News

The Blog is Back!

MatthewGarrott.com started as an experiment.  I really just wanted to know how a person went about setting up a website.  Turns out, buying a domain is pretty cheap, so why not buy my own name?  From there, I figured I’d at least put up some text or something to figure out the logistics of publishing things on the site.  This was pretty easy, too.  It was so easy that I turned the site into a little blog.  What would happen if I started publishing my thoughts in the interwebs?  Would anyone read?  Would I run out of things to write? Thank You Yes, people started reading my blog.  Thank you for reading.  Not only did they read, but people emailed or reached out via DM to give feedback. I’ve made some changes to the header and tagline for the site.  There’s also a new favicon – that little logo in…


iPhones, IPOs, and Interest Rates – The I’s Have It

iPhones, IPOs, Interest Rates Lots of random news today, none of which warrants a full post from me due to either lack of opinion or lack of expertise.  However, here are some places that have worthwhile views on each of these subjects.  Also, don’t forget about the Northeast Ohio PKD Walk on September 21st.  Donate to my team so I can hold bragging rights in my house for the next year.  My son William has his own fundraising page this year, too! The WeWork IPO It’s been hard to avoid news about WeWork.  First as a tech disruptor darling.  Now as fodder for gossip as their IPO plans look shaky.  Personally, I think the founder’s actions and the structuring of the firm tell you all you need to know, but I’m not a stock picking expert.  Professor Damodaran is, however, and he breaks down his view here along with some damning parallels…


A Gift That Makes a Difference

2019 Northeast Ohio PKD Walk It’s that time of year again!  The 2019 Northeast Ohio PKD Walk is on September 21st.  As usual, Team William will have its walking shoes on.  We’ll trek through the Bedford Reservation and then head back to the Garrott house for hotdogs, burgers, and maybe a beverage or two!  Gotta keep those kidneys hydrated! Our Story My son William was born with a genetic condition called Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease, or ARPKD.  He had both kidneys removed before he was a year old and relied on a special kind of dialysis until he received a donor kidney shortly after his second birthday.  Those first few years were difficult, but I’m happy to report that Will is a happy and healthy fourth grader today.  He plays soccer and takes swimming lessons.  He is the only member of the household looking forward to his playing the…


What Happened to the Recession?

Last week was recession week as the brief yield curve inversion launched a thousand headlines promising economic destruction.  Every newspaper had a recession headline or story above the fold.  Although there were several days of decent market swings, the recession story seems to have run out of gas as people looked at the actual numbers.  The minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting further cooled the rhetoric.  Journalists may have expected the last Fed meeting was Thunderdome as there was some disagreement among Fed members on whether to hike or not.  Instead, the minutes painted a much different view. So what do the minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting say? Labor is strong and inflation is under control.  The rest of the world is struggling a bit, but it hasn’t made a huge impact on the US economy.  Trade policy uncertainty seems to be here to stay in the…


When the Recovery Will End, Emotion, Controversy

When Will the Recovery End? (Spoiler Alert: It’s Already Over) After 10 years, surely the end of the recovery is near?  I still see investment products pitched with this kind of wording.  It turns out that the recovery ended 84 freaking months ago.  Since then, we’ve been in expansion.  84 months sounds like a long time (7 years!), but in the context of previous expansions, it’s not remarkable in either length nor size (there’s a joke here, somewhere).  The expansion following recovery from the tech crash was just 12 months, with a gain of 14.6% on the S&P 500.  However, the two prior expansions were 135 and 134 months long and gained over 400 and 500% (see graphic).  Should we be worried about the current expansion?  Let’s break 100 months first, then three years after that let’s start worrying.  In the meantime, stick to your financial plan. Taking the Emotion…


Student Loans

$1.6 trillion of student loan debt is spread among 44 million Americans.  More than even avocado toast or a daily latte, student loans are being blamed for Millennials not being able to afford housing (even though they are the largest home-buying cohort).  Some Presidential hopefuls say they’ve got the answer in just erasing the whole thing.  This is a case of finding a gullible voting bloc and riding them as hard as possible in the hopes of building a warchest to retire on, securing a book deal, and hitting the speaking circuit.  It is a proposal along the lines of the Green New Deal – not so much a serious piece of legislation as it is something to garner mentions in the media. Cynicism aside, I’d love to see student loans wiped out.  “But isn’t this unfair to people who took out loans and paid them off?”  Maybe, but it…


ONE TRILLION DOLLARS *pinky*

The Trade War™ wiped over ONE TRILLION DOLLARS from the stock market on Monday.  Will the market ever recover from this disaster?  It turns out that a trillion bucks ain’t what it used to be.  Financial reporters showed Monday’s market movement as -2.41%.  Financial entertainers breathlessly echoed the ONE TRILLION DOLLARS talking point.  Being down over 2% in one day isn’t good, but it was a useful tool to separate news sources that are serious about their reporting from the click-bait farms.  Oh and will we ever recover?  The S&P 500 was down 0.11% on the week, as of Thursday’s close, but oddly we haven’t heard any stories of the market gaining ONE TRILLION DOLLARS over the last couple of days.  Weird. Trade War™ There is a lot of hand-wringing over the consequences of the very public negotiation with China.  Bad financial news of all sorts is inevitably traced back…


Dry Powder

I’ve got some dry powder set aside for a situation just like December.  During a bear market (when the market drops 20%), the plan is to deploy half of it into equities.  The S&P 500 fell 19.4% from September through Christmas Eve.  It was chaos on CNBC.  This was the big one…  And I turned up my nose because it was half a percent short of a formal bear market.  I was not ready to buy until that last 0.6% bled away.  It didn’t hit the magical 20% number.  Since this bear kiss, the S&P 500 is up 9.6%.  Oops. Eddy Elfenbein of Crossing Wall Street (great follow on Twitter) has a quick hit this morning “What if the Bear Market is Already Over?” that is a great reminder that the market doesn’t care about our arbitrary mindsets.  Usually, I think about this in relation to the calendar.  The market…


I Blame SportsCenter

The market was down 3% yesterday although you’re more likely to see this as DOW PLUMMETS OVER 800 POINTS.  I don’t know why it’s down, but neither does anyone else.  No one knows what it will do from here, either.  However, I do know how things will play out on CNBC as every perma-bear in New York City is wetting their pants waiting for their booking agent to tell them what time to arrive on set.  I expect doom n’ gloomers making victory laps and appealing to our baser instincts. It’s All SportsCenter’s Fault The golden age of ESPN was wall to wall SportsCenter and actual sporting events.  Today it’s talk shows and even SportsCenter is less focused on actual sport and more story-driven.  Why?  Drama sells.  The WWE is basically soap operas for rednecks and you’re smarter than a redneck, right?  ESPN is the WWE of sports.  What’s really…


Left of the Decimal

Dow Jones has removed General Electric from the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and replaced it with Walgreens Boots Alliance.  GE was an original Dow stock and was part of the index for over 100 years.  The Dow is how your parents consume the stock market which is why newscasts tend to report that information in Dow points.  This is a huge deal, right?  Not from an investing standpoint. The DJIA is price-weighted, meaning that stocks with higher prices make up a larger portion of the index than stocks with a lower price.  This is different than an index like the S&P 500 which is market cap-weighted (the size of the actual company).  It’s interesting to note that GE is getting replaced by a company about half its size by market cap so it’s not like GE is getting the boot (pun intended) because of its size, it’s because the…