Special Edition – oil and gas prices going UP!

Special Edition – oil and gas prices going UP!

$200 Oil Trifecta
Cold – Supply – Change

Three Forces

The weather, Mideast supply, climate change—these three forces could combine to give us oil costing $200 per barrel in the not-so-distant future. And the first two—weather and supply—could very well give us $100 oil in the immediate future.

Bank of America (BoA)

BoA points to the weather as the potential cause of oil costing $100 per barrel in the winter of 2022. According to Reuters, BoA Global Research recently posted an update:

“A much colder than normal winter could lead global oil demand to surge by 1 to 2 million barrels per day (mbpd), with the winter supply shortfall easily exceeding 2 mpbd in such a scenario, the bank said in a note dated Sept. 10.”[1]

The BoA note continued:

“Downside risks include a new COVID-19 wave, taper tantrum, a China debt crisis, and the return of Iranian crude barrels. Having said all of that, winter weather risk is quickly becoming the most important driver of energy markets.” [2]

Weather experts point to an artic Polar Vortex threatening Europe and the United States.

“A new stratospheric Polar Vortex has now emerged over the North Pole and will continue to strengthen well into the Winter of 2021/2022. It will interact with a strong easterly wind anomaly high over the tropics. This interaction happens every few years and has actually brought colder winters to Europe and the United States in the past.”[3]

So bundle up to stay warm. And stick some extra money aside to pay for higher gas and a spike in home heating.

OPEC—At It Again

Covid brought a decrease in the demand for oil. Responding, OPEC cut its output by 5.8 million barrels per day. Then, when world economies bounced back faster then expected, OPEC raised production 400,000 barrels per month.

The rise was not enough to tackle the rise in gasoline prices, so the Biden administration and the government of India called for a more rapid increase in production.

“OPEC members seem to not view rising prices as a critical problem for now,” energy analysts at risk consultancy Eurasia Group said in a research note.[4]

So brace yourself: cold weather and a shrinking supply could give us $100 oil by year’s end.

And Then There’s This

Recently, western governments have banded together to limit the rise in the Earth’s temperature to less than 1.5 C degrees. How to achieve this goal? According to the journal Nature, the secret lies in keeping oil, gas, and coal in the ground:

“A report by scientific journal Nature earlier this week noted that 58 per cent of the world’s oil reserves, 59 per cent of fossil methane gas reserves and 89 per cent for coal reserves should remain in the ground . . . .”[5]

Needless to say, this is not music to OPEC’s ears, and according to one Mideast energy minister:

“‘Recommending that we should no longer invest in new oil… I think that’s extremely dangerous,’ Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Rumhi, Oman’s energy minister, told a conference on clean energy transitions on Thursday.”[6]

“‘My biggest fear, if we stop investing in the fossil fuel industry abruptly, is there will be energy starvation and the price of energy will just shoot (up),’ said Al-Rumhi, in charge of output in the Middle East’s largest producer outside of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.”[7]

Cutting supply does not necessarily reduce demand. As noted above, prices will just “shoot up.”

So $200 oil might very well greet us at the pump in the not-so-distant future.

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary

How Are Your Investments Doing Lately?  Receive A Free, No-Obligation 2nd Opinion On Your Investment Portfolio >

Weekly Financial Market Commentary

October 4, 2021

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

September strikes again…

If you look back over the last 20 years, September has been the worst performing month for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, according to Nasdaq.

This year, the S&P 500 dropped 4.8 percent in September. That wasn’t enough to wipe out gains from earlier in the third quarter, and the Index finished the quarter slightly higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite Index also tumbled in September. Their losses erased the previous two month’s gains, so the Dow and Nasdaq finished the quarter lower than they started it, reported Caitlin McCabe and Caitlin Ostroff of The Wall Street Journal.

Investors had a lot to consider during September and over the third quarter, including:

·         Resurgence of the coronavirus. On July 1, the seven-day moving average of coronavirus cases in the United States was about 14,500. Early September, the average had rocketed to about 170,000. By the end of September, the average was trending lower, reported the Centers for Disease Control.

One result of COVID-19 is that life expectancy at birth fell from 2019 to 2020. In the United States, life expectancy at birth has fallen by more than one year. Italy, Poland and Spain also have seen life expectancy drop by more than one year, reported The Economist. Lifespan increased in two countries: Denmark and Norway.

·         Global economic growth concerns. The resurgence of COVID-19 also dented global business executives’ confidence that the world economy will improve during the next six months, according to latest McKinsey Global Survey. While the majority (71 percent) of those surveyed said that economic conditions will improve in the coming months, the number was lower than the prior quarter’s 81 percent. Survey respondents said the top risks to economic growth were the pandemic, supply chain disruptions and inflation.

·         Supply chain disruptions. The supply chains issues created by the pandemic have not been easy to resolve. David Lynch of The Washington Post reported:

“The commercial pipeline that each year brings $1 trillion worth of toys, clothing, electronics and furniture from Asia to the United States is clogged and no one knows how to unclog it…the median cost of shipping a standard rectangular metal container from China to the West Coast of the United States hit a record $20,586, almost twice what it cost in July, which was twice what it cost in January, according to the Freightos index. Essential freight-handling equipment too often is not where it’s needed, and when it is, there aren’t enough truckers or warehouse workers to operate it.” Toward the end of September, more than 70 container ships were anchored near the West coast, waiting for a berth to open so goods could be delivered.  

·         Rising inflation. The cost of producing goods has been increasing. “The producer price index, a proxy for corporate or wholesaler costs, has risen for eight months in a row and, in August, was up 10.5% from a year earlier, the highest reading since June 1981. Compare this to the consumer price index, a proxy for realized manufacturer or retailer prices, which was up 5.3%. This 5.2-percentage-point gap is one of the largest in more than 40 years, suggesting higher costs are outpacing merchant end-prices…,” reported Lisa Shalett of Morgan Stanley. When producer costs rise faster than consumer prices, companies’ profitability may drop and that could negatively affect earnings.

·         Tightening central bank policy. The Federal Reserve is concerned about inflation, too, and is considering a move toward less accommodative monetary policy. In late September, Federal officials indicated that tapering – slowly reducing monthly purchases of securities – could begin later this year. Once purchases have ended, the Fed could begin to raise interest rates in late 2022 or 2023, depending on how the economy is growing, reported Jonnelle Marte of Reuters.

As if these issues weren’t enough, investors also had to process the potential effects of a global energy crisis, China’s regulatory crackdown, and another U.S. debt-ceiling standoff.

Can we talk? The pandemic accelerated the adoption of autonomous checkouts at retailers. Some stores have self-checkouts, while others have installed a “combination of sensors, cameras, computer vision and deep learning” that makes it possible to eliminate cashiers and checkouts entirely, reported Anna Oleksiuk on the Intellias blog.

At the other end of the shopping-experience spectrum is the “Kletskassa,” also known as the “chatty checkout,” which was implemented by a large grocery store chain in the Netherlands. It’s a checkout line that promises conversation with the cashier. 

“1.3 million people in the Netherlands are older than 75 years – and one large supermarket chain is making sure they’re not getting too lonely in their elder years. The Dutch government with its campaign, ‘One Against Loneliness,’ has galvanized organizations, towns, companies, and individuals to find solutions. The [grocery store chain]…is doing their part with its innovative chatty check outs,” reported The Good News Network.

The slower, chatty lane was developed specifically for older citizens, but may appeal to a much wider group of people on days when they have the time to engage.

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”
—Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist

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Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.
* This newsletter and commentary expressed should not be construed as investment advice.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject.

 

Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.

 

Sources:
https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/september-third-quarter-2021-review-and-outlook-2021-10-01
https://www.wsj.com/articles/global-stock-markets-dow-update-09-30-2021-11632987743 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/10-04-21_Wall%20Street%20Journal_Stocks%20End%20September%20with%20Losses_2.pdf)
https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#trends_dailycases (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/10-04-21_CDC_Trends%20in%20Number%20of%20COVID-19%20Cases_3.pdf)
https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2021/09/29/in-many-rich-countries-covid-19-has-slashed-life-expectancy-to-below-2015-levels (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/10-04-21_The%20Economist_In%20Many%20Rich%20Countries%20COVID-19%20Has%20Slashed%20Life%20Expectancy_4.pdf)
https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/the-coronavirus-effect-on-global-economic-sentiment
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/interactive/2021/supply-chain-issues/ (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/10-04-21_The%20Washington%20Post_Inside%20Americas%20Broken%20Supply%20Chain_6.pdf)
https://www.morganstanley.com/ideas/earnings-season-cost-pressures
https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/feds-harker-says-it-will-soon-be-time-begin-tapering-bond-purchases-2021-09-29/
https://www.barrons.com/articles/stock-market-today-51633076687?mod=hp_LEAD_1 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/10-04-21_Barrons_The%20Down%20Climbed%2c%20Merck%20Rose_9.pdf)
https://intellias.com/autonomous-checkouts-the-future-of-retail/
https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/a-checkout-line-where-slower-is-better-supermarket-jumbo/
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/philosophy?page=2

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary

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Weekly Financial Market Commentary

September 27, 2021

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

Central banks have a lot of influence on investors, markets and economies.

For the last year or so, the Federal Reserve has been purchasing $120 billion of bonds every month to ensure United States markets remained liquid and interest rates remained low during the pandemic. Last Wednesday, the Fed announced that it is ready to begin to buy fewer bonds, a process known as tapering. The Fed’s taper is expected to begin before year-end. The Fed is not expected to push interest rates higher for some time so, overall, monetary policy will continue to support economic growth.

On Thursday, the Bank of England (BoE) said it expects inflation to exceed 4 percent by the end of the year. That’s twice the BoE’s target inflation rate. After the statement was issued, one measure of investors’ expectations priced in “…a 90 percent chance that the BoE would raise rates by February [2022], up from just over 60 percent before – though some economists say this is premature given the challenges to growth,” reported David Milliken and Andy Bruce of Reuters.

Expectations that central bank policies will soon be less accommodative caused yields on 10-year government bonds in the United Kingdom and the United States to rise. “Surging long-term bond yields put an outsized dent into valuations for growth companies because those firms are valued on a relatively long-term basis,” reported Nicholas Jasinski, Jacob Sonenshine and Jack Denton of Barron’s.”

While rising yields can negatively affect equity valuations, they may not hurt share prices if company earnings continue to grow and investors’ appetite for equities remains strong, reported Sean Markowicz of Schroders.

Concerns about less accommodative monetary policy may be less pressing than worries about the health of China’s financial system. The People’s Bank of China injected cash into its banking system again last week to reassure investors after a large Chinese company missed a bond payment deadline, reported Anshuman Daga, Andrew Galbraith and Tom Westbrook of U.S. News & World Report.

After a sharp sell-off early last week, major U.S. stock indices finished the week flat to slightly higher, reported Barron’s. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries rose.

Banned in China. China has been trying to limit cryptocurrencies for a long time without much success. In 2019, cryptocurrency trading was banned; however, the practice persisted. Earlier this year, the Chinese government restricted banks and payment companies from providing services related to cryptocurrency transactions and warned buyers they would have no protection if they traded cryptocurrencies, reported the BBC.

Last week, China banned all cryptocurrency transactions and announced that ten regulatory agencies will work together to enforce the ban, reported Alun John, Samuel Shen, and Tom Wilson of Reuters.

Cryptocurrency is “any form of currency that only exists digitally, that usually has no central issuing or regulating authority but instead uses a decentralized system to record transactions and manage the issuance of new units, and that relies on cryptography to prevent counterfeiting and fraudulent transactions,” according to Merriam Webster.

China also banned cryptocurrency mining. Unlike many types of money, cryptocurrency is not issued by a nation’s central bank. It is mined using an energy-intensive process that “relies on many distributed computers verifying and checking transactions on a giant shared ledger known as the blockchain,” reported the BBC. Prior to the ban, China was one of the world’s largest mining centers because of its relatively low energy costs and inexpensive computer hardware.

The ban doesn’t mean China won’t have digital currency. China’s central bank is developing an official digital currency that is being tested now and is expected to be introduced more widely next year. “The ban on crypto appears designed to build support for the official digital currency while signaling to Chinese residents that financial transactions must be traceable and won’t be tolerated on decentralized blockchains,” reported Daren Fonda and Joe Woelfel of Barron’s.”

The United States also is considering how to regulate cryptocurrencies.

Weekly Focus – Think About It
“If a business does well, the stock eventually follows.”
—Warren Buffet, investor

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Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.
* This newsletter and commentary expressed should not be construed as investment advice.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.  However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
* The NASDAQ Composite is an unmanaged index of securities traded on the NASDAQ system.
* International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors. These risks are often heightened for investments in emerging markets.
* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
* Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
* Economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and there can be no guarantee that strategies promoted will be successful.
* Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal.
* The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee it is accurate or complete.
* There is no guarantee a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
* Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
* Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
* To unsubscribe from the Weekly Market Commentary please reply to this e-mail with “Unsubscribe” in the subject.

 

Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.

 

Sources:
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/23/heres-what-will-happen-when-the-feds-tapering-starts-and-why-you-should-care.html
https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/bank-england-keeps-interest-rate-unchanged-01-2021-09-23/
https://www.barrons.com/articles/stock-market-today-51632471196?mod=hp_LEAD_3 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/092721_Barrons_The%20Dow%20Held%20Steady%2c%20Bitcoin%20Fell_3.pdf)
https://www.schroders.com/en/media-relations/newsroom/insights/what-do-rising-bond-yields-mean-for-the-us-stock-market/
https://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2021-09-23/china-evergrande-bondholders-in-limbo-over-debt-resolution
https://www.barrons.com/articles/stock-market-news-federal-reserve-51632527337?refsec=the-trader (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/092721_Barrons_The%20Stock%20Market%20Survived%20China%20Evergrand_6.pdf)
https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-58678907
https://www.reuters.com/world/china/china-central-bank-vows-crackdown-cryptocurrency-trading-2021-09-24/
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cryptocurrency
https://www.barrons.com/articles/china-central-bank-bans-crypto-bitcoin-ethereum-prices-51632477760?mod=hp_LEAD_1 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/092721_Barrons_Crypto%20Crumbles.%20What%20Chinas%20Ban%20Means%20for%20Digital%20Currencies_11.pdf)
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/23/us/politics/cryptocurrency-regulators-rules.html (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/092721_New%20York%20Times_Regulators%20Racing%20Toward%20First%20Major%20Rules%20on%20Crypto_12.pdf)
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/warren_buffett_149678

Special important safety notice

Special important safety notice

Dear Friends,

Recently, I have been reading about a sharp increase in auto break-ins in my neighborhood and in several around me. As the COVID-19 variant surges back to levels last seen in March 2020, you can expect to see a rise in crime.

Car thieves now have a device called a “repeater.” Depending on the distance from your car to the place in your house where you keep your car keys, they can use the repeater to communicate with your auto fob and unlock your auto. If you can stand in your kitchen and unlock your car by pointing the fob through a window, they can do the opposite with the repeater and intercept the signal.

When my wife and I read posts about break-ins on our local Neighborhood Next Door website, we were surprised to read that car owners often leave purses, wallets, briefcases, laptops, and money in their cars overnight. If thieves can get into your car, they can and will help themselves to your belongings. They will also steal your EZ pass and your garage door openers, which might give them access to your house.

We all need to be more diligent as our country struggles with this new variant of the virus and its associated new crime wave.  

Please take this seriously and do whatever is necessary to protect you and your property.

Weekly Market Commentary

Weekly Market Commentary

How Are Your Investments Doing Lately?  Receive A Free, No-Obligation 2nd Opinion On Your Investment Portfolio >

Weekly Financial Market Commentary

September 20, 2021

Our Mission Is To Create And Preserve Client Wealth

In recent weeks, bullish sentiment has drifted lower like sediment settling after a storm. 

Every month, Bank of America (BofA) surveys global asset managers. The most recent survey, which was conducted in early September, showed that fewer managers remain optimistic about prospects for global economic growth (13 percent) or corporate profitability (12 percent). That’s half the number in the previous survey and the lowest percent since April 2020, reported Katie Martin of Financial Times.

When optimism declines, managers typically retreat to safer harbors and portfolio exposure to stock declines. That hasn’t happened this time. About one-half of the global asset managers surveyed in early September by BofA were overweight stock. Cash allocations were rising slowly and there appeared to be little appetite for government bonds, according to Financial Times.

The BofA survey also reported on the concerns of global asset managers. “Inflation is the biggest tail risk for markets, followed by taper tantrum, and COVID-19 Delta variant,” reported Bloomberg. Tail risk is the chance that a loss will result from an unusual event.

Rapidly changing conditions in China also may be a concern for investors. The Chinese government’s recent regulatory enforcement actions during 2021 have negatively affected market values of companies in education, technology, entertainment and home building sectors.

Last week, a number of financial bloggers and commentators were arrested in China, and many financial websites and blogs were scrubbed from China’s social media platforms. The change could help reduce fraud with the unwelcome side effect of eliminating non-government viewpoints, reported Financial Times.

 “The uncertainty hovering over China now includes threats of tougher regulation, higher tax rates, greater charitable giving and government influencing business decisions,” reported Financial Times. A China expert cited by the newspaper commented, “‘All of that just leads to the fundamental question of what happens to that excess return that you used to be able to get as an investor in China, and how much is that disappearing or eroding in this new environment…’”

Uncertainty also is an issue in the United States where another debt-ceiling crisis appears to be looming. Jack Hough of Barron’s explained:

“As rising partisan rancor has turned everyday legislating into a death struggle, politicians have grown more willing to use the debt ceiling as leverage. A standoff in 2011 resulted in a credit downgrade to the U.S. government, a brief but angry slide in stocks, and a temporary move higher for bond yields, which accountants later said cost the U.S. government billions of dollars in added interest. The outcome was a shaky compromise, which fell apart in 2013, but Congress hadn’t yet regained its appetite for another round of fiscal chicken, so it suspended the ceiling. There have since been many extensions, the last of which expired at the end of July. The Treasury is now reaching under its couch cushions for funds. Without action from Congress, America will default by mid-October.”

Last week, major U.S. stock indices finished lower, reported Ben Levisohn of Barron’s. The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries moved higher.

Where are you? If you were virtually dropped into another country, do you think you would recognize where you were? 

In 2013, Swedish information technology consultant Anton Wallén created a game around an internet company’s street-view maps. Players are dropped into a street view within a country and must identify the location. The person who guesses correctly the most times, scores the most points and wins.8

The game also provides data about which parts of the world are most easily recognized. The Economist used information from the online geography quiz to build a ‘recognizability index.’ The index evaluates which places are most recognizable and who recognizes them most easily. The newspaper balanced correct guesses against incorrect guesses and determined:

·         The most readily identifiable countries are Japan (64 percent correct guesses, 9 percent wrong guesses) and the United States (79 percent correct guesses, 40 percent wrong guesses), followed by Russia, Italy, Brazil and Britain.

·         The most misidentified country was the United States. “…18% of players who reckoned they had been dropped in America were actually in Australia. Spain and Mexico were also frequently mixed up. Not all of the guesses made sense: at least one person mistook Luxembourg for Mongolia.”

·         The people who are best at identifying geographic locations live in Germany, Switzerland and France.

·         The people who are worst at identifying geographic locations live in Turkey, Russia and America.

There is an important caveat that accompanies these findings. Not every country or street in the world is included the street-view maps used in the game. For example, coverage of Germany is limited because of privacy concerns and significant parts of China are missing.

 Weekly Focus – Think About It
“What an amateur is, is a lover of a subject. I’m a lover of facts. The fact is the savior, as long as you don’t jam it into some preconceived pattern. The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge.”
—Daniel J. Boorstin, Historian and 12th Librarian of the U.S. Congress   

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Investment advice offered through Research Financial Strategies, a registered investment advisor.

Sources:
https://www.ft.com/content/03285246-065e-4cbc-b2b2-eedb3d06ccb1 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/09-20-21_Financial%20Times_Investors%20Rein%20In%20Risk_1.pdf)
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-09-14/bofa-survey-shows-rare-disconnect-between-stocks-and-economy (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/09-20-21_Bloomberg_Fund%20Managers%20Sour%20on%20Stocks_2.pdf)
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/t/tailrisk.asp
https://www.ft.com/content/d5725cb3-169c-442f-953e-077bb926f4c0 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/09-20-21_Financial%20Times_Financial%20Blogger%20Crackdown%20Leaves%20China%20Investors%20Scrabbling%20for%20Data_4.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/articles/debt-ceiling-2021-reconciliation-vote-politics-51631916808 (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/09-20-21_Barrons_Fiscal%20Chicken%20Anyone_5.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/articles/stock-market-falls-because-theres-something-scarier-than-taxes-tapers-and-contagion-51631925838?refsec=the-trader (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/09-20-21_Barrons_The%20Stock%20Market%20Dropped%20Because%20Theres%20Something%20Scarier%20Than%20Taxes_6.pdf)​
https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=yield
https://www.geoguessr.com
https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2021/09/17/which-is-the-most-recognisable-country (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/09-20-21_The%20Economist_Which%20Is%20the%20Most%20Recognizable%20Country_9.pdf)
https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1984/01/29/the-6-oclock-scholar/eed58de4-2dcb-47d2-8947-b0817a18d8fe/ (or go to https://resources.carsongroup.com/hubfs/WMC-Source/2021/09-20-21_Washington%20Post_The%206%20o%20Clock%20Scholar_10.pdf

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