Wall Street Journal, author Lingling Wei writes about China’s domestic struggles, “Home prices are falling, youth unemployment is at a record high, private investment is shrinking, the financial system is drowning in debt and deflation is setting in.” China … Continued

Meme Stock “Investing”

Meme stocks refer to a small number of stocks that gain sudden popularity on the internet and can reach sky-high prices and unusually high trading volume.  A meme stock’s price is a result of hype on social media and not necessarily related to the company’s performance.  Though there is a potential for extraordinary gains, with … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of December 11, 2023 Have interest rates peaked, at least in the short term? Are equity prices poised to exceed former highs? Or are equity prices riding a “sugar high”? Does the recent resignation of the president of the University of Pennsylvania signal a movement away from extreme partisanship as both democrats and republicans … Continued

What is an Actuary?

According to Wikipedia, an actuary is a professional, with advanced mathematical skills, who deals with the measurement and management of risk and uncertainty.  For this reason, actuaries are essential to the insurance and reinsurance industries.  Based on actuarial estimates, insurance companies can calculate premium levels that can be expected to meet future claims. Investors and … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of December 4, 2023 Busting the “price gouging” myth. The deli pays $1 for bread/turkey, $1 for labor, and $1 for rent, meaning total costs are $3. The sandwich sells for $5 and profit is $2. Suppose, however, that the cost of materials, labor and rent double, totaling $6. But, the deli owner only … Continued

Big Pharma and Politics

On July 20, 2017 we posted a blog titled, “Is Big Pharma A Pinata?’ It appears that the answer may be yes.  While healthcare availability and costs remain a major issue, it appears that government is disproportionately focused on prescription drugs. Milliman, a large independent actuarial and consulting firm, annually publishes the “Milliman Medical Index (MMI)”, … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of November 27, 2023 The holiday-shortened week proved relatively uneventful in the capital markets, although equity prices continued to trend upward and interest rates on longer dated US Treasury securities stayed relatively flat. Our Signals remained unchanged. Bob Bilkie, CFA

How Green is Green

According to press reports, Panasonic’s new Kansas 4-million-square-foot battery plant will double the local electric utility’s load, requiring significant upgrades to infrastructure.  In addition, Evergy will have to keep a coal-fired plant operational until at least 2028, after which the utility plans to transition from coal to natural gas, by the end of the decade.  … Continued