The Flinchum File

Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
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Welcome to The Flinchum File

I am an Accredited Investment Fiduciary at Bay Capital Advisors, an investment firm headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA. After retiring from Truist Bank, I started this firm to work more closely with a smaller number of clients, and it has been great! Our client load is about 25% of the national average.

Writing is not for the shy or the meek. It exposes a person’s mind and character. I hope you enjoy the view.

Required Viewing

Nobody ever sat at some polished conference table in a gleaming skyscraper in New York City and said “it sure would be fun to collapse the world economy.”  Nobody ever said “I want to see eight million Americans lose their jobs.”  Nobody ever said “the world would be a better place if six million families lost their homes.” Still, it all happened during the Global…

Measuring Value

Economics is about the allocation of our limited supply of resources among the unlimited demands for those resources.  Idle resources are viewed as unacceptable, if not downright sinful.  Idle resources are no different than wasted resources. That makes Christmas and other holidays difficult for economists to understand.  Look at all those man-hours of labor that are gone – forever!  The old adage about “idle hands…

A Boring Christmas Wish

My Republican friends in Virginia suspect I am a closet Democrat.  My Democratic friends in Maryland suspect I am a closet Republican.  They’re both correct.  The cause of this confusion is my profound belief that gerrymandering is just wrong — no matter who does it.  It is the bane of democracies everywhere. Gerrymandering is the practice of drawing political districts to benefit one party or…

Thank You, Art!

I have never heard an unkind word about Art Cashin, who has worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for well over 50 years — yes, well over fifty years!  Now the director of floor operations for UBS, he knows the old traditions and the new technologies better than anybody I follow.  He also has a wry sense of humor that I…

2016 Peek

The real, honest-to-God, know-it-all’s at Goldman Sachs work in their research department, and I value their thoughts.  Here are some of their latest: 1.  GDP growth in the U.S. will slow slightly from 2.4% this year to 2.3% in 2016.  Japan will increase from 0.6% to 1.0%, while Europe will increase from 1.5% to 1.7%, which is disappointing.  The closely watched GDP growth rate for China…

The End Is . . . NOT . . . Near

It was certainly an interesting week on Wall Street.  It began with a stampede of bulls running up stock prices and ended with bears clawing those prices back down . . . violently. To add to Friday’s dramatic sell-off, don’t forget it was an expiration Friday, when most options and futures expire or rollover.  That is is called “triple witching day” and is almost always…

Drowning Santa

Finally, the Fed raised interest rates a small amount.  The stock market rallied a few days, as it always does when some uncertainty is reduced.  Now, it has suddenly remembered “oh, yeah, we have that major uncertainty about the energy business.” That uncertainty is not going away anytime soon!  And, without a recovery in energy prices, the high-yield market cannot recover, as so many junk…

The Official Version

Recently, I wrote about a moving memorial service for a unsung fallen hero buried in Quantico and have received numerous kind comments from readers.  Since then, the CIA has posted their own description, and you can find it here: https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2015-featured-story-archive/remembering-cias-heroes-greg-wright.html 

Go, Fed, Go . . . please!

Wall Street is just atwitter over the Fed raising interest rates tomorrow — for the first time in nine years.  (Back then, millions of current investors could not even find Wall Street on a New York City map.)  Five years ago, three years, and even last year, Wall Street was terrified of a rate increase, but no longer.  It wants a rate increase, and it…

Springtime At Christmas ?

It is probably too early to find long-lost hope, but there is something good going on in Washington.  With all the drama of the stock market and the pressure of the holiday season, you may not have noticed that two significant pieces of legislation have passed and been signed by the President, plus the predicted government shutdown next week has been avoided. First, a five-year…

No More Good News, Please

Who doesn’t like low gas prices at the pump?  Economists get positively giddy at the increased discretionary income for consumers, when they pay less at the pump.  But, enough already!  At some point, the long term damage exceeds the short term pleasure.  Take a look at this chart: There has been a decisive breakout to the downside.  In other words, the past offers little or…

In A Time of Dudes

Yesterday, about thirty people gathered around a grave site in a remote section of Quantico National Cemetery, south of Washington, D.C.  Each drank one can of Bud Light beer and then scattered back to their individual lives.  It was a wry, fond tribute to an unknown American hero, Gregory Wright.  I suspect he would have liked it that way. A Marine, a Seal, and a…

Whistling Past The Crime Scene

If it is hard to walk and chew gum at the same time, how difficult must it be to walk, chew gum, and whistle at the same time? After the latest mass killing, the predictable Democratic response has been to put some control over gun availability.  That, of course, is correct.  The predictable Republican response has been that the hallowed Second Amendment guarantees the right…

Welcome Back, Mr. Spock

The popular Executive Officer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise in the classic Star Trek was Mr. Spock.  He was known for his faithful worship of logic – the more pure, the better.  I expect he sold all his stock holdings long ago and got out of the market.  It became too illogical for him in 2008. There was a time when the stock market behaved logically.…

Burying Seeds

For most people, the 2008/9 Global Financial Crisis was a bad dream.  For those in the investment business, it was a nightmare.  So many things went wrong.  Modern Portfolio Theory failed.  It was useless, and we were dangerously close to a systemic failure of the financial system, like 1929. The Fed rose to the occasion by taking both unprecedented and repugnant measures, such as the…

Yawning At The Yuan

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has decided to include the Chinese currency (known as the Yuan) as the world’s newest reserve currency.  In the short run, this should have a mild bullish effect on their currency and mild bearish effect on the euro.  In the long run, it has little economic significance.  However, it does have considerable political significance, especially inside China.  The Chinese people…