Sigma Signals

Week of May 13, 2024 On April 19, the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index hit a monthly low of $4,967. As of May 10, it sits at $5,223, a gain of 5%.  What changed in three weeks to precipitate this rather heady, short-term advance?  Nothing.  Purely a psychological shift, a normal factor in free … Continued

Negative Cash Flow Assets

For most of us, the most significant negative cash flow asset in our portfolio is our residence.  Yes, if you own your home, you may benefit from the long-term trend of rising real estate prices, and, you have the essential benefit of shelter.  However, home ownership comes with a long list of expenses, including insurance, … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of May 6, 2024 May 4, 2024 was the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting.  Chairman Warren Buffett intoned many years ago that “In the short term, the market is a popularity contest; in the long term, it’s a weighing machine.”  His late Vice-Chair, Charlie Munger, preached patience.  Of course, for investors, patience means having … Continued

Loneliness

According to an article published in USA TODAY, America has a new epidemic.  It doesn’t respond to traditional therapies, even though it has debilitating and often deadly consequences. The problem, gradually becoming more pervasive, is loneliness.  US Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murphy is hoping to generate awareness and offer remedies before it claims more lives.  … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of April 29, 2024 While there are no changes to our Signals this week, we would like to highlight the importance of, and reason for, the presence of social and cultural factors as a Signal that helps inform investment decision-making. Just this week, on campuses across the United States, protests have sprung up over … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of April 22, 2024 We have changed our Monetary Policy signal from green to yellow, given the recent firming of inflationary pressures in the US and the likelihood that the Fed will have to slow its expected pace of monetary easing. We also replaced “China” with “Middle East“ as a focus of the Biden … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of April 15, 2024 Domestic common stocks generally advanced in 2023. Some of the gains were realized by investors, meaning tax bills need to be paid by April 15. The funds to pay those taxes, to a degree, are generated by selling more stocks in the mid-April period and last week saw broad common … Continued

The Credit Card Economy

The Federal government and many individuals have been on a deficit spending spree. Economists generally agree that more deficit spending by government increases inflation.  Individual’s deficit spending, through a seemingly endless increase in credit card balances, also contributes to inflationary forces.  There is no deterministic model to determine how government (and household) budget deficits drive … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of April 8, 2024 The Wall Street Journal published an article on April 7, 2024 noting that the “…Needham Growth Fund (NEEGX), a $208 million midcap growth portfolio… ranked third…” for performance in the first quarter of 2024.  The article then notes that one of the portfolio companies is Thermo Fisher Scientific, a $220 … Continued

Sigma Signals

Week of April 1, 2024 While geo-political events continued to dominate the headlines, the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index quietly registered the strongest first quarter gain in 5 years.  Interest rates largely held steady as inflation continued to moderate – evidenced by the personal consumption expenditures index gaining 2.8% for February.  Our Signals remain … Continued

The ESG Conundrum Revisited

On November 30, 2022, we posted a blog titled “The ESG Conundrum“, that suggested that rising interest in ESG (environmental, social and governance) investments presented a challenge to prospective investors.  With no clear definitions, we concluded that ESG was essentially what the portfolio manager said it was.  We also questioned whether the pursuit of ESG criteria … Continued