The PIMCO Dilemma

In early February a high level departure of the CEO of PIMCO Investment Management, Mohamed El-Erian, was announced. As some may know, PIMCO is one of the largest managers of fixed income mutual funds in the world, with $2 trillion under advisement. The story of El-Erian’s departure revealed a very peculiar – maybe more aptly … Continued

Five Years and Ten Thousand Points

Five years ago this week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated to its low of 6,547.05. Think about that. Undeniably, the economic outlook at the time was perilous. Concerns persisted long after that dark day in March of 2009. One year later, I was speaking at the MENSA annual gathering and my presentation was titled, … Continued

The Path of Least Resistance

Wikipedia defines “the path of least resistance” as the physical or metaphorical pathway that provides the least resistance to forward motion. This can also be used to describe certain human behaviors and is often used as a metaphor for avoiding personal effort or confrontation. We see this every day. For example, in the criminal justice … Continued

Wages and Sandwiches

There has recently been a heightened interest in the appropriate level for the minimum wage and whether it should be increased. Clearly, this is a highly political discussion, with strong views on both sides. That is probably healthy, but investors should set aside their opinions and direct their attention to the possible affect on their … Continued

”Ya Gotta’ Have Art”

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal reported that a number of hedge fund managers have been investing in the art market, often seeking newer or out of favor artists with a view to the traditional trading approach of “buy low, sell high”. This is not surprising, as hedge fund managers have a long … Continued

Stock Market at Record Highs, What to Do?

Markets fluctuate. That is not new news and, as we have all seen, some of the fluctuations can be severe. With many of the popular averages at or near record highs, there may be a perception that stocks are fully valued, or even over valued. Maybe. Over the weekend, The Wall Street Journal, carried an … Continued

Is Dow 16,000 just a number?

A reporter called me as the Dow Jones Industrial Average approached a close above 16,000 on November 21, 2013. “What does it mean?” she asked. I told her the standard pat answer is that 16,000 is just a number. However, given the sheer horror that most investors felt in 2009 when the Dow bottomed at … Continued


Performance, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Both are very difficult to define and do not lend themselves to all inclusive metrics. Think about it. The market is up, your portfolio is up, how is it doing? Compared to what? The Dow Jones Industrials, the S&P 500, small caps, mid caps, EAFE, … Continued

Don’t Eat Your Seed Corn

Wise old farmers are believed to have long had a saying: “Don’t eat your seed corn.” In other words, every seed that comes into your hands has the potential to be planted and provide more corn in the future, or to be consumed. The analogy for investors is: Every dollar that comes into your hands … Continued

Random Thoughts

The stock market is generally considered to be a leading indicator. That is, current market action reflects future expectations. The stock market largely shrugged off the government shutdown and the hyperbole surrounding a possible default. The apparent resolution of the October 17 “crisis” was to do it all over again early next year. Talk of … Continued

Stock Picking Versus Indexing

This is a debate that has been going on since the invention of index funds and is likely to remain unresolved. An article in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal suggested that this is no stock pickers market. Perhaps, perhaps not. There is probably no right answer and, even if a strong argument can be made … Continued