Geopolitical issues seem to be on the minds of investors this morning as … in addition to the ongoing situation with China … we now have Iran to worry about. Yes, worry might be a strong word … but world oil prices could see quite a jump if the present altercation between the U.S. and Iran … which is strictly verbal at the moment … becomes more serious in tone. And with the possible increase in prices as a result of our present trade “discussion” … the double-whammy of an increase in oil could slow spending quite a bit.
Wow! That was a lot to say in one paragraph but it basically sums up (in my conceited view) what is going on right now. Corporate earnings? GDP? Employment? Hah! Investors seem to be presently focused on headlines, headlines, headlines … and short-term knee-jerk reactions appear to control things right now. In fact, I started writing this with a more negative tone … as the Dow was down around 200 points shortly after the open … but one comment from the President regarding a delay in tariffs on auto imports … and the morning “loss’ all but disappeared.
I often mention that financial literacy is quite important and we simply must teach principals of finance in our schools … even at an elementary level. Of course, basic things must be learned … such as borrowing to buy things you really can’t afford is not good (unless, of course, you are a government) … but there are other things … and people tend to let emotions … and the misinterpretation of “needs” vs. “wants” take over a bit too much.
I don’t only mean recent reports that people tend to be overly influenced by social media … as they jealously see things posted online by others … and think … “why not me?” … as they strive to “be like the Joneses.” What really struck me this morning was a very intelligent question in a survey asking if Arabic numerals should be taught in schools … and 56% of respondents said no! Oh, my. The numbers we use – and have always used – are Arabic numerals! Will we need a XXVIII amendment?
A final note for today (and the last one below) points out one other issue we are dealing with … as the number of U.S. births have fallen to its lowest level in 32 years! That’s right … people just aren’t having the same amount of children (if at all) … and this has an effect on everything from retail sales, home sales (especially size) and even social security (for who will pay into the pool from which the retired elderly will draw?).
I read an interesting tweet from Josh Brown (of Ritholtz Wealth Management) this morning which provides a simple solution with what we need:
Less Netflix and more chill.
Have a great day.
Joseph G. Witthohn, CFA
Emerald Asset Management PA, LLC
610 Freedom Business Center Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Direct: (610) 285-9905
… as of 10:45 AM today …
Quick Look at the News
U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fell in April. Could this be a sign that American consumers are beginning to batten down the hatches just in case there is a storm ahead? (Reuters)https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-retail/u-s-retail-sales-unexpectedly-fall-in-april-idUSKCN1SL1JX
... even so, there is one situation ... not in our future ... but here now ... as carbon dioxide levels are reported to be at their highest level in human history (um, that's 800,000 years) (DW)https://www.dw.com/cda/en/carbon-dioxide-levels-highest-in-human-history/a-48726280
One of the most important attributes of a person is, of course, communication ... and a great deal of that is verbal. You can improve your speaking voice ... and it could be a valuable exercise (ArtofManliness)https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/improve-your-speaking-voice/
... and one of the things to use your voice for, of course, is to cheer on your favor golfer at the 2020 Masters. Hard-to-get tickets are via lottery ... and application is here (Augusta.com)http://www.augusta.com/masters/story/news/2019-05-13/augusta-national-accepting-ticket-applications-2020-masters-tournament
This seems, to me, to be an indication that we just might need a bit more education after all ... as a majority of surveyed individuals feel we should not use Arabic numerals. What? (TribLive)https://triblive.com/news/roman-numerals-anyone-poll-suggests-bias-against-arabic-numerals/
Do you have a birthday coming up in the next 12 months? Okay ... silly question ... but what isn't silly is this list of restaurants that will reward you on that date. Keep it handy (Delish)https://www.delish.com/restaurants/g2967/restaurants-that-offer-birthday-freebies/
... even though fewer Americans will be holding first birthday celebrations for their kids than last year. U.S. births are on the decline. High cost? Busy lives? This could be a problem (USNews)https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2019-05-15/us-births-fall-to-lowest-level-in-32-years