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16Aug

THE ECONOMY AND A NEW ADMINISTRATION

In a corporation, the CEO is beholden to the board of directors and the board is beholden to the shareholders. Both parties, recognizing that their company’s product or service must satisfy customers, also realize that the survival of the company relies on that group as well. This is the reality of business. A successful business must keep an eye on benefitting both groups and not operate to benefit the CEO and board only. Donald J. Trump is a businessman. He was never a politician. In interviews over the last twenty-plus years, when asked if he would ever run for president, he replied that it would only happen “if things got too bad.” During those years, he watched the American political machine operate as if the shareholders and customers played no part in the success of the business. He had seen enough and that state of affairs brought him to the

31Jul

THE FAANG STOCKS MAY STILL HAVE FANGS

The Internet hasn’t only changed the way people communicate, check on financial accounts or study for school projects; it has brought great wealth to certain companies and their stockholders. Whether they are in the social media realm, in entertainment, online product sales or make the devices we use to access the Internet, most have reflected the explosion in this new technology. FAANG stocks, a term presumably coined by well-known stock promoter Jim Cramer, describes five tech stocks that have had tremendous growth in recent years — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google (Alphabet). These five stocks account for 11.9 percent of the S&P 500’s market capitalization. The stocks had all had great success since their initial offerings and continued that trajectory during the rally after the inauguration through March. Then; something happened. First, during the week of  June 5th to 9th, 2017, several of the stocks hit new highs. Call it

19Jun

THE RECENT FRENCH ELECTION

Preventing future terrorist attacks was apparently not on the minds of the French people as they went to the polls and voted for Emmanuel Macron as the country’s next president. Macron had run on a pro-Europe, pro-EU platform, but it was his opponent who ran on the need for stricter vetting of refugees. At 39, Macron is the youngest person to hold the position since Napoleon. The French presidential election occurs in two phases and Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen were the top two finalists who survived the first round two weeks before and sought political victory in a second round that happened two weeks later. Election result projects in France gave Macron two thirds of the vote. Instead of leading another country to exit the European Union, Macron embraces the EU and campaigned on his commitment to the union. Macron’s competitor’s campaign for the presidency never had a

10Apr

NEW FED RATE HIKE; MARKET REACTION?

The past couple of years witnessed more speculation about interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve than what was the reality. Many of the pundits were convinced we would see four increases during 2016 and they were wrong. The thinking has shifted in 2017 as some of the precursors that the Fed considers are starting a align and justify action on their part. A growing economy and real growth in the job market, with the accompanying uptick in inflation, is just the formula the Fed needs to raise rates; really. On March 15, 2017, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) raised the federal funds rate again by a quarter point; the second such move in three months. They had raised the benchmark rate this past December as well. The two increases are expected to have some effect on short term lending rates. This has been a reversal of Fed policy,