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Too Big to Be Too Big

By | April 24th, 2018|Categories: Advisor Insights|

“A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money.” We were reminded of the famous quote – long mis-attributed to Everett Dirksen – with yet another story about Wells Fargo and a [...]

Cash, It’s a Hit

By | April 10th, 2018|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Hard to believe, but it’s been nearly a decade since Lehman Brothers, at the time the fourth-largest investment bank in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy. You might recall that before the ink could dry on [...]

Flash Geeks

By | March 27th, 2018|Categories: Advisor Insights|

So, there’s a Wall Street project called ‘Go West’ that’s nearing completion. Intended to invoke the spirit of Horace Greely, the plan is to link Chicago, the Pacific coast, and Tokyo via a trail of [...]

Love Isn’t All You Need

By | March 13th, 2018|Categories: Advisor Insights|

There's nothing you can do that can't be done. Nothing you can sing that can't be sung. Nothing you can say, but you can learn how to play the game. It's easy.   You’ll [...]

Amazon Ain’t Just A River In Brazil

By | February 27th, 2018|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Remember when Amazon.com only sold books? No? Well, then, here’s a quick refresher: Way back in 1994, a computer scientist named Jeff Bezos launched what is now the world’s fourth most valuable company as an [...]

Eve of (Self) Destruction

By | February 13th, 2018|Categories: Advisor Insights|

“But you tell me over and over and over again my friend, Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.”             Barry McGuire, singer and songwriter We suspect commodity traders like to use [...]

Party Crashers

By | January 29th, 2018|Categories: Advisor Insights|

So, guess who’s responsible for this month’s outsized inflow of cash into global stock funds and ETFs? According to information from the industry’s largest discount brokerages, the answer is “individual investors,” particularly those of the [...]

Exchange Traitor Fund

By | January 16th, 2018|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Story’s going ‘round Wall Street about the alleged “theft” of a billion-dollar fund, ironically enough a cybersecurity exchange-traded fund with the ticker symbol HACK. It’s a mystery, they say, and the intrigue is “gripping” the [...]

Predictable Predictions

By | January 3rd, 2018|Categories: Advisor Insights|

It’s been said, allegedly by a great Yankee catcher, that “It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." We’ve no clue whether #8 said it or not, but whoever did was on to something, [...]

A Story About Gravity

By | December 12th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Isaac Newton is known to all as one of the world’s greatest scientists, the greatest perhaps. What’s lesser known to us modern-day folks is that in addition to his efforts toward optics, astronomy, physics, and [...]

Predictably Unpredictable

By | November 28th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

So, a few traders traded Friday and, in a holiday-shortened session, managed to negotiate the S&P 500 past 2600 for the first time ever. For those keeping score, it was the big benchmark’s 55th closing [...]

Opposite Sides Of The Coin

By | November 14th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Quick cryptocurrency quiz. Virtually circle a correct answer. Only one, or maybe four, choices can be right. Mark your answer to eight decimal places. Bitcoin is: A currency An equity A social network Internet gold [...]

Guess Who Put The “E” In “ETF”

By | October 25th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Since October is the only time of the year when each of the "Big Four" professional sports leagues schedule games, you may have missed the trigentennial anniversary of “Black Monday”. By way of reminder, it [...]

Regulator, Don’t Manage Thyself

By | October 9th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

By way of background, the National Association of Securities Dealers – the NASD – was founded in 1939 to oversee the behavior of brokerage firms under the SEC’s watch. In 1971, the self-regulatory association, [...]

When Hacks Get Hacked

By | September 26th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

According to Merriam-Webster, “schadenfreude” is an unintentional pleasure that comes from seeing or hearing about another person's troubles or failures. Etymologically, the word is taken from German – Schaden, meaning damage, plus Freude, meaning joy. [...]

Don’t Bank On It

By | September 12th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Unless you serve on the Fargo Historical Society, you probably don’t know that North Dakota’s largest city is named after a fine fellow named William Fargo. We’re not entirely sure why, maybe because he [...]

Resigned to Resignation?

By | August 29th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

So, as any money junkie will tell you, the latest “Economic Symposium” sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City took place last week. Better known these days as the “Jackson Hole Global Boondoggle [...]

False Sense of Securities

By | August 14th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Remember Bear Stearns? How about Lehman Brothers? If you don’t, you should. We all should. Both were classic American success stories with roots tracing back to Wall Street’s earliest days. Both firms weathered the Crash [...]

So, Who Put the Lie In Libor?

By | August 1st, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

It’s been said that finance is a set of social conventions, and much of the financial industry is an arena for battling over those conventions. In that sense, the story of Libor — the London [...]

A Quick Buck

By | July 17th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

New take on an old joke: How do you make less than a dollar in the stock market? Answer: Start with 220,000 dollars. Ha ha. Not-so-funny “small fortune” gags aside, this is a story [...]

Greedman Sachs

By | July 3rd, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

“The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed — for lack of a better word — is good.” We got to thinking about the mythical Gordon Gecko last month when real-life Goldman Sachs bullied [...]

In To The Shadows

By | June 20th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

According to the Orwellian-sounding Financial Stability Board, “shadow banking” is credit intermediation involving entities and activities outside the regular banking system – lending, in other words, done by anything other than a bank. Gee, what [...]

Hit The Road, Show

By | May 31st, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

You might have heard that Spotify, the ubiquitous music-streaming service, is a Swedish company with a worldwide business. It is. And you might have heard that the still unprofitable firm – which is said to [...]

Running Out of Options

By | May 15th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

History tells us that today’s option market can trace its notional roots back to ancient times, when one Thales of Miletus bet the farm on the season’s olive harvest. Story goes that the speculative Greek, [...]

The Grass Is Always Greener, Dude

By | April 25th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

If you missed it — and if you’re gainfully employed you probably did — last Thursday was “Weed Day,” or as cannabis aficionados like to call it, uhhh 4/20 man. The term, we’re told, was [...]

Beep Beep’m Beep Beep Yeah

By | April 11th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Baby you can drive my car. Last month, GM sold 256,007 cars and trucks in the U.S. while Ford moved some 234,895 vehicles off the lot, the two big Detroit jalopies representing more than 31% [...]

Flash In The Pan

By | March 28th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

It’s likely that you first heard about high-frequency trading way back in 2014 when Michael Lewis published “Flash Boys”. In his book, the supremely talented Mr. Lewis described how high frequency traders, through the use [...]

Snap, Pop, No Crackle

By | March 14th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Even if you’re not one of 158 million people who use Snapchat on a daily basis, you probably know that the parent company of the disappearing photo-and-video app went public last week. As it happened, [...]

Face Value

By | February 27th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Pop Quiz: Who famously said: “If you want to have a better performance than the crowd, you must do things differently from the crowd." Circle the correct answer. A: Benjamin Graham B: John Templeton C: [...]

All That Twitters Is Not Gold

By | February 13th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Question: What do the current Prime Minister of Australia, the former governor of California, and future federal funding for UC Berkeley have in common? Hint: messages from the White House in a limited number of [...]

Defying Gravity

By | January 31st, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Unless you’ve been on a seemingly routine spacewalk and your shuttle was destroyed, you’re probably aware that the Dow Jones Industrial Average just closed above 20000. Who on earth isn’t? That’s because the ageless index [...]

A Bit Too Much

By | January 17th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Other kids' games are all such a bore! They've gotta have rules and they gotta keep score! Calvinball is better by far! It's never the same! It's always bizarre! — Excerpt from the Calvinball theme song [...]

Happy Old Year

By | January 4th, 2017|Categories: Advisor Insights|

“Auld Lang Syne", as you might know, is an old Scots poem set to the tune of an old Scots folk song. Which means the old Scots words are incomprehensible anywhere outside of a few [...]

How Things Work

By | December 20th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Like science, movie trivia, and hitting a curveball, investing knowledge is supposed to be cumulative. All of us, in other words, have opportunity to benefit from those who have already learned — and taught — [...]

Still Crazy After All These Years

By | December 6th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

In case it’s not on your calendar, today marks the twentieth anniversary of Alan Greenspan’s famous “irrational exuberance” speech. Legend holds that the Fed chairman, who was thought to be around 120 years old at [...]

To Bespoke Or Not To Bespoke

By | November 21st, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

That, as one old market watcher might have suggested, is the question. As we contemplate the condition of today’s market, “collateralized debt obligations” must surely give us pause. Among the industry’s most mysterious inventions, CDOs [...]

Can’t Hardly Weight

By | November 8th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

It was 1884 when journalist Charles Dow and his statistician buddy Edward Jones published their first stock average – what we now call the Dow Jones Transportation Average – in the Customer's Afternoon Letter – [...]

Closed Minded

By | October 26th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

A couple of things we just learned from the Closed End Fund Association: One, there’s such a thing as the Closed End Fund Association. Two, closed-end funds have been around in the U.S. since 1893 [...]

Forced Retirement

By | October 12th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

It was a bit hard to hear over the roar last Thursday when Merrill Lynch told its 14,000 brokers they were likely out of the retirement advice business. Indeed, whether anyone outside of the Thundering [...]

Catch A Falling Star…

By | September 27th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

And put it in your pocket You’ll remember Tom Marsico. He earned a good degree of fame for his stock-picking prowess at Janus Capital back in the 90s. Fame was so bright, in fact, he [...]

A Thought For Your Pennies

By | September 13th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Ever wonder why Congress has an approval rating of 13%? Don’t. By all appearance the number is between 12 and 14 points too high. To wit: The U.S. House actually passed a bill last Thursday [...]

Calm Before the Storm?

By | August 31st, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Any idea what the “Greenspan Put” might be? No? Well here are a couple of hints: Greenspan refers to a rather loquacious former Fed Chief named Alan; "put" refers to contractual obligation giving its holder [...]

No Legg to Stand On

By | August 17th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

There’s not that many long-running relationships on Wall Street to begin with, and now there’s one less. Last week, Bill Miller, the Legg Mason manager made famous by beating the S&P 500 from 1991 to [...]

Rhymes With Utopian

By | August 3rd, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

So, what do you do when you’ve made a billion dollars trading other people’s money and the regulators have barred you from trading other people’s money? Here’s an idea: Start trading other people’s ideas. Quantitative [...]

You Bet Your (Herba)Life!

By | July 19th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

On Friday, the FTC announced it had reached a settlement with Herbalife Ltd. that will allow the “nutritional-products” company to avoid being classified as a pyramid scheme. In return, the Los Angeles-based outfit will have [...]

Unsentimental Journey

By | July 5th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

By way of reminder, it was June 23 when voters in Great Britain decided to go on permanent vacation from the European Union. Here we are nearly two week later, and the markets are still [...]

Exchange Traded Fun

By | June 20th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

So, in today’s bizarre trading world, where a “speed bump” can be defined as a delay of 350-millionths of a second, the SEC voted Friday to certify the IEX Group Inc as the U.S.’s 13th [...]

Dude, You’re Getting a Dell

By | June 6th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Thomas Rowe Price, Jr. was 40 years old when he bolted from his position as the head of investment for MacKubin, Legg and Co. in 1937. That year, he and three of his Baltimore buddies [...]

Out of Bounds

By | May 26th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Fore! Welcome to the 2016 Dean Foods Tournament of Whatever’s the Opposite of Champions. In what’s hoped to be the first and last of this classless classic, the nation's largest processor of fluid milk [...]

Caribbean Coriolis

By | May 13th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Somewhat disappointingly, the little nugget about how the hemispheres affect which way water rotates in a toilet is a myth. Fact is, the configuration of drains is responsible for the direction of spin to a [...]

Bits and Pieces

By | April 25th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Did you know that bitcoin was launched in a paper published October 31, 2008 by some form of higher intelligence calling itself Satoshi Nakamoto? We didn’t either. The still mysterious pseudonym’s detailed workings of the [...]

Board to Tears

By | March 30th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Remember Yahoo! Inc.? If not, here’s a clue: The struggling company with the exclamation point in its corporate name was an Internet search engine pioneer. It’s true…you can look it up on Google. In 1994, [...]

Sweetheart Deal

By | March 14th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

They say that patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. If you missed it, Moody’s just agreed to a $130 million settlement with a California pension fund. The agreement resolved one of [...]

Illusive Public Offerings

By | February 29th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Since nothing says “risk-on” like the IPO market, it’s no surprise that current “risk-off” conditions are crushing the market’s newest companies. This hostile environment will doubtlessly have far-reaching effects on Wall Street, which has been [...]

Chaos Theories

By | February 15th, 2016|Categories: Advisor Insights|

Exponentially rising volatility in stocks, bonds, currencies, and commodities has left market pundits around the world scrambling to figure out what’s going on. As analysts search for reasons for the global volatility, what seems plausible [...]