Many Hands Make Light Work- When Ethan Crispo walked into a Waffle House in Birmingham, Ala., for a midnight snack, he was sure he’d go home with an empty stomach. There were 30 customers in the restaurant and—because of a scheduling mishap—only one harried employee, Ben, who was cooking the food and cleaning up. Then, a customer asked Ben for an apron, stepped behind the counter, and started washing dishes. Two other diners began busing tables, and the restaurant was running smoothly again. “Humanity isn’t just good,” said Crispo. “It’s great.”
I Do!- Police Sgt. Mike Nowacki had a plan: He’d run Chicago’s Allstate Hot Chocolate 15K in 50 pounds of SWAT gear and then propose to his girlfriend, Officer Erin Gubala, at the finish line. The race went well, but as he approached the final stretch, Nowacki heard people screaming for someone to help an unconscious woman. Nowacki rushed over and administered CPR with a firefighter until an ambulance arrived; doctors said their actions saved the woman’s life. Eventually, Nowacki powered on to the finish line, told Gubala what had happened, and popped the question. “She had to say yes after that,” said Nowacki—and she did.
Out of This World- A NASA astronaut confounded election officials in his home county in Pennsylvania by listing his whereabouts on an absentee ballot application as “International Space Station, low Earth orbit.” Ed Allison, a voting official in Lawrence County, said his reaction upon reading Drew Morgan’s application was, “What?” But he said he then “started to get calls from NASA,” and resolved, “We have to get this done.” In the end, Morgan filled out a ballot and electronically transmitted it to Earth. “It certainly is unique,” Allison said.
Weekly Focus – Think About It
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
–Anne Bradstreet, Poet
The longest bull market in history showed no signs of slowing last week.
U.S. stock markets climbed higher for the sixth week straight – the longest rally in U.S. markets in two years – and the Dow Jones Industrial Average surpassed 28,000 for the very first time, reported Bloomberg.
The Economist reported, “It has been a year of mood swings in financial markets. In the spring and summer, anxious investors piled into the safety of government bonds, driving yields down sharply. Yields have recovered in recent weeks…Equity prices in America have reached a new peak. But what is more striking is the performance of cyclical stocks relative to defensive ones. Within America’s market the prices of industrial stocks, which do well in business-cycle upswings, have risen relative to the prices of utility stocks, a safer bet in hard times.”
Last week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell confirmed the United States appears to be in good economic shape. The U.S. economic outlook remains favorable despite weakening business investment, which has slowed because of sluggish global growth and uncertainty surrounding trade. The unemployment rate remains low and more people are returning to the workforce, which is a positive development. Overall, Powell and his colleagues believe economic expansion is likely to continue.
A similar phenomenon has occurred in European markets.
Randall Forsyth of Barron’s cited a source who stated, “…the global economic backdrop has, for the first time in 18 months, begun to improve.” Forsyth went on to explain, “It’s not just because of prospects of a trade deal. Recession risks have, well, receded. Growth may slow to a 1 percent annual rate in the current quarter, but odds of falling into an outright recession have slid.”
Whenever investors are happy and markets are moving higher, contrarians begin to ask questions. For example, a leading contrarian indicator is the Investors Intelligence Sentiment Survey. The survey queries investors and investment professionals about whether they are feeling bullish or bearish. When the ratio of bulls to bears is above 1.0, the market may be overly bullish. When it is less than 1.0, it may be too bearish.
Yardeni Research reported the ratio stood at 3.22 last week; 57 percent bulls and 18 percent bears
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, THE WINNER WAS #435. For the last five years, Katmai National Park and Preserve in Western Alaska has hosted ‘Fat Bear Week’ to celebrate bears as they prepare for hibernation. The participants are coastal brown bears who live along Alaska’s Brooks River.
The event helps people better understand hibernation. You may not have realized it, but bears spend the summer fattening up because they lose about one-third of their body weight during the winter. It’s an interesting scientific phenomenon. The Katmai National Park Service website explained:
“Hibernation is a state of dormancy that allows animals to avoid periods of famine. It takes many forms in mammals but is particularly remarkable in bears…After a summer and fall spent gorging on food, a bear’s physiology and metabolism shifts in rather incredible ways to help them survive several months without food or water.”
In Katmai, conservancy media rangers select twelve participants from among the park’s 2,000 bears and post before-and-after photos on social media to showcase the effects of summer feasting. People near and far can participate by watching bear cams. There is even an ursine madness bracket where voters choose the fat bear that wins each pairing, and the crowd favorite moves on to the next match-up.
This year, the Fat Bear Week champion was number 435, a.k.a. Holly. The Katmai announcement touting 435’s win stated, “All hail Holly whose healthy heft will help her hibernate until the spring. Long live the Queen of Corpulence!”
John Klevens, CFP®
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This material is intended to provide general financial education and is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied upon for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel. This material is for informational purposes only and is not an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any securities.
Securities and Advisory Services offered by John Klevens through KMS Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC and an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Klevens Capital Management and KMS are separate and unaffiliated.
Portions of this newsletter have been prepared by Peak Advisor
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The Week Magazine
https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2019/11/14/the-improved-mood-in-financial-markets (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/11-18-19_TheEconomist-The_Improved_Mood_in_Financial_Markets-Footnote_2.pdf)
https://www.barrons.com/articles/next-stop-dow-30-000-it-could-happen-51573871667?mod=hp_DAY_1 (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/11-18-19_Barrons-Next_Stop-Dow_30000-It_Could_Happen-Footnote_4.pdf)
https://www.yardeni.com/pub/stmktbullbear.pdf (or go to https://peakcontent.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/+Peak+Commentary/11-18-19_Yardeni-Stock_Market_Indicators-Bull_Bear_Ratios-Footnote_6.pdf)