Friday, December 28, 2018

Rainy day thoughts...

--- "No collusion".  That is Trump's constant refrain about the Mueller investigation.  The media seems to follow his lead.  The primary purpose of the Mueller investigation was to determine if there had been any activity by any foreign government, principally Russia, to influence the 2016 presidential election in a corrupt or illegal manner.  His mandate is to follow the evidence where it leads.  Trump has not been charged with anything.  Yet the fact that his sole focus is on "collusion" could be telling.  In following his standard playbook, could he be confirming that he knew of campaign violations and actively participated in them, beyond the payoffs to silence his women acquaintances.  The media's focus on the lurid is not helpful.

---"Buybacks Come Back to Bite Firms" is the title of a WSJ article today.  It notes that with the market downturn, firms engaged in buying back stock are underwater on their purchase.  That's obvious and hardly newsworthy enough to be the headline on the Business and Finance section.  Buybacks can only be viewed from a longer term perspective. That major banks do this is routine in good times. Their business is to some regulatory extent fenced in, and appetite for any acquisitions has largely been sated.  That tech firms are increasingly joining is a fact worth thinking about.  If the era of reinvestment in new iterations of technology is waning, what has happened to the R&D.  What's next?  This is a reminder that buybacks are not a bump for the overall economy unless they lead to stock market increases that spur consumer spending and capital spending.  Old story dwelled on here many times before, perhaps worth a thought once again.

---The equity market leveled out today, relaxed before the weekend.  Time to think!

---Almost dark here at 4:25pm, a combination of the day's weather and the season.  Looking on the bright side, days will now gradually become longer.  More light is better.  For some that is a very good thing.  Friends who live in Florida, Texas, and Arizona are more enlightened at the moment, so to speak.


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