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.

What, Me Worry?

As 2016 began, worldwide stock markets were suffering with the collapse in the energy sector, as well as a slowing China.  (I was especially concerned about a derivatives default by Glencore.)  Yet, the markets recovered. In June, the surprise Brexit vote stunned worldwide stock markets, who were terrified of the possible collapse of the European Union.  Yet, the markets recovered.  Indeed, European stock markets gained…

Real Men Don’t Cry

Real men don’t cry!  Yet, tears rolled down my cheeks last night.  Nothing – absolutely nothing – brings me to tears quicker than our American soldiers.  I am sorry for the loss of every person, every adult, every child and even animals.  But, I don’t cry . . . except for our soldiers. Last night, the quiet dignity, grace and barely-contained-rage of Khizr Kahn from…

The Most Common Question

Everybody lives in fear . . . of something!  Investors live in fear of sudden market crashes (even though each has been followed a recovery).  They have vivid memories of the Crash of 1929, the Crash of 1987, and the Global Financial Crisis of 2008/9.  As long as the bulls run, there will be an increasing fear that “the end is near.”  It is the…

Live Luggage

As anybody who has boarded an airplane recently knows, passengers have almost as many rights as their suitcases in the hold.  There is a website that follows this issue, i.e.,www.flyersrights.org Here is a copy/paste from today’s email from them: Dysfunctional Relationship The Reason for Congressional dysfunction July 26, 2016 To put it briefly, it’s minority rule. In the House, under the Hastert Rule -named for…

Aging Investment Clubs

Years ago, I had lunch in the historic Old Ebbet Grill across 15th Street from the White House and next to my office at the corner of New York Avenue in Washington, D.C.  I was with two security analysts – genuine nerds – who got into a rather heated argument as to whether Merck (MRK) or Pfizer (PFE) was a better stock to own.  From…

R.I.P. (Run-In-Peace)

Thirty-two years ago – today – one of my personal heroes died, at the tender age of 52.  Like many veterans, my physical conditioning slowly faded away after leaving the military.  Then, in 1977, Jim Fixx wrote The Complete Book of Running, helping me lose 20 pounds and regain some of that lost-fitness.  Ironically, when he died, the lean, muscular runner . . . was…

A Stumbling Giant ?

Italy is one of the ten largest economies in the world, and it is the weakest.  Real GDP is the same now as it was fifteen years ago.  The heart of any economy is the banking system, and Italy may have the weakest.  Remember how low stock prices were in January of 2009?  The share prices of Italian banks are already 60 percent lower than…

Pet Peeve #139

Are engineers the only travelers permitted to take showers?  When I grew up, it was easy to turn the shower on and set just the right temperature.  Today, in an effort to be “new and trendy,” hotels compete on having exotic hardware in the bathrooms.  I’m sure that costs the hotel a little extra, which is embedded my bill somewhere, which means I’m paying more…

Pet Peeve #207

Is there no place to hide from pollution?  I’m talking about political pollution!  Are we so polarized that we must carry our political leanings onto the beach with us?  Does beautiful weather on a July Sunday afternoon compel true-believers to strut their opinions?  What is the point anyway?  Do they think they will change somebody’s opinion?  Do they think this is just another silly game?…

Y-T-D

Warren Buffett has said you should buy the stock of a company when you like it and sell it when you don’t like it.  His point was to ignore the stock market as a whole. Some investment managers like to invest on the basis of “drivers” or things that will drive the value of a stock upwards.  Examples are stock buybacks, takeover rumors, or activist…

Justice ?

The Dow would be a breath-taking 1,200 points higher today, except for the twelve companies that have been LOSERS since its last high in May of 2015.  The biggest LOSER is the investment giant, Goldman Sachs, which is quite highly respected at Goldman Sachs.  It’s value has dropped a whopping 23% and accounts for 327 of the 1,200 points. One answer to the rhetorical question…

Grizzled Faces

The Veterans Administration receives much well-deserved criticism, but I value it anyway and chose to receive my own medical care there.  Veterans are only 7% of the U.S. population, a all-time low.  Yet, inside the VA system, it is 100%, and I enjoy the company.  Veterans tend to treat each other with respect and care.  It is not an “I love you” kind of care…

Uncertainty

If you are confident, then you are more inclined to invest more of your hard-earned cash into stock investments.  If you are uncertain, you are less likely to do so.  That is the reason the stock market hates uncertainty so much. Historically, the stock market just drifts the first half of presidential election years and then rallies strongly, as uncertainty about the election decreases.  That…

The Only Game In Town

Given that the stock market over-reacts, the reaction of the stock market on Friday was interesting.  The monthly jobs reports indicated 287 thousand jobs were created last month, compared to expectations of about 170 thousand jobs.  It was a great surprise, and the Dow picked up 250 points that day.  At first blush, 250 Dow points was just the market over-reacting to one monthly report.…

Feeling For Big D

When I worked for New York-based banking giant Citibank in downtown Dallas, it was a common joke that America was simply “fly-over” country between big cities that actually matter, like New York, Chicago, Dallas, etc.  It was stereotypical to think of the urban cities as civilizations with barbarians banging on the gates.  Indeed, we referred to Dallas as “Dallas, USA” because it didn’t seem to…

National Sock Day

America is not a perfect nation, as we are reminded relentlessly, even during our national holidays.  But, the Fourth of July is different.  Unlike Veterans Day when we thank veterans for the service and unlike Memorial Day when we honor those who laid down their lives for the rest of us, Independence Day is the only day of the year, when we can simply rejoice…

Tension Control

Just as there is an unhealthy tension in Washington between Republicans and Democrats, there is another unhealthy tension developing on Wall Street — between “bottom-up” financial strategists and “top-down” economic strategists. It began after the 2008/9 global financial crisis, when the financial strategists looked at the rapidly-recovering balance sheets of corporations, who were refinancing their debt at much attractive levels.  Along with that, their income…

Just Another Long, Strange Journey

Following a very minor surgical procedure, there was a very long night, in the middle of which I watched the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1970 rock opera, the iconic Jesus Christ Superstar.  Having seen the stage adaptation decades ago, I recalled the almost-humorous stylizing of the very well known classic story into the language, music, and clothes of my generation, and I appreciated…