The Philosophical Investor's Blog

The Cost of Verbosity Amplified by Succinct Graphical Displays of A Strongly Improving Apartment Market

Apartment Market

Mark Twain once said, “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote a long one.”

When writing (and speaking) it’s fairly easy to let the words flow without much regard to precisely communicating. If one gets into a stream of consciousness state it can be helpful for the writer and speaker to release what’s welling up inside but this may not be what’s best for the reader or listener in terms of communicating clearly,

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Stress for Success - But Not Necessarily For Your Health

In a recent interview on Bloomberg Television, the CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick, was asked what he thought about young investment bankers complaining that they were being overworked.

The headline for an article about the interview captures his opinion quite succinctly.

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An Improving Labor Market and A Fascinating Real Time Experiment

Labor Market Employment

I started getting into the flow and writing about some epiphanies I had on the tennis court that I was planning on sharing this week. And then the jobs report came out on Friday and I saw the reaction of the bond market to what appeared to be a strong report and I felt like I had to do one more chart-oriented blog.

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Keep your Eyes on the Road but Never Lose Sight of the Destination

Interest Rates Keep your Eyes on the Road

Investing has some parallels with driving. It’s important to have a destination that keeps you on course. I think of the destination as financial goals rooted in thoughtful consideration of powerful trends upon which to capitalize such that the wind can be put at your back while also being fully cognizant of what exposures you may have that can lead to a permanent loss of capital based on shorter-term issues arising.

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You Can't Divorce the Observer from the Observed

separating the observed from the observer

I keep focusing my blog posts on economic data via chart representation because we’re in one of those times that needs to be monitored closely for trend reversals (disinflation to inflation) and a change in the Fed’s reaction function (supporting Main Street vs Wall Street).

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Housing - No Bubble but Hitting a Wall?

no bubble housing

Given how hot the housing market is there are understandable concerns as to whether we are in a bubble. Bloomberg Businessweek had a good article addressing some of these concerns that included some interesting charts.

This first one shows how the cumulative appreciation over the last five years has matched that of the bubble years of 2002-7.

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D(ata)-Day

Data D(ata)

I have been turning to charts more regularly for my weekly blog posts than I have in the past. Like most people, I see many of the challenges and price pressures resulting from the massively disrupted global supply chain. It shows up in terribly unreliable contractors (I’m having a pool built so I am experiencing this first hand) and the significant increase in the cost of materials that are leading to the rationing of some goods like plywood and even chlorine.

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A Deeper Dive into Housing

Deep dive into housing

Last week I discussed the possibility that housing could be the canary in the coal mine with regard to an important area of the economy starting to be impacted by higher prices. I wanted to go more in-depth with many more housing-related charts and then end with one non-housing chart that I think trumps everything else in terms of why I think the Fed will remain on hold in terms of raising rates.

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Transitioning to Transitory Inflation?

Transitory Inflation

The multi-trillion dollar question is whether inflation is transitory. The Fed and other central bankers believe it is as this chart depicts.

Fed Still Declaring Transitory Inflation Z-Scored Rolling 1-year Average 2000 - 2020

As I’ve written about before, the Fed’s reaction function has switched from a forecasting-based approach to one that is now outcomes-focused in terms of needing to see tangible improvements occurring on Main Street even if it leads to speculation and large rewards on Wall Street.

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Choose One's Models Carefully

Chinese Labor

Japan has been my model for why I think interest rates will stay low. Its rapidly aging society has led to a shrinking pool of labor over the last two decades which has led to less consumption and more savings. In addition, public spending has increased significantly to help keep the economy growing in the face of strong demographic headwinds.

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