First Quarter 2017 Appraisal Letter

Another quarter of good stock-market performance!  It is still with a little wonder that I report this, for no one saw this rally coming, its size or duration.  Yet here it is: stocks up 5.5% for the quarter, making that up 11% for the five months since the presidential election.  The latter is ... read more...

Fourth Quarter 2016 Appraisal Letter

2 February, 2017 by Ben O'Brien in Quarterly Letters
Whoa! The 4th quarter was something, but then the whole year was something, with important lessons to remember. Let me start exactly one year ago. Just as 2016 was getting under way, the stock market imploded in its worst ever start to a year. Stocks appeared to be cascading into a repeat of ... read more...

Third Quarter 2016 Appraisal Letter

19 October, 2016 by Mark O'Brien in Quarterly Letters
October 14, 2016   Stocks performed strongly in the third quarter of 2016.  In addition to the S&P 500 Index (+3.31) the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.2% in the quarter, the technology-oriented NASDAQ rose 9.7%, and the Russell 2000, a measure of small-capitalization domestic ... read more...

Second Quarter 2016 Appraisal Letter

The performance statistics shown above appear tame and even ordinary, and do not begin to describe the distorted condition of the capital markets in which investors find themselves today.  I have never seen anything like it, and I have seen a lot, including 20% interest rates in the 1970s, ... read more...

First Quarter 2016 Appraisal Letter

28 April, 2016 by Ben O'Brien in Quarterly Letters
What to say about the first quarter, when stock-market happenings bordered on the bizarre?   With two weeks left to the end, the March 18 edition of The Wall Street Journal ran this front-page headline: Dow Industrials Turn Positive for 2016 as Oil Rises and the Dollar Falls. A large graph ... read more...