A Countdown to the End of Countdowns

Financial network television producers love a countdown.  I hate to blame the recently deceased Dick Clark, but I sometimes wonder if CNBC and other financial networks favor producers who worked on his New Year’s Eve Times Square Countdowns.  Earlier this month, much of the news was focused on a “Countdown to the Facebook IPO” that … Continued

The Parable of the Talents

One of the earliest recorded economic experiments may be found in the scripture passage known as the Parable of the Three Talents (Mathew 25:14-30).  In it, Christ speaks of the master who entrusts his wealth (Talents) to his three main lieutenants while he goes on a journey.  When he returns, he compliments the two lieutenants … Continued

Domestic Consumption Driven Economy is the Key

After having been born and raised in China, I believe I have some unique observations regarding this sprawling economic juggernaut.  It is well known that China was a contributing factor in pulling the global economy out of its slump in 2009.  This year, China’s growth target is 7.5%, which was announced by Premier Wen Jiabao … Continued

Wenma Gorman, CFA joins Sigma Investment Counselors

We wanted to share this press release announcing the latest addition to our professional staff. Wenma Gorman, CFA recently joined Sigma as a Research Analyst. We are pleased that she accepted our offer to further her career here at Sigma and look forward to introducing her to you in person. _______________________________________________________________________________________ Sigma Investment Counselors builds … Continued

Economic Illiteracy is No Longer an Option

I received a call this week from a General Motors retiree in reference to the automaker’s decision to give its retirees a lump sum pension payment option versus their existing stream of benefits. He said to me, “I am an engineer with no knowledge of markets or economics. I would probably just leave things as … Continued

General Motors Also Offers Pension Buyouts

On top of the recent news of Ford Motor offering salaried employees lump-sum payments to buyout their defined benefit pensions, General Motors announced last week they will be offering pension buyouts for 42,000 salaried retirees. While the detailed numbers have yet to be released, many Ford and General Motors retirees will be looking at very … Continued

Another ”American Century” for Investors?

The 20th-century has been referred to as the “American Century”. At the end of the century, the United States (despite two world wars and the Great Depression) emerged as the world’s preeminent power, not only militarily but also economically. During the century, investors did quite well too. The 21st-century could be another period of significant … Continued

Fee or Free?

I recently met with a client who let me know that he was suggesting to his brother that he too might wish to become a client of Sigma’s. The client noted to me, though, that, “He is also looking at a major brokerage institution, and they don’t charge fees.” I said to him, “You mean … Continued

Facebook – Buyer Beware!

On Friday, May 18th, Facebook began its life as one of the most anticipated and celebrated initial public offerings (IPO) in history. Due to unprecedented demand and limited shares offered in this initial offering, the stock was priced at the high end of inflated expectations. There is much to like in the Facebook story. From … Continued

Adding Fuel to the Fire

Last week, JPM Chase reported a $2 billion loss on a bad bet it made from its proprietary trading desk. Moreover, the bank conceded that the company was still unwinding the trade and that this loss could double over the next several quarters. In addition, the company may be fined and incur other legal expenses related to … Continued

Cost and Value of a College Education

As a father of three high school and/or college-aged children, I am much attuned to the high cost of a college education and I have some deep rooted opinions regarding its value.  As a starting point, I think the experience can be extraordinarily rewarding for those who take full advantage of the complete experience.  This … Continued