The finance industry has always made investing seem complicated and mysterious to many of us. As a form of job security, the more dependent their clients are, the more “silver bullet” products and plans can be sold. But like the Wizard, once the curtain is pulled back, investment success can be relatively simple…spend less than you make, have a financial plan with the guidance of someone that understands your goals, and invest in great companies and mutual funds. The first step is to do the simple things that you can control and then ignore the man behind the curtain.
The world lost an iconic legend last week when Tony Bennett passed away at 96. Tony Bennett captivated the nation, most notably a young Frank Sinatra, who famously claimed in a Life magazine article that “for my money, Tony Bennett is the best singer in the business.” Speaking of money, Tony Bennett represented everything good about successful investing. He was innovative, with an incredible knack for re-creating himself time and time again. He thought long-term, achieving 19 Grammys, with 17 of them coming after he reached his 60’s. He was frugal, as he ands his manager son mapped his 200 appearances a year to perfection. From Ray Charles to Lady Gaga, he was diverse and willing to take a little risk. Cheers to a national treasure.
“We would be careful not to give in completely to FOMO (fear of missing out), as a skipped hike is not a pause, inflation still handcuffs the Fed…” Benjamin Bowler, BofA Securities. The FOMO is definitely out there, what with Morgan Stanley upgrading Nvidia, this past Friday no less, to overweight. Thanks for the update guys, the now trillion dollar chipmaker’s stock is up 193% year to date. And FOMO is finally reaching out to the broader market, with all 11 S&P 500 industry sectors up during the month of June. It may be ok to join the party now, who doesn’t like a good party, but again, they say nothing good happens after midnight…
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Yogi Berra. The stock market road typically has plenty of forks to take, but this year we have seen a road that gets narrower and narrower. For example, If not for the seven largest tech stocks, the S&P 500 would be negative for the year and not up over 9%. The AI inspired gold rush into tech has been pretty remarkable and continues with the recent push in Nvidia, now a Trillion dollar company. Narrow stock market leadership has not always bode well for diversified portfolios and we need to battle the FOMO of the artificial intelligence crowd. Sometimes it is good to stay in your own lane.
Home buyers are feeling a bit like Hannibal Lecter, what with homeowners handcuffed to low mortgage rates. A recent Wall Street Journal article by Nicole Friedman, pointed out that the reluctance of these homeowners to sell differentiates the potential downturn in housing from other periods of rising interest rates. This idea of going from a historically low interest rate to a much higher one will most likely stunt the supply of homes for the near future. As of March 31, nearly two thirds of primary mortgages were at rates below 4%. For investors, the net effect could provide an opening for builders, an opportunity for home remodeling, and possibly dull the Fed’s attempt at to slow inflation. Moral to the story, interest rate moves, both up and down, are not without unintended consequences.
The tech heavy Nasdaq has been leading the way in 2023 after a horrendous prior year performance. As we leave the month of April, the Nasdaq has gained about 16% year to date, led by familiar big tech names like Amazon, Meta, Google, and don’t forget Microsoft. The sales numbers have been impressive…Amazon clocking in with over $100 billion in quarterly sales, Google (Alphabet) with more than $60 billion, and Microsoft with over $50 billion. As the arms race for AI takes off, there seems to be cash available for the perceived next big idea. At the midway point of earnings season, about 75% of companies have beat expectations and through the first quarter, $77 billion has flowed into equities. This, along with tight employment, will hopefully portend a “soft landing” for the economy and maybe even softer inflation rates.
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