Market Perspectives

 Scott Smith, CIMA®

Elephant Donkey PoliticsThe popularity of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders reflects an underlying distrust of the establishment candidates from both Democrats and Republicans.  If there is a lesson to be learned from the popularity of these candidates, perhaps it’s that political correctness and status quo policy from both sides is not resonating with voters.

While the economy has certainly come a long way since the beginning of the Obama administration (and the financial crisis), it’s hard to argue that the economy is reaching its full potential.  There is a lot more that can be done to improve the growth of the economy and the answer does not rest with the Federal Reserve, but in the White House and in the halls of Congress.  Effective policymaking isn’t just needed here in the United States, but across the entire developed world that is struggling to revive growth despite zero (and negative) bound interest rates.  Now more than ever, we need leadership in politics that unites and brings results.

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Thoughts on Recent Market Volatility

Market VolatilityWhen global equity markets enter periods of elevated volatility like we’ve experienced recently, it’s wise to take a breath and gain some perspective. If equity markets were perfectly rational and priced new information efficiently, we would not see such periods of heightened volatility. In reality, equity markets can be quite inefficient and irrational over short-term time horizons as stock price volatility exacerbates intrinsic business value volatility. As investors, we focus more on intrinsic business value volatility, which is the present value of cash that a business is expected to generate in the future. Although market participants emphasize company earnings over the next quarter or year, we estimate that a years’ worth of company earnings represent about 5-7% of a company’s intrinsic business value. Short-term equity market volatility and inefficiencies exist because investors over-react to news that has little correlation to long-term intrinsic business value.

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