The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

A Kumbaya Moment


The two most practiced schools of investment management are fundamental analysis and technical analysis.  Mostly, I practice fundamental analysis, which means I look at the company, how its stock trades relative to the company, how the stock is rated by full-time analysts, how it is impacted by the business cycle, etc. Sometimes, I will take … Continue reading A Kumbaya Moment

The “Timex” Americans


Back in the Dark Ages, there was a TV commercial for Timex watches that said “it takes a licking but keeps on ticking.”  That came to mind Tuesday morning when I heard the latest consumer confidence numbers.  Since consumer spending is two-thirds of GDP, it is important to see how confident they are and whether … Continue reading The “Timex” Americans

A Memorial Day Memory


I was a brash young lieutenant who knew everything and was on my first assignment after completing my Special Forces training.  He was a wise, older Command Sergeant Major (CSM), which means he was an enlisted man and out-ranked by any brash young lieutenant like myself.  Of course, he could have subtly embarrassed me somehow … Continue reading A Memorial Day Memory

The Vampire Squid Speaks


Goldman Sachs is a huge investment banking firm, once satirized as a giant vampire squid sucking on the face of mankind.  I find nothing about that description to disagree with!  However, they do have a great research department, and here are some of their latest projections: 1.  GDP growth will sharply accelerate from 1.9% this … Continue reading The Vampire Squid Speaks

Toe-Dipping Time


Yesterday, we discussed the latest outlook from the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) and Jeremy Siegel of Wharton, both of whom I respect and both of whom are very bullish about the underlying economy.  It is now apparent that there is more than just quantitative easing by the Fed that is  impacting the stock … Continue reading Toe-Dipping Time

Thin Ice


As a white male, it is dangerous to discuss certain issues, and most of us avoid those subjects like the plague.   We can never discuss racial issues or gender issues . . . because we are wrong, no matter what we say. But, I can report comments by a female speaker at the conference … Continue reading Thin Ice

Econometrics, Accents, . . . and socks


Yesterday morning, I was in Indianapolis and spent three hours listening to a brilliant Italian mathematician speak rapidly in a thick Italian accent, as he discussed numerous, long complex formulas with lots of Greek letters.  (You know, the type of formulas that Warren Buffett doesn’t trust.)  Listening required absolute focus, and I was exhausted after … Continue reading Econometrics, Accents, . . . and socks

The Joy of Numbers


Yes, I’m aware that the Dow broke the 15,000 barrier.  That’s great!  I’m actually more impressed that the S&P broke 1,600.  But, I’m most impressed by the fact that the stock market held both levels.  This rally is real! The media is paying a lot more attention to the 15,000 barrier than it did when … Continue reading The Joy of Numbers

The SEC, The Army Inspector General, and . . . socks


While most people consider their military experience to be good, most of their memories are bad.  Some memories, however, are just plain annoying.  My nomination for the most annoying of all military memories is the “IG Inspection.”  This is when some field-grade officer from the Inspector General Department comes to inspect the troops.  Ostensibly, he … Continue reading The SEC, The Army Inspector General, and . . . socks

Good Company


Conventional wisdom is a dangerous thing.  For generations, investors have been told that bonds are always safer than stocks, which is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!  Today, the popular “retirement-date funds” just allocate a greater and greater portion of a person’s portfolio into bonds as they get older, which should be WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!  Investors think they … Continue reading Good Company

Advertising, Responsibility, and Existentialism


Recently, I discussed the pervasive nature of advertising in our society — hoping to drive home the point that business wouldn’t spend billions of dollars on it, if it didn’t actually channel consumer behavior.  This has generated some interesting discussion; questioning whether it is consistent with an existential viewpoint. You’ll recall the stereotype of existentialism … Continue reading Advertising, Responsibility, and Existentialism

The Darling of Austerity-Fatigue


There are many schools of thought on economics.  For convenience, this blog has always focused on The Big Three.  First, there is the Austrian or “Tough Love” school that says budgets should be balanced at all times.  Second, there is the Keynesian school that says deficits are good during bad times as long as the … Continue reading The Darling of Austerity-Fatigue

Your Digital After-Life


Ricky Rash was a 15-year-old kid who committed suicide.  His grieving parents wanted to understand what was in his mind before he died.  Understandably, they wanted to see what he was saying and doing online.  But legally, the online companies like Facebook, Yahoo, etc. could not allow any cooperation. So, what happens to your online … Continue reading Your Digital After-Life

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