Meditating on Monday’s Sell-Off

5 February, 2018 by Mark O'Brien in Commentary
After Monday’s sell-off in stocks, I need not tell clients that the market is in the grip of a panic.   As I write, the Dow is down over 1,000 points; it fell over 600 points on Friday.  In just two days it has lost over 6% its value.  At Monday’s close, the S&P 500 was down ... read more...

Ideas to De-risk, not Re-risk a Portfolio

13 August, 2017 by Mark O'Brien in Commentary
The stock market fell in price three days in a row this week.  This hasn’t happened in a long time, and we are not used to it.  Curious how little it takes to bring out the fear. So is this the start of the big one?  The answer is, it could be.  Whether a stock market correction (defined as ... read more...

Inflation Quandaries

12 July, 2017 by Mark O'Brien in Commentary
Monday’s Wall Street Journal (July 10, 2017, page A2) contains a remarkable article. It is remarkable because it reveals the assumptions and attitudes of the experts who are trying to administer the global economy in which we find ourselves. The headline of the article provides the ... read more...

The Bizarro Market in Europe

1 June, 2017 by Mark O'Brien in Commentary
The chart below is amazing.  It originates from Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch and shows the yield of European stocks currently exceeding the yield of European junk bonds. So why do I think this state of affairs is “amazing?”  First there is one’s reaction or ... read more...

Thoughts on Our ‘Tranquil’ Markets

19 May, 2017 by Mark O'Brien in Commentary
“Investor fear gauge lowest since 1993,” said a recent Wall Street Journal headline (5.8.17). While I am a tad skeptical about trying to quantify sentiment (what is an “investor fear gauge” anyway?), I am prepared to accept the central thesis that investors feel pretty ... read more...