Sigma Signals

Week of April 17, 2023 The New York Times columnist David French references Yeats in his April 16 essay, noting that the “…center can hold….” In particular, he highlights the current trend in academia towards the support of free speech and free expression. While this may seem a trite microcosm, it does reflect on the … Continued

Are We Becoming More Gullible?

At first glance, with an almost constant stream of media reports of large losses attributable to fraud, highly speculative trading and questionable advice/promotions by well-known, highly visible personalities, it may seem so.  These incidents gained more attention because of social media, but that doesn’t mean that they’re happening more often.  Moreover, easy access to a … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of April 10, 2023 The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index is currently perched almost exactly halfway between its cyclical high reached in January of 2022 and its recent low notched in October, 2022. One might call this a stalemate of sorts. Attendant are other notable stalemates: the inflation outlook; the Russian/Ukraine war; Fed … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of April 3, 2023 Joe Manchin D – West Virginia wrote an op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal last week highlighting the contortions that bureaucrats in Washington were exercising in implementing the Inflation Reduction Act, for which Manchin played a pivotal role in shaping and getting its passage. His criticism was pointed and may … Continued

The Pension Dilemma

As people live longer, the population grows older, and the ratio of workers to retirees decreases, pension systems are in danger of running out of money. This problem is widespread, particularly in developed countries, and is leading to increasingly acrimonious disputes between elected officials and beneficiaries.   For example, in response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of March 27, 2023 Signs of disinflation are beginning to appear. Home prices fell in February for the first time in 11 years, according to the Wall Street Journal. Commodity prices, especially energy, have plummeted of late. In conjunction with the recent spate of bank failures, the Fed appears ready to moderate its stance … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of March 20, 2023 On the heels of the second largest bank failure in US history, we see even greater consolidation of European banks to rehabilitate trust in the banking system. The Biden White House, US Congress and leadership in Federal agencies are discussing changes to address higher deposit insurance limits and the duration … Continued

“Beware of ——- Bearing Gifts”

Government subsidies are never free and now we’re learning the price that semiconductor companies will have to pay if they choose to sign on to the administration’s industrial policy. The recent rollout of the federal $53 billion semiconductor program (Chips) marks an historic effort to use government resources to foster favored sectors.  It should be … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of March 13, 2023 The dramatic and rapid failure of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) last week focused attention on the Fed’s restrictive monetary policy with an understanding that a casualty of this nature was not unexpected. It would appear that the Fed will continue to maintain its inflation fighting posture while simultaneously throwing a … Continued

Too Much of a Good Thing

California has had a water problem since recorded time, as discussed in our blog of January 28, 2016, “Water, Water, Everywhere…But Not a drop to Drink.” Typically, winter rain and snow provide much of the water used by Californians throughout the year.  Recently, the state has suffered through several years of drought.  One measure of … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of March 6, 2023 Last week we referenced the revolutionary advances for humankind that will likely be advanced by the wonders of artificial intelligence (AI). This week we direct attention to an article in the Wall Street Journal dated February 25, 2023 entitled “ChatGPT Heralds an Intellectual Revolution.” Lead author Henry Kissinger (amazingly intellectually … Continued

Daycare, Healthcare and Staffing

While quite different, both are under severe pressure as demand for services far exceeds supply.  Both are finding it very difficult to attract enough employees to maintain historical levels of service, to say nothing of the difficulties associated with expanding to meet increasing demand. The lack of reliable, affordable, quality day care is a serious … Continued