The world has been plagued with periodic bouts of the economic rollercoaster of booms and busts, inflations and recessions, especially during the last one hundred years. The main culprits responsible for these destabilizing and disruptive episodes have been governments and their central banks. They have monopolized the control of their respective nation’s monetary and banking systems, and mismanaged them. There is really nowhere else to point other than in their direction.
Building your confidence is essential in controlling your emotions as an investor, and the best confidence builder is to look at history. Even after the worst bear markets, stocks have always recovered and moved to new record levels. Recently, those recoveries have been surprisingly quick, often coming within just a few years. It's never easy to keep that in mind in the middle of a panic, but it's a fact you can use as the cornerstone of your long-term investing strategy to give you the confidence to stay the course.
After only a month and a half in office, in a media blitz including press conferences, interviews and public appearances, President Obama, Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chair Sheila Bair and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner rolled out the details of numerous plans to tackle various elements of the economy, and began putting those plans into action. Mortgage rates for homeowners dropped, limits on executive compensation were enacted, regulatory changes were proposed, and the Treasury announced its intention to purchase $1 trillion of troubled bank assets, such as the aforementioned derivatives, and enticing private investors to join them in making similar investments.
In addition, during World War II, the Empire of Japan considered wildfires as a possible weapon. During the spring of 1942, Japanese submarines surfaced near the coast of Santa Barbara, California, and fired shells that exploded on an oil field, very close to the Los Padres National Forest. U.S. planners hoped that if Americans knew how wildfires would harm the war effort, they would work with the Forest Service to eliminate the threat. The Japanese military renewed their wildfire strategy late in the war: from November 1944 to April 1945, launching some 9,000 fire balloons into the jet stream, with an estimated 11% reaching the U.S. In the end the balloon bombs caused a total of six fatalities: five school children and their teacher, Elsie Mitchell, who were killed by one of the bombs near Bly, Oregon, on May 5, 1945. A memorial was erected at what today is called the Mitchell Recreation Area.
This trend toward working remotely is actually very close to my heart, it’s how Mauldin Economics operates. Since my partners and I founded the company back in 2012, we have been a “virtual business.” Although we have over 40 members of staff, no more than three of us are in the same location. Right now, my team lives in a wide range of locations: from Dallas to Dublin, Ireland, and Vermont to Vilnius, Lithuania.
If you listened to Friday's podcast, I mentioned that I thought I would probably be doing a lot of podcasts this week. I did one yesterday, and I am doing another one today because my feeling about the stock market was confirmed today with an 831 point rout in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, down 3.15%. This is the biggest decline that the Dow has had since that 1000+ point drop that we had in February. I think it is maybe the third biggest down day ever, point-wise. Percentage-wise it's not even close.
After the Brexit vote, in early July 2016, ten-year treasury bonds were yielding 1.37%. Today, they’re yielding 2.85% with an annualized return over that period of approximately negative 4.5% annualized. Ray Dalio, the founder of the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates and author of “Principles,” explains, “A 1% rise in bond yields will produce the largest bear market in bonds that we have seen since 1980-1981.” Investors around the globe are asking big questions about what these changes in interest rates mean, and David does a great job of explaining the issues on this episode of Money For the Rest of Us.