The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Glad January Is Over??

01/31/2016

Shall we think about the “January Effect” on Wall Street, which says the stock market, for the full year, will mimic the stock market during the month of January.  I hope not! Or, shall we think about the historical performance of the stock market during years of a presidential election, which average a gain of … Continue reading Glad January Is Over??

Elevator Music

01/28/2016

Just as some thought-leaders are actually thought-heroes, like Jeremy Siegel, some are just thought-clowns, whose serious message is cleverly disguised behind a funny facade. Marc Faber is a Swiss-born and Swiss-educated economist living in Thailand.  I had the pleasure of listening to him yesterday, as he predicted the future economy was so dismal that he … Continue reading Elevator Music

A Lucky Walk

01/27/2016

One of my longest-running “thought-heroes” is the brilliant and affable Dr. Jeremy Siegel of Wharton.  By happenstance, I walked with him from our hotel into the conference center for his presentation yesterday morning.  It was the highlight of the conference for me! He fairly described himself as the “token bull” in a conference dominated by … Continue reading A Lucky Walk

A Big Unintended Consequence?

01/25/2016

I have a great deal of respect for Jeffrey Gundlach, who is head of Doubleline and has become known as the “bond king,” supplanting Bill Gross of Janus (now) and PIMCO (formerly).  At a lecture Monday morning, he discussed the latest actions of the Fed, which he thinks are unfortunate, to say the least. While … Continue reading A Big Unintended Consequence?

Annual Guilt Trip

01/23/2016

Doctors, lawyers, (not Indian Chiefs) and financial advisors all practice in continually changing professions.  Therefore, they are required to get a certain number of continuing education hours each year to maintain their license or certification or registration.  Naturally, an industry has developed to supply those continuing education hours, and it is no small coincidence that … Continue reading Annual Guilt Trip

Waiting For The Fat Lady

01/22/2016

What does the stock market do? No, I’m not talking about financial intermediation or about bringing buyer & sellers together or price discovery or any of that academic stuff. What does the stock market do?  It worries! It is often said that Wall Street is forever climbing a Wall of Worry, and it is true. … Continue reading Waiting For The Fat Lady

Patience or Panic — Your Choice

01/21/2016

The Internal Revenue Code makes a big distinction between earned income and investment income.  Earned income is what you get for actually working — actually sweating for income to live on.  The popular impression of investment income is what some fat millionaire sitting on a beach gets for nothing, just for having investments. That’s not … Continue reading Patience or Panic — Your Choice

Exporting Fear

01/20/2016

Steve Schwarzman is CEO of private equity giant Blackstone (not Blackrock).  He is attending the world’s most exclusive think-fest in Davos, Switzerland, and I watched an interview with him this morning on CNBC. He touched on an interesting subject.  Is the anger in U.S. politics spilling over and polluting the world?  He seemed to think … Continue reading Exporting Fear

What, No Apocalypse ?

01/20/2016

Despite being famously called “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money,” I nonetheless do respect and appreciate Goldman Sachs . . . well, their research department anyway! Their latest predictions are interesting.  While their narrative seems somewhat sanguine, their conclusions are … Continue reading What, No Apocalypse ?

Missionaries of Calmness

01/18/2016

 I’m proud of my clients!  Even though the stock market has been historically awful so far in this young year, not a single client has panicked and wanted to sell everything.  There were a few who wanted to increase their level of cash, just to help them sleep, which is fine. But, I have been … Continue reading Missionaries of Calmness

Quarterly Perspective

01/17/2016

For the terminally bored who cannot wait to read my column when they receive their copy of Inside Business, here it is: http://pilotonline.com/inside-business/jim-flinchum-fourth-quarter-financial-review/article_3792f69d-648e-5990-bd0b-07d280e87a87.html 

2016 . . . NOT 1929

01/15/2016

One of the more interesting human behaviors is called “anchoring,” which is the tendency to view things in a strict relationship with other things.  When we think of the Crash of 1929 in the stock market, we think of utter destruction, of stocks becoming worthless, of investors suddenly becoming penniless.  Now, when we see stocks … Continue reading 2016 . . . NOT 1929

Cold Commodities

01/15/2016

It can be difficult to separate the message from the messenger.  Legendary investor Jim Rogers is not my kind of guy – more Donald Trump than Warren Buffett.  While I would not have lunch with him, I am glad that I read his 2004 book titled Hot Commodities, which predicted the super-cycle in commodities began in … Continue reading Cold Commodities

Voodoo Charts

01/13/2016

Last August, the Chinese stock market tanked, and the rest of the world followed it down.  The Dow dropped almost 10% but then rebounded.  This chart shows the Dow bouncing off its long term trend line, but we are now back to that green trend line. According to technicians, if the Dow continues down, we … Continue reading Voodoo Charts

WRONG !!!

01/12/2016

British banking giant has just issued their advice to investors to NOT PANIC but to sell everything anyway.  I understand what they are saying, because I am also worried about the increased possibility of a financial crisis.  But, unless you are sleepless with worry, this is bad advice! In behavioral finance, we know there is … Continue reading WRONG !!!

Watching Closely

01/09/2016

I have no fear of recessions.  They are a normal part of the business cycle.  They come and they go.  If anything, they are good for the economy and the stock market in the long run.  Still, it is good news that there is little economic data suggesting a recession is approaching us any time … Continue reading Watching Closely

The Logically Absurd Conclusion

01/08/2016

Although often characterized as dour fatalists, existentialists normally have a good sense of humor, as well as a highly-sensitive nose for absurdity.  I can now pronounce that, with all existential authority, the debate over gun control has officially entered the realm of absurdity. JOKE:  Why did God invent Ziploc plastic bags?ANSWER:  So that good God-fearing … Continue reading The Logically Absurd Conclusion

Another Dramamine Day

01/07/2016

The Communists,  who are trying to run a capitalistic stock exchange in China, are making worldwide stock markets quite seasick.  They don’t know what they are doing!  Or, they may not be allowed to do the right thing?  Either way, investors are definitely “woozy” . . . Most people think the stock market predicts the … Continue reading Another Dramamine Day

A Geopolitical Year ?

01/06/2016

This is the third trading day of the year, and we’ll looking at our third geopolitical crisis.  First, a cold war broke out between Saudi Arabia and Iran.  Second, China’s stock market rattled our stock market by rigging their market, as only an ignorant Communist could.  Now, North Korea has exploded a hydrogen bomb.  Futures … Continue reading A Geopolitical Year ?

Trading Day #1 of 2016

01/04/2016

If you think it was crazy for American northerners and American southerners to be killing each other, what do you think about Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims killing each other?  At least, the Americans were fighting over an economic system, albeit an immoral agrarian system based on slavery.  But, the Muslims are fighting over the … Continue reading Trading Day #1 of 2016

A Historical Lesson?

01/02/2016

Those who ignore the lessons of history are condemned to . . . reading graphs, or something like that. Looking at 2016, it is hard to ignore the upcoming Presidential election in November.  Have these elections affected the stock market in the past?  First, you have to remember the hobgoblin of Wall Street minds is … Continue reading A Historical Lesson?

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