Changes at the Top – The New Stock Market Leaders

Here’s a chart that illustrates how the list of the most valuable publicly listed companies has changed over the past ten years:

largest-listed-companies

As you can see, the previous dominance of energy companies and banks has given way to the rise of the tech titans. What’s more, nine out of the top 10 most valuable publicly listed companies are from the US (previously there were only 5).

Also, Johnson and Johnson’s ascent could serve as a harbinger for more health care companies to make the list 10 years from now.

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Lisbon Report Part 1 (Thank You Schroders!)

I’m back from a quick but very insightful time spent in Lisbon at the Schroders Investment Conference 2016.

We are proud to have Schroders as one of our investment partners (www.schroders.com).

The conference addressed many prescient themes about the future of the asset management industry and highlighted certain sectors that merit investor attention.

Some takeaways:

– Schroders put on a great conference, and employs a lot of very smart people
– Lisbon is a beautiful, lively city
– Commodities (other than oil and gold) have been under the radar and are worth a look
– Emerging markets still offer relative value in both bonds and equities, but are no longer ‘under the radar’
– corporate governance improvements in Japan could be very positive for shareholders

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Can Nuclear Power Make a Comeback?

Here’s a link to an “Economist” article that discusses the ambitions of the Chinese nuclear power sector:

LINK: Nuclear power in China

Nuclear power has been an industria non grata since the Fukushima disaster that occured five and a half years ago.

The world has changed, but it still strikes me as odd how soon we have forgotten the promise of the nuclear power sector just ten years ago.

For instance, here is a chart of the uranium prices over the past 15 years:

uranium

And here is a chart of a uranium miner ETF (URA US) since its inception:

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Facebook For Work

Most employers figured out long ago that allowing people to access Facebook at work could lead to lessened productivity.

However, Facebook is on the verge of launching a version of Facebook that is tailored towards corporations.

This is a potential game changer in a number of ways.

The size of Facebook’s existing user base and their familiarity with the platform could lead to rapid adoption and immediate benefits in terms of leveraging off of the platform’s many strengths:

LINK: Facebook for Work

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Another Professional Athlete Goes Through Bankcruptcy Proceedings…

Christian Laettner was one of the best college basketball players of all time. He was talented, tenacious, psychologically strong and did whatever it took to win.

Unfortunately, it seems that he too has succumb to an all too common financial legacy among professional athletes: bankruptcy.

LINK: Christian Laettner Avoids Bankruptcy

The culprit in Laettner’s case seems to have been overly aggressive investments in real estate. Baseball player Lenny Dykstra lost a lot of money trading options. However, most athletes just fail to create and stick to a disciplined investment strategy that is meant to guarantee that they and those dearest to them are provided for long after they stop receiving big paychecks.

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German Consumers are Starting to Spend (This is VERY good!)

Here’s a link to an article in today’s Financial Times that addresses heightened German consumer confidence and increased spending:

LINK: German Consumers

Is the ECB’s monetary policy finally starting to stir up something good in its largest economy?

Note that German domestic auto registrations were up 8% year over year. Its no wonder when the German auto industry keeps on coming up with these sorts of beauties:

2017-mercedes-benz-e-class-1101-876x535

(full disclosure: we own Daimler shares in our client portfolios)

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Lisbon Callin’

I will be flying out to Lisbon, Portugal today to attend the Schroders Investment Conference.

There will be a host of interesting speakers that will be addressing current and future trends in finance and beyond. As always, I will also take full advantage of meeting with peers from around Europe to get a heightened sense of the current industry zeitgeist.

I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts and impressions with you when I get back to Riga!

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Japan is Ready to do Whatever it Takes to Get Inflation Going

The Japanese Central Bank announced a number of policy initiatives to confront stagnation and deflation. These moves will mostly involve more flexibility in terms trying to steepen the yield curve for Japanese sovereign bonds, which would be helpful to Japanese lenders, and should theoretically provide more stimulous to the Japanese economy.

Markets have responded positively to the announcement.

LINK: Japanese Central Bank

tpx1

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The Evolution of the S&P 500 Index

Here’s an info graphic from the Wall Street Journal that shows the evolution of the S&P 500 Index both in terms of size and industry sector concentration:

spx-evolution

Note the relative decline of industrials and the rise of info tech, health care and financials. Our job as money managers is to try to figure out which sectors will be ascendant over the next twenty years…

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