Tariffs: Chinese Checkers or Chess?

Tariffs: Chinese Checkers or Chess?

After a favorable end of 2017 and beginning of 2018, geopolitical uncertainties hurt foreign markets and currencies in the second quarter. The media coverage of a “trade war” has helped fuel increasing volatility. Increased volatility, coupled with increased fed rates, has resulted in a stronger US dollar and weaker foreign currencies.

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Volatility

Volatility

The first quarter was “interesting” with the return of massive volatility. Overall, markets foreign and domestic reacted by wiping out the January gains to finish the quarter slightly underwater. We have long expected that the prevalence of increasing economic information and reporting combined with the ever-larger computer driven investment funds would result in a mass disarray, and boom, there it is!

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A Look into the Future: The Next Big Thing?

A Look into the Future:  The Next Big Thing?

There’s always a lot of talk about “the next big thing.” Will it be self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, robots, fin-tech, re-tech, cloud computing, block chain, streaming- or something completely different? We wish we had a crystal ball for the answer to this, but unfortunately we don’t. What we do know is that online retailing took many years to reach a point where it actually became a threat to brick-and-mortar stores.

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How Economical

How Economical

For most, financial and economic forecasting is considered a relatively boring subject (that we find it fascinating and fun may explain why we are available most Saturday nights on short notice). OK, let’s edit “relatively boring” and just admit that most find it “extremely boring” and would rather attend a Kars4Kids concert than spend time performing or reading economic analyses and forecasts. It is generally a deep review and comparative analysis of current business cycles, myriad statistics, dry surveys, etc. and applied toward the future based on statistical analysis, historic comparisons, trends and experience. We will try to be more conversational here. 

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M.A.G.A. or Nada?

M.A.G.A. or Nada?

Overall, foreign markets faired very well in the first quarter. The EAFE International Index ended the first quarter up by 7.4%. The Pendo International Strategy posted a 9.5% gain for the quarter. After years of volatility and taking a back seat to domestic markets, we see (finally) a reversion to the mean, and favorable fundamentals for international markets finally being realized and bearing fruit. We believe this will continue for the foreseeable future.

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Yuan A Piece of Me?!

Yuan A Piece of Me?!

Once again China has commanded the headlines, this time over the miss-characterized “devaluing” of the yuan renminbi (RMB), the Chinese currency. The currency wasn’t so much directly devalued as it was allowed to more widely de-peg from the US dollar and let market forces play a more direct role in the valuation of the currency. This lead to a weaker currency.

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