Mile High View

Mike talks about big ideas and themes in modern investing.

  • 401ks,  COVID-19,  Current Events,  Financial Planning,  Mile High View

    Clouds on the Horizon

    Right now I am beginning to feel like the guy who jumped off the 50 story building. Half way down someone yells, “How are you doing?” “So far, so good.” While the S&P 500 is within ten percent of the end of last year and my clients are even with the end of last year, there are dark clouds forming. Will they blow over, dump some rain, cause a downpour, or turn into a thunderstorm? Will COVID-19 infections continue up? Will the government stimulus run out? With spending way down, how does that affect the overall economic outlook? What is China doing? How close are we to a vaccine? Those…

  • Adams Financial Concepts,  COVID-19,  Current Events,  Mile High View

    Oil 2020

    What would you say if someone offered to pay you $37,000 to just take one single contract for 1,000 barrels of oil? All you had to do is find a place to store it. That actually happened a week ago. All you had to do was figure out where to put ten tanker trucks of oil until the market got better, and you would have been paid to take custody of the oil. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that demand for oil fell off a cliff. Airlines were cancelling flights and leaving their planes on the ground. People were being ordered to stay home and shelter, and…

  • COVID-19,  Current Events,  Mile High View

    2020: DOW Down 2,000

    Hello 2018. Yes, 2018, not 2008. The drop has been sharper, but it feels the same. Computers panicked! This drop has been caused by panicked computers, not humans. Between 60 and 70 percent of all stock trades on normal days are made by computers. They can read the news in a fraction-of-a-second, and they have a list of rules on what is good news and what is bad. When the news falls into “bad” parameters, the computers sell. They don’t just sell once, but many times, and they make money on fractions-of-a-dollar, and then cover their sales a short time later – wash, rinse, repeat. The algorithms are not built…

  • COVID-19,  Current Events,  Mile High View

    The Coronavirus Is NOT The Great Recession

    The coronavirus is not the Great Recession. The cause of the Great Recession was a financial crisis whereas the cause of the coronavirus is a biologic crisis. The “cure” for the financial crisis is not going to be the same as the “cure” for the coronavirus. The impact on the market of the Great Recession is not going to be the same impact as the coronavirus. It is best to understand the difference between the two and the difference in strategies. The Great Recession was a financial crisis. It was essentially a worldwide burst of a credit bubble that had been building since the mid-1970s. Prior to the 1930’s Great…

  • Current Events,  Mile High View,  Super Cycle

    What in the World is Happening to the Stock Market?

    Did you know that 60% of the revenues for companies in the S&P 500 are generated overseas, outside the United States?[1] It is important when looking forward to stock market performance in 2020 and beyond to understand what is happening to the world GDP and world economy. This is the first of two eLetters in which I will give you my views on the stock market in 2020. The best analysis I have seen was done in 2011 and is, in my opinion, still valid today. Standard Chartered Bank, a large bank based in London, released a study in which they state that the world is in a “worldwide economic…

  • Current Events,  Mile High View,  Trade War

    We Are at War

    The late Chuck Knox, the first coach to get the Seattle Seahawks into the NFL playoffs, had a saying: “You have to play the hand you are dealt”. In football, that is to say, you have a limited number of players, some of which might be injured, the weather may be working against you, the rival team may be more skilled, but regardless you must do your best with your team. This eletter is neither political commentary nor meant to be political in any way, but as investors, we must address the trade war between America and China. Understand too this is not an easy exercise or simple analysis; I…

  • Current Events,  Mile High View,  Trade War

    Predictions 2019: The Truth About China

    Recently, China has been causing no end of concern for the American investor. The Trade War that sprung up between the United States and China has caused fluctuations in the market as the talks have gone well or poorly, and, as of this writing, nothing has been resolved. Investors are wary of what could come next. I believe there is a historical model that we can use to understand China’s end goals and the means they may use to get there. At the same time, we have a window into China’s longer-term approach by looking at what China has done in steel production and the impact it has had on…

  • Adams Financial Concepts,  Current Events,  Mile High View

    How Will This Bull Market End?

    How will it end? Will it end in another Great Recession? Will it end with a bout of high inflation? Or will it just continue on and never end? The Great Depression of the 1930s, like the First Great Depression of the 1830s and the long-lasting Depression of the 1870s to early 1900s, was credit-related. During those economically stressful times, bank runs became panics. When a bank was in trouble, individual depositors, fearing the loss of their money, would rush to the banks to demand their money back. When the panic affected only one bank, that institution could sometimes borrow cash from other banks or sell their loans to raise…

  • Current Events,  Mile High View

    Beware!! The Unicorns Are Coming!

    That’s right, the Unicorns are coming. As an article in The Economist[1]pointed out, we use a lot of animal names: bull, bear, dog, hawk, dove, lion, and – in the last few years – unicorn. Unicorns are private companies that are valued at $1 billion or more. Lyft recently came public valued at a $16 billion market cap. Uber has filed and more will follow: Airbnb, We Work, Pinterest, Slack, and a host of Chinese unicorns. I live in Seattle and remember when Microsoft came public. It was a small startup and already profitable, but nothing close to the size of a unicorn. Starbucks had just begun to expand outside…

  • Current Events,  Mile High View

    Recession Indicator Flashing Red – Is it time to head to the exits?

    “Dow falls 460 as US Recession Indicator Flashing Red” reads a CNN Headline from last Friday. Is it time to head for the exits? Are we tumbling into a recession? The “bond vigilantes” are out in force waving the caution flags. But could there be another explanation? What is the red flag? The yield on 3-month treasuries is now higher than the yield on the 10 year treasury bond, a condition known as “inverted yield curve”. The yield curve is a graph of interest rates on the vertical axis and the length of time on the horizontal. In the past and inverted yield curve has correctly predicted 9 of the…