The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Thank You, Warrior Lodge !

04/30/2016

Nothing – absolutely nothing – brings a bigger tear to my eye or bigger lump in my throat than our brave American infantry soldiers!  Of course, governments always encourage such emotions among their citizens, even France.  It is a useful opiate for the taxpayers and the mothers of sons who serve.  But, those emotions can … Continue reading Thank You, Warrior Lodge !

“Too Good” = Bad

04/29/2016

A cult always ends in either sadness or ridicule.  Sometimes, they implode — think about the Jonestown tragedy in 1978.  Sometimes, cults just lose their attraction — think about the 1837 classic book by Hans Christian Anderson called The Emperor’s New Clothes. Most money managers insist they never invest in “cult-stocks.”  At the same time, … Continue reading “Too Good” = Bad

A Black Problem

04/27/2016

From my perch overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, where it drains into the Atlantic Ocean, where the first English colonists landed in 1607, and where numerous naval battles occurred during the Revolution and the War of 1812, I have seen all manner of naval vessels, from aircraft carriers to submarines, as they glide silently past our … Continue reading A Black Problem

Snoozzzzzzz . . .

04/26/2016

2016 started off the year in the wrong direction and quickly picked up speed, reaching the bottom on February 11th.  Since then, the S&P 500 is up almost 14%.  What happened? We started the year with a worldwide collapse in commodity prices, primarily due to a suspected collapse of China.  Since then, there has been … Continue reading Snoozzzzzzz . . .

Precluding the Inevitable ?

04/22/2016

It is hard enough to legislate or regulate behavior at any time, but it is almost impossible when wearing blinders. No question, it is a heart-breaking waste of life when someone intentionally overdoses themselves with painkillers.  Therefore, we have made access to painkillers much more difficult for everybody.  It is far better for more people … Continue reading Precluding the Inevitable ?

Nice Guys ?

04/21/2016

Nice guys don’t always finish last! So far this year, bank stocks are down about 6.4%.  Revenues are down about 10%.  J.P. Morgan was down 3%, Bank of America was down 7%, Citigroup was down 11%, and Morgan Stanley was down 21%. Oh, yeah . . .  and Goldman Sachs was down 40%.

Party Hardy ??

04/20/2016

You will recall there are two types of market analysts, i.e., technical and fundamental.  To a technical analyst, they can see the future by using charts and graphs.  To a technical analyst, looking at this chart tells them the market is behaving normally and should go higher: You can see there is considerable room for … Continue reading Party Hardy ??

Doomed In Doha ?

04/18/2016

Even in an age of cynicism, hope sometimes still triumphs over wisdom.  Can you believe — there were actually some investors who hoped something constructive would come out of the Doha conference of oil-producing nations.  Fat chance! In a market glutted with over-supply, everyone could see production cuts are necessary.  Of course, there was no … Continue reading Doomed In Doha ?

Caribbean Misery

04/16/2016

Sometimes, my inner Mr. Spock fails me.  (You’ll recall him as the analytical, logical, and unemotional character in the classic Star Trek series.)  I try to channel him on any analytical work that I do, but my inner-Spock failed me when studying the problem of Puerto Rican bonds. Puerto Rico is a small country of only … Continue reading Caribbean Misery

Golden Predictions

04/14/2016

There is a huge investment bank that just agreed to pay a $5 BILLION penalty for its actions in selling mortgage-backed-securities — you know, those securities that ignited the global financial crisis in 2008/9.  (In my less-than-humble judgment, they escaped blame far too easily.)  Still, they have a great research department, which predicts: 1.  The … Continue reading Golden Predictions

L-T-C Financial Plan

04/13/2016

As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (R) professional, I approach the subject of long-term-care for the elderly very seriously.  There is little room for humor in this subject, but there is SOME. Say you are an older senior citizen and can no longer take care of yourself and the government says there is no Nursing Home … Continue reading L-T-C Financial Plan

The Panama Papers

04/11/2016

The mysterious release of 11.5 million pages of confidential documents from a Panama-based law firm specializing in offshore trusts has, once again, focused attention of this murky world of money-on-the-run.  The popular image of such offshore trusts is disloyal Americans hiding money from the IRS.  That is seldom the case anymore, as the IRS requires … Continue reading The Panama Papers

“Smart” Beta ??

04/10/2016

Like fashion, some investment strategies become stylish for a while and then fade away.  A hot strategy over the last few years is called “factor-investing.” It is based on the notion that investment performance can be improved by slavishly adhering to certain base beliefs.  For instance, there are several studies that show small-cap stocks perform … Continue reading “Smart” Beta ??

Q1; The Snapback Quarter

04/10/2016

For those long-suffering readers who want to read my quarterly column for Inside Business, it lives here: http://pilotonline.com/inside-business/flinchum-q-the-snapback-quarter/article_8a03eeff-c6dd-5750-80ca-966bd45c2059.html  

The Fiduciary Rule

04/08/2016

Another reader asked me to discuss the new Department of Labor (DOL) requirement that IRAs be subject to the Fiduciary Rule, rather than the Suitability Rule. Suppose you and your financial advisor decide that your portfolio needs a mid-cap growth mutual fund, but one of the funds offers an all-expense trip to Hawaii for advisors … Continue reading The Fiduciary Rule

Inverted Good Sense?

04/07/2016

A reader requested that I explain the controversy about “tax inversions” but without wading through a bunch of numbers.  That’s a tough assignment, but here goes: A tax inversion occurs when a large company in a high tax nation buys a smaller company in a low tax nation and changes their headquarters to the low … Continue reading Inverted Good Sense?

Jobs Friday

04/01/2016

If it is the first Friday of the month, then it must be “Jobs Friday” when the Bureau of Labor Standards releases its monthly employment report. Today, we learned that the American economy produced 215 thousand jobs last month, which is slightly more than expected.  The new jobs are largely (80%) in the service sector. … Continue reading Jobs Friday

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