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Of Pessimism and Pride

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Friday, February 17, 2017

If I were to tabulate the total number of articles sent to me by clients and colleagues about the market and projections for its future, I can safely say that close to 90% of those articles were of the extremely pessimistic variety.  This is to be expected; it is well-documented that negative headlines and dire predictions get far more attention than reports of the mundane.  If you are in the media business, your job is to entice interest, and, unfortunately, it seems that there is a large market for the consumption of pessimism, no matter how far-fetched the claim, let alone no matter how little the probability of it occurring. Read More

Of Incumbency and Profits

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Since the 1940s, corporate profits have shown a tendency to mean-revert, meaning that, as a percentage of gross domestic product (or GDP), they have tended to bounce around an average of  6-6.5%.  However, over recent years, that percentage has stayed well above the historical mean, averaging 9.6% since 2010: Read More

How Retirement Plans Changed How We Own Stocks

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Thursday, February 09, 2017

The Tax Policy Center recently published a study that breaks down the ownership of American equities.  The findings are astounding.  Compared to 1965, ownership of equities in taxable accounts is down roughly 80%.  The bulk of equities are now owned in tax-deferred retirement accounts: Read More

Fears of Executive Overreach Are Not New

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Monday, January 30, 2017

President Trump’s executive order temporarily banning travel from certain countries is certainly a hotbed issue, and it goes without saying that everyone has a strong opinion on the matter.  I have neither the expertise nor the desire to discuss the political and legal ramifications of the travel ban.  However, as this is a financial column, there is one aspect of the matter that I do think is worth discussing as it may have an impact on the markets and your portfolios.  That is the notion that such executive orders as Mr. Trump’s may test our nation’s dedication to the rule of law, and, by extension, threaten the stability of our financial markets. Read More

A Profitable Industry You've Likely Never Considered

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Friday, January 13, 2017

A recurring theme in my posts is that oftentimes some of the best investment opportunities are not the "celebrity stocks" that get a lot of media attention, but rather the companies like WD-40 and industries like self-storage that are ignored, perhaps because they are boring, and even because few know they can invest in them.   Read More

Joseph C. Dekat, R.I.P.

by: Lawrence Hamtil  on Thursday, January 12, 2017

Joseph C. Dekat passed away yesterday at the age of 64.  Joe was the individual who first hired me in the financial services industry, taking me on as a portfolio assistant when I was still in college.  That Joe hired me then was a leap of faith on his part; at the time, I was more interested in economics than personal finance, and I had only the most rudimentary of skill sets when it came to asset allocation and portfolio modeling.  Read More