Dear Clients & Friends,
We hope you are well and are starting to make plans to move forwardwith your lives in a safe yet productive and enjoyable manner. We havemuch to be thankful for, as our office staff and their families here atSterling Financial Group have remained healthy and all are looking tomore normal activities.
Speaking of normalcy, the TSA has screened over a million flyers for thepast 18 days which is the first time we’ve reached those levels in over a year.Rail volumes are also up approximately 12% from a year ago, and car salesare running close to 16 million annualized units in the United States,another bullish sign for the economy. Importantly, consensus 2021 GDPgrowth estimates are now expecting the US to grow at 5 or 6% this year, ascompanies handily beat their earnings forecasts. All this points to arobust return to economic expansion, and that has led many to fret thatthe economy might be on the verge of over-heating and causing inflation.
In a year when statistics are flying around like an infielder's drill in baseball, we thought it prudent to touch on the confusion often present in common statistics.
While often mistakenly attributed to Mark Twain, one can find the explanation in Wikipedia that ""Lies, damned lies, and statistics" is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. It is also sometimes colloquially used to doubt statistics used to prove an opponent's point".
Summer greetings and our best wishes that you and your family are safe and healthy, and getting outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather. With all of the news and facts reported, we know that at times the information flow is overwhelming. This quarter we return to some basic, fundamental details about our investment process and underlying factors from which we begin our analysis, highlighting two areas: Timing and Demographics.
Dear Clients and Friends:
We know that you are dealing with many challenges at this time but please know that we are here to support you in any way that we can. With the recent volatility in the markets, we did hear from several clients who wanted to know “what they should do? ” given the market conditions. With that in mind and our research over the years on behavioral finance we wanted to reiterate our investment approach in the context of some of the more emotional aspects to investing that nearly all of us experience. Above all, take care of your health and be safe!
Welcome to the decade 2020! The challenges and opportunities presented have never been greater. Although we are in the "money" business, we believe our duty is to support your financial stability so that you can lead lives of meaning and purpose, not just counting dollars and cents. Despite our differences as a country, I am truly optimistic that we will continue to move ourselves forward, trying to improve the lives of our children and grandchildren, making our community and world a better place, and helping those in need. Along the way we know you want to have some fun- whether driving your dream car, traveling the world, lending a hand for a down payment on a house, or whatever your passion is. In speaking with our clients last year and doing a little digging, we found that over 50% of our clients were related to at least one other client - thank you for the opportunity to serve your family, as such family bonds are what this firm is all about.
Happy Fall! For those of us that enjoy college football, this is one of our favorite times of the year, while I know others are wanting summer to stick around longer. Now that the third quarter of 2019 is over, I thought I would recap some of the economic information that we have witnessed so far this year.
There is (almost) always a confusing set of economic data coming out, some indicating economic expansion, while others pointing to a contracting economy. When picked up by news or other market commentators such data is often spun into convenient 40 second sound-bites that fit into a narrative or time slot that the media business is looking to fill. I say "media business" intentionally as we do need to remember that whether one consumes news and information from Facebook or social media, or more traditional television or print media, nearly every outlet is a for-profit model looking to grow their audience, place ads and keep their audience tuned-in.
Welcome to this first edition of Sterling Financial Report, we hope you find this information useful and that we continue to be a resource for you and your family. With the first half of 2019 complete, financial markets have rebounded significantly from the poor showing in 2018, and the especially difficult 4th quarter. While Sterling Financial Group has focused on long-term results when making asset allocation and investment strategy decisions, and our investment choices reflect that outlook as a priority, we are not immune from the news distraction and market declines that occasionally occur. When experiencing volatility, most investors are very pleased to participate in the upside swings, but at times may be extremely anxious over downside volatility, which in reality is a fairly normal pattern and should not be feared. What volatility should we expect in stocks, and what is normal?