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A Bird's Eye View Blog
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Does Your Investment Manager Have "Skin in the Game"?

August 30, 2018

When choosing an investment manager, there are various important considerations to make. You’ll want to consider overall objectives, process and performance, what specifically you’ll be investing in, and of course, fees. With so many options for you to choose from, it’s crucial to ensure that your interests directly align with those of your investment manager. What could be more revealing of a manager’s interests and goals than being personally invested in their own funds?

Fireside Charts 8.29.18

August 29, 2018

Happy Wednesday! Going into the holiday weekend, and most of the country is trying not to melt in this heatwave, we have some more fun charts for your enjoyment. Did you know that Tesla has all of 0 patents? Were you aware that Amazon is about to make up 50% (half!) of all U.S. retail e-commerce sales?! Don't miss out on other stats such as the most profitable industry for your state – can you guess your home state's before reading the chart? 

Fireside Charts 8.27.18

August 27, 2018

In today’s charts: The S&P 500, the Russell 2000 (small caps), and the Nasdaq Composite all hit new records last week. What does this, and the longest bull market in history, mean for your portfolios? How long will it run?  Plus, we take a look at commodities including gold, crude oil, and copper and the current state of the U.S. Treasury yield curve. In other interesting news, not all Americans are convinced that the world is round.

Active Management May Be on the Rise Over Passive: But Active vs Passive is the Wrong Debate

August 23, 2018

Following the 2007-2009 bear market, passive management, specifically index investing, was given the opportunity to thrive. Coming off the lows of a brutal bear market, the S&P 500 and other large cap indices thrived in an environment of easy monetary policy and quantitative easing. Many years of this 9+ year bull market experienced low or extremely low volatility leaving little room for active managers to squeeze out excess returns or alpha. Now, as volatility begins to reintroduce itself, active management may be coming back into favor among ...

Fireside Charts 8.22.18

August 22, 2018

The current bull market turns 3,453 days old today, tying the record for the longest run with the tech boom of the 90's. Over the last few days, the USD has pulled back in reaction to hopes of trade war tensions dying down. Copper prices have tumbled about 20% from their highs in June. We wrap up this post with a view of small cap leverage in the context of historically low interest rates.

Fireside Charts 8.20.18

August 20, 2018

The Chinese renminbi is recovering, the Venezuelan bolivar was devalued by 96% overnight and the Eurozone's bank shares may be pointing to the next European financial crisis. Hog futures jumped nearly 6% on concerns about African swine fever. Finally, we share valuable charts on tech giants' profit growth over the past decade and the maturity structure of Treasuries. 

Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware)

August 16, 2018

As a Tactical ETF Strategist, we consider ourselves fairly qualified to navigate the exchange traded product (ETP) universe. That being said, there’s one place even we won’t go. To pull a quote directly from our presentation: no margin, leverage, or shorting. We believe that this subset of the ETF universe is far more trouble than it’s worth for investors, experienced and unexperienced alike.

Fireside Charts 8.15.18

August 15, 2018

The dollar swung higher as Tether (Crypto's digital dollar) claims to be backed by $1 USD. Soybean and soy meal futures tumbled. The US stock market continues to diverge from the rest of the world. We share CPI for select economies as we await a breakout in inflation. Do you have any upcoming summer vacation plans? Tourism has completely transformed Iceland's economy and it's quite beautiful in the summer time! 

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Fireside Charts 8.13.18

August 13, 2018

This earnings season has been impressive as unsurprisingly, the largest companies are also the most profitable. U.S.  job openings and "quit-rate" point to continued wage inflation. Healthcare costs continue to eat into disposable incomes, especially for lower-income Americans. Further updates on currencies include a plunge in the Lira (Turkey's currency) fueling fears of financial contagion. Finally, will Tesla go private? 

Setting Return Expectations

August 9, 2018

For the past two years I’ve attended the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, known by many as the “Woodstock of Capitalism.” During the 2017 meeting’s question and answer section, a shareholder asked a seemingly simple question: at what rate can Berkshire Hathaway compound its book value per share over the long term? For those who are unaware, Warren Buffett has long maintained that this measure, growth in book value per share, will equate to the stock’s long term performance. The old sage took a second to think and then ...

Fireside Charts 8.8.18

August 8, 2018

Wheat prices in the U.S. surge as other parts of the globe experience failing crop conditions. US businesses are buying record amounts of electricity from renewable energy sources. The 2018 stock buyback activity hits a record. Investor confidence still is shaky among the background of geopolitical uncertainty with final updates on short duration bonds, market breadth, and factor trends. 

Fireside Charts 8.6.18

August 6, 2018

The already staggering trade deficit continues to expand as the Euro continues to falter. Only four economies have shrunk more than Greece’s in the past 10 years. The Emerging Market volatility index diverges even further from its developed market equivalent. Finally, a major wrong-way bet on Bitcoin has left an unidentified futures trader unable to cover their losses.

Déjà Vu: Will this Rate Hike Cycle Cause the next Major Market Decline?

August 2, 2018

The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank (FED) has a rather unenviable record and an even more difficult job. Since WWII, they have raised interest rates 18 times.¹ As the chart below shows, the stock market and the economy have reacted badly each time. Does anyone really think that this time will be different?

Fireside Charts 8.1.18

August 1, 2018

If you have not noticed before, the federal fund rates continues to rise as the Fed raises rates, yet the amount that banks are paying their customers are almost 2% less. So perhaps you may want to check your banks rates. Then a glance at how credit card rates in the US remain sharply diverged from the prime rate, the Chinese renminbi continual drift lower, and the market expectation of a third rate increase in September.