Stocks Snap Back 07-18-14

Average Annualized Return Per Closed Trade: 38.0%
Average Return Per Closed Trade: 20.0%
Average Holding Period: 207 days

Yesterday, a Malaysian civilian airplane carrying 298 people crashed at the Ukrainian border with Russia, suspected of having been shot down by a missile fired by separatist militants with weaponry supplied by Russia. The VIX Index, a measure of implied market volatility also popularly known as the fear index, shot up 32.2 percent for the day. With the ramifications of the tragedy, which can be considered an act of war, unknown, stocks fell sharply as some investors reflexively reduced their exposure to risky assets. Read more about Stocks Snap Back 07-18-14

Europe Back Under Scrutiny 07-11-14

Although far from enjoying a robust recovery, Europe had recently been managing its financial problems well enough to avoid the frequent flirtations with disaster that characterized the region for a long time. However, like a warning to investors not to become complacent, the euro zone has returned to the spotlight. Read more about Europe Back Under Scrutiny 07-11-14

Strange Number in the Jobs Report 07-03-14

As tomorrow is Independence Day, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) unveiled June employment numbers one day early today. Yesterday’s separate employment report from payrolls processor ADP, generally regarded as a preview of the official government numbers, indicated that June had been a strong month, and the BLS figures did not disappoint. Read more about Strange Number in the Jobs Report 07-03-14

Closing the Book on the Winter Freeze 06-27-14

We found out this week that the unusually long and cold winter’s impact on the economy was much worse than originally estimated. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported in its third and final first-quarter real GDP estimate that it contracted 2.9 percent. As more data has rolled in, the BEA has revised the estimate downward twice from the originally reported 0.1 percent increase: to minus 1 percent and now to minus 2.9 percent. This is the worst showing since the first quarter of 2009, when the country was still mired in the Great Recession. Read more about Closing the Book on the Winter Freeze 06-27-14

The Fed Flashes Dovish Signs Again 06-20-14

On Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the decision-making arm of the U.S. Federal Reserve, concluded its latest policy-setting meeting and, as widely expected, reduced the size of its monthly debt purchases by another $10 billion. Beginning in July, the U.S. central bank will buy $15 billion in agency mortgage-backed securities and $20 billion in Treasury securities per month.  Read more about The Fed Flashes Dovish Signs Again 06-20-14

Let the Essence of Life Flow 06-13-14

Earlier this week, we again followed an investment firm specializing in small-cap stocks.  Our new portfolio member is a global leader in irrigation systems that helps to address two major problems that will worsen over time: food and water scarcity. 

Some peer-reviewed studies estimate that crop yields must double over the next 30 years in order to provide sufficient food for the world's population. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, moreover, by 2050 the world will need food production to rise 70 percent from its current level. It’s a worrisome trend for this planet and its inhabitants but a potentially lucrative opportunity for companie (such as our new pick) that offer the technologies to increase food supply. Read more about Let the Essence of Life Flow 06-13-14