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  • Living with Uncertainty

    John Gorlow | May 08, 2020
    LifeAfterCovid

    Like spring itself, April was a temperamental month filled with swings in investor mood and sentiment. And despite a blockbuster performance by stocks, it was a month filled with anxiety. How can we go about our day-to-day lives while bracing ourselves for further volatility? We offer our perspective here.


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  • A Market Crash Playbook
    Plus Q1 2020 Market report

    John Gorlow | Apr 14, 2020
    CoronavirusTracked

    Just weeks after climbing to record heights, US stocks sank more than 30%, ending the longest bull market ever and returning stock prices to where they were when President Trump took office in January 2017. Oil stocks slid to an 18-year low. A stampede out of bond markets and into cash added to the chaos. Many financial analysts believe that the value of private equity investments have been eroded even more than the broader stock market, due to the high leverage involved in most private equity deals. What should you do now? Here we offer context and guidance, followed by a review of Q1 numbers.

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  • Market Mayhem
    Plus February Market Report

    John Gorlow | Mar 13, 2020
    Life_Is_Unpredictable

    Life is unpredictable. The chaotic, steep slide of the market over the last few weeks and underlying fears of the Novel Coronavirus reinforced that undeniable fact. Vacation plans? Out the window. School schedule? Work routine? In flux. Business conferences? That deal in the works? Cancelled. Uncertain. Unpredictable. In the past few weeks I’ve written to our clients several times about the precipitous market decline. This month’s report will be short and to the point. In a nutshell: when life is unpredictable, stick to the plan you made in calmer times.

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  • Bonds Rally as Investors Sell Stocks
    Market Update and Advice

    John Gorlow | Mar 06, 2020
    conoravirus_mkt_fears

    You wouldn’t know it from reading headline news, but the S&P 500 today closed up over half a percent compared to a week ago (2972 on Friday March 6 versus 2954.22 on Friday February 28). The takeaway: Our collective mood doesn’t always reflect reality. Meanwhile a record-breaking global bond rally accelerated on Friday, with growing fears over the economic impact of coronavirus sending investors scrambling for the safety of government debt at the fastest pace since the financial crisis of 2008.

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  • Stocks Extend Fall to Cap Worst Week Since 2008

    John Gorlow | Mar 04, 2020
    virus-deepends-sell-off

    You are no doubt painfully aware of the market drop last week. A chart of the past five days looks like stepping off a steep cliff. By the time markets closed on Friday (28-February), the Dow had lost 12% for the week and the S&P had lost 11%, their worst week since October 2008, during the global financial crisis. Yields on the ten-year Treasury Bond plummeted to an all-time low. Oil prices dropped to their lowest level since December 2018.  And gold, usually a haven amid nasty stock market sell-offs had its biggest fall in years. If there was any good news, it was bittersweet: losses were smaller on Friday than they had been all week.

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  • The Lure of Dividends
    Plus January Market Report

    John Gorlow | Feb 04, 2020
    coronavirus

    In stark contrast to the beginning of 2019, global stocks closed out January with a 1.1% loss versus a gain of 7.9% in the same period last year. US stocks recorded their first month-over-month drop in recent months as investors were left with uncertainties surrounding the outcome of the Trump impeachment proceedings, tensions with Iran, and the Coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak. The US Federal Open Market Committee met and left its interest rates and policy unchanged. The earnings outlook remained favorable. Gold rallied almost 4% to close at $1,593. The Bloomberg Commodity Index dropped over 7% with crude oil prices plunging over 15%. Bond prices climbed as the Ten-year US Treasury closed sharply lower at 1.51%, down from last month’s 1.92%

    There’s always something to rattle the markets. Wise investors understand that, and don’t let the news derail their investment strategy. But when bond yields sink, even disciplined investors may be tempted to jump to dividend-paying stocks as an alternative for generating cash. This month we look at the pros and cons of that approach. (Hint: there is no free lunch.) First, a look at January’s market performance.

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  • A Few Words of Gratitude
    Plus November Market Report

    John Gorlow | Jan 03, 2020
    t-amp-d

    The markets delivered handsome returns in 2019, but not without periods of significant volatility. Of course, the year isn't over yet. With the prospect of impeachment looming, the markets may experience more twists and turns before the final bell of 2019. For now, let's take a look back at November performance. Then please read on for a year-end message of gratitude from all of us here at Cardiff Park.


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  • The 2010s: A Decade in Review
    Plus Fourth Quarter Market Review

    John Gorlow | Dec 06, 2019
    decadeinreviewStocks and bonds in the US, and in many other developed markets and emerging markets, generated strong returns in 2019. Global equities were up more than 25%, and fixed income added more than 8%. For some, this performance is tinged with worry. After all, the US bull market is a decade old, and current headlines hint at all kinds of potential catastrophes ahead. Globalization backlash, Brexit uncertainty, bitterly divisive politics, rising inequality and climate change, to name a few. But don’t let worry derail your investment strategy. It’s impossible to predict the future of the markets with certainty. Who can say what this year will bring, much less the next decade? The only certainty is that the future will be filled with surprises. This month we’ll consider the lessons of the past decade, and how they might guide us now. First, a review of fourth quarter results
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  • Bonds Versus Bond Funds: A Different Perspective
    Plus October Market Report

    John Gorlow | Nov 03, 2019
    interest_rates_and_bond_prices

    This month our focus is on bonds, specifically the question of whether it’s smarter to invest in individual bonds or in bond mutual funds. Many financial journalists, advisors, and investors question the wisdom of investing in bond mutual funds, especially when interest rates are expected to rise. They gain emotional security in knowing investors can buy and hold an individual bond to maturity and get their money back. What some fail to recognize is that bond mutual funds are merely diversified portfolios of individual bonds, and both are equally exposed to the same market pricing mechanism. The day interest rates go up, individual bonds will fall in value just like bond mutual funds. Truth is, interest rate risk can be immunized with either individual bonds or bond mutual funds as long as the duration of the bond portfolio is appropriately matched to the desired investment horizon. The fact that an investor is able to get principal back at a specific maturity date adds no economic value compared to a bond mutual fund that does not have a specific maturity date. To unpack this story, we cite directly from research, noting sources along the way. This article is long, so we’ve tried to highlight key conclusions. Before we jump in, a quick look at October market performance.

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  • Zero-Fees Trading: Too Good to be True?
    Plus Third Quarter 2019 Market Report

    John Gorlow | Oct 13, 2019
    Stock Trades Go Free Small

    The S&P 500 delivered a modest increase in the third quarter, helping stocks hold on to their biggest year-to-date gains in more than two decades. The simultaneous rise in safe assets like Treasuries reflects the fact that the most prominent economic narratives today are not optimistic. If you add the bleak surveys of business confidence worldwide, you may decide it’s time to batten down the hatches in preparation for a downturn. But you can't predict the future, and neither can anyone else.

    Meanwhile, in the battle to capture customers, Charles Schwab shook the brokerage industry last week when it said it will cut commissions to zero. Schwab’s move has since been matched by TD Ameritrade, Fidelity and others. We’ll look at benefits and potential concerns of this latest step after a review of Q3 market results.

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