Friday, August 30, 2019

From 1999 to 2019, has anything really changed?

Much of the market talk is focused on consumer spending, which makes sense as it is widely suggested that it represents 70% of the U.S. economy.  As the consumer goes, so goes the stock market.  There are many other issues of note that are discussed by the pundits, a favorite being the shape of the yield curve.  That's a bit more problematic.  The well known formula for determining stock price is based on return on capital over cost of capital.  What is the formula when there is no cost of capital?  Does that require new math?

CEO's speak confidently on business networks and assure us that they will take advantage of artificial intelligence, cost saving new technologies, cybersecurity innovations, and more sophisticated risk management systems.  They know their lines and read well.  A few are brilliant, many are not.  Is this 1999?  "Twenty years ago today..."

We will surely benefit from a bioscience revolution that is only in its earliest stages.  DNA coding will help us do what?  Health care costs will drop dramatically as surgery can be guided remotely by whom? 

As summer ends, reality sets in. What are the real job numbers, college payments are due, and what are the best new car models?  So much to think about.  Fortunately we have a leader for whom thinking is not a problem.  He doesn't do it.  He simply reacts.  He says "it's his way of negotiating".  We can understand that.

If investing in the stock market required understanding all of this, it would be impossible, and that's ignoring global systemic issues that cannot be predicted.  So the Oracle still rules.  Invest in good companies that can be understood, have moats related to products or brands, financials that make sense, and competent leaders.  Simple really. 


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