You can’t drink your way to better health. A new study reviewing over 40 years of scientific research claiming moderate drinking has health benefits found the previous studies were flawed, and concluded that some light boozing has no salutary effects. Turns out the sober people who moderate drinks were compared to former heavy drinkers who quit after developing health problems. Meanwhile, modest drinkers tended to show moderation in other aspects of life, too, meaning they had lots of other healthy habits that likely impacted their stats.
Become a human polygraph. New research from the University of Amsterdam’s LieLab reveals that you can spot a lie by focusing on how detailed and rich the story is. If the descriptions are full of specifics, the story is probably true. Paying attention to this one signal makes it easier to spot a fib than if you try to consider multiple factors like body language or how convincing or emotional the story is, the study found. Study participants using the method could detect lies vs. the truth nearly 80% of the time, while those relying on intuition or multiple strategies did no better than random chance.
Chihuahuas may have reached their peak cultural relevance in the early aughts with Paris Hilton’s Tinkerbell, the Taco Bell dog, and the Beverly Hills Chihuahua film trilogy (yes, there were three), but a tiny one is making a play for the spotlight in a Frenchie-fied world. And we do mean tiny: Pearl, who’s just 3.59 inches tall and 5 inches long—making her about the size of a dollar bill—was deemed the world’s shortest dog by Guinness World Records this week. And, despite being shorter than a popsicle stick, she’s “a bit of a diva,” according to her owner.
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.”
—Thomas Jefferson, founding father
Keep your eye on the big picture.
Last week, there was nothing too surprising in economic and financial news.
Inflation eased, as expected, although it remained above the Federal Reserve (Fed)’s target rate. The Treasury yield curve remained inverted with three-month Treasury bills yielding more than 10-year Treasury notes, as they have been since November 2022. Also, we may be nearing an end to rate hikes around the world. Bloomberg News reported:
“With the first signs of dents in economic growth now visible, and fallout from financial-market tensions lingering, any pause by the Federal Reserve after at least one more increase in May could cement a turn in what has been the most aggressive global tightening cycle in decades.”
Recession predictions for the United States continue to be prominent and varied, ranging from no recession to mild recession to deep recession over the next three to 18 months, reported Rafael Nam and Greg Rosalsky of NPR.
Minutes from the Fed’s March meeting were released last week, and they show that Federal Open Market Committee members think tightening credit conditions could result in a mild recession later this year with recovery following in 2024 and 2025.
While the idea of an economic downturn can be unnerving, recessions are part of every economic cycle. In times of uncertainty, it can help to step back and look at the big picture: the United States is quite remarkable.
“Nearly four-fifths of Americans tell pollsters that their children will be worse off than they are. In fact, America has sustained its decades-long record as the world’s richest, most productive and most innovative big economy. Indeed, it is leaving its peers ever further in the dust…American firms own more than a fifth of patents registered abroad, more than China and Germany put together,” noted Zanny Minton Beddoes of The Economist.
Economic and market uncertainty persists in the United States and elsewhere. We may experience a recession this year. We may not. Either way, it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. Recessions are one part of the economic cycle – expansions are another.
Last week, major U.S. stock indices finished higher, reported Nicholas Jasinski of Barron’s. In the Treasury market, yields on many maturities moved higher over the week.
|Data as of 4/14/23||1-Week||YTD||1-Year||3-Year||5-Year||10-Year|
|Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)||0.8%||7.8%||-5.8%||13.3%||9.1%||10.3%|
|Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.||2.0||8.2||-3.7||8.3||0.1||2.1|
|10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)||3.5||NA||2.8||0.8||2.8||1.7|
|Gold (per ounce)||0.9||11.4||2.9||5.1||8.4||3.8|
|Bloomberg Commodity Index||1.5||-4.4||-18.6||19.6||3.9||-2.0|
Woolly Mammoth Meatballs, Anyone? In late March, the Nemo Science Museum in Amsterdam unveiled a remarkable exhibit, featuring a prehistoric alternative to beef, reported Helen Chandler-Wilde of Bloomberg. The not-for-consumption, lab-cultured display featured:
“…a cantaloupe-size globe of overcooked meat perspiring under a bell jar. This was no ordinary spaghetti topper: It was a woolly-mammoth meatball, created by an Australian lab-grown-meat company…using real mammoth DNA,” reported Yasmin Tayag of The Atlantic.
The meatball was made by combining genetic material found in mammoths with elephant DNA, reported Bloomberg. It’s not the first time a food product has been made from a long extinct species. In 2018, a company produced mastodon gummy bears using gelatin made with mastodon DNA.
The mammoth meatball is intended to draw attention to cultured meat. That’s the most palatable marketing term for cellular protein farming. The meat “is grown in anything from a test tube to a stainless-steel bioreactor. The process is borrowed from research into regenerative medicine, and in fact [Professor] Mark Post of Maastricht University, who cultured the world’s first burger in 2013, was previously working on repairing human heart tissue,” reported Amy Fleming of BBC Science Focus Magazine.
Cultured chicken is already being served in Singapore, and the company that produces it has applied for approval in the United States.
It’s unclear whether cultivating meat in labs will be more environmentally friendly than traditional farming, but it’s a growing segment of the biotechnology industry.
John Klevens, CFP®
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Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Financial Advice & Investment Advisory Services offered through PFG Advisors LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). Klevens Capital Management, PFG Advisors LLC, and Securities America, Inc. are separate entities.
. Portions of this newsletter have been prepared by Peak Advisor
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* This newsletter was prepared by Carson Coaching. Carson Coaching is not affiliated with the named firm or broker/dealer.
* Government bonds and Treasury Bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.
* Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds but normally offer a higher yield and are subject to market, interest rate and credit risk as well as additional risks based on the quality of issuer coupon rate, price, yield, maturity, and redemption features.
* The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot invest directly in this index.
* All indexes referenced are unmanaged. The volatility of indexes could be materially different from that of a client’s portfolio. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. You cannot invest directly in an index.
* The Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Index covers approximately 95% of the market capitalization of the 45 developed and emerging countries included in the Index.
* The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
* Gold represents the afternoon gold price as reported by the London Bullion Market Association. The gold price is set twice daily by the London Gold Fixing Company at 10:30 and 15:00 and is expressed in U.S. dollars per fine troy ounce.
* The Bloomberg Commodity Index is designed to be a highly liquid and diversified benchmark for the commodity futures market. The Index is composed of futures contracts on 19 physical commodities and was launched on July 14, 1998.
* The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index measures the total return performance of the equity subcategory of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) industry as calculated by Dow Jones.
* The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), commonly known as “The Dow,” is an index representing 30 stock of companies maintained and reviewed by the editors of The Wall Street Journal.
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* Yahoo! Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
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