Welcome To Our Hawley Advisors Blog

We hope you find the articles on our blog informative and helpful. You are always welcome to chat with us if you have any questions about your personal financial situation.

Earnings, Markets & The Economy

A recent research report released by Absolute Strategy Research revealed that 37% of money managers (who collectively oversee $5.2 trillion in assets) expect earnings to be higher a year from now. 63% expect earnings to be lower. That’s the lowest reading since late 2015.

The economic outlook is fraught with issues that we have discussed at length in prior articles.

a) Consumer sentiment has hit a 10 year low. This is correlated with more cautious consumer behaviour and a decline in spending which will impact earnings.

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The Fight to Bring Down Inflation Will Continue to Shape the Market Narrative

Inflation numbers continue to be the central issue shaping the market narrative. Last week’s market rally is based on the "not yet substantiated" narrative that inflation numbers will come down sooner and will necessitate less drastic action on the part of the Federal Reserve. In the short term, it's a speculative narrative.

The markets are forward looking so speculation is inevitably a component of how markets operate. However, the real determining factor will be the hard inflation numbers. Is inflation trending downwards? To answer this question will take several consecutive months of declining data to validate. Until such time, the Federal Reserve has no incentive - after miscalculating this issue through 2021 - to operate less hawkishly. Its credibility is on the line. As a result, they will look to declining inflation numbers over several consecutive months until they lighten their rhetoric and along with it, rate hikes. Until then, the Federal Reserve has no reason to veer off its already communicated path of more aggressive interest rate hikes.

The daily question and commentary that is in the news headlines - whether we will see a recession or not - is largely dependent on the still "unknown" question of "how long" it will take to bring inflation down and "how high do rates need to go for that to occurr"?

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When Markets Fall, Who do you Listen to?

When markets fall, who do you listen to? This may seem like an odd title for a blog post, but it is an important one from a pyschological, health and financial well being standpoint. When markets fall and the economy experiences a down turn, the mainstream media highlights worst case scenarios and how bad everything can get. It can make your stomach churn if you have money in the markets, even if you have gone through such events in the past. The media is highly trained on how to illicit response with headlines that make you want to read them. That is how they make their money. It is also built into human pyschology that any danger signals trigger the pre-historic or primordial functions of the brain that are about survival. Add a terrible war in Ukraine and ongoing economic cold-war with China and you have a recipe for doom and gloom.

Reading the daily media headlines can be bad for your health. As Baron Rothchild once said "Buy when there is blood in the streets". That is of course much harder to do for the very reasons we are just referencing. Our brains and bodies are trained to "flee" danger, and not walk into it for good reason!

Who do you listen to or turn to when markets are falling is an important question. When you have a professional seasoned financial advisor, you have an objective party to speak with who can share their perspectives about bear and bull markets over decades of experience. When you are in the midst of a bear market, it seems like it will never end. Likewise when you are in a bull market it seems like it will never end. Both statements are false however. No Bull or Bear market is permanent.

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Recession or Not? That is the Question

The speed at which the economy has nose-dived from optimism to pessimism has taken a lot of people by surprise. That's the impact the Federal Reserve can have on the markets. Consumer confidence is fickle so when the daily news is filled with fears of recession and declining markets it impacts people in a way that causes people to spend less: The Nasdaq is down over 31% from it's highs and this along with all the media headlines of "recession" is generating a more fearful and less optimistic mood.

SNAP just anounced a significant revision in its profit forecasts due to macro economic conditions. Advertising revenue is down.

The mood on the street is somber and consumers are concerned. The critical question is what impact will this decline in consumer confidence and demand have on inflation? Will inflation numbers trend down? If they do, the current economic news may provide sufficient impetus for the Federal Reserve that they need to walk and talk a softer line and send some easening signals, such as for example, that rate increases may be sufficient.

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A Federal Reserve in Reverse. How Far Will It Need to Go?

The markets were riveted on one man on Wednesday as 2.30pm EDT rolled around. Chairman of the Fenderal Reserve, Jerome Powell was to provide a state of the market or more to the point "a state of inflation" update. A 0.5% increase in interest rates was already baked in. The unknown was whether the tone of the Federal Reserve Chairman was going to be increasingly hawkish or more in line with market expectations.

As we have said in previous blog articles, the goal of the Federal Reserve is to curb spending and bring inflation back down into its 2% per annum goal. The Federal Reserve is well aware that acting too hawkishly could send the economy into a recession and not acting agggresively enough could let inflation run amock. They are are having to walk an intricate balancing act to send the message that they will take aggressive action while at the same time keep an eye on the health of the economy.

In summary, Powell communicated exactly that on wednesday and that their primary intent is to dampen demand to bring inflation down while at the same time allowing the economy enough bandwidth to keep growing. At this juncture, the Fed projects a target of 2.4 percent by year's end. The markets responded by continuing to sell-off as they try to digest the impact of rising rates on the economy. A more pessimistic outlook will need to be swayed by market forces that point to "more light" at the end of the tunnel.

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Technical Analysis - Volume Metrics

We have covered a number of technical analysis indicators in our blog articles. Today, we are going to look at a volume indicator that measures the quantity of buy orders or volume versus the quantity of sell orders or volume.

One such indicator is "On Balance Volume" which as it's title suggests is measuring a running total of buy and sell volume that translates into a trend line that is moving up or down and can be used to correlate or measure against price. It can also be used to spot trends in price as well as price reversals.

For example, if price is moving up but the "on-balance-volume" is trending down - meaning their is more selling volume than buying volume - this may indicate a potential "price" reversal. The same is true in reverse. If "price" is moving down but the "on balance volume" indcator is trending up this can indicate a potential reversal in price.

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Navigating The Rising Tide of Interest Rate Hikes

The Fed is Waking Up and Is putting its foot on the brakes!

“Hindsight says we should have moved earlier. . . . But there really is no precedent for this.”  Fed Chair Powell, March 3, 2022

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Fear of Recession and The Yield Curve

The Yield Curve inverting has been the most accurate predictor of the economy tipping into a recession for the last 50 years. Typically, it takes about 6 months from the time the Yield Curve inverts for a recession to kick in. So, what exactly does an "inversion of the yield curve" mean? An inversion of the yield curve is looking at and referring to the differences in interest rates being charged by banks over a 2 and 10 year lending horizon. Economists also look at the 3 and 10 year lending rates as well.

Typically banks will charge a lower interest for a short term loan than for a longer term loan. Banks are incentivized to lend out at higher interest rates over a longer term loan period. However, when the 10 year interest lending rate is less than the 2 year lending rate, banks have less incentive to lend. This is known as the "yield curve inversion" when the longer term 10 year lending rate is less than than the 2-year rate. It does not happen often but when it does, it has been a good predictor of an upcoming recession for over 50 years. 

The spread between 10-year and 2-year Treasuries has fallen from 0.89% in early January to just 0.18% on March 21. So while we are close, we are not there yet.

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The 50 Dollar Sandwich Economy

If you are walking into The French Laundry, a 3 star michelin restaurant in Napa, you may well expect to pay $50 plus for a sandwich extraordinaire. Not so, when you walk into your average sandwich place. I almost fell out of my chair when the person cutting my hair told me she was going to be charged $50 for a chicken sandwich at a local eatery in Walnut Creek, La Fontaine. She had paid $20 for a sandwich one day, $30 the next and then a few days later was presented with the $50 price tag. She declined the sandwich. 

While this may be an extraordinary tale of sandwich inflation and who knows what else, the reality is that the cost of eating out has gone up significantly, but this is sandwich madness. Yes, Russia and Ukraine are two of the largest exporters of wheat and there will be supply shortages that impact prices worldwide. The Russia-Ukraine situation has also sent gas prices soaring. Gas prices have risen to some of the highest in recent USA history. However, has America stopped growing its own wheat and raising it's own chickens? Of course not. So, why is a local sandwich shop in Walnut Creek charging $50 for a chicken sandwich? Is it the best chicken sandwich in Walnut Creek? Probably not.

The supply chain issues have given opportunity for corporate and business greed to inflate as well. While some price increases may be justified, of course, some price increases across a range of industries ranging from 50-500% are quite litterally "out of this world" and unjustified by any rational commercial standards.

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Russia, Putin and The Impact of War on the Global Economy

Authoritarian leaders have many things in common: A need for self-glorification, self-preservation, vanity and power are four of many. They can never get enough of these. One person dictates the future of millions held captive by fear and repression and effects millions in the Ukraine by what ammounts to an open decleration of war. On the one hand, Putin's agenda appears to be founded in reclaiming a long gone era of Russian influence and power and countering his fear of NATO expansion to Russia's borders. While this is no doubt influencing his decisions and causing mayhem with his fragile ego, one can also infer that what is motivating Putin - under the guise of a strongman - is fear for his own political surivival and his legacy with the West encroaching on his doorstep, a Russia that has been broken up and is only a part of it's former empire.

This is Putin's war, not Russia's war. Putin's strategic plan, if he follows through into Ukraine which looks more probable at this juncture, will have severe financial repercussions for Russia. Not only will maintaining a war be costly for Russia, the economic sanctions will - once fully implemented in the event of a full scale invasion of Ukraine - be crippling. The Ukraine will not sit idle with its 200,000 person army plus reservists joining them and funding from the west.

Russia's allies are few and not surprisingly are authoritarian leaders with their own empire building or reclaiming agenda's. China while overtly supporting Putin treads a fine line. It will be wary of supporting Russia too much as it still needs America as a trading partner and will therefore not want to further alienate the USA.

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War, Inflation and Market Jitters

The possibility of war looms as Russia's build up of troops and tanks grow on the Ukranian border. As if that were not enough, inflation stats coming in at 7.5% provides continued proof of how wrong the Federal Reserve has been. Markets hate uncertainty and "uncertainty" is the flavor of the current moment. Russian-Ukranian tensions have been on the rise for weeks now. That is not news. A diplomatic resolution vs a military invasion has been the more expected outcome and that is now in question. Has that been fully discounted by the markets. Some say no.

A military build up of such magnitude is cause for alarm and certainly a strategic move by Putin to force an outcome whether that is to enter into negotiations and reach a new military understanding between Europe, Russia and the USA or potentially, an invasion. An invasion is costly on many fronts for Russia, not least of which will be the heavy sanctions that will be imposed on them by USA and Europe. War is costly and it is questionable whether Russia can afford such a prolonged entanglement. As such, it seems a high risk option for Putin and therefore less likely of an outcome to us. However, if the strategic goals for the build up were originally to negotiate a new military understanding in the region and these completely fail from Putin's vantage point, who knows what his next move could be.

In the midst of this, inflation continues to rear its ugly head. Supply chain issues abound. The Fed has to act and based on the most recent data, the market worries it will have to act even more aggressively. As we have said before in previous blog posts, we believe the Fed will act and a rate increase of at least 25 basis points is all but assured in March. It is again unlikely in our estimation that the first rate hike will be more than that. Based on our research supply chain issues will start to be addressed in the second half of 2022. However, progress may not materialize until later than the market would like. In this sceanrio more pressure will be put on the Fed to keep raising interest rates which they will probably do.

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Are Higher Interest Rates The Harbinger of Gloom for Stocks?

Are higher interest rates the harbinger of gloom for stocks? That is what the market news headlines are wanting everyone to believe. Well, how true is it though? Yes, interest rates have been at historic lows and this fuelled high growth stocks in 2021 to historically high valuations. The Fed's "temporary inflation" outlook proved less transitory and more embedded in the economy and so the time had arrived to deal with this using the two tools at the Fed's disposal: raising interest rates and tapering or reducing its purchase of central bank assets, essentially a reversal of its quantitative easing policies and removing liquidity from the markets.

The markets reaction was immediate and high growth stocks sold off starting in November. The Nasdaq fell from a high of 16,764 in the second half of November 2021 to 13,724 in January, a fall of just over 20% and now sits at about 14,930 today, the last day of January 2022.

"Pending higher interest rates and Fed tapering required a re-valuation of tech stocks" was the communication coming out of every media outlet. In reality, it prompted a move out of yes, highly valued tech stocks into "value" stocks that had been left behind to that point in time. A sound strategic move, one can argue.

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Markets are on Edge. Are you?

The markets are on edge. The Fed has signalled it will use its tool box to curb inflation which includes raising rates and tapering. The market has shuddered. "Don't fight the Fed"! is the prevailing market wisdom. The market pundits and the news media are pronouncing that rising rates combined with less liquidity is going to be bad for stocks and that this could be the end of the historic bull market.

First of all, this movie has played out before. Between late 2016 and 2018 the Fed started to signal it was going to raise rates and high growth stocks sold off as they are the most rate-senstitive. Investors rotated into defensive stocks with strong earnings. However once rate hikes happened the same growth stocks that were now priced for those rate hikes, performed really well, while the defensive stocks did not. A good case can be made that we will see a repeat of the same pattern. Earnings remain robust, supply issues are likely to turn around in 2022 and inflation will eventually come down from it's current highs.

Likewise, the economy continues to find its way through the disruptions of COVID and while this may take more time than people think, we will move past COVID as the rest of the world begins to get vaccinated and build immunity. However, it would be foolish to discount new variants emerging over the coming 12 months - and more disruptions to global economies - while over 90% of the developing countries are still unvaccinated.

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2022 is Almost Here, So What's in Store for The Year Ahead?

We first want to wish all our readers and clients a Happy New Year!

As we say goodbye to a tumultous 2021, we look forward and to 2022 and what it may have in store for investors. 2021 saw inflation run away to heights not seen for decades. The Fed completely under-estimated this and shifted gears stating it was going to get serious about tackling inflation by tapering its bond buying and raising interest rates in 2022. The markets are re-calibrating. How big an issue is "inflation" and how soon can it be brought under control? These are the key questions as they will influence how aggressive the Fed is with respect to raising interest rates.

The key determining factors with respect to taming inflation are:

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Omicron and Inflation Set Off Market Concerns. How Valid Are They?

Omicron and Inflation are the boogeymen out to spoil the Holiday Season. Should you let them?

Markets are souring as news of record inflation numbers rebound across the globe alongside the emergence of a markedly different strain of the coronavirus out of South Africa. Wall Street is worried about the potential severity and impact of Omicron on the economy and how it may stall a potential recovery. The inflation concern is principally tied to worries regarding potential hikes in interest rates in 2022 and their impact on valuations and the stock market altogether.

These are real concerns. The question is how "real" and the answer to both of these issues is "unknown" at this juncture. The studies on Omicron and the efficacy of the various vaccines to thwart or limit it are still in process. Initial reports suggest that the impact of Omicron is less mild disease than the current Delta variants, but it is simply too early to tell if this is true. Markets are waiting for scientifically backed data and news.

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Bollinger Bands. What Are They and Can They Be a Useful Tool for Investment Decision Making?

What the heck are Bollinger Bands?

Bollinger Bands were developed by John Bollinger. They are envelopes (or could be thought of as sandwiches with the moving average of price as the filling) plotted at a standard deviation (which can be adjusted) above and below a simple moving average of the price. As the distance apart of the bands is based on standard deviation, the bands naturally adjust to swings in the underlying price being measured.

The width of the bands and underlying trend can be indicative of pending shifts in price. For example when the bands are narrow and remain narrow for a period of time which is indicative of a period of low volatility it can portend a more significant future price movement up or down which in turn would require other technical indicators to evaluate alongside it. The timeframe over which Bollinger Bands are observed or utilized is likewise an important factor to take into account and can also weaken or strengthen their validity or usefulness. If you are observing these over hourly, daily, weekly or monthly time frames they will yield different value.

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The Infrastructure Bill and Implications for The Clean Energy Sector

Some bad news for Democrats in Virginia prompted some much needed urgency and positive action on the legislative front and the resulting upgrading of America's deteriorating infrastructure. The "Build Back Better" or $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill passed through Congress yesterday and is now waiting to be signed into law by the President.

$1.2 Trillion is a number that is hard for most mortals to comprehend. It is a gargantuan ammount of money, the largest sum ever dedicated to the revamping of America's infrastructure.

So, what are the implications of this massive investment program for american companies. Who stands to benefit the most?

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The Case for an Extended Bull Market

We have often written about the "asset inflation" bubble caused by a trifecta of near zero interest rates, record levels of money printing not seen in american history and the federal reserve acting as a backstop for everything! Well maybe not everything, but again more than ever before. The "relative value" of the dollar continues to fall against this backdrop. a trend that has continued over a 50+ year period. The purchasing power of the dollar has fallen by 92% over the last 50 years. Let that sink in for a moment. The only saving grace is that other westernized countries are not faring much better yet none have the size of national debt of the USA. It helps to be the worlds reserve currency!

In the midst of a historic "asset bubble" of "everything" where many fund managers are cautious, there are well respected fund managers talking about a continuation of the bull market into 2038, one that is fueled by the "millennial" generation. The arguments are compelling and we wanted to share some of them in this article.

Cathie Wood, the architect of Ark’s comprehensive range of ETF's sais: “So this is the echo of the baby boom,” in reference to the millennial investors being the new drivers of an extended bull market into 2038 to mirror the baby boomers who fueled a 20-year bull market in stocks during the 1980's and 1990's.

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Oscillators as Indicators

We have discussed Oscillators as indicators that will depict oversold and overbought conditions over different time periods. Oscillators will vary in what they depict depending on the inputs. In general they will map the trend of a given stocks price movement but depending on the inputs you can amplify the trend or conversely you can soften the overall trend. For short term investors amplifying the trend may provide more accurate short term signals for either entry or exit points and likewise for long term investors reducing the sensitivity of the signal will more accurately depict the long term momentum in price cycles and growth. Longer term investment horizons allow for more underlying data and therefore technical analysis will provide more reliable information for interpretation and analysis than short term investment horizons.

If investors believe in the long term growth prospects of a stock or fund (basket of companies) then buying at those times when price oscillates to the lower bands of the stochastic oscillators numeric ledger, usually 0-20 (which signals oversold conditions) can be on approach to steadily acumulate a position over time. Investors looking to rebalance their portfolios on a stock or fund that has outperformed the market for years may look at a long term oscillator top range, usually above 80 (which signals overbought conditions) as one of many different signals to assess when to exit a portion of their position and re-balance their portfolio. The chart on the right shows Amazon's monthly stock price movements and points to 2 moments in time when the stochastic oscillator was at a low. If you believed in the long term growth prospects of Amazon, both these moments in time would have provided good entry points to accumulate stock.

Technical analysis used in conjunction with macro analysis can provide a more balanced and objective perspective for purposes of portfolio management, entry and exits, investment and rebalancing decisions whether that is for an individual investor or asset manager over different time periods. Technical analysis is a tool which requires context and experience to assess and use. That context is based on the investment goals of an investor or fund manager. 

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Technology Disruption in Finance and Everything Else!

We have talked about the blockchain in prior articles. Many people associate the "blockchain" with "Bitcoin" but the blockchain is far more than Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a counter financial cyclical innovation that arose directly after and as a result of the 2007/8 financial crash and depression. We refer to it here as counter-cyclical because it has a deflationary monetary supply built into the code. It is not subject to human, governmental or political motivations that can inflate the money supply to unprecedented levels of indebtedness - in a monetary experiment - that devalues the worth of the currency, causes inevitable inflation and arguably impacts those who are the least well off, the most, over the mid to long term. Bitcoin's supply is fixed and known. It is finite. It is often referred to as a "store of value" - the equivalent of digital gold, except more easily stored on a comparative basis, more liquid and transportable, not to mention an increasingly globally accepted currency and asset class in the westernized world.

Bitcoin is however just the tip of the iceberg of changes and innovations spurred by the blockchain that will sweep the world and impact every industry on the planet. The biggest disruption in finance in the last two hundred years is unfolding now. It will be commonplace soon to be able to send monies for free or fractions of a cent 24/7 to anyone in the world. Businesses will be able to accept payments for cents vs paying 2-4% in fees for every sale. Individuals can access fair market interest rates in exchange for depositing monies with crypto banks. You can do that right now. Yes, these do carry more risk but with over $250 billion dollars accessing the decentralized financial markets today these risks will become more manageable. Insurance products are already being created to manage this risk. This industry is still in its early evolutionary phase and as the products and technology mature so will the ease of use, accessibility and safety.

Another industry that is being reinvented on the blockchain is the gaming industry. In one year, Axie Infinity, a blockchain gaming company is generating more revenue than some of the largest gaming companies in the world. More, many more such ventures are coming. The economics or tokenomics of these ventures allows users to also interact financially whether it is to secure the network, purchase games, buy/sell various items within the gaming ecosystems, compete and generate income.

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China, Evergrande and The Boom & Bust Cycles of Capitalism

The recent headlines in the markets are all about China's "Evergrande" which may require a name change before the dust finally settles. China's quasi capitalist front - the business class - which is under the umbrella of Communism is under fire on many fronts. Let's discuss the economic front first. Evergrande - you may not have heard of the company until now - is China's largest property developer and has been a company at the forefront of China's economic boom and phenomenal new city development and expansion. As can be the case in an economy that has been booming and expanding for decades, it is easy for companies to lose sight that "booms" always come to an end. The economic cycles in Capitalist societies are inevitable, in spite of trillions in government "funding" intervention in the last decade. China is not a capitalist society - at least not culturally - and the interesting juxta-positon between capitalism and communism under one roof is playing itself out now with "Communism" asserting itself in ways that those who have heavily invested in china are now discovering to their detriment.

Evergande's booming business was fuelled by increasing debt and leverage. As can happen, that debt to debt servicing ratio was not properly managed and the banks - yet again - failed in their fiscal due dilligence and evaluation of the company. The US equivalent often cited in the media is "Lehman Borthers". The bottom line is that "Evergrande" is teetering and on the cusp of failure, unable to service its debt with no immediate convincing plan to lower its $300 billion debt mountain. It missed it's interest payment to bond holders yesterday - thursday September 23rd - and now has a 30 day grace period to make good on this or officially be in default. The writing is on the wall. It has effectively lost the little negotiation power it may have had. It's unlikely - not impossible - that the company will survive in its current "Evergrande" form. Will the chinese state intervene? Given the millions of livelihoods at stake and economic repercussions for the region, there is a high likelihood the government will intervene in some way. In wake of China's clamping down on "businesses" that have grown too big and too powerful for the State's liking and its emphasis on the welfare of the people, we see a strong possibility that state financial aid will come, but with caveats or demands that the company be broken into several companies and assets sold off to pay down bondholder and retail buyer debt.

As we have already mentioned, we believe it is unlikely that "Evergrande" will survive in its current form.

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What is a Head & Shoulders Pattern?

In this installment of our technical patterns education series, we will explore what is known as a "Head and Shoulders" pattern. This pattern can signal a shift in trend whether at the top of a price discovery trend or at the bottom (when it is referred to as an "inverse head and shoulders bottom" pattern).

As the name suggests, a head and shoulder pattern comprises of left shoulder that corrects only to move higher to form the "head" typically the highest price point in the prevailing price trend (or the lowest price point in the case of an "inverted head and shoulder bottom pattern" after which it will correct while only to rally again but not as high as the previous "head". This point marks a trend reversal, down in the case of a traditional head and shoulder pattern and up in the case of an inverted head and shoulders bottom pattern.

The chart to the left provides a classic example of a head and shoulders pattern whereas the chart below of Cisco in 2000-2001 shows how these can play out in real markets.

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A Window into Institutional Adoption of Digital Currencies

Institutional adoption of digital currencies and payment methods is on the rise. We are seeing a tectonic shift in the payments landscape along with the rise of Bitcoin. However, behind Bitcoin, blockchain companies and projects are looking to reinvent the way individuals and entire industries transact across the entire global industrial landscape.

One of the the core concepts behind blockchain is "trustless" transactions which essentially means transactions between two parties that are controlled by a piece of computer code "A smart contract" that is programmed to embody the transactional details and execute automatically. Essentially any "exchange" of property or digital property can be programmed accordingly removing the need or reliance on centralized parties or intermediaries to broker an exchange for fees. The movement to decentralised finance for example aims to remove "banks" and "brokers" as intermediaries allowing what is known as "peer" to "peer" transactions. Individual A can buy a stock or any asset directly from Individual B in a secure and trustless manner or Individuals can send monies "peer to peer" directly to one another without a bank as an intermediary.

Every transaction on the blockchain is recorded in a tamper proof ledger. No one can go back in time and modify the ledger which makes blockchain one of the most secure and transparent technologies in history to date.

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The Import of Volume - Technical Indicator Series

Volume is a measure of how much stock or how many contracts (if options) or barrels (if oil) are traded in a given day, week, month or quarter. Changes in volume traded can signal a change in price trend and relative strength either up or down. A marked shift in average daily volume alongside an increasing or decreasing price trend is a signal that should be carefully assessed as part of any trading strategy whether short, mid or long term.

Some volume trends worth noting include:-

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RSI Technical Indicator

RSI otherwise known as the Relative Strength Index is a measure of strength or momentum in the price action of a stock, commodity, ETF or other tradeable instrument. It measures the magnitude of price action strength on a relative scale and is displayed as an oscillator with a measurement parameter between 0 and 100. The top range e.g. 70-100 typically indicates relatively overbought conditions whereas the bottom range 0-30 can indicate oversold conditions within a given or chosen timeframe. The longer the timeframe over which this is measured the stronger the signal as a function of trend.

Investors and traders will use this signal to gauge - over different timeframes - from days to years, potential buy and sell decisions or portfolio rebalancing decisions. As with all technical signals they should be used in concert with other technical signals to confirm the probability or weighting of that signal's validity. Technical analysis can provide probability weightings for buy sell decisions providing a statistical bell curve that will indicate how often a signal or combination of signals in a given market, under various economic conditions and different timeframes is accurate with respect to signalling a change in trend.

As you can see on the diagram in the left, the yellow circles show corresponding lows and highs in the weekly stock price of SESN as well as a corresponding RSI indicator below 30 and above 70. RSI indicators can show multiple signals above 70 or below 30 so the first time the line crosses over these values does not necessarily mean a low or high has been reached which is why it is best to use technical analysis in combination with a range of different signals to get a higher probability signal or confirmation of whether a shift in price trend - up or down - is pending.

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The Case for Negative Interest Rates - Rationale, Risks and Origins

Why on earth would a bank charge negative interest rates? It's so " upside down" and counter-intutive we thought it would be a good idea to cover the topic in this weeks blog post.

During times of economic uncertainty central banks lacking in policy alternatives to stimulate the economy have turned to unconventional policies such as negative interest rates to stimulate the economy. The use of negative interest rates is a tool to counter potential deflationary spirals where - in times of economic uncertainty - there is less incentive on the part of businesses and consumers to spend and therefore less investment, growth, profits and a higher propensity for unemployment which in turn creates a negative feedback loop. By offering negative interest rates banks disincentivize individuals and businesses to hold cash at banks as it now costs depositors money to do so (which turns the traditional banking model on its head) and encourages businesses and individuals to borrow money by actually being paid to borrow by the banks.

Sweden was the first to experiment with negative rates in July 2009 when the Reiksbank cut interest rates to -.25%. The ECB (European Central Bank) did so in 2014 lowering its interest rate to -0.10%. Other European countries and Japan have done likewise with over $10 trillion in government debt carrying instrument with negative yields by 2017. The objective is to encourage banks to lend money rather than hold reserves at the central banks (where they are now charged for the privilege). Another objective is to use negative interest rates to devalue a currency and in essence make it more competitive, stimulating the economy through demands for export of goods and thereby encouraging business expansion.  This has been one of the objectives of the ECB.

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28 Trillion Reasons to be Vigilant

$28 Trillion - take a moment to reflect on this number - is the current total of the US National Debt. As of June 17th it is precisely $28,311,074,615,442.85. We titled this blog post "28 Trillion reasons to be vigilant" because this number is not going down, has not gone down in the last 15 years and is unlikely to go down. So, what does this mean for the USA and for you?

1.The cost of servicing the national debt as a percentage of US revenue is going up.

2.If interest rates rise significantly, even as high as 3-4%, how sustainable is servicing the national debt? The Fed has a significant incentive - 28 trillion incentives - to keep interest rates as close to zero for as long as possible without going into negative yield territory. This would very likely have been the case had COVID never happened. COVID however has provided the US a perfect storm to do keep interest rates at all time lows and inject $6 trillion and counting into the economy. This serves several national purposes: It provides massive liquidity to withstand the shock of COVID, it devalues the US dollar by doing so, which in turn dilutes the national debt value, it keeps interest payments on the national debt as low as possible and it allows for the most optimum conditions for the economy to return to pre-COVID employment numbers.

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Identifying Trends and Moving Averages

Stock, Commodity or Bond prices do not move in a straight line. All fluctuate with changing variables including but not limited to economic, political, competitive, human or technological factors. Identifying price trends is the underlying basis of technical analysis and critical to traders and investors whether it is over a short, medium or long term basis. To do this, the technical analyst has hundreds of technical indicators at their disposal that are now also woven together in trading algorithms, AI (artifical intelligence) and trading BOT's that operate independent (largely) of any human.

Today we are going to discuss 'moving averages" which track trendlines. There are only 3 potential trendlines for any security which is Up, Down or Sideways. Moving averages track and chart prices - over different timelines - and with different formulas. For example, a simple moving average charts the closing prices of stocks over periods such as 20, 50, 100, 200 or 400 or more days. An exponential moving average places more emphasis and wieght on recent price changes than past price changes. These moving averages can be used to track micro, medium and macro trends and trends within trends. Certain moving averages are better suited or more accurate depeding on the timeline being measured. As the name suggests "moving average trend lines track "averages" which inevitably do not account for unexpected sudden events. They are "reactionary" pattern indicators and predictive only to a certain extent. As such they have value for investors or traders but they are not absolute.

Moving indicators track trends and the convergence of various moving indicators can provide "confirmatory strength" signals of a trend or additional weighting to the preponderance of a trend. Again, while no signal is written in stone, they must be understood in the context of "probability analysis" and historic metrics which in turn provide "odds". On a relative basis, these odds can determine risk and positioning in time and over time. For example if a 20 day average crosses a 50 day moving average or a 50 day average crosses a 200 day moving average to the upside or the downside, these can be indicative of a supporting trend and it's strength or weakness.

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The Melt Up Ingredients -Stimulus, Debt, Inflation & Low Interest Rates

We have seen this movie before. After the roaring 1920's, the stock market melted up to euphoric highs only to crash in stupendous fashion. In the internet boom of the late 1990's the NASDAQ hit likewise euphoric highs only to crash back down to earth. Following extremely lax lending practices coupled with low interest rates the flying real estate boom coupled with mortgage backed securities fueled the 2007/8 great recession taking the entire banking and monetary system to the brink. Massive stimulus injections lifted us out of that great depression.

Economists have long seen repeating economic cycles in history. Booms followed by Bubbles and then Busts with long periods of economic stagnation, only for the cycle to repeat. We have written about this before but want to write about it again because while we have seen this movie before in the US and all around the world, the movie we are seeing unfold the US today is different to one's we have seen in US history.  

The convergence of record national debt, stimulus, low interest rates, inflation, a booming stock market in the midst of a global recession have created a mix of ingredients that could fuel one of the great bubbles and busts of the modern era.

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What's Chaikin Folks? Identifying Money Flows

There is a whole lot of Chaikin going on! In todays blog post we are continuing the series about technical analysis and the large toolbox of indicators available. Today we are looking at an indicator that attempts to measure money flows into and out of a security.

The Chaikin Money Flow was created by Marc Chaikin along with the Chaikin Oscillator and Accumulation/Distribution signals to measure the flow of money into or out of a security over a given period of time.

The Money Flow Volume was conceived by Chaikin to measure the buying and selling pressure for a security over a user defined period of time such as 15, 50 or 200 days. The most popular setting for this indicator is over a 20-21 day period. The value of the oscillator swings between 1 and -1 with buying pressure being greatest when the value is closest to 1 and selling pressure being greatest when the value is closer to -1.

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Inflation - How Big a Risk Is It?

The exponential rise in the national debt since COVID began by the tune of more than $3.8 Trillion of stimulus monies was inevitably going to lead to a wave of hard asset inflation as well as consumer inflation. The only question was "how much"?

In the last couple of days, the markets woke up to the fact that inflation might be worse than the federal reserve predicted. The CPI (Consumer Price Index) numbers released for April 2021 rose 0.8% versus an expected rise of 0.2% month over month. Should we be alarmed and worried? In the short term, the answer is "not really". If you have been tracking first quarter earnings calls, you will have heard many CEO's describing how tight supply chains are right now. Higher costs of raw material inputs are being passed onto the consumer. As COVID restrictions ease and consumer demand for goods and services rise alongside tight supply chains operating on "just in time" demand cycles, the natural consequence of greater demand and tight supplies is higher price increases.

It is difficult to say how inflation numbers will fare over the coming months as it will take time for supply chains to re-calibrate and meet rising demand.  However, as this occurrs, inflation numbers will likely decrease as supply increases. Overall, however, we expect the inflation trend to show up as net higher consumer prices across most hard and soft asset categories, compared to before the pandemic.

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The Impact of The Biden Tax Plan

Joe Biden announced his new trillion dollar infrastructure plan last week and how he intends to fund it, which sent chills through the markets and the $400,000 plus annual income earners. Of course, this should not have come as a surprise. The odds of the Biden Administration not implementing such a key campaign promise was close to zero. What the announcement did do was sound the alarm ammong the top segment of american earners that it was time to take action and evaluate steps to mitigate taxes going forward under the likely scenarios outlined by the president.

The actual proposal however still needs to pass the chambers of congress and the resulting outcomes will not be known until it does. It is likely that the proposed announcement of a hike on income and capital gains taxes was a negotiating tactic and it would be unlikley that long term capital gains would be as high as the 39.6% proposed rate and more likely to be sub 30%. In addition, it is anticipated that there will be an increase in estate and gift taxes which will also require heirs to pay capital gains taxes on assets above a certain amount that they inherit.

The cosy tax rules governing asset inheritances which has allowed wealth to be locked up generationally without taxes needing to be paid on any assets held for the long term looks likely to change. The Biden infrastructure proposal needs funds to pay for it and just adding to the national debt to pay for it is not a solution. In a predominant capitalist society the spoils of industry and most advantageous tax rules go to the few while comparatively much larger segments of the population live on sub $15/hour wages and are unable to cover the increasingly expensive needs of life.The middle classes are shrinking and the working classes have felt left behind.The new Biden Tax plan aims to address some of these imbalances.

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Technical Indicators - Bollinger Bands

This week, we are going to continue with our "key technical indicators" series for stocks or any publicly traded instrument for that matter. Today, we are going to explore "Bollinger Bands".

Bollinger bands are a volatility indicator that depict two deviations from a moving average in the price trend of a stock, commodity, fund etc. This is depicted as two lines on either side of a moving average indicator which represent the outer (upper and lower) bands from the moving average. When a stock, on the upside, rises above the outermost upper band as in the chart on the left this can indicate the stock is over bought and may be an opportune moment to sell. Likewise, if the price trend falls below the outermost lower band, it can indicate the stock is over-sold and may be an opportune moment to buy.

As with any technical indicator, these can be used over different trading timelines whether this is intra day, daily, weekly, monthly or any timeframe you may choose. Their relative significance will also vary by the timeline you choose and as always are useful to use in combination with other technical indicators and values.

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Stock Indicators - MACD

Over the coming months we will discuss a variety of stock indicators and how these can help an investor identify market cycles and significant shifts in market or company fortunes. Investors have different time horizons which can vary from 1 day to 30 years. Regardless of the investment timeframe, you must determine an entry and exit price which may or may not sync with your investment timeframe.

Stock market indicators can help identify market trends, volume, volatility and momentum across different timeframes. The longer the timeframe e.g. days, weeks or months over which one can measure results, the more consistent the resulting patterns and analysis will be. If you are trading intra-day then the bigger investment picture or outlook for a company, commodity, fund or ETF is hardly relevant. Chart indicators however can be helpful regardless of timeframe.

In this article we will examine the MACD or Moving Average Convergence Divergence indicator. This indicator can help identify shifts in trends in price both to the up and downside.

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China Issues Digital Currency - The Big News That is Not Being Covered with Giant Implications

China has issued a digital Yuan and it's got governments around the world scared and in catch-up mode. So what's the big deal? The world is moving at breakneck pace to a digital based currency system. Cash is being phased out. Consumers around the world are paying increasingly with debit and credit cards. Cash is being used less and less and this trend has only accellerated since the advent of COVID. It only makes sense in a predominantly digital commerce world that this would be accompanied by government issued digital currencies.

When Facebook announced its intentions to launch Libra, the world took notice and action. When a public company with 2 billion users starts issuing its own currency the financial elite start to panic. Just imagine how much power would shift to Facebook. It could become one of the largest financial payment networks in the world overnight. As if it did not have enough power and influence right now, a move to digital banking would tip the balance of power even further to the digital elite. Mark Zuckerberg's argument was simple. "If we do not do it, someone else will" and that is exactly what is happening with China announcing the launch of its digital currency. However, the implications of China announcing a digital currency are just as far reaching as Facebook's announcement.

From a Geo political and economic standpoint, China's launch into the digital world is a significant threat to the dollars global dominance. A digital currency means the ability to bypass US oversight allowing countries that the US is looking to penalize with sanctions, for example, to bypass international payment networks such as SWIFT (which the US monitors closely) and exchange funds anonymously. China's game plan to weaken US dominance in the world is not exactly a secret. As we have written in previous articles, there is a global economic fight for dominance going on between China, US and the EU (less so). One of the last significant bastions of US power in the world is the dominance of the US dollar as the global reserve currency. Almost 80% of all global trade is done in dollars. China is going to keep doing everything it can to disrupt the last bastion of US power.

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Part 2 - Bubbles, Bonds & The Allocation Dilemma

As we mentioned in part one of this article last week, wealth management firms are managing a cross-section of economic conditions and asset classes that each carry comparative risk. We define comparative risk as the "opportunity cost" of asset allocation in which "yield" is the primary measure by clients.

How much "risk on" or "risk off" is the asset allocation question in the midst of what are inevitably "unknown timeframes" and economic conditions that can outlast any rational mind.

In this article we will talk about some other dilemna's facing wealth management firms and their clients:-

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Bubbles, Bonds & The Allocation Dilemma - Part 1

In the last months we have written about bubbles, bonds and the shifting balanced portfolio model in an inflation prone environment. We have a unique mix of variables in play today unlike any other time in history. Zero to 1.6 percent bond yields that are unlikely to cover the rate of inflation, so in essence, negative yielding. There is little to no room for bond prices to rise so the next logical question is: What's the economic rationale for holding bonds? For most institutions, at this juncture and in a climate of forseable low interest rates per the Federal Reserve, bonds are looking increasingly like a losing proposition.

As Christina Lagarde, the head of the ECB (European Central Bank) recently commented "Higher market interest rates pose a significant risk to financing conditions (e.g. a recovery). Rising bond yileds could lead to premature lightening" of credit conditions which of course would hamper yes, you guessed it, a recovery. COVID has walloped the Global Economy, created sky high unemployment and generated a bigger wealth divide. The answer per the Federal Reserve and ECB is continued stimulus and low, exceedingly low, rates.

The Bond Dilemma unless you are Microstrategy

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The Bond Crisis Part 2 - Challenging The Traditional Asset Allocation Model

In the first part of this article we looked at why the Bond market is in crisis. In this second part we will look at what happened in the bond marketi n 2020 and 2021 to date and what the elite investors are saying about it.

Challenges for the Bond Market in 2020 and 2021

The last year has been challenging. Bonds rallied as equities started to fall in February 2020, but when equity markets collapsed in March 2020 so did bonds.When equity markets bounced back, bonds did not. As a result, the long held assumption about the protection you get from holding bonds which is that bond prices rise when yields fall or the economy slumps has come into question. 

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The Bond Crisis - Challenging The Traditional Asset Allocation Model - Part 1

The Bond market is in crisis. The last 2-3 year market dynamics are challenging the effectiveness of the traditional "balanced portfolio model" comprising in general of a 60/40 Equity/Bond allocation, a model that has stood the test of time in manging risk and equity market cycles. In a close to zero interest rate climate with high inflationary risk, the investment rationale for holding bonds is now being called into question.

Let's dive a little deeper into the issue with a two part article. The first part looks at what is happening in the Bond market and the second part which we will publish mid-week will look at the trends in the bond market in 2020 and 2021 and what the elite of the investment world are saying about it.

What is happening with Bonds and Why?

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4 Powerful But Often Overlooked Ways to Free Up Capital for Investing in Your Financial Future

The expression that the “devil is in the details” refers to the little often overlooked items that can sometimes “cost you” whether it is an overlooked item requiring compliance, a payment or exit clause for ending a contract that you did not see or just overlooking some ingredients in a recipe that resulted in a dud recipe.

In the world of personal finance we can at times be stretched when trying to  find money in our budget to allocate to our investment and retirement plan. Inspecting our spending patterns and finding ways to cut expenses and save what may seem like small inconsequential expenditures can significantly miss  the “devil in the details” and the bigger financial picture.

We are discussing this by way of example to illustrate how this one exercise can make a big difference. Just imagine if your investments and all the other details concerning your wealth were managed with the same expert precision. As we will illustrate, it can make ALL the difference and ensure you enjoy a more comfortable retirement. Let’s look at just 4 examples of where you may be able to cut expenditures and then add up the savings and what the value of doing this for 5 years could add up to over a 25 year period.

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De-Fi: What is it & How It Is Changing the Financial Landscape?

De-FI is an abbreviation for Decentralised Finance and it is changing the global financial landscape. So, what exactly is decentralized finance? De-Fi has arisen in sync with the blockchain revolution and a smart contract platform called "Ethereum" which is an entire universe or the first world computer providing a base technology layer on which every conceivable application is being built to transact business in a secure, borderless and efficient manner. Decentralized Finance or the ability to trade stock, token or asset transactions on decentralized exchanges "peer to peer" without a middleman such as a traditional stock exchange, dramatically lowers the fee structure of what you would pay on a traditional exchange.  

You can now trade stocks, tokens and soon, every type of commodity, asset and collectable "peer to peer" directly without a "trusted middle party" e.g. a bank or stock exchange.These new decentralized platforms also known as DEX's are "Peer to Peer" and "trustless" meaning they do not require Person A knowing and trusting Person B to make a trade or exchange. The Decentralized Exchange (DEX) itself provides the mechanism for a secure exchange.

The Gamestop debacle has opened people's eyes to the fact that not only are "free trading" platforms such as Robinhood not free, they are also subject to censorship rendering the retail investor powerless when it suits the centralized exchanges. Retail buyers and sellers may not know it, but they pay a mark-up or mark-down in the price of any financial instrument (when they buy or sell) essentially paying a premiium for each transaction which is pocketed by the exchange and its partners. Furthermore, as Gamestop investors found out, once losses to a select number of hedge funds became too acute, Robinhood stepped in - under pressure from its peers - to halt or limit trading to the detriment of retail investors.

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Wealth Management Plans While Markets Sour

If you have been reading the market headlines this week, Gamestop and AMC's meteoric stock price increases have been in the news as the "revenge of retail" makes it's mark on the hedge fund industry. This incident has rattled the markets along with a more circumspect re-examination of expectations for a second half 2021 economic recovery given the new South Africa COVID-19 variant and delays in the vaccination supply. The dizzying rallies in Gamestop alongside new market highs and souring expectations has given pause for thought. Have the markets come too far, too soon!

In one of our earlier articles, we outlined why we think that 2021 could be a strong year for the market based on the massive stimulus that has been injected into the economy coupled with close to zero interest rates. We also noted that delays with the vaccination roll out and potential mutations could prolong the "COVID Blues" and delay an expected economic recovery. There are other potential issues such as an escalation of economic tensions with China. These "uncertainties" provide ample fodder for market corrections in a likely continuation of the bull market.

One Professor, Jeremy Siegel, author of "Stocks for the long run" shares a similar ooutlook and is not blinking an eye in the midst of this market correction, standing firm with his latest prediction that the Dow will reach at least 35,000 in 2021.

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What is the difference between a Financial Planner & Wealth Management advisory?

A financial planner typically assists with lifestyle planning which may include budgeting, planning for college and retirement, for example. Wealth management can include financial planning but also covers a wide expanse of financial advisory disciplines including portfolio management, investment, risk analysis as well as looking at how a person, family or foundation can optimize their tax situation, legacy planning (inclusive of Trusts) and how to protect your wealth with respect to potential legal threats or events where you may have liability if you are at fault.

Wealth Management is a far more complex and comprehensive discipline

A wealth management advisory takes a comprehensive look at the financial needs, situation and goals of their clients and will provide a complete A-Z list of financial, risk mitigation and tax optimization services that manage and protect a client’s wealth. Financial planners provide one aspect of financial advisory with respect to helping clients' manage their daily finances, credit, plan for their children’s college and more general retirement advice. While critical and helpful, these services do not compare to the scope and complexity of services provided by wealth management firms.

Differences In Training

Wealth management requires considerable expertise, training and a high level of fiduciary obligation to one’s clients. There are very specific procedures that must be followed with respect to client interactions, safeguarding of information, privacy and so forth. In addition wealth management and investment requires significant training and discipline. Wealth management companies will typically employ CFA’s (Chartered Financial Analysts) and CFP’s (certified financial planners) and have significant experience managing assets inclusive of stocks, bonds and other investments.

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Market Trends for 2021 Part Two

Last week we wrote about trends that we think will continue into 2021 from 2020. Big technology shifts across AI, 5G, IOT, Blockchain and so forth are going to disrupt and accelerate change across many industries. Banking & Finance is one industry for example that is being challenged by the growing defi (decentralized finance) markets which now have north of $20 billion of assets in their ecosystem. We expect this trend to innovate and grow rapidly providing a growing number of options and products to serve the market.

With a new incoming administration, the stimulus packages will continue. Aside from the growing national debt and its staggering size, this continued onslaught of money flooding into the economy will continue to fuel inflation and devalue the US dollar. The latter alongside low interest rates will force asset managers and every day investors and retirees to seek yield that can offset the loss in value of holding cash.

1. The enormous injection of monies into the economy will cause most quality hard assets to rise in value

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Market Trends for 2021

First of all, Happy New Year to you! May we all look forward to seeing COVID in the rear mirror at some point in 2021. No doubt, getting enough of the population vaccinated will take longer than we all hope, but it will happen and science will help us put COVID behind us. There is a known variant circulating, first identified in South Afria and then in the UK and Europe and now in the USA. While it is not certain whether the current vaccines on the market account for this variant, they will find a vaccine for this one too if the current vaccines do not.

Due to the inevitable mutations of viruses, it is quite possible (but still unknown) that we may need to get a COVID vaccine each year to ensure we have maximum protection from potential variants. While this is something none of us look forward to, it is no doubt better than the alternative. Obviously medical science is far from perfect and there will always be a small percentage of people who have adverse events to any vaccine. However this is just about the case with every medicine on the planet. The majority will benefit.

The certainty of a vaccine alongside a more unknown supply and vaccination schedule means it is just a matter of time before we return to a new normal. How much time is the unknown.

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Happy Holidays!

We want to take this opportunity to wish all our clients and readers a Very Happy Holiday!

There are 6 Trillion reasons and counting why 2021 is shaping up to be a positive year for many asset classes.

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What the SPAC! What Is It & Why Is It So Popular?

So, what is a SPAC? And why is there so much market talk about these?

SPAC stands for "special purpose acquisition company". It can also be referred to as a “blank-check” or “shell" company. Essentially, a SPAC is a publicly traded company formed by a group of investors with specialized experience in an industry who are looking to acquire a target company, essentially taking a private company, public. Until it acquires a company, the SPAC does not have any revenue or operational business. Essentially it raises money which stays on the balance sheet until a target acquisition has been negotiated.

There are two weaknesses that can be attributed to SPAC's.

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The Huge 2020 IPO Wave And What It Means for 2021

While COVID, the Stock Markets and yes, the election, can claim the most headlines this year, a lesser known headline is playing itself out in 2020, namely the resurgence of IPO's or Intitial Public Offerings with huge gains out of the gate. A cousin of this trend is the emergence of SPAC's (special purpose acquisition companies) which we will touch on more in a future blog article.

AirBnB debuted today as the biggest IPO of 2020. It ended up offering 52 million shares for sale at $68 each which was significantly above their December 1st target of around $44 to $50 per share. The shares (ABNB) started trading on the Nasdaq today at $146 per share rising to $160 per share valuing AirBnB at more than $110 billion. That is 12.5% of the total value of IPO's this year which have included DoorDash (DASH), Palantir Technologies (PLTR), Asana (ASAN) and others.

Yesterday, DoorDash (DASH) Pre-IPO shares which had sold at $102 a share, debuted it's first trading day at $182 per share rising to over $195 valuing the group at over 70 Billion dollars. These are lofty valuations for companies yet to turn a profit. If you are investing for quick profits you better have a clear game plan form the outset.

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The US Dollar - 2020 Trends & Beyond

We are dedicating todays Blog article to the US Dollar and how it has been tracking almost inversely to the US stock market this year. At the height of the COVID onslaught in March and April of 2020, we saw a steep rise in the US dollar to a new 3 year high as investors rushed to safety in the worlds reserve currency while US and global markets fell in rapid succession as the impact, risk and global spread of COVID was priced into the markets. Conversely, as stock markets rallied back to their pre-COVID highs we have seen the dollar steadily fall. A vast injection of liquidity by the Federal Reserve which dwarfed Bernanke's quanititative easing during 2007-2009 eased concerns, risk and pressures on the financial system which in conjunction with close to zero interest rates has fuelled a wave of money seeking higher yields.

At some point in the future, the Fed will reign in its uber generous bond-buying and liquidity injections. However, that point is unlikely to arrive in the next two years which means that investors appetite for seeking yield is unlikely to taper off until that point. An IPO boom coupled with strong market growth is likely to continue into 2021 not-withstanding any new black swan events.

A weaker dollar eased conditions after the 2007/8 financial crisis and it appears that this trend will be mirrored in 2021/2022. We expect the US economy to pick up considerable steam as we come out of a brutal 2020/2021 Winter and optimism around emerging post-COVID lifts people's spirits and business investment. A strong US economy coupled with a weaker dollar and close to zero interest rates should provide the impetus for the stock market to perform well.

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The Origins of Thanksgiving - It May Not Be What You Think

Thanksgiving roots are not in 1621, Plymouth as you might have been accustomed to think.

The Day of Thanksgiving was originally conceived in England in the English Reformation during the reign of Henry 8th. Prior to the reformation there were 95 church holidays and 52 sundays when people were required to attend church and forego work. 95 church holidays! That is not a typo.The priorities during that era were certainly very different from today.

The 1536 reforms reduced the number of holidays to just 27! Some wanted to eliminate even these holidays and replace them with Days of Thankgiving and Days of Fasting. Positive events such as winning a great war, the birth of a royal heir and so forth would be followed with a day of Thanksgiving whereas terrible crisis such as drought, plague or floods would be followed by days of fasting. Great Negative and Positive events were given divine significance that either required pennance to ensure the continued Blessings of the Divine or Thanks to the Divine.

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